Every seafood lover and chef deserves the right equipment to prep their favorite fish; that includes a quality knife for fish filleting.
But before you consider against purchasing your own fish fillet knife, presuming you already have the right knives to get the job done, know that every type of knife has its little quirks to make it suitable for certain tasks. These knives are particularly designed for filleting. You’ll found out why in a moment.
Boning vs Fillet Knives
While similar, boning knives and fillet knives are not the same; yet, they often are used interchangeably. Fillet knives are thinner than the average knife, but boning knives are not quite as thick as their fillet counterpart. Additionally, they require a flexible, curved blade to ensure they can maneuver through fish without tearing it up while boning knives tend to have a straighter blade and sharper tip, so the user to cut out cartilage and bones from cuts of meat. Regardless, every boning and fillet knife has its own shape, sharpness, length, precision, and the like.
While there are some boning knives that can double up as a fillet knife, some just don’t stack up to a knife specifically designed for filleting. For that reason, let’s check out the best fillet knives of 2020.
1. Dalstrong Filet Knife – 7″ Flexible – Gladiator Series
For those content with spending a moderate price range for a knife, keep the Dalstrong 7″ Gladiator Series Filet Knife in mind. This knife is priced shortly below $60, which isn’t a bad price for a quality fillet knife that has earned an average 4.7 out 5-star rating on Amazon.com, leaving dozens pleased. In fact, according to Dalstrong, over 75,000 professional chefs have made the switch to their knife brand.
This fillet knife offers a thin, sharp, flexible blade featuring sturdy German steel with a hand-polished blade edge to provide proper precision. It also features an attractive and well-constructed Pakkawood handle (although heavy as some reviewers state) to give you full control of your knife while still maintaining comfort. From full tang to a Rockwell hardness of 56+, quality and toughness are readily available.
Apart from being a great product overall, one of the best benefits of the Dalstrong 7″ Filet Knife is that it comes with two different sheaths with its purchase: a traditional sheath and a leather sheath suitable for the outdoors. That said, this is a versatile fillet knife for both in-kitchen use and outdoor use. Yet, if you aren’t a fan of this knife, you can receive a full refund from Dalstrong as per their money-back guarantee.
- German steel
- Hand-polished blade edge
- 14 to 16 degrees per side
- 1.5 mm blade thickness
- 56+ Rockwell hardness
- Full tang
- Flexible blade technology
- Black, ergonomic Pakkawood handle
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Includes PerfectFit Dalstrong sheath and PLU leather outdoor sheath
2. KastKing Fillet and Bait Knife, Razor Sharp G4116 German Stainless-Steel Blade
The KastKing G4116 Fillet Knife is a great option for both fresh and saltwater fish, all for an affordable cost being priced under $20. While on the cheaper end of fillet knives, KastKing ensures that this knife meets high standards from handle to tip. In fact, on Amazon.com, this 6″ fillet knife has even been given the title of #1 Best Seller for the best fishing knife and bait knife category.
To give you a feel of this knife before it even enters your hands, this KastKing fillet knife is comfortable with a non-slip handle featuring oversized grips. The blade itself is razor-sharp with awe-inspiring edge retention and quality G4116 German stainless steel. To keep your knife sharp and safe, a sheath with slots is provided, which stays snug on the knife, making it suitable for taking on camping or fishing trips.
Looking at the reviews, there are a lot of great things to say about this KastKing fillet knife. One of the primary benefits users mention is that the larger, textured, rubberized handle allows for the perfect grip. Other users find that this product offers a strong yet flexible blade. Interestingly, the composition of the G4116 German steel has greater quality than many other knives on the market featuring the same steel, according to one reviewer. Additionally, the blade on this KastKing knife is versatile in that the backside offers a serrated edge. Plus, with the hole on the handle, you can easily keyring it onto the loops of your jeans or onto a bag, making it a great knife for a plethora of settings.
- G4116 German steel
- Stainless steel blade
- Non-slip polymer grip
- Edge retention
- Includes knife sheath with slots for drainage
3. Rada Cutlery Knife – Stainless Steel Blade with Leather Scabbard and Rubber Handle, 12-1/4 Inch
The Rada Cutlery fish fillet knife offers a fairly simple design with a black, quadruple-ridged handle and a slender, slightly curved, beveled-edge blade. Best of all, it’s priced in the $20-range, currently on sale on Amazon – usually with free shipping. Typically, knives on the affordable end like this fillet knife are often made in China; however, this one is American made, illustrating that it is assembled with quality elements.
According to Rada Cutlery, this fillet knife is particularly suitable for fishermen as it offers a flexible and lightweight design with surgical-grade steel and a sturdy, leather sheath for suitable storage. While it’s not primarily a boning knife, the manufacturers claim that this could also be a suitable knife for removing bones from meat. For extra versatility, the Rada Cutlery 12 1/4-inch Fillet Knife offers a non-slip grip to ensure you can have an adequate clench on your fillet knife in even wet environments.
