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Types of Easels for a Seamless Painting Experience


If you’re just getting started with painting, you’ll need to be fully aware of all types of easels out there.

There are portable easels, tabletop easels, and a lot more types. You’ll want to learn about each type and what it does. This way, when it’s time to choose, you make the right choice.

Whether you’re looking for an easel for your new painting hobby or your professional painting job, here are the common types on the market.

Types of Easels – A-Frame

U.S. Art Supply Sunset 64' to 89' High Lyre Style Studio A-Frame Easel with Artist Storage Tray - Sturdy Beechwood, Inclinable Mast, Adjustable Height To 48' Canvas, Wood Painting Display Holder Stand
82 Reviews
U.S. Art Supply Sunset 64" to 89" High Lyre Style Studio A-Frame Easel with Artist Storage Tray - Sturdy Beechwood, Inclinable Mast, Adjustable Height To 48" Canvas, Wood Painting Display Holder Stand
  • A professional wooden Sunset Adjustable Lyre Style Studio A-Frame Easel with Artist Storage Tray. A deluxe inclinable easel that is made of aged...
  • A solid sturdy and adjustable easel that accommodates a canvas up to 48" high. The easel has a forward-tilting inclinable center mast that can be...
  • Versatile adjustable pro easel that makes it easier to paint canvases with oil, pastel, and acrylic paints. The large 22" wide artist storage...

A-frame easels are pretty standard on the market, so you’ve undoubtedly encountered one or two before. They’re otherwise called Lyre easels.

These easels are mostly triangle-shaped with a broad base and three legs. They come with two legs in the front and one in the back.

They’re called A-frame easels because the broad base and narrowing poles give the impression of an A letter.

These easels are ideal for people with limited storage spaces. You can tuck them away into a corner easily, and you can push their back leg upfront. This way, you flatten the easel, and you can store it under a bed or above a wardrobe.

These easels are mostly budget-friendly, but some professional or high-end models can reach $300.

H-Frame Easels

U.S. Art Supply Medium Wooden H-Frame Studio Easel with Artist Storage Tray - Mast Adjustable to 96" High, Holds Canvas to 48" - Sturdy Beechwood Holder Floor Stand - Display Paintings, Portraits
  • A professional medium wooden Studio H-Frame Easel with an artist storage supply tray. A natural wood colored easel that's oil finished, and made...
  • A solid and sturdy easel with an adjustable height mast that allows it to accommodate a canvas up to 48" high. The artist supply tray has a metal...
  • The easel can be adjusted past a full vertical incline or depending on the need it can be tilted back. The easels large point knobs that allow...

H-Frame easels have the same design concept as A-frame easels, but their poles stay parallel. So, they look like H letters with their wide bases.

These easels are best suited for large and heavy canvases because they have solid bases. Of course, they take up more room, and they’re more challenging to store. But that’s only because they’ll fit any canvas you throw at them.

On top of that, there are small versions available for tight spaces, so finding a suitable one for your studio shouldn’t be hard. You can aim at a foldable model if you’re worried about storage.

These champs mostly come with trays or sketch boxes to store your painting supplies. They can handle canvases up to 96 inches and maybe more. That’s why some of them can cost as high as $1500.

There are still some pretty solid options for $100, though.

Types of Easels – Portable

VIVOHOME French Style Wooden Art Easel Portable Tripod Painting Stand Height Adjustable with Sketch Box and Storage Drawer Palette
  • ALL-IN-ONE EASEL - VIVOHOME’s beechwood adjustable painting stand easel with storage drawer is designed for easy assembly, dismantling,...
  • ELEGANT BEECHWOOD APPEARANCE - The whole painting easel is made of oiled premium beechwood and quality electroplating metal, providing a smooth...
  • GREAT EXTENSION HEIGHT - After your installation, the total height can be adjusted from 43” to 72”, while the easel legs can be adjusted from...

Portable easels come in a variety of designs. They may be A-Framed, H-Framed, or even tabletop easels. However, what’s common between all of them is that they can be stored and carried anywhere. In addition, they mostly have foldable frames to make moving around with them more accessible.

And, of course, they’re lightweight for ease of carrying. They’re mostly designed for outdoor use because they’re meant for painting trips and similar activities.

Most portable easels have tripod legs because they’re more compact. They’re also either made of aluminum or wood, depending on the quality and the price.

Some portable easels have drawers for supplies, and some models have shelves for paint palettes. That being said, most of them only come with a small tray, and some don’t even have it. They’re meant to be stored in the tightest place possible, so they don’t come with all the needed features.

Portable easels can hold canvases up to 80 inches high. You’ll find some affordable models at $17 and some high-end ones costing $500 or more.

Tabletop Easels

US Art Supply 14 inch Tall Medium Tabletop Display A-Frame Easel (1-Each), Accommodates canvas art up to 12" high
  • A premium quality medium 14.5" high wooden beechwood tabletop folding A-frame studio artist tripod easel and display stand. A natural wood...
  • A super stable and sturdy easel that sets-up instantly, and since it's made of durable beechwood, you'll be able to use it over and over again...
  • No assembly is required, as the easel tilts back when the third leg pulls out, and it's secured with a leather strap. The easel dimensions are...

Tabletop easels are meant for artists who work in tight spaces. They supposedly don’t have enough room for a standing easel, so they resort to easels that sit on top of the counter. Unfortunately, these easels only carry small canvases, so they’re not suitable for large works.

However, this gives them the advantage of being portable and lightweight. You can accompany your easel anywhere. You can also store it anywhere or use it as a showcase for your finished painting.

Some tabletop easels have drawers for your supplies, which is a bonus for their small size. Some of them also have an H-Frame design to offer better stability.

