View Full Version : Sharpener reviews/recommendations - June 2015 MOST RECENT

06-11-2015, 10:41 PM
Okay, folks. It has been quite some time since we've had a comprehensive sharpener thread happen, so let's do one.

Some information that would be useful:

-What kind of sharpener do you use?
-Is it hand held, battery, or plug in?
-Are you using it with a specific brand of pencil, or are you using it with different brands?
-What do you like about it? Or, if you're wishing someone would gift you with a new sharpener, what don't you like about it?


06-11-2015, 11:14 PM
I have a Carl Angel-5 and it's wonderful. It's a handcrank type but it doesn't have to be attached to anything. I put it anywhere and just hold it when using it. It has helical blade, the best supposedly. Long, sharp points. Use pablos, FC polychromos, and Luminance. Prisma occasionally break off when way off center.

When a prisma tip gets stuck it's easy to remove. I can also wipe off the blade if needed. And it costs about $20 US. (I also have several handheld and a Boston electric for sharpened new pencils.) But I don't know how I'd live.without this.

Only con is it comes without instructions. But it's very simple and we'll made so it's easy to figure out by just fiddling with it...


J Miller
06-12-2015, 12:13 AM

I would agree with that. It's also great because you can take it with you anywhere and get a great point. I like going camping and bringing my pencils along and the Carl is perfect for that. I have a couple Bostich electric ones, but they have auto-shutoff and never can get a super sharp point. Is that a new law or something that they have to have auto shutoff? I haven't been able to find one without it after my old Boston finally broke.

06-12-2015, 03:35 AM
I just ordered this:

I'll post a review when it comes in on Saturday. Love Amazons fast delivery.

06-12-2015, 12:56 PM
I use an electric Ledah it makes a great point and isn't auto shut off I also use at times a bit of sand paper to reshape a point if it's a tiny bit rounded but not enough to waste sharpening.

06-12-2015, 07:30 PM
I use a Panasonic Auto-Stop and absolutely love it . . no complaints whatsoever.

Pencils are mostly Prismacolor but also have some Dewent and FC . . no problems with any of them . .

06-12-2015, 09:08 PM
On a trip to South Africa some years ago, I bought a Genmes 3198 rotary hand-crank pencil sharpener. Have no problems sharpening prismas with it. I got an electric Xacto sharpener many years ago, shaped a bit like a brick, but don't use it for prismas any more as they tend to break in the electric sharpener.

06-13-2015, 01:37 PM
I just received this (http://www.amazon.com/School-Smart-Electric-Vertical-Sharpener/dp/B003U6VSHU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434216244&sr=8-1&keywords=school+smart+pencil+sharpener) in today from Amazon.

The School Smart pencil sharpener is electric powered and has a helical metal sharpener.

The before and after with my Caran Supra's are amazing. The point is needle sharp with a long exposed lead.

My FC Albrecht Duher's still are tough to feed. Although they do better than the previous sharpener which this is replacing. I think in time the hole will enlarge and shouldn't be a huge issue.

All in all, for $29.52 and free shipping if you have Amazon Prime is a good deal.

06-14-2015, 05:29 AM
Still own and rarely use my KP410. (No longer available.) Best sharpener I ever owned, super sharp tips (will draw blood if you are not careful). I say rarely use anymore because I moved to abrasive surfaces, as such sharpening kind of felt silly, the boards, tiles, or sandpaper like surfaces I make and use just eat the lead anyhow. In fact, the surfaces I draw and paint on are so abrasive that they sharpen the pencils for me as I block in the major color areas in big sweeping strokes. Now all I do is remove the wood casings, giving me much more usage of my leads (no longer watching tons of color be thrown away with the pencil shavings). I do wish I coukd just buy the lead cores without the wood casings, as I made custom lead holders some years ago that are much nicer and never need sharpening (just loosen the holding piece and let a bit more lead out). Ah well, of I ever use up all the pencils I have or end up needing a specific color I will probably just make my own lead core instead.

Edited to note that this sharpener is no longer available.

Thanks for making this thread and pulling me out of the lurking with this windeful thread. Oh yeah forgot to mention what I use to shave the wood casings off my leads. . . A wonderful folding utility knife with replaceable blades. Like those heavy duty folding knives you get at the hardware store, I have three of them that friends have given to me at various times over the years and now love using them for this purpose.

06-16-2015, 08:57 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! Anyone else? All of you are using a sharpener of some sort. Jump in with reviews, good or bad, to help out those in the market for a sharpener!

