Judith is a fairy in the world of writing: she manages to turn any topic (far not only a kitchen-related) into an entertaining text that is so easy and educating to read. Fond of gardening, reading, and cooking, of course.
Emily has over 10 years of professional experience using, testing and comparing kitchen appliances. Her knowledge helps to easily and naturally solve everyday problems. She is also the owner of the lifestyle blog emilyreviews.com
Last updated: June 08, 2022
CookSpot is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links.
Meal prep will always be easier and enjoyable when the right tools are used. A fillet knife is one of the most overlooked tools that you should add to your kitchen arsenal. Sure, you can use a butcher’s knife or a chef’s knife to butcher a fish, but only the best fillet knife can do it efficiently and safely. It is specially designed to give you the lightweight and flexible control you need when cleaning fish. Its blade is sharp enough to ensure the meat separates from the bones and skin easily.
But which is the best fillet knife for you? With multiple variations in the build and quality from different brands and models, choosing the right fillet knife can be a tad tricky. We came up with this guide to help you make an easy but sure choice. We considered over 30 products for review but ended up with a refined list of the 10 top-rated fillet knives in the market. The DALSTRONG Gladiator Series 7-Inch Fillet Knife scooped the top spot on the list because its solid construction, blade retention, and sharpness and excellent value for money could not be matched.
We put our best foot forward in conducting research in terms of time and sources. Some of the features on which we based our rankings and choices include; blade length and type, weight, material, among others. The article contains a comparison table, detailed product reviews, and an all-inclusive buying guide with all the ideal information you need before buying a fillet knife.
Other features: 1.5mm thickness, full tang, 4-16 degrees per side, hand polished, 56+ Rockwell hardness
The Dalstrong 7-Inch Fillet Knife’s top-spot position is well-deserved. It is a jack of all trades from descaling and deboning to trimming, skinning, filleting, and butterflying fish. It is also built to stand the test of time, which is typical of a product from a brand synonymous with quality like Darlstrong.
The knife is durably built with a high carbon German steel blade, which is not only sturdy but also resistant to breakage and other damages. Its pakkawood handle is ergonomically designed to offer you comfort and a non-slip grip when cutting. It also features a full tang and 3 rivets to increase its maneuverability and precision handling.
With a 1.5mm thickness from the spine, you will be able to cut through flesh seamlessly. The knife is also pretty light for easy controlling when handling fish.
The knife’s edge is meticulously sharpened and hand-polished to give it a perfect balance between reliability and resilience. Plus, with a 56+ Rockwell hardness, it will surely hold its sharp edge over time.
What’s more, the knife comes with a leather sheath in which you can store its 7-inch body when not in use. This makes storage pretty easy, especially if you don’t have a special knife block or stand.
Cleaning the knife is a no-brainer thanks to its easy-to-clean material. Its brilliant design also makes it nearly maintenance-free. You would only need to sharpen it when its blade gets dull, which will take some time.
In a nutshell, this knife is a gem of a product with its high-quality build. Plus, you get a 100% lifetime guarantee.
Other features: advanced airflow design, two replacement blades, limited 2-year warranty
Now, this is the fish fillet knife you deserve if you’re into the finer things of life. Its rare features will knock your socks off. It is electric and probably the fastest fillet knife with multiple utilities and benefits you can get yourself.
The knife comes in a professional-looking design with an 8-inch curved blade made with top-quality stainless steel. The tough steel not only enhances its durability but also makes it easy to clean.
Additionally, the blade has a strongly serrated edge that will retain its sharpness for a while. It might never need sharpening, at least not for a while after purchasing it.
With its high-performance and advanced gear and motor systems, the knife runs twice the torque power of other electric knives. Because of this, you will be able to do large quantities of filleting in half the time you spend when using a non-electrical filleting knife.
Worried about overheating when you work for long? Fret not as the knife features a built-in cooling fan and added venting.
The knife’s handle is ergonomically designed so it can fit right into your hands without giving you any strain. This, together with its incredible lightness, makes the knife super easy to handle.
Another plus for this knife is that you can swap blades, which can be pretty handy when you intend to catch different fish.
Storage would never be an issue as it comes with a carry bag that has proper vents that help prevent any permanent odors.
Overall, this is the ultimate premium quality fillet knife unique and powerful in its build and performance. The 2-year warranty makes it even more worthy and one of the best electric fillet knives out there.
