Best Pencil Sharpeners to Keep that Tip Rolling on Paper

We can imagine the effort it takes to work at your craft, whether you are an artist or student. However, some emergencies may call for urgent attention. Picture this, your pencil tip gets dull just at crunch time when you have no immediate replacement. This is where a pencil sharpener comes in to rescue the situation. Even in this digital age,  pencils are still very much in use.  They make excellent writing tools, and are also preferred by artists to sketch and draw portraits.

When it comes to producing different shades in art works, the pencil is the number one choice, and has no equal.  On the other hand, a sharp pencil around when sitting for exams or working on an assignment can make a huge difference. For a pencil to attain peak performance, it has to be supported by a reliable sharpener.

Having said this, there have been cases of sharpeners breaking pencils instead of sharpening them, making a bad situation worse. This is why you need not just a pencil sharpener but a reliable one at that.  However, with the notable upsurge of pencil sharpeners, it can be overwhelming trying to find the right one.  Luckily, you need not worry as we have done all the ‘donkey’ work to bring you ten of the best pencil sharpeners.

Based on our research, here are some of the best pencil sharpeners you can find currently in the market;

Top 10 Pencil Sharpeners of 2020  Reviewed

1. Prismacolor Scholar Pencil Sharpener

    Best manual pencil sharpener

    The Prismacolor pencil sharpener is a sight to behold. From its green, luminous body to its sturdy construction, you can tell it is a quality product. It is also worth noting, Prismacolor, the company behind the sharpener, has been in existence for 75 years; a sign of experience and reliability. The pencil sharpener is designed for artists and students, serving both beginner and  advanced users.

    Prismacolor Scholar Pencil Sharpener

    To keep your pencil sharp and pointed, the Prismacolor sharpener comes with a steel blade. The blade is designed to sharpen the pencil’s lead gently to the required level and does not disappoint. The translucent body of the sharpener means you can monitor the level of shavings, and tell when to empty them.

    To add value to the sharpener, the package comes complete  with an eraser; a convenient accessory for artists and students. The shape of the sharpener makes it easy to handle while the lid is simple to remove whenever you need to empty the shavings. You will love its small size that makes it portable as it can fit in any pencil case. The sharpener is constructed using hardened plastic, making it durable if handled well.

    • Affordable
    • Compact design
    • Compatible with regular size pencils
    • The canister lid comes off too easily
    • The hard plastic material is prone to cracks
    • Attached eraser leaves smudges when used with colored pencils

2. School Smart Vertical Pencil Sharpener

    Best electric pencil sharpener

    Measuring 6×4 inches, the school smart electric sharpener comes in a modern design and is ideal for businesses, home or school use.  The sharpener is designed with a steel blade, and has an auto stop feature. This eradicates the need to remove your pencil a few times to check on progress.  What’s more, the sharpening process is fast and efficient; it takes an average of three seconds to sharpen a brand new pencil.

    School Smart Vertical Pencil Sharpener, Electric

    The School Smart sharpener features a heavy-duty motor that can sharpen several pencils concurrently without heating up. In case it heats up, the sharpener is fitted with an automatic shut-off feature to protect the motor. You will love its design that  fits all pencil sizes including the colored versions.

    The sharpener’s receptacle can handle a large amount of shavings and you do not have to empty it each time you use the sharpener. It is also easy to clean. The sharpener  is also fitted with non-skid pads, made of rubber to keep the sharpener stable on your desk top,. As a safety measure, the sharpener does not function if the receptacle is removed.  It also helps that you have two colors to choose from; black and grey.

    • Solid build
    • Motor is noiseless
    • The steel blade is durable and efficient
    • No battery power option
    • Designed for a fixed location
    • May produce rough pencil edges

3. X-ACTO School Pro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener

    Best pencil sharpener for school

    Looking for a special school companion? The X-ACTO School Pro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener does the job.  Specifically designed for classrooms, this is a heavy-duty sharpener that can handle the constant sharpening needs of students and teachers. Its outer casing is reinforced for durability and the sharpener uses a patented fly-away cutter that automatically stops when the job is done. This prevents pencils from being over sharpened and you do not need to follow up on the process.

    X-ACTO School Pro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener, Blue, 1 Count

    Notably, the sharpener’s blade is durable and lasts up to 33 times longer than ordinary electric blades, and does not require regular maintenance. There are different pencil holes to handle six different sizes. All you need to do is select the pencil size you need, and rotate the circular jog wheel to be in a direct position with the pencil hole. Insert the pencil into the hole and begin sharpening.

    What’s more its motor is quiet and can be used in a classroom without disturbing the peace. It also guarantees a reliable and continuous performance. The quiet nature of the sharpener is also contributed by the non-skid rubber located at the bottom of the sharpener which acts as a noise reduction agent. The pencil shavings end up in a large transparent receptacle, making it easy to clean.