06-16-2015, 01:41 PM
I purchased this Derwent battery-operated sharpener for a class where I'm using prismacolors. It's really just 2 plastic handheld sharpeners which are rotated by battery-power but it helps me baby my right wrist and stave off carpal tunnel syndrome. One of the sharpeners makes a short point which works well for me with the prismas. I think that when the blade gets dull I can replace it with a standard replacement blade, as its attached with a screw.


06-16-2015, 02:29 PM
I am using a Dahle 200 electric sharpener. Gives me the longest and sharpest tip. Love it dearly - however there are 2 setbacks. First, if the tip breaks I have to take the complete machine apart, and I mean complete, to remove the offending rest the pencil. Secondly, it is only for pencils up to 8 mm and Albrecht Dürer from Faber Castell is ever so slightly thicker which requires slimming the pencil. Otherwise I adore it. I have enven sharpened some of my Prismas without any problem.

I have tried other makes, including the top of the line (120 US$) Caran d'Ache mechanical sharpeners but they all can't produce that extra long and sharp tip.

06-16-2015, 08:24 PM
I have the X-Acto School pro sharpener (http://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00006IEI4). I immediately loved it - needle sharp point. No breakage problems with Prismas. However, after a short time, the wheel on the front fell off and a spring and ball-bearing popped out.
I contacted X-Acto and they sent me a new one.

Unfortunately, the new one does not sharpen as well as the first one. It is slower and doesn't make a needle point. I taped the wheel back on the first one and still use it a year later.

06-19-2015, 01:59 PM
I have been using a Boston Powerhouse for many years, and it is still my favourite, even though the poor thing is getting noisy.

Usually when my pencils need resharpening, I don't do it enough to get to the wood, just apply a little torque with the pencil, what I rather call "refreshing" the point.

I also have a Panasonic, much newer and less efficient!!! And a battery old delRey I take to workshops or have on hand when I am away from the drawing board... But I prefer the longer area sharpened by the others.

The best piece of advice I ever got for the time when a piece of the lead brakes inside the sharpener, is to use a 9H graphite pencil in it. It is so hard that it pierces the CP lead and gets rid of it. I only use it as a tool...

I've heard the X-acto recommended, as well as my Panasonic that's gathering dust!

06-20-2015, 08:10 AM
I wanted to chime in that a good friend of mine uses a Panasonic KP310 which is a slightly less awesome version of the 410 (seems louder, and perhaps slightly slower sharpening) but can be picked up pretty easily on ebay or even etsy stores. His is also an autostop and has a wide opening for pencils and provides an excellent sharp point. Alternatively the Boston Sharpeners have always worked most excellently. I prefer an electric sharper over a battery powered, the battery powered ones always seemed to run out of battery life at the worst of times. (can really disrupt the flow of creativity if you are in the middle of something the forget where you left off, easy for me to do as I have some attention deficit issues)

Good luck, hope this helps some!

06-24-2015, 03:23 AM
I'm a bit of an amateur when it comes to sharpeners and I don't really have access to all the fancy stuff.

I saw a lot of Polychromos artists recommending a crank sharpener so I got myself a Staedtler rotary sharpener. It gets the job done but there was a time where I thought I had managed to break it since it was no longer sharpening the pencils into a fine point but it turned out that the little screw at the end had loosened up. Apparently it controls the sharpening point. I didn't know this because the sharpener didn't have ANY manual with it.

The sharpener itself is a bit flimsy. I have dislodged the sharpener from my table a couple of times. A sharpener that costs 30€ shouldn't be this flimsy.

When I'm not using the Staedtler crank sharpener I use a regular handheld sharpener from the same company. The one with a reserve. It's portable enough and I don't need a separate container for all the shavings.

I also bought a Jakar electric sharpener (the cheaper one) but it just feels plain awkward and seems to eat away my pencils like a hungry rabbit.

I've been thinking about ordering the Jakar crank sharpener the next time I order from Jackson's. Anyone have any experience of it? At least Amazon has some really good things said about it.

06-28-2015, 07:22 PM
I have been using the Xacto School Pro fro a long time. Lots of pencil widths will fit in, it has a big shaving container, it is fast and sharpens well.

07-07-2015, 06:58 AM
I only use metal sharpeners. I buy mine from the supermarket, homebrand, so they are inexpensive and they last me a while - 2 pack for about $3 to $4au. I have a prismacolor pencil sharpener with the option for a fine tip but I rarely use it becoz i have better control with my metal one. I find alot of sharpeners just chew up the pencils. With my basic metal one I can control if i want to utilise the whole of the pencil or just the tip itself for ultra fine points so my pencils last me longer.

