The best pencil sharpener in February 2024

Three of the best pencil sharpeners on a yellow background
(Image credit: PowerMe / OfficeGoods / Staedtler / Future)

You may not think of the best pencil sharpeners as equipment that requires too much thought, but we all know that a substandard sharpener can spell chipped pencil ends and broken lead. Upgrading to one of the best pencil sharpeners ensures you have a decent tool that does the job, giving your pencil a fine, robust point quickly and easily (and unless you like mess, a container for wood shavings is a bonus).

If you've invested in one of the best pencils, it makes sense to get a sharpener that does it justice. In the guide below we round up the best pencil sharpers, starting with the best electric pencil sharpeners followed by the best manual pencil sharpeners (turned by hand). We've based our choices on size, build, quality, performance, value and reliability based on hundreds of customer reviews. 

If you're looking for pencils to sharpen, see our guide to the best coloured pencils and if you want some that don't need sharpening, see the best mechanical pencils. For more art supplies, see our guide to the best easels and the best oil paints.

The best electric pencil sharpeners

The best manual pencil sharpeners

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The best manual pencil sharpeners

How should I choose the best pencil sharpener?

The first thing to decide is whether you want an electric pencil sharpener or a manual pencil sharpener. The former require less effort to sharpen a pencil, using a helical cutting mechanism that turns using electric power. The downside is that of course they require power, be it batteries or a wall socket. They also tend to be more expensive. Manual pencil sharpeners need hand winding but are fully portable and usually cheaper.

Once you've made that decision, you'll need to consider what kind of pencils you need to sharpen, and how often you'll be sharpening them. In our guide to the best pencil sharpeners above, we've noted the size and type of pencil that each sharpener can be used for. If you use your pencil for art, you're more likely to want to spend a bit more for a sharpener that will keep them in good shape.

Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects. 

With contributions from