While it has an average 4.5 out of 5-star quality according to users, this Rada Cutlery knife has one common complaint: the leather sheath is on the cheaper side, and it doesn’t protect the knife as much as a plastic sheath would. Nevertheless, reviewers are still pleased that this knife features a super sharp blade with an ideal amount of flex and great edge retention. Even when it comes time to resharpen this knife, sharpening is quick and easy.
- T420 high carbon stainless-steel blade
- Non-slip, soft, rubber handle
- Made in the USA
- Hassle-free lifetime guarantee
- Includes leather sheath
4. Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Inch Fillet With Sheath, Black
Back at the higher-end of fillet knives, the Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-inch Fillet Knife flaunts a stunning, German stainless-steel blade with a nice curve along with a heavy-duty, leather sheath for storage. We know that this knife features the most bang for one’s buck as it’s made in Solingen, Germany, the capital known for quality cutlery.
Specifically, this Wusthof knife exhibits a contoured handle with a partial bolster and triple rivets. The comfortable fit provided by the handle ensures The laser-tested blade is equipped with the perfect angled for filleting and excellent sharpness to provide proper longevity. Best of all, Wusthof claims they are dedicated to providing top-notch craftsmanship, which shows in the precisely-tempered blade that holds a sharp edge for a healthy length of time.
The Wusthof Classic Ikon is great if you want a remarkably sharp fillet knife. However, if you don’t frequently fillet or have yet to do such, wearing a fillet glove with this knife might be a good idea until you get a handle on filleting. Generally, users of this knife find that it has a tough-yet-delicate blade to offer the right amount of flexibility and precision enough to shave hair off and a secure, high-quality sheath.
- German steel
- Stainless-steel blade
- Edge retention
- Partial bolster
- Contoured handle
- Laser-tested tapered blade
- Made in Germany
5. Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fish Fillet Knife
The Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife is one of the best electric fish fillet knives on the market. In fact, Rapala claims that this knife has double the speed and triple the power of most other electric fillet knives out there. But before considering going electric, know that an electric fillet knife is great for those who have a lot of fish, especially larger fish, to fillet; however, not everyone is a fan of electric knives.
For this electric fillet knife in specific, Rapala did a great job emphasizing substantial power while still maintaining a fairly quiet motor. The quickly reciprocating blades ensure cutting is fast and doesn’t require much pressure from the user. For convenience and great ergonomics, this knife also offers a long, 8-foot-long cord with a comfortable handle.
Overall, this moderately-priced electric knife to fillet fish is highly favorable among users. While it’s likely you’ll never need to use it, there is a one-year warranty to back the quality of this Rapala electric fillet knife just in case. However, as a few cons, this Rapala fish knife only operates via a cord; thus, you can’t bring it on your fishing trip. Additionally, it doesn’t come with a storage case. Other than these cons, there isn’t really anything notably “wrong” with this electric knife as it’s a great product overall, and the best electric fillet knife on our list.
- Heavy duty motor
- Relaxed grip body
- Quiet motor
- Dishwasher-safe reciprocating blades
- 8-foot power cord
- One-year warranty
6. Bubba Blade 9 Inch Tapered Flex Knife with Non-Slip Grip Handle
Fishers will particularly love the moderately-priced Bubba Blade 9 Inch knife as it has the durability and convenience to handle both dry and wet settings. Although it was designed primarily for fishermen, this knife can still do wonders in the kitchen despite its more casual appearance. But the versatility doesn’t stop there; being 9-inches long in length, the Bubba Blade is relevant for fish of any size, big or small.
The quality of the full-tang, ti nitride-coated, high carbon stainless-steel blade is promising as it features an extra sharp tip with incredible edge retention. Most relevant for fishers, campers, and other outdoorsy folks is the handle on this fillet knife as it features patented, non-slip texture. After all, the right handle is important to provide safety, speed, and endurance for the user. For extra convenience, included with your fillet knife purchase, you will receive a synthetic sheath that features a belt loop to clip onto your pants.
The reviews of the Bubba Blade 9 Inch Tapered Flex Fillet Knife are equally as great as the product’s specs depict. Users find that this fillet knife remains sharp for a long period of time and cuts through fish like butter. It was also mentioned that this knife is very lightweight despite having a thicker handle and is well-balanced. In fact, one reviewer even went as far as to say that this knife was faster or just as fast as using an electric knife. That said, the Bubba 9 Inch Fillet Knife is worth the $50 price tag and rarely leaves anyone disappointed.
