Let’s get real, it’s no fun eating a bony fish. The entire process of "deboning" fish on the dinner table can be a pain. But the best fillet knife can save you the trouble. These tools tear through fish effortlessly so that you can do what you do best: make a delicious meal.
Even so, you want to grab the best fillet knife you can find. A tool that gives a precise cut so that you don't waste meat. A knife that doesn't slip out of wet hands when you're using it. A product that will last for years to come. We want only the best for you, but not all items out there are worth the hype. Which fillet knives are the best? Let's jump right in and find out!
Best Fillet Knife Comparison Table
Best Fillet Knife: How to Separate the Wheat from the Chaff
Given the many options out there, it can be difficult to spot the best fillet knife, and you could end up with a mediocre product. But we have some tips on how to play safe below.
First, ensure the blade is thin and flexible enough. A thin blade means you won't miss a bone. A flexible blade bends in whichever angle you want, making for a clean cut. If you’re going to tackle larger fish, however, you want a sturdier blade to withstand the tougher meat. Length matters, too. A longer blade works fine on a bigger catch while a shorter blade is suitable for small or average size fish.
When it comes to the handle, you can choose from a variety of material including plastic, wood, and rubber. Plastic and rubber should do the trick if you're a color person, as these come in many colors. Rubber gives the best grip, though.
Last but not least, ensure the blade is sharp, and don’t overlook the fact that some knives can be dull, even while new.
What a Fillet Knife Does
While every knife can cut “something,” every knife has a unique use. You use a bread knife for baked goods. A steak knife excels at tearing steak. And a fillet knife won't disappoint when it comes to filleting fish. Provided you're using the best fillet knife, it should scale, skin, and debone fish hustle-free. A fillet knife is a reason boneless fish exists. Without the tool, then we would have to struggle with the bones at the dinner table.
How a fillet knife differs from a boning knife
It’s possible to mistake a fillet knife for a boning knife, but these two are not identical. You need to know that while both blades are thin, a fillet knife's is thinner than a boning knife's. Not just that, but the blade is also more flexible for a filleting tool. A boning knife tends to have an inflexible blade.
The difference also sits in their uses. Even though both are deboning tools, a fillet knife is meant to rip fish while a boning knife is meant split harder meat, such as the chicken breast. Even so, either knife can serve both purposes. But it’s not uncommon to find a filleting knife that's also a boning tool and vice versa.
Taking Care of the Best Fillet Knife
People often overlook their knives when it comes to maintenance. Which could affect not only the tool’s quality but also the lifespan. Yes, you will have to replace your fillet knife every so often, but proper maintenance can make your knives last longer, which saves you money.
Also, unless you really don’t care, you don’t want to throw your knife in the dishwasher. That heat in there could do more harm than good, pitting the blade and distorting the handle. In the same vein, please do not soak the tiny machete before cleaning it. Soaking allows for galvanization, which is responsible for a crooked blade, rendering the knife less effective.
When it comes to safety, hold the knife by the handle during activity -- and refrain from touching the blade unnecessarily. If the handle isn’t that grippy, avoid using it with wet hands as it could slip and fall, probably injuring your feet. Moreover, store your tool in the sheath, so the blade isn't exposed. Take extra care when honing the tool, too, and refrain from holding the tool by the blade. We want you to be safe!
Who Sells Fillet Knives?
Fillet knives are available from a number of online stores. You can find them on Amazon, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Home Depot, Bass Pro, and Cabela’s, among other e-retailers. Still, you want to shop around for the best deal before pulling out your wallet. You can also find them in many brick and mortar stores as well.
Cost of the best fillet knife
Fillet knives are fairly affordable. However, you could spend a little more on electric knives as they're more effective than traditional tools. The fillet knives on our list cost $5 to $150, and one of those might be the best fillet knife for your needs.
How We Reviewed the Best Fillet Knife
Our review process was comprehensive so that we can present you the best of the best products. Some of the things we looked into included a variety of brands and the degree of quality their products have. We also considered different features, such as the length of the blade. And the types of fillet knives were a vital factor: we included both electric and manual knives. Among other things, price, as well as real-user experiences came in handy.
