How to Choose an Easel

A dependable easel is an essential piece of studio equipment whether you’re working in a studio, spare room, or kitchen. A good easel can improve your posture whilst painting.

However, there are many artist easel options available which can make it difficult to narrow down your search.

To learn more about how to go about choosing the best easel for your situation, check out our post below. By the end, you’ll have a better sense of which kind of easel would benefit you the most. 

Various Kinds of Easels

Sketching Field Easel/Tabletop Art Easels

Sketching Field Easels resemble camera tripods. A central column on which artwork may be resting will be located where the three legs meet. These can often be used as tabletop easels.

To arrange your work, this column features bottom and upper canvas support. This middle column may tilt slightly on certain models, but is inflexible on others.

Studio Easel

Easels made for indoor use are more stable than those made for outdoor use. They are great if you have enough room to keep an easel up all the time. 

Portable Easels/Plein Air Easels

Portable easels are small and light, so it’s easy to move them around when you’re working outside. Some models even have their own bags. 

If you’re interested in plein air painting outdoors, a portable easel is best.

Radial Easels

Radial easels are the kind of easels you’ll usually find in art schools and colleges.

They are a more compact alternative to big studio easels. The single center support is hinged and supported by a short tripod.

The easel’s hinge enables the working angle to be adjusted, and the two canvas supports may be shifted to fit your work.

This kind of easel does not have the same stability or strength as an H or A-frame easel, but it is far less expensive and can be folded up when it’s not being used.


H-Frame easels have the greatest footprint, providing stability for even the most active artists.

Artists often install an H-Frame easel in a fixed location. They aren’t as simple to disassemble.

Despite their size, they are readily adaptable for painting at various angles and on different-sized surfaces.

A-Frame Easel

These easels have a triangular shape and a small footprint.

The easel is supported like a tripod by its main frame, which is balanced at the rear with a single leg.

They are ideal for paintings of smaller to medium size. A-Frame easels are the lighter of the two kinds of studio easels, but they provide greater sturdiness than a portable easel. They are also more affordable than an H-frame.

Table Easel

Table easels are great if you don’t have a permanent place to paint. They are easy to set up and take down, so you can use the table for something else.

Some of these easels look like a small “H” frame, some look like an “A” frame, and some have a solid back. There are also some models that have a small space for storage, which is great if you need to put your supplies away quickly.

You can change the angle of your painting surface by moving the support on these easels. Most of the time, this is done with wingnuts that can be tightened or loosened to get the angle you want. 

When searching for table easels, you should think about the scope of your work. Most of the time, this type of easel is best for small paintings.

Many models also have a fixed height, which means that the lower support for the canvas can’t be moved up or down. This is important to remember, especially if you are making very small paintings.

Recommended read: How to Write on Canvas


That wraps up our post on the main types of easels that are available. After reading through the options, you will have been able to gain a better understanding of the type that’s best for your current setup.

Adding a sturdy easel to your art supplies can help to make the creation process more enjoyable.

Hopefully, the information found above has been useful in helping you to decide on an easel! 

Affiliate Disclosure

In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about all links, posts, photos and other material on this website: Any/all of the links on this website are affiliate links of which The Big Red Illustration Agency receives a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to & Pages on this site may include links to Amazon and its affiliate sites on which the owner of this website will make a referral commission.

FULL TERMS HERE Cookie preferences: cookie preferences

Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.