Bobbles are fuzzy balls that form on knitted fabrics, especially sweaters and jumpers. Constant friction causes fibres to break and bunch together to form small pilings or balls.
You’ll notice bobbles mostly on areas that experience the most friction such as down the sides where you frequently run your hands, under the armpits and on the cuffs.
Bobbles are more common on synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon and cotton. But they also occur on natural garments made from wool or cotton.
If left to spread, bobbles can make a new sweater or cardigan can look old and worn out.
The easiest and safest way to get rid of bobbles and pilings is using a bobble remover, also known as a fabric shaver. It works quickly and there is little risk of damaging the fabric.
Bobble removers are not just great for restoring sweaters, jumpers and cardigans. You can also use a fabric shaver on a blanket, sheets, upholstery and jerseys.
In this buying guide, we review the best bobble removers (or fabric shavers) you can buy online and give you tips for choosing the best one for your needs.
Note: Most bobble removers are designed to deal only with pilings and bobbles. If your problem is lint or pet hair, get a lint remover brush or rollers. If the problem is loose threads, cut them off with a pair of scissors.
What to Consider When Choosing a Bobble Remover
A. Adjustable Height and Speed
Most bobble removers allow you to adjust the height of the shaver usually by adding or removing a cap at the front. With others, you twist the cap to raise or lower it.
Different heights are ideal for different fabrics. If the fabric is smoother, lowering the height can help you get all the bobbles. For thicker fabric with large bobbles, raising the blade height will make for a more effective shave.
You may also want to raise the blade height when working with delicate fabrics that can catch or tear easily.
Another adjustable feature to look for is speed. Again, this allows you to work with different fabrics.
You can speed up the blades when shaving a thick woollen blanket or sweater and lower it when working on a more delicate or thinner fabric.
B. Varying Hole Sizes
Bobbles form in different sizes from small pilings that are hard to see to large ones that you can easily feel with your hand.
A good bobble remover should have varying hole sizes to accommodate all kinds of bobbles. Most have at least three hole sizes.
C. Replaceable Blades
A bobble remover with replaceable blades saves you money since you do not need to buy a new bobble remover when the current blades get dull. You simply pop in new blades.
Most bobble removers actually come with spare blades, so you won’t have to buy new ones for a while.
Most bobble removers are electric. Having an electric motor allows the blades to rotate fast enough to quickly clear bobbles.
Bobble removers are usually battery-powered, rather than being plugged in. Cheaper ones use AA batteries while premium ones use a rechargeable battery.
Personally, we prefer the rechargeable ones since you’ll never need to worry about buying new batteries. Rechargeable bobble removers come with a USB cable so you can charge the battery from a wall adapter, a laptop or power bank.
Battery life is typically one hour of continuous use.
E. Safety Lock
Your kids might get curious about the new gizmo that goes bzzzz and may want to play with it. This is obviously dangerous because of the spinning sharp blades.
Look for a bobble remover with an integrated safety lock. It stops the blades if the top mesh cover is opened.
To be completely safe, remember to put the bobble remover away after using it.
Here are some of the accessories to look for.
- Lint brush – great for lint and pet hair.
- Cleaning tool for removing bobbles and lint from the blades.
- Spare blades.
- Carrying/storage pouch.
Best Bobble Removers: Reviews
1. Philips GC026/30 Fabric Shaver Review
The Philips GC026/30 is the least expensive fabric shaver on our list, so it’s a good choice if you are on a budget.
It doesn’t have much power as other fabric shavers, but it does a great job removing bobbles on different types of fabrics.
The large blade makes for quick work without the need to repeatedly go over the same area. Just be careful not to press too hard into the fabric to avoid tearing it.
The shaver head has three hole sizes to accommodate different bobble sizes. You can also adjust the shaver height by removing or attaching the included cap.
For power, the Philips GC026/30 uses two AA batteries (included), which partly explains the lower price tag.
The fabric shaver also comes with a brush for cleaning the blade.
The only thing we don’t like about the Philips GC026/30 fabric shaver is the lack of a replaceable blade. When the blade gets dull, you have to buy a new shaver altogether.
