Preparing your fish isn’t as easy as grabbing a knife out of your drawer. Your fish fillet knife is one of the most crucial tools you will have in your fish preparation arsenal. Whether you are preparing salmon, snapper, or bass, you will need to choose a fillet knife specifically designed to accommodate that particular job. There are probably more options that you are ready to investigate.
The common and incorrect assumption is that any knife will cut fish, but nothing could be further from the truth. A fillet knife has a special thin, curved blade, explicitly made for working through the fish without destroying the fish’s meat.
Several choices of a blade consist of varying sharpness, length, and flexibility, all of which are important to the type of fish you prepare. You also want to ensure that the knife’s handle is comfortable and allows you to control the knife safely.
There are several fillet knives on the market, but we’ve made a list of the best ones so that you can choose the best fish fillet knife for you and your specific needs.
Everything you will learn here
- Our 13 Best Fish Fillet Knife Recommendations to Fillet with Ease
- 1. Kershaw Clearwater Fillet Knife
- 2. Morakniv Fishing Comfort
- 3. Rada Cutlery Fillet Knife
- 4. Dalstrong Fillet Knife
- 5. Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex Knife
- 6. Bubba Tapered Flex
- 7. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Fillet Knife
- 8. KastKing Fillet Knife
- 9. Tuo Cutlery Boning Knife
- 10. Wusthof Classic 7 Inch Fillet Knife
- 11. Shun Cutlery Class Boning and Fillet Knife
- 12. Mercer Culinary Millennia
- 13. American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife
- Guide to Determining the Best Fillet Knife for You
- Why Use a Fish Fillet Knife?
- Best Fish Fillet Knife Comparison Chart
- Final Verdict
Our 13 Best Fish Fillet Knife Recommendations to Fillet with Ease
1. Kershaw Clearwater Fillet Knife
This is the top-rated fillet knife on the market and is derived from Japanese steel that is stain and corrosion-resistant. This knife is easy to carry with you as it has a protective sheath and a belt holster for your convenience. The blade clicks into the sheath, so you don’t have to worry about it slipping out unexpectedly.
The satin finish textured handle in a rich black color makes this knife as easy to look at as it is to use. The handle is textured, so it is easy to grip onto, even in unfavorable weather. Made in the USA and backed by a lifetime warranty, this knife is well worth investing in. This is highly rated for being a top-quality knife and one of the sharpest on the market.
- Lifetime warranty
- Stainless steel blade
- Flexible blade
- Sharp for all kinds of fish
- The belt loop is reported to be flimsy
- The handle is not the most comfortable
- Blade becomes shorter with sharpening
2. Morakniv Fishing Comfort
This knife is manufactured by a Swedish company that has been in production for more than one hundred years, so you know you are getting a good quality product. This knife serves a dual purpose as a fillet knife and a bait knife.
You have a choice of two lengths when purchasing the fillet knife, either 3.5 inches and 6.1 inches, so you have the option of knife lengths depending on the size of your catch. The blade is razor-sharp at 1.9 mm thickness, making it ideal for filleting with precision.
The Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade has a rubberized handle that comes with a plastic sheath for protection. This fillet knife is also used to cut other foods, including raw meat, vegetables, and filleting fish.
- Easy to maintain and use
- Non-slip handle
- The plastic sheath is included for protection.
- Comes with belt clips for each of the knife lengths (6.1 inches and 3.5 inches)
- The blade isn’t very flexible.
- Not suitable for saltwater use
- Can process only smaller fish
3. Rada Cutlery Fillet Knife
This fillet knife is made with surgical grade steel and has a flexible blade with a chamfered edge, making it extremely sharp. This thin knife is curved slightly and is light to carry. The rubber handle is soft and has a non-slip grip so that you can use it in dry or wet weather. The handle is also ergonomic and allows for comfort while you are using it.
It comes with a black sheath made of leather for conveniently carrying it as you go about fishing. It is affordable and lightweight, making it the perfect knife to take along on a fishing trip.
