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Best Pencil Sharpeners 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated December 1, 2018
Best Pencil Sharpeners of 2018
If you’re reading this, it is very likely that you’re scouting for the best pencil sharpeners. Before you spend your money on pencil sharpeners, start by familiarizing yourself with the various types. You can make a choice based on the my list as you shop. Here we have compiled a detailed list of some of the best pencil sharpeners of the 2018.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this pencil sharpeners win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse.
Why did this pencil sharpeners come in second place?
Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.
Why did this pencil sharpeners take third place?
A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.
Pencil Sharpeners Buyer’s Guide
X-ACTO ProX Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener, Silver/Black
This model has it all: high performance, versatility for different types of pencils, and all the ever important safety features you’d want in an electric pencil sharpener.
School Smart Vertical Pencil Sharpener, x Inches, Electric
If you don’t need to sharpen colored pencils, this model is just as good as our number one pick.
Does not sharpen colored pencils
The number three option on our list is a Westcott iPoint Evolution Axis. This is a mid-priced electric pencil sharpener with a feature we haven’t seen in the previous two options:
The pencils sharpener has a dial selector for up to different sizes of pencil, including colored art pencils!
This is also a corded, electric pencil sharpener so no batteries expense but again you will be limited on where you can plug it in. It is designed for high-volume usage making it perfect for an office or classroom environment. It also employs the dual helical blades that deliver a precise and fine tip while maintaining sharpness for many uses. It employs Auto-Stop features that senses when the pencil is optimally sharpened and stop to prevent over-sharpening or unnecessary waste.
My favorite features offered by the Westcott iPoint Evolution Axis:
The Westcott electric pencil sharpener offers many features we don’t get with the other two options. I like that it comes with a warranty and can manage multiple different size and type of pencil. Having the ability to handle high-volume usage and still get a nice fine tip on your colored pencils is really all you can ask for from an electric pencil sharpener. However, this model actually offers more and that’s why it’s one of my favorites!
Our number four option is specifically built with classrooms in mind. The TeachingMart Heavy Duty Electric Pencil Sharpener is built for quiet precision and versatility.
One of my favorite features of this model has to do with its design. It’s made with classrooms in mind for multiple reasons, but the fact it’s made with a wide footprint and low profile keeps the safety of children in mind by preventing tipping.
I also like that it’s built to be quiet, so it won’t be disruptive in either an office or a classroom environment. It also has an auto-stop feature designed for safety and maximum efficiency. Whether you’re sharpening your testing pencil or art pencils, you’re sure to get a perfectly sharp pencil using this model.
The first electric pencil sharpener we present is the
School Smart Vertical Pencil Sharpener that sells as a single unit.
This is a very efficient, fast speed pencil sharpener (it takes only seconds to sharpen a new pencil) that comes in a nice, modern design.
The shavings receptacle is large, easy to remove and empty- you’d have to do it only once a day if you sharpen the pencils for an entire classroom, for instance.
The sharpener features helical steel blades and auto-stop mechanism in order to get the perfect tip.
This electric pencil sharpener comes in two colors (black and grey), at a fair price and makes an ideal addition to any classroom or busy office.
OfficeGoods Electric Pencil Sharpener
A great, quite small and very good looking electric pencil sharpener is the
This sharpener creates an evenly distributed point and stops working when the shaving lid is removed- therefore it’s very safe to use around children.
You can adjust the sharpener to your needs as it has different pencil points: blunt, medium and sharp. This gives the sharpener great versatility and improves your office work,
The sharpener also has three ways to get powered: an USB cord, batteries (not included) or AC adapter.
It takes around 7-seconds to sharpen a pencil that has never been sharpened and only 1-seconds to get a new point for your pencil- so, this is a fast sharpener.
The helical steel blade gives speed, in a quiet way, to the sharpener but also precision, since the point is evenly sharpened.
It’s easy to clean up the sharpener as the shavings collect in the cup.
You can use this also for color pencils (Prismacolor), and for variously shaped pencils (triangular, hexagonal) just as well.
Imikas offers the
Pencil Sharpener, High Quality Electric & Battery Operated that is great for home and school use.
