by Paul Sanders
You can save time and produce higher quality work with the right office tools. Having durable office electronics, like a pencil sharpener, at your desk or in the classroom saves a lot of time. Electric pencil sharpeners give you a fine, sharp tip every time. Armed with a few important facts, you can choose a more durable, reliable pencil sharpener that will work for years to come.
No blades: An electric pencil sharpener uses one or more cylindrical burrs to cut the pencil, rather than the blades used by hand sharpeners. The burrs have cylindrical grooves that rotate against the pencil tip to shave off curls of wood until the pencil tip is sharp. You can see similar cylinders on hand-crank pencil sharpeners when the casing is removed.
Overheating: Using a pencil sharpener frequently over a short period of time can overheat and damage the electric motor. More than one sharpener has burnt out its motor after ten students in a row showed up to sharpen their pencils. Luckily, some pencil sharpeners automatically shut off if the motor begins to overheat.
Spring-loaded pencil savers: Over-sharpening a pencil can waste a lot of its length. Some manufacturers have attempted to solve the over-sharpening problem by placing spring-loaded brackets in sharpeners to hold the pencil back. Once the pencil is sharp enough, the pencil sharpener blades can no longer touch the pencil.
Portable sharpeners: Small hand-held pencil sharpeners have always been around, but small battery-operated electric pencil sharpeners are faster and almost as compact, even with a compartment to catch pencil shavings.
Shavings trays: It's easy to forget to empty the tray of pencil shavings every day. A large-capacity tray can help prevent shavings from blocking and wearing down the mechanism, even if you forget to empty it.