The pilling starts, and suddenly, that perfect sweater looks perfect no more. Enter the fabric shaver, the rescuer extraordinaire of fabrics everywhere. These small devices cut off dreaded lint balls, leaving behind smooth fabric free of lint (and pills).
The best fabric shaver works on multiple fabric types, offers versatile cutting heights, and accommodates several speeds. Fabric shavers come in battery-powered and manual designs, but the right one for any given situation depends on the fabric and surface area that needs work.
- BEST OVERALL: Conair Battery Operated Fabric Defuzzer/Shaver
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Evercare Fabric Shaver, Small
- UPGRADE PICK: BEAUTURAL Sweater Fabric Shaver Home-Edition
- BEST MANUAL: Gleener Ultimate Fuzz Remover Fabric Shaver
- BEST FOR PET HAIR: Pritech Fabric Shaver Rechargeable Lint Remover
- BEST FOR FURNITURE: Alwayslux EasyLint Professional Sweater Shaver
- BEST FOR TRAVEL: Aerb Fabric Shaver, Electric Sweater Shaver
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Fabric Shaver
Fabric shavers come in different shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same basic function—removing unsightly lint balls. However, certain features like head size, number of blades, and the handle design might work better than others on a given shaver. The fabric type matters, too. These and other considerations can help determine the best fabric shaver for you.
Manual vs. Electric
Fabric shavers come in two general types: manual and electric. Manual shavers go easy on fabrics, so they offer a good choice for thin, delicate materials. These shavers don’t require recharging, so there’s no concern about the battery running out of power. They typically cost less, too. However, manual fabric shavers take longer to use and require more labor from the user.
Electric fabric shavers feature different speeds and shaving heights or depths to quickly and efficiently work on various fabric types. These models also might feature an extra-long cord, an ergonomic handle, or multiblade designs to shave faster.
Some higher-end models have dual power modes for battery or corded use, while others offer only one or the other. On the downside, some models go through batteries quickly, losing power before the job is completely done.
The best fabric shavers have features that help them work better on various fabric types. For example, electric shavers with adjustable height/depth allow the user to increase cutting height on thick fabrics and reduce it on thin fabrics. That can reduce the chances of snagging or nicking the fabric. Speed settings help, too. The shaver might work better on a slower setting when used on thick fabrics, for example.
A note on fabric types:
Pilling starts when fabric fibers come loose. Friction and rubbing then pull those fibers out of the fabric, where they roll into lint balls. The friction might come from wearing a garment or from tumbling it in the clothes dryer.
Certain fabrics are less prone to pilling than others. Tight weaves fare better than loose ones, and woven fabrics pill less than knits. Long-fiber fabrics like linen, extra-long staple cotton, and silk pill less than polyester, short-staple cotton, and most synthetic fabrics. Fabric blends also pill more than single-fiber fabrics.
Shaving Head and Blades
Shaving heads range in size from 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter. Larger heads are more efficient on large items like sofas. Some heads offer an adjustable height, which works well for those who need to shave different types of fabric. The adjustability can protect thin, delicate fabrics from snagging while offering some extra help for thick fabrics.
Blade design makes a difference, too. Some models feature three to six blades to quickly remove lint balls, even on thick fabrics.
Electric models with multiple speed settings provide more control. For example, they allow the user to go slower on thicker fabrics and faster on those of average thickness. Some manual shavers come with changeable blades, with some specially designed for thick fabrics and others for delicate fabrics.
Most blades are made of stainless steel because it holds a sharp edge and resists corrosion. Look for blades made of high-quality stainless steel, like 18/10 or 18/8, because they resist rust and corrosion better than 18/0 stainless steel. However, many manufacturers don’t show the specific steel grade, so don’t be surprised if that information isn’t readily available.
Some models have a handle built in to the main body of the shaver, and others feature a handle that looks similar to a clothes iron handle that extends and runs parallel to the shaver body or the lint collector. Manual shavers look similar to a disposable razor with a thin, ergonomic handle.
