The Ultimate Classroom Pencil Sharpener Showdown

This list gets right to the point.

Every school supply list starts with pencils. And pencils need to be sharpened. So it’s no surprise that teachers on the WeAreTeachers Deals Facebook group are always on the look-out for the perfect classroom pencil sharpener. We’re sharing their favorites, along with real-life teacher reviews, to help you find the best options available (all on Amazon, with free Prime shipping!). Happy sharpening!

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Best Overall Classroom Pencil Sharpener: X-ACTO School Pro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Classroom Pencil Sharpeners

How do we know teachers love this classroom pencil sharpener? They tell everyone! This is the number one recommended pencil sharpener on the WeAreTeachers Deals group. It has a reputation for being affordable, quiet, and able to stand up to lots of student use (and abuse).

Teacher Charity says, “I’ve had it for 3 or 4 years. That thing gets knocked off and banged around and allows my middle schoolers to sharpen colored pencils in it. .. it just keeps working!”

An Amazon reviewer agrees: “I love this sharpener. As a first grade teacher, I sharpen over 100 pencils a week. This sharpener is fast, quiet, and gives the pencils a nice point when sharpened.” Other teachers point out that if you spend a few extra dollars to buy an Amazon Protection Plan, you can get this sharpener replaced for free if it doesn’t last as long as expected.

Buy it: X-ACTO School Pro Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Classroom Pencil Sharpener, Runner Up: School Smart Vertical Pencil Sharpener

This classroom pencil sharpener runs in the same price range as the X-ACTO School Pro, and many teachers swear by it. One teacher notes that hers lasted as long as 8 years in the classroom: “The other teachers have started to come in to use mine all the time now!” On Amazon, another teacher raves, “I have been a teacher for 30 years, and this is the best electric pencil sharpener ever! Kids come back after moving to the next grade to sharpen their pencils in my room.”

Buy it: School Smart Vertical Pencil Sharpener

Best Manual Classroom Pencil Sharpener: CARL Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener

Best Classroom Pencil Sharpeners

Tired of dealing with electric models that break down, or perhaps you don’t have a convenient outlet to use? Try a manual sharpener. A lot of teachers actually prefer them, like Christine. “I went back to a manual sharpener,” she explains. “Now I have students earning rewards to be the pencil sharpener! I’ve had it 3 years! Still awesome!”

The CARL model gets plenty of teacher love on Amazon: “This sharpener is amazing! I’m a teacher and this can sharpen a pencil with two cranks. The pencil lasts longer than the eraser! It sharpens those plastic-covered novelty pencils that kill electric sharpeners.”

Buy it: CARL Angel-5 Pencil Sharpener

Best Old-School Pencil Sharpener: X-ACTO Ranger Wall-Mount Manual Pencil Sharpener

Classroom Pencil Sharpeners

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll find this wall-mounted classroom pencil sharpener familiar! Teacher Jennifer is one of those who love it for its simplicity. “I bought an old fashioned pencil sharpener and screwed it to the counter. Best thing ever!” Amazon reviewers like this X-ACTO model. “I bought this for my elementary classroom and it sharpens pencils to a needle point!” says one. “The students are very happy with its performance and so am I.”

Buy it: X-ACTO Ranger Wall-Mount Manual Pencil Sharpener

Best Long-Term Classroom Pencil Sharpener: Bostitch QuietSharp Electric Pencil Sharpener

The Bostitch is a slightly higher investment upfront, but teachers really appreciate that this classroom pencil sharpener has replaceable cutter cartridges. No need to replace the whole sharpener—just switch out the blades! They also love the auto-stop feature that keeps kids from letting the sharpener eat their whole pencil.

Take it from one Amazon reviewer: “This sharpener is amazing! I have two of them, and I don’t worry about buying new ones. While it is pricey, you can easily replace the blades when you feel the sharpener isn’t sharpening as well as it did when you first bought it. The light lets you know the pencil is sharpened, and it turns the sharpener off. I’ve never had sharper pencils in my classroom!”

