I have a confession – it took me until 2018 to even think about finding the best pencil sharpener for my classroom. During all those years as a student and all of those years teaching in China – not once did I even consider there might be a better option out there for my needs.
Until I tried the best pencil sharpener ever.
Seriously, it seems trivial to even build up a sharpener like this, but after years of simply using the default option, I had no idea what I was missing (the same can be said for a lot of ESL teaching resources).
Fortunately, I also realized my fellow teachers likely have different sharpening needs than myself – many of you might need a sharpener for artists while others only use mechanical sharpeners.
The following list has it all – 11 of the best pencil sharpeners reviewed and broken out by features that matter to you – whether you teach kindergarten or high school seniors, you’re likely to find one that works for you.
Short on time? Here are our top 3:
Pencil Sharpener Reviews
X-ACTO Vacuum Mount Manual Pencil Sharpener
This pencil sharpener features a precision-sharpening helical cutter. The transparent shavings receptacle lets you see when emptying is required at a glance. It’s built for convenience and portability, easily able to vacuum-mount on any non-porous horizontal surface. The combination of vacuum-mounting technology, transparent receptacle, and precision helical cutter make this the best manual pencil sharpener for teachers.
What We Like:
- Mounts easily on your classroom windowsill
- Easy for students to empty
- Simple, precise manual operation
BENGOO Classroom Electric Portable Pencil Sharpener
This sharpener’s powerful motor and safety-conscious design make it the best electric pencil sharpener for general use. Pencils tend to be well-trimmed within about 5 seconds and there’s also an option to power it with an included USB power cord, or with two non-included AA batteries. The compact design can fit into most classroom spaces, while the shaving bin is easily removed and dumped when full.
What We Like:
- Choice of battery power or USB power cord
- 8 mm opening keeps kids from inserting their fingers and hurting themselves
- Compact and portable, easily-cleaned design
- 【Powerful Motor】: Its powerful electric motor will polish and sharpen your pencils in a short...
- 【Auto Feature& Safety Design】: The sharpener will start running automatically with pressing down...
- 【Multiple Power Sources】: The Pencil Sharpener can be powered by either an usb power cord...
X-ACTO School Pro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener
This heavy-duty pencil sharpener was designed specifically for classrooms, with durable construction and a quiet motor. The helical blades produce a safely rounded pencil point. You have six different pencil size options, and the motor automatically shuts off when the pencil is sharp. The versatility and quietness of the motor make this a good pencil sharpener for your classroom.
What We Like:
- 6 total pencil size options to suit a variety of needs
- Quiet motor causes minimal disruption to the classroom
- Clear shavings bin is easily emptied and cleaned
- Heavy duty electric pencil sharpener designed specifically for classrooms
- Durable construction stands up to wear and tear
- Quiet electric motor provides reliable power with minimal disruption; No electrical draw when not in...
PowerMe Electric Pencil Sharpener
This battery-operated pencil sharpener is good for both No. 2 and colored pencils. The vertical table mount design can fit easily on your classroom window or desk. A stainless steel helical blade sharpens your pencils in 3 seconds. The sharpener also won’t turn on when the lid is removed, so it’s safe for use around small children. There’s also an auto-jam release system that instantly releases your pencil if you push down, so you don’t need to worry about stuck points. These combined features make it the best pencil sharpener for artists.
What We Like:
- Release system keeps pencils from getting stuck
- Safe design doesn’t power on when the lid is removed
- 3 second sharpening time for both colored pencils and No. 2 pencils
- THE PERFECT CHOICE! Whether you are an artist, teacher, student, or business man, the Power Me...
- TO LAST Crafted from high-quality materials The Power Me electric pencil sharpener gives you up to...
- SAFETY FOR YOUR KIDS! - Our innovative, auto-stop safety feature prevents this pencil sharpener from...
Jarlink Electric Pencil Sharpener
This sharpener can handle No. 2 and colored pencils from 6-8 mm. It has dual-power capabilities, with the option for either USB operation or battery power. A USB power cord is included. The sharpener’s durable blade sharpens pencils in 5 to 10 seconds, while the auto-safety features prevent it from turning on when the lid is open. The 8 mm entrance also protects children’s fingers.
