15 Best Pencil Sharpeners For Artists In 2023: Reviews & Buying Guide

Manual pencil sharpener with colored pencils

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Whether you're a professional artist or enjoy doodling in your spare time, a good pencil sharpener is essential. But not all pencil sharpeners are created equal, so we've put together a list of the best ones!

This blog post will review the best pencil sharpeners for artists and provide tips on choosing the right one for your needs.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Linkyo Electric Sharpener


Runner-Up: Faber-Castell Double-Hole Sharpener

Best for Colored Pencils: Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener

Best for Classrooms: Bostich Office QuietSharp 6 Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Helical Blade: Artist's Choice Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best for Jumbo Pencils: AFMAT Pencil Sharpener

Best Battery-Operated: ZMOL Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best for Graphite Pencils: Faber-Castell Double-Hole Metal Sharpener

Best for Kiddie Art Workshops: X-Acto Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Multi-Mount: X-Acto Manual Pencil Sharpener

Best Budget: Staedtler Metal Double Hole Sharpener with Tub

Most Versatile: PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Long-Point Sharpener: Afmat Long-Point Pencil Sharpener

Best Dual-Powered: OfficeGoods Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best for Young Artists: Bostich Twist-N-Sharp Pencil Sharpeners (3-Pack)

1. Best Overall: Linkyo Electric Sharpener

Linkyo Electric Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • QUIET OPERATION: Low-decibel noise won't cause distraction in your class or office.
  • FITS UP TO 6 PENCILS: Rotary adjustment allows you to sharpen different sizes and shapes of pencils.
  • QUICK OPERATION: Sharpens in less than 4 seconds.
  • AUTO-STOP ONCE FINISHED: Stops when the pencil is sharpened to a point.
  • LARGE RESERVOIR: Accommodates shavings from up to 100 pencils.

What We Don't Like

  • It only works in the US (120V) voltage.
  • This sharpener is more expensive than other brands.

What Our Editors Say

"This sharpener uses a single helical blade made with zinc alloy. Though we prefer stainless steel, the choice of material is also excellent because it is less prone to corrosion and damage.

Its design is very reliable, ergonomic, and well-balanced. The adjustable dial also allows sharpening for pencils from 5-11mm. And because of its price point, we recommend this sharpener to professional artists and art teachers.”

2. Runner-Up: Faber-Castell Double-Hole Sharpener

Faber-Castell Double-Hole Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • DUAL-BLADE SHARPENERS: Handles both regular and jumbo pencils so you can get a perfect point every time.
  • TITANIUM-COATED BLADE: Extra durable blade that is also rust-resistant and can be cleaned easily.
  • SLEEK DESIGN: The pencil sharpener is made of high-quality materials and has a smart design.
  • EASY CLEANUP: It has a removable shavings tray that makes cleanup quick and easy.
  • NO-MESS SHARPENING: Keep your desk clean with the built-in box for pencil shavings. 

What We Don't Like

  • The shaving tank is a bit small, causing large debris to jam.

What Our Editors Say

"Aside from regular pencils, we also tried this sharpener on other brands of colored and pastel pencils. But be careful when sharpening soft-core colored pencils as they might break if you're not careful.

Though the blades are durable and take a long time to dull, you still need to replace the sharpener. However, given its overall quality, you can use the sharpener for a long time."

Related: The Best Pastel Pencils

3. Best for Colored Pencils: Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener

Prismacolor pencil sharpeners

Why We Think It's Great

  • PREMIUM STEEL BLADES: Stainless steel blades that maintain sharpness for a long time. 
  • DUAL-BLADES: Two blades for a medium and fine point. 
  • SLIM DESIGN: The sharpener is 3 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide, making it easy to slip inside an artist's colored pencil case. 
  • NO-MESS SHARPENING: The shavings get into the translucent body for no-mess sharpening.
  • PROFESSIONAL QUALITY: Ideal for professional artists and works on standard lead and colored pencils.

What We Don't Like

  • It is difficult to remove the lid when cleaning the shavings.

