You’ve bought new pencils for the school year, now to keep them sharp with a sharpener! While handheld ones are great for convenience, we also recommend purchasing an electric pencil sharpener. Not only are these designed to provide more consistent sharpening results—reducing both lead breakage and frustration—but they’re also kinder on the hands. You’ll also save time, as electric sharpeners make quick work of cores. Of course, not all electric models are built the same—in fact, some will still ruin your precious pencils. But never fear, we’ve done the research for you to find the best electric pencil sharpeners that deliver pointy ends without wasting materials.
How we pick each product:
Our mission is to recommend the most appropriate artists’ tool or supply for your needs. Whether you are looking for top-of-the line equipment or beginners’ basics, we’ll make sure that you get good value for your money by doing the research for you. We scour the Internet for information on how art supplies are used and read customer reviews by real users; we ask experts for their advice; and of course, we rely on our own accumulated expertise as artists, teachers, and craftspeople.
1. Bostitch QuietSharp6 Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener
This blue sharpener checks off all the fundamentals while offering a bonus: It is impressively quiet. Pencils and colored pencils get sharp in seconds, and an automatic shut-off kicks in when they’re ready for action once more. The sharpener features six holes for pencils of different sizes and has a large-capacity vessel to catch a classroom’s worth of shavings. The sturdy design, with rubberized feet, will keep up with frequent and regular use.
2. Fiskars Battery Powered Pencil Sharpener
For a more portable option, we like Fiskars pocket-friendly and durable sharpener, which runs on four AA batteries. Its lid features a sharpening hole you can cover when not in use. This works best for no. 2 graphite pencils and colored pencils, but if you’re willing, take it on a spin with your whole arsenal of pencils to see what’s compatible. Featuring eight steel helix blades, the sharpener works consistently to achieve fine points without jamming. An auto shut-off device prevents it from over-sharpening pencils.
3. X-ACTO SchoolPro Electric Pencil Sharpener
X-ACTO’s sharpener is a smart choice if your students have a growing arsenal of art supplies. It can cleanly and evenly whittle away at a wide array of artist-grade tools. This model features six pencil holes to accommodate pencils of different shapes and sizes, including graphite pencils, colored pencils, charcoal pencils, and even pastel pencils! And it won’t eat your tools, as the super-sharp blades stop moving when a pencil has reached its ideal sharpness. The transparent container can accommodate a large amount of shavings and is easy to remove and reinsert.
4. Westcott iPoint Halo Colored Pencil Non-Stick Electric Sharpener
If you mostly need to sharpen colored pencils, or want a designated sharpener for your colored pencils, there are few options better than this vertically oriented model from Westcott. The high-quality blades shave away at wood without eating at the core and wasting color, and features a sensor so it shuts off automatically once your pencil is satisfyingly sharp. The Titanium-bonded blades are sharper than stainless steel and stay razor-edged for longer.
5. X-ACTO Mighty Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener
Out of school with your own studio? If you and your studio mates often find yourselves scurrying to the sharpener, this heavy-duty model may be just what you need. The auto-adjust dial works with almost all pencil sizes, and a sensor prevents over-sharpening. A SafeStart motor will automatically stop if the bin is removed, and the bin itself is extra-large for convenience. Unlike some of our other picks, this machine is also suitable for colored pencils, though using it with greasy or waxy pencils or pencils with plastic wrapping will void the warranty. And, if the sharpener should ever wear out, spare parts are available from the manufacturer.