Best Pencil Sharpeners for Colored Pencils

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Photo of pencils with 3 types of sharpeners

A good pencil sharpener is an essential tool for quickly getting a sharp point on your pencils but I have found that they are not all equal. Some work well with colored pencils and some do not.

In this article, I cover some of the best pencil sharpeners for colored pencils.

There is nothing worse than buying a sharpener just to find out it won’t fit your pencil as some are larger in diameter.

Others may keep breaking the lead which can be highly frustrating. This is not always the sharpener, sometimes it is the pencil. Even the best-colored pencils can break if you are not careful. Other times it could be the lead was cracked from being dropped or messed up in shipping

These were just a few of the reasons I decided to go on the quest for the best pencil sharpener. Keep reading to find out why I chose the one pencil sharpener that will suit most sharpening needs.

My Choice For Best Electric Pencil Sharpener for Colored Pencils

X-Acto Mighty Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener


X-Acto Mighty Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Pencil Sharpeners for Colored Pencils Reviewed

I chose some of the best pencil sharpeners used in classrooms and professional art studios to review and come up with some interesting results.

X-Acto Mighty Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener

“Best Electric Pencil Sharpener for Colored Pencils”

X-Acto Mighty Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener

Read Actual Customer Reviews

  • Auto-Adjust feature
  • Works with colored pencils
  • Long-lasting
  • Auto overheat shut down
  • Auto adjust to fit almost all pencils
  • Smart stop
  • Extra-large shaving bin
  • Expensive
  • Not very quiet
  • Large Size

Though this sharpener is somewhat pricey it does make up for it over time as it is a commercial-grade sharpener with all the bells and whistles and will last a long time.

You can buy new cutter heads if it ever gets dull.

Seems to be a little noisy but sharpens all kinds of different pencils with a self-adjusting design that will fit even the larger diameter pastel pencil.

If you do not have room then the size may present a problem as the shavings bin is large but is easily removed for emptying.

Another special feature is the LED light that helps you to see when the pencil is getting sharp.

T’Gaal Multi-Point Pencil Sharpener

“Best Handheld Pencil Sharpener for Colored Pencils”

Holbein T'Gaal Multi-Point Sharpener

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  • Precision Sharpening
  • 5 adjustable settings
  • Compact Design
  • Works with colored pencils
  • Shavings bin
  • Affordable
  • Plastic
  • Sharpens standard diameter pencils only

The sleek compact design allows you to take it anywhere you want to go but be careful not to crush it as the plastic can crack other than that this is a good mini pencil sharpener.

Give your pencils a long point or a short point with the 5 variable sharpening angles you adjust on the dial.

The bin will hold all the pencil shavings without messing with your work.

The biggest setback to this sharpener was that it only works with standard-size pencils so probably won’t be sharpening any pastel pencils.

Kum Long Point Pencil Sharpener

“Best Long Point Pencil Sharpener”

Blick by KUM Long Point Sharpener

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  • 2 extra blades included
  • Creates long lead
  • Sharpens lead to a fine point
  • Very affordable
  • Compact design
  • Works with colored pencils
  • See-through shavings lid
  • Standard diameter pencils only
  • Small shavings bin
  • Shavings Lid could break over time
  • Some softer color pencil leads may break

This is a 2 hole pencil sharpener where one hole removes the wood and exposes the lead while the other hole will sharpen just the lead to a fine point.

Creates a long lead for using the side of the pencil for a wider stroke when shading or coloring.

I read some reviews about the lid possibly breaking so care needs to be taken here. On the bright side though this sharpener is very affordable.

The pencil shaver bin is small and will need emptying often when sharpening multiple pencils. You can order replacement blades once you use the 3 it comes with up.

It also works well with colored pencils and according to some people they could sharpen a larger diameter pencil but this sharpener is for 8mm diameter only.