The helical steel blade gives a smooth, evenly distributed point and the sharpener may be used for hard colored pencils too.
It has a safety feature that stops the sharpener once the shaving tray is removed-this makes it a great help in school, around children.
The sharpener has several power sources: USB cable (included), batteries (4xAA batteries, not included) and an AC plug-in adapter (US adapter included).
You can select three different sharpness settings for this sharpener: blunt, medium or sharp.
This electric pencil sharpener is not bulky, is rather small and very easy to use.
The first one that we present is the
There is a multi-size pencil dial so that you may sharpen most pencils.
The sharpener features a hardened steel cutter for maximum precision, with a smooth and quiet operation.
The sharpener is made of high-quality durable materials, giving best of performance due to the carbon steel sharpened blades and the sturdy construction.
The shavings receptacle is extra-large and the sharpener is flexible so you can try all kinds of pencil sizes, but also all types, ranger from the thicker pencils to the slimmer, more traditional style. You can try hardwood and composite pencils just as well, with great results.
The Avalon Titanium Blade Automatic Heavy Duty Electronic Pencil Sharpener gets the job done for any teacher who wants no fuss when sharpening pencils in the classroom.
The sharpener features very strong and durable titanium blades so you can get evenly sharpened pencils for a very long time.
There is a built-in safety mechanism, so the sharpener won’t function when the safety cap is on.
The shavings tray is see-through so you can see when it’s time to remove and clean it.
This sharpener has a sleek, modern design and looks good on any desk.
It sharpens the pencils fast and very well and the auto shut off feature makes it safe to use in classrooms.
This is a sturdy sharpener with a detachable plug adapter and it’s safer not to use it for colored pencils.
Superpro Glow Commercial Electric Pencil Sharpener.
The dual cutter technology used in this sharpener makes the sharpening way faster, producing a new pointed tip in about seconds.
The motor shuts off automatically to prevent over-sharpening and to also reduce the noise of the sharpener.
The Sharp glow illumination gives a visual indicator when the sharpening is done whereas the QuietSharp fan cools the motor for continuous quiet stall-free operation when in use.
The sharpener features a tool-free removable cutter cartridge that makes it easy to clean or replace, which is made from solid die cast metal.
When the shavings tray is removed, the MagnaSafe tamper shuts the motor down.
The size selector dial is easy to use even with one hand and the sharpener works great even on colored pencils.
This is a long lasting sharpener due to its brushed metal case. Also, it has antimicrobial protection.
The oversized base with suction cup feet gives good stability to the sharpener. The fan cools the motor for continuous operation.
TripWorthy electric pencil sharpener
The performance and durability of this unit are top-notch. The material used in its construction are of high quality. It is battery powered and comes at a low price. It operates very fast thus eliminating time wastage. The lightweight and compact design make it portable since one can easily move it from place to place without struggling.
X-ACTO SchoolPro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener
It delivers rounded tips without over sharpening the pencil. It has been designed to meet the classroom needs since it can fit almost six different sized pencils. The flyaway cutter system used stops the sharpener from sharpening the pencil when it becomes sharp.
Artistique Electric Pencil Sharpener
It is well designed to match to any décor of the place where it is set. The quality of this product is unmatchable. It gives excellent results to the user due to the different settings that one can use. The electric pencil sharpener has auto-safety features that help prevent an accident during use.
Artist Choice Pencil Sharpener
With this pencil sharpener, you are guaranteed of a uniform, smooth and sharp tip for your pencil. They are safe for traveling, use on a desk or table due to their robust body and their lightweight nature. The sharpener is powered by batteries.
X-ACTO ProX Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener, Silver/Black
A famous brand in the market of cutting tools, X-Acto has come up with yet another beauty in the form of the ProX Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener. Targeting its school going customers, this sharpener has everything which a child might want from his/her ideal sharpener. Safe, durable and quick, there is no need to turn towards other products when your children are looking for a premium quality product for their school activities.
