Soltek Easel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We know you’re absolutely brimming with questions, so we’ve put together this list of the ones we get most often.

Don’t see an answer to your question? Contact us.

How has the Soltek 2.0 improved over the original Soltek?

The advantages of no wing nuts, automatic leg locks, easy touch adjustments etc. of the original Soltek continue but in exciting new versions with even more options than ever. 

  • More versatile, (several versions)
  • Release for leg retraction is a lever at the top of the leg instead of at the bottom
  • Leg length will automatically lock when legs are spread to in-use position, but length can be changed with a simple touch of an easy-access lever at the top of each leg
  • Same lever pushed farther down releases for 4-position leg angle options
  • Lever easily managed with gloved hands
  • Sand, mud and swamp-resistant (and as wind-resistant as the original Soltek)
  • Stronger in many key areas
  • Easier, quicker adjustments of leg length
  • Wider “table”
  • Shorter reach to painting
  • More than 30% lighter (Compact version – Ultra version weighs 20% less)
  • Stronger crossbars and swiveling painting holders stay more out of way of paint.
  • Quicker setup and take down than any other box easel or tripod/pochade combo.

Which version of the Soltek 2.0 is best for me?

Maybe both, for different situations. That’s why we sell the Trio (the Compact and the Ultra in one package) at a large discount of $178 compared to purchasing both boxes separately.


The Compact is great for long hikes, travel and watercolors while the Ultra is best all around for oil painting and a no-compromise experience with tons of potential palette space built in, wet-brush holders built into trays and more. The Ultra also has 60% more space than the Compact for supplies.


The Ultra is also compatible with watercolor painting.

Will it hold the thicker (1 ½”) wraparound canvas?

If wind isn’t a problem, wraparound canvases can be supported by the die-cast aluminum painting holders, but will not have maximum support.


Normal stretched canvas (¾” thick) and panels thinner than ¾” will be better secured by the painting holders.

How much does the Soltek 2.0 weigh?

The Soltek 2.0 is 20-30% lighter than the original Soltek, which was already the lightest fully-featured easel on the market. 


The Soltek Compact weighs in at 6 pounds 4 ounces light including easel, box and palette. That’s about 3 pounds lighter than the original Soltek.


The Soltek Ultra weighs in at 7 pounds 2 ounces light including easel, box and palette.

How do the legs work?

They’re so easy.

Just pull to extend all 3 legs at once, no release needed.

Leg length will automatically lock when legs are spread to in-use position.

To change leg angles or length of the legs, simply push the lever at the top of each leg until you’ve reached the right length.

How much can I carry in each version of the easel?

The Soltek Compact will carry all you’ll need: 10-12+ tubes of paint, brushes, towels, mediums and maybe even a little chocolate.


The Soltek Ultra has about 60% more box space if you tend to carry more or just like the roomy feel.

Can I fit the Soltek 2.0 in a regulation carry-on?

Yes, the easel is 22” long.


Making it even easier, the box detaches from the easel so it’s simple to find space for the Soltek 2.0 in most carry-on bags.

What’s the best way to carry the Soltek 2.0?

Most backpacks work great. If the easel is too long for your backpack, it won’t hurt anything to let the legs extend from the top (we recommend putting the foot-side up). 

A carrying strap that makes it even easier is coming soon.

Can I use the Soltek 2.0 as an indoor easel?

Certainly. This works great for indoor workshops, plein air, or even studio painting.


It may be the only easel you need unless you are painting very large paintings. 


The Soltek 2.0 holds paintings up to 30” high with no real width restrictions if you paint wide paintings.

Why did you split the Soltek 2.0 into multiple pieces?

Over thousands of sales of the original Soltek, we learned a few things. 


We separated the easel into two parts for a few key reasons.

  1. Versatility: The Soltek 2.0 fits in most normal backpacks or carry-ons because you can separate the core parts. Or you can opt for the Soltek Trio with simple box swaps to enable you to travel ultralight or ultra-featured. You can even paint on just the tripod if you want to travel extra light at under 4 pounds.
  2. 20-30% less weight. While artists loved the space-age improvements of the original Soltek, by breaking it into multiple pieces we were able to make the lightest fully featured easel on the market even lighter.
  3. Painting Comfort: Since you’ll be 30% to 40% closer to your painting, you won’t have to reach as much, making you more comfortable plein-air painting than ever.


Still not convinced you want a two-part plein-air easel? We’re working to develop an easel with the same one-piece form factor as the original. Release date TBD.

Will you be releasing a Soltek 2.0 that stores as a single piece like the original Soltek?

We are still working out some details to make it possible.


If we release it, the single-piece Soltek 2.0 will work with the same new easel used by the Compact and Ultra so you don’t have to re-purchase the easel.

What's your Happy Painter Guarantee?

Return in like new condition within one month of purchase for refund or exchange.


You’ll only pay shipping costs.


We also offer a 1-year parts guarantee if parts are defective as determined by Soltek.

How do I adjust tension levels on the box and painting post?

Small adjustments with an included hex key will change the tension on either the box or painting arm.


These adjustments will only be needed occasionally to maintain the easel to your taste.

How large can I paint on the Soltek?

Probably larger than you’re comfortable painting en plein air. 


The Soltek accommodates a canvas up to 30 inches tall with no specific width restriction.

Do you ship internationally?



We’re adding new countries on an as-needed basis, so please call us at 801-906-0436 or contact us so we can add your country when you plan to order soon. 


