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How to Choose the Right Pilling Tester?

How to Choose the Right Pilling Tester?


How to Choose the Right Pilling Tester?


Selecting the ideal pilling tester is paramount when assessing fabric quality and durability. With an abundance of options available, finding the perfect fit can be overwhelming. In this article, we'll guide you through essential factors to consider for choosing the right pilling tester for your needs.

Understanding Testing Requirements

To choose the right pilling tester, it is vital to have a clear understanding of your specific testing requirements. This involves familiarizing yourself with industry standards such as ISO, ASTM, or AATCC, which provide guidelines for pilling testing procedures and criteria.Furthermore, identifying the appropriate test method is essential. Common test methods: Martindale, ICI, and random tumble pilling.

Martindale Test:

The Martindale test is widely recognized and extensively used in the textile industry. It involves mounting the fabric sample onto a circular test platform, which rotates horizontally. The sample is subjected to simultaneous rubbing in both warp and weft directions against an abrasive surface, typically emery paper. The number of rubbing cycles determines the test duration.

The Martindale test is particularly suitable for woven fabrics and is known for its ability to replicate real-life wear conditions accurately. It allows for testing larger sample sizes and provides a quantitative assessment of pilling resistance using the Martindale rating system.

ICI Pilling Test:

The ICI pilling test is another commonly employed method for assessing fabric pilling resistance. It involves mounting the fabric sample onto a stationary cork-lined holder. A pair of abradants, typically discs covered with an abrasive material, rub against the sample in a circular motion.

The ICI test method is suitable for various fabric types, including woven, knitted, and non-woven fabrics. It offers a visual evaluation of pilling performance based on a standardized rating system developed by the ICI.

Random Tumble Pilling Test:

The random tumble pilling test simulates the pilling process by subjecting fabric samples to tumbling within a closed chamber. The samples, along with abrasive materials such as cork balls or steel balls, undergo a random and continuous agitation. The duration of the test is determined by the number of cycles or a specific time interval.

This test method is commonly used for assessing the pilling resistance of knit fabrics, as well as other textile materials. It provides a qualitative evaluation of pilling based on the appearance and severity of pills formed.

Martindale Test
ICI Pilling Test
Random Tumble Pilling Test

Sample Size and Capacity

Evaluate the size and quantity of fabric samples for testing. Ensure the chosen pilling tester accommodates your sample dimensions comfortably. Consider the sample holder or drum size and its capacity to handle multiple samples simultaneously. Opt for a pilling tester that matches your workload.

Speed and Control Options

Different materials necessitate varying rubbing speeds for accurate testing. Seek a pilling tester with adjustable speed control to suit your test materials' requirements. Verify that the speed range aligns with your specific applications. Control over testing speed ensures precise and reliable results.

Quality of Abrasive Material

The abrasive material on the pilling tester's drum simulates real-life wear conditions. Assess the type and quality of the abrasive material used. It must be durable, consistent, and representative of everyday use's abrasive nature. Opt for a pilling tester offering various abrasive materials or customization options.

Durability and Maintenance

Evaluate the pilling tester's build quality and durability. It should withstand continuous use. Take note of the maintenance requirements and availability of spare parts or servicing options. A reliable and durable pilling tester ensures longevity and minimizes disruptions in your testing operations.

Budget Considerations

Establish a budget that considers both the initial investment and long-term cost of ownership. Compare models, brands, and suppliers to strike a balance between quality, features, and affordability. Assess the value and return on investment the pilling tester provides, considering its impact on product quality and customer satisfaction.


Choosing the right pilling tester is crucial for accurately evaluating fabric pilling resistance. Invest time in research and comparisons to find the pilling tester that best suits your needs. The right choice will yield significant benefits in quality assurance and customer satisfaction.

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