- High carbon stainless-steel blade
- Ti nitride-coated
- Full tang
- Edge retention
- Patented, non-slip handle
- Safety guards
- Includes synthetic sheath with belt loop
7. Morakniv Fishing Comfort Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade
The Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife is one of the best fillet knives within the $20 range. This is a shorter knife at just 3.5-inches in length (pictured below), making it ideal for smaller, thinner fish or for removing small bones. However, you can also buy a 6.1-inch version of the knife for $5 more to use for larger fish. No matter your pick, this Morakniv fillet knife model offers exquisite, Swedish-made quality.
With a Sandvik 12C27 stainless-steel blade, this knife is sharp, strong, and corrosion-resistance: things everyone should want in a knife. It also showcases a textured, non-slip handle with high friction to ensure optimal safety. When it comes time to store your knife, you can do so in the plastic sheath that’s included with the purchase of this fillet knife. If you opt for the 3.5-inch version of this knife, there is one belt clip on the sheath or two if you buy the 6.1-inch version.
Due to the ease of cutting with this fillet knife along with the larger, comfortable, rubbery handle, reviewers find that their hands aren’t left fatigued. Even for those with arthritis and similar conditions, the Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife tends to be a reliable option without initiating discomfort or pain while in use. Apart from filleting, this knife is ideal for cutting vegetables, a plethora of meats, and herbs. Generally, this is a beautiful knife that puts into consideration the fact that customers deserve comfort, ease, and versatility in their fillet knife.
- Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel
- High-friction, non-slip handle
- 1.3 mm blade thickness
- Includes plastic sheath with belt clip (2 belt clips for the 6.1-inch version)
8. Kershaw Clearwater 9-In Knife (1259X)
Whether you want a fillet knife for fresh or saltwater fish, the Kershaw Clearwater 9-Inch Fillet Knife is an excellent option as it is suitable for both. It currently holds an average 4.3 out of 5-star rating from over 270 reviewers from its Amazon listing, proving it to be a reliable, high-quality fillet knife. Yet, this knife is the most affordable on this top 10 list thus far, being priced at just $11.69 on Amazon.
While quite cheap in price, this Kershaw fillet knife offers softer Japanese 420J2 stainless steel that has the capability of bending without breaking, gliding effortlessly through even larger fish. The handle on this fillet knife features a soft, textured grip to ensure it’s suitable for wetter environments. Additionally, the knife sheath that’s included with this knife offers a belt holster to make it relevant for outdoor use. Particularly relevant for those on-the-go, this knife features neon highlights to ensure it can be spotted in a variety of settings, even in the darker hours.
Many compliment the Kershaw Clearwater 9-in Fillet Knife for ergonomic handle featuring a great grip. Also, many find that this is a very sharp knife with great edge retention, rarely needing to be resharpened. For the price, this knife just can’t be beat. Some may consider this knife to have a simpler appearance, but it’s in the quality of this knife for a great price that makes it shine from other fillet knives on the market.
- Japanese 420J2 stainless steel
- Softer blade steel
- Edge retention
- Neon highlights
- Soft-textured, rubber-gripped handle
- Includes knife sheath with belt holster
9. Wusthof Grand Prix II 9 Inch Set with Leather Sheath
The Wusthof Grand Prix II 9 Inch Fillet Knife is a fairly moderately-priced piece of cutlery featuring a sleek, timely design, perfect for any kitchen. The long, thin blade on this knife communicates that it will provide precise cuts for a variety of fish types and sizes. While it hasn’t achieved a significant amount of reviews on Amazon.com thus far, it has, however, earned solid 5 of out 5-star ratings from 9+ reviewers. That has to mean something. Of course, with Wusthof being a highly-favorable brand for cutlery, it would make sense why their Grand Prix II 9 Inch Fillet Knife would also be well-loved.
Getting into the details of this Wusthof knife, it offers a high-carbon stainless-steel blade with a full bolster, a thick finger guard for extra precaution, and a sturdy handle made of black polypropylene. It also offers a slender, leather sheath for storage along with a travel knife sharpener featuring a keychain for those wanting to travel or go fishing while tagging their fillet knife along.
Apart from a great appearance, this Wusthof fillet knife is very sharp, favorable craftsmanship, and offers a quality holster. With this fillet knife, you won’t have to worry about purchasing a separate knife for boning your fish and other meats as this fillet knife can easily double up as a boning knife. Chiefly, the Wusthof Grand Prix II 9 Inch Fillet Knife is comfortable yet sturdy, has breath-taking aesthetics, and has convenience in that it can fillet and de-bone as well as be traveled with.