- Soft rubber grip
- It comes with a leather sheath
- Ergonomic handle
- The leather sheath is flimsy
- Sheath absorbs odor
- Needs sharpening often
4. Dalstrong Fillet Knife
Made of high-carbon German steel, this fillet knife has incredible strength, and the blade holds an edge for a considerable length of time, without constant sharpening. This knife is perfect for removing bones and skinning large fish. The knife’s design is award-winning for its ergonomic handle design that allows for precision and easy maneuvering.
As a bonus, this filet knife comes with two leather sheaths, one to protect it while you’re using it outdoors for fishing and the other for storing away in your kitchen drawer. Having a separate sheath for your kitchen will allow you to avoid putting away any unpleasant odors from gutting the fish.
- Easy to clean
- Made with high carbon stainless steel
- High quality
- Two leather sheaths
- Ergonomic handle for a comfortable grip
- Frequent sharpening needed
- Blade tip has been know to break
- Inflexible blade
5. Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex Knife
This is a great fillet knife that offers super flexibility and a superior design. Fishers who use this knife comment on the extreme flexibility that it offers, allowing for precision cutting. This high-quality knife comes in three blade lengths; 4 inches, 6 inches, and 7.5 inches. These blades are coated in a non-stick PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) that allows for enhanced filleting.
The knife has a beautifully polished wood handle as well as a brass ferrule, making it one of the better-looking knives if that’s important to you. This is a high-quality knife that holds its edge well. There will be no need for constant sharpening of this fillet knife, which will save you time.
- It comes in a leather sheath
- Polished brass ferrule
- 3 blade sizes
- Woodsy design
- Non-stick coating for precise cutting
- Too small for huge fish
- The sheath is longer than the knife
- The sheath is not lockable
6. Bubba Tapered Flex
This is the ideal fillet knife for anglers, and once you’ve used this knife, it’s not hard to see why. Maneuvering the razor-sharp blade is effortless with the textured handle with a trigger grip. The handle is also non-slip and won’t be an issue to use in wet weather. This fillet knife has one of the longest blades at 9 inches, making it ideal for huge fish.
The 9-inch blade is made of high-carbon stainless steel that is coated with Ti-Nitrate. The blade is also extremely sharp and has a very pointy tip that makes cutting the fish and cleaning much more manageable. This is the perfect knife for hunting or for taking along to prepare your dinner while camping.
- Non-slip textured handle with trigger grip
- High-carbon stainless steel
- A sharp blade with a pointy tip
- The sheath has a belt loop for easy carry
- Belt loop may be a nuisance for anglers
- Not for smaller fish
- Not flexible blade
7. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Fillet Knife
This fillet knife is slightly more expensive than the average, but it is made of high-quality carbon stainless steel and retains its sharpness exceptionally well. The extremely sharp blade makes for precision cutting and is durable, and the tip won’t break off like some knives.
The Zwilling knife is dishwasher safe, so you don’t need to worry about washing it by hand unless you choose to. Their ice-hardening technique produces a harder, sharper knife. It’s easy to see why Zwilling is selected for having one of the best fish fillet knives on the market.
- High carbon stainless steel
- Flexible blade
- Dishwasher safe
- Precision cutting
- Laser control edge
- Flex in the blade may not be for everyone
- Higher price knife
- Some say balance needs improving
8. KastKing Fillet Knife
This fillet knife is a cut above the rest for many reasons. It is made of German stainless steel and has a razor-sharp blade that holds its edge. This knife is perfect for cutting bait and is capable of making larger fish steaks. If you want to prepare a more delicate fillet, this knife is ideal for performing more delicate cuts.
The handle is made from super polymer and is made specifically to be comfortable and allow for a good grip. This inexpensive knife goes above and beyond its value and can compare easily to the higher-priced fillet knives on the market.
- Premium stainless steel
- Flexible blade
- Serrated top edge
- It comes in various lengths
- Inexpensive knife but high quality
- Does not provide a full sheath
- Some say the handle absorbs odor
- It does not come with a sharpener
- There is no safety lock
- Needs frequent sharpening
9. Tuo Cutlery Boning Knife
The Tuo Cutlery Boning Knife is capable of filleting fish and other foods and is an excellent value for the price. The 7-inch blade is made of German stainless steel and comes extremely sharp, allowing for precision cutting. The handle is beautifully made and is comfortable to use. It will also fit into most kitchen decors nicely.
