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As age-old art accessories go, pencil sharpeners are a must. Sure, you can use a knife to create that perfect point, but why not just stick that dull writing implement in a snugly housed blade that will do the same—with much less effort? Some may like an easy and quick motorized option, while others might prefer a manual sharpener that offers a little more control. What’s more, you can go for a one-size-fits-most style or one that has interchangeable holes for multiple pencil sizes. Ahead, find the best of the best pencil sharpeners—all ARTNews-recommended.
1. X-ACTO Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener
There’s a reason that X-Acto has become a household name when it comes to blades, and this electric pencil sharpener is no exception. Made of plastic, its durable construction makes it ideal for high-pressure situations and can handle a great volume of sharpening without needing to rest. The sharpener is wall powered but does not draw any electricity when not in use, so it can remain plugged-in for the duration. To accommodate multiple pencil sizes, this sharpener has a spinning wheel of pencil guides that offers six different-diameter sizes to choose from.
2. Faber-Castell Grip Trio Sharpener
This pencil sharpener is three in one, accommodating writing implements of different sizes and materials. With three bladed holes, there is a distinctive (and labeled) spot for colored, jumbo, and graphite pencils. The sharpener is manual, fitted into a triangular setting that makes it easy to grip for children and adults alike. What’s more, it folds in on itself and clicks closed for easy transport. The entire sharpener, when closed, is 8.25 inches high and 2.63 inches at its widest point.
3. Bostitch Electric Pencil Sharpener
This powered pencil sharpener is a favorite of teachers, as it boasts a high-capacity tray that doesn’t have to be emptied as often as others. It plugs into a normal wall outlet, so the strong power comes direct from the source and will not run dry with use. At 4.25 inches high, it’s the perfect-size sharpener for desktop use, while also large enough for small hands, suiting a younger classroom. It also has a safety switch that doesn’t allow use when the tray is open, and the mechanisms are exposed.
4. Staedtler Metal Double Hole Sharpener
This super-portable manual pencil sharpener is just the thing to throw in your bag and go. It features a metal double hole for two different-sized pencils, along with a tub to catch the shavings. There is a hinged cover with a safety lock to keep everything contained when not in use. Measuring at just 2.3 inches high, it fits in any craft (or other) bag when you’re packing up all of your supplies for transport.
5. PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener
This pencil sharpener has a rotating spiral drill design that makes its sharpening technique not only more consistent, but also more powerful. As such, it’s often an artists’ choice, due to the fact that it can just as easily sharpen pencils as classic graphite ones. Size-wise, however, it is ideal for No. 2 pencils. This sharpener is also battery powered, which means that it’s much more portable than plug-in powered styles, whether you’re looking to travel with it, use it outside, or simply sharpen in your studio without having to sit near an outlet. While it’s a favorite of seasoned artists, it’s also kid-friendly, as there is a safety measure in place that prevents it from being used if the lid that reveals the blades inside is removed.