The 9 Best Electric Pencil Sharpeners

Updated November 10, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

9 Best Electric Pencil Sharpeners
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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. When you need to make a point but don't think you're sharp enough to do so, you'll need one of these electric pencil sharpeners. They're ideal for schools, offices and artists working with different types of pencils, and are available with spacious receptacles for shavings and automatic shutoff capabilities so you know when your pencil is ready for action. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best electric pencil sharpener on Amazon.

9. Royal P10

With its sleek, compact, vertical design, the Royal P10 is an attractive option that won't break the bank. It might, however, break itself when you try to use it, or get clogged up if you're sharpening nonstandard or colored pencils.
  • nonskid base keeps it standing
  • often produces uneven tips
  • shavings drawer is very small
Brand Royal
Model P10
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. X-Acto SharpX Principal

The X-Acto SharpX Principal's top-entry design saves space on cluttered desks or shelves, and features an adjustable sizing dial to help keep a tight grip while its helical steel blades make quick work of the sharpening process.
  • suction cup base for stability
  • auto stops when tips are sharp
  • may sharpen unevenly
Brand X-Acto
Model 1773
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. School Smart Heavy-Duty

The School Smart Heavy-Duty is a reliable workhorse and the perfect choice for classroom use. This model is designed to work with non-graphite utensils as well, which makes it a great option for anyone using colored pencils.
  • easy-access shavings bin
  • comes with 12 quality pencils
  • exceptionally noisy
Brand TeachingMart
Model TM-Heavy-Duty
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Linkyo Smart Sensor

For high-volume capacity at a modest price, the Linkyo Smart Sensor has a crystal clear, extra large reservoir that holds the shavings of up to 100 pencils. It sharpens in three seconds and promises to never deliver an uneven tip.
  • patented auto-jam release
  • automatically shuts off when open
  • feels cheap and flimsy
Model pending
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. OfficeGoods V-7

The OfficeGoods V-7 lets you use a simple switch to choose a blunt, medium, or sharp tip, customizing your pencil to your needs. It can be powered with a standard outlet, four AA batteries, or even via USB for maximum flexibility.
  • available in black or silver
  • highly compact design
  • small shavings collection bin
Brand OfficeGoods
Model V-7
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Bostitch QuietSharp 6

The Bostitch QuietSharp 6 is both functional and attractive. It looks great on a desk, shelf, or table, and always makes a point. It has a tamper-proof safety switch that prevents the motor from running when the shavings bin is removed, cutting down on possible messes.
  • impressively quiet operation
  • six-size dial for a firm hold
  • hefty four pound weight
Brand Bostitch Office
Model EPS10HC
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. TripWorthy 102256

Impressively powerful for a battery-operated model, the TripWorthy 102256 packs a punch and is a great option for people who need a sharpener than can travel with them. It's also safe for kids, as it won't function if any of its outer pieces are detached.
  • compact and lightweight
  • auto-stops when tips are sharp
  • four aa batteries are not included
Brand TripWorthy
Model 102256
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. School Smart Vertical

Let gravity do the work of holding your pencil with the basic but reliable School Smart Vertical. It is one of the best reviewed models on the market today, largely thanks to its helical steel blades, which move quickly and stay sharp over time.
  • large shavings receptacle
  • auto-stops when finished sharpening
  • works with non-graphite pencils
Brand School Smart
Model 084437
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Bostitch SuperPro 6 Commercial

The Bostitch SuperPro 6 Commercial is a seriously advanced machine. It promises speeds up to 75% faster than the competition, and extends the life of your writing implements with tip-saver technology that shuts the unit off automatically when it's done sharpening.
  • die-cast metal base for support
  • fan-cooled motor for heavy use
  • large and easy to clean receptacle
Brand Bostitch Office
Model EPS12HC
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Your Fingers To A Point

Elementary schools have long been outfitted with those iconic manual pencil sharpeners, the ancient-looking, metallic numbers with bodies shaped like flat-edged eggs. They could be bolted to a wall, a desktop, a counter–anything that could withstand the pressure of a young hand cranking away on the handle.

