If you are an artist, you will know how valuable a sharpener is. Though there are many products available for sharpening a pencil, it becomes difficult to pick the right one. Researching on them can be time-consuming as well. To save your precious time, here are some of the best sharpeners for colored pencils.
Before we list the different sharpeners, here is something important for you to read:
Before pencil sharpeners were invented, people used to sharpen pencils by whittling them with a good knife. However, when a pencil sharpener was introduced in the market, the work became easier and resulted in a neat, uniform point.
Some specialized pencils, like the carpenter’s pencil, are still sharpened with the help of a knife, because of its flat shape. Nevertheless, since the year 2000, a fixed-blade tool with a flexible rotatable collar was made available.
Bernard Lassimonne, a French mathematician patented it first in 1828. However, it was only in the year1847 that this patented pencil sharpener was given a modern design by another Frenchman named Thierry Des Estivaux and became a hit in the market.
Choose according to your budget requirements and sharpener type. So, let’s get started.
Category 1: Manual Color Pencil Sharpeners
Talking about pencil sharpeners, there are various electric models available in the market but that isn’t the feature you might need. Most prefer normal manual sharpeners than the electric ones. Also, these have a few advantages than the other models. So, here are the best sharpeners for colored pencils.
1. X-Acto Bulldog Pencil Sharpener
The X-ACTO Bulldog is a manual pencil sharpener, which is ideal for workshops and classrooms. It is exclusively designed for frequent usage. With this tool, sharpening “regular & colored pencils” is fast, easy, and reliable.
- It has a hard helical cutter and is designed with a nice, vacuum mount to make the tool convenient and portable.
- The transparent container lets you see if it is full or not. Once the box is full with large shavings, you can empty it.
- The sharpener can be fixed to a nonporous surface.
Overall, this pencil sharpener is simple to use and if you are going to utilize it for a serious work environment like workshop or classroom, then this tool is perfectly useful. Fixing it on any nonporous surface makes it an amazing feature. But the only drawback is that you have to handle it carefully. The outer case is made of plastic and can easily break if it falls. This sharpener is equipped with a container that can hold bigger shavings. So, you don’t have the need to empty it often. It lets you save a few trips to the dustbin.
2. Prismacolor Scholar Sharpener
Unlike regular pencils, the colored ones have a different composition. This truly matters while sharpening them because most utilitarian sharpeners tend to over-sharpen those soft pigments, which further leads to an uneven color application (on the paper) and cracking. However, the case with the Prismacolor Scholar Sharpener is different. It is exclusively designed to offer a perfect effect with colored pencils. It is trouble-free to clean, simple to use, and its solid design speaks beyond.
- Sharpens the colored pencils with a neat, perfect point.
- The steel is gentle on the colored pencil.
- The design is compact and easily fits in any case.
- The translucent body lets you see whenever it is full.
It is a great quality sharpener. If you have been using various pencil sharpeners, then you might feel that they are not as good as this one. The way it sharpens colored pencils is not only great but of great excellence.
3. Mroco Pencil Sharpener
If you are someone, who does a lot of arts & crafts, then you are sure to use different kinds of sharpeners and pencils. Most non-quality sharpeners tend to chew the entire pencil up. However, Mroco pencil sharpener offers a nice shave of the pencil.
- This pencil sharpener is designed by keeping students, teachers, and artists in mind. It boasts the best durability and ultimate performance. It is made from top quality materials, making the job to be done with ease each time.
- It is a manual sharpener and hence, very safe. You will not hurt your fingers. This feature makes it a perfect pick for young kids.
- The product comes with a warranty. Therefore, if you are not satisfied with it, you can have it changed. The design is compact and strong, making it great for the office, home, and classroom use.
- It gives a flawless performance and sharpens both jumbo pencils and traditional liners.
When you use it, you will notice that the tip is sharp. Whether it is normal pencil, watercolor pencil, or colored pencil, this tool does the job without disturbance. Since it does not come with batteries, it is safe for young children.