Starting with the SmartStop feature, it has become a norm to save time and money with this feature present on most products from X-Acto. In addition to a Blue LED light, the motor stops just at the right moment to halt the pencil from over sharpening. There is no need to stop this device, again and again, to check the level of sharpness as this sharpener needs no external assistance. So as evident from the name of this feature, the SmartStop feature makes this device smart enough for everyone.
Also, this sharpener incorporates an anti-microbial shield to stop the production of bacteria at the pencil slots and the receptacle. Since students typically interact with a lot of objects, this is a great feature to stop the spreading of microorganisms and avoid your child of getting sick.
In the case of work overload, this device comes with an Auto-Reset Feature. Such a feature is useful when the sharpener is about to get overheated which can have serious repercussions for children. In any such scenario, the sharpener will turn itself off to save its users from any possible damage.
Lastly, there is a Safestart feature to make sure that the sharpener won’t start as long as the waste recipient isn’t in its place. Combine this feature with six different sized slots and a helical cutter, and there won’t be much better sharpeners like this one in today’s market.
Of course, everyone wants a product that is safe for use. For you to find the best pencil sharpener that will be safe and effective, you need to check on every feature that comes with the operation of the product. In this case, you will look for the features that show whether the product is safe for both kids and adults or not. Therefore, once you are done with that, you will then be in a good position to make the right choice.
What to Look For
Colored pencils come in a range of different colors and sizes with changes in the diameter of the lead, the size of the barrel, and the shape of the casing. A standard color pencil comes in an mm barrel, however novice-grade pencils tend to run a little bigger because many are made for classroom use and toddler hands. Artist and professional grade colored pencils tend to run at the standard mm size with differing core thickness, so if you work primarily with good quality pencils, you can use the same sharpener across a lot of brands.
Sharpeners also differ in their degrees of sharpening angles. The reason this is important, especially concerning colored pencils, is that the sharpening angle will determine how much lead is available per use. If your work involves detail and you need to maintain a constant sharp point, choose a pencil sharpener with a smaller angle (say, 7degrees). If on the other hand, you want to avoid sharpening constantly, a sharpening angle closer to 80 degrees will give you more exposed lead to work with.
Most colored pencils come in a rounded wooden barrel, but certain premium-grade pencils are designed in a hexagonal shape for better grip. There are also triangular barrels, but those are more specialized colored pencils, usually novice grade, and designed for small children. Most sharpeners are made to handle a range of different shapes, however there are specialized sharpeners designed for specific shapes, if you prefer to be precise.
The Kum Automatic Brake Long Point
This is a two-step sharpener designed for graphite pencils. We are recommending it for colored pencils because its genius design allows you to sharpen in a two-step process, for a precise, clean, and very gentle finish.
The Kum Automatic Brake Long Point has two sharpening holes, one to shave off the wood, and another specifically for the lead. While you may be put off by the two step process, keep in mind the value of your colored pencils. This sharpener lengthens the life of your pencil because nothing is disposed of. The wood shavings and colored shavings are separated, allowing you to save precious pigment and utilize every bit of what you paid for.
Prismacolor Pencil Sharpener
Designed for use alongside Prismacolor colored pencils, this is a German-crafted pencil sharpener with a simple design and wide range of use. The best feature of this pencil sharpener is the blade- a high quality, rust and blunt-resistant blade that is long lasting and gentle on your colored pencils.
The simple, transparent slide cover makes it easy to monitor the accumulation of shavings and its small size makes it very portable.
X-ACTO Cut All Lightweight Knife
The most dangerous, but precise of sharpening methods is using an X-acto knife.
Premium-grade colored pencils have softer cores and depending on their formula, can be damaged easily by electric or hand-held pencil sharpeners. The idea here is to shave off the wood, expose the lead, and then sharpen the lead gently by shaving off the pigment to produce a fine point.
An X-acto knife also allows you to separate wooden shavings from pigment shavings. This is especially nice if you like to reuse your pigment, as the knife can give you a fine, colored powder to work with.
Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils Review – 4.2/5
Ohuhu Electric Pencil Sharpener, Automatic, Battery-powered & USB-powered for Like the Ohuhu Electric Pencil Sharpener, Automatic, Battery-powered & USB-powered?
