Best Pencil Sharpeners of 2020

May 29, 2020

Best Pencil Sharpeners of 2020

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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 day properly — be it in a classroom, office, home, or studio — then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled three different lists in this article to offer you the perfect pencil sharpener for your needs. 

Top 3 Pencil Sharpeners at a Glance

If you’re looking for the best manual sharpener that’s perfect for personal use, we have five options listed that will serve you well. Then we will present you with the list of the best classroom pencil sharpeners; they are also referred to as wall mount sharpeners. Each of the five we offer on our list can withstand the traffic of a classroom. Finally, if an automatic or electric sharpener is more your style, our last list of the best electric pencil sharpeners for the classroom is perfect for you.

Finding the perfect pencil sharpener doesn’t have to be difficult, and the best way to start is to know what the best in the industry looks like. Each sharpener we have listed here surpasses industry standards and have found themselves as our top five for their respective categories. Here we present to you the ultimate guide to the best pencil sharpeners.

Top Five Best Manual Pencil Sharpeners

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. 

1. CARL Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener

 The internal gear mechanism of this device 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.

Our Honest Review

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.

Pros

  • Prevents over sharpening the pencil
  • Durable internal gears
  • Quiet and classroom friendly

Cons

  • No easy way to extract broken tips
  • Doesn’t play well with softer tools

2. Staedtler 512 001 Double-hole Tub Pencil Sharpener

 This one 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.

Our Honest Review

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. 

Pros

  • Deeper tub for shaving collection
  • Works on softcore pencils and colors
  • Simple design offers quick sharpening

Cons

  • Doesn’t like premium brand color pencils

3. Eagle Manual Pencil Sharpener – 2 Holes

 These 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.

Our Honest Review

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. 

Pros

  • Great for kids
  • Amazingly transportable
  • Receive two sharpener bundle

Cons

  • Easily compromised plastic
  • Some pencils get eaten away at

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 this product 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. 

Our Honest Review

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. 

Pros

  • Screw-on cap prevents spillage
  • Holds more shavings than it appears
  • Durable container for plastic standards

Cons

  • Takes a chunk out of the wood
  • Don’t get to choose the color

5. Wekoil Manual Twin Metal Pencil Sharpener

 Classic and dependable in terms of shaving. This product 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.

Our Honest Review

You simply 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 type of 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. 

Pros

  • Strong and durable blade for sharpening
  • Compact and easy to store
  • Pack of four
  • Easy to get the stuck lead out

Cons

  • No shavings tub
  • No additional features

Top Five Best Classroom Pencil Sharpeners

In this section of the article, you will encounter sharpeners that can be mounted to a wall or desk and are designed for the high traffic flow of a classroom. These are your classic black and chrome wall mount sharpeners that keep your pencil sharp and ready for the school day. Each device on this list include a shavings receptacle that can be emptied and replenished for more sharpening. The following five devices are the best classroom pencil sharpeners you’ll encounter.

1. X-ACTO Ranger 1031 Wall Mount Pencil Sharpener

 This device includes eight different pencil sizes, which can be adjusted easily whenever you need them. The interior sharpening system consists of two helical cutters that rotate together to provide your pencil with a clean and even cut. It won’t over sharpen your pencil and is designed to even cater towards softer core pencils. Included in the package are screws that enable you to mount the device to a wall or desk for communal use.

Our Honest Review

As you’ll come to find, X-ACTO knows what they’re doing when it comes to building a dependable and quality pencil sharpener. This article is not sponsored by them, so the fact that 4/5 of the sharpeners on our list are from them is quite impressive. This sharpener is the one that takes all of the best features of the others and combines them into one fantastic device.

The true excitement this device provides stems from the simplicity of it all. It’s perfect for classroom use and thus is made to be accessible to children as early as a kindergarten age level. Because of this, the crank of the device is easy to operate, emptying the shavings is simple, and the switching between settings is quick. The sharpening that this device can give your pencil is outstanding as well – almost any pencil is safe with this sharpener. 

The package is complete with screws to put the sharpener anywhere you want in your classroom. On a wall or a desk, anywhere that it’s accessible to your students, the screws enable you to place it there. We did notice that, depending on your grip on the pencil, the angle of the sharpening can be lopsided with one part of the lead-exposed more. It requires a quick adjustment of your grip, but it’s annoying to experience, nonetheless. Regardless, this device is the best classroom sharpener. 

