Looking for the best pencil sharpeners for colored pencils? We have curated a list of 8 for you! Keep reading!
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Types of pencil sharpeners
There are three (3) main types of sharpeners:
Manual Handheld Sharpeners
These are the most affordable types of sharpeners. This type of sharpener is also called a prism or a pocket sharpener as they are small and easily portable that you can carry around in your pocket.
To sharpen colored pencils using this type of sharpener, you have to hold the pencil in one hand and the sharpener in the other. Some handheld sharpeners have a container to hold the shavings but some don’t so it’s best to sharpen your pencil over a wastebasket to avoid the mess of scattering pencil shavings on the floor and around your workspace.
Manual handheld sharpeners can be a little bit tiresome to use. It requires some effort and if you need to sharpen a lot of pencils, it will be time-consuming and can even cause hand and wrist strain.
Manual Hand-Crank Sharpeners
This type of sharpener is also called planetary or cylindrical sharpener, it’s the kind you use in school where you have to insert the pencil tip into the hole and turn the crank to sharpen your pencils.
These sharpeners are often required to be clamped to a desk so they are not as portable as the previous type.
Sharpening with a manual hand-crank sharpener is quicker and easier compared to handheld sharpeners.
Electric sharpeners are the fastest and easiest to use but oftentimes, it’s also easier to oversharpen your pencils if you don’t take them out on time. The good thing is some brands and models have an auto-stop feature to avoid this oversharpening issue. This type of sharpener can either be plugged or battery-operated.
Some artists prefer not to use sharpeners and opt for X-acto knives or sandpaper to sharpen their pencils. Others even use cosmetic sharpeners.
Some colorists prefer manual handheld sharpeners because the hand-crank and electric ones “vibrate” the pencils that will often loosen the core from the casing.
A Few Things To Consider
When you’re purchasing a new pencil sharpener, there are 5 key factors you need to consider.
There are several types of sharpeners and you’ll have to decide if you’re going to buy a manual or an electric one. In the past, electric sharpeners are not even an option due to how harsh it handled a pencil. But over time and through the developing technology, companies like X-Acto and Bostitch have perfected building electric sharpeners that are compatible with colored pencils. Of course, there are still some drawbacks because you’ll always need an outlet for an electric sharpener so it’s not as portable as a manual sharpener. However, technology keeps on improving and some electric sharpeners are battery-operated so their portability is increased.
Manual sharpeners are still preferred by many as they are inexpensive, functional, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Good quality manual sharpeners are around $5 – $15 each, while an electric sharpener costs between $20 – $40. How much you’re willing to spend on a sharpener will depend on your personal preference.
Some professional artists like to have sharpeners that offer replaceable blades. It can typically cost more but it will save you a few bucks in the long run.
When selecting a sharpener for your colored pencils, you’ll find out that some sharpeners are compatible with other types of pencils like pastel pencils, watercolor pencils, and sometimes softer charcoal pencils.
If you use different mediums, multi-use sharpeners will be very useful for you.
Some sharpeners offer two chambers for different pencil sizes. Whether you’ll be using the sharpener for a wider or a finer tip, a dual one will be highly functional. Although this feature is only available for manual sharpeners and not for electric ones. Sharpeners like Staedtler and Mobius & Rupper have dual chambers.
Best Pencil Sharpeners for Colored Pencils
The first item in our best pencil sharpeners for colored pencils list is this Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener.
Prismacolor is a well-known brand in the art community and with its array of colored pencil products, they’ve also come up with a sharpener that’s very much compatible with colored pencils.
The sharpener is of really good quality and it performs so well just like other high-end ones. Its large casing allows you to store the pencil shavings which is very handy when you don’t have a wastebasket near you. It also has two chambers that can accommodate both wide and fine tips.
Just keep in mind that this sharpener is only meant for colored pencils. It might work on graphite pencils too, but it’s recommended to just stick with colored pencils because its blade is nonreplaceable.
If you always work with Prismacolor colored pencils, we recommend you to get this sharpener. But don’t be fooled, this can also be great for other colored pencil brands.
- Comes at a reasonable price
- Has container to store pencil shavings
- Comes with two chambers for wider and finer tips
- Only suitable for colored pencils
Bostitch is a classroom-grade electric pencil sharpener that is highly compatible with colored pencils as well. It has a removal blade that can be cleaned in between uses if any wax binder causes gunking.
The reason why this electric sharpener is a best seller is because of its nearly soundproof feature. Unlike other electric sharpeners that make loud motor noises, the Bostitch QuietSharp Glow emits very little noise that’s not distracting at all.
Another feature that buyers love about it is you can order replacement blades for it for only less than $10, making it a great investment in the long run. This sharpener’s blade is sharp and can always produce pointy tips which are what colorists are always looking for.
The sharpener’s design is compact and durable. And although its price is on the higher side, if you want to have a reliable and long-lasting option, the Bostitch QuietSharp Glow is a great investment.
- Blades are removable and replaceable
- It’s soundproof
- Ideal for both professionals and beginners
- Price is higher than others
Mobius & Ruppert is a 111-year-old German company that produces stationery and all of their products are known for their premium quality, and in this case, so are their sharpeners.
Just like its name, this sharpener has two chambers for wide- and fine-tipped pencil sharpening. Its round body is entirely made of brass and with its round shape, gives a good grip for smooth sharpening. It comes at an affordable price so it’s great for students and artists on a budget.