Handles—whether electric or manual—with a textured, ergonomic grip help maintain control and reduce hand fatigue. Features like thumb grips and finger grooves make it easier to maintain control without having to excessively squeeze the shaver and tire the hand.
Electric fabric shavers run either on battery power or through an electric cord, with a few dual-power models. Battery-powered models are portable and easy to use. There’s no cord to catch or tangle as the shaver moves across the garment.
However, battery life and charging time come into play. The best fabric shavers have a battery life of about 60 minutes and require 2 to 3 hours to charge. Avoid models that last for only 15 to 20 minutes per charge. Shaving large blankets or sofas can take longer than that, and the shaver could stop before the job gets done.
Models with electrical cords benefit from consistent power without time limitations. However, cord length makes a big difference in the usability of the shaver. For example, models with a 3- to 3.5-foot cord might limit where and how users can clean up lint and pills unless they add an extension cord. Models with 6- to 9-foot cords are easier to use, especially on furniture.
Some shavers have USB cords, and others feature a traditional AC adapter. USB cords give some extra flexibility in use. For example, they can plug into a car, a laptop, or a power bank. Models with dual-power modes work on either batteries or a power cord, providing the best of both worlds.
- Lint collector capacity: Large lint collectors lead to less emptying. Clear collectors let the user see when it’s time for emptying.
- Spare blades: Blades eventually get dull no matter how good their quality. Some shavers come with replacement blades, saving money and potentially time when in the middle of a job.
- Storage features: A case or storage bag protects the shaver and keeps all of the parts, like the charger, the cover, and extra blades, together and organized.
Our Top Picks
Many of these shavers on the list of top picks have multiple speed settings, cutting depths, and ergonomic handles. From battery life to handle design, these models stand out and consistently remove lint balls to keep fabrics looking smooth and new. Read on for help choosing the best fabric shaver to remove pesky lint and pills from your favorite clothing and furniture.
The Conair Battery Operated Fabric Defuzzer/Shaver features a 2-inch stainless steel blade head with a honeycomb screen to protect the fabric. A turn of the head adjusts the height/depth of the blade to one of three settings, creating the ability to customize the shaver to the fabric type. The handle features a finger grip, and the lint collector extends from the head, where it’s visible during use.
The Conair comes in six colors and is small enough to travel or store in a drawer. It takes two AA batteries to operate, so there’s no cord to get in the way. The shaver can go through batteries fairly quickly, but battery time depends on the shave setting and how often it’s used. The size and power type work better for clothing than for large items like a sofa.
The Evercare Fabric Shaver features a triple-blade design that speeds through lint balls. The Evercare is small enough to hold with the fingertips rather than gripping it like other fabric shavers. Weighing only 4.2 ounces, it’s not likely to cause much hand or wrist fatigue.
This model offers excellent power from a heavy-duty motor run with two AA batteries. The lint collector and batteries are integrated into the handle for a sleek design. However, the Evercare runs through batteries quickly, so it tends to work better on clothing rather than furniture. For an affordable fabric shaver with enough power to keep clothes lint-free, plus a comfortable design, look to this Evercare model.
The BEAUTURAL Sweater Fabric Shaver upgrades the usual three-blade electric design to six blades, increasing efficiency and shaving speed. It features a suction device that pulls lint into the collector like a mini handheld vacuum to boost that efficiency. Three adjustable shaving heights and two speeds allow for customization based on the fabric thickness and lint ball size. A 2.8-inch blade head covers a relatively wide area with each stroke.
The BEAUTURAL includes two power modes. It can run on four AA batteries or an AC adaptor with a 9.8-foot cord that provides consistent power for as long as needed. This shaver also features a safety lock that prevents the blades from turning when the cover is open or loose, protecting the fingers of curious children. The ergonomic handle includes a textured grip, giving the user more control but less hand and wrist fatigue.
The Gleener Ultimate Fuzz Remover Fabric Shaver offers gentle lint removal with three interchangeable blade options. The blades measure about 3 inches long for bulky, medium, and delicate fabrics, with a quick blade-release button on the handle. Shaped like a facial razor, the thin handle feels much like one of these familiar tools. Its soft, textured handle provides accurate control over the shaver.
