Best Colored Pencil Sharpener

Updated by Brandon F. on December 28, 2022

While we primarily focus on colored pencils here at, it is also important to sometimes chronicle the other necessary tools required if one hopes to have a successful colored pencil experience.  A key component that is often forgotten or overlooked is the pencil sharpener.  

But there are tons of options to choose from, so what is the best colored pencil sharpener?  Now before we get into the various metrics we look at we have attached a convenient table below that shows the key points for easy browsing.  If you want to read our more detailed analysis of each pencil sharpener scroll below.

 ProductPrice (Amazon)DimensionsManual/Automatic?# of Blades
prismacolor scholar colored pencil sharpenrPrismacolor Scholar colored pencil sharpener$5.5" x 3.6" x 1.4"Manual1
prismacolor premier pencil sharpenerPrismacolor Premier pencil sharpener$$$2" x 3.6" x 5.5"Manual2
staedtler manual pencil sharpenerStaedtler manual pencil sharpener$$1.5" x 1.5" x 2"Manual1
ohuhu electric pencil sharpenerOhuhu electric pencil sharpener$$$$$1.2" x 2.2" x 0.9"Automatic1
bostitch twist and sharp pencil sharpener thumbnailBostitch Twist-N-Sharp pencil sharpener$7.2" x 4.3" x 3.9"Manual1

What To Consider When Shopping for a Colored Pencil Sharpener

There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for a colored pencil sharpener.  Without a proper pencil sharpener, you may not be able to get the sharp point that you need to complete more intricate or detailed parts of your work. 

Furthermore, some colored pencils are quite expensive, and using a low-quality sharpener that has to remove significant amounts of the outer housing and lead to produce a point results in you having to open up your wallet more often (which can hurt when you are using expensive premium colored pencil sets!).  Also, a poor point means that you will have to go back to the sharpener more often which can become laborious and frustrating.

To further complicate matters, colored pencils have a much more dynamic core range than your typical graphite writing pencil.  Some colored pencils are extremely hard similar to a typical graphite pencil while some have very soft leads.  Some are made of hard wax while others are made of more malleable oils.  Some cores can be extremely thick while others can be quite thin.  It is a lot to think about!

To help with this, we have listed a few of our picks for the best colored pencil sharpeners.  While not extensive, these products should be able to handle most colored pencil types and are also all quite affordable.  No matter which colored pencil sharpener you decide to go with, it is important to practice with it some before trying it out on your favorite set of pencils (particularly if they are expensive).

We will break down the pros and cons of each pencil sharpener similar to how we approach our colored pencil reviews.  We hope that this helps in deciding which sharpener you decide to try out.  No matter which colored pencil sharpener you choose, be sure to practice it on some “junk pencils” so that you can get the hang of it before using your premium colored pencils.

And while you are looking for a new pencil sharpener, go check out some of our other colored pencil accessories reviews!  We list some of our favorite colored pencil holders as well as some cool adult coloring books you should try out.  You will have a lot of fun trying out your new, properly sharpened colored pencils on your favorite adult coloring book!

Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencil Sharpener

prismacolor scholar colored pencil sharpener

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Advertised as being the go-to sharpener for those using the Prismacolor Scholar set, this sharpener is wildly popular and used in many other applications as well.  Selling points for it include its great price and its compact size.  And the Prismacolor name carries a good reputation.

Overall it handles most colored pencil sets without an issue.  It is capable of forming very sharp points, especially on harder leads.  This is great for those high-detail areas.  There are some minor issues with it sometimes being too aggressive and cutting off too much outer wood.  This can result in a weakened lead tip and also more passes through to get the desired point.  However, this is not super common so we feel pretty good recommending this one.

Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener

prismacolor premier pencil sharpener

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This is Prismacolor’s higher-end offering, being about twice as expensive as their Scholar colored pencil sharpener.  It looks the part, with an attractive gloss black, a semi-transparent outer housing and also being taller and slimmer.  It is a quite versatile sharpener, having been used on a wide variety of brands and core materials.  It is especially good with the Verithin line, which can sometimes be a bit finicky when it comes to sharpening due to its slim nature.  Overall it has a somewhat gentler touch than its cheaper sibling, which can be very helpful when trying to sharpen some of the softer, oil-based pencils.

