We put together the ultimate guide of the best pencil sharpeners currently available. If you’re looking for a way to sharpen your pencil throughout the schoolyear — be it in a classroom, office, home, or studio — then you’ve come to the right place. We considered a manual sharpener as one that must be operated by the individual and did not include any automatic mechanisms to sharpen the pencil. The difference between these sharpeners and classroom sharpeners is that any device in this section is designed to be used by the individual rather than an entire class. Each sharpener in this section of the list is perfect for individual use and offers you a manual and clean sharpen to your pencil.
Top 5 manual pencil sharpeners at a glance
- Our choice: CARL Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener
- Staedtler 512 001 Double-hole Tub Pencil Sharpener
- Eagle Manual Pencil Sharpeners
- Staedtler 511 63BK Pencil Sharpener
- Wekoil Manual Twin Metal Pencil Sharpener
1. CARL Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener
The internal gear mechanism of the CARL Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener is built to last by utilizing double steel thickness and an aluminum casing to prevent breaking down quickly. The design of the pencil chamber helps to avoid over-sharpening and completes a healthy look for your pencil. The angel-5 design keeps your pencil at the optimal length after a sharpening. This manual sharpener mimics the design of your typical classroom sharpener but puts it in your hands for a quiet and classroom friendly operation.
CARL is one of the most exciting manual sharpeners available. It brings the ease and simplicity of the hand crank and places it on your desk. It’s transportable and durable – though larger than most other manual sharpeners. The internal steel prevents it from wearing down quickly so that you can depend on the sharpener for years.
One feature that places this device above the rest is the angel-5 design it offers. When it says this device won’t sharpen more than your pencil needs, it means it. There’s nothing more annoying than having a pencil that’s been over-sharpened and breaks almost instantly. This sharpener will give you the perfect cut in one go, so you don’t have to keep pulling it back out always.
One issue we encountered with this device was the annoyance of tips breaking off. It happens in every sharpener, but many of them have a simple way of extracting the tip after it breaks – this sharpener takes some work to get it to come out. Overall, this is a fantastic pencil sharpener for manual use. The CARL Angel 5 is the best manual pencil sharpener.
2. Staedtler 512 001 Double-hole Tub Pencil Sharpener
The Staedtler 512 001 Double-hole Tub Pencil Sharpener is a dependable option for a manual pencil sharpener. The design of the tub of this device is done so to offer more usage between cleanings. Most similarly designed pencil sharpeners will provide you a decent amount of space for shavings, but this product emphasizes their catching tub. The double hole of this pencil sharpener offers you the ability to sharpen many different types of drawing tools, not just graphite pencils.
We loved this device for the simplicity of it all. It’s a simple twist sharpener that keeps your pencil sharp and ready to go whenever you need it. The tool attempts to provide you with a slightly larger tub than most products of this size, which is appreciated. Having to empty your pencil sharpener is the issue many faces with these manual devices.
This sharpener works well on almost all types of drawing tools. Even softer products like Prismacolor or charcoal pencils can be sharpened to a point with this device – something that many manual pencil sharpeners can’t achieve easily. It doesn’t take much for this pencil to properly sharpen your devices either; less than ten cranks will provide you the perfect point with little pressure.
An issue we encountered was how it handled specific brands of colored pencils. For most generic brand pencils, this device works perfectly and provides a great cut to your tip. For premium pencils, it tends to splinter the lead and cut down on the tips. We loved this sharpener for your generic use but think it could be worthwhile to buy a more expensive sharpener for premium brands.
3. Eagle Manual Pencil Sharpener – 2 Holes
The Eagle Manual Pencil Sharpeners were designed to be transportable and used throughout the school or workday wherever you need them. At only 2.5 inches in height, this is much smaller of a sharpener than the Angel-5 or the Staedtler sharpeners. Though it might lack in shavings storage, it’s easily the most transportable of the three above. The plastic is built to be durable and resists breaking, and the shavings are easy to remove.
Though this sharpener might not have as many additional features as the Angel-5 and not as much storage as the Staedtler, it is one of the most transportable options on our list. The small, 2-inch size of this device makes it great for work or school on the run as you can toss it in any sized pencil pouch and move on to your next destination.
The plastic, though shatter-resistant, is still plastic and can be relatively easy to break. This is a common issue with most plastic sharpeners as you’ll come to find. You’ll need to be careful when placing this sharpener underneath other objects as it can crack if enough pressure is placed on top. If you’re careful and keep the sharpener safe, it will last you for quite a while.
The coolest part of this deal is that you receive two sharpeners when you purchase the device. They are the same sharpener, but it’s always nice to have two on hand in case you lose one or break the other. The sharpeners have two-hole sizes to allow for many different pencil sizing options.
4. Staedtler 511 63BK Pencil Sharpener
Compact, portable, and dependable are the three main features that make this such a great pencil sharpener. The design of the Staedtler 511 63BK Pencil Sharpener focuses on the simplicity of use and making a sharpener that is transportable. The secure screw-on lid offers a layer of protection against the shavings spilling out, and the different color options keep the sharpeners fun for all ages. Perfect for school or work on the go.
Staedtler are pros at making transportable and durable personal pencil sharpeners. This device is what many people think of when they imagine their sharpener and for a good reason. This product is the basis of what you need – it offers a shavings tub, screw cap, and metal sharpener. The screw-on cap protects you from finding your pencil pouch filled with loose shavings, something we’ve all experienced.
The plastic tub isn’t the most durable, but it gets the job done. It can withstand more pressure than the Eagle manual sharpener and offers more space as well. Its body is a little thicker than the Eagle, which makes it less transportable, but the overall size allows you to store it in almost any pencil pouch without the worry of spilling.
We noticed that on occasion – about a quarter of the time – this sharpener will take a chunk out of the wood. It doesn’t compromise the pencil, but it leaves you with a dull tip after that round of sharpening. Amazon also will send you a random color without the chance to choose which you’d like.
5. Wekoil Manual Twin Metal Pencil Sharpener
Classic and dependable in terms of shaving. The Wekoil Manual Twin Metal Pencil Sharpener fits all the basics necessary for a personal pencil sharpener – though it does leave much to be wanted. The compact design of this sharpener makes it the ultimate sharpener in terms of storage. It doesn’t come with a shavings tub as it is just the metal sharpener, but the simple twist and sharpen technique is dependable and effective. You will receive a four-pack with this offer.
You can’t go wrong with a classic silver sharpener. Reverting to the basics may leave much to be wanted in terms of additional features, but the industry was built around this little device for a reason. It continues to offer you a clean and sharp pencil after only a few cranks and hosts two different sizing options for any pencil.
It doesn’t come with a shavings tub, which can be annoying as you’ll either have to stand over the trashcan for each use or utilize a sheet of paper to throw the shavings away. This does eliminate the threat of shavings spilling out into your pencil pouch as there is no tub for the shavings.
This is your classic sharpener. The blade is the focus of the device, and the cuts it offers are clear and clean because of this. Though there are no features like a shavings tub, it’s impossible to leave the classic off of our list of manual pencil sharpeners.
In this buyer’s guide, we have reviewed five manual best pencil sharpeners available on the market today. While you cannot go wrong with any of the pencil sharpeners we reviewed here, you should be able to find one that is perfect for your needs. You may also be interested in a wall mount pencil sharpener, which is a little heavier. If an electric sharpener is more your style, our list of the best electric pencil sharpeners for the classroom is perfect for you.