X-Acto 1800 Series Desktop Electric Pencil Sharpener, Putty, Silver/Black
Grab the pencil with the other.
With the edge of the knife facing the charcoal tip of the pencil, place your non-dominant hand’s thumb on the non-sharp edge.
Push the knife out with your thumb while pressing down with the thumb holding the knife (BUA suggests putting a garbage can between the legs in front of you).
The lower/harder you press, the more charcoal that is exposed. Adjust so that the right amount of graphite is exposed. Not too much but not so little that it’s still dull.
Warning: Drop it and the charcoal will break. Don’t drop it.
Once you have exposed the right enough of charcoal, take the knife to the charcoal area of the pencil and sharpen it to your desired level. Carve it until it’s like a dagger.
Once you’re done, take a sand pad and rub/roll the charcoal back and forth on the sand surface so that the charcoal is polished. If it is well-polished, there should no indentations in the line when you try to draw a straight line.
Keep the powdered charcoal from the sand pad to block in shading for later.
Keep in mind, there are whole classes in art schools devoted just to how to sharpen pencils. Don’t be frustrated if you keep breaking the charcoal or have any difficulty with the knife. Just give it some time while practicing BUA’s tips and you’ll be fine!
Color vibrancy is the liveliness of the colors from the pencils. There are colored pencils that will require you to add more strokes or layers to make each the colors brighter and livelier in your canvas. Meanwhile, some colored pencils do not require heavy strokes or added layers to make colors alive.
Depending on the project you are doing or even your preference, you might want to check the pencil’s color vibrancy.
Care For Your Colored Pencils
When you’ve chosen your colored pencils, placing them inside the box is not the only way to care for it. Here are a few tips to maintain your colored pencils:
You need to choose the right sharpener with regard to size and blade quality.
Some consider turning the sharpener rather than the pencil for less tension on the pencil.
For wax-based pencils, heating them a little can cure breakage as the wax melts and fuse together.
It might also be helpful to use just the right amount of force with the pencils.
As you can see from the image stippling is made by making dots of the pencil. It can be made with sharp for thinner circles and dull for bigger dots. This technique is suited for added texture on the canvas’ surface.
Hatching, on the other hand, is made with slanted lines. It can be used when doing straight images to create dynamism.
Similar to hatching is the cross-hatching, which can be made by crisscrossing the lines.
The back and forth stroke is a more free-hand stroking where you go back and forth to fill in the spaces.
A brand that has been in the industry for over 7years that provides art tools for professionals, students and beginners alike.
It has a softcore or soft lead that is suitable for shading jobs. Artists and professionals can find this an enjoyable set for complicated shading.
The set includes 4counts or individual pencils that give you more color options. It can be suited for different and complex coloring works.
The softcore allows you to easily make strokes and blending to create unique color combinations.
This set packs highly saturated pigments inside each pencil, which create vibrant colors or saturated colors. It helps in attaining the right intensity of the color you might need for your project.
It has a good lightfast, where artists can expect colors to less discoloration as the time goes by.
The softcore easily breaks, especially when used with stronger force when doing coloring tasks.
If users have a minimal idea on proper usage, the wax make glob or chunk matters on the paper making one’s work uneven.
There are powder coming off from the pencil, which if one is not careful can create unwanted smudges on the paper.
2. Faber-Castel 2Piece Polychromous Colored Pencil Set In Metal Tin
Another household brand that has been around since the 1700s, Faber Castell is all about marrying traditional pencil making and environmentally friendly product as Faber-Castel 2Piece Polychromous Colored Pencil Set In Metal Tin.
This set of colored pencils is in “polychrome” or in varied colors. It comes in 2counts or individual colored pencils that are considered a wide enough range to allow users different color combinations.
It has the right combination of hardness and softness of the lead. This feature can help the artists with both detail work and color blending. Thus, it can help with complex color or even drawing jobs.
It produces vivid or vibrant colors, which can help you, as the users, with getting the right color. The color vividness can also keep you from putting too much layer in order attain vibrancy.
The set does not include the basic colors (i.e. the purple or violet shade). The lack of these hues can be an issue for beginners who do not know how to blend and mix colors.
