8 Of The Top Plein Air Easels That Can Withstand The Great Outdoors

Michael Daly
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Plein air painting is very popular among artists who seek an open air working environment. The plein air tradition calls for artists to paint outdoors; either en plein air, which means “in the open air” or “open air”, or “in the field”.

Today, paint products can be toxic to the environment, which has prompted manufacturers to create environmentally safe products for artists to enjoy the benefits of outdoor painting.

With the amount of experienced artists and hobbyists, it is easy to see why plein air painting is now so popular. Whether you are a professional, a hobbyist, or an art novice, you can enjoy the benefits of a plein air easel.

NameCategoryProduct
Sienna Plein Air All in One Pochade BoxBest OverallSienna Plein Air All in One Pochade Box
Color Wheel The Artist's View CatcherBudget PickColor Wheel The Artist's View Catcher
Professional Series En Plein Air Pro Oil & Acrylic Easel PackageUpgrade PickProfessional Series En Plein Air Pro Oil & Acrylic Easel Package

1. Sienna Plein Air All in One Pochade Box

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sienna Plein Air All in One Pochade Box

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Pros:

  • Sienna’s American Pochade brand is designed to be an artist-friendly plein air easel. It was created with the goal of being portable and lightweight but sturdy enough to withstand the great outdoors.
  • The Sienna Plein Air is made from steel and aluminum, and weighs just 4.3 lbs.
  • The plein air easel has a folding design, which allows you to fold up the easel and carry it around like a backpack. It’s made from an aluminum frame, and the tabletops are made of heavy duty 1/4” Pyrex glass.
  • The plein air easel has four different leg positions to suit various surface conditions. The legs have non-marring rubber feet that won’t damage the ground.
  • The plein air easel comes with a solar panel, and is built with a very easy to use electrical system, which comes with wire clamps to make it easier to attach to a solar charging system.
  • The plein air easel comes with a secure storage space for paint, brushes, and supplies. You can use the exterior pockets to store oil and watercolor paints, or use the interior pocket for art supplies like palettes, pencils, or a sketch pad.

2. U.S. Art Supply Coronado Large Wooden French Style Field and Studio Sketchbox Easel

Our rating: 9 / 10

U.S. Art Supply Coronado Large Wooden French Style Field and Studio Sketchbox Easel

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Pros:

  • Strong and durable materials
  • Notebook storage, palette, and pencil holder included
  • Solid wood construction
  • The three-leg design makes it sturdy enough to withstand the elements
  • The fact that it folds flat for storage is a huge plus

Cons:

  • Some users report defective screws
  • Some users report that the screws seem weak and break easily
  • Some users report that the screws tend to strip easily
  • Some users report that the assembly is a little complicated

If you’re looking for an easel that will last and allow you a little versatility, then this easel from USA Art Supply is a solid choice. It is made from solid beechwood and the legs can be adjusted. If you want to display your artwork in the horizontal position, you can fold up the legs to adjust it to nearly any angle.

3. Portable Wooden Artist Easel

Our rating: 9 / 10

Portable Wooden Artist Easel

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Pros:

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Easy to assemble
  • Affordable price
  • Can hold up to 30 pounds of supplies
  • Sturdy enough to hold charcoal, watercolors, and oil paints
  • Perfect for outdoor or indoor painting
  • Folds down to a convenient size for storage
  • Legs can be configured to four different positions
  • Comes with a canvas hanging kit

Cons:

  • Some people think the instructions were just okay
  • The black staining on the wood can come off after some use
  • Twine included in the package is pretty cheap
  • Some people feel that the wood isn’t that great

As its name suggests, one of its best uses is for plein air painting. It’s a lightweight, portable, and inexpensive painting easel that’s perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.

The folding painting easel is solidly built and can hold up to 30 pounds without any problems.‬‬‬‬‬A canvas hanging kit is included in the package to ensure that you can hang your painting up to avoid creases or folds.

