If you want to get your children into art, there’s never been a better time to invest in their creative skills. There are a ton of great art resources for children on the market today, and one of the most important is the easel, which allows for free expression and development of artistic skill.
There are a ton of easels out there for toddlers, and every model is not going to be the best choice for your child, or for your budget. You also should want to get something high-quality, and it can be hard to know if you are when shopping online.
That’s why we’ve assembled this list of reviews of the best easels for toddlers of 2020. We hope that you can use this information to find the one that’s right for you. We also included a buyer’s guide, so you can get up to speed on the important features of a toddler’s easel before you buy.
|Step2 Easel 885200|
|Melissa & Doug Deluxe 2001||15 lbs||4.6/5|
|VTech Touch and Learn 80-194801||8 lbs||4.55/5|
|Melissa & Doug Magnetic 2790|
(Best for the Money)
|ECR4Kids ELR-17401||15 lbs||4.0/5|
The Step2 Easel 885200 is a great choice for people who have more than one aspiring artist at home. This easel is two-sided, coming with a chalkboard and a whiteboard, which means two kids can experience two different mediums at once without interfering with each other. It also includes a clip at the top of each side to that you can attach a sheet of paper for more permanent drawings, or even paintings.
It features a durable plastic frame that will hold up well against children’s best efforts to damage it, which can’t be undervalued. It also comes with a ton of cool, magnetic letters and numbers. While this might be a cool educational activity for older children, especially with the inclusion of math symbols, the smaller magnets do represent a potential choking hazard, so it may not be right for the youngest children. Overall, this is a great choice for most families, and especially those with two or more children, who want something children of different ages can enjoy.
The Melissa & Doug Deluxe 2001 is a great choice for toddlers. You can adjust the chalkboard, and dry erase boards up and down, so they’ll always be in your child’s reach, even as they age. It also comes with a tray for each side of the easel, so two kids can use it at once without having to share supplies. It folds flat for storage, which means it’s easy to get it out of the way when it’s not in use. It’s also lightweight, clocking in at less than 15 pounds, so most adults will be able to move it without a problem.
However, it’s not in first for a reason. Neither side is magnetic, so you can’t use educational magnets like you could with the first model on our list. Though, this model might be a better choice if you have young children prone to putting things in their mouth. It’s also a wooden frame, which isn’t going to be as stable or durable as a plastic one. If you’re looking for a great wooden easel suitable for toddlers, and don’t care about magnetic pieces, this is the model for you.
The Vtech Touch and Learn 80-194801 is a great easel for people who are looking for an electronic educational system in addition to their easel. The top of the table includes a touch system with verbal commands that can engagingly teach young children basic vocabulary. As your children progress, you can purchase additional expansion packs with more vocabulary to learn. Or, you can flip the table up to reveal an easel. That surface is a chalkboard, though you can use the clip at the top to attach sheets of paper for painting or drawing.
This model also comes with frustration-free packaging, which gets you up and running in as little time as possible. However, while this is a good product, it’s not the easiest to use easel, as it ends up very far from the child using it unless they sit up against the side of the table. And the chair, while a nice touch, isn’t the sturdiest one on the market, which can be a pain. Overall, this is a good model for people who want the electronic features, though it’s probably not a great choice for people who primarily want an easel.
The Melissa & Doug Magnetic 2970 differs from the other models on our list so far, as it is a tabletop art easel instead of a floor-based one. That means you can save some space by using this model and take advantage of a dining room or kitchen table you already own. A downside is that only one child can use this easel at once, even though it has both a chalkboard and a dry erase side. However, it comes with a built-in paper roll holder, which means it’s easier on this easel than on many others to provide as much paper for creative expression as you want.
Also, this model comes with art supplies and one roll of paper, which means you won’t have to spend extra money to use this for the first time. That feature alone makes it great value and is a big part of the reason that this model earns “best for the money” honors on our list. While it is a bit small relative to other options, it will be one of the easiest easels to store between uses. Overall, it’s a great choice for parents on a budget.