One of These Could Be Your Best Fillet Knife
The following fillet knives are sure to rock it when it comes to deboning, skinning, and scaling fish. The list is in no particular order.
Schrade Steelhead Knife
If you fancy style, this Schrade Steelhead knife might be a good fit. The tool boasts an attractive design we're sure you'll like. Moreover, the 8-inch blade is flexible enough, making for a precise cut. And the unique Staglon handle is a plus, as is the included casing.
According to users, this knife is razor-sharp and is pretty easy to use. Some buyers, however, complain the blade breaks easily with careless handling. The price of this knife sits in the $ to $ range, and Amazon users give it 4.1 out of 5.0 stars.
SOG Exchange Fixed Blade Fillet Knife
- 3-In-1 interchangeable fixed blade knife
- Glass-reinforced Nylon handle with rubber over mold for a comfortable grip
- Soft-sided carry pouch holds all blades
This SOG Exchange Fixed Blade Fillet Knife couldn't be more versatile, thanks to the three distinct blades (including a serrated one) it comes with. Each one of those measures just over 4 inches. All the blades are durable and stain-resistant, and you get a protective sheath with the knife, among other features.
Most users are happy with the comfortable handle, which makes for a good hold. Even so, a couple of users have issues with the knife's weight as it’s comparatively heavy. The SOG Exchange knife costs $$ to $$, and it's rated 4.6 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
sRapala Fish N Fillet
- Each Fish 'n Fillet features a full-tang Swedish stainless steel blade with the classic Rapala reinforced birch...
- The genuine leather sheath and single-stage sharpener seal the deal
- making it the "go-to" fillet knife in the fishing world.
With a thin, sharp blade, the Rapala Fish N Fillet is sure to cut through fish like butter. What you’ll also like about this curved blade is its non-stick feature, so fish parts don’t stick on the blade as is common with other options.
This terrific knife scores high marks amongst users, who also appreciate the sturdy build. Cons include a small handle, which can be bothersome for folks with large palms. The Rapala Fish N Fillet goes for $ to $. It scores an average Amazon rating of 4.7 out 5.0 stars.
American Angler PRO
- Fillet with ease: The Pro Series motor boasts 2x more torque than any other "heavy-duty" Efk so big bones never slow you...
- Fillet Season after Season: superior drive train components and design gives the Pro Series 4x the lifespan of any other...
- Fillet comfortably: advanced airflow design keeps the Pro Series ergonomic handset cool for hours of continuous...
Another excellent option, the American Angler PRO electric fillet knife is pretty easy to control. Whether you're an expert or are just getting started filleting, you can use it hassle-free. The sharp blade it boasts is a bonus, too, as is its terrific motor.
Users can't hide their joy with regards to this tool's performance. But it's razor-sharp, making for an effortless cut. The handle, however, has its own fair share of woes, according to some buyers. It gets somewhat hot with longer usage, and it has a strange design, sort of. This tool revolves in the $$ to $$ price range. Reviewers on Amazon give it 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.
Dexter Wide Fillet Knife
The best fillet knife should have an enhanced grip, and Dexter Wide fillet knife is sure to deliver it: the grippy handle does wet/slippery hands justice during the action. The tool is also NSF-certified and gives you a flexible blade so you can maneuver with ease during activity. And the fact that the blade is longer means that you can tackle larger fish. The enhanced edge hones easily, too.
Like with many products on our list, the Dexter Wide fillet knife comes with a thin blade, and users like that it gives a clean cut. The blade also lasts longer than most blades on our list. One of the downsides includes a rather dull blade: most users have to hone it before use. Another con is that the blade corrodes easily, especially when used in wet conditions.
You can find the knife for $ to $. Customers rated the knife 4.3 out 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Elk Ridge Fillet Knife
If you’re on a tight budget, this Elk Ridge fillet knife could do the trick. It’s the cheapest option on our list. And no, that doesn't interfere with the quality. The tool’s long blade (12.5 inches) boasts quality material, meaning it's durable enough. The wood handle is attractive, too, and holds well. Moreover, you get a sheath with your purchase.
While it might need a good honing upon purchase, users state that this tool performs well when sharp. Most buyers also find that the knife offers more for the price.
The Elk Ridge fillet knife can be yours for $ to $. People who’ve bought it on Amazon rate it 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.
Ka-Bar Fillet Knife
Easy to control, this Ka-Bar fillet knife is sure to keep those unwanted slips at bay, too, thanks to the grippy handle. Also, this tool is no bummer when it comes to filleting with decent precision. And the nine inches of blade couldn't be longer.
The rust-resistant blade makes for easy maintenance, according to most users. Although, some purchasers find that Ka-Bar is better at skinning than filleting. A few users also find the long blade is kind of bothersome. Priced at $ to $, the Ka-Bar Fillet Knife scores an average rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
CRKT Clark Fork Folding Fillet Knife
The CRKT Clark Fork Folding Fillet Knife has a blade that folds into the handle, just like a pocket knife. During the process, the tail lock feature secures the blade, lest it pops out accidentally. The knife also boasts a sharp, sturdy blade. And you'll like the nylon casing.
Users appreciate the lightweight nature of this tool. Some users, however, complain that the plastic latch isn’t strong enough and could break if not handled with care. The CRKT Clark Fork Folding Fillet Knife costs $ to $ and boasts a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Gerber Gator Fillet Knife
- Gator Grip handle texture provides maximum grip for any situation, wet or dry
- Hard-molded sheath with built-in sharpener
- Overall Length: 12.2", Length of Blade: 7.17"
With Gerber Gator fillet knives, you can choose between 6-inch and 7-inch blades, other features remaining unchanged. With that said, you get a terrific grip with the handle for minimized slippage in wet conditions. The blade boasts full-tang stainless steel, adding to the strength of the tool. And like most fillet knives on this list, Gerber Gator fillet knives include a case.
Users praise this knife for performance alone, but it cuts without wasting meat, probably because of the flexible blade. There are two sides to every coin, though, and some users don't like that it's difficult to use the tool. Which only means that Gerber Gator fillet knives aren't suitable for newbies.
Price is in the $ to $ range, and Amazon purchasers give the knife a general rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 stars.
Kershaw Clearwater 9-Inch Fillet Knife
- 9" fixed blade made of 420J2 stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and includes an ABS sheath with belt holster for...
- Soft textured, co-polymer rubber grip for a comfortable in-hand feel that won't slip and neon-green accents for...
- Excellent knife for filleting larger fresh and salt-water fish alike, including tilapia, salmon, snapper, tuna, snapper,...
This Kershaw Clearwater fillet knife has a smooth blade and co-polymer handle for an improved hold. The blade is not only long but is also resistant to rust, enhancing durability. Among other things, you get a protective sheath for the flexible blade.
Users are pleased with how this tool is incredibly easy to sharpen even though most fillet knives are difficult to hone. On the downside, the Kershaw Clearwater fillet knife's handle can feel awkward in the hands, according to a few buyers. A couple of purchasers (apparently those staying abroad) have issues with the product's restriction in the U.S., too, as far as shipping is concerned.
The Kershaw Clearwater 9-Inch Fillet Knife can be yours for $ to $. The product receives a rating of 4.3 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
So, Which Is the Best Fillet Knife?
Without a doubt, all of the products on our list are worth buying. With that said, if you're looking for the best fillet knife with more than one blade, just in case one breaks, we recommend the fillet knives from Gerber Gator and SOG Exchange. As for Gerber Gator, you get two blades with distinct lengths. And SOG Exchange gives you three blades with the same length.
For those who fancy powered tools, the American Angler PRO electric fillet knife may be a good fit. Plus, you get a robust engine and a razor-sharp blade. On the other hand, if you're a light spender, the Elk Ridge fillet knife ticks all the right boxes.
Once again, make sure to choose wisely when purchasing the best fillet knife.