Best Sharpeners for Colored Pencils
Most of us don’t put much thought into buying a pencil sharpener. But if you’re into coloring, you’ll find that those sharpeners you’ve been using for your graphite pencils just don’t cut it. They may even chew up your pricy colored pencils and spit them out!
With all the time and work you put into your favorite coloring books, you want to give yourself the best results. Just like you get the best colored pencils for your adult coloring books that you can, it’s good to get the very best colored pencil sharpener for you as an artist–and it can be super affordable.
We’ve compiled this list of the best sharpeners for colored pencils to guide you into getting the perfect point for any budget.
Colored pencils have cores made of wax or oils, as well as other binders. Some of these cores are quite soft. Different pigments and different brands are made differently, and woods used in the outer casing vary too. The width and shape of colored pencils can also vary.
The best colored pencil sharpeners are ones that don’t break or “eat” your pencils. They let you adjust the point to suit your needs, and sharpen cleanly, without leaving marks or residue.
Best Colored Pencil Sharpeners
This table shows our top picks from each category of handheld, crank, and electric sharpeners.
Types of pencil sharpeners
Manual handheld sharpeners
Hand-cranked sharpeners often require clamping them to a desk, so they are less portable.
Hand-cranked sharpeners offer a medium between handheld and electric, giving you a good amount of control while being faster, and requiring less effort, than a handheld. And, unlike with electric, you don’t need a power source.
Reviews of the best colored pencil sharpeners
Best manual hand-crank sharpener for colored pencils
Derwent Super Point Manual Helical Pencil Sharpener
The Derwent is a popular manual hand-crank sharpener that people often rave about. It works on both colored and regular graphite pencils up to a hefty 8mm in diameter. Most sharpeners do not accommodate thicker pencils, but this one does. It even works well with charcoal and pastel pencils. With just a few cranks, your pencils will be super sharp. It also makes easy work of sharpening brand-new, never-before-sharpened pencils.
The Derwent Super Point sharpens colored pencils to a fine, long tip that’s ideal if your artwork requires intricate details. And the pencil-shavings reservoir is easy to remove. Another advantage is the entire sharpening apparatus can be detached, so if a pencil tip happens to get caught, you will be able to get it out.
The Super Point comes with a clamp, and it’s a good idea to use it, though several reviewers stated they simply hold the sharpener in their hand.
This is our pick for the best-quality manual hand-cranked pencil sharpener for colored pencils. On the downside, the sharpener has its detractors. Some people reported issues with oversharpening, leaving marks on pencils, and nonworking clamps.
Best Electric Sharpener for Colored Pencils
Westcott iPoint Orbit Colored Pencil Non-stick Electric Sharpener
Best Manual Handheld Sharpeners for Colored Pencils: Top 5
Kutsuwa STAD T'GAAL Angle Adjustable Pencil Sharpener
Staedtler Metal Sharpeners, Double Hole, for Pencils and Colored Pencils
Kum AS2M Long Point Pencil Sharpener with Lead Pointer
Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener, 2-pack
Ultra affordable colored pencil sharpener
UniColor Pencil Sharpener
This is super easy on the wallet and takes up little space. You can just put it in your pocket.
It doesn’t, however, provide separate holes for shorter and longer tips.
Things to consider when buying a pencil sharpener for colored pencils
As easy as it may sound (or perhaps after reading the above, it no longer sounds easy), buying the best sharpener for colored pencils is not that simple. The perfectionist within us needs to consider various features.
Some pencils work better with a long tip and some with a shorter one. For instance, a pencil with a soft lead should not be sharpened to a long tip, as it’s likely to break.
As well, you may have various needs and preferences in your own work. Consider whether your sharpener offers what you need.
When buying a sharpener, we suggest you invest in a high-quality one. Lower-quality sharpeners often remove too much of the outer pencil casing along with the core. This means that you are wasting more of the pencil than you are using. As you can see by our reviews, a great sharpener can be very easy on the wallet.
Another important consideration is the sharpening angle. The higher the angle of the sharpener, the more lead is exposed, leading to a longer, tapered, sharper point. Eighty degrees is a high angle. But a small change, such as to 75 degrees, makes a big difference, with less lead exposure. With lower angles, the sharpness won’t last as long, but the pencil point will be less likely to break.
Last but not least, with a good sharpener, the sharpness ought to last a while with before you need to use the sharpener again.
Now, go forth and stay sharp!