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An easel is an upright support used for displaying and/or fixing something resting upon it, at an angle of about 20° to the vertical. In particular, easels are traditionally used by painters to support a painting while they work on it, normally standing up, and are also sometimes used to display finished paintings.
A good easel should support your work in a stable manner, be big enough to take your usual largest size, and suit the type of media you want to work with. If you work in very fluid colour like watercolour, it is best to have an easel that is able to support your work horizontally.
Painting at an easel makes you work vertically which helps to create a more accurate painting since this allows you to produce your work in the same plane in which it is to be hung. Also, since vertical is our position, when we generally perceive things, it also helps to keep the perspective precise.