07-07-2015, 08:29 AM
Thank you for all of the recommendations! Keep them coming!

For any sharpener, it is helpful to sharpen a graphite pencil in it periodically. This helps to clean the blades of the the oil, waxy cp gunk. :)

Saint Ragdoll
08-13-2015, 10:08 PM
I am looking for a pencil sharpener that will sharpen very sharp and sharpen different sizes of pencils as well, this is most important.I dont care if it it is hand crank, electric or battery operated. I use mostly wood case grapjite pencils ut I do have a few woodless graphite pencils. (My watercolor pencils and pastell pencils I hand sharpen.)
If someone has some recomendations I would be grateful if you could lrivate message me. I may not be back to this forum in a while.
Thanks ,
Saint Ragdoll

aphid dew
12-27-2015, 01:51 PM
After going through 2 Xacto electric pencil sharpeners that did the job for awhile, but now just eat pencils, even graphite pencils, I am using cheap General's All Art hand held sharpeners which come in a pack of 3 for about $3.89 or so at Hobby Lobby. I am waiting until I read all of these reviews before investing in another electric one. I really want one, but I want to get one that will work for years before it dies.

Terry 904
01-05-2016, 08:47 PM
I agree with Dianne and Jim, I couldn't live without my Carl Angel 5, and recently bought 2 spares to stash away in case they become unavailable.

They are made in Japan, are of great rugged construction and the helical blades produce a long taper with a hollow grind for very long and super sharp points, which means that the points last and last. When used to sharpen the hard H's graphite the point will last for 2 or 3 drawings, without having to resharoen the pencil, whilst the soft high B's will last the full drawing, with maybe just a touch up here and there with sandpaper to restore a very sharp point.

They cost $46Aud here, so those who bought theirs in the US appear to have got a good deal in comparison.

In this reposted photo it is laying on its side for demonstration purposes elsewhere, hence the included essentials for a travelling graphite pencil set.


Terry 904
01-08-2016, 02:20 PM
Top of the pops for me like many others is the Carl Angel 5.

(On its side in the photo because I posted this for something else)

It is a Japanese made sturdy metal case, hand cranked helical blade long point sharpener that produces a very long taper hollow grind. If you know what hollow ground means.
The ultra points therefore last and last. I only use it for wood cased graphite pencils where I need such points, and also for hard oil based colour pencils that I use for sharp or point work.

For blocking in points on wood cased graphite pencils, woodless graphite pencils, and softer oil based colour pencils I use either a Koh-I-Noor wooden two stage short taper hand sharpener, (pictured), or the Kum metal similar short taper which has a magnesium blade. The Kum is also available as a long taper sharpener in single or two stage metal hand sharpeners. Kum sharpeners come in different configurations and sizes to suit round/ triangular/giant etc. wood case pencils. These are very very sharp, and can be improved by removing the blade and scraping off the painted coating to re-seat the blade nicely. Kums are are really high quality, and versatile sharpener.

Many people prefer the small hand sharpeners for portability, and because they are easy to see and control during the sharpening for maximum point precision and most of all economy.

The electric or hand cranked whilst effortlessly producing very fine points, are much harder to see during sharpening, and consequently for many tend to really strip down the pencil unnecessarily. And of course aren't quite so portable.



12-29-2017, 12:57 AM
I have a regular sharpener machine! And sometimes I use a blade to sharpen my colored pencils. It is very useful to have sharpened tips of pencils when you draw. Doing so you will have great effects in your drawings.

01-06-2018, 04:00 PM
I been using a Derwent Super Point hand crank sharpener for a month or so now. I am quite pleased and have run many hundreds of CP, pastel and graphite pencils through this thing. It is the best I have used so far. I normally sharpen everything with a blade, but I am very, very happy with this unit. I am getting cp and graphite core fine points over 1/2" long, pastel pencils I'm holding a little bit shorter. I believe this retails for $35-40. I bought it off the clearance rack for $12, it was a return. I would gladly pay full retail for this...

05-04-2018, 03:48 AM
I have been using a Kum automatic long point sharpener for my Polychromos and was very happy with it until recently. Suddenly, it stopped working, even after I replaced the blades, which had always worked before.

It is as if Polychromos changed the density of their wood casings.

I have a couple of other sharpeners that work, but don’t give me the long awesome point that the Kum device does.

Has anyone else experienced this problem?