X-Acto School Pro Pencil Sharpener

“Best Pencil Sharpener for Students”

X-Acto School Pro Electric Pencil Sharpener - Black

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  • Auto Stop
  • Works with colored pencils and pastel pencils
  • Safe Start Motor
  • Slip-resistant bottom
  • Size indicator dial
  • Extra-large shavings bin
  • Fast sharpening
  • Large design

This is a good quality pencil sharpener at an affordable price that will serve you for years to come.

Sharpens all kinds of pencils including pastel pencils without breaking the tip which helps the life of your pencils. Be careful as this sharpener will sharpen your pencils extremely fast.

To help with this it has an auto-stop feature when the pencil is sharp.

Some lead refinement may be required according to some customers but overall will give a nice fine point that artists are looking for in those final detail stages of their work.

Will not operate with the shavings bin off which makes for safe use for children.

Faber Castell Grip Trio Pencil Sharpener

“Best Pencil Sharpener for Artists”

Faber-Castell Grip Trio Sharpener - 3 Hole, Blackberry

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  • Compact Design
  • 3 holes sizes
  • Triangular design
  • 2 separate shaving reservoirs
  • Designed specifically for colored pencils
  • Inexpensive
  • Portable
  • Blades are non-replaceable

This pencil sharpener will work with all Faber Castell Pencils including pastels and graphite as well as other brands too. Works well with triangular-shaped pencils as well.

The triangular shape helps with smooth control while sharpening and has a medium-sized shavings bin that allows for more use before having to empty.

You may want to buy more than one since the price is very affordable because I could not find anything on blade replacements.

Overall this pencil sharpener will accomplish the job on many different pencils without breaking the tips. This gives your pencils more life which is a very good thing since some colored pencils can be very expensive.

Duet Battery-Operated/Manual Pencil Sharpener

“Best Battery Operated Pencil Sharpener for Colored Pencils”

Duet Battery-Operated/Manual Pencil Sharpener

Available on Blick Only

  • Also a manual sharpener
  • Works with colored pencils
  • Portable
  • Easy to empty
  • Smaller size
  • Very Affordable
  • No auto shut off feature when the pencil is sharp
  • Could be loud when using battery mode

A small compact design allows for travel without having to plug into an outlet. Uses 2 “AA” batteries which unfortunately are not included.

If the sharpener gets too loud for you when in battery mode then cut it off and sharpen it manually. Either way, it will sharpen your graphite or colored pencils to a decent point without breaking especially oil-based colored pencils.

I could not find any information on how large of a pencil could be used so this sharpener may not work on some pastel pencils.

My research did reveal one customer who has used this pencil sharpener for 2 years so the 8 to 10 dollar price for this sharpener sounds like a real bargain making this one my pick for the best cheap pencil sharpener for colored pencils.

X-Acto Vacuum Mount Pencil Sharpener

“Best Vacuum Mount Pencil Sharpener”

X-Acto Vacuum Mount Pencil Sharpener

Read Actual Customer Reviews

  • Dual Hardened Helical Cutters
  • Metal with crank handle
  • Portable
  • Adjustable hole dial
  • Good on graphite
  • Not designed for softer leads but will work.
  • The vacuum could slip if not on a smooth surface

This pencil sharpener is very similar to the wall-mounted metal ones used in schools except it is portable and can be used on most non-porous surfaces.

If you find it slipping on the surface or loses suction try dampening the bottom and/or cleaning with a wet cloth. This can help create a better seal and hold it more securely.

Though it may not be designed for colored pencils I believe you can still manage to sharpen some brands, especially the oil-based leads as long as you are not turning the crank fast. An easy and light touch may be the solution to this problem.

You will probably get years of use out of this sharpener as the cutters are hardened which gives it a longer lifespan.

Best pencil sharpeners buyers guide

Best Pencil Sharpeners Buyers Guide

There are pencil sharpeners for many different point sizes and lengths. Some are also designed for different types of pencils such as colored pencils or strictly graphite pencils.

This guide is designed to help inform you of these differences so you buy the right pencil sharpener you are looking for.

What to Look For in the Pencil Sharpeners

All sharpeners are not created equal so care should be taken before making a decision as this will ensure you are getting the sharpener you need for the job.