What We Like:
- Included USB cord for power, or battery operated with 4 AA batteries
- 8 mm diameter entrance protects kids’ fingers
- Large capacity reservoir for shavings allows up to 3,000 pencil sharpenings before cleaning is necessary
- 【Powerful Motor】With heavy-duty and durable helical blade, fast sharpening for 5-10 seconds and...
- 【Auto & Safety Features】 Automatically work when plugging the pencil into the shaving entrance....
- 【Multiple Power Sources】Powered by 4 AA batteries (Batteries NOT Included) or AC. Flexible and...
SMARTRO Electric Pencil Sharpener
The double-hole design is crafted for colored pencils and No. 2 pencils from 6 to 12 mm. The portable and compact design can fit almost anywhere in your classroom, and you have your choice of USB or battery operation. The sharpener’s cutter is replaceable, greatly lengthening the lifespan. This is the best color-pencil sharpener for durable, long-lasting use. The package comes with a USB cable, the pencil sharpener itself, and 2 replacement cutters.
What We Like:
- Suits No. 2 and colored pencils between 6 and 12 mm
- Powered with a USB cable or 4 AA batteries
- Replaceable cutters lengthen the sharpener’s lifespan, with 2 replacement cutters included in the purchase
- DOUBLE HOLE DESIGN & SOLID: Powerful enough to sharpen every pencil to a perfect and durable point...
- COMPACT & PORTABLE: Easy to transport. An ideal choice for artists, students, professors, engineers,...
- KID-FRIENDLY: It won't operate if the cover is removed or is not installed correctly, which means...
Like many electric pencil sharpeners, this sharpener is powered by AA batteries or an included USB cord. It’s designed to be exceptionally lightweight and portable. The fast-sharpen motor contains a durable stainless steel blade and only takes 4 seconds to a full sharpening. Another key aspect of the design is the large shavings reservoir, which allows for more than 3,000 pencil sharpenings before reaching maximum capacity. To clean the sharpener, all you have to do is open the top lid and pour out the shavings.
What We Like:
- Lightweight and portable design can fit in any space in your classroom
- Large shavings reservoir provides more than 3,000 sharpenings
- Durable stainless steel blade sharpens fully in 4 seconds
- 【Fast Work】: With heavy duty, fast sharpen ultra-durable high-grade stainless steel helical...
- 【Auto & Safety Features】Automatically work when the pencil into the entrance. Auto-stop working...
- 【Multiple Power Sources】 Powered by 4 x AA Batteries (not included), use USB ,or via AC power...
LINKYO Electric Pencil Sharpener Pro with Multi Size Insert Slot
This electric pencil sharpener can handle both regular and colored pencils from 6.5 to 11 mm. The smart stop technology and heavy-duty steel blade prevent lopsided points, ensuring a perfectly sharp pencil every time. The vertical design saves space, with an extra large pencil shavings tray included along with a convenient storage slot. If anyone removes the front cover, the sharpener won’t turn on, making it safe for use around children. The sharpener comes with a UL-certified power adapter, along with a 1 year warranty following registration.
What We Like:
- Built-in safety design with a large shavings tray and storage slot
- Supports a wide range of normal and colored pencil sizes
- Comes with a power adapter and 1-year warranty
Artify Electric Pencil Sharpener with Auto Stop
This pencil sharpener includes an LED indicator light that tells you when the sharpener is being used. The auto-stop feature keeps pencils from becoming stuck, over-sharpened, or broken. It’s suitable for both colored pencils and standardized pencils of multiple sizes. There’s even a point adjuster that allows you to choose whether you get a fine, broad, or flat pencil point. This is another one of the best pencil sharpeners for artists.
What We Like:
- Ability to choose whether you have a flat, broad, or fine point
- Accommodation of multiple pencil sizes for both colored and standardized pencils
- LED indicator light tells you when your pencil is fully sharpened
- SMART SHARPENING: The LED light indicates when the pencil sharpener is being used. With the...
- SHARPENS ANY PENCIL: Suitable for standardized pencils and colour pencils of any shape or size. Use...
- LOW MAINTENANCE: The helical blade is designed for repeated-use and never needs sharpening or...