The dangerous thing about children's hands, and the reason I assume that most school systems still prefer manual sharpeners to electric ones, is that they have a few digits that are actually small enough to fit inside the sharpener.

When I was a kid, it was a common dare to stick your pinky–or whichever finger might fit–through the opening and turn the crank. Nobody really ever got hurt because the amount of finger sharpening going on was directly related to the pressure on the handle, and most kids yanked their fingers out the moment they felt the gears turning inside.

Most pencil sharpeners of this grade, be they manual or electric, consist of two corrugated barrels with moderately sharp ridges on them. Your pencil point ends up between these barrels, and their edges carve away at the pencil's wood and graphite in waves, producing a sharper and sharper point to your pencil the longer you spend in the moving machine.

Electric sharpeners have a simple sensor in them that detects the presence of the pencil either by touch or light sensitivity, depending on the brand and model. Pass a certain point with the pencil tip, and the sharpener engages.

Fancier models have adjustable sharpness settings, which are especially useful for artists who want to have a specific point to their pencils before putting them to paper. Some artists may even try to repeat the challenge presented to the grade school students mentioned above, and fill their creations in with a little all-natural red ink–I do not recommend this method.

Pencil Tip Of The Day

If you're a pencil person, you're well-acquainted with the terrible feeling in your body when the point of your pencil breaks. It starts in your fingertips and jumps aggressively up the arm, debilitating the shoulder and making a beeline for your heart. Having a sharp pencil in reserve is often the fastest remedy, but it's not always the case.

Keeping a high-quality pencil sharpener in or around your work space is the only surefire way to keep this anxiety from slamming the breaks on your creative progress. Exactly which electric sharpener you choose to enter into your workflow depends a lot on what the ergonomics are of that space, and your specific use of the pencils in question.

If you're a multi-tasker, liable to find yourself writing or drawing with one hand while mixing coffee and filing papers with your other, you're going to want your electric pencil sharpener to have its hole located on top. Sure, some of the front-facing hole models have suction cups and other gimmicks to keep them in place if you try to push your pencil into them with just the one hand, but, more often than not, you end up pushing the sharpener itself across your desk without shredding a single layer of graphite.

With an upright sharpener, you can let gravity assist you as you press your pencil downward through the sharpener's blades until it's perfectly honed.

You may be a more patient worker, though, preferring to accomplish one task at a time, reveling in the specificity of your moments. For you, a lateral sharpener will do just fine, and will usually be produced by the higher-quality brands on the market, like industrial manufacturers such as Bostitch or fine art suppliers like X-Acto.

Whittling Down The Competition

There are gift shops and stationary stores in the world that will sell you novelty pencils of enormous size. They're particularly difficult to write with, but they are even more impossible to sharpen. You have to reach back to the earliest days of the pencil to find a suitable sharpening method: the knife. The first pencil sharpeners of any kind were knives and hands, used to whittle the edges of a pencil to a crude point, the graphite tip (lead long ago) sticking out just far enough to be of use.

We have the French to thank for the development of the original pencil sharpeners, whose design from the early decades of the 1800s isn't far off from the single-blade, prism-style sharpeners kids still carry around in their pencil cases.

The mechanical pencil sharpeners with which we've become familiar in public schools around the world didn't come about until 1904, with a design strikingly similar to contemporary models, albeit less effective and more intricate in its manufacture.

The first electric pencil sharpeners were right around the corner, advertised by Farnham Printing and Stationary Company in 1917. Several other companies like Swingline and Polar Cub developed their own competitive versions through the 50s and 60s, with a boom in production arriving alongside the explosion of big-box office stores like Staples and Office Depot in the 1990s.

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Last updated on November 10, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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