The best electric pencil sharpener

Lauren Corona

Insert your pencil into your electric pencil sharpener firmly enough to start it working, but not so hard that you damage the pencil or over-sharpen it.

Pencils are useful for sketching, drafting, or simply just for writing, but keeping them sharp enough to work effectively can be a chore. An electric pencil sharpener gets the job done quickly and easily, with little effort on your part and no mess. They're ideal for use in classrooms, art studios, or at the office. Our top electric pencil sharpener is the X-ACTO ProX Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener. We chose it for is durability and impressive range of features.

Considerations when choosing electric pencil sharpeners

Pencil size

Electric pencil sharpeners are set up to sharpen standard pencils, with a diameter of around 6mm. However, a significant number of models can also accommodate mini jumbo and jumbo pencils, which measure roughly 8mm and 10mm, respectively. Sharpeners that can accommodate pencils of different sizes will have at least two holes of different diameters, but some have as many as six holes of differing sizes. If you know that you only ever use standard pencils, you won't need an electric pencil sharpener that can accommodate a range of pencil sizes, but many buyers like to have the option, just in case.

Power source

The majority of electric pencil sharpeners need to be plugged into a wall power outlet. However, some are either completely battery powered or allow you the option of choosing between battery power and another power source. Some modern options have a micro USB or Type-C USB port so that you can either run or charge them from your computer.

Noise level

Some electric pencil sharpeners are loud, which can be a distraction in a classroom or a quiet office environment. If a noisy sharpener is likely to be an issue, select one that operates quietly.


Shavings bin

The shavings bin is the part of an electric pencil sharpener in which the pencil shavings are collected. Choosing a model with a generously sized shavings bin means you won't have to stop and empty it often. It's also useful to have a clear shavings bin, or at least a clear window in the bin, so that you can easily check how full it's getting. 

Replacement blades

An electric pencil sharpener will eventually need its blades switched out for new ones, once they become too dull to be effective. Check that replacement blades are readily available for your chosen electric pencil sharpener, otherwise you'll need to replace the whole unit once the blades dull.


The auto-stop feature makes the blades stop automatically once the pencil has reached full sharpness. This prevents you from over-sharpening, which can break the lead and mean that you must start again.


Expect to pay less than $15 for a basic electric pencil sharpener, around $15 to $30 for a mid-range model, and between $30 and $60 for a high-end heavy-duty option.


Q. Are electric pencil sharpeners suitable for heavy-duty use?

A. Although you can find heavy-duty electric pencil sharpeners, you shouldn't assume that all models will stand up to heavy use. If you're looking for a model that can be used in the classroom or shared between all employees in an office, choose a model specifically labelled as a heavy-duty electric pencil sharpener.

Q. Can I sharpen colored pencils in an electric pencil sharpener?

A. Some electric pencil sharpeners are too powerful to sharpen colored pencils, as the fast-spinning blades ruin the soft leads. If you know you want to be able to sharpen colored pencils, always double check that the model you've chosen can accommodate them.

Electric pencil sharpeners we recommend

Best of the best: X-ACTO ProX Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener

Our take: This heavy-duty sharpener is designed for the rigors of the classroom and is easy to use.

What we like: Extremely rugged with a quiet motor. Stops once pencil has sharpened to avoid oversharpening or breakage. Suction cups prevent it from sliding around. Six pencil sizes to choose from.

What we dislike: Doesn't sharpen colored pencils.

Best bang for your buck: X-ACTO Electric Sharpener

Our take: Although it's only basic, this electric sharpener is extremely durable and has a surprisingly small price tag.

What we like: Super strong blades need replacing less than many other models. Quiet enough for office use. The auto-reset safety function stops the motor from overheating.

What we dislike: Only fits standard-sized pencils.

Choice 3: JARLINK Electric Pencil Sharpener

Our take: An electric pencil sharpener for the modern age -- this solid model can run via USB from a computer, wall power outlet, or powerbank.

What we like: Can run wirelessly, using four AA batteries. Works with colored pencils and chalk pencils. Clear shavings container lets you see when it's getting full.

What we dislike: May not stand up to heavy-duty use.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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