When it comes to sharpening pencils, there are a number of excellent electric models available. However, sometimes that feature isn’t what you need. Manual sharpeners have advantages over electric options for quite a few applications. But when it comes to considering which sharpener to purchase, the quality of the materials and the functionality of the model are of even greater importance. Whether you’re a teacher, you’re often called into the field for work or you have a young, aspiring artist in your household, sharpeners made of high quality materials are essential. Below, we’ve listed the top ten manual sharpeners to help you find the model that’s right for you.
1. Prismacolor Scholar Sharpener
Colored pencil pigment cores are of a slightly different composition than those of Number 2 pencils. This matters when it comes time to sharpen them, since most utilitarian pencil sharpeners will over-sharpen the soft pigment. This leads to cracking and uneven application of color. The Scholar sharpener is designed specifically to provide the perfect result with Scholar colored pencils. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and its compact design goes wherever you do.
2. Prismacolor Premier
Many artists—student amateurs to trained specialists—employ colored pencils in a wide variety of tasks. Not all of these uses call for the same type of pencil point, which makes it important to have a tool that allows them to choose. The Prismacolor Premier sharpener provides options for point sharpness with two steel blades housed in a translucent plastic shavings reservoir. Select either broad and soft or fine and sharp, depending on your needs.
3. Bostitch Twist-N-Sharp
Quick, effective, and as portable as it is attractive, the Twist-N-Sharp manual sharpener from Bostitch has it all. Using a back and forth motion, as opposed to the traditional circular twist, the patented blades produce a perfect point in less time. Additionally, the built-in Tip Saver Technology prevents over-sharpening, which means your pencil lead won’t crack under pressure. A unique side-door in the transparent, candy-colored case allows you to easily dispose of shavings when the storage is full.
4. X-Acto Wall Mount
“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Some tools are ubiquitous because they’re effective. This X-Acto pencil sharpener is the model that was found in schools across the country for many decades. Its hardened steel construction can be mounted to walls, tables, and cabinets. Any circumference of wood pencil can be sharpened, and electricity isn’t required. The patented steel blades produce a consistently sharp point, and the extensive product lifespan brings new meaning to the word “durable.”
5. Staedtler Manual Capsule Sharpener
Harking back to the most basic and functional form of the portable pencil sharpener, the Staedtler capsule is stripped of inessential frills. Within the metal capsule is a finely honed blade that will deliver a perfectly sharp point every time. Simplicity itself, the capsule holds the pencil shavings until removal is convenient. The threaded plastic cap, which also securely houses the sharpener blade, has a textured outer edge for better grip. It comes in assorted colors.
6. Staedtler Multi-Pencil Manual Sharpener
This manual sharpener from Staedtler has features that accommodate most types of pencils. It will sharpen round and triangular writing pencils of ordinary circumference, but it can be used on larger colored pencils and children’s pencils as well. The housing is crafted from durable blue and silver plastic, with a simple-to-clean transparent shavings reservoir. A protective hatch covers the sharpener apertures to ensure that no pencil shavings escape while it’s in your bag. This also serves to protect the blades from lint, dirt, or other foreign matter that could contribute to dull blades.
7. Classic Manual in Aluminum
This single pencil sharpener represents a perfection of form. An aluminum frame holds a tempered steel blade firmly in place. It’s compact, economical, and performs its intended task with precision. While there aren’t any frills or extra features, this sharpener is ideal of individuals who work “in the field.” Archaeologists, surveyors, and other professionals can carry this compact sharpener with confidence. It’s lightweight and compact, has a textured grip for added security, and won’t quit on the job.
8. Faber-Castell Multi-Pencil Sharpener
The plastic housing of this multi-blade sharpener will keep things neat and tidy around the classroom or studio. A hinged partition means that everything is contained and there’s no risk of dropping a piece. Plus, it renders emptying the shavings reservoir a snap. Simply upend the entire sharpener over a receptacle. It accommodates Number 2 and Jumbo writing pencils, with a dedicated port for colored pencils. This means that no matter what your task, you can always count on a perfect point.
9. The Pencil Sharpener Party
These bright, grip-friendly sharpeners are perfect for stocking the supply closet. Teachers can provide incentive for achievements. Parents can tuck them into party bags. Made of plastic, the clear covers look extra special in an array of cheerful colors, and function to keep pencil shavings contained.
10. A Sharp Image from Alvin
Don’t let it fool you; this stylish and stunning brass bullet sharpener from Alvin is as functional as it is interesting. The solid brass housing has been blister carded to provide a superior grip during use, and a honed steel blade provides a perfect point. While the model lacks the bells and whistles of some, it compensates with its excellent functionality and fascinating form. Because it’s a manual sharpener, you can use it with writing or artist pencils.