The best lint remover
One of the most gratifying things in life is to watch lint and pills disappear from your favorite sweater or blanket. To get that feeling, you need a lint remover with oomph that works on tough synthetic pills that may seem glued to your fabrics, with blades (under a shave guard), and a motor to get the job done.
Our shopping guide helps you determine which models keep on shaving until you're done depilling your entire wardrobe and home. Take a look at our top recommendations, including our favorite, House of Wonderful Electric Sweater Shaver. We like it for its heft and power.
Considerations when choosing lint removers
Battery vs. corded
Battery-operated lint removers are great for on-the-go needs. Corded units are best when you need uncompromised power for big jobs. Having both may be most convenient. However, there are hybrid units with both batteries and power cord sources.
An easy-to-remove pill catcher makes the job go faster. The waste receptacle on most lint removers fills up fast. One with a clear, see-through catcher is a great choice because you can see when it needs to be emptied before the motor starts to slow down.
The handle is important if you plan on depilling large items, such as sofas, drapes, blankets, or multiple sweaters. After a while, your hand will tire, but a model with an ergonomically designed handle makes it easier to keep going.
Settings are useful to let you control how deeply the blades should cut, which largely depends on the fabric. A medium setting is appropriate for most sweaters.
Consider a unit that has blade replacements you can easily purchase. Some models come with two heads with different-size blades, such as one for clothing and a second for upholstery needs.
Along with settings, some fabric shavers have multiple fabric screens to put over the blades. For example, a lightweight screen with small holes is good for thinner fabrics, while a thicker, heavier screen with larger holes is better for thick fabrics, such as upholstery and blankets.
Lint remover prices
The size and whether it's battery powered or corded typically determines the price of a lint remover. In the very low range of $3 to $13, you find pill-removing combs and petite and inexpensive depillers that are small enough to carry in a purse. In the $13 to $26 range are more powerful corded lint removers with larger shaving heads. Between $26 and $60, you find mostly corded models, some with more blades, and many with accessories, such as extra blades, cleaning brushes, and lint rollers.
Q. What types of fabric should I avoid using a lint remover on?
A. A lint remover with a shaving head is designed to work on somewhat sturdy fabrics. Keep the shaver away from silks, laces, embroidered cloth, and decorative and appliquéd fabrics.
Q. What are fabric pills anyway?
A. Knit and woven fabrics tend to pill. Those annoying pills are tangled groups of short or broken fibers that form a tight little ball and cling to the surface of the fabric. The pills form because of normal wear and tear, which causes loose fibers to get rubbed in different directions.
Q. Are pills and lint the same thing?
A. Both pills and lint are formed because of loose fibers attaching themselves to fabric. The difference is that pills are the little balls attached to the fabric. Lint attaches itself to fabric from an outside source, like when a wayward white tissue stuck in a pocket is washed and dried with your favorite pair of black pants. Pills need a tough shaving tool for removal, such as a lint remover. With lint, you need to grab a lint roller -- or some tape in a pinch -- to remove it.
Lint removers we recommend
Best of the best: House of Wonderful Electric Sweater Shaver
Our take: An impressive corded gadget with enough power to make pilled fabric look almost new again in no time.
What we like: Large shaver head with a handle that feels solid and comfortable in your hand.
What we dislike: Some users report an erratic, malfunctioning motor.
Best bang for your buck: Conair Battery-Operated Fabric Defuzzer
Our take: Powerful on two AA batteries and easy-to-clean product from a trusted brand.
What we like: Three settings to control the depth of the large shaver head on various fabrics. An easy-to-detach lint catcher helps with the cleaning. The ergonomic easy-grip handle is comfortable for longer steady use.
What we dislike: The blades and pill-collecting compartment become quickly clogged with pills, which means it has to be frequently cleaned.
Choice 3: Anwenk Electric Sweater Shaver
Our take: An electric shaver with a long cord makes it convenient to depill upholstery and drapes.
What we like: The USB-style cord makes it even more flexible to use, but you need an adapter for the wall. Electric means it delivers strong, stable power for large items.
What we dislike: It's almost too powerful on fabrics, resulting in users reporting holes in their clothing.
Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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