- Rust and erosion resistant blade
- Extremely sharp blade
- Narrow blade offers precision
- Ergonomic handle
- No sheath to cover the blade
- The handle can become slippery
- Some say the blade is a bit thick
10. Wusthof Classic 7 Inch Fillet Knife
This fillet knife is made of high-quality carbon stainless steel, and the blade is extremely sharp. The handle is fade-resistant and won’t discolor, but more importantly, it is full tang triple-riveted for optimal control and made of synthetic materials. The blade is flexible and cuts with precision so that you can have professional quality fillets in your own home.
- Precision edge technology
- Made of high carbon stainless steel
- Finger guard
- Triple-riveted handle
- Flexible blade
- Great weight
- It does not come with a leather sheath
- Higher price than most
- The blade is too long for deboning some fish
11. Shun Cutlery Class Boning and Fillet Knife
This high-quality fillet knife is made with a double-bevel VG-MAX steel blade. This Japanese made knife has a unique D-shaped handle and extremely sharp blade, so you can easily skin and bone the fish with precision.
With the high quality and beautiful design of this knife, it isn’t hard to see that it is literally a work of art with 100 individual steps taken to make this knife. The Shun metal is heated and cooled so that the microstructure is transformed, making for a much more robust and stiffer blade.
The 6-inch blade cuts through fish easily, and you will have control with the non-slip handle. With its beautiful design and professional quality, you will understand why this is considered the best fish fillet knife.
- Razor-sharp blade
- VG-MAX steel blade
- Precision quality
- It does not come with a sheath
- Knife tip can break off
- Some say the blade is too flexible
12. Mercer Culinary Millennia
Mercer Culinary Millennia is well known for its extremely sharp blade. The 8.5-inch blade is made from high quality carbon-based Japanese steel that can slice through fish easily.
The knife has an ergonomic handle made of Polypropylene to ensure durability and Santoprene for an extremely comfortable grip, including texture points on the handle to ensure traction while performing your precision cutting in wet and dry settings.
In addition to cutting and filleting fish, this knife can cut other foods, such as vegetables, bread, fruit, and even large meat slabs. This is one knife that will add diversity to your kitchen.
- Japanese stainless steel blade
- Think blade for precision cutting
- Non-slip handle
- No sheath included
- The blade needs sharpening frequently
- Blade tip has been known to chip
13. American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife
Although not a typical choice, the American Angler PRO has proven to be a good choice for the larger, tougher fish to cut through. This electric knife cuts through large bones with ease and has a long-standing duration with a pro series electric motor and a two-year warranty. This knife is a good choice for anyone who needs to cut through larger boned fish.
- Comes with ergonomic motorized handset
- Great for large fish
- Long life
- Handset designed to keep it cool
- Two-year warranty
- The motor can heat up after prolonged use
- Need a steady hand
- Need to put blades in handle manually
(You might also be interested in reading about the Best Fish Scalers)
Guide to Determining the Best Fillet Knife for You
When you are an avid fisherman or cook, you know that a fillet knife is not just another knife. There are a great many choices, but not all of them are created equal.
When choosing the best fish fillet knife, many options need to be weighed out, and various pros and cons to consider. Selecting the best fillet knife for you is not merely based on what is most available, but what will help you do the job best, and which knife will perform the best and last the longest.
Choosing wisely will help prepare your fish with precision and help keep you from getting injured while skinning, deboning, or filleting your fish.
With all of the various knives available, it can seem like an overwhelming decision, especially if this is something you are just getting into. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the top-rated options, and buyers guide with questions that fellow filleters often ask so that you can make an educated decision on the best fish fillet knife for you.
Why Use a Fish Fillet Knife?
There are clear advantages of using a fish fillet knife. Other knives are simply not meant to do a fillet knife’s job and are not designed for deboning or slicing fish appropriately. Fish fillet knives are made with skinny blades to skin fish without trouble and mess. The goal is to remove the fish’s scales and skin without mangling the flesh of the fish.
For fishers, the right fillet knife is essential to gut and prepare the fish for the kitchen. You cannot prepare most fish with a regular fillet knife, but for larger fish with tougher scales, an electric filleting knife might be the best option so that you do not hurt your hand or chip or break the delicate blade of the fillet knife.