What Our Editors Say

"This colored pencil sharpener is a great help for artists. It sharpens to a point, even for cheap colored pencils. We like that you can choose between wide and narrow points. For sturdier oil-based colored pencils, you can use the long-point blade, while the narrow blade is best for softer-core colored pencils.

One caveat is that the lid of this Prismacolor sharpener tends to get stuck. We solved the issue by prying it open; however, it would be better to open it immediately without needing tools.”

4. Best for Classrooms: Bostich Office QuietSharp 6 Electric Pencil Sharpener

Bostitch Office QuietSharp 6 Electric Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • SMOOTH MOTOR OPERATION: Thermal overload protection helps keep the sharpener running smoothly. 
  • HEAVY-DUTY: Heavy-duty motor won't stall even if you sharpen several pencils simultaneously. 
  • QUIET OPERATION: Sharpen your pencils while in class without worrying about disturbing the students. 
  • SAFE & STABLE OPERATION: Motor shuts down when you remove the shavings bin. 
  • 6-PENCIL HOLE: It allows you to sharpen six different-sized pencils, including jumbo, triangular, hexagonal, and round pencils.  

What We Don't Like

  • Some of the blades get dull after a few months of use.

What Our Editors Say

"We're excited about this sharpener because you can get new pencils sharp and pointed in just 4 seconds! In addition, Bostich's tip-saver technology automatically pushes the pencil out to prevent over-sharpening.

Another plus is that it can sharpen various sizes and shapes of pencils, thanks to the sturdy helical blade. Some heavily-used blades may turn dull after a time and no longer sharpen to a sharp point, but you can still use them for regular sharpening."

5. Best Helical Blade: Artist's Choice Electric Pencil Sharpener

Artist’s Choice Electric Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • HIGH-QUALITY HELICAL BLADE: Stainless steel helical blade sharpens evenly. 
  • COMPACT: The sharpener only measures 2.5" x 4.5" x 1.5" and fits in your backpack or large-capacity pencil cases.
  • EASY TO USE: Just stick the pencil into the sharpener and let it do its magic. 
  • SAFETY MECHANISM: The sharpener won't work when the shaving tray is open.
  • SHARPENS VARIOUS PENCILS: Keep your colored and graphite pencils sharp and pointed.

What We Don't Like

  • It uses 4 AA batteries.

What Our Editors Say

"We appreciate the compact design of this sharpener, competing with mounted sharpeners in efficiency and durability. The stainless helical blade keeps all your pencils sharp.

The sharpener uses 4 AA batteries. Not the best option, but we recommend getting rechargeable batteries to save on batteries. Cleaning the shaving tray is also easy with a simple push on the side of the shaving tray."

6. Best for Jumbo Pencils: AFMAT Electric Pencil Sharpener

AFMAT Electric Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • SHARPENS ALMOST 3X LONGER: Durable helical blade keeps going up to 8000 times more than other brands.
  • ADJUSTABLE PENCIL POINTS: Dial control lets you choose between blunt and sharp points.
  • SHARPENS HARD CHARCOAL AND GRAPHITE PENCILS: Best for all types of hard pencils 6mm-12mm in diameter.
  • FAST OPERATION: Sharpen your pencil in less than 5 seconds.
  • WARRANTY AND RETURN POLICY: One-year warranty period and 60-day free return policy.

What We Don't Like

  • The sharpener won't work on soft-core colored pencils.
  • It needs to connect to an AC power source.

What Our Editors Say

"You get the best of both worlds from this sharpener since you can use it for your HB and 2B charcoal and graphite pencils. You also get to sharpen your new pencils in less than 5 minutes. Truly a remarkable achievement for this tiny sharpener.

What we love most about AFMAT products is the free refund policy. However, this pencil sharpener uses AC power, so you can't use it during power blackouts or on travels where you don't have access to electricity. For this reason, we recommend it for home art studios.”

