You should not consider the best electric pencil sharpener as a piece of kit that you need a guide for. But we all know the dangers of using an inferior sharpener, from chipped pencil edges to broken leads. So, upgrading to one of the best pencil sharpeners means you’ll have a decent tool that produces a fine, strong pencil point quickly and easily. And unless you like the mess, having a wooden shaving container is also a bonus.
And all of this is especially true if you’ve invested in one of the best pencils—in which case, you need a sharpener that can handle any pencil you throw at it. In this guide, we round up the best pencil sharpeners, starting with the best electric pencil sharpener (these use a helical cutting mechanism that rotates using electrical power), then moving on to the best manual pencil sharpeners (turned by hand). Electric options are less laborious but require external power, while manual models require winding but are completely portable. If you like them, go straight to the best manual pencil sharpener section.
Our choices are based on size, construction, quality, performance, value and reliability. We’ve selected based on hundreds of customer reviews. Looking for more pencils? Check out our guide to the best colored pencils here, or our guide to the best easels and best oil paints for more art supplies.
Powerme Electric Pencil Sharpener
No matter what you need a pencil sharpener for, you won’t be disappointed with the PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener, a fast and powerful product that delivers better results and includes all the safety features you could ask for.
The pencil sharpener runs on AA batteries and can sharpen a dull pencil in just three seconds. It has a specially engineered spiral drill that won’t jam and can sharpen thousands of pencils without dulling. According to reviewers, the Powermy Electric Pencil Sharpener is lightweight, compact, durable and easy to use. Many people love how quickly it sharpens pencils, and many feel that even small children can use it without any problems.
STAEDTLER Pencil Sharpener
On the hunt for a cheap pencil sharpener? The STAEDTLER pencil sharpener may be compact and simple, but it has thousands of positive reviews from students, artists, teachers and more.
This little 2-inch manual best electric pencil sharpener includes a metal blade attached to a screw-on container. Just stick your pencil on top and twist, and before you know it, your pencil will be as good as new! With the screw-on top, you don’t have to worry about shavings spilling when the product is in your pencil case or backpack. The design may be simple, but people say it works “crazy well” and is worth every penny.
JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener
Electric pencil sharpeners make quick work of even dull pencils, producing sharp points with little effort on your part. If you like the fast, hands-off performance of electric pencil sharpeners, you’ll love the heavy-duty JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener.
You can power this pencil sharpener with AA batteries or by plugging it into an AC outlet. It has a helical blade that delivers a sharp pencil in just five to ten seconds, and it has an auto-stop feature that lets you know when the pencil is as sharp as it can be. In addition, it also has a safety feature that prevents it from turning on when the lid is open, protecting the fingers of curious children.
Reviewers say you can’t go wrong with this electric pencil sharpener, which can stand up to regular use without losing steam! Also, many like that you can switch between battery and AC power.
What to look for when buying a pencil sharpener
Manual or electric
To find the pencil sharpener that best suits your needs, first decide whether you’d prefer a manual or electric device. It will depend on how often you use and sharpen pencils and whether you want a simple portable tool to keep in your bag or something more sophisticated to sit on your desk or hang on your office wall. If buying a pencil sharpener for a shared work space, you may want to pay attention to noise from electric pencil sharpeners, which can be irritating to the ears of those not using them.
While most of us think of the standard school-issued No. 2 when the word pencil comes to mind, pencils come in multiple shapes or sizes. Pay attention to this when choosing the right pencil sharpener for the diameter of the pencil you habitually use. There are dedicated pencil sharpeners for every type of pencil, from the most basic to the choice of artists who want to hone in on specially honed points on their graphite or charcoal pencils.
If you’re a casual pencil user looking for an inexpensive and easy tool to sharpen your No. Note that some handheld pencil sharpeners come with built-in reservoirs to catch shavings, while others require some cleaning after each use. Small details like these can affect your user experience, so be sure to keep them in mind when selecting the pencil sharpener that best suits your needs.
How do you sharpen a pencil sharpener blade?
To sharpen a pencil sharpener blade on a manual sharpener, carefully unscrew the top screw, turn it over to remove the blade(s), and use a whetstone to sharpen before reassembling. To help maintain sharp blades, be sure to empty the sharpener of your pencil shavings and use a dry spare toothbrush to keep the blades clean and sharp. You can also try cleaning the blades with rubbing alcohol which may do the trick by removing any gunk stuck to them.
How does an electric pencil sharpener work?
Electric pencil sharpeners are motorized versions of manual sharpeners that get the job done with minimal effort and lightning speed. When you sharpen a pencil using a manual sharpener, the action of hand-twisting the pencil toward the blade shaves the pencil wood and graphite to a sharp point. With an electric sharpener, an internal motor powers and spins the blades, allowing the pencil to be sharpened more quickly by inserting a pencil and holding it in place while the machine operates.
Who invented the pencil sharpener?
The history of the pencil sharpener begins in France, where the modern pencil was invented in 1795 by Frenchman Nicolas-Jacques Conte. The invention of the hand-held pencil sharpener is first credited to Parisian C.A. In 1822 Boucher and in 1828 French mathematician Bernard Lascimore patented the world’s first pencil sharpener. In 1847, French nobleman Thierry des Estevaux invented the hand-held pencil sharpener in its modern form. The first American pencil sharpener was patented in 1855 by Walter K. of Bangor, Maine. Foster and in 1897 Massachusetts-based African-American carpenter and inventor John Lee Love patented the portable pencil sharpener nicknamed “Love”. Electric pencil sharpeners were first produced in 1917 and became widely available in the 1940s.