4. Sienna Wet Panel Box 9 x 12 / 8 x 10

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sienna Wet Panel Box 9 x 12 / 8 x 10

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Pros:

  • Easy to use/store
  • Roll top design to offer quick and easy access to paints
  • Unique light board interior to provide optimal viewing in different light conditions
  • 9×12 & 8×10 sizes allow you to paint bigger canvases

Cons:

  • Paints can leak around the lid due to seal wear
  • The lid does not fit securely when rolled down
  • Only four corner holes to mount easel onto surface
  • Rubber ring starting to deteriorate

5. Mont Marte Tripod Easel H.D. Beech

Our rating: 8 / 10

Mont Marte Tripod Easel H.D. Beech

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Pros:

  • Includes a few different clips
  • Made of quality materials
  • Versatile for outdoor painting
  • Adjustable angle and height
  • Smooth painting surface
  • Affordable price
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Does not include painting surface
  • Have to screw together a few parts

6. Artist Easel

Our rating: 8 / 10

Artist Easel

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Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Chrome finish
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable height; can be used on a table or floor
  • Easily folds for storage
  • High-quality

Cons:

  • No felt in the bag
  • Some users noticed that the leg braces aren’t durable

Artist Easels.

This is a multifunctional aluminum based field easel stand that can be used in different types of environments: from a studio to a field. It absolutely does not fall short on quality, and its unique design stands out.

Unlike other easels, this particular one is height adjustable between 21” and 66”. This is great for plein air and studio artists alike. Traditionalist artists can use it on a table top, while street artists can use it on the street with a large pad or when doing murals with a large canvas.

7. Guerrilla Painter Soft-Clamp Deluxe Vented Silver Umbrella Kit

Our rating: 7 / 10

Guerrilla Painter Soft-Clamp Deluxe Vented Silver Umbrella Kit

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Pros:

  • Compact enough to carry in a backpack
  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Different colors to choose from
  • Good looking design
  • Sturdy

Cons:

  • Some have noticed the arms come off during painting
  • The center pole extends quite far down, so you’ll have to crouch to reach undersides of objects

If you’re a plein air painter who likes to work outside from time to time, then the Guerrilla Painter may be the perfect plein air easel for you. This easel provides a fabric covered collapsible arm with a tilting center post. It also comes with a ventilated silver umbrella.

The pole can be plunged into the ground or tabletop to keep the entire unit steady in high winds, and it can also be left freestanding on a tabletop. The height of the pole can vary depending on the height of the painter, thus providing a comfortable position for the artist to work.

The arm can be adjusted to provide compression on the canvas to avoid the fabric sagging. The arm is long enough to accommodate larger canvasses and still provide the slight pressure on them to prevent sagging.

8. Professional Series En Plein Air Pro Oil & Acrylic Easel Package

Our rating: 6 / 10

Professional Series En Plein Air Pro Oil & Acrylic Easel Package

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Pros:

  • Uniquely designed
  • Can hold canvas up to 40 inches
  • Washerless mechanism is very convenient
  • Heavy-duty construction

Cons:

  • Higher price than other brands
  • Most expensive on our list
  • Relatively light-weight
  • The paint tray is slightly too small

The Professional Series En Plein Air Pro Easel is uniquely designed to offer the greatest convenience and utility to the artist. The easel is manufactured using high quality materials that are durable and a breeze to assemble.

This easel features a strong, smooth wing nut and clamp securing system which enables it to accommodate canvas or panels up to a size of 40 inches. Its legs are adjustable to different heights for maximum convenience and comfort. Its clamping mechanism can be adjusted to accommodate canvases or panels up to half an inch thick.

This easel is quite a steal if you can afford it.

9. Melleco Artists Viewfinder

Our rating: 6 / 10

Melleco Artists Viewfinder

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Pros:

  • Portable and durable
  • Easily transferred from one painting to another
  • Adjustable viewing angle
  • Good for use by either left- or right-handed users

Another entry on our list of the best plein air easels, the Melleco Artists Viewfinder for Painting Sculpting Drawing Sketching Painter Tool Aid is an excellent addition for every artist’s collection.