What we like about it:
- Bobble container is easy to remove and empty.
- Low price.
- Multiple hole sizes.
2. BEAUTURAL Portable Fabric Shaver and Lint Remover Review
If you want a fabric shaver that also removes lint, we recommend this one from Beautural.
The Beautural fabric shaver uses sharp blades to safely remove bobbles. It then sucks them into a small bin along with lint.
We love that the blades are replaceable and you even get two spare blades. You can use the fabric shaver for years, only replacing the blades when they get dull.
Something else we love about the Beautural shaver is the adjustability.
It has three hole sizes to target all kinds of bobbles. You can also adjust height to three levels depending on the kind of fabric you are working on.
Something else you can adjust is the speed of the spinning blades. There are two speed levels.
Like the Phillips bobble remover, the Beautural fabric shaver also uses two AA batteries (not included) to power the blades and suction.
What we like about it:
- Includes safety lock for kids.
- Removes bobbles and lint quickly and effectively.
- Adjustable height and speed.
- Includes spare blades.
3. Aerb Fabric Shaver Review
If you prefer a rechargeable fabric shaver, we recommend Aerb. The rechargeable battery lasts through one hour of continuous use and you can recharge it using the included USB cable.
The motor is more powerful than in other shavers and can drive the blades to a max speed of 10,000 RPM.
This makes the Aerb shaver ideal for thick blankets and sweaters with large and stubborn bobbles.
Thanks to the varying hole sizes, it’s also great for thinner fabric with fine bobbles. You can also reduce the speed of the blades when shaving delicate fabrics like cotton.
The 2.15” shaving head allows you to cover a large area quickly. As you move the shaver over the fabric, powerful suction ensures lint and the removed bobbles don’t clog the blades.
All the bits of fabric are collected in the fairly large bin that’s easy to access for cleaning.
The blades are, thankfully, replaceable. The shaver comes with one spare blade.
What we like about it:
- Replaceable blades.
- Safety lock.
- Powerful motor.
- Adjustable speed.
4. Majestik+ Fabric Shaver Review
This is another good choice if you are looking for a rechargeable bobble remover. The rechargeable battery lasts through about 60 minutes of continuous use and takes five hours to fully charge.
A USB charging cable is included.
The shaver uses stainless steel rotary blades to quickly and precisely remove bobbles and pilings. It works on all types of garments including cotton, jerseys, sweaters and bedding. You can even use it on curtains and upholstery.
The RPMs are a bit lower than in other shavers (7500 RPM), which explains the lack of multiple speed options.
Despite the lower speed, the Majestik+ Fabric Shaver is effective even when dealing with stubborn bobbles. But you may need to spend more time going over the same areas.
As the blades rotate, strong suction pulls pieces of fabric into a small bin that is easy to open and empty.
The Majestik+ Fabric Shaver comes with a complete set of three spare blades. When the current ones get dull, no need to buy a new shaver.
What we like about it:
- Includes a safety lock.
- Replaceable blades – you also get a spare set.
- Rechargeable battery.
5. Gleener Lint Remover Review
If you want a non-electric bobble and lint remover, we recommend Gleener. Surprisingly, it costs about as much as the electric bobble removers.
This is a 2-in-1 tool. It removes lint and shaves bobbles and pilings from fabrics.
It doesn’t use any blades like the electric models. Instead, it has three abrasive edges that are interchangeable. The three edges target different sizes and types of fuzz.
There’s one for large bobbles typically found on heavy and thick sweaters and blankets. Another edge removes medium-size bobbles on fabrics like cashmere and wool. The other edge targets ultra-fine bobbles on delicate fabrics such as cotton t-shirts and silk fabrics.
In addition to the three edges, Gleener also comes with a large lint brush that attaches to the handle. It’s perfect for removing lint and pet hair from your clothes.
Because Gleener has no blades, the risk of damaging your favourite sweater or sofa is very low.
You also don’t need to worry about a battery running our or getting new batteries. This makes it a great choice for frequent travellers.
What we like about it:
- No batteries required.
- Shaves bobbles and removes lint.
- Interchangeable edges to suit different types of fabrics.