Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Review: Ruiya Electric Sharpener

Ruiya sharpener: Small footprint, big sharpening mojo.

For the past couple of years, the Bostitch Quiet Sharp 6 has been my favorite electric pencil sharpener. I have shoved every pencil I own into one of this workhorse’s six holes, and it will accommodate all but the most jumbo of jumbos. Specifically, my most used Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelles fit beautifully, and that’s no small feat. Along with Derwent Drawing Pencils (another favorite), the Museum Aquarelles have a barrel that is just slightly wider than standard pencils, so finding a sharpener with a hole large enough is a significant issue.

Several months ago, I was looking for a battery-operated sharpener to keep downstairs in the kitchen. I came across a small Ruiya electric, which is about 3½ inches tall and less than 5 inches wide. My plan for it was to sharpen standard graphite pencils that I tend to use for grocery lists and such. That’s all it was doing for a while, and I was impressed by the clean, sharp points it makes without giving me lethal weapons (which tend to snap off under my heavy hand). A dial can be turned to change the point from a sharp one to a slightly blunt one (which can sometimes be preferable when using colored pencils).

Nice points!
One day I became curious about how large a barrel the single hole would accommodate, and to my surprise, even the Derwent Drawing Pencils fit. Sadly but not surprisingly, the Museum Aquarelles do not fit (and strangely, nor do Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer pencils, which I always thought were standard size, but they are ever-so-slightly larger. Apparently the hexagonal barrel keeps it from fitting; the Derwents look the same size but are round, so they do fit.) But the rest of my most-often-used colored pencils – F-C Polychromos, vintage Prismacolors, Cd’A Supracolors – all fit well and sharpen beautifully.

What’s more, when I want a sharp, crisp point for writing or drawing details, all my favorite graphite pencils – Mitsubishi Hi-Uni, Tombow Mono, Blackwings – and other standard-size graphite pencils sharpen better in the Ruiya than in my Bostitch, which gives a blunter point.
Turning the dial varies the point's sharpness.

Bonus "points" for the Ruiya: It makes a much smaller footprint and elevation on my desk compared to the hefty Bostitch. Even better, it’s so lightweight and compact, as well as having the option for battery power (it can also run on AC), that I am able to take it easily to drawing classes.

Unfortunately, I can’t replace the Bostitch with the Ruiya completely because I still need the former for Museum Aquarelles. But I can move the Bostitch to a less prominent place in my studio and get a little more space back on my desk. This little cordless Ruiya is a keeper. In fact, I got a second one to put back in the kitchen.

Have a sharp day!


  1. Sounds like a keeper!!! I don't use that many graphite pencils that need to be sharpened, but I have a hard time with the watercolor pencils and the lead breaking as I sharpen them. Maybe I should look into this.

    1. What kind of watercolor pencils are you using, Joan? My guess is that the problem is with your pencils, not the sharpener!


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