3. Derwent Colored Pencils, Drawing, Art, Colorsoft, 12-Pack
A brand that is known and widely used by students, Crayola brings in their 2count colored pencils.
It was environment-friendly created as the manufacturer used reforested wood.
The set comes in 2counts, which will give you good color options, especially when doing big or extensive artwork.
The colored pencils are suited for kids because of the non-toxic feature of the product.
Pencils create easy color blending that is advantageous for creating different colors despite only having 2counts (less than the 4of Prismacolor.
The lead is soft enough to make mixing and blending easy.
The first sharpener that I want to look at is my KUM, German made long point sharpener. I will say right of the bat and this was totally by mistake, this was not intentional at all, however, the vast majority of the sharpeners in this review are German. It would appear, as with a lot of things that the Germans produce, they incorporate incredibly high quality and workmanship into everything they turn their hands to.
The KUM Long Point, as you can see has two slots for the pencil, however, this is not to accommodate two different dimension pencil barrels, it is to help create the long point with one pencil. The first slot gives the barrel a steep shave whilst creating what can only be described as a corkscrew style cut on the actual pencil core.
You then remove the pencil and insert it into the adjacent slot, twisting as you would normally do and it is this second slot that polishes and delivers an incredibly fine and long point on the pencil.
There are two much smaller holes on either side of the sharpener, one red and one white, both of these are to aid in the sharpening of your clutch pencil cores. A clutch pencil is quite similar to a mechanical pencil, only the core tends to be much thicker and does require sharpening, unlike the mechanical.
M & R Brass Cylinder.
This next sharpener, although only a small hand held sharpener is perhaps my favourite out of the lot. Again this is another German brand sharpener, the M & R Brass Cyliner and comes with two separate slots for pencils of a slightly thicker barrel and your regular sized barrels.
You can get replacement blades for this sharpener, as you can for almost all pencil sharpeners. It is worth noting that no matter how amazing a pencil sharpener is when you first get it, you are at some stage going to have to replace the blades. It is the sharpness of the blades that gives you the nice clean sharpened pencil, as soon as the blade become blunt, this is when chips will be sliced from the barrel and cores will start to break.
Derwent Superpoint Hand Crank Sharpener.
This sharpener from Derwent is very aptly named as it really does deliver a super point. As you can see from the images, this is like the old school sharpeners that the teachers used to have sitting on their desks. The Derwent Superpoint comes included with a desk clamp allowing you to securely attack the sharper to the desk, allowing for a stable action when sharpening.
The sharpener has a large collection area that catches all your sharpening debris and is easily removed for emptying. On occasion when i pencil core breaks and gets stuck in the workings, you can remove the blade, which is very reminiscent of a drill bit. Once removed you simply flick the core free of the blade and you reinsert it.
One of the big advantages of using a pencil sharpener such as the Derwent Superpoint, is the grabbing action that keeps the pencil still and allows the blade to do all the work. With handheld sharpeners, no matter how good they are, the individual may unknowingly be twisting the pencil, while sharpening and thus allowing for the core to become strained and break. This does not happen as much in a desk sharpener.
The Derwent Superpoint is an excellent sharper and one I highly recommend, especially if you are likely to be doing a lot of sharpening.
M & R Desk Sharpener
Another M&R German made sharpener, M & R standing for Mobius and Ruppert, the manufactures. Although this sharper is very similar to the Derwent Superpoint, there is one very significant difference.
Everything that applies to the Derwent Sharpener applies to this M & R, except for one feature that I personally think is very cool. On the back of the M & R sharpener, just below the hand crank you use to sharpen the pencil, is a small silver dial.
This dial allows you to determine the type of point you want, whether it be a short point or a very long point or somewhere in between. I was put onto this sharpener by another excellent YouTube Smootie7who also has done a review of this device.
As you can see in the images provided, the difference in variation is quite prominent, however, it does allow for excellent control and precision that you are unable to achieve in any of the other sharpeners. The point also as you can see is fantastic when set at the longest setting.
This little sharpener is by far my least favourite of the however, it does deliver a consistently good point. It has a good weight to it and is ideal for traveling, just dropping into your bag and heading off with.
