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7 Best Fabric Shavers of 2024

7 Best Fabric Shavers of 2024

<p><a href=” target=”_blank”>Sweaters</a> are a cozy favorite, whether you’re into fashion or not. But it’s frustrating that so many picks, no matter the price, eventually pill, sprouting a field of tiny balls caused by short, broken fibers. To the rescue: a good fabric shaver. This little gadget can shear off pills on all kinds of clothing, from <a href=” target=”_blank”>workout leggings</a> to <a href=” target=”_blank”>dresses</a>, so they look new again and last longer. Some garments pill within the first or second wear in areas exposed to friction (such as under the arms, along the side seams or where your handbag strap rubs).</p><p>To find the <strong>best fabric shavers,</strong><strong></strong> the experts in the <a href=” target=”_blank”>Good Housekeeping Institute</a>’s Home Care & Cleaning Lab<strong> </strong><strong>tested 18 pill removers, from electric shavers to simpler tools like fabric combs</strong>. When we previously tested this category, we washed and dried rayon-polyester blend sweaters 15 times to create the worst possible pilling scenario, then put each shaver to work. Since then, we’ve tested and considered several new models. This list is a mix of picks from our previous and recent tests, along with consumer favorites.<br></p><p>Read on after our top picks and learn more about how we test fabric shavers and how to use them safely on your treasured garments and home furnishings (yes, even <a href=” target=”_blank”>sofas</a> and chairs) so they look great for years. </p>”/>

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Pros
  • Large lint bin
  • Easy to use with an adjustable head for different fabric weights
Cons
  • Batteries not included

The Conair sweater shaver has an enthusiastic fan base. It scored more than 85,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s an editor favorite and it’s backed by our Good Housekeeping Seal. In our extensive Lab tests, it capably removed pesky pills.

The big lint bin is a boon to catch them. The gadget’s large 2-inch head covers more area with each pass and it can be adjusted to depill thin-, medium- and heavy-weight fabrics. More to love: It comes in a range of fun colors, including orange and pink.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW: I Tried the Viral Conair Fabric Shaver

Power 2 AA batteries
Head size 2-inch diameter
Adjustable to fabric Yes

2

Best Value

Evercare Fabric Shaver

This little worker bee removed pills from sweaters faster and more easily than others in our Lab test. The compact size is surprisingly comfortable to hold — plus it’s easy to stash away and is a great value compared to larger and pricier models.

The sweater shaver comes with a small brush to remove trapped lint in the head and a cover to shield the blades when not in use, though the lint bin is small and can be hard to remove. Batteries are sold separately.

Power 2 AA batteries
Head size 1.5-inch diameter
Adjustable to fabric No

3

Best Electric Fabric Shaver

Sunbeam Professional Sweater Shaver

Now 37% Off

Credit: Sunbeam
Pros
  • Comfortable grip
  • Bigger head and lint bin good for depilling large items
  • Runs on electricity or batteries
Cons
  • Might require a few swipes to depill

If you have or a lot of clothing to de-fuzz (like if you want to freshen up your family’s wool coats) or any furniture with pills (hello, chenille sofa or fabric-covered office chair), the Sunbeam is a smart pick. The pro is built for bigger jobs with its large 2.5-inch head, ergonomic handle and plug-in AC adapter.

It took a few swipes to fully depill the sweaters in our tests, but this model was easy to handle and did the job. Because it comes with an AC adapter, you can plug it into an outlet for a long run without depleting battery power. But in situations where the cord will just get in the way, the model can go cordless, running smoothly on four C-size batteries.

Power 4 C batteries or AC power cord
Head size 2.5-inch diameter
Adjustable to fabric No

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4

Best Manual Fabric Shaver

Gleener Fabric Shaver & Lint Brush

Consumer love — with 17,957 reviewers giving the Gleener four or five stars on Amazon — plus its impressive performance during our Lab testing earned this a spot on our list of faves.