That being said, it doesn’t do a great job of forming an extremely sharp point.  This may be the compromise for having a sharpener that doesn’t break lead as often, but you might find yourself spending more time than you like trying to create a very fine point with this sharpener which can be a bit frustrating.  But other than that minor issue, there are no complaints.  And for those who have higher-end sets of pencils, this is the better choice of the two Prismacolor pencil sharpeners.

Staedtler Manual Pencil Sharpener

staedtler manual pencil sharpener

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Staedtler’s most popular manual pencil sharpener offering, this product shares similar qualities with other manuals in that it is extremely affordable for any budget.  While it won’t win any awards for aesthetics, it does what it is intended to do quite well.  It has no problems with both oil and wax-based colored pencils and is one of the best that we have come across at creating a super sharp point, even on softer leads.  The screw-on lid also means that you won’t accidentally open it up, dumping pencil shavings everywhere.

The only minor issue we have with this sharpener is that it seems to lose effectiveness somewhat quickly.  After a few weeks, it can begin to struggle to emulate that sharp point and can end up chewing through more pencils than it needs to.  However, we can’t be too picky when it costs less than a cup of coffee.

Ohuhu Electric Pencil Sharpener

ohuhu electric pencil sharpener

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To mix things up, we decided to include an electric pencil sharpener in this as well.  Electric pencil sharpeners come with their unique pros and cons, but this one is wildly popular, and for good reason.  It performs quite well and can create a very impressive point.  This is accomplished by having an automatic idling feature that kicks in after 0.01” to 0.02” inches of the tip has been shaved.  This means that you maximize your pencil life and there is only a little variance that exists when compared to manually sharpening it.

This sharpener does very well with harder leads and does alright with softer leads.  The super-soft leads can sometimes benefit from having a manual sharpener since you can get more of a “feel” for the pressure and speed of rotation but the results here are acceptable.

As expected, the major con here is the price.  An automatic pencil sharpener will run you several times more than the manual ones listed.  Still, if you are spending $100+ on a quality pencil set we don’t see the issue in spending a fraction of that to maximize their lifespan.

Bostitch Twist-N-Sharp Pencil Sharpener

bostitch twist and sharp pencil sharpener

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A fun and low-cost option, the Bostitch Twist-N-Sharp offers two different sharpening settings which open up the possibilities.  One of the settings is designed to handle sharp pencil tips and the other is designed for blunt.  It also has Tip Saver Technology that helps to protect and extend pencil life by preventing over-sharpening which is notorious for breaking the lead.

There are some size limitations, however, so those who enjoy thicker pencils need to make sure that they will properly fit first.  Also, removing the shavings can be a bit finicky at first.  But this sharpener certainly is unique!

Tips For Sharpening Colored Pencils

There are some common tips and tricks that help to not only ensure that your colored pencils have a great point but that you also minimize how much material you take off to achieve that point.  We recommend holding the pencil still and rotating the pencil sharpener around the pencil if you are using a manual sharpener.  This seems to allow better control of the sharpener and also helps you better regulate speed and pressure.

Speaking of pressure, start with just a little.  Don’t push down hard on the pencil until you know that it can handle it without breaking.  We have seen countless pencils sacrifice tons of valuable lead because the user was pushing down far too hard when trying to sharpen.

As for electric sharpeners, we recommend placing them on a flat and stable surface as opposed to holding them in your hand.  Rather, use your hand to navigate the pencil.  In a similar method as you do with the manual sharpener, apply only small levels of pressure starting until you have a better feel for the electric pencil sharpener.

If you would like to learn more, check out this helpful video below.

BestColoredPencils tests and reviews colored pencils and more to find the best products for you. When readers buy our reviewed picks, we earn affiliate commissions that help support our work.
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