The Maped sharpener feels good in the hand with it curved design as opposed to similar sharpeners of this range being square. A sharpener is a sharpener at the end of the day and it is all about whether or not it can deliver a consistently sharp point to your colored or graphite pencil and with this little guy, it absolutely does the job.
The Maped is by far the cheapest sharpener of the group and although it is good and consistent, you get what you pay for. With regards to the blade changing for this sharpener, they are simply generic style blades, interchangeable with most sharpeners in this design range.
Over and over and over.
You pay over a dollar for one pencil and what you get after sharpining it is a two inch stub shorter than the color you just replaced. Ow.
There are ways to prevent this problem. Half of them are caused by how you sharpen them, the other half by how you handle and store them. In this article I’ll go into both.
Sanford Prismacolor makes a Prismacolor Colored Pencil Sharpener. It costs a little more than normal pencil sharpeners, it’s in the price range of other good artists’ pencil sharpeners — and it will pay for itself rapidly by the number of replacements you don’t need to buy. I have several of them because when I tested it, I lost fewer points.
The physical design of the holder seems to guide the pencils in just right and keep them from wobbling or going at an angle. It’s got a sleek design like a little black plastic cigar shape with a silver band around the middle, the bottom is the shavings receptacle and the top just protects it from dirt and moisture. This sharpener is the best hand sharpener for use with Prismacolors and it’s worth the money.
But the most important thing to remember is that it needs a sharp blade. Even if you buy the specialized colored pencil sharpener, which does have an engineering solution to keep soft waxy points from snagging and breaking off, once the blade dulls it’s going to be as hard on them as any normal one. Pencil sharpener blades need to be replaced as often as razor blades for the same reasons. They dull — and they can still cut you when they’re so dull they would break the points off normal pencils.
So as soon as that new sharpener starts giving any resistance while you’re sharpening, check the blade and stop using it for Prismacolors. Or replace the blade. You can find replacement pencil sharpener blades at Blick now, they’re about two or three for a dollar and much cheaper than the Prismacolor Colored Pencil Sharpener.
Any brand new pencil sharpener may do a decent job with Prismacolors. If you are using a normal one, try the wide hole side rather than the narrow hole you use for Verithins and normal pencils. It’s a little gentler on the point and less likely to twist the core. I’ve had good results with brand new Alvin Brass Bullet sharpeners and the General’s All-Art little red sharpener, the latter is also shaped like the wide side of a double-hole one and can handle over-wide pencils.
If you buy a brand new set of Prismacolor pencils, none of them are presharpened. Be sure to have an extra blade or two handy because if you got a big set, you may wear out the blade just sharpening the set once. Always keep extra blades and sharpeners handy.
Test it with a cheap normal pencil if you’re not sure about whether a sharpener has a dull blade. Compare it to a new sharpener just out of its wrapper. If it takes more pressure to turn the normal pencil and sharpen it, the blade is dull and should not be used for soft core artist grade colored pencils at the risk of your losing a lot of money replacing them.
Another good solution is an electric sharpener. Some artists swear by them, others hate them and claim they can knock points off worse than hand sharpeners. I bought one and it’s been a great convenience. In the studio, I prefer to use that, because the grinding mechanism is self sharpening and I don’t wind up having to stop and change blades so often.
What to pay attention to in using an electric, either battery or AC, or a crank handle grinding sharpener like the old school type ones, is to keep the shavings receptacle clean so that it doesn’t mash up into the grinder and choke the machine. Also clean it every few times you use it by running a normal HB pencil into it. This pushes the sticky bits of Prismacolor core through and the graphite lubricates the grinders.
Some artists recommend using a sandpaper paddle for sharpening Prismacolors and other types of colored pencils, or use a pocket knife. Both of these seemed slow and cumbersome to me compared to either a sharp blade in a hand sharpener or an electric, but they will give custom point shapes especially if you like shaving it down to a chisel tip instead of a cone shaped sharp point.
Now for the other tips to avoid internal breakage.