Set Size- Many pencil sharpeners come with only one hole and will work on a set pencil diameter. This can be an issue if you are using mixed media such as pastel pencils which are usually larger in diameter.

Adjustable- These are more versatile for mixed media pencils and also are used more in a classroom setting. There are also some handheld pencil sharpeners that may have 2 or more holes to accept various pencil diameters.


Replaceable- Many handheld sharpeners do not have a way of replacing the blade but some have a small screw that will allow the blade to be replaced. I highly recommend buying a sharpener that has this option as this can save some money but not much overall.

Quality- Some blades may be made from lesser quality steel which can cause them to dull quicker. Stainless steel blades may be a better choice as rust can cause some dulling without even using the sharpener.


You may want to have a good sharpener that you can travel with. Some pencil sharpeners are battery operated which can be used in the field as well as handheld manual sharpeners that have a more compact design.

Shaving Containers

The ability of a pencil sharpener to catch the shavings will help to keep your work surface clean. Many good pencil sharpeners may not have a container at all and must be used over a trash can or at the least away from your work surface.

Different Types of Pencil Sharpeners

Before you buy a new pencil sharpener it is important to know the diameter of the pencils you might need for. Some are larger such as pastel pencils while others are smaller like graphite pencils.

Some are designed to leave a rounded tip while others may give a sharp point.

Graphite Pencil Sharpeners

This is the most common type of sharpener but care should still be taken as some of these may be too aggressive for softer pencil mediums like charcoal or even color pencils.

Colored Pencil Sharpeners

Are designed for softer pencils and the blades might dull quicker if you use them for a graphite pencil. This type of pencil sharpener can also be used on pastel pencils but I recommend sharpening these types of colored pencils with a razor blade and sandpaper strips.

One quick way to clean a pencil sharpener used for mainly colored pencils is to use a solid coated graphite pencil to remove the wax and oil residue as it builds up on the blade.

Long Pointed Pencil Sharpeners

These types of sharpeners are specifically designed to expose more lead. Great when you are needing to use the side of the pencil for things such as shading large areas.

These will also create a sharper point for doing the fine details on your pieces of art.

Round Point Sharpeners

These will leave a blunt or rounded point on the lead as sometimes you may not need a sharper pencil when shading or drawing a more diffused line.

Questions & Answers

Here are some important facts that can give some helpful insight into pencil sharpeners and how to best use them.

Why is it important to have a good pencil sharpener?

The main reason for having a good pencil sharpener is not only to sharpen your pencils quicker but it should also last throughout time. The best pencil sharpeners will provide a sharp even point without breaking the lead.

What is the best way to sharpen a pencil?

Break off all excess wood before inserting it into the sharpener.

Use slow turns of the pencil sharpener or handle. Usually, 2 to 3 full rotations then check lead. Repeat as necessary.

If lead is uneven then rotate the shorter lead side toward the blade and repeat step

Refine the lead on a sharpening strip or fine sandpaper to achieve your desired tip sharpness.

Can you sharpen a pencil sharpener?

It is possible to sharpen your pencil sharpener blades even on a rotary or helix pencil sharpener.

Single blade sharpeners need to have a removable blade so you can use a sharpening stone or even sandpaper to give the edge new life.

Helix blade sharpening can be achieved by taking the sharpener apart and using a small file to sharpen each spiral tooth. Make sure to angle the file correctly and move toward the cutting edge of the blade.

It may be easier to buy the part and replace it as sharpening could be somewhat time-consuming.

Our Conclusion

In my quest for the best pencil sharpener for colored pencils, I was looking for the one that hits the most criteria for artists.

As you can see from the reviews the choice is quite clear that the X-Acto Mighty Pro electric pencil sharpener hit almost all the marks except for portability and price.

Other than that you can expect to sharpen everything from your graphite to charcoal and pastels. This one makes up for the price because it will probably last for a long time and will not ever have to be replaced because you are able to buy the sharpeners.

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