    • Protected from over-heating
    • Produces well-rounded and sharp pencil points
    • Comes with a 2-year warranty
    • Does not have a battery option
    • Not portable
    • When the blades get dull, they cannot be sharpened, only replaced

4. Staedtler Pencil Sharpener

    Best heavy-duty pencil sharpener

    Staedtler is a household name in the manufacture of pencils. Their pencil sharpener continues with the long tradition of quality associated with the brand for the past 180 years.  This manual sharpener comes with a 8.2mm hole that fits a majority of pencils. The most innovative feature is found in the sharpener’s lid which covers the sharpener when not in use. It snaps securely into place courtesy of a built-in grove; locking in pencil shavings. This ensures the shavings do not spill over even when on the move.

    STAEDTLER pencil sharpener, premium quality sharpener with screw-on lid, prevents accidental openings

    To use the sharpener,  a button located on its right side snaps open the lid and exposes the pencil hole. For even more convenience, the lid folds up and does not get in the way when sharpening your pencil. You will love the fact that the tub holding the shavings is large enough to hold a large amount before disposal.

    Measuring only 1.5×1.5×2 inches, the Staedtler sharpener can fit anywhere, even in your pocket. The sharpener, including its blade, is made from stainless steel, making  it durable. The outer casing is made from premium plastic that is slow to wear and tear. What’s more it is comfortable to handle and features an ergonomic design and shape.

    • Affordable
    • Quality, durable and attractive build
    • Comes in various colors to choose from
    • Hole does not fit large primary pencils
    • Only sharpens wooden pencils
    • Produces sharp points

5. CNASA Electric Pencil Sharpener

    Best portable pencil sharpener

    The CNASA electric sharpener is designed for various types of pencils such as color pencils, #2 pencils, charcoal pencils and those made from recycled materials.  The sharpener works in a unique way; once the pencil is inserted into the hole, a little pressure has to be exerted for the sharpening to begin. It automatically stops when the pencil is sharp enough. This feature is helpful especially with kids as it prevents them from hurting their fingers if curiosity gets the better of them.

    Pencil Sharpener,Electric Pencil Sharpener for NO.2 Pencils and Colored Pencils,Portable Automatic Electric Sharpener Feature

    So fast and efficient are the sharpening blades,  that it only takes five seconds for the process to be completed.  The sharpener only weighs 4.8 ounces making it highly portable. Its small build ensures it can fit comfortably in backpacks and in storage items with limited space.  For power, the CNASA sharpener gives you two options; batteries or direct power using a USB cable.

    • Easy to use
    • Compact and durable materials
    • Replaceable sharpening blades
    • USB cable does not charge the sharpener it only powers it
    • You have to hold the pencil down while sharpening
    • The motor is loud

6. PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener

    Best commercial pencil sharpener

    Built to be mounted on any type of desk, PowerMe electric sharpener is ideal for teachers, students, artists, architects among others. It takes roughly three seconds to sharpen a pencil with PowerMe, thanks to the high-quality stainless steel blades. The unit guarantees over 3000 sharpening cycles without a hitch. Notably, a special drill is fitted to ensure round and sharp pencil edges.

    PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener - Battery Operated, for Home, Office, School, Artist, Students

    The Sharpener features a unique auto-jam feature that prevents pencils from getting stuck once sharpening is complete. An easy-to-remove and transparent shavings canister is fitted at the bottom of the sharpener. It also has a large capacity and takes a considerable amount of time before filling up. The sharpener is fitted with a safety auto-stop feature to protect kids. Remember, once the sharpener’s lid is open, it cannot operate.

    Featuring an ergonomic and modern design, the sharpener is lightweight and portable weighing only 6.4 ounces. You will love the fact that the sharpener also comes with a manual to provide instructions on the best way to use the sharpener and get premium results. For power, the sharpener uses batteries.

    • Small and stylish design
    • Ideal for commercial use
    • Made using durable materials
    • Batteries are not rechargeable
    • Sharpens only wooden pencils
    • Blade gets blunt in a short span

7. Aufun Professional Electric Sharpener

    Best pencil sharpener for stylish design

    Aufun electric is a powerful sharpener that gets the job done is 3 seconds. It is fitted with a sharp, efficient stainless steel blade and produces rounded sharp pencil points ideal for artists and students. To sharpen, the pencil is inserted into the pencil hole in a vertically and pressed lightly. This automatically triggers the sharpener into action. Once the process is complete, the auto-off function kicks in to avoid over sharpening the pencil.