I order my replacement pencils online. The volume of business that big companies like Dick Blick or Jerry’s Artarama do in replacement Prismacolors means that they’re not going to be handled very much between the time the warehouse employee opens a box of a dozen Canary Yellow and the time one of those gets grabbed to pack into your order. In brick and mortar stores, the open stock pencils go into displays and don’t sell as fast.
But someone’s going to bump into it and knock the whole thing all over at fairly frequent intervals, kids pull them out to play with them and drop them, then a store employee picks them up and reshelves them more or less by what color and I wind up buying one that’s crumbled all the way through because you can’t tell it took that damage. Almost every time I’ve bought replacements at a physical location, I’ve had at least one or two that I had to return with my receipt to get a replacement. Sometimes I’ve had to go back two or three times.
It’s probably less of a problem if you purchase replacements by the dozen. This may make sense for some colors, especially if you do very large colored pencil paintings. But there are always some colors that you definitely need, but only need in a little area a half inch wide at any given time. So I seriously recommend buying replacements online or if you’re a regular at a local store, asking them to open a new box from the back for your pencil instead of just grabbing from what’s in the rack and hoping it’s still good.
Prismacolor tins aren’t very good for keeping them safe unless you keep them absolutely flat on a shelf and never tilt them. This means if you buy a set, carry it home flat. Don’t let them put it on end in the bag. Carry the bag flat.
Some other brands have taken measures to protect the delicate pencils like adding a thin layer of foam over the styrene tray inside the tin. These are great. What works just as well is cutting a piece of flannel with pinking shears so it doesn’t unravel, preferably white, to fit inside the tin over the pencils. Maybe two layers of flannel, it depends on the tin. It should fill the space between the lid and the pencils full and squish down when you tape the lid shut.
The lids come off easily so tape it shut or never let the tin go on an angle.
If any pencils within a set are damaged, I find that out when sharpening the set and contact Blick immediately. They will replace any pencil that’s ruined or any pencil that is missing from the set in any set. This isn’t just Prismacolor — any brand of colored pencils, in a large set you stand a chance of getting two Dark Brown and no Sepia, the person packing the tin grabbed a similar color and gave you a duplicate. Report that and you’ll get the missing color from the seller out of open stock.
If I have to keep sharpening till the stub is half mast, on a brand new pencil, it’s time to tell Blick or wherever I bought it that I need one that isn’t damaged.
Once I get the set home, I will put the pencils into something a lot safer for them than a Prismacolor tin. The tins are nice to keep on the shelf to store spares and stubs and loose other pencils, they’re pretty collectibles and I like them, but I don’t expect them to protect their contents if they’re moved. So they stay where they don’t get moved often.
For everyday use there are several solutions. In a studio, you can keep them in cups as many artists do. Don’t let the cups drop off your table. Carousels are popular — vertical storage is handy. But don’t let your cat in the studio to knock it over.
Try to avoid ever letting loose pencils fall on a hard floor. Carpet can sometimes protect dropped pencils from internal breakage, but not if they knock against each other. What I found more effective and nearly as convenient for Prismacolor storage is to get a good permanent pencil case like the Global Classic leather cases or the nylon easel cases made by Tran or other manufacturers.
ASW carries some inexpensive elastic-band easel cases that are great. They cost quite a lot less than the fancy leather ones and protect just as well with padding and elastic bands to keep them from banging into each other or anything else. Prismacolors that get moved from their native tin into these cases live a lot longer and I’ve been able to use all the core instead of collecting a tray of broken points to mash into powder and spread with a brush.
Personal taste, I like the Global Classic leather cases the best. Leather is tough and it adds one more layer of resilient padding around the whole set. It also smells nice and feels a bit special to be using something genuine and giving my fine art supplies the best care. However the nylon and padding and cardboard cases like the Tran Deluxe or the one at ASW do work just as well and if you have an objection to using leather products, the Global Classic isn’t your only option.
I never store Prismacolors in loose mesh or zipper bags where they bang into each other and other supplies. That will cause internal breakage every time they rattle. I use those for pens and other drawing implements that aren’t as fragile. They’re fine for most graphite pencils, but the softer types of colored pencils are expensive and delicate.
