For sharp pencils in a snap, there’s no shortage of easy options out there. The best electric pencil sharpeners get the job done — fast. That said, with so many different designs and brands, it can be difficult to choose just one. In order to narrow down your options, you’ll want to consider the power source, the size, and the pencil compatibility.
Electric pencil sharpeners often use one of three different power sources: a plug, standard batteries, or a rechargeable battery. A plug (which is usually a standard AC wall plug, but there are also options which use USB) limit your distance with a cord, but they’ll never run out of power. Battery-operated sharpeners are cheap and portable, but they can eat through power fast — and rechargeable units are less common and more expensive, but they don’t have batteries or wires.
The size is another important factor. Typically, the bigger it is, the more power it’ll have and the more shavings it’ll hold at once — but it’ll also take up much more room on your desk. Finally, make sure that the sharpener is compatible with your chosen type of pencil: Most of them are designed to sharpen the standard #2 pencil to perfection, but if you’re working with colored pencils, charcoal, or different sizes, you’ll need a unit that can adapt to those designs and work well on those often softer leads.
Judging by their efficiency, features, and ratings, these are the five best electric pencil sharpeners on Amazon.
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1. The Fan-Favorite Electric Pencil Sharpener
The Bostitch electric pencil sharpener has everything a good pencil sharpener should have: The powerful motor is combined with an HCC cutter, which resists stalling and has a long lifespan. Its shavings tray is easy to remove and empty, though its large-capacity design means you spend less time cleaning up. Its compact design fits effortlessly on most desks or tables, while its six color options match almost any space. Last but definitely not least, it has almost 20,000 reviews and a 4.6-star overall rating to back it up. However, according to a few reviewers, it’s not the best at handling multiple colored pencils, which tend to have softer leads than a #2.
- Power source: AC wall plug
One reviewer wrote: "This is a great pencil sharpener! We got it after we went to distance learning and had a lot more pencils to sharpen! It works great. The receptacle that holds the shavings is a good size. The cord is a good length. Overall would definitely recommend!"
2. The Best Pencil Sharpener For Classrooms
It’s slightly more expensive, but for a classroom (or an art studio, or a busy household), this X-ACTO sharpener is the way to go since it is break-resistant, stops when the bin is removed for safety, and has a fly-away cutter that stops automatically when the pencil is fully sharpened — making it especially great for kids. It also has a six-size dial for most types of pencils, and the bin is extra-large so it rarely needs to be emptied. Plus, lots of artists report that it’s a great choice for charcoal and colored pencils. "I am an artist and really put the sharpeners through their paces. It is exceptionally handy to be able to sharpen all diamenter-sized pencils–graphite, colored, charcoal, pastel, and watercolor. So far, this sharpener is working like a trooper, and holds a lot of shavings before it needs emptying," one fan wrote.
- Power source: AC wall plug
One reviewer wrote: "As a seventh grade math teacher this pencil sharpener gets used all the time. I’ve had it for a few months now and [it’s] still going strong. I did have a conversation with all of my students about how gentle they should be with it, and I originally banned the sharpening of colored pencils as a precautionary measure, but it also seems to take the colored pencils like a champ!"
3. The Best Rechargeable Pencil Sharpener
Most people opt for a plug-in sharpener over a wireless one because wireless options tend to eat through batteries quickly — but since the OfficeWorld sharpener is fully rechargeable, it won’t cost you much to keep it powered up. The lithium battery can be used up to 300 times after a single one-hour recharge, and the nib is adjustable so it works on a wide range of pencil sizes. It’s also compact, well-made, and easy to use, plus it works hands-free and ejects the pencil when it’s done, which explains the 4.8-star overall rating. Reviewers also report that it works well on charcoal, colored pencils, and more.
- Power source: USB-rechargeable lithium battery
One reviewer wrote: "I searched far and wide for a decent pencil sharpener for my kids’ color pencils and standard graphite pencils. I ended up on this product’s page and I have no regrets. I would highly recommend this product to anyone looking for a cheap, reliable, easily maintained, wireless pencil sharpener."
4. A Compact & Portable Sharpener
For personal use on a small desk or for the person who’s always on the go, the JARLINK electric sharpener is a great pick. It takes up just a few inches, but its vertical reservoir can still hold a surprising amount of shavings. Since it’s powered either by a USB plug or four batteries, you can plug it into the wall, your laptop, or plug in some batteries if you want to go wireless. It also automatically stops sharpening once it’s reached a point, and it works on #2s, colored pencils, and charcoal.
- Power source: USB plug or four AA batteries
One reviewer wrote: "In my first sitting with this gem, I sharpened over 100 pencils. There was no overheating or jamming, even when I sharpened pencils that were broken inside the wood. I’m using the power cord (included) but it’s nice to know I can use batteries while traveling."
5. The Best Pencil Sharpener & Holder In One
Finally, the RIYO RIYO pencil sharpener is a fan-favorite for desktop placement. This one combines a sharpener with a holder, so your pens and pencils are always within reach. It’s also battery-operated as well as AC-adapter powered, so you can choose between a wireless design or nonstop power. Because of its steel blade and different sharpness options, it’ll last thousands of uses and adjust to a wide range of different pencils. Reviewers report that it works pretty well for colored pencils, too.
- Power source: AC wall plug or four AA batteries
One reviewer wrote: "This was on our Santa list and so far, we have sharpened every regular and colored pencil and it has worked. Once in a while the lead from a broken pencil got stuck , mainly colored pencils, and I used a regular black pencil to push it out gently."
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