7. Best Battery-Operated: ZMOL Electric Pencil Sharpener

ZMOL Electric Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • REPLACEMENT BLADES: The set includes 2 replacement blades and a cleaning brush.
  • COMPACT AND PORTABLE: It is transportable and efficient, without any cord restrictions.
  • DOUBLE-BLADE DESIGN: Cuts faster and longer; sharpens twice as fast as single-blade sharpeners.
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Simply unscrew the top to empty the shavings.  
  • STABLE: Non-slip silicone base keeps the sharpener from slipping.

What We Don't Like

  • It does not support AC chargers.

What Our Editors Say

"Battery-operated sharpeners are the best for efficiency and durability. Ensure the battery holder and blade are aligned with the center core to work properly. Though they're not as good as other pencil sharpeners, battery-operated sharpeners can still last up to 1000 sharpenings.

Here are a few tips you must remember when using this sharpener: it can accidentally cut your finger if you place it closer to the pencil hole. Also, don't sharpen woodless graphite and charcoal pencils on this one."

Related: The Best Woodless Charcoal Pencils

8. Best for Graphite Pencils: Faber-Castell Double-Hole Metal Sharpener

Faber-Castell Double-Hole Metal Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • SHARP STEEL BLADES: Removable steel blades that you can sharpen. 
  • RECOMMENDED FOR FABER-CASTELL PRODUCTS: Round, hexagonal, and triangular pencils fit in this sharpener. 
  • SPECIFIC PENCIL HOLES: Accommodates regular and colored pencils. 
  • CLIMATE-NEUTRAL MATERIALS: Faber-Castell is a proud innovator of art supplies using environmentally-friendly materials. 
  • VERSATILE USE: You can use this sharpener for graphite pencils, pastel pencils, and regular colored pencils. 

What We Don't Like

  • The sharpener is too small.

What Our Editors Say

"This double-hole metal sharpener is an excellent tool for different kinds of pencils. The steel blades are very sharp and removable, so you can sharpen them using fine-grit sandpaper.

Though the sharpener is best for brand-specific pencils, you can still use it for other brands. However, you can't use them on pencils larger than 6mm. We also appreciate that the company is very sensitive to environmental issues and a good innovator for their products."

9. Best for Kiddie Art Workshops: X-Acto Electric Pencil Sharpener

X-Acto Electric Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • DURABLE: Made of plastic and metal that can withstand years of use.
  • VERSATILE: Works with various pencils, from graphite and colored to charcoal.
  • NO OVER-SHARPENING: SafeStart design immediately stops the sharpener when you get the right sharpness.
  • NO-MESS SHARPENING: Large shaving bin keeps the pencil residues to prevent mess on your workstation.
  • SAFETY FEATURES: The sharpener won't start unless the shaving bin is on. 

What We Don't Like

  • It can be quite noisy.
  • The sharpener only works in the US (120V) voltage.

What Our Editors Say

"We love this sturdy sharpener because it is very functional, durable, and saves our dull pencils. It sits well on your desk, with its silicone feet that prevent slipping. We like that it's AC-powered, but we would have preferred it if it's dual-voltage so you can bring it along on trips.

Though this sharpener has only one hole and does not have provision for jumbo pencils, we still recommend it to everyone who teaches art classes for kids.”

Related: The Best Charcoal Pencil Sharpener

10. Multi-Mount: X-Acto Manual Pencil Sharpener

X-Acto Manual Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • MOUNTABLE: Install it upright, upside-down from an overhead cabinet, or sideways on the wall.
  • DUAL HELICAL CUTTERS: Achieve a more even and faster sharpening than single blades.
  • EASY & SAFE FOR CHILDREN: Manually operated sharpener via a crank.
  • LOW MAINTENANCE: Use this pencil sharpener for a long time with minimal maintenance. 
  • COMMERCIAL-GRADE: Sharpens a handful of pencils in one sitting without breaking.

What We Don't Like

  • It needs wooden support for wall mounts.

What Our Editors Say

"We're beyond elated with this manual sharpener's elegant, vintage design, reminiscent of our younger school days. It also offers a very versatile mounting, so you don't have to worry about desk space when you have plenty of wall space!