This shaver pulls over the fabric much like the razors it resembles, removing lint balls as it goes.
It functions as a two-in-one tool, with a lint brush on the opposite end of the blade. The brush removes any remaining lint after using the blade or picks up pet hair and other debris unrelated to fabric shaving.
The Pritech Fabric Shaver Rechargeable Lint Remover features a large vane fan that pulls lint through three different-size mesh holes. While it’s sucking in lint, it’s pulling pet hair, dandruff, and other debris off clothing and furniture.
A magnetic foil provides easy access to the blades but keeps them secure while in use. Sensory devices turn off the blades when the foil comes off to prevent the blades from cutting little fingers. The lithium-ion batteries last for 60 minutes and reach a full charge after 2 hours. The handle design resembles that of a hair dryer, so the shaver works well on vertical surfaces like drapes.
The Alwayslux EasyLint Professional Lint Fuzz Remover comes with a handy storage case with space for extra blades, the fabric shaver, and an AC adapter. The AC adapter is one of the two power modes that run this fabric shaver, and one of the reasons it works well for furniture. It also runs on four C batteries. Batteries are great for areas outside the reach of the 69-inch cord, but the cord provides consistent power for large sofas.
All that lint goes into an extra-large lint collector, reducing the number of times the shaver needs to be emptied. The Alwayslux also includes replacement blades for the approximately 3-inch head to keep things sharp and efficient, and it has a soft, ergonomic handle for comfortable control.
The Aerb Fabric Shaver, Electric Sweater Shaver’s palm-size design practically hides in a suitcase, but it’s loaded with features (like suction) that typically come only on larger models. This little fabric shaver offers two speeds and different lint-hole sizes in the foil to better trap lint balls on various types of fabric. A spacer around the foil adjusts the cutting depth for thick or thin fabrics. The shaver also includes suction to pull the lint inside.
A USB cord charges the Aerb, so it can charge via a power bank, a laptop, or an AC adapter. It takes 2 hours to reach a full charge and provides up to 1 hour of continuous use. However, the operating time can go down if it runs mostly at a higher speed. An automatic stop feature kicks in if the mesh covering is removed or comes loose, protecting curious kids or pets.
FAQs About Fabric Shavers
A new fabric shaver might be on the way, but you still might have questions. Here are a few of the most common questions with the answers so you can get shaving that lint in a hurry.
Q. What does a fabric shaver do?
Friction pulls extra fibers out of fabrics, after which they roll into balls. A fabric shaver cuts off those lint balls to keep the surface of the fabric smooth.
Q. Are fabric shavers bad for clothes?
Removing the pilled fibers from fabric isn’t bad for the clothing. The fibers already have been pulled from the main body of the garment, and the shaver removes them completely. However, a blade that catches and nicks or cuts the fabric can be bad for the garment. Be careful and use a blade designed for the fabric type.
Q. Can a fabric defuzzer be used while the user is wearing the clothing?
It’s not recommended to be defuzzing clothes while they are being worn by the user. The shaver needs a flat surface so that it doesn’t catch and cut the fabric. Lay the clothing on an ironing board, a table, a countertop, or another flat surface.
Q. Can a fabric shaver be used on cashmere?
Yes, fabric shavers work on cashmere. A model with an adjustable height or a manual fabric shaver with a blade designed for cashmere would work best.
Q. Can a fabric shaver be used on a couch?
Fabric shavers work incredibly well on couches. Look for a model with a wide-width head (around 3 inches) to cover as many square inches as possible.
Q. How do you remove pilling from fabric?
Fabric shavers are one of the fastest and easiest ways to remove pilling from fabric. Put the fabric on a flat surface and pull it taut while running the fabric shaver over the fabric. If the shaver has different speeds and height settings, adjust them to the fabric. Set the shaver to higher heights for thicker fabrics and lower heights for thin, delicate fabrics.