Pros

  • Simple design makes it easy to use
  • Screws included allow for mounting anywhere
  • Works on all types of pencils
  • Accessible to children

Cons

  • Lopsided sharpen depending on your grip

2. X-ACTO KS Manual Vacuum Mount Pencil Sharpener

 This device includes X-ACTO’s patented dual helical cutter interior, which provides your pencil with a clean-cut throughout. The die-cast metal exterior makes it durable and gives it a long life, even in a room full of school children. The shavings receptacle is rather large and can support plenty of shavings so that you don’t find yourself constantly emptying and removing the receptacle. Instead of screws like with most classroom models, this device uses a vacuum to mount it to any flat surface.

Our Honest Review

One of the most exciting parts of this sharpener is easily the vacuum mount it uses to suction to the wall. This enables you to remove it and transport it to a different location without leaving behind nasty screw marks that require filling. Most other classroom sharpeners need to be affixed using these screws, so it’s quite refreshing to find one that hosts an alternate method of mounting. 

Some of the models do have difficulty properly suctioning to the wall, but that could be due to the surface not being flat enough or clean enough. It is a rather useful concept, and when it works, that device stays put until you decide you want to move it. It can be challenging to get it to properly suction on the first try, however. 

The receptacle on this device is sturdy and large enough that you won’t have to worry much about emptying it. It can hold a decent amount of shavings before you’ll need to remove the receptacle. Once cleaning time comes around, it’s an easy process to remove and replace. Overall, this is a fantastic classroom sharpener that will get the job done quickly and efficiently. Some affixing issues are present, but in the end, this is a dependable and quality classroom sharpener. 

Pros

  • Large die-cast metal receptacle
  • Vacuum mount allows spotless moving
  • Durable device with helical cutters

Cons

  • Difficulty affixing the device

3. Bostitch Antimicrobial Manual Pencil Sharpener

 This sharpener includes screws for permanent mounting and a sturdy connection to any wall or desk. The dual cutter technology gives this sharpener six times the life of most other classroom sharpeners. Even if your sharpeners begin to deteriorate, you can simply replace them with new ones for a longer life and fresher cut. The internal tip saver helps prevent over-sharpening, and the antimicrobial helps protect from the spread of germs. 

Our Honest Review

While we had no way to properly test the antimicrobial aspect of this device, it is reassuring to know that this sharpener takes strides to protect the students. As this is a classroom sharpener, chances are the spread of germs will be a big threat to this device. Having a layer of protection that helps kill any microorganisms that get passed along to it is a helpful addition, especially for a classroom sharpener. 

Though it’s a complicated process, another fantastic feature of this sharpener is the ability to replace the internal cutters. Many other sharpeners leave you with no other options once the cutters begin to die. This sharpener has extended its life period by introducing the ability to replace the internal mechanisms with new and fresh cutters when needed.

Many sharpeners might leave you with a poorly sharpened pencil; some can even over sharpen your tip and cause it to break almost instantly. This device has a tip saver in place that helps prevent the over-sharpening of your pencil – once it gets to its desired length, it won’t sharpen any further. This will save your pencils and decrease the number of trips to and from the sharpener. 

Pros

  • Antimicrobial device protects kids from germs
  • Once internal cutters wear down, you can replace them
  • Tip saver prevents over-sharpening

Cons

  • Difficult process to replace internal cutters
  • Sometimes offers a lopsided cut

4. X-ACTO Ranger 55 Manual Pencil Sharpener

 Unlike other classroom sharpeners on this list, this product comes as one solid object offering you a compact and transportable sharpener. This sharpener comes with screws. You can easily mount the metal casing on walls and desks.  The X-ACTO Ranger sharpener includes eight different pencil sizes. The shavings receptacle is attached to the sharpener and can you can empty it by simply pressing the compartment and releasing the shavings into the trash can. It’s an easy to use device that works great for classrooms of all ages.

Our Honest Review

Our biggest positive for this sharpener is also our biggest negative. The fact that the shavings receptacle is incorporated in one solid body with the sharpener and wall mount is unique and what makes this device stand out from the rest. Most classroom sharpeners have a detachable receptacle that can be taken off and emptied. With this device, you simply press the compartment, and it opens up, dumping out the shavings. 

We love this feature because it eliminates the mess that can come with detaching the receptacle to empty it. Some classroom sharpeners can become compromised when the receptacle isn’t put on properly, whereas others can simply refuse to go back on. Having the receptacle on the device does restrict access to trashcans, however, and forces you to bring the can to the sharpener. That seems to be the main issue with the device is the lack of maneuverability once attached to the wall.

