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What are the Differences Between Pill and No-Pill Fleece?

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

Published: February 13th, 2017

Updated: April 22nd, 2019

When you think of fleece, you might immediately picture a sheep. However, there are two different types of this material - no-pill and pill. No-pill fleece is synthetic and is typically smoother and more expensive than pill, which is polyester that's more affordable and fuzzier.

If you're interested in learning more about the differences between these two materials, then you're definitely at the right place. Make yourself comfortable, maybe snuggle in a nice fleece blanket, and get ready to learn more about pill vs. no-pill fleece.

Fleece is the Word

Synthetic fleece is a major invention in the world of fabrics. It's affordable and durable, and unlike natural fleece (which comes from animals like sheep), the supply of it doesn't depend on how well a farmer's herds are doing. That's why the synthetic stuff is used to make so many cloth products, including blankets, sweatshirts, and hats.

Since it was invented, synthetic fleece (which we'll just call fleece from here on out) has undergone a few innovations. The biggest one might be the invention of no-pill fleece. But what is it, exactly, and how does it differ from regular fleece?

The first area of difference, which you might have noticed if you've ever shopped for fleece goods, is that each kind of fleece has a few different names.

Regular pill fleece is also called:
  • Brushed fleece
  • Blizzard fleece
  • Polar fleece (though some sources use this name for both pill and no-pill fleece)
No-pill fleece is also called:
  • Anti-pill fleece
  • Premium fleece
  • Velour fleece

But those just tell you that fleece is warm, soft, and fluffy. They don't explain what makes no-pill fleece different!

The Making of Fleece!

So let's talk a bit about how fleece is made. fleece comes from polyester, the same material used in a lot of dress shirts and pants. To make fleece, a manufacturer brushes the fibers of fabric that form a swatch of polyester. The fibers break, producing the puffy fabric that we know as fleece.

Sometimes, though, the fibers rub too much against each other, or against another surface. This can happen when fleece is washed, or even just when an item of fleece clothing is worn. The loose ends of the fibers bunch together, forming those little balls of fabric called pills that we're forever trying to remove from our favorite sweaters.

To solve that problem, manufacturers created no-pill fleece.

Purging the pill

No-pill fleece is processed in a way that reduces the number of pills that form by a lot. The fibers may be twisted together more tightly or packed closer together, and they're usually shorn much shorter than the fibers of regular fleece.

Those are the differences from a manufacturing standpoint. What are the differences that you, the consumer, might notice?

No-pill fleece has a smoother surface, at least on one side of the fabric.

No-pill fleece usually has a heavier gram weight, so it feels denser.

No-pill fleece typically costs more.

If there's a design on the fabric, it will look clearer and less fuzzy on no-pill fleece.

Regular fleece can be initially more affordable, which is helpful for buyers on a budget, and it will still provide the cozy warmth you expect. No-pill fleece, however, is considered to be of higher quality, and because pills won't have to be removed (which removes layers of the fabric itself!), it tends to last longer.

Whichever fleece is right for you, there's sure to be a soft fleece product with your name on it at Quality Logo Products!