Designed as an all-in-one viewfinder, this easel has multiple uses including: viewing a painting from a different angle, using it as part of a painting, working with small objects or as a magnifier, using it as a sunshade for your painting and sketching and more.

The Melleco Artists Viewfinder has many features. We really like the large viewing area of 3.5 inches by 6.5 inches as well as the dual eye-holes. We also like the adjustable viewing angle, which means you can adjust it from the top or bottom.

10. Jullian Paris Escort Half Box French Style Professional Artist Wooden Easel

Our rating: 6 / 10

Jullian Paris Escort Half Box French Style Professional Artist Wooden Easel

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Fully adjustable; suitable for all sizes
  • Great price

Looking for the best plein air easel? Look no further than this fantastic option from Jullian Paris. It’s a full-sized French easel, and features an adjustable-height design that allows you to paint standing up or sitting down.

While this easel isn’t the most portable in the bunch, it’s incredibly sturdy and can accommodate canvases as large as 44” x 60”. It also has a double-braced wooden frame for strength and stability.

11. Color Wheel The Artist's View Catcher

Our rating: 6 / 10

Color Wheel The Artist's View Catcher

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Pros:

  • When loaded, the view catcher eliminates glare
  • Top quality construction
  • Highly affordable
  • Small enough to fit in any bag

The Color Wheel The Artist’s ViewCatcher has been designed to eliminate glare when painting at outdoor artist’s events or plein air painting.

It’s made from a top quality acrylic sheet and has stainless screws and cables. The acrylic sheet is completely transparent so that the viewers can clearly see what’s been painted.

The Artist’s View Catcher isn’t just compact, it’s also highly affordable, making it a great addition to any plein air painter’s equipment kit. This view catcher can easily be folded up and carried in any artist’s bag.

12. Guerrilla Painter 9×12 Guerrilla Box Plein Air Painting Pochade Box

Our rating: 6 / 10

Guerrilla Painter 9x12 Guerrilla Box Plein Air Painting Pochade Box

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Pros:

  • The liner used in this product is watercolor/gouache safe
  • Not made of Mdf like most easels
  • Can be used for a flat or rigid surface
  • You can unhinge it and use as a regular old box if you don't want to take it out
  • It has pockets for brushes and other art supplies
  • The handles are padded so carrying it is supported
  • The inside of the lid closes and contains the mess if you are an oops painter

13. Jullian Wet Canvas and Panel Carrier

Our rating: 6 / 10

Jullian Wet Canvas and Panel Carrier

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Pros:

  • Sturdy construction based on polymer-coated aluminum
  • Waterproof cotton canvas that keeps the paint on the canvas instead of the towel
  • High-quality materials
  • Made in USA
  • Folds flat for storage and transports easily
  • Folds up to carry with two comfortable over-the-shoulder straps
  • Interchangeable panels

Cons:

  • Attachment hardware is cumbersome
  • Panels are not removable
  • Folding in a hurry is awkward
  • Care must be taken to lock the lock on the swivel hinge while painting

The Jullian Easel is a portable and travelable easel for professional and amateur painters alike. This easel is made with strong and sturdy materials that ensure your work of art stays on the canvas instead of your canvas. Special attention was paid to the canvas because it’s a critical component of the painting process.

The soft and strong cotton canvas is treated to resist moisture while keeping the paint on the canvas instead of your painting clothes. It’s the perfect frame for even the most delicate of paintings.