The dual cutters inside the device provide you with a clean and even cut almost every time. Some issues could arise with parts of the cut being lopsided, but for the most part, it provides a nice sharpen. It works well on most types of pencils, even ones with softer cores. 

Pros

  • Even cut most times
  • One solid body eliminates spills
  • Large and durable metal case
  • Simple push and empty procedure

Cons

  • Emptying shavings requires the trashcan comes to you
  • Broken tips can be difficult to remove

5. X-ACTO 1041 Model L Pencil Sharpener

 Back to the basics with this classroom sharpener. As with most others on our list, this sharpener utilizes two dual helical cutters to keep your pencil even and clean throughout the cut. This sharpener comes with screws, which allow you to mount the sharpener to any surface within the classroom. The die-cast metal base is durable and sturdy, and the steel receptacle is evenly proportioned with the rest of the product. Where most sharpeners host an eight-size ring, this one only has one whole for your generic sized pencil. 

Our Honest Review

We’re going to start our review off with the obvious feature that makes this classroom sharpener stand out from the rest. Where most devices have an eight-hole option to find the perfect fit for your pencil, this sharpener only has one. It makes it a unique choice for your classroom, but it eliminates the ability to use varying sizes of pencils.

For a classroom, this might be fine as, more often than not, a student is using a generic number two pencil. However, for artists who utilize many different pencil types, this might not be a smart purchase as you’ll be limited to your generic size of pencil. The cut that this sharpener offers you is one of the best available; however, as you’re not relying on a secondary sizing option to keep your pencil steady. If your pencil fits, it will be thoroughly sharpened to a quality point. 

This is a dependable device that will get the job done if your pencil will fit. You’re buying this product for the quality of the cut, not the additional features it offers, as it doesn’t focus much on any other parts. If you’re only working with a generic number two pencils, this is a fantastic option for you. 

Pros

  • Durable materials 
  • Dual helical cutters
  • Sturdy and clean cut every time

Cons

  • Only one size option available
  • No additional features

Top Five Best Electric Pencil Sharpeners for Classroom

The perfect electric sharpener for your classroom will keep your pencil sharp and clean throughout the day. Each electric sharpener on our list will sharpen your pencil in about 3-5 seconds and will last you years. If you’re looking for a dependable and durable electric sharpener, any of the five following devices will be perfect for you. 

1. X-ACTO School Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener for Classroom

Many of these sharpeners’ features and add-ons were designed for the classroom. This sharpener is one of the quietest electric sharpeners on our list. The electric motor operates at similar rates to other, louder devices, but is quiet enough to use without disruption in the classroom. When the device is not in use, it has no electric draw and supports an eco-friendly classroom. Once your pencil is sharpened, the internal fly away cutter will automatically stop to alert you to the finished product.

Our Honest Review

When testing out these products, we couldn’t get enough of the quiet operation of this device. We were receiving similar cuts to other sharpeners — in many cases, better cuts — yet the noise was so much less. The internal motors provide you with an undisturbed classroom and allow students to sharpen without worry of drawing attention to themselves.

The flyaway cutter is a great benefit to this device as over sharpening can plague many electric devices. Knowing that you’ll get the perfect cut almost every time is a great relief. The shavings receptacle is large and easy to empty with little worry about the spill. This is our pick for the best electric pencil sharpener as it supports classroom use and can be utilized by anyone for any type of pencil. It’s not often you see an electric pencil sharpener with size-changing options. 

Pros

  • Quiet motors prevent classroom disruption
  • No electric draw when not in use
  • Varying pencil sizing options
  • Large receptacle for shavings

Cons

  • None that we encountered

2. Bostitch Personal Electric Pencil Sharpener

 The Bostitch pencil sharpener is designed to be compact and easy to transport. It’s a smaller design on purpose because it understands that chances are your desk is full already. Most electric sharpeners will sometimes stall during use requiring you to take your pencil out and reinsert it. This sharpener removed the threat of stalling under normal use and supports an uninterrupted sharpening. When the tray is out, the internal safety switch prevents the motor from running, which will protect your fingers in the worst-case scenario. 

Our Honest Review

The safety switch is something you don’t think about, and, unfortunately, the developers of these electric sharpeners don’t either. With this device, you receive protection from a bad situation as the only way to access the cutters is through removing the receptacle. No matter what, your fingers are protected, and our tests showed it worked well without fault. 