Safety measures should be taken when filleting a fish, and most fillet knives accommodate that need. Many fillet knives come with finger guards and other safety features to ensure you are adequately protected while you are in the process of filleting or skinning your fish.
Some fillet knives have the added option of being used as a boning knife, but the blade will become worn down much quicker, so they will need to be sharpened more often. In this case, you will want to invest in a good knife sharpener or purchase a fillet knife that has a sharpener included.
What to Look for in a Fillet Knife
You may or may not already know that filleting a fish isn’t an easy task, so the type of knife you choose needs to be appropriate for the job you are doing and serve the purpose you need effectively. With that in mind, here are a few things to look at when choosing a filleting knife.
When considering a fillet knife, you want to get the best knife for the job you want to do, but you also want to get the most value for your money.
Prices vary significantly from moderate to high, and the amount you are willing to spend should correlate with the frequency that you are going to use the knife. If you are planning on using the knife occasionally, it probably isn’t worth it for you to spend a ton of money on it.
Alternatively, if you will be using this knife consistently, you will want to invest so that it lasts a long time. You also want to consider what type of fish you typically prepare when choosing the proper fillet knife. You will not need a larger blade for a smaller fish, but if you prepare salmon or larger fish regularly, you need to adapt for that need.
Be careful not to assume that the most expensive knife is the best knife. Our top choice is one of the least costly fish fillet knives out there, but the quality and job performance are stunning. More isn’t always better when it comes to price.
When choosing a fillet knife, you want to account for the jobs you will be putting the blade through and choose a sustainable quality knife. Most blades are made from high-quality stainless steel that is non-corrosive, which most people look for. You want to look at the blade’s durability, the flexibility, and how often you will need to sharpen it, and whether or not it is easy to do so.
What you should consider when choosing a fish fillet knife is a good handle grip. You will want a grip that allows you to control the cuts and guide the blade without too much effort or slipping.
This is primarily important when the blade becomes wet while you are in the kitchen, but more so if you are using the knife while fishing. You will most likely gut the fish outdoors, and if it is raining, you will want to ensure that your hand does not slip while you are doing so or risk nicking yourself or inflicting a far worse injury on yourself.
Conditions for preparing your fish, especially outdoors, will not always be ideal. Even if you prepare your fish in the kitchen, the fish’s innards will make your handle slippery, and you will need a rubberized or textured grip to help keep your hand firmly on the knife handle.
Most fillet knives come with blade sizes ranging from 4 to 9 inches, with the most common sizes being 4, 6, 7.5, and 9. You will want to choose your blade size depending on the type of fish you will be preparing with it. A smaller blade would not be a good choice for a larger fish, and likewise, a larger blade would not be appropriate to cut a small fish. Choose a blade size that works with the type of fish that you will typically be prepping.
For pan fry fish such as Crappie and Perch, you will want to choose a 6-inch blade typically, while you would prepare trout and bass with a 7.5-inch blade. You will want to opt for a 9-inch blade for larger fish like salmon to ensure you can cut through the fish easily without breaking or chipping it. If you find that you like to prepare various fish, it might be wise to consider purchasing blades of various sizes and have a few knives on hand.
Electric Fillet Knives
While not as commonly used, an electric filleting knife might be something you want to consider. If you often prepare large quantities of fish, an electric fillet knife will cut down your prep time and save your hands from overexertion. There’s no need to feel like you are taking a shortcut with an electric fillet knife, as many fishermen swear by them. The electric fillet knife is not for everyone, especially a novice who prepares fish only occasionally. Still, if you are a chef or work with large fish often, then the electric knife will save you time and energy.
To check out blade flexibility, you might want to go to a knife store and check it out for yourself. If you do not know of any stores near you, there are several reviews online for fillet knives, and most of them will mention the blade flexibility. Blade flexibility is crucial as you need your knife to work around backbones and under the skin, which is difficult to do if the blade is too stiff. As most of the actual cutting is done by the broadest section of the blade, you will want to ensure the blade’s flexibility is closest to the handle and bonus points if the blade is flexible near the tip of the knife.
