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©2018 by Red Jellies.  All rights reserved.

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THE BEST EASELS

Creativity unleashed!

A blank slate (literally).  Easels offer a special, dedicated space where imagination runs the show and kids can immerse themselves in creation.

  
We considered 50 models across 27 brands and then tested the five most promising easels.  Here's the scoop on our top picks.
Want to learn about our methods?  Read here about why you should trust us. 

EASELS OVERVIEW

* If you're considering buying something featured on Red Jellies, click the link we provide and we'll receive a commission on the sale from our retailer partners (no extra charge to you). That helps us focus on the products, so you can focus on the fun.

THE STANDOUTS

Top  Pick

Hape

All-in-1

Hape Magnetic All-in-1 Easel_edited.jpg

An all-around knockout.

The Fun

  • Displays chalk vibrantly

  • Good quality

  • Height adjustable

  • Small footprint
     

The Frustration

  • Smaller than expected

 

This one is a standout when it comes to displaying artistic treasures. Chalk and marker drawings appear more colorful and vibrant on the All-in-1 than on any other model we tested. It also includes a handy, well-functioning dowel for paper. It's super cute, height adjustable, and you can't beat the quality at this price point.   

 

MSRP: $79.99

 

Read full review here.

Budget 

Pick

Step 2

Easel for Two

All the essentials at a great price.

 

The Fun

  • Chalk colors really pop

  • Super easy assembly 

  • Great price

 

The Frustration

  • Not height adjustable

  • Relatively small work space
     

The Easel for Two delivers fantastic bang for your buck. It's got a great chalkboard and magnetized dry erase board and typically retails for under $50. While the working space isn't as large as that of some other models, chalk colors really pop off the green chalkboard. Plus, assembly is a cinch!  

 

MSRP: $54.99

 

Read full review here.

Primo

Pick

Little Partners

Tri-Side Learn & Play

Art Center

 
Unbeatable quality.

The Fun

  • Expansive surfaces

  • Outstanding quality

  • Chalk colors really pop  

  • Felt board

 

The Frustration

  • Lengthy assembly

  • Chalk doesn't erase well  

  • Price

 

The Tri-Side is the primo easel on the market today. It's made from beautiful, smooth wood components. With the largest workspaces of any of the easels we tested, the Tri-Side provides expansive canvases for little artists' imaginations (not to mention the cool felt board!). It comes with a hefty price tag, but it's a quality juggernaut.

 

MSRP: $179.99

 

Read full review here.

Budget

Runner

Up

Crayola

3-in-1 Double Easel

Good bang for your buck.

 

The Fun

  • Good surfaces

  • Easy assembly

  • Great price

 

The Frustration

  • Small-ish work spaces

 

The 3-in-1 has a lot to offer at a great price. It checks all the boxes on features (chalkboard, magnetic dry erase board, and paper holders) while also including a decent accessories package. The work space is on the small size, and the chalkboard could take chalk a little better, but assembly is a cakewalk. 

 

 

MSRP: Typical retail $41.99

 

Read full review here.

 

Easels Basics

Easels are a classic toy that can help little ones express their creativity and build their fine motor skills.

 

For most people, our top pick is the Hape All-in-1 Easel. Chalk and marker look bright and vibrant on its chalkboard and dry erase board, making it a great showcase for artistic creation. It's height adjustable, and, in terms of the amount of space taken up, it has the smallest footprint of any of the easels we tested. Plus it's great quality for the price.

 

The Step2 Easel for Two is our best budget pick. It has all the essential easel features (and comes with cool magnetic foam letters and numbers) and can often be found for under $50. The Step2 chalkboard is green, which helps it display chalk colors more vibrantly than some of its counterparts. Assembly is an absolute breeze. The Crayola 3-in-1 Double Easel is another great budget pick with all the features we look for in a kids easel, and it comes with one of the best accessories packages (chalk, an eraser, and magnets). The Easel for Two just barely edged it out in terms of overall points, largely because it better showcased chalk and marker colors.       

 

If you're willing to splurge, you can't beat the Little Partners Tri-Side Learn & Play Art Center. It's a knockout in terms of the quality of its components, and it offers the largest workspaces of any of the easels. Plus it's got a cool felt board that offers an additional creative outlet beyond the typical chalkboard and dry erase surfaces.

 

The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Art Easel offers nearly as much workspace at a fraction of the price, and it's dry erase board and dowel work well. But it doesn't include a magnetized surface and chalk doesn't show up well on the chalkboard. We also have some quality concerns about the wood and paint used on this easel. 

 

A side note when buying an easel: You're probably going to need to buy a separate accessories set or possibly a paper roll or paper pad. While these easels varied in terms of the number of accessories they came with, none included the full complement of materials that would allow a little one to take full advantage of all the possibilities that the easel offers.

 

Why You Should Trust Us

We conducted the world's most thorough easel tests.

 

OUR MISSION:  You want the best for your kids.  We want the best for you.  We research the best products on the market so you don't have to.

We spent 45+ hours getting creative with art easels.

Market Research

Before we decided which models to put through our rigorous testing process, we surveyed the market. We scouted easels at toy conventions, examined the holdings at retail stores, and plunged into the deepest depths of online reviews. We carefully considered 50 easels across 27 different brands before boiling down the list.

 

We wanted to focus specifically on kids standing art easels, so we excluded any sitting easels, tabletop easels, or products that seemed more like play tables than easels. Other easels were put aside due to quality concerns. We ultimately selected the five most promising easels of varying price, popularity, and size to test. 

 

Purchase Methodology

We paid retail for all five models, just like you.

Assessment Criteria

We calculated a Total Score for each easel based on assembly; artistic potential; and quality. Here's how we came up with each of those scores:

 

Assembly (20%)

A measure based in equal parts on the speed and ease of assembly. How long does assembly take? Are the instructions clear and easy to follow? Points deducted for lack of clarity, parts that were difficult to fit together, and requiring tools beyond those included with the easel. 

 

Artistic Potential (60%)

This was the key metric for us. After all, the point of the easel is to provide kiddos with an outlet for creativity and expression. We calculated artistic potential based on the following factors:

 

  • Features:  Points awarded for having a chalkboard; dry erase board; magnetized surface; paper holder or clips; and a felt board.

  • How Well it Works:  Points awarded based on chalk and marker visibility; how cleanly the surfaces erased; ease of using a paper canvas; and the size of the workspace surface.

 

Quality (20%)

This category measures the easel's longevity potential and ease of getting started (i.e., the number of accessories it comes with versus how much you have to buy separately to get it fully up and running).

 

We used the following metrics to calculate Quality:

 

  • Accessories (20%):  Points awarded for including chalk; an eraser; dry erase markers; paint containers; paint; paper; and magnets.

  • Height Adjustable (20%):  Points given to easels that included the ability to grow with the child.

  • Components (60%): A measure of the quality of the components. What is the easel made of? Is that material in good shape? Does the paint rub off?