Does anything work to take the pills off sweaters?
You can buy a pill shaver. There are several out there. They work well. Exercise some care, you can shave a little hole in something if you press too hard.
Here is a link that might be useful: Pill shavers
You can also use a manual razor to gently shave sweaters. I always wash sweaters inside out and lay them flat to dry . Acrylic sweaters seem to pill the most so I avoid them. They are so soft and pretty when new but they don't last long.
Cotton pills very little so I try to buy that.
I would add that long fibre cotton is better than short, if you can find it. This is why Egyptian cotton is highly thought of, and by contrast a certain mall chain with "Cotton" in its name and short fibre cotton in its clothes is about the worst you can get for pilling. I've had one wearing out of some items before they showed pills - at least until I got smart.
As someone observed about clothes: always buy the best you can afford - it's worth it the long run.
Thin cashmeres can pill, these are not high grade cashmeres but they were not cheap either. I think it depends on the weave and the fibers.
I've never had a merino pill, it's sturdier.
I have 2 sweaters to zap the pills off today, before I hand wash them.
Walgreens sells pill shavers for about $6 and they work great. Barn Mom is right though, do it gently and do it only on a flat surface, I shaved a hole in the end of a sleeve by pressing too hard. But they do work amazingly well!
I have a Sweater Stone - it's lasted for a long time and works quite well. I think I bought it from the Vermont Country Store catalog. Just Google it...
Here is a link that might be useful: Sweater Stone
Looks like they'll send one "free" from that site for $4.99 lol!