4. Staedtler Double Hole Pencil Sharpener
This sharpener has features to accommodate different types of colored and usual pencils. It sharpens both triangular and round writing pencils with an ordinary circumference. However, it can be used for bigger colored pencils as well. It is made from durable materials and comes with a nice silver & blue plastic. The case is transparent and easy to clean. The container has enough space to hold a good amount of pencil shavings.
- It comes with a sturdy case. It has a transparent container through which you can see if it is full or not.
- It features two sharpening holes. One for graphite pencils and the other larger colored + graphite pencils
Since the reservoir is transparent, you can know when it has to be emptied. In addition, there is a protective hatch to cover the sharpener’s apertures to make sure that pencil shavings don’t escape even if you keep it in a bag. Besides this being the reason, it also protects the blade from dirt, lint, or foreign matters.
5. Bostitch Twist-N-Sharp
If we had to define this sharpener in short words, it would be effective, portable, attractive, and fast. All these features have made this product as one of the best sharpeners for colored pencils. Unlike other sharpeners that use traditional circular twists, the Bostitch’s Twist-N-Sharp sharpener tends to employ the back and forth mechanism. The quality blades create an ideal sharpness in a much less time.
- It comes in three different colors: Blue, Coral, and Purple.
- The back and forth motion creates a quick ratchet for sharpening. There is a discreet, trouble-free side door to set out the shavings quickly and easily.
- It can be customized for sharpening both blunt and sharp tips. The Tip Saver feature prevents the tool from sharpening the pencil in excess.
The inbuilt Tip-Saving Technology stops over-sharpening and prevents the lead from cracking under pressure. The exclusive side-door is candy-colored and transparent, making you aware as to when it is full. The reservoir lets you throw the pencil shavings with ease.
Category 2: Electric Color Pencil Sharpeners
There might be times when you might not like those fancy manual sharpeners and prefer the electric models. Whether it is your high-end artistic classroom or an office, these electric sharpeners will do the work perfectly without disturbing you. No matter how busy you are as an artist, properly sharpened pencils are essential. Whether you are not finding the time to do that tedious job or want the sharpness to be excellent, these ten electric sharpeners will do the task for you:
6. Colore Electric Sharpener
Whether you don’t find time to sharpen your pencils or wish to look smart and cool with an electric sharpener, this is the perfect pick. Titled as one of the best and safe electric pencil sharpener, it is great for young kids. Thanks to its helical technology. It is a top-notch helic cutter system made of stainless steel, which guarantees to smooth the pencil tip perfectly.
- It is safe for kids. It will not cut or poke the fingers.
- The container is large enough to occupy a big amount of pencil shavings.
- It is powerful and durable pencil sharpener, which generates uniform, smooth, and crisp tip in a few seconds.
- It is compact, lightweight, and portable. The best thing about this sharpener is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee. So, even if you are not satisfied with the product, the company is there to help you anytime.
This compact battery powered sharpener has the dimension of 5 x 3 x 2 inches. It weighs only 6.9 ounces, which makes it ideal for carrying it in schoolbags. But what about the noise? Since it is electric, you might not want to use it in a quiet environment like office or classroom. The manufacturer has solved this problem too. The sharpener has a sound dampening case, which helps in minimizing the disruptions.
7. OfficePro Helical Technology Electric Sharpener
This sharpener is very different from the others. Firstly, it is substantial and weighty, meaning that it has sufficient heaviness for moving a pencil via the sharpener. Secondly, its motor is powerful than an average sharpener. The blade is sharp enough to sharpen it neatly in seconds. Thirdly, it does not eat your colored pencils while shaving. It works efficiently and quickly.
- It is built with a high quality stainless steel helical blade.
- It is powerful, portable, and durable. It offers easy grip and the container is secured.
- It is super fast and comes with an auto-stop feature.
- It requires 4 AA batteries and comes with a lifetime replacement feature.
The sharpener does not over sharpen and prevents the lead from cracking or breaking. This blade is razor sharp and durable than other standard sharpener blades. So, each time you sharpen the pencil, it gives a fine, uniform point. It works perfectly for hard-lead colored pencils, drafting pencils, and golf pencils.