Other features: double-beveled edge, lifetime limited warranty, made in Japan
If you are looking for an elegant single-material fish fillet knife that pushes the limits of flexibility and durability, here is your best bet. It has a lot of raves for being the best flexible fillet knife that is easy to maneuver and control around the bone, flesh, and skin.
The knife’s all-steel design screams ultra-durability and easy maintenance. It is made with low-carbon CROMOVA steel, which adds long-lasting flexibility to its blade. It is also corrosion and rust-resistant and is super easy to clean.
Its handle is ergonomically designed with dimples to offer you with premium comfort and non-slip grip. It is also hollowed out with an agronomical shape to make it ultra-lightweight for easier handling and controlling.
Moreover, the knife has a long enough blade of about 8.25 inches and a double-beveled edge that allows you to cut through meat fibers effortlessly with high precision. Additionally, the blade is impressively hard, ranging between 56 and 58 on the Rockwell scale. This means it holds its razor-sharp edge longer compared to other steels.
With a reassuring limited lifetime warranty, this is the knife you want to get for easy and precise slicing along the backbone and under the skin of fish.
What makes it special?
Non-slip grip handle
Easy to clean and maintain
Retains its sharp edge longer
What cons did we find?
The handle is not made with traditional polymer like others in its range
Other features: 58+ Rockwell hardness, lifetime warranty
Here is another gem from the renowned brand DALSTRONG, known for their top-quality knives that combine cutting-edge technology, painstaking craftsmanship, and beautiful designs. This particular model does not fall short as it offers unparalleled performance with its superior features.
The knife is built to last with 66 layers of a high-carbon stainless steel blade that is precisely tapered to deliver exceptional strength and stain resistance. It also features a G-10 black Spanish pakkawood handle that has suitable ergonomics to ensure you have a comfortable and firm hold. It is impervious to cold, moisture, and heat, thus allowing you to work comfortably in different conditions.
The knife’s ruthlessly sharp edge is hand finished, and nitrogen cooled to make it highly flexible and corrosion-resistant. Its narrow blade curves upwards to work around the bones, joints, and under the skin fast and efficiently.
Also featured are a full tang construction and triple riveting, which maximize robustness and resilience, respectively.
This knife stands out for its exceptional edge retention, all thanks to its AUS-10V Japanese steel cutting core that has a Rockwell hardness rating of 62+.
Cleaning the knife is a breeze thanks to its stainless steel build and a handle that is polished and laminated for a sanitary build. This makes it an ideal pick for a busy kitchen.
All in all, if you’re looking for a fillet knife with the best razor-sharp edge retention, then this is a sure bet. It is one of the best fillet knives for fish in the market.
Other features: curved bolster, full tang, made in Germany
ZWILLING is another brand that receives all the raves for having the best top-selling knives around the world. This Pro 7-inch fillet knife is no exception as it is built to offer outstanding durability, strength, and impeccable performance, which is common with German products.
The knife comes in a handsome design with a rugged build. Its blade is made with high-carbon stainless steel with a special formula that is unique from other steel. It increases the knife’s durability and is rust and corrosion-resistant.
The blade also features a full tang construction that adds to its durability as well as give it balance. Its large bolster is curved to give it more balance allowing you to make accurate cuts. It is also triple riveted to keep the POM style handle in place.
In addition, the knife features an ergonomically designed handle to give you a perfectly firm and comfortable grip so that you don’t strain even if you cut for extended periods.
The 7-inch blade is long, slim, and incredibly flexible that it cuts through meat fibers effortlessly.
The only downside to this knife is that its thinness and edge retention are compromised because of the material used in its construction. On the bright side, though, it’s a fantastic choice to go with if you want great value for your money.
Other features: full-tang, lifetime warranty, made in Germany, bonus sheath
Here is another high-end fillet knife built to offer solid durability, remarkable sharpness, and great flexibility. It offers a good penny-worth as it is made in Germany, the capital of top-quality cutlery.
The knife comes in a premium and exceptional design fit for both home and commercial use. It is slim and lightweight with a perfect shape for easy maneuvering. It boasts of an ultra-durable German stainless steel blade that is laser-tested and equipped with the right angle for all of your filleting needs.
The knife is known for its razor-sharp blade. It is super-sturdy yet delicate enough to offer the right amount of flexibility. It cuts with a high level of precision that could possibly shave hair off. In fact, it is advisable to wear a filleting glove when using the knife if you are new to filleting because of its brutal sharpness.