    Pencil Sharpener, Aufun Professional Portable Electric Pencil Sharpener; Auto Quick Sharpening

    Notably, kids can safely use the Aufun sharpener since it comes with an automatic safety lock feature. When the cover is open, or any part of the sharpener is not in place, it will not function. This is a safety measure that makes the sharpener a favorite to most users.

    Aufun sharpener can be powered with batteries or a USB cable connected directly to the power supply. The sharpener’s package includes a spare cutter to replace when the fitted one gets blunt.

    • Made using durable material
    • Sleek and stylish design
    • Detailed manual
    • Batteries not included
    • Does not sharpen larger pencils
    • Sharpening blade is not durable

8. JARLINK Electric Sharpener Pencil

    Best pencil sharpener for artists

    If  you are looking for a sharpener with an elegant, unique and modern design, then your search ends here. Shaped like a jar, Jarlink Electric Sharpener Pencil can sharpen all regular size pencils ranging from colored to charcoal based versions. Notably, it takes 5-10 seconds to sharpen a pencil depending on the type and its condition. Once the pencil is inserted into the 8mm hole, the sharpener automatically switches on, and shuts down once the task is complete.

    JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener, Heavy-Duty Helical Blade to Fast Sharpen

    The small pencil hole also acts as security feature for kids as they cannot stick their fingers inside the sharpener. The automatic shut-off feature also works when the sharpener’s lid is opened. The shavings canister is large and takes a while before filling up. Additionally, the lid is easy to remove, replace and clean. What’s more, the lid also ensures the shavings do not spill out when the sharpener is carried around.

    With a flexible power supply, the sharpener can use 100-240 volts of direct current. Alternatively, it can be powered by four AAA batteries. The battery option comes in handy when on the move. To show just how much faith Jarlink has on its product, the sharpener comes with a lifetime guarantee.

    • Powerful stall-free motor
    • Duo power source
    • Durable and compact construction
    • Heats up if used for long periods
    • Cannot handle commercial use
    • Only sharpens wooden pencils

9. Bostitch Antimicrobial Sharpener

    Best healthy pencil sharpener

    With a record 8 pencil-hole choices to accommodate different sizes, the Bostitch manual sharpener is you ideal sharpener for multiple sharpening. The 8 pencil holes are designed in a circular dial fashion, similar to the old telephone heads. For improved pencil sharpening, it features a  dual-cutter technology that ensures pointed and round edges on your pencil. This technology also gives the Bostitch sharpener up to six times longevity compared to other sharpeners of the same class.

    Bostitch Metal Antimicrobial Manual Pencil Sharpener, Black

    Made from metal, the sharpener is durable and immune to damage in case of accidental falls. If you would like to fix the sharpener permanently, it comes with mounting screws to hold it securely in place. This goes a long way in ensuring stability while you sharpen your pencil.

    Bostitch is one of the few healthy sharpeners to use thanks to its microbial protection feature. Since germs, bacteria and fungi can be passed on through handling, especially by many pairs of hands, the feature eliminates this risk. The convenient design of the sharpener makes it possible to mount it vertically or horizontally.

    • Durable construction
    • Ideal for heavy-duty use
    • Comes with spare replaceable cutters
    • Can result in uneven sharpening
    • Pencils sometimes come out with shavings
    • Not portable

10. Toolsand Electric Pencil Sharpener

    Best pencil sharpener for light use

    Toolsand Electric Pencil Sharpener is one of the most reliable sharpeners on the market thanks to its electric power and a manual operation options. Whatever the situation, you are guaranteed your pencil will be sharpened. If the batteries run out, all you have to do is switch a button to ‘hand mode’ and you are good to go.

    Electric Pencil Sharpener, Battery-Powered, Batteries Included, High-Speed Automatic

    When it comes to sharpening, there are no limits as it can handle all types of regular pencils with ease. Despite its small dimensions of 2.5×2.5×2.9 inches, it packs a punch and can get your pencil sharp and ready to use in 5 seconds. Its size makes ideal for travel. What’s more, it is powered by two AAA batteries that come with the package, so you can unpack the sharpener and start using it on the spot.

    To stabilize the sharpener when placed on your desk, its base  is fitted with foam rubber.  You will love the fact that an extra spare blade is provided for convenience. What’s more, the shavings bin comes with a lid to prevent spillage. Once the pencil is inserted into the hole and a little pressure exerted, the sharpener automatically jumps into action.