This sharpener offers more variety since you can sharpen up to 8 pencil sizes. The dual helical blade improves the quality of sharpening. Aside from that, it needs very minimal maintenance to make it last for years. Thankfully, X-Acto threw in 10 years of warranty, which is great as they strongly believe in the quality of their product."

11. Best Budget: Staedtler Metal Double Hole Sharpener with Tub

Staedtler Metal Double Hole Sharpener with Tub

Why We Think It's Great

  • VERSATILE USE: Use it for sharpening different kinds and sizes of pencils. 
  • STRONG METAL BLADE: German-technology blade fastened in three places for durability.
  • SAFETY LOCK FOR THE COLLECTION TUB: Hinged cover with a safety lock to prevent the pencil shavings from accidental spills. 
  • DURABLE BODY: High-quality plastic body won't break easily.
  • EASY CLEAN-UP: Hinged cover prevents shavings from making a mess.

What We Don't Like

  • There are no available replacement blades.

What Our Editors Say

"We recommend this tool for sharpening regular, graphite, and colored pencils. It is budget-friendly, making it a good option for newbie artists and school children.

It is also easy to use because it only involves turning the sharpener to get a sharp pencil point. Though the sharpener is made in China, it uses German technology to create the blade to stay sharp for a long time."

12. Best in Versatility: PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener

PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • PREMIUM STAINLESS STEEL HELICAL BLADE: Sharpen your pencils in 3 seconds!
  • SAFE FOR KIDS TO USE: The sharpener won't turn on unless you replace the lid.
  • ANTI-JAM DESIGN: Easily remove the broken pencil core with a simple push of the pencil into the hole.
  • VERSATILE USE: Sharpen standard and colored pencils.
  • EXCELLENT DISPOSAL SYSTEM: Fine-sized shaving for easy disposal.

What We Don't Like

  • The sharpener is quite loud.
  • Opening and closing the battery holder is difficult.

What Our Editors Say

"The colorful design of this pencil sharpener is too cute to ignore. Don't underestimate the single pencil hole because you can use this sharpener for standard lead pencils and other art supplies, such as watercolor pencils, oil-based colored pencils, soft pastels, and chalk pastels.

We appreciate the 360-degree turn of the single helical blade around the pencil to give it precise sharpening. It also rarely needs maintenance, and you don't need to replace the blade. We're sure it can serve any artist for years if you properly care for it."

Related: The Best Watercolor Pencils

13. Best for Long Points: AFMAT Long-Point Pencil Sharpener

Afmat Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • EFFICIENT: Quickly and easily sharpen your pencils.
  • SELF-FEEDING: Clockwise operation for sharpening; counterclockwise for removing the pencil.
  • BUDGET-FRIENDLY: Inexpensive tool that needs only muscle power to work.
  • REDUCED LEAD BREAKAGE: No-stall helical blade decreases lead breakage.
  • STRONG HELICAL BLADE: Durable and replaceable helical blades that will last up to 3000 sharpenings. 

What We Don't Like

  • There is no auto-stop feature.

What Our Editors Say

"If you're more comfortable working with long-point pencils, you won't get disappointed with this sharpener since it can provide up to 20mm points. We love that it has free sandpaper in the shavings box, so you can achieve an extra-fine point you can't get from sharpening.

However, this pencil sharpener does not have an anti-stop feature that prevents it from chewing the whole pencil. Stop when you get a good point and turn the crank counterclockwise to remove the pencil."

14. Best Dual-Powered: OfficeGoods Electric Pencil Sharpener

OfficeGoods Dual-Powered Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • DUAL-POWERED: This sharpener is battery-operated or connects to an AC power source.
  • VINTAGE CAMERA DESIGN: The cute camera design makes it an attractive tool in your art studio.
  • ADJUSTABLE SETTING: Take advantage of the three settings, adjustable with a slide knob.
  • QUIET OPERATION: Low decibel motor that won't overheat for up to 10 pencils. 
  • WORKS ON COLORED PENCILS: This electric pencil sharpener can handle colored pencils with ease and without breaking them.