Resembling an oversized disposable razor with a depilling head on one side and a lint brush on the other, this sweater shaver offers three head options for different types of fabric and features you won’t find on other manual fabric shavers. Select the fabric type: thick, medium weight or delicate. The soft-grip handle is comfortable to hold and comes in several colors, and you also get a travel pouch to pack the Gleener for vacations and business trips.

Top reason we like it: It won’t snag or cut knits. A worn black dress looked new again and the Gleener safely and evenly depilled a sweater we had accidentally nicked with a motorized shaver. Because it’s manual, there’s no need for batteries or charging. However, expect to spend more time and energy removing pills, as it may require multiple passes. Our experts recommend gliding it gently over fabrics so as not to stretch them.

Power Manual
Head size 4.75-inch diameter
Adjustable to fabric Yes

5

Best Rechargeable Fabric Shaver

STEAMERY Pilo No.2

The stylish Steamery elevates the ordinary fabric shaver with its modern, minimalist design. It’s also rechargeable (via a USB-C cable) so it’s a good travel companion — no batteries to replace. In Lab testing, it removed pills in just a few gentle passes and delivered a satisfying ball of cast-offs.

“I was over the moon to use this on my favorite (but very beat-up and ball-y) black sweater,” said General Manager of the Good Housekeeping Institute Laurie Jennings. “From the second I opened the box, I could tell it was a big improvement on my old sweater shaver: bigger surface area for depilling, really nice design, ergonomic shape and exceptional performance.”

It comes with a cleaning brush, though one tester still found the Pilo No.2 a little difficult to clean, and it’s the priciest shaver on our list.

RELATED: The Best Clothes Steamers You Can Buy

Power USB-C rechargeable
Head size 2-inch diameter
Adjustable to fabric No

6

Best Fabric Shaver for Sofas

BEAUTURAL Sweater Fabric Shaver Home-Edition

Now 10% Off

Credit: Beautural
Pros
  • Use it cordless or with a long cord
  • Comfortable handle
  • Comes with replacement blade and lint brush
Cons
  • Online reviewers note lint shavings can get trapped in the head

This model stands out for its versatility and bonus features. Though we haven’t yet tested the Beautural in the Lab, we think the flexibility to use batteries or a plug-in cord that’s almost 10 feet long is key to reaching and working around bedding, furniture, drapes, throws, pillows and more.

Designed with a textured handle for a comfy, secure grip and a large lint bin to catch pills, the shaver has an extra-large 2.8-inch head that can quickly tackle big swaths like sofa cushions and sheet sets. Some Amazon reviewers report that lint shavings can get trapped in the head so you may want to check the top of the device occasionally during use.

Unique details include a blade lock for safety and a two-speed motor so you can turn down the power for delicate fabrics. The Beautural also comes with accessories: a replacement blade, lint brush and storage bag.

Power 4 AA batteries or AC power cord
Head size 2.8-inch diameter
Adjustable to fabric Yes

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How we test fabric shavers

While testing fabric shavers in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Home Care & Cleaning Lab, we considered everything from electric shavers to fabric combs and pumice stones for a total of 18 different products designed to remove pill balls from clothes.

Laurie Jennings

When we previously tested this category, we bought multiple identical cardigan sweaters made of a rayon-polyester blend that we knew was likely to pill, then we washed and dried them 15 times each to create the worst possible pilling situation. We then tested each tool on the garments and scored how well they removed pills in one pass and how many passes it took to completely depill the fabric. We also evaluated the shavers for ease of use, comfort in the hand and ease of cleaning.

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Laurie Jennings

For hands-on home testing, we sent the fabric shavers to consumers to track their experience and scores for how easy — or difficult — the models were to operate and clean, how long the shavers held a charge (if rechargeable) and any other feedback. Since then we’ve also tested some newer models that have come out on the market.

What to look for when shopping for a fabric shaver

Don’t rush into buying another gadget that doesn’t fit your needs and ends up in the junk drawer, where jammed corkscrews and old calculators go to die. Weigh these factors first, to be sure you get your money’s worth.

