We buy either the Prismacolor or Crayola pencils, and the absolute best sharpener we've found so far is the egg-shaped PrismaColor ones. They don't seem to crack the wood around the "lead" nor have issues if the lead is a bit off center.
A student has a two-size round "dot" sharpener from Wal-Mart that works great too, he sharpens it in the smaller side first, then in the larger to get a very fine point.
I have yet to find an electric sharpener that works on colored pencils well.
Oh, and Rose Art pencils are pure evil. The lead breaks apart inside, the color isn't as bright, it's WELL worth it to buy the bigger brand names for colored pencils.
Brookings Middle School
From: Deanna Bowers [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 11:50 AM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: Re:[teacherartexchange] colored pencils
I also use small metal sharpeners which work great. They say"Maped" on them. They work great. I use prismacolor and ticonderoga colored pencils, but the crayola portfolio series are good too. Deanna