With a vertical and ergonomic design, OfficePro’s sharpener is effortless to hold and offers a great grip. Once the pencil is sharpened, its blade is automatically stopped. If the tray opens while sharpening, the blade will stop right away to protect the fingers from getting hurt.
8. X-ACTO SchoolPro Electric Sharpener
Designed and engineered exclusively for classrooms, the X-ACTO SchoolPro Electric Sharpener features advanced sharpening technology and strong construction for reliable performance. The sharpener employs a helical cutter for sharpening the pencils efficiently.
- It is a heavy-duty pencil sharpener, which is designed exclusively for classrooms.
- Its durable construction can withstand wear & tear.
- The silent electric motor offers reliable power and minimal disruption.
- The flyaway cutter stops the cutter automatically once the pencil is sharpened.
- The helical cutter produces rounded, safe pencil points.
The sharpener does not over-sharpen the pencils and the point is sharpened perfectly with rounded tips. Its electric motor silently delivers dependable sharpening power and the automatic reset feature prevents overheating.
9. Linkyo Electric Sharpener For Pencils
Linkyo is one of the best sharpeners for colored pencils. It is creatively built with ultra-durable, heavy-duty, helical blade, which completes a 360⁰ rotation of a pencil’s tip in a few seconds. The design offers the finest tip every time.
Even if you are sharpening an extremely dull pencil, the sharpener takes only 3 seconds, and 7 seconds for a brand new pencil. Its durability and speed have made it among the best options of the top-selling electric sharpeners.
- It is a heavy-duty pencil sharpener, which is designed for office & classroom use. It can sharpen pencils in high volume at a much lesser time.
- The automatic sharpening sensor makes sure that the cutter stops as soon as the pencil reaches a sharp point.
- The helical cutter (made of fine steel) produces perfect and safe rounded point with ease. The reservoir is extra large and can hold a maximum of 100 shavings.
The sharpener also features an automatic sharpening sensor, which stops the sharpening mechanism once the pencil reaches a sharp point. The container has the capacity to hold a maximum of 100 shavings. The automatic Jam-Release feature allows you to push the pencil and frees the jam.
10. School Smart Vertical Electric Sharpener
For that long, nice, pointy, and clean pencil tips, School Smart’s Vertical Pencil Sharpener is a necessary tool. It is fast and powerful. It is one of the best-selling sharpeners in the market today and can be used for almost all kinds of pencils, even including art and watercolor pencils.
- It is a single-unit construction, which is highly effective and super fast in sharpening pencils.
- The design includes a bigger container for shavings, which is effortless to remove.
- Its helical steel blade and automatic stop mechanism offer a perfect tip for pencils.
The sharpener is pretty popular in art studios and classrooms. The automatic stop feature helps in stopping the blade once the pencil reaches a sharp point. Also, the quality of sharpness is so good that it increases the lifespan of pencils. The blade is pencil friendly and there is little to almost no breakage. However, it is crafted to hold only Number 2 pencils.
What To Look In Colored Pencil Sharpeners?
A quality pencil sharpener is one of the most essential and valuable tools for artists and pencil users. A nice, sharp point can only be achieved if a sharpener is good enough to do so. It also extends the utility and lifespan of colored pencils. If you are going to invest in a quality sharpener, it is important as an artist to know how to choose one. Here are a few factors to look for:
1. Size Matters
Colored pencils come in different sizes and colors with alterations in the lead’s diameter, the barrel’s size, and the casing’s shape. A standard pencil (colored) comes in 8 mm barrel. But, novice-grade colored pencils turn out to be slightly bigger because they are exclusively made for toddler hands and classroom use.
However, professional and artist grade pencils are also in the 8 mm size but with different core thickness. Hence, if you are working mainly with quality colored pencils, the same sharpener can be used for almost all brands. Otherwise, you have to look for a sharpener that fits your pencil size.
2. Look For The Shape
Most colored pencils are round and covered with a wooden barrel. Nevertheless, a few premium-grade pencils are in hexagonal shape and this is usually designed for a better grip. Besides this, you can also come across triangular barrels. These are specialized pencils designed for children.