✔️ Surface area of the shaver head. How big is the part that sweeps over the fabric? Check product specs on our list for each model’s head diameter in inches. The bigger it is, the more area it can cover in one pass.

✔️ Power source. What’s nice about a rechargeable fabric shaver or a battery-operated one is that you can take them anywhere and smooth away pills without a cord getting in the way. However, if you have a big depilling job (furniture or a lot of sweaters at once), a plug-in fabric shaver will give you the most lasting power. With a manual shaver or sweater comb, you’ll never have to worry about recharging or replacing batteries and most are compact, so they’re good for travel, but expect to spend a little extra time to achieve the same effect as with a powered-up model. A manual shaver may also give you a bit more control when working with delicate fabrics.

✔️ Design. Would you prefer a long handle with an ergonomic grip for smooth maneuvering or a compact model that’s easy to store or pack?

✔️ Bin size and ease of emptying. A large bin can catch a lot of sweater pills. But you also want to be sure the bin is not a headache to empty and clean.

✔️ Fabric weight options. If you will depill a wide range of garments, it’s a bonus if you can adjust the shaver speed based on garment weave from delicate to bulky.

How do fabric shavers work?

Bad things can happen to good sweaters. And if garments are made with short fibers, they are more likely to break off and form pills, especially in areas exposed to abrasion (even from the washer and dryer). When you pass a fabric shaver over a garment, rotating blades, a mesh screen or a rough stone texture lifts and breaks off loose, broken fibers, leaving the surface smooth and pill-free. Since the whole point is preserving the item, it’s important to maneuver gently to avoid damaging the weave, no matter which depiller you choose.

Here’s the best way to use a fabric shaver: Because garments can get nicked when they’re bunched or gathered up, hold the fabric taut with one hand while using your dominant hand to move the shaver over the surface of the garment. Be careful not to press too hard; several light passes usually suffice.

Manual options like combs and stones are generally smaller and don’t require batteries. They work by pulling the loose pills from the fabric and gathering them onto a metal comb or pumice-like stone to be cleaned off later. These tools require more passes to fully clear away pills and you have to be careful not to stretch or distort the fabric. Take note: Sweater stones tend to disintegrate as you use them, so you might need to vacuum the floor after depilling your sweater.

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Why trust Good Housekeeping?

Carolyn Forté is an industry expert with decades of fabric and fiber testing and laundering experience. She has spent 40 years guiding tests in the Good Housekeeping Institute, assessing the appearance of clothing, bedding, upholstery fabrics and more after laundering and abrasive wear-and-tear tests and conducting countless home care product evaluations. Her sweaters always look good. That’s why colleagues drop by to get her depilling tips for their favorite knits.

Contributing writer Alice Garbarini Hurley most recently updated this article. She has written about home, kitchen and style since the 1980s and worked at Good Housekeeping for 10 years. Her work has appeared in Seventeen, Coastal Living, InStyle and other magazines. Her sister, MaryAnne, a neat freak and cashmere sweater lover, was eager to read this review.

Carolyn Forté brings more than 40 years of experience as a consumer products expert to her role as executive director of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Home Care and Cleaning Lab. Using deep analytical testing and writing expertise in appliances, cleaning, textiles and organizational products, she produces cleaning and home care advice for GH, has authored numerous books and bookazines for the brand and partners with the American Cleaning Institute to co-produce the Discover Cleaning Summits. She holds a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences from Queens College, City University of New York.

Alice Garbarini Hurley has been a lifestyle and consumer writer since a pizza parlor taste test for the Dumont High School Periscope. She wrote about prom dresses and mascara at Seventeen, then about everything that matters at Good Housekeeping as a senior lifestyle writer for 10 years and as a GH freelancer for 10 more. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Coastal Living and InStyle. She has published essays and has blogged at Truth and Beauty since 2010. Writing keeps Alice calm and focused while raising a teenage girl. She loves bluebells and daffodils, Cape Cod, accessories, cream in her coffee and reading cookbooks cover to cover.   

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