What We Don't Like

  • It won't fit pencils bigger than 8mm.

What Our Editors Say

"This pencil sharpener has a cute design! We gushed about this vintage camera-inspired sharpener that operates on 2 AA batteries or a removable electric cord. The motor is also quiet, and you can tell that the sharpening process is done when you hear a change in the noise it emits.

However, if you're into long-point pencils, you might find this one short of that feature. Though you can choose from 3 settings, the longest you can get is about 5mm.”

15. Best for Young Artists: Bostich Twist-N-Sharp Pencil Sharpeners (3-Pack)

Bostich Twist-N-Sharp Pencil Sharpener

Why We Think It's Great

  • ADJUSTABLE SHARPENING: Simply twist the knob at the lower part of the sharpener to adjust the sharpness of your pencils.
  • COMPATIBLE WITH VARIOUS PENCILS: Works for regular lead, makeup, and colored pencils. 
  • EASY TO USE: Insert your pencil into the hole and twist your wrist back and forth.
  • HINGED DISPENSER TRAY: Keeps pencil shavings inside the dispenser tray.
  • CONTROLLED SHARPENING: Tip-saver technology prevents the over-sharpening of your pencils.

What We Don't Like

  • It’s not suitable for professional use.

What Our Editors Say

"This colorful 3-pack sharpener set is an excellent gift for aspiring artists to keep their standard and colored pencils in perfect shape. Though it is best for student use, the sturdy ratchet design of the blades allows for excellent sharpening every time.

We love that even with a single pencil hole, Bostich came up with this twistable design that lets you choose the point for your pencils. The sharpener also has tip-saver technology, saving you precious pencil core length."

Final Verdict

We’ve rounded up some of the best pencil sharpeners for artists and given you our thoughts on each. Hopefully, this will help make your decision easier when it comes time to purchase your next sharpener.

We highly recommend the Linkyo Electric Sharpener for its variety of features. It can accommodate up to 6 pencils, ranging from 5-11mm. It operates quietly and has a large-capacity reservoir to keep up to 100 pencil shavings without emptying it. The non-corrosive zinc alloy helical blade is also a big help. 

Tips for Better Pencil Sharpening

A colorful manual pencil sharpener

Find the right type of sharpener

No sharpener fits all the types of pencils you use. Charcoal pencils are crumbly than graphite pencils and need extra care when sharpening them. Colored and pastel pencils also differ in composition and require different sharpening techniques.

Consider the type of pencils you use before deciding what pencil sharpener to buy. This way, you get the most value for your pencils and sharpener.

Avoid over-sharpening

You need to check on your pencil when using manual helical sharpeners to avoid over-sharpening and the risk of having a broken lead. However, most electric or battery-powered sharpeners have an auto-stop feature that turns the device off once you get the right sharpness.

If you want long-point pencils, get a long-point sharpener. You may also use a sandpaper block or pad to get a fine point on your pencils. 

Avoid using too much pressure

Using a blade sharpener is easy, but the proper technique is necessary to get a clean point. Hold the pencil and the sharpener firmly, then apply a little pressure to the pencil and turn it, so the blade cuts through the wooden casing.

Whether manual or electric, you don't have to do much if you're using a helical blade sharpener. Simply poke the pencil into the pencil hole, then crank or turn the sharpener to get a clean and new tip.

Maintain the blade's cleanness

Blade sharpeners are much easier to maintain than helical sharpeners because of their design. Remove any residues on the blade to prevent it from getting dull. Use a fine brush to remove debris between the blade and the housing. 

For helical blade sharpeners, refer to the user's manual to know how to take the blade out. Remove any debris remaining inside the housing and in between the blades.

Another tip is to sharpen a graphite pencil, especially if you're using your sharpener for colored pencils. Graphite has a natural component that improves the sharpness of the blade.

But be realistic about your expectations. Sharpeners, especially cheap ones, won't last very long even if you do your best to prolong their life.

Best Pencil Sharpener for Artists Buying Guide

Pencil sharpener beside a pencil
  • Sharpener Type

There are two basic types of sharpeners - blade and helix. 