Moreover, the painstakingly built blade is likely to hold its sharp edge for a healthy length of time, so, you will enjoy making precise cuts for a while.
Furthermore, the knife features a traditional contoured handle with a partial bolster for great balance and triple rivets that hold it in place. It includes all the suitable ergonomics to ensure you have a comfortable and secure grip when cutting or filleting. Fair warning, though, the handle is a bit too small for people with large hands.
Storage won’t be an issue ever. The knife comes with a heavy-duty leather sheath for storage in case you want to take it on a little trip or just keep it away until the next usage.
As it is with good things, you will have to part with a pretty penny for this knife, which you will never regret. Plus, you get a lifetime warranty.
Fishermen, campers, and other outdoorsy folks will particularly love this knife as it is designed to be durable and convenient enough to be used in wet and dry settings. It can also do well in the kitchen with its seamless versatility.
The ultra-thin knife features a 9-inch high-quality stainless steel blade that has Ti-Nitride coating for rust and corrosion resistance. This not only lengthens its lifetime but also makes it easy to clean.
In addition, the blade has an extra-sharp tip with the exceptional edge retention, and it offers just the right amount of flexibility to cut through meat fibers smoothly.
The knife’s length makes it suitable for filleting any size of fish, big or small. It is also incredibly lightweight, thus easy to maneuver or control, allowing you to cut and fillet at a fast speed.
Best of all, this Bubba knife features a superb red handle with patented non-slip texture. It is what makes the knife ideal for outdoor use. Additionally, on a busy day, you can fillet as fast as you can without worrying about the safety of your hands. Unique to its careful engineering, the knife includes a safety trigger that assures you of safe filleting.
Also featured is a synthetic sheath for safe storage and carrying of the knife in case you need to bring it on a small adventure.
All considered, with its meticulous design, superb features, and an attractive price tag, this knife is not a bad choice at all for outdoors or home use. Its user-friendly safety features set it apart from other knives in its class.
Why are we impressed?
Ultra-thin blade for effortless cutting
Synthetic sheath for storage and safe carrying
Rust and corrosion-resistant
Trigger grip and safety guards for safe filleting
What negatives must you be aware of?
The knife gets dull faster compared to others in its range
Other features: extra thin blade, polished brass ferrule, tooled leather sheath
Here is another fantastic choice for home or boat use. It is one of the best fillet knives in the market with its extra-thin blade that offers great flexibility for all of your filleting needs. It is a perfect combination of beauty and power without compromising convenience.
The elegantly styled knife adorns an ultra-thin blade made with high-quality stainless steel for added durability. The blade is coated with PTFE non-stick coating, which ensures no pieces of meat get stuck on it when cutting. This means you can count on it for smooth precision cutting.
The most interesting thing about this knife is that it is hand-ground, and it features a full-tang construction that ensures optimum strength and reliability. It’s probably one of the best custom handmade fillet knives.
The eye-catching handle with a shotgun-style checkering is one of the things that will make you want to buy this knife. It is made with baked birch wood, which offers a little bit more than just looks. It provides a smooth and sturdy grip, allowing you to work comfortably for extended periods, even on more detailed filleting chores.
As for flexibility, this Rapala knife lives up to its ‘SuperFlex’ name. Its blade is sturdy but flexible enough to give fast and precise cuts.
For added convenience, the knife comes with a genuine leather sheath for storage and safe carrying.
Overall, this is one of the best fillet knives you can get for your regular filleting needs. It can be a bit flimsy for tough fish like redfish, but it does pretty well for a regular fillet knife. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt your wallet to get one.
Other features: handcrafted in Japan, double-bevel curved blade, layered steel
As seafood is the most popular food in Japan, they pay special attention to their fish knives. You can never go wrong with a Japanese fillet knife as they are built to offer unparalleled precision cutting, outstanding durability, and excellent designs.
The knife is quite a looker with its attractive VG-10 stainless steel classic blade. The blade has 16 layers of SUS410 high-carbon stainless steel on each side for superior durable performance. Unlike other steel, this one has 33 layered premium materials that make it rust and corrosion-resistant.
What’s more, the blade is double-bevel and curved to make it lightweight for easy control and maneuvering of the knife. It is tough yet delicate enough to offer maximum flexibility needed to skin, cut, and debone fish quick and easy.
