If you have been coloring for a while, you know how frustrating it is when your pencil point becomes dull, or the lead breaks!

In the case of colored pencils, the “lead” isn’t lead at all. It is a colored pigment held together with a binding agent. This “lead” is very soft, easy to break, and difficult to sharpen into a perfect point.

Since our colored pencils are designed to last a long time if we sharpen them correctly, it is important for you to to find the right tool that will help you to create the perfect point.

While there are several ways to sharpen pencils, we will focus on the three most popular ones: handheld pencil sharpeners, electric pencil sharpeners, and hand-crank pencils sharpeners.

Handheld Colored Pencil Sharpeners

Some people find that using a handheld sharpener is too time-consuming and inefficient for serious coloring. Others complain of a sore wrist due to the repetitive motion required to keep their pencils sharp.

We own several handheld pencil sharpeners and find that they give us more careful control while sharpening our pencils.

Here are some of the popular handheld colored pencil sharpeners:

Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencil Sharpener

This sharpener is very popular because of its great price and its compact size.  It easily sharpens most colored pencils, and it is capable of creating a very sharp point. The downside of this colored pencil sharpener is that it can remove excess amounts of the wood casing reducing the life of your pencils.  

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencil Sharpener

This sharpener is Prismacolor’s higher-end offering, and it costs more than twice times as much as the Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencil Sharpener. It is a quite versatile, and we have successfully used it on a wide variety of types and brands of colored pencils.

Staedtler Pencil Sharpener

Many colorists recommend the Staedtler colored pencil sharpener. It works well on both oil and wax-based colored pencils, and it is reported to be to be one of the best at creating a super sharp point on softer lead pencils.  

Other handheld colored pencils include the General Little Red All-Art Pencil Sharpener, the Alvin Brass Bullet Pencil Sharpener, T’Gaal Pencil Sharpener (this one comes in several cool colors), and the Kum AS2 Pencil Sharpener.

Electric Pencil Sharpeners

There is a huge debate between colorists over the use of electric pencil sharpeners. Some colorists prefer electric pencil sharpeners while others claim that they have better control with handheld pencil sharpeners.

An electric colored pencil sharpener will run you several times more than the handheld ones listed above, but if you are spending $100+ on high-quality colored pencils, you should be willing to purchase a high-quality pencil sharpener.

Three of the most highly recommended electric colored pencils sharpeners are the Panasonic KP-150 (AC), the and the Panasonic KP-4A (battery).

Hand-Cranked Pencil Sharpeners

We have not tried any of these because our memories of the wall mounted ones that we used in school.  We can’t imagine subjecting our expensive pencils to the harsh vibrations and grinding of one of these.

Some colorists do suggest hand-cranked colored pencil sharpeners. In fact, Susan Rubin strongly recommends the Rapesco 64 Pencil Sharpener.

Without a high-quality pencil sharpener, you may not be able to create the sharp point that is required to color the most detailed parts of your work. Additionally, less expensive pencil sharpeners may remove large amounts of your pencil casing reducing the life of your pencils.

Therefore, you should purchase the best colored pencil sharpener that you can afford. Unfortunately, the best sharpener for us might not be the best pencil sharpener for you. We recommend that you try out several different colored pencil sharpeners to find out what works best for you.

What pencil sharpener do you recommend?