What’s even greater is the blade of this sharpener is removable and replaceable. Artists love this sharpener because of its durability and functionality. Maybe the only con we can think about it is it does not have a casing for pencil shavings so you’ll always have to sharpen over a wastebasket to avoid the mess.
- Affordable price tag
- Blades are removable and replaceable
- Has to chambers
- Durable and lasts long
- The open-blade design exposes its sharp blades so it’s not suitable for young children to use
Another 100+-year-old German company is Staedtler, which produces high-quality art supplies and is well-known in the art community. The Staedtler Metal Sharpeners is definitely one of the best pencil sharpeners for colored pencils. It has two chambers for wide and fine tips, and it’s durable that will serve you for a long time.
While its design is not the safest for kids to use, it is perfect for professional artists. It also does not have a casing for pencil shavings so you’ll have to have a trash can on stand-by in your working area.
It’s a simple sharpener with a basic design, no frills of any kind, but it delivers well and withstands the test of time.
- Has to chambers for wide and fine tips
- Highly durable
- Sharpens pencils quite well
- Not safe for children to use
Another Staedtler in our list but now it’s with a casing to catch pencil shavings. The design is very simple and it’s portable and child-friendly. It is also one of the cheapest sharpeners on this list (without compromising the functionality) so that’s a plus.
I personally love this sharpener. It’s from a popular brand, it comes at an affordable price, it is high-quality, it has sharp blades that sharpen colored pencils very well, and it can be used for graphite pencils as well!
The only limitation of this product is it only comes with one chamber size unlike the previous one. However, if you want to have a portable and reliable sharpener, this is it.
- Affordable price
- Sharp blade for a good sharpening
- Available in many colors, great for kids
- Small and portable
- Only has one chamber
This electric pencil sharpener is battery-operated and is perfect for carrying with you when you travel. It needs four AA batteries to operate and its size is small enough to fit inside your bag. It is good for both beginners and professionals, as well as children, to use.
This sharpener is compatible with colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and graphite pencils with soft or hard lead.
One drawback for this product is it only has one chamber so it limits the choice for artists who like to use fine and wide-tipped pencils. Nonetheless, this is a good sharpener. It has a secure plastic cover to keep pencil shavings for you to throw away later.
- Great for children and adults
- Has a container to keep shavings
- Can be used for multiple pencil types
- Has only one chamber
This is a manual hand-crank sharpener that can be used for pencils of different sizes. It has helical blades to ensure pointy tips and has a secured metal casing for durability.
While you have to manually turn the lever to sharpen your pencils, it automatically stops when the sharpening process is done.
This sharpener comes with a clamp to secure it on a desk or table so you don’t have to hold it with your hand when sharpening.
The blade is easy to reach for easy cleaning and there is a reservoir tray you can pull out to throw away the gathered pencil shavings.
This is a professional-grade sharpener so it’s quite costly compared to other options in this list.
- Auto-stop feature
- Comes with a clamp so you can attach it anywhere
- Blades are accessible for easy cleaning
- Price is quite expensive for artists on a budget
This sharpener has a lot of qualities to love. One reason is its affordability. The double chamber costs only $1.79 and the single chamber is only $0.79. Another reason is even though if it’s cheap, the sharpeners perform just like high-end ones.
If you want a basic sharpener for your colored pencils that are both cheap and highly durable, this one will fill your needs.
This sharpener can be used for multiple types of pencils including graphite pencils, charcoal, pastel pencils, and watercolor pencils. Because of this multi-use function, artists find this sharpener very convenient than other high-priced units. Rather than buying different sharpeners for each medium, the Maped Hand-Held Sharpener can do the job just as well.
The only downside of this product is its exposed sharp blades which is not suitable for kids, so you’ll have to place this out of reach of children.
- Cheap and affordable price
- Can be used for different types of pencils
- Durable and long-lasting
- Not safe for children to use
Tips For Sharpening Colored Pencils
To maximize your colored pencils, there are simple tips and tricks you can do. One, you can hold your colored pencil still as you rotate a manual handheld sharpener to sharpen its point. This will allow better control of the sharpener and help you regulate your speed and pressure.
When sharpening, the start of with a little pressure. Don’t push too hard on the pencil until you see how it can handle it without breaking.
For electric sharpeners, place it on a flat and stable surface. Don’t hold it in your hand. Rather, use your hand to guide your pencil while sharpening it. Apply light pressure only at first until you have a feel of how the electric sharpener works.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I use a regular sharpener for my colored pencils?
While it’s common to use any available sharpener, it is actually one of the most common causes of premature damage to colored pencils.
A sharpener made for graphite pencils won’t be as sharp or gentle enough to sharpen your colored pencils without causing damage to its cores.
Colored pencils have delicate cores compared to graphite pencils, that’s why they need a specified sharpener rather than just using the regular ones.
Is a sharpener for colored pencils worth the money?
Colored pencil sharpeners are often more expensive than regular ones. This is because its construction is more carefully engineered to make it suitable for sharpening colored pencils. The higher costs can be a little discouraging, but if you want to keep your colored pencils in good condition, it is essential for you to get one.
There are all kinds of sharpeners for colored pencils and you don’t have to get the most expensive ones. There are affordable sharpeners in the market and, lucky for you, we’ve included some on our list above!
When shopping for the best pencil sharpeners for colored pencils, you have to know what you are exactly looking for. Think about the 5 factors we shared above and consider which model best fits your need.
We hope our mini-reviews in these best pencil sharpeners for colored pencils list will help you decide on your purchasing journey.
Tell us what you think in the comments section.