When searching for a new painting easel, there is no shortage of choices for the artist. Easels come in a range of sizes and styles. Different types of easels suit different purposes.

artist painting easelsWhen shopping for easels, it is important to know what is out there. Not every easel is appropriate for every situation. The type chosen should depend on where you paint and your typical size of canvas.

There are other factors you may also want to consider. If you paint rigorously, look for a sturdy easel. If you enjoy plein air painting, you may want to look for a portable, light, folding easel. Table top easels are sufficient for artists who mainly paint small.


For areas with little space, a wall mounted or single mast easel will do. Oil painters should use an easel, as paintings dry faster and collect less dust in a vertical position.

Below is a list of some of the popular types of artist easels. Do you own any of these? Please tell us about your easel below in the comments.

Types of Painting Easels

A Frame Easels

a frame easel This is the easel style traditionally used in some art schools and by many artists. These are idea for areas with limited space, such as in a corner.

Two legs meet together at a point at the top of the frame, and a folding leg at the back helps support the frame.

Depending on the model, the canvas can be laid on a horizontal base and held in place by adjustable clamps. These clamps can be adjusted to hold different canvas sizes.



H Frame Easels

h framed easel H framed easels generally have lots of support and are sufficient for large scale canvases.

They are heavier and take up more space than A framed easels.

Some models allow for forward tilting and other adjustments, and even a place to hold a palette or painting tray.



Wallmount Easel

wallmount easel Wallmount easels are useful for artists with limited floor and studio space.

These are obviously sturdier than conventional easels because of mounting on a wall. Adjustments can be made to hold various sizes of canvases.

Heavy duty models, such as the Best Wallmount Easel to the right allow for large canvases and tilting forward for glare reduction.



Tabletop Easels

tabletop easel If you like to sit while painting, a tabletop easel may be a good choice.

These are also recommended if the artist paints on small canvases or they have little floor space.


Tabletop easels are available in numerous styles, including sketchbox, plein air, H Frame and A Frame.


Single Mast Easels

single mast easel Single mast easels are cheaper than other styles, but they are often less sturdier.

The one pictured here, with its triangular base, can easily be tucked away in a corner.

These can be used to save space in studio class settings, and can be folded and stored when not in use.


Hybrid Easels

hybrid easel Hybrid easels are ideal for the artist who uses a variety of mediums, and desire flexibility.

These can often be easily converted for use for acrylic, watercolor and oils.

Many hybrid easels are also shaped like H Framed easels.



Giant Easels

giant easel Giant easels are designed to hold very large canvases and extra weight and are much more costly.

If you create paintings on canvases exceeding 8ft in height, you may want to consider getting one of these. Giant easels are also well built and sturdy.

The Abiquiu Studio Easel to the right can hold 300lbs and canvases of up to 12 feet high!


French Easels

french easel French easels have a long history and distinct style. The entire easel can be compacted into a box for carrying anywhere.

It includes 3 extendable legs and adjustments to fit various sized canvases. Leaving the legs closed can allow it to be used as a tabletop easel.

French easels also have storage space for art supplies and a drawer which can open to hold a palette. All of these features make these easel an ideal choice for the plein air artist.


What type of easel do you have? Can you tell us about it?


  1. My easel belonged to Charles Sykes, the sculptor and painter. He was famous for his sculpture 'Spirit of Ecstasy' which decorated the Rolls Royce bonnet.
    It was given to me by his late daughter who stipulated that it should not be used in a gallery display window and that I should use it for it's purpose.
    It probably dates to early 20thC. but could be 19thC. It winds up to 10 feet high and also has a tilt mechanism. The reverse has a second placement for a second canvas and also a folding drawing lectern. It is moved on adjustable castors and is made from oak. http://rodsutterby.carbonmade.com

  2. I have a light weight aluminum easel that I've had for years. It will adjust for a fairly large painting or a small one. I love it as easy to carry wherever I want. In art school we used those heavy duty wooden ones, nice for that atmosphere, but don't want one here.

  3. I have an aluminum easel which I've had for years. Love it! Can carry it anywhere as it is not heavy like those complex wooden ones. Used those in art school and fine for that atmosphere. Also have a very light weight wood structure one, but it is flimsy and not very stable. Is only for small artwork.

  4. I really enjoyed this article about easels - and have linked to it in today's blog post on my website www.cherylo.ca


Thank-you for your comment!