The ECR4Kids ELR-17401 is a poor overall easel for children. It does include a dual chalkboard, and dry erase board setup, and unlike many others, comes with a paper roll included. However, the fundamental problem with this model is that it has very poor quality and quality control. The first problems are obvious right out of the package. The easel is often dinged, scratched, or chipping, while the whiteboard often comes with bubbles underneath the surface.
The bolts, hinges, and fasteners aren’t the strongest and often fall apart during assembly or after a few weeks of use. That’s a serious problem, and in many cases, it renders the easel unusable. Even if everything holds together, this isn’t a very sturdy easel, which means you’re at a high risk of spilling paint on the floor. While this model falls somewhere in the middle of our list regarding price, relative to the value that you’re getting it’s very expensive. This isn’t going to be the right model for most people, as you can spend less or more value and get better value.
We hope that our reviews have already given you some insight into what makes for a great easel for toddlers and what makes for eases that you should skip. This buyer’s guide is packed full of even more information about so that you can learn everything you need to know before you make your purchase. While no one easel is going to be the right choice in all situations, this guide should help you figure out which one will be right for yours.
If you want to get the best value, you need to think about children’s easels as though they were more than just easels. In many cases, they are, including whiteboards or chalkboards, magnets, and in some cases, electronic teaching aids. So, you shouldn’t be looking for it to do only one thing. Modern easels for children are versatile, with almost every model coming with many features that could potentially engage your children.
However, not all things are going to appeal to all children, so you need to keep their personalities in mind when you shop. Different easels also have different maintenance costs, so an easel that requires chalk, dry erase markers and paper will cost more than one that only uses paper in the long run.
The materials from which the frame is made matter, but so do the fasteners. Some companies use cheap fasteners to hold everything together, and those become a common breaking point that ruins easels. If it falls apart day one, you got really poor value.
But, value doesn’t just relate to material quality. It also relates to the add-ins that you’re getting. Added bonuses like magnets and art supplies can greatly increase the value you’re getting with one easel over a similar one. Furthermore, you can get easels as part of a larger package that includes electronic educational features.
Getting an easel with any of those extra features means you value goes up tremendously. Cheap doesn’t always mean better, but cheap with a lot of extras is worth checking out.
The most important thing you can do before you buy is envision the kind of experience that you want your kids to have when they use the easel. Now that you know the features you can get on an easel, make a short list of the ones that you want the most. Then find all the easels that fit those requirements.
Those easels will be good value for you, not because they’re priced a certain way, but because you know you’ll get the experience you’re looking for out of them. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a good idea of what you need to spend to get the best value.
Even at the same price point, some easels are going to be made from better materials that last much longer. Children aren’t always gentle creatures, so you need to keep the durability of any easel you give them at the forefront of your mind when browsing. While it may sound counterintuitive, plastic-framed models may last longer. Plastic-framed models tend to hold up well if dropped or knocked over, and they’re easier to clean if they end up with paint on them.
Wood, while prettier, doesn’t have the same resistance to damage, and can be much harder to clean if they are painted. In many cases, companies use cheap, lightweight woods that won’t hold up for a long time, even with no accidents. Of course, this varies from company-to-company, but plastic is sometimes a better choice.
The Step2 Easel 885200 comes with great magnetic numbers and letters and a solid construction that boost it to the top of our list. In second is the Melissa & Doug Deluxe 2001 which is the best overall easel for toddlers due to its adjustable height and good trays for holding paint and other art supplies. The Vtech Touch and Learn 80-194801 is a good buy for people who primarily want a system to teach their children vocabulary, and sort-of want an easel. The Melissa & Doug Magnetic 2970 is the best value for the money, as it’s very inexpensive, but also includes art supplies, which is rare among children’s easels. The ECR4Kids ELR-17401 has some upside, but crippling quality control issues make it a hassle that you’re probably better off avoiding.
Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide have given you a good idea about what you should look for when shopping for a children’s easel. With that information, you should be able to find the easel that works best for your children, grandchildren, or other aspiring artists you know.