Which electric pencil sharpener is best?
Given how much time people spend on their smartphones, laptops and tablets these days, it probably doesn’t seem like there’s much need for pencils. But whether you’re a teacher, student or artist, pencils can still come in handy. With an electric pencil sharpener, you can be sure your pencils are always sharp and ready for writing or sketching.
Electric pencil sharpeners may seem the same, but they can differ in how they run, the speed they operate and how they collect their shavings. If you’re in the market for a durable, heavy-duty electric sharpener, the X-Acto ProX Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener is an excellent option.
What to know before you buy an electric pencil sharpener
Models that run on batteries are compact and don’t have any cord to get in the way, making them highly portable. They don’t have as much power as a corded sharpener, though, so they can take a little more time to get your pencils as sharp as you’d like.
Corded electric pencil sharpeners require an outlet or a USB port for operation, so they’re not as portable. However, they have a more efficient motor and more power behind them, allowing them to sharpen more quickly. You also don’t have to worry about replacing batteries.
The main benefit of an electric pencil sharpener is how fast it can sharpen your pencils, so they all operate pretty quickly. Still, there’s some difference among models in their speed.
If you’re buying an electric sharpener for a classroom, you’ll want a heavy-duty or professional model so it can handle many pencils in a short period.
While most pencils are a standard size, there’s some variation among sizes. You want to choose an electric pencil sharpener that can fit the pencils you use most often. Traditional pencils have an 8-mm diameter, but you can find some up to 10.5 mm in diameter.
To make sure you can sharpen any size pencil, look for an electric pencil sharpener with an adjustable wheel. You can choose the opening size based on the diameter of your pencil so that you can sharpen multiple sizes. Adjustable electric pencil sharpeners can offer up to six size options, making them an excellent option for a classroom.
What to look for in a quality electric pencil sharpener
Every electric pencil sharpener features a built-in receptacle that collects the shavings from the pencils during sharpening. Many sharpeners stop sharpening once the receptacle is full, so you have to empty it from time to time.
If you choose a model with a larger receptacle, though, you won’t have to empty it as often. Instead, look for a sharpener with a well-sized shavings bin, especially if you want to use it in a classroom or another setting where multiple people will use it.
You can find some electric pencil sharpeners that let you change the sharpening angle. Adjusting the angle helps ensure that your pencils are as sharp as you’d like. It can also help prevent the lead from breaking during sharpening.
A larger sharpening angle typically exposes more of the pencil’s lead, which can cause breakage. A smaller angle is usually more effective at keeping the lead from breaking, although it won’t get your pencils as sharp.
If you use your electric sharpener regularly, its blade will wear down over time. A dull blade can cause your pencils to splinter and the lead inside to break. Some electric pencil sharpeners let you replace the blade, so you can keep using the sharpener even when the blade wears down. Unfortunately, other models don’t allow for blade replacement, so you have to buy a new sharpener when the blade dulls.
All electric pencil sharpeners make some noise when used, but it can be disruptive if the sharpener is extremely loud. In a classroom, it helps to choose a model that makes as little noise as possible. Because they have a highly efficient motor and nonskid rubber fit, they don’t vibrate as much, reducing the noise they make.
How much you can expect to spend on an electric pencil sharpener
You’ll usually pay $6-$95 for an electric pencil sharpener. Battery-operated models that aren’t adjustable range from $6 to $18, but corded models generally cost $15-$36. Plug-in models that are adjustable have a large shaving receptacle and don’t make much noise can cost as much as $95.
Electric pencil sharpener FAQ
Do you really need an electric pencil sharpener?
A. If you use pencils regularly, you’ll probably appreciate having an electric sharpener to keep them ready for writing and sketching. Of course, students and teachers are the most likely candidates to benefit from an electric pencil sharpener. Still, artists or anyone who uses pencils to draw and sketch can also get plenty of use from a sharpener.
What’s the typical lifespan of a pencil sharpener?
A. It varies from model to model, depending on the quality of its motor, how often you use it and whether you can replace the blade. The average model can last up to five years, but professional or heavy-duty sharpeners can run for as long as 10 years.
What’s the best electric pencil sharpener to buy?
Top electric pencil sharpener
What you need to know: This durable, heavy-duty electric sharpener is the perfect option for classrooms because it can hold up to repeated use with ease.
What you’ll love: The sharpener automatically stops sharpening once the pencil is sharp. It can accommodate several different pencil sizes and shapes. It features suction cups on the bottom to keep the sharpener in place.
What you should consider: It’s more expensive than many similar models. It doesn’t work for colored pencils.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top electric pencil sharpener for the money
What you need to know: An affordable, reliable model, this electric sharpener is ideal for anyone on a budget who usually uses standard pencils.
What you’ll love: It offers quieter operation than many other models. The generally-sized shavings bin reduces the need to empty it. It reduces over-shapening.
What you should consider: Sometimes the lead breaks while sharpening because of fast speed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This compact, dependable electric sharpener is an ideal option for offices or anywhere that space is limited.
What you’ll love: It can operate on batteries via a USB cord or a wall charger adapter. It works well with regular and colored pencils. The sharpener automatically stops sharpening when the pencil is sharp. The shavings receptacle is easy to empty.
What you should consider: Some buyers had issues with the sharpener stopping operation after only a few weeks.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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