14. Jullian Plein Air <nobr>Travel Box Table Easel</nobr>

Our rating: 6 / 10

Jullian Plein Air <nobr>Travel Box Table Easel</nobr>” height=”300″ /></a></p><p class=Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Durable plastic construction
  • Portable and foldable
  • Includes a neat storage bag
  • Grab and go design
  • Easily packable

The <nobr>Jullian Plein Air</nobr> Travel Box Table Easel is a compact plein air box easel that's designed to offer a portable alternative. The plastic construction is durable, so it can withstand being used outside. It has a packable design, which allows you to fold it up and stow it away when you're done working.

The Jullian Plein Air has a lighter design, which allows it to be easily carried around. When packed, it measures 17.3 inches x eight inches x 4.2 inches, making it extremely portable. The material is flimsy, but the device does its job on the go.

Although this version only has a small working surface, Jullian does also make a larger model with a triangular tabletop that's still lightweight. It's a good starter painting easel for anyone looking to take it with them on the go. It's not a high-quality product, but it will suit the needs of many plein air artists.

15. The En Plein Air Pro Traveler Series

Our rating: 6 / 10

The En Plein Air Pro Traveler Series

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Pros:

  • Great value
  • Works well
  • Comes with a great carrying case
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • May not be sturdy enough for very large paintings
  • The tripod may not work well on some surfaces

Like many of the items discussed in this article, the En Plein Air Pro Traveler Series for Watercolor with Sunpak 2001 Tripod Easel & Hardware Kit promises to support the needs of almost any artist, no matter their experience level.

This product from En Plein Air comes with a wide range of features that should make painting outdoors as easy as possible. The lightweight steel frame and included carrying case make it easy to travel with this essential painting accessory.

There’s a telescoping central pole that extends from 3.5” to 6” tall. The tripod provides full support for canvases that are up to 16” by 24” in size, which is convenient for when you want to work on larger pieces.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best easel for watercolor?

If you love to paint outdoors, you probably have a bit of a dilemma. You love to be out in the fresh air, but bright sunlight can ruin your work. Painting watercolor, you need to use wet paint on a wet paper, and wet paint dries really fast. The heat of the sun can dry the paint so quickly it will leave marks on your work that are well beyond your ability to fix them. To help you solve this riddle, let us help you find the perfect easel for your favorite hobby.

What is the best Pochade box?

As an artist who uses a plein air easel to capture scenes as I paint, I have invested in many different brands and models. As I’m new to the sport of plein air painting, this is more of a hobby than anything else. However, I have done enough research to know what I’m looking for in a Pochade Box. This is the product I am currently using:

What are the best easels?

This article aims to identify which are the best easels for artists who enjoy working outdoors. The artwork of plein air is a unique and relaxing style in which the artist draws or paints right on the spot.

There are many reasons why so many artists like to work outdoors. One, the natural surroundings provide a unique source for inspiration. Two, plein air art is one of the few art forms in which the artist is also able to create his own fresh supplies.

For these reasons, it’s important to have an easel that can withstand the outdoor elements.

What is a plein air easel?

The name plein air comes from the French "painting in the open air." Plein air painting is an art movement where artists carried their materials outdoors to paint in the natural environment instead of working in a studio.

The appeal of plein air painting is that it gives the artist opportunities to observe a subject up close and become inspired by what they see. Painting en plein air was considered superior to studio painting at the time.

Conclusion

Making a choice for plein air easels doesn't have to be a confusing process. A good painting easel should be sturdy enough to withstand the pressures that will occur when you are painting outdoors. Traditional models are typically made from wood and have a broad tabletop that will help you steady your paints and keep it balanced. Despite what some paintings salesmen will tell you, plein air easels are for plein air painting. An easel is good to have for other types of painting as well, but it’s a must-have if you are going to paint outdoors.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Sienna Plein Air All in One Pochade BoxBest OverallSienna Plein Air All in One Pochade Box
Color Wheel The Artist's View CatcherBudget PickColor Wheel The Artist's View Catcher
Professional Series En Plein Air Pro Oil & Acrylic Easel PackageUpgrade PickProfessional Series En Plein Air Pro Oil & Acrylic Easel Package