Currently, we’ve set up the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, and Spain beyond the U.S.

How do I attach a cord to hold paper towels?

There are 6 different threaded locations on the Ultra box perimeter where anything can be attached with a ¼” x 20 screw.

What sizes are the palettes?

Compact: 5 ¼” x 15 ½”


Ultra: 8 ¼”x 14 ½”


Watercolor: 5 ¼” x 14 ¾”


The watercolor palette is compatible with either the Soltek Compact or the Soltek Ultra box.

How high is the palette/box?

You can stand the easel as high as 38 inches.


That’s 2 inches higher than your kitchen counter.


If wind or stability aren’t an issue, you can also get it 4 to 6 inches higher than that by changing the angle of the middle leg. (Slightly reduces stability.)


The top of your painting can stand at over 6 feet off the ground. 

What do the individual components of the Soltek 2.0 weigh?

Easel tripod: 3 pounds 14 ounces


Soltek Compact Box: 2 pounds 8 ounces with palette.


Soltek Ultra Box: 3 pounds 14 ounces with palette.

Compact box:2 ½# with palette,  Compact & easel: 6# 4 oz.

Ultra box: 7#2 oz, with palette,  Ultra & easel: 7# 2 oz.

Is the Soltek 2.0 still made in the USA?

You bet! We went out of our way to make the Soltek in the U.S. and made no exception for the Soltek 2.0


All major parts are from USA suppliers and the easel is assembled in Utah.


It’s made of aluminum and high-strength polymers to ensure a long, productive painting ally.

How long will the Soltek 2.0 last?

When we built the original Soltek, we found a statistic that the average artist buys 1.1 easels per year. 


We changed that with the Soltek, released in 1999. With space-age parts, most easels from the original batch are still in the wild racking up masterpieces on location.


The Soltek 2.0 has taken the quality a step further by improving on the formula of the original and making it even easier to maintain no matter what painting conditions you put it through.


This is the one easel that will probably outlast you and maybe your grandkids.


Even if an individual part does fail, we’ve designed parts to be easily replaceable, increasing its lifespan indefinitely.  

How long does it take to set up the Soltek 2.0?

All legs extend and lock automatically when at in-use angles. 


The easel box slides on in moments. 


Your painting canvas placement adjusts with simple touch adjustments.  


In as little as 20 seconds, you’ll be ready to access your treasure trove of painting supplies and start painting your plein-air masterpiece.


Takedown is even easier as all legs retract simultaneously and the box unclips as easy as it goes on.

The Soltek 2.0 is complete so you only have to worry about one purchase without a ton of research or add-ons.


No need to buy extra trays, painting posts, connectors etc. to get a fully featured easel.


You’ll get all the functionality no matter which package you choose without additional hidden costs. 

How easy is the Soltek 2.0 to adjust?

We’re lazy. 


That’s why we’ve spent the last 23 years creating the worthy successor to the easel that took us 8 years to perfect the first time. 


The Soltek 2.0 is built on a foundation of ease. 


It’s the lighest, most versatile, easiest-to-use box easel on the planet.


All adjustments are simple touch adjustments from leg extension or retraction to painting post angle to leg angle and more.


And the Soltek 2.0 was also designed with more painting environments in mind so you can paint at the beach, in the desert, or even the swamp without worry.

What's the maximum painting area I can have with the Soltek 2.0?

One way the Soltek Ultra, well, Ultras, is in the Ultra-wide department. 


With both box trays open that can double as palette space, you can have a palette that’s 30 inches wide!


However, palette knives and metal scrapers should not be used on the metal trays, so please keep that action on the provided palette.

The Soltek 2.0 has patents?

Oh yeah…


We didn’t cut any corners on the Soltek 2.0 and you’ll never see some of our quality-of-life features anywhere else because they’re patented.


We have several patented mechanisms on the Soltek 2.0 that make it the easiest-to-use easel on the planet.


For instance, our patented leg mechanisms let you pull legs out to any length without locking or unlocking ANY mechanisms manually.

Can I use the easel without a box?

Sure can!


The easel / tripod itself weighs in at about 3 pounds 14 ounces so you can travel ultralight.

What else have you done for versatility?

The Soltek is designed with add-ons in mind.


The Soltek Ultra has 6 threaded points to attach anything.


Our carrying strap will be one of these (coming soon), but you could also attach a cable to hold paper towels or potentially other items in the future.

Why did it take so long to release the Soltek 2.0?

We had difficulty keeping up with orders for the original Soltek and we stopped ordering parts for it when Soltek 2.0 appeared to be ready to launch.


Then COVID happened.


We had no idea that resulting supply-chain and employee problems would make it take so long to perfect it and get molds, dies and other processes ready.


While our expectations were overly optimistic we think you will agree it was worth the wait!

Why is the Soltek 2.0 higher-priced than the original?

It’s not.


Accounting for inflation, the original easel would cost over $900 as of March 2023. That’s more than the Trio costs now with two boxes instead of one!


Elon Musk is quoted as saying “The best part is no part,” and we followed that design philosophy to eliminate dozens of parts from the original easel while simplifying maintenance and use.


We’ve managed to streamline the easel’s design to strip out the heaviest, hardest-to-produce and maintain parts.


All while lowering the effective price.


Similar but heavier and longer tripods on the market now start at over $500 without being able to hold a painting or a box.