Blade sharpeners are more common and include a body and an attached blade. You can sharpen your pencil with this sharpener by pushing it inside the pencil hole, then turning it inside. The resulting pressure pares the wooden casing of the pencil to reveal new lead.

Helical sharpeners are more complicated in design, consisting of a casing and a cylindrical corkscrew-like blade that rotates around the pencil to sharpen it. The helical blade is at a slight angle from the body, while the crank controls a gear or several gears.

Electric and battery-operated sharpeners fall under this category. Most helical sharpeners are heavy-duty and have a higher price point than regular blade sharpeners. However, given their lifespan, investing in helical sharpeners is a wise decision for every artist.

Blade sharpeners can have a reservoir for pencil shavings or not. On the other hand, helical sharpeners employ a built-in reservoir to collect the graphite dust and pencil shavings.

  • Sharpener Size

Choose the right size of pencil sharpener, depending on its purpose and use. A portable sharpener is best for art students and artists who love to draw outdoors or on trips. Meanwhile, large and mountable sharpeners are best for art studios, offices, and classrooms.

  • Power Source

You can choose from manual, battery-operated, or AC-powered sharpeners. Manual sharpeners are fine for students who only use them occasionally and don't need to sharpen several pencils.

Battery-operated sharpeners offer efficiency, functionality, and portability. Most of them are small and easily fit inside your bag. However, you may want to invest in a good set of rechargeable batteries and chargers to lessen the waste.

In contrast, electric sharpeners are best for artists or art teachers who sharpen a handful of standard and colored pencils. However, portability and functionality are the main issues since you can't use these sharpeners without plugging them in. Take extra care when using them with colored pencils.

Don't miss on dual-powered sharpeners. A few brands carry this design, so you can enjoy the freedom of using batteries when operating the sharpener outdoors and using electricity when indoors.

  • Frequency of Use

How often do you use your sharpeners? If you're a heavy user, getting a helical blade sharpener is best since it is more durable, efficient, and offers value for money. Students who occasionally use their sharpeners are good for manual sharpeners.

  • Size and Shape of Your Pencils

Pencils come in different shapes and sizes, ranging from small 4mm to 12mm jumbo ones. Pencils may also be triangular, hexagonal, or round. Some sharpeners have several pencil holes so you can use them for various pencils. 

It helps if your sharpener can serve different pencil shapes and sizes, especially on 5mm graphite pencils or 8mm Prismacolors. 

  • Safety Features

Sharpeners have sharp blades that can cause injury. But most modern sharpeners have safety features, like an auto-stop where it ceases shaving when it achieves the right sharpness on the pencils. 

Another important feature is that the sharpener won't work if the safety mechanism is not in place.

Pencil Sharpener FAQ

A person sharpening a pencil using a manual sharpener

1. Which is the best sharpener for pencils? 

We recommend simple blade sharpeners for graphite and charcoal pencils to protect the lead from breakage. Blade sharpeners allow you better control, a feature you give up when using helical sharpeners. Colored pencils, pastel pencils, and charcoal pencils are best sharpened with blade sharpeners.

Standard pencils do best on helical sharpeners because they have a thicker and more resilient core. Pol-based colored pencils would also do well on these sharpeners since they have a stronger core. However, you need to clean them frequently to remove the oily debris left on the grooves of the blade.

2. How do I keep my sharpener pencil sharp?

A little maintenance routine is an excellent way to extend the life of your sharpeners, especially if you are using expensive ones.

First, make sure that the blades are always clean. Second, sharpen your pencils regularly. Third, do not use the sharpener for anything other than sharpening pencils.

Why Trust Glytterati?

Our editors are passionate about art and crafting projects, so we only recommend products we genuinely believe in. We provide honest, unbiased reviews of the best art supplies, and we often consult with industry experts to make our content professional and friendly, even for beginners. So if you're looking for new ways to improve your creativity, we can help!

Read Next: How to Sharpen a Charcoal Pencil

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