The knife owes its smooth performance and balance to its beautiful handle. It is made of a hardwood blend of the famous and sturdy Pakkawood and ebony in a D-shape design. Other than its luxurious look, the handle offers a comfortable and secure grip with its D-shape design.
You can use this knife for various purposes other than filleting fish, including boning chicken and beef. A professional chef would make the most out of its versatility and superb features.
Cleaning the knife is a breeze, thanks to its stainless steel build plus, it is also dishwasher safe.
In conclusion, this is one of the best professional-grade fillet knives you can add to your kitchen arsenal. It is not the most affordable in the market, but its impressive features, beautiful design, solid durability, and versatile capabilities are worth the price.
Handle: glass reinforced polypropylene with TPE rubber
Weight: 5.3 oz.
Other features: stainless steel guard, lifetime warranty, injection molded sheath
Are you looking for the biggest bang for your bucks? Well, this Buck fillet knife is a sure bet. Buck is a trusted name in the knife industry, and they are famous for their high-quality camping, hunting, and kitchen knives. If you like an American made knife, this should be your prime pick.
The knife adorns a professional-looking design with its beautiful handle and lightweight razor-sharp blade. The blade is made with professional-grade stainless steel that is coated with Titanium to make it rust and corrosion-free. This makes it one of the best saltwater fillet knives.
The knife is an ideal choice for professional chefs or commercial use because it is built for heavy-duty use. It is incredibly lightweight and flexible to give you a comfortable time maneuvering and controlling it when filleting.
Another great thing about this knife is its beautiful blue handle. It is made from glass reinforced polypropylene and high-quality TPE rubber to offer you the most secure and comfortable grip. You don’t have to worry about it slipping from your hand when you use it in water or on the shore.
As if that’s enough, the knife comes with an injection molded sheath, and it is backed by a lifetime warranty. This reassures you of its quality.
All considered, there is no better option for getting the best penny-worth other than this impressive fillet knife. It is one gem of a product and is one of the best fillet knives for saltwater fish.
What are our favorite features?
Comfortable non-slip grip
Best for saltwater fish
Offers excellent value
What could be better?
It can be hard to sharpen
Things to Consider
There is more to buying a fillet knife than just walking into a store and picking one that catches your eye. Since it costs more to invest in a fillet knife than a regular knife, it’s best that you make the right choice. This section contains all the important information you need to know before buying a fillet knife, including; what a fillet knife really is, how to use one, and the features to consider before choosing one. You will also learn how to care and maintain a fillet knife for an excellent long-lasting performance.
What is a fillet knife?
A fillet knife is a special kitchen knife used for filleting. It belongs to the boning knives family and is highly flexible to give good control for filleting. Its blade is super-sharp and long enough to cut smoothly any size of fish, including tuna, catfish, and salmon, among others. Its flexible blade can skin, cut or debone fish without sparing any edible parts.
The flexibility of a fillet knife depends largely on its length, width, and thickness. It is designed to bend easily around hard surfaces, and that’s why it efficiently removes cuts of fish. There are multiple variations of fillet knives in the market with different capabilities, designs, and dimensions. Thanks to advancements in technology, we even have electrical fillet knives, which are much faster and more convenient than the regular fillet knives.
How to use a fillet knife?
For you to make the perfect cut of fish, you must use the best fillet knife. Here is how to make a perfect fillet with a fillet knife:
First off, descale the fish using the back of the blade.
Then you can go ahead and remove the fins.
You can then use the tip of the knife to remove the skin of the fish.
Next, you remove the entrails and rinse the fish with water.
To start filleting, use the knife to cut the fish lengthwise.
Ensure you cut both sides to delineate the fillets.
Then use the flexible blade to remove the fillets from the spine gently.
Repeat on the other side to get the fillets.
Some fillet knives can be used for other functions other than filleting like deboning chicken and meat or cutting bread. Whatever you choose to use the fillet knife for, always ensure you clean it and dry it before storage.
Features to consider when choosing a fillet knife
There are certain features that you have to put into consideration before choosing a fillet knife to make the right choice. They include:
Electric vs. non-electric knife
Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose either that suits you best. An electric knife is a better choice for heavy-duty work. If you have a large pile of fish to fillet almost daily, then an electric fillet knife could come in handy to save you time and energy. It is much sharper and faster than a regular fillet knife but also more complicated to use and heavier in weight.
