Go-to sweater starting to look a little worse for wear? They make something for that now, and it’s called a fabric shaver. Yes, the same sort of nifty, hand-held gizmo you use to maintain your scruff is also the key to preserving the knits you’ve been living in since fall, vanishing lint, fuzz, and stray hairs with a few flicks of the wrist. Instead of looking down at a pilling sleeve on your favorite cardigan and mentally calculating the cost of a replacement, buy one of these and save yourself some cash in the process.
The Best Fabric Shavers Shopping Guide
Fabric shavers are also known as de-pilling combs because they literally remove the pile-up of fabric caused by regular wear and washing. They’re a great way to extend the life of your sweaters, helping them look just as smooth as the day you bought them. From heavy-duty shavers that can take on your fuzziest, chunkiest knits (and equally fuzzy upholstery) to compact gadgets that work in a pinch, there’s no shortage of options powered by batteries, electricity, or just good ol’ manpower. And with plenty ringing in at under $20, they’re an affordable—and sustainable—solution for a very common wardrobe gripe.
Before you start attacking every sweater in your closet, though, the experts recommend double-checking their fabric tags. “De-pilling combs are great for animal fibers like wool and cashmere, but should never be used on synthetics,” says Zachary Pozniak, COO of luxury dry cleaner Jeeves New York. “Instead of removing pills, or excess fiber balls on the surface, they can actually break the thread of the textile which will cause it to break down prematurely. ” The right fabric shaver should extend your sweater’s life, not accelerate its journey to the scrap bin, so give those fabrics a once-over before you start hacking.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best fabric shavers to keep you (and your sweaters) looking and feeling smooth from now through July.
The Best All-Around Fabric Shaver: Conair Fabric Shaver and Lint Remover
I originally bought this fabric shaver to revive my sofa after it started pilling everywhere, and when it gloriously worked on my couch, I applied it to my knitwear—seriously, like all of my knitwear. The lint catcher fills up pretty fast and emptying it always makes me sneeze, but my well-loved tops feel like they’ve been given new life. It’s worth the achoo. —Tyler Chin, Associate Commerce Editor
The Runner-Up: Nori Trim Fabric Shaver
Now that I’m wearing sweaters around the clock, I want to make sure I keep them looking nice for as long as possible. Sleek and compact, Nori’s fabric shaver has become a fall-through-winter staple. With a whopping six blades, it makes shaving excess fuzz a breeze, bringing even my most delicate sweaters back to life after they’ve been through the wringer. When I’m done de-pilling to my heart’s content, I quickly empty the collector and it’s ready for another round (which, during this season, is usually within the week). —Michella Oré, Commerce Writer
The Best Battery-Free Fabric Shaver: Gleener Fabric Shaver & Lint Brush
My favorite fabric shaver is the Gleener comb set. It has three different de-pilling heads which gives you a ton of variety to choose from (delicate, normal, and heavy duty). Plus, it comes with a lint brush which is extremely handy in general when de-pilling. —Zachary Pozniak, COO Jeeves New York
The Best Compact Fabric Shaver: Steamery “Pilo” Rechargeable Fabric Shaver
I’ve owned the Steamery’s USB-powered de-piller for several years and it has held up well and continues to perform through spans of months where it is shoved, with little care or regard, to the back of bathroom vanity drawers. The clear window into the fabric catcher is a nice feature that means you’ll never have to remove the blade guard if you don’t actually need to. And the plastic cover (which I of course lost a long time ago) does (or did, in my case) an admirable job protecting the blades and blade guard through bouts of violent bathroom drawer rifling (where are the bandaids?!?). Do you need to spend $55 on a fabric shaver? Certainly not. Is it nice know you have the sleekest most over-designed model on the market? Indisputably yes. —Martin Mulkeen, GQ Global Commerce Director
The Best Fabric Shaver for Touch-Ups: Restora Fuzz Removal Comb
The Restora comb is compact, inexpensive, and easy to use. It’s great for smaller jobs and touch-ups. Simply brush away pills and remove the lint from the brush with your hands and lint brush, and roll the garment after. —Zachary Pozniak
The Best Fabric Shaver for Larger Areas: Philips Fabric Shaver
With more than 100K reviews, the magic of Philips’ fabric shaver isn’t exactly a state secret. With a wide surface that’s easy to clean, this handy device is great for daily upkeep—your wardrobe, your couch, your life— and on-the-go refreshes. And if you’re concerned how this gizmo will hold up on delicate garments, a detachable height adjustment cap ensures you get close enough to the grain to remove the fuzzies without compromising the fabric integrity—or creating a big ol’ hole.
The Best Old-School Fabric Shaver: Salav Retro Edition Lint Roller Fabric Shaver
Chances are you’ll be de-pilling a lot this season, so if you’d prefer to keep your fabric shaver close at hand, this retro version also doubles as primo table decor. With six blades and an extended handle that allows you to navigate around hard-to-reach places—on your sweaters or the couch you’ve been crashing on—it’s good looks are almost ancillary. (Almost.)
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