Generally, tabletop easels can hold canvases up to 32-inches high. They can cost anywhere from as low as $15 and up to $200, according to their construction and features.

Types of Easels – Convertible Easels

VISWIN Heavy-Duty Extra Large H Frame Easel, Hold Canvas to 82', Tilts Flat, Professional Solid Beech Wood Studio Artist Easel with Storage, Wheels, Adjustable Art Easel Stand for Painting Adult - N
205 Reviews
VISWIN Heavy-Duty Extra Large H Frame Easel, Hold Canvas to 82", Tilts Flat, Professional Solid Beech Wood Studio Artist Easel with Storage, Wheels, Adjustable Art Easel Stand for Painting Adult - N
  • [FREE & FLEXIBLE ADJUSTMENT] The convertible easel can be adjusted from exactly horizontal to vertical, even slightly tilted forward, great for...
  • [EXTRA LARGE FLOOR EASEL] The extensible double mast can raise the easel from 80" to 142", allows you to create on a larger canvas up to 82"....
  • [DOUBLE-LAYER TRAY] The double-layer tray provides larger storage space, the depth of the storage box is 4", which helps you to store more messy...

Convertible easels are the best type available for artists who work on different media frequently. They’re called convertible because you can literally convert them to tabletops.

This comes incredibly in handy for artists who use multiple paint types. For example, if you work with acrylic or oil paint, you’ll need your painting to be upright. On the other hand, if you paint with watercolors, you’ll need a horizontal surface to prevent the water from trickling down the paper.

In this case, a convertible easel is the best option for you.

These fellows come in various sizes, but they mostly handle a maximum of 85 inches tall paintings. They come with trays for your supplies, and they need ample space for storage.

You can get a pretty decent convertible easel for $300, but there are more affordable options at $100 and less.

Oversize Easels

Discovery Kids 3-in-1 Tabletop Dry Erase Chalkboard Painting Art Easel, Includes Paper Roll and Oversized Clip, 17 x 15 Inch Wood Frame, Perfect for Children 3+ | Foldable/Portable for Countertop Play
  • ✔ KIDS TABLETOP EASEL: This double-sided tabletop easel features a whiteboard & black chalkboard surface & allows your child to make their mark...
  • ✔ PLACE IT ANYWHERE: Kids are always on the go, so why not their art? The easel is crafted to be portable and lightweight for easy travel. When...
  • ✔ GREAT FOR PRESCHOOL TEACHERS: Thanks to the easel’s flipchart display, teachers can use the double-sided construction to illustrate...

Oversize easels, or giant easels as they’re commonly called, aren’t for the faint-hearted. They’re designed for large-scale painting, so they’re mostly the target of professional and renowned artists.

These fellas can hold canvases up to eight feet long, which is more than impressive. They can also handle canvases with 120-inch height and more. They’re too sturdy to hold the canvas weight well, and they’re bulky.

Of course, they need ample space for storage, but some models fold down on themselves to make your life a little bit easier.

Oversize easels will cost from $300 to $2000, depending on the model and the features that come with them.

Single Mast Easel

U.S. Art Supply Del Mar 69' High Aluminum Single Mast Artists Studio Easel and Floor Display Stand - Professional Heavy Duty Adjustable Extra Large Canvas Height Up To 47' - Palette Holder, Brush Rest
300 Reviews
U.S. Art Supply Del Mar 69" High Aluminum Single Mast Artists Studio Easel and Floor Display Stand - Professional Heavy Duty Adjustable Extra Large Canvas Height Up To 47" - Palette Holder, Brush Rest
  • Professional Del Mar Model Easel, a large heavy duty multi-functional 69" high aluminum single-mast artists studio and floor display easel. It's...
  • The mast is 52" long and it holds canvases and panels up to 47" high by 1.5" deep between independently adjustable carriage clamp trays. The...
  • Easel angle adjustments are quick and easy, as it only takes a twist of large winged screw knob on the back of the mast to instantly set and lock...

Single mast easels are primarily meant for users on a tight budget and artists in cramped spaces. They’re too compact for their own good, but they do the job just right. If you don’t have any room for storage, you may want to opt for one of these fellas.

They’re not sturdy, so you’ll have to be careful dealing with them. However, they’ll do what’s needed for students and beginners.

Single mast easels can hold up to 72 inches tall canvases. They can cost anywhere from $50 and up to $600.

Bench Easel

Martin Universal Design Rolling Wooden Bench-Style Artist Easel, Natural
25 Reviews
Martin Universal Design Rolling Wooden Bench-Style Artist Easel, Natural
  • Easily transports to plein air sites and then conveniently folds out into a Cabalitto-style artist bench seat with an angled canvas support
  • Height adjustment Range: 43” – 71”
  • Holds canvas height to 24-inch

Bench easels are perfect for outdoor use because they double as a bench seat. So, you only need to carry the easel while going outside, and it’ll already have an integrated seat you can sit on while painting.

These easels fold down on their frames for storage and transportation. They’re convenient when you’re going outdoors because they eliminate the need for a separate chair. Some of them also have wheels for easier transport.

If you’re giving demonstrations or teaching students outside, these are the best options for you.

Bench easels aren’t too high, so they can only carry canvases up to 30 inches in height. But you may find some bigger options if you need them. Their cost ranges from $200 to $500.

Outdoor painting

Types of Easels – Wrap Up

As you can see, the market is full of different types of easels. To choose right, you need to first decide what you’ll use the easel for. Of course, you’ll also want to consider the space you have for storage.

Some large easels, like oversize ones, will need some planning for their storage space.

You can always opt for a convertible or a foldable easel if you don’t have enough space for a fully-fledged one.

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