Buy it: Bostitch QuietSharp Electric Pencil Sharpener (EPS11HC)

Best Heavy-Duty Classroom Pencil Sharpener: X-ACTO ProX Electric Pencil Sharpener

Classroom Pencil Sharpener

This pencil sharpener is a little more expensive than some others, but it has some terrific features like SmartStop, which prevents over-sharpening. Plus, the sharpener won’t work if the shaving receptacle is open, which protects little fingers.

Teachers like this Amazon reviewer sing its praises: “This has been the best pencil sharpener I’ve bought in 21 years of teaching. It is so much quieter than other brands I have purchased in the past. My favorite part of this purchase is that it sharpens pencils very quickly. I have 27 students so there are a lot of pencils to sharpen and it saves me a lot of time! The art teacher has had it in her classroom for a long time and suggested it. After using hers a few times, I was hooked. I’m so glad I finally bought it!”

Buy it: X-ACTO ProX Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Commercial-Grade Pencil Sharpener: X-ACTO Model 41 Electric Pencil Sharpener

Classroom Pencil Sharpener

This model is definitely an investment, but if money is no option, teachers like Wendy definitely recommend it. “If cost isn’t prohibitive, I would go with this one. My former school provided these and they lasted for many years!”

This sharpener is meant for continual use, so it’s great for large classrooms or perhaps a school office. One Amazon reviewer says, “This sharpener is the best we have ever used. We have used many of the ‘commercial’ sharpeners and they are noisy and do not last. The X-ACTO is quiet and smooth. I use it in the classroom and it has lasted longer than the others already.”

Buy it: X-ACTO Model 41 Electric Pencil Sharpener

Best Bargain Classroom Pencil Sharpener: Jelly Comb Battery-Operated Pencil Sharpener

 Classroom Pencil Sharpener

Looking for a quality classroom pencil sharpener on a very tight budget? This one may fit the bill. It’s cordless, too, so you can easily move it from one place to another. It’s the least expensive electric sharpener on our list, but hundreds of Amazon reviewers give it a thumbs up.

“So, I’m a teacher and finding a pencil sharpener that stands up to the workload of a classroom can be tough. I don’t want to spend $60 on a sharpener that will only last a year at most. I decided to try this little battery-operated one a couple of weeks ago and let me tell you: this little guy is amazing!”

Buy it: Jelly Comb Battery-Operated Pencil Sharpener

Best Personal Pencil Sharpeners: Mr. Pen 6-Pack Pencil Sharpeners

Tired of lines at the pencil sharpener? Maybe you need a bunch of smaller manual ones instead. Place one at each table, or splurge on one for every student. This set of six is priced right, and each one includes its own canister to catch shavings.

An Amazon reviewer says, “I love these pencil sharpeners! After seeing my 3rd grade students struggle with their own and constantly having pencil shavings spill and end up on the floor, I ordered one for each student. They love them! They sharpen well, and the screw top ensures the pencil shavings stay put until they decide to empty them. Great value for price!”

Buy it: Mr. Pen 6-Pack Pencil Sharpeners

Best Sharpener for Colored Pencils: Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener

Classroom Pencil Sharpener

Did you know that most colored pencils contain a tiny bit of wax or oil? This is what gives them their color … and also what causes them to gunk up your classroom pencil sharpener or break off while being sharpened. This little manual sharpener is made just for colored pencils, and the price is low enough that every classroom should have one on hand. From Amazon: “I love this sharpener!! I use it for colored pencils for my classroom and it gives me the most perfect point on all of the pencils!”

Buy it: Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener (2-Pack)

Keeping pencils sharp is only half the battle—where on earth do they all wander off to? Try these 12 Clever Ways to Solve the Case of Disappearing Pencils.

Looking for a great deal on a pencil sharpener, or other important teacher must-haves? Join the WeAreTeachers Deals group on Facebook to find the best bargains on all the coolest teacher stuff!

The Ultimate Classroom Pencil Sharpener Showdown

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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