First, think about what type of medium you'll be using. With oils and acrylics, for example, you'll want an easel with an upright mast. For watercolors, many artists prefer an easel that tilts almost flat. Convertible and hybrid easels are designed to accommodate artists working in multiple mediums.
Considering the size of the canvas or surface you like to work on will also help determine what size easel you need. And think about if you'll be sitting or standing at the easel: a table top easel is good for sitting while a floor-standing easel is better for standing.
You'll also want to consider where you'll be using the easel. Will it be used in a studio, outside, or both? If you're working in a studio setting, take into account the height of the room's ceiling and how much floor space you have. You don't want to buy an easel that's too large for your space. Tabletop easels save room when space is limited. They set up on any flat surface and then stow away easily when you're done painting. If you like to work outdoors, consider purchasing a plein air easel or a travel box. These lightweight, portable easels are designed to be easy to carry.
Your budget is another factor. Different materials and features will affect the price of an easel. Certain aluminum easels, for example, tend to be less expensive. Easels made of premium woods, like oak, can be pricier. Blick offers a wide range of easel styles at varying price points.