Lint Roller vs Fabric Shaver | What’s the Difference?

Most households have a lint roller stowed away somewhere, whether that’s on your bedside table or in your kitchen junk drawer. Fabric shavers are quickly becoming a popular product, but they haven’t reached the same level of popularity that lint rollers have. Both products work well to remove lint, hair, and other debris from your clothes, but the way they go about doing this is very different.

Lint rollers use single-sided adhesive strips to pick up lint, hair, and other small debris from your clothes and other fabric surfaces. A fabric shaver will also remove these things, but it can also remove pilling and loose strands of fabric. Instead of adhesive strips, fabric shavers use small blades to cut away the debris.

Are you debating between a lint roller or fabric shaver as your next purchase? We’ll discuss the intricacies of each and their differences, so you can see which is the better product.

Lint Rollers480 Sheet Extra Sticky Lint Roller - Pet Hair Remover for Clothes - 4 Handles + 8 Refills Pack… (4 Handles + 8 Refills)

Lint rollers have long handles with a long cylindrical head. The head has dozens or hundreds of strips of one-sided adhesive wrapped around them. This adhesive is used to pick up hair, dirt, dust, and other debris from your clothes.

While most people use lint rollers on their clothes, this product can be used on most fabric surfaces. They’re safe to use on car interiors, furniture, blankets and other linen, and even soft toys. Lint rollers are similar to lint brushes, see how they are different in our comparison article here (lint brush vs lint roller)

How Do Lint Rollers Work?

Single-sided adhesive strips are wrapped around the head of lint rollers, and these strips are what will pick up any debris on your clothing or fabric. The tape used on these rollers is very similar to masking tape, so it’s very sticky, durable, and efficient.

Lint rollers can sometimes leave a sticky residue on your clothing because of how tacky the adhesive strip is, so you’ll want to be careful when using this product on very delicate fabrics like cashmere or wool.

How to Use a Lint Roller?

One reason lint rollers are so popular is that they’re incredibly easy to use. You only need to follow a few simple steps when you need to clean up your clothes or fabrics. Here are some simple steps to follow when using a lint roller

1. Remove the outer branded strip for new rolls. Or, remove the previously used strip if you haven’t done so already.

2. Run your lint roller over your clothes or whatever surface needs cleaning.

3. Repeat step 2 until your clothes or fabric are free of lint, dust, hair, etc.

4. Rip off the used adhesive strip and throw it away.

Pros and Cons of Lint Rollers

While lint rollers are a very popular product, using them does come with a few disadvantages. Check out this list of the pros and cons of lint rollers:


  • Very quick and easy to use
  • Works effectively on clothing, car interiors, furniture, and other fabric surfaces
  • Inexpensive


  • Could leave a sticky residue on clothing and fabrics. This can lead to damage or make it easier for debris to stick to the clothes/fabrics immediately after use
  • Not environmentally friendly as you continually have to throw the strips and cardboard base away

Fabric ShaversConair Fabric Shaver and Lint Remover, Battery Operated Portable Fabric Shaver, White

Fabric shavers have the same goal as lint rollers, but it works very differently. Not only do fabric shavers remove dust, lint, and hair from your clothes, but they also eliminate pilling and loose strands of fabric.

Most fabric shavers are safe to use on the same surfaces as lint rollers, although this can vary depending on the brand. Fabric shavers use tiny blades to shave away lint, pilling, and other debris from your clothes and fabric surfaces. 

How Do Fabric Shavers Work?

Fabric shavers have several tiny blades underneath a cap that works to shave off the debris from your clothes and fabrics. Most fabric shavers use a mesh cap to prevent accidental nicks, and some have more advanced safety settings for people with children or pets in the home.

Many fabric shavers have heads that twist so that you can control the shaving length. This is helpful for switching between delicate fabrics to more tough fabrics like jeans.

How to Use a Fabric Shaver?


While using little blades to shave away the debris on your clothes may sound dangerous, it’s actually very safe as long as you use the product properly. These products are very effective at removing debris from your clothes when you follow these steps

1. Lay your clothing or piece of fabric flat.

2. Turn on your fabric shaver.

3. Work the fabric shaver down your clothing or fabric vertically.

4. Increase the pressure or change the shaving height if needed to remove all lint and pills.

5. Clean out the container where all the debris collects.

Pros and Cons of Fabric Shavers

There are a few advantages and disadvantages to using fabric shavers. Here are the pros and cons of using this product:


  • Quick, efficient, and effective at removing all pilling, lint, hair, etc.
  • Safe for use on delicate fabrics
  • Environmentally friendly


  • More expensive than lint rollers initially
  • Potential safety hazard for children or pets
  • Requires batteries

Read my related article: What is Fabric Pilling and How to Fix It

Comparison Questions (Lint Roller vs Fabric Shaver)

Are Lint Rollers or Fabric Shavers More Effective?

If you’re looking for an all-in-one product that works well on multiple surfaces and removes all types of debris from your clothes, then you’ll want to stick with lint rollers. They’re more effective at removing all types of debris than fabric shavers because some types of fabric shavers aren’t safe for use with pet hair.

That being said, there is the possibility of damage when using a lint roller on delicate fabrics. Most fabric shavers are safe to use on delicates like cashmere and wool, which makes fabric shavers a better choice for those items.

Are Lint Rollers or Fabric Shavers More Affordable?

Lint rollers are unquestionably the more affordable option upfront. However, you’ll eventually need to buy a refill for your lint roller, and their handles often break after a couple of years of use, so you’ll end up needing to buy an entirely new unit.

Fabric shavers have a much higher initial cost, but they could save you money in the long run. Instead of buying a refill every few months, with fabric shavers, you only need to replace the blades once every few years. You’ll also need to buy batteries for them, but if you buy rechargeable batteries, then this won’t be a long-term expense.

You’ll save money in the long run with fabric shavers, but if you’re looking for something quick and inexpensive without multiple parts to worry about, then you’ll be happier buying a lint roller.

Which is More Environmentally Friendly?

The idea behind a fabric shaver is you don’t need to replace most of it. The blades will need to be replaced on occasion, but there are many programs out there that will take used blades and recycle them. Fabric shavers also run on batteries, which would need to be replaced. But you can purchase rechargeable batteries instead, which increases the environmental friendliness of fabric shavers.

Unfortunately, there is no way to use lint rollers in a way that’s environmentally friendly. You’ll continuously be throwing away the used adhesive strips and cardboard bases and replacing them.

The Verdict – What’s the Difference?

Lint rollers use one-sided adhesive strips to remove debris from your clothing, while fabric shavers work by using tiny blades to cut off lint, pilling, and other debris. Lint rollers are usually more inexpensive than fabric shavers, but fabric shavers are far more environmentally friendly. Fabric shavers are also safer to use on delicate fabrics than lint rollers. If you’re looking for something cheap and quick, then a lint roller is the perfect option for you. However, if you’d like something that will last for years and is more environmentally friendly, you’re better off buying a fabric shaver.