Though most sharpeners can handle different shapes, there are special sharpeners for particular shapes. If you are looking for a sharpener that is precise or accurate, then you certainly have to pay attention to its shape.
3. Sharpening Angle Is Vital
Just as shape and size, sharpeners also vary in their sharpening angles. This is important to check, especially if you want it for colored pencils. A sharpening angle determines how much amount of lead is left after each use.
Say, for example, if your jog requires intricate details and regular sharpness of colored pencils, then pick a sharpener that has a small angle (about 74 degrees). However, if you don’t want to sharpen constantly, then choose an angle close to 80⁰, as this gives you proper lead exposure to work with.
4. Pay Attention To Its Strength
Color pencils, particularly the professional & artist grade have an extensive variety of lead content. But some are fragile, and sharpeners can be a little harsh on the lead as well as the wooden element. If you have delicate pencils, then it is vital to use a gentle sharpener so that the integrity of the tools isn’t hurt. Look for something that is gentle on lead as well as the wood.
5. Efficiency Is Important
Check how cleanly a sharpener does its work. See how clean the wood is after you use a sharpener on the colored pencil. This is significant for a colored pencil because the kind of lead used in it is softer. Moreover, if you are using something that is oil-based, it easily smears the work.
As an artist, you usually take plenty of care just to ensure that the piece of work isn’t smudged. But, when this happens, only because a bad sharpener was the reason, then it is not worth. So, if you see that your wooden pencil is stained after using a sharpener, it is time to change the tool.
6. Lead Point Is Crucial
Understand that not all the pencil sharpeners are created the same. They cannot sharpen the leads to a fine sharp point. This is because a few are designed to depict the lead out, giving the user a blunted tip to work with (example: blending, shading over big areas, etc). Some sharpeners are designed only for graphite pencils, which can do precise detail.
How To Choose A Pencil Sharpener?
Pencil sharpening must sound a simple term but experts call it an art form. If you doubt this, then you should ask the popular author David Rees, who has written a book about the ultimate methods to sharpen different pencils. Well, some things are as satisfactory as sharpening various pencils. However, there is no assurance that those pointy tips will survive that pencil pouch. So, make sure to keep them safe in a plastic box.
Choosing the best pencil sharpener is not easy as it sounds. There are many options out there. Right from different shapes, sizes, and models, there are ample to confuse you. Always pick a sharpener that is compact, sleek, classy, and of good quality. You shouldn’t know that it is a pencil sharpener with a mere look.
If you are an artist or someone who is involved in diverse art & craft work, then you will know that pencils come in various sizes. There are regular sized ones but the colored ones are fat. So, you should carry a sharpener that ideally works on various pencils.
Here are a few key points to make a note of:
1. Look For Long Pointed Sharpeners
A long pointed sharpener is ideal for making the most from sharpening. This is because a long point sharpener helps expose extra graphite, resulting in points to offer better sketching/writing/drawing after every sharp.
2. Check For The Pencil Shaving Container
If you are someone, who sharpens pencils on the go, then look for a sharpener that has a large reservoir. This not only has the capacity to hold big pencil shavings but also saves the time of emptying it often. Also, it prevents making a mess in a pencil pouch.
3. See How Compact The Size Is
If you prefer a sharpener that is easy to carry and lightweight, then buy a small-size sharpener. Don’t buy bigger ones.
4. Non-graphite or Colored Pencil Sharpeners
Whether it is non-graphite pencils, charcoal pencils, or soft colored pencils, there are special sharpeners that do the work gently. In such cases, look for a sharpener that is good all-around and can sharpen various types of pencils. It has to have a feature to adjust point while sharpening and prevent the pencil from over-sharpening the soft parts like wax & charcoal.
5. Jumbo Sharpeners For Irregular Size
Even you know that pencils come in varying shapes and sizes. If you are someone who has bigger pencils, then look a jumbo-sized sharpener. This will get the work done.