X-ACTO XLR Electric Pencil Sharpener
This classic pencil sharpener design will fit perfectly on your windowsill, desk, or any other classroom area. The helical cutter will sharpen your pencils with reliability and precision. The sharpener is engineered with pencil saving technology to eliminate oversharpening and prolong a pencil’s lifespan, making it the best pencil sharpener for longevity. Additionally, there’s safe starting technology and automatic resets, eliminating potential injury, breakage, and motor problems.
What We Like:
- Pencil saving technology helps extend pencil life by preventing oversharpening
- Safe start and auto-reset features protect the sharpener and the user
- Compact and stylish design matches any classroom decor
- Stylish electric pencil sharpener ideal for home or office
- Classic design fits with most decor
- Helical cutter sharpens pencils with precision
iSeaFly Electric Pencil Sharpener
This battery-powered or USB-operated sharpener can handle pencils from 6 to 12 mm. The powerful motor trims pencils within 3 to 7 seconds. The smaller hole activates automatically when a pencil is inserted, but the larger hole only activates when you press the safety button, ensuring your students’ fingers stay safe. There are also replaceable blades. This is the best pencil sharpener package deal you’ll find, including the sharpener itself, a USB cable, two replaceable blades, and a screw driver.
What We Like:
- The larger hole doesn’t activate unless a safety button is pressed, so little fingers won’t accidentally be caught
- Sharpener comes with a USB cable, screwdriver, and 2 replacement blades to extend sharpener life
- Motor trims most pencils within 3 to 7 seconds
What to Look For in a Good Pencil Sharpener
What is the best pencil sharpener ever? It’s impossible to quantify this statement because there are so many aspects of pencil sharpeners to consider. The one that suits you best will depend largely on your classroom needs. For example, art teachers need sharpeners focused on colored pencils. Teachers responsible for older students might not require as many comprehensive safety features as younger children. When you’re deciding on the best pencil sharpener for your classroom, these are a few things to keep in mind:
Automatic vs. Manual
Your first decision should be whether you want to invest in an automatic or manual sharpener. Automatic sharpeners tend to sharpen faster than manual ones; however, they also tend to be more expensive and require batteries or a cord. If you need to plug your electric sharpener into the wall, you’ll limit the number of classroom spaces in which you can use it.
Types of Pencils Accommodated
Most standard pencils are between 6 and 8 mm and the majority of mainstream pencil sharpeners are sized with these in mind. But if your students ever use larger pencils, you might need a sharpener that accommodates a wider range of sizes.
Similarly, the pencil types you need accommodated will vary. Many high school teachers never use colored pencils in their classrooms, so a standardized-only pencil sharpener works fine. For art teachers, science teachers, elementary school teachers, and any other teacher using colored pencils in the classroom, it’s important to get a sharpener that can handle these tools as well.
The safety of your students is important. If you teach young children, you’ll need to put extra care into the sharpener you choose. Many pencil sharpeners come with safety mechanisms. Your biggest concern should be with sharpener holes larger than 8 mm, which are often large enough for little fingers. If you teach young children and need a pencil sharpener that can handle larger pencils, it’s best to invest either in a manual one or an automatic one with a safety button.
Noise Level and Sharpening Time
A too-loud pencil sharpener can cause disruption in the classroom, especially if you teach young students or students with focus issues. If this is the case, it’s best to look for a sharpener with a quiet motor.
The motor’s power will also determine how long the pencil sharpener takes. The shorter it takes, the faster your students will be back in their seats.
The sharpener’s overall design will impact the number of spaces you can place it. Many teachers choose their classroom windowsill as their sharpener’s home. Others prefer to have it on their desks. A pencil sharpener on your desk is always convenient for both you and your students to reach!
Some sharpeners come with vertical receptacle designs to save space. If space is an issue, double check the base dimensions before you buy.
Shaving Receptacle Volume
Clear or semi-transparent receptacles are ideal, as you can always see when the sharpener needs emptying. If you teach in a classroom with a large number of students, a large receptacle is a good idea. That way, you don’t need to empty it multiple times a day. Some sharpener receptacles allow for 3,000 sharpenings before they need emptying.