The cut that this device gives you is phenomenal – it’s almost always even on both sides and very rarely will break off your tip. The cutters use HHS technology to provide you a longer life, and the space saver aspect comes in handy. You can fit this powerful sharpener almost anywhere, no matter how full your desk is. The smaller size does mean that you’ll be emptying the receptacle more often, so it’s a good thing there’s that safety switch.

Pros

  • Safety switch prevents harm to your fingers
  • HHS cutter tech offers a longer life
  • Space saver aspect

Cons

  • Less storage in the receptacle

3. Merangue Electric Pencil Sharpener

 This is a unique electric sharpener. Most other sharpeners run off of a current from an outlet whereas this one uses batteries, which makes it more transportable. There are two types of sharpening modes – automatic and manual. Automatic allows you to push the pencil, and the gears will sharpen for you and manual allows you to crank the device yourself. When you unlock the top, you can safely remove the blade and replace it with the included replacement. 

Our Honest Review

This device took risks in their design in an attempt to create a unique electric sharpener that would stand out amongst the rest. Their risks paid off as this is one of our favorite sharpeners solely because of the unique feature. That’s not to say that the cut it offers isn’t part of the reason it’s on our list – it is. Having a choice between manual and electric sharpening is much appreciated.

Because this device runs on batteries, you’re going to experience some benefits and drawbacks. Yes, you’ll have to replace the batteries often – something not encountered with plugin sharpeners – but you’ll also be able to move the sharpener anywhere you want, regardless of outlets. 

This device is even smaller than the Bostitch and packs as much of a punch. This sharpener is a fantastic addition to any classroom, office, home, or studio and is vastly different from any device you’re likely to encounter. 

Pros

  • Several unique features not found anywhere else
  • Switch between automatic and manual sharpening
  • Includes replacement blades
  • Compact and transportable

Cons

  • Not much space in the receptacle
  • Runs through batteries quickly

4. AFMAT Electric Pencil Sharpener

 This device is designed for power and durability. Its design resembles that of your classic electric sharpener but with modern technology that supports a longer life and more accurate sharpening. It can sharpen any type of pencil – regardless of core strength – within 3-5 seconds. The internal helical blades can cut up to 200 pencils in one sitting and has a life of over 6,000 uses, which is one of the highest we’ve encountered. Simply plug it in and get to sharpening.

Our Honest Review

The best feature of this product is the strength is offers. This sharpener is an 18-wheeler, whereas the rest are pickup trucks. We weren’t able to test it to the length that it claims in the product description, but after nearly 100 uses in a row, it showed no signs of fault. This is a sturdy device that will last you for years to come, no matter how many people utilize it daily.

The main difference between this device and other large helical blade sharpeners is the use of a metal alloy. Most electric sharpeners host a plastic pencil compartment attached to the metal blades, but the AFMAT uses metal alloy all around. This supports a longer life free of breaking and offers a more powerful cut. It does sometimes leave you with a lopsided cut that provides more wood than lead, but these are few and far between.

Pros

  • Powerful motor and large blades
  • Lasts twice as long as any other sharpener
  • Easy to use and great for any space
  • Metal alloy supports longer life

Cons

  • Sometimes offers a lopsided cut
  • Relatively small receptacle

5. PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener

Much like with the Bostitch, this sharpener employs a safety switch that prevents it from being run when the receptacle is removed. Though not as long-lasting as the AFMAT sharpener, this device will last you over 3,000 uses before it shows signs of wear, which, for its size, is rather remarkable. It’s on the smaller side, which offers you the ability to take it everywhere you go. This sharpener gentle on all types of pencils and even supports soft pastel pencils. 

Our Honest Review

If you’re looking for an electric sharpener for your classroom that is compact, transportable, gentle on your pencils, and will last you for years of personal use, then this is an excellent product for you. The device is deceptively small and seems as though it wouldn’t be able to last you over 3,000 uses, but from what we’ve seen, that’s not an exaggeration. 

It’s transportable like the Bostitch and powerful like the AFMAT and will keep your pencils sharp, regardless of their type. The only issue we encountered with it was the size of the receptacle. It’s one of the smallest receptacles we’ve seen and will leave you empty it out quite frequently. Having the safety switch in place is reassuring.

Pros

  • Powerful cutter will last you years
  • Compact and easy to move
  • Takes care of even the frailest pencils
  • Safety switch prevents injury

Cons

  • Smallest receptacle on our list

Conclusion

In this buyer’s guide, we have reviewed 15 best pencil sharpeners available on the market today. We separated them into three categories: manual sharpeners, classroom sharpeners, and electric sharpeners. 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.



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