Manual or Electric Pencil Sharpeners?
This is a bit tricky to answer because it depends on an individual’s needs. Though manual pencil sharpeners are more convenient and easy to control, electric sharpeners are great for people who are in hurry or don’t have time to sharpen a box full of pencils lying around.
However, with electric sharpeners, you can have the chance of over-sharpening the pencils. Whenever you use an electric sharpener, ensure to twist the pencil back and forth in order to obtain a sharp, even tip all around. If you have adequate time, check the point periodically than just trusting on the sharpener’s sound to alert you if the sharpening is done. But, if you have the automatic stop feature on your sharpener, you don’t have to worry.
Also, make sure to empty the reservoir of the pencil sharpeners frequently and brush the blades using a toothbrush so that the efficiency of an electric sharpener is maintained. Besides this, it also helps in keeping it free from dust and dirt.
How Were Pencil Sharpeners Invented?
As said earlier, people used knives as a common tool to sharpen wooden pencils (invented in the 15/16th century) for decades.
However, sharpening the wood to produce a neat point was rather time-consuming, inexact, unsafe, and tedious. As pencils turned out to be ubiquitous in daily life, the need for more apparent, efficient, and faster approach increased.
Fortunately, two Frenchmen took up this challenge. On 20 October 1828, Bernard Lassimone (a mathematician) applied a patent for his amazing invention called “taille crayon” (in English it means pencil sharpener).
About a year later, the patented “taille crayon” had its advertisements in the popular newspaper of Paris – Le Constitutionnel, and declared to a preferable way for sharpening pencils. It had two tiny metal files slanted at 90 degrees, which was fixed in a wooden block. It helped to scrape, grind, and whittle the wood from the pencil in order to create a sharp point.
Although this was the world’s first-ever mechanical sharpener for pencils, it was neither fast nor was efficient. About 10 years later, the British noticed this sharpening trend in the year 1837. Cooper & Eckstein patented another “pencil pointer,” which was debuted in the science column of a famous newspaper called “The Mechanic’s Weekly.”
They named this invention “Styloxynon” and was close to Bernard’s sharpener. It had 2 sharp files that were firmly and neatly set together at right angles on a tiny rosewood block.
The content about this sharpener on Mechanic’s Weekly soon became a brand with the help of a writer named John Robertson. He wrote by saying:
“From great personal convenience, I have myself experienced in the use of the ingenious little instrument… I feel assured that I shall be rendering an important service to all such of your numerous readers as are draughtsmen, by introducing it to their notice through the medium of your pages.”
Again, at the end of the advertisement’s page, it read:
“When a new pencil is first used, it should be roughly pointed with a knife before employing the Styloxynon. Needless to say, a better pencil sharpener than the Styloxynon was still needed”.
After 10 years of Styloxynon, Therry des Estwaux, a Frenchman came up with another concept of a pencil sharpener, which rocked the entire world. This invention is what we use today.
Therry created a conical-shaped tool, through which a pencil could be inserted easily and upon twisting, it peeled the pencil’s wood to give it a nice shape and point. The device helped the sharpening process to be quick and efficient. Today, it is popularly known as the prism sharpener. It was only after his invention that these conical-shaped sharpeners started popping up in Europe. It was widely used in classrooms and offices around the world.
Later in 1851, Enter Walter K. Foster patented the foremost American sharpener for pencils. It was completed with an enhancement of the conical design just to make it effortless and easy mass production.
For the next 30 years, these pencil sharpeners were mass-produced worldwide in different shapes, sizes, and modes for scraping off the wood. However, this pencil sharpener wasn’t perfect yet because the primary problem was that it required a user to twist a pencil while holding the sharpener steadily to get that sharp tip. This was soon addressed and a discovery in 1896 changed all of that.
You will be fascinated in knowing that the New York municipal government bought mechanical sharpeners (from a reputed English company) for sharpening pencils in their office as early as 1853. The purchase was made with $1.50 per sharpener (which rates about $42 in the current date). When the demand for sharpeners grew, the requirement to produce them in bulk made the price to lower down.