A non-electric fillet knife, on the other hand, is lightweight and very straightforward to use. It is a more suitable choice if you rarely eat fish or do fishing activities once in a while. They can be used both at home and for commercial purposes. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not cheaper than electric knives. Some non-electric fillet knives are more expensive than electric models.
Different knives have different types of blades. Some like the American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife reviewed above are serrated and don’t need any sharpening while others have a smooth single or double beveled edge. Also, some are bolstered for great balance while others are not.
Most fillet knives have long, ultra-thin blades with a clip point. The clip point aids in cutting the hard-to-reach places giving you more control when you are skinning, deboning, and cutting fish.
The blade design does matter as it determines the knife’s level of accuracy in making intricate cuts. A fillet knife with a more pronounced upward curve and a curved tip allows you to make longer, steadier and more precise cuts. However, this design makes it less practical for use in other cutting situations.
Also, some knives have double-beveled blades, while others are single beveled. Double beveled blades are versatile, much easier to use, and they make intricate fish cuts while single beveled blades require some skill but are much sharper.
Fillet knives have blades with varying lengths. They range between 4 and 9 inches. The standard sizes are usually 4, 6, 7.5, and 9 inches. These size variances are usually in correlation to the size of fish they are used to cut. Bigger fish like pike and salmon require a longer blade for efficient cutting, while smaller fish like perch and bluegills require a short blade that is easy to handle.
It is safer to buy an all-around fillet knife that can handle various fish sizes. A 7.5-inch blade will allow you to fillet small and large fish satisfactorily without much struggle. However, if you can afford it, nothing beats the efficiency and ease of use that comes with having specific blade sizes for different knives.
You must have noticed the price variations among different fillet knives. The price variations are primarily based on the blade material of the knife.
A good quality blade should be made from a hard metal for added durability and still be flexible. You can know how hard metal is by checking its rating on a Rockwell scale. Go for a fillet knife with a Rockwell scale rating between 55 and 62
High-end fillet knives are made of high-quality stainless steel and other mixed metals that are resistant to corrosion and provide the necessary flexibility. They are also easy to sharpen and hold their edge longer. Low-end fillet knives, on the other hand, are made with a soft material like carbon steel, which is difficult to sharpen and lose their sharp edge pretty fast. However, they offer excellent flexibility.
The knife’s handle contributes largely to you having clean cuts with less effort. A well-built handle should offer a secure grip, comfort, and good execution to allow you to fillet safely and effortlessly. Knife handles come in different designs and materials. The most common materials used are wood, plastic, and rubber.
Wood handles have the best aesthetic appeal and are long-lasting, but they tend to soak up the smell of fish, thus a bit hard to clean. They can also get slippery in wet hands. On the other hand, plastic and rubber are much easier to clean, and they don’t harbor any fish smells. They also offer good traction and are more long-lasting.
The overall size of the knife is determined by the blade length and the size of the handle. Once you have picked a suitable blade size, consider the size of the handle. Go for knives with large or medium-sized handles that can be handled by people with varying hand sizes, assuming that you are not the only one who will be using the knife.
Choosing an appropriate fillet knife size also depends on where you intend to use it. A smaller knife would be much easier to bring to your outdoor adventures as it would easily fit in your luggage.
This is another crucial factor. The weight determines how easy the knife will be to use. You have to try a few knives to find your ideal knife weight. Go for a lightweight model as it will give you better control, allowing you to maneuver more skillfully to make the best cuts.
Most fillet knives come with a sheath for storage. It is always good to keep your knife covered when you’re not using it to protect its blade and prevent any accidental injuries. The cover is much handier when you need to use the knife outdoors.
Some fillet knives come with their own sharpeners to keep the blade sharp and dandy. It saves you from buying a separate knife sharpener when your knife loses its sharp edge.
Boning knives and fillet knives tend to have the same function, but they differ in their build. Boning knives have stiffer and shorter blades to tackle the tough beef, pork, and poultry meat. Filleting knives, on the other hand, have longer blades that are highly flexible to slice fish along the backbone and under the skin.
You can use either an electric knife sharpener, which is pretty straightforward to use, or a sharpening stone or rod. When using a whetstone or a rod, start slowly by striking your knife’s edge against it at a 12 to 15-degree angle then increase the speed gradually.
Nothing can give you the best fish cuts than a goof fillet knife. In case you have decided to get a fillet knife, and you are unsure of how to choose the best one, the information on this guide should help you find your best match for sure. Also, you would never go wrong with either of the knives we have reviewed above in detail.