- High-carbon stainless-steel blade
- Full bolster
- Thick finger guard
- Precision edge technology
- Polypropylene handle
- Made in Germany
- Includes leather sheath and travel knife sharpener
10. Mercer Culinary Millennia Narrow Knife, 8 Inch
The Mercer Culinary Millennia 8″ Fillet Knife is conceivably the best fish knife for under $20 and one of the most popular to date. For its lower-end price, one may not imagine that this knife could be one of the top 10 fillet knives of 2018. However, on Amazon.com, it earned an average 4.7 out of 5-star rating from over 2,400 reviewers. It also holds the title as Amazon’s Choice for the Fillet Knife category.
From its easy-to-maintain, high-carbon Japanese steel blade to its ergonomic handle featuring an angled finger guard and non-slip grip, there is ease and grace when utilizing this fillet knife in the kitchen. The Mercer Culinary Millennia Narrow Fillet Knife is also NSF listed, meaning that this knife has gone through a series of complex, specific standards to ensure it offers optimal safety.
While this is a great fillet knife that gives you incredible bang for your buck, one downside is that a knife sheath is not included. For a knife this sharp, some sort of protective cover – whether it be plastic or leather – would be appreciated. But according to reviewers, there are numerous more pros than cons, including the fact that it offers a very sharp blade, the ability to cut off crust from bread effortlessly and even better than a bread knife, and is a well-balanced and light-weight knife with great durability. Thus, this fillet knife is ideal not just for home cooks but also professional chefs.
- High-carbon Japanese steel
- Ergonomic, polypropylene and Santoprene handle
- Angled finger guard
- Textured finger points for non-slip grip
- NSF listed
- Limited lifetime warranty
Prior to purchasing a fillet knife, make sure you familiarize yourself with what’s out there and know all there is to know about fish fillet knives. Read through the below frequently asked questions to make sure you’ll make the best purchase and be able to provide the proper care for your new knife.
What is a fish fillet knife?
While you’re probably clearly aware that a knife to fillet fish if you’re not completely familiar with the types of knives out there and how they differ, it can be difficult to understand what a fillet knife really is.
To cut to the chase, a the right knife offers a blade that is thinner, more flexible, and more curved than the average knife. These three components are important for quick and easy filleting. While one can fillet with essentially any knife, the process is best with a fillet knife.
What size knife is best?
There isn’t a particular knife that has the most ideal length. The best size will greatly depend on the size of the fish you wish fillet. However, the lengths for fillet knives average from 4- to 9-inches with 7- to 9-inches being the most popular.
How to use a fish fillet knife?
Initially, learning to fillet a fish can be a bit of tricky task as it requires that the user holds the knife in the right position, applies just the right amount of pressure, and cuts the fish at the right angle. But fortunately, filleting isn’t rocket science.
Here’s a general walkthrough on how to use a fillet knife:
- Cut the head off your fish behind the gills.
- Holding the fish by the tail, glide your blade from the tail-down to make an incision on your fish. As you do this, you may way to place your index finger on the backbone of your knife to help guide the knife. Never cut towards you, only away from you.
- As you hold your fish down by the tail, remove the skin from your fish by gliding your blade (away from you) along the skin.
For larger fish, instead of cutting the head off, you would instead make a deep incision behind the gills on both sides, leaving the head still partially intact, before moving on to the next steps.
Once you get a feel of your fillet knife and understand how to use it, you can fillet fish quickly and effortlessly.
How to sharpen a knife like this?
While you can get your knives professionally sharpened, you can your own sharpener for home convenience.
Here are some of the different types of sharpeners:
- Sharpening stone
- Sharpening rod
- Handheld sharpener tools (e.g., AccuSharp)
- Electric sharpener
You can learn how to properly sharpen a knife with each of the latter types of sharpeners from the instructions here.
How to sharpen electric fish fillet knife?
Even electric fillet knives need to be sharpened, despite the fact that they offer serrated blades and tend to stay sharper longer.
Follow the step-by-step instructions in the video below to sharpen an electric fillet knife.
What is the best fillet knife for fish?
Focusing on our top ten list, the following fillet knives have earned the best and highest number of positive fillet knife reviews:
Mercer Culinary Millennia Narrow Fillet Knife, 8 Inch (average 4.7 out of 5-star rating; 2,400+ reviewers)
- Dalstrong Filet Knife – 7″ Flexible – Gladiator Series (average 4.7 out of 5-star rating; 140+ reviewers)
Wusthof Classic Ikon 7-Inch Fillet With Sheath, Black (average 4.7 out of 5-star rating; 40+ reviewers)
KastKing G4116 Fillet Knife is also a great pick, earning an average 5-star review on Amazon. However, this score was accumulated from only 15 reviewers thus far.
Be sure to read through different fillet knife reviews to help you find the best knife based on your personal requirements. Focus on not just the average rating and the positive comments present in each review but also how many verified buyers reviewed the product, the cons buyers discovered, and the general features of the product.