    • Guaranteed stability when sharpening
    • Easy to use
    • Requires little or no maintenance
    • Blades wear out quickly
    • You have to keep holding down the pencil to sharpen it
    • Does not sharpen large primary pencils

What it takes to get a good Pencil Sharpener – Buying Guide

We have all come across and used pencil sharpeners at some point in our lives, but how best do you think you faired when selecting that sharpener you last bought?  Pencil sharpeners come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  However, getting a good pencil sharpener boils down to personal preference but this should be guided by the basic features. There are two types of pencil sharpeners; manual and electric. Some electric pencil sharpeners are bulky and ideal for fixed work stations where power is within reach. Manual sharpeners on the other hand, are portable, easy to use and light

Some sharpeners are designed to fit a specific model of pencils, while others have limitless options. Ensure you purchase a sharpener that can fit all pencil sizes. Some sharpeners come with convenient extras, like those that allow you to see the sharpening progress, extra blades and batteries. Sharpening a pencil should never be time consuming. As such, a pencil sharpener’s blade should complete the process in the shortest time possible.

If you are an artist or student, you might want to choose a pencil sharpener made from durable material compared to regular users. This is because artists and students use sharpeners more frequently, compared to say, office workers and other persons in other professions.

So,  these are the things to look out for before shopping for a quality pencil sharpener;

1. Manual or electric?

The choice between the two is a matter of personal preferences based on your situation. If you are looking for  a fast, efficient, portable and compact option, then go for an electric sharpener. On the other hand, if you are looking forward to a complete control during the pencil sharpening process, then manual sharpeners would be your best bet. Although there are manual sharpeners that have to be mounted on desks and walls, most of them are compact and portable too. This, however, also makes them easy to lose.

2.  Source of Power

If you settle for an electric sharpener, the source of power is of utmost importance. Without it, an electric sharpener is rendered useless. Notably, some sharpeners come with an AC cable, and only use direct current. The cables might get in the way, but they provide a source of continuous current.  It is however worth noting that a direct AC sharpener is not practical in some situations. For example, you are in an exam room and your pencil gets blunt. It would not make much sense looking for a source of power in the middle of an exam to sharpen your pencil!

Some electric pencil sharpeners, however,  use batteries as their source of power. The best option if you choose As and electric sharpener enthusiast, you are better off purchasing one that comes with both options; direct current and a battery pack.

3. What about the sharpener size and hole?

A sharpener should not be bulky for purposes of convenient usage, portability and storage. Go for a pencil sharpener that will fit in your pencil case or desk locker without taking too much space. If the sharpener is too small, on the other hand, it might be unable to handle too many shavings. Nevertheless, choose a pencil sharpener that matches your needs.

While manual sharpeners can handle regular size pencils, electric sharpeners are a little different. Most of them can only handle #2 pencils. These are the most common pencils used in classrooms, workplaces and homes. Other sharpener types can, however, sharpen all pencil sizes, and are clearly marked while others, provide different size options according to your needs.

Some sharpener holes pose a challenge while extracting the pencil after you are done. The pencil gets stuck, the lead breaks, and you have to begin the process all over again. To avoid this problem, you may consider picking a brand that comes with double holes.

5. Material used for sharpener

A majority of pencil sharpeners are constructed using plastic or metal. While plastic sharpeners are relatively good and will do the job, they are not durable. A metal sharpener, on the other hand is durable, does not break easily and will last a lifetime, unless you lose it. Metal sharpeners are also ideal for heavy-duty users as the level of wear and tear is negligible.

6. Sharpener blade

A pencil sharpener’s blade is the most important part of the tool. The best blades are made from stainless steel. This is because they remain sharp for a long period, in addition to being corrosion and rust resistant. Notably, some blades are equipped with a screw to hold it firmly in place, while others blades are fixed permanently. The blades with screws are the most preferred, since these are easily replaceable in case it gets blunt.

7. Cleanliness during and after sharpening

Pencil sharpener shaving canisters can come in opaque, semi opaque and transparent material. Whether you settle for an electric or manual sharpener, choose one that make it easier to collect and dispose the shavings. A sharpener with a lid covering is an added bonus as it holds the shavings in place and prevents them from spilling into you backpack, pencil casing or pocket. The other feature to look out for is how easily the lid comes off for purposes of cleaning, once you have emptied the shavings.

Final verdict

A reliable pencil sharpener comes with numerous advantages. It cuts down your working time by a considerable margin and helps you produce the best final results. Whether you are sitting for an exam, doing an assignment, or transforming that blank piece of paper into a piece of art; your pencil needs to maintain a sharp point. To achieve this, you require a pencil sharpener that is equal to the task, can handle continuous sharpening and will not let you down by getting dull when you need it most.

So before you get shopping, take your time to analyze your situation in reference to the various features offered by a pencil sharpener. You will be surprised how easy it can be to get the reliable pencil sharpener for your everyday use.


Written by Erin Porteous

For the past ten years Erin Porteous enjoyed the freedom of being an independent purveyor of creative services. I specialize in crafting and producing scripts for radio and TV commercials for businesses of all sizes. Moving into the web past 2 years I've been part of LR family driven by a passion for finding simple solutions to complex problems.

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