The knife bolster is the thick part between the knife handle and the blade, which provides a smooth transition between the two. The bolster adds strength to the knife and durability and counterbalance, which is important since the handle is lighter than the blade. The bolster provides better balance and helps to improve control over the knife.
Some fillet knives have a finger guard on the bolster so that you can hold it more securely. If you are looking at Japanese fillet knives, which are usually of high quality and great for delicate fish, you will notice they do not have finger guards, so they require a different way of utilizing the knife.
Types of Knives
There is a difference between boning knives and fillet knives, which is essential because some knives claim to be appropriate for both. Boning knives are used for deboning a fish, while fillet knives are for removing bones along the skin from the fish’s meat.
You can use all boning knives for filleting in theory, but you cannot use all fillet knives for boning. You can look into fillet knives that can do both.
The boning knife is used to remove the bones’ meat, whether for fish, steak, or chicken. You would use a boning knife over a kitchen knife to work around the bones for this delicate task. This will ensure the meat is sliced to perfection and not destroyed.
A boning knife is made of quality steel to work through thick bones and not become too dull. The blade is thin but not as thin as a fillet knife.
A fillet knife is used to remove the flesh of the fish from the meat. Oftentimes the fillet fish can also debone with fish that have soft bones and are smaller in size.
Best Fish Fillet Knife Comparison Chart
|Product||Price||Item Weight (ounces)||Blade Material||Unique Features|
|Kershaw Clearwater Fillet Knife||$||3.5||Stainless Steel||Life time warranty, stainless steel blade, sharp for all kinds of fish|
|Morakniv Fishing Comfort||$||4.8||Stainless Steel||Easy to maintain and use, non-slip handle|
|Rada Cutlery Fillet Knife||$||10.24||Flexible Steel Blade||Soft rubber grip, comes with a leather sheath, affordable|
|Dalstrong Fillet Knife||$||0.06||Expert Heat-treated Hand Sharpened||Easy to clean , high quality|
|Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex Knife||$||0.025||Razor Sharp Hardground Stainless Steel Blade||3blade size, woodsy design|
|Bubba Tapered Flex||$||0.45||High Carbon Stainless Steel||Non slip textured handled, sharp blade with a pointy tip|
|Zwilling J.A Haenckels Fillet Knife||$||0.03||Stainless Steel||High carbon stainless steel, flexible blade, precision cutting|
|Kast king knife||$||8||Stainless Steel Blade||Premium stainless steel, flexible blade, comes in various length|
|Tuo Cultery Boning Knife||$||7.4||High Carbon Stainless Steel||Extremely sharp blade, affordable|
|Wusthof classic 7 inch Fillet Knife||$||0.33||Stainless Steel||Finger guard, flexible blade, great weight|
|Shun Cutlery Class Boning and fillet Knife||$||7||Stainless Steel||Razor sharp blade, lightweight, precision quality|
|Mercer Culinary Millennia||$||4.8||Stainless Steel||Lightweight, nonslip handle, versatile|
|American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife||$||2.6||Stainless Steel||Long life, great for large fish, two year warranty|
Any of the fillet knives listed above will do a fantastic job; you just need to base your decision on what type of fish you typically catch. All of the fillet knives listed will give you the maneuverability and flexibility you need to cut through the skin and bones to the fish’s flesh.
With all of the worthy fillet knives on the market, our top pick for the best fish fillet knife goes to the Kershaw Clearwater Fillet Knife.
This knife is the best you will get for the cost, and the quality is that of a higher-priced product. Despite the incredibly reasonable price, the knife gets some of the highest praise by customer reviews, saying it is perfect for using while fishing or at home where you can use it to fillet various fish.
Perhaps the most remarkable part about this knife is the Japanese stainless steel blade that is incredibly flexible and corrosion-resistant. The blade is perfect for filleting as it easily cuts through the fish with precision due to its razor-sharp blade.
The handle is highly revered for the copolymer handle that is sleek and non-slip due to the rubbery handle with one of the highest-rated grips. The handle allows for precise cutting and decreased fatigue that can come with a slippery handle. The easy-carry sheath that protects the blade is also a plus for this fillet knife.
The Kershaw Clearwater fillet knife comes in as the best fish fillet knife on the market today to compete for high performance and durability levels as some of the more expensive knives.
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