Derwent Drawing Pencils, Derwent Coloursoft, Derwent Inktense, Caran d’Ache Pablo and other very soft colored pencils all may have this problem. Part of it is that the blades in pencil sharpeners can get gummed up with bits of the previous pencil’s shavings when you’re sharpening, so even with a fresh blade it’s good to wipe it clean with a soft cloth and blow into it to knock out any loose shavings before sharpening.
Prismacolor Verithin and Col-Erase colored pencils don’t have this problem. They handle about like normal graphite pencils and you don’t need to take special care with them. The softer the lead of your colored pencils is, the more likely internal breakage is a problem.
Oddly enough, woodless colored pencils like Cretacolor Aqua Monolith, Derwent Aquatone or Koh-I-Noor Progresso colored pencils are far less subject to breakage. The lacquered surface of woodless colored pencils is sturdy and tough. Prismacolor Art Stix don’t tend to break unless you deliberately break a stick to get a shorter bit to turn on its side like a pastel.
But fresh blades in pencil sharpeners is a good idea anyway, because if they get too dull, they won’t just damage delicate Prismacolors. A very old blade can even crunch up the kind of HB pencil you get free at the grocery or bank, so that’s when to throw it out.
Some artists save money on replacement blades by stocking up on cheap children’s sharpeners every year at the Back to School sales in great quantity, then breaking them open and throwing out the case to put the blade into an expensive artist sharpener like the Prismacolor Colored Pencil Sharpener. It’s sometimes cheaper than the replacement blades, but I hate throwing away the extra plastic so I order replacement blades.
The Magno Sharpener is a low-cost option for buyers who don’t want their pencil sharpener to have a cord. This is especially important in a classroom setting, since a cord is a tripping hazard for children. Furthermore, this product is battery operated and can be a good supplement to other electric sharpeners. Its design is very attractive, and it produces much less waste than other sharpeners.
Kum Automatic Brake Sharpeners are some of the most reliable sharpeners we’ve had the pleasure to use. They employ a two-step process to ensure a clean, super sharp point every time. The blade on the left first removes a section of wood to reveal the graphite. The right-hand blade then sharpens the lead. The resulting tip is longer than typical sharpeners make. This lets you stretch out the time between sharpenings. If you prefer your pencils with shorter points, check out our other picks below.
What to Look for in a Pencil Sharpener
Pencils come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. mm is the most common diameter with bigger pencil diameters running all the way up to 10.mm. Most of the sharpeners we’re featuring today accommodate standard mm pencils.
Pencils are available in hexagonal, circular, or triangular shapes. All sharpeners can handle the different shapes, though some are designed specifically for a particular shape.
The Kutsuwa Stad T’Gaal.
Sharpening demonstration. The color shown is no longer available.
The Kutsuwa T’Gaal features a dial that you can use to adjust your sharpening angle. This produces a variety of different pencil lengths, each of which is tidy and sharp. Level produces a short, stout point similar to those on golf pencils. Level gives a medium point. This makes it an excellent choice for people who prefer shorter tips, share sharpeners among their family, or who use one sharpener for both graphite pencils and soft colored pencils.
The Kutsuwa Stad K’Zool.
Sharpening demonstration. The color shown is no longer available.
The Kutsuwa K’Zool is similar to the T’Gaal in that it also allows you to sharpen your pencil to different lengths. Instead of adjusting the sharpening angle however, the dial moves a stopper inside the sharpener that controls how long the point can get. This approach means that the shorter lengths don’t get as sharp as the longer ones. These blunter options are more gentle on colored pencils and reduce the chance of your pencil tip fracturing. The longest setting produces a medium-length sharp point.
HOW WE APPROACH RESEARCH & TESTING
Our writers draw on their personal expertise, consult our in-house subject matter experts, and do extensive research to make our guides as accurate and comprehensive as possible. We then test every finding that makes it through the research stage. Only the techniques and tools whose performance we personally confirm make it into our guides as recommendations.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Pencil Sharpeners wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Pencil Sharpeners
- №1 — X-ACTO ProX Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener
- №2 — X-ACTO Ranger 55 Manual Pencil Sharpener
- №3 — X-ACTO ProX Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener