Best Fillet Knives for Cutting Fish in 2021

Are you a sea-food lover or do you love eating fish?

Isn’t it difficult to remove the bones and scales from a fish?

Isn’t it frustrating to fillet the fish with your regular knife?

Doesn’t the task of filleting sound like a burden?

Well, not anymore, this is because you need to drop your regular knife and start using fillet knives.

Chopping over firm bones and meat is not the same as cleaning and filleting a fish. It necessitates the use of a special fillet knife. A fillet knife is useful for removing fish bones and excess skin from the flesh.

Buying Guide for the Best Fillet Knives in 2021

A bad fish fillet knife will quadruple your job while totally destroying your catch. If you’re not patient, even if you’re using a rusty knife, you might end up filleting yourself. The fillet knife is the most adaptable of the boning knife family, providing the ideal balance and power.

It is, without a doubt, used to fillet and prepare the cod. Its cleverly designed blade glides over the backbone and under the meat surface with ease. Keep in mind that filleting certain fish needs a particular style of blade. For example, some fish fillet knives are best for filleting salmon while others are better for filleting saltwater fish.

You could lose your blade if you choose the wrong one, such as the best filleting knife for saltwater fish since salt is corrosive to many metals. The blade is what distinguishes a filleting knife from a regular knife. The tip of a filleting knife is more compact and lightweight, making it easier to remove the meat from the bone.

Fillet knives are an excellent addition to any kitchen, especially if you enjoy seafood and like to prepare your own meals. If you like cooking with fish, the first thing you’ll need is the right tools. Once you’ve chosen the right cutting board, you’ll need a fillet knife to slash through all types of seafood with ease.

We have made it easier for you by consolidating the essential features of fillet knives that would ultimately aid you while you buy one.

Features of the Best Fillet Knives in 2021

Handle Material:

A perfect handle ensures the best grip, comfort, and balance possible. Laminate, wood, and plastic are the most popular handle materials. Though all three are easier to clean and less prone to rust, wood is the most long-lasting (but it traps odors).

The best grip will be a rubber handle. Although plastic is much lighter, when wet, it can be very slippery. Using plastic-handled knives in close proximity to a fire or at high temperatures will quickly result in injury.


Wood is a classic durable material that feels wonderful in the hands. However, it has a proclivity for retaining bacteria and, in terms of toughness, it pales in contrast to other materials used to produce handles.

Wooden handles are typically thought of as elegant and lightweight products. Even though it’s well-made, the wooden handles can be slippery at times, particularly when wet.  When compared to other handle materials, wood has a wonderful and natural feel. It is, however, less resilient than the others and is more likely to harbor bacteria.


To say the least, plastic is very user-friendly. It’s simple to care for and unbelievably thin, making it a popular option for easy-to-carry knives. However, due to its fragility, it can crack more easily with wear, especially when exposed to high temperatures.


Laminate is essentially a combination of plastic and wood. Because of its similarity to wood, you might mistake it for it, but laminate is much easier to maintain than wood. It’s much more long-lasting and easier to clean.

Blade Material:

When it comes to blade material, there are a number of diverse materials. A fillet knife’s durability would be harmed by even the tiniest amount of corrosion. As a result, you can choose a knife for filleting fish like steak with a long-lasting blade material. Stainless steel, cast knives, carbon steel, and high-carbon stainless steel, are some of the types of blades available.

Stainless Steel:

This is the most popular kind of metal used in the kitchen. It’s long-lasting, simple to sharpen, and inexpensive. Stainless steel blades are usually long-lasting and simple to sharpen. They’re also reasonably priced.

Carbon Steel:

Carbon steel is a quality metal that is easy to sharpen and maintains a sharp finish for a long time. It is somewhat more costly than stainless steel.

High-Carbon Stainless Steel:

The high carbon stainless steel has a little more carbon in the steel alloy than the low carbon stainless steel, making it greater strength. You’ll have to pay a lot of money for this, but the consistency and craftsmanship make it well worth it.

A stainless-steel blade with a high-carbon infused coating provides additional corrosion resistance and avoids pitting, which can make a blade tough to clean.

High-carbon stainless-steel blades, on the other hand, are more costly than the common stainless-steel blades used in most consumer-grade fish fillet knives, as predicted. However, the superior consistency makes it worthwhile to pay the extra money.

Blade Size:

The blades of the fillet knives are available in several sizes where the standard sizes of the blade ranged from 4-9 inches. Knives with longer blades are used for larger fish, whereas smaller fish can be handled with a shorter blade.

More specifically, 6-inch blades are best for crappie and bluegill, 7.5- to 8-inch blades are best for bass and small trout, and 9-inch blades are best for pike and salmon. A fillet fish knife with a 7.5-inch tip, on the other hand, can fillet both small and large fish with ease.

Blades come in a variety of lengths, each suited to a specific species and size of fish. As a result, it all depends on the form and size of the fish you choose to catch. Generally, there are 3 types of blades: long blades, medium-sized blades, and Short blades.

Long Blades (9 inches and more):

Finally, there are the blades that are bigger in dimension. They allow you to prepare larger fish, such as large salmon and broad-shouldered pike, with greater control. Bear in mind, though, that the wider the sword, the more difficult it is to carry.

Medium-sized Blades (7 to 8 inches):

This filleting fish knife, on the other hand, is made for larger fish. They measure between 7 and 7.5 inches in length. They’re an excellent choice for salmon, bass, and walleye preparation.

Short blades (4 to 5 inches):

When working with smaller fish species like crappies, yellow perch, and sunfish, short blades are easier to transport and have greater control and maneuverability.

Tip of the Knife:

A pointed blade is used on many fillet knives, which makes slicing and screening fish much easier. The back edge of a knife’s blade typically bends outward from the handle to the tip. This curve aids in increasing the scale of the knife belly, which is the angled section of the cutting point.

The thickness of Blade:

The length of the point blade is generally related to the thickness and flex of the fish fillet knife. If the blade’s size is reduced, it would be lighter and more compact. The best fillet knife has more mobility, and the more flex it has, the better it can fit through bones.

It also aids in the removal of the fish’s scales. So, if you’re looking for the right fillet knife for rockfish, it needs to be flexible enough to produce decent fillets. The best fish filet knife blades are typically thin, with a spine of 2.5 to 3.5 millimeters. It’s impossible to strip the skin from the fillet or maneuver along with the rib bones if the blade is rigid.

A high-quality fillet knife’s blade is usually 15 to 28 cm (6 to 11 inches) long, allowing it to travel easily when cutting fish. Furthermore, the blade knife of the knife can easily travel over the backbone and under the surface of the meat.


Another important thing to remember is your grip on the knife, which decides how much power and leverage you use to fillet your fish. As a result, when choosing a fillet knife, look for one with a relaxed grip, an ergonomic handle, and one that allows you to use all of your strength when skinning or deboning the fish.

This consideration will help you choose the right knife for filleting fish and will decide your satisfaction with it after purchase and use.

Further, a good grip on the handle shall make you comfortable to eliminate or debone the fish without the risk of the knife slipping down while you are working.


Filleting the fish is a skill. It necessitates a blade that is bendable but difficult to break. As a result, you should stop purchasing a fillet knife that has a similar feel to a kitchen knife.

Since fish cannot be equated with steak, cutting and cleaning it out does not require as much force. Instead of a bulky blade intended for cutting into meat slabs, you can use a lightweight blade that produces precise strokes.

Blade scale and materials play a big role in flexibility. The short blade may be a good option if you clean small fish in your kitchen. You can also buy a knife with a lightweight blade specifically for filleting work.


Aside from the lightweight aspect, a fillet knife still requires a lot of speed. If you have a large knife, there’s a risk you won’t be able to treat fish well on the cutting board. So a flexible, lightweight blade with a filleting feature that is quick and easy will be a good option.

Advanced Safety:

A fillet knife for cutting fish can be very risky. Because of its very flexible and razor-sharp comb, it can easily break some large fish bones. As a result, when filleting, keep your wellbeing in mind. If you’re worried about hurting yourself, look for a fillet knife with a special safety bolster or finger guard.

Available Prices

Filleting knives come with a wide variety of prices. A fillet knife is available in a wide range of price ranges. Knives can be used for as little as $20 to as many as many hundred bucks. It all comes down to the best filleting knife accuracy, brand name, toughness, and finish.

Many of the more common fillet knives on the market are actually very inexpensive. Some can be as low as $50 and still be appropriate, whereas the more common ones hover around the $100 mark.

Additionally, an electric fish fillet knife will set you back more money. When it comes to these electric blades, you’ll want to spend on accuracy and reliability, so don’t skimp on those.

FAQs for the Best Fillet Knives in 2021

Is it okay if I use a normal kitchen knife to fillet the fish?

You definitely can, but it would be less than optimal. You'll lack the blade's versatility, and you'll almost certainly end up with a messed-up fillet. Fillet knives are not pricey, and we strongly advise you to invest in one for your filleting adventures.

What can be the ideal size of the fillet knife that I can buy?

It shall always depend on the purpose and personal requirements of the customer. But a 6-inch blade is appropriate for cutting small fish such as bluegills and perches.

If you're after small trout, a 7.5-inch blade would do, but larger fish, such as salmon, will necessitate a 9-inch blade high-quality fillet knife.

Can I wash the fillet knife in the dishwasher?

A filet filleting fish knife, like most knives, can never be placed in the dishwasher. The detergents will irritate the skin and dull the knife. Washing the knives in the sink with normal dish soap and water is the safest method.

Is a fillet knife just for cutting fish?

Fillet knives may be used on any kind of meat. If you like, you can also use it to cut and slice vegetables.

They are most widely used for cleaning fish due to their small, short, and lightweight blades, which make it much simpler and quicker than using a conventional chef or boning knife.

How do I sharpen the fillet Knife?

The downside of most fillet knives with lightweight blades is the same, i.e., sharpening them is tough. However, by reading another article about how to sharpen fillet knives, you can solve this issue.

Sharpening a fillet fish knife with a sharpening stone is also the best option. Slowly switch the blade front and back at an angle of 12 to 15 degrees; after 10 to 15 slides, you should have a wicked sharp blade, which you should measure with a tomato or paper.

What Is The Best Knife For Cutting or Filleting Fish?

Video Transcript:

Hey, guys welcome back Ricky here. Alright, so it has been quite some time since I’ve done an ask Ricky video And I get lots of questions on my channel. I average about two to three hundred messages in a day And so I really want to get through all my questions And I do my best to answer any questions that come to my channel, but as you guys know that it’s not always possible So I actually want to put together a series where I answer your questions once a week or so and I want to take two or three of you know top questions of the week and put a video answer together for you guys and so my goal for these videos is to answer you these questions as thoroughly as I can and giving you.

Guys my Personal experience of how I’ve learned to go about it so the first question here is from Saji and the question is How do I know when I should move up to a higher grit when sharpening a knife? Okay, so a question for very basic whetstone in sharpening. I’m guessing it’s a whetstone sharpening question because I only sharpen on whetstone here on my channel and So this is the whetstone for those who don’t know what a whetstone is It’s basically a stone that you use to sharpen your knives with and there are many methods You can use to sharpen a knife, but here on Burrfection I mainly do a hand sharpening with whetstone Before I begin I have a couple of videos you guys may want to look at it’s a sharpen tutorial and a video on burr Development.

Which I will post here, or I’ll link here in the video now This is an argument that can go on to the end of ages. Okay. It’s not gonna be solved in this one video here But I’ll tell you how I go about sharpening and how I go about going up to a higher grit It’s basically the easiest way for me is By feeling the burr and making sure that I have a burr that is consistent from the tip of the knife to the heel of The knife and so you might be wondering What is a burr so a burr is essentially just a lip of material or a? Line or a fold of material that develops on The opposite side of what you’re sharpening on so if you are sharpening the left side of the knife on a whetstone.

The burr will develop on the right side of the knife the act of pushing your knife up and down a whetstone You are removing materials or moving You’re exposing fresh material on the left side of the knife and so the older material Let’s just say for the sake of this argument The older material gets pushed up on the right-hand side of the knife, and so you will feel it if you will run your fingers perpendicular to the cutting edge And you will feel a little this is a little fold material that appears on the cutting edge and the goal is to get a very minor a very micro burr.

That appears from the tip of the cutting edge to the heel and you want that burr to be as evenly as possible you don’t want to have the front of the knife developed very harsh burr and In the latter half of the knife develop a very soft burr you want the burr to be as equal and as even as possible Now once you have a burr. That’s actually you know Relatively consistent from the tip to the heel you Know that you can move on to the other side of the knife so on the other side of the knife you do your push And pull method again, and once you’ve developed burr.

It’s consistent from the tip to the heel. You know that you have Revealed enough materials on both sides of the knife Now the question is how do you move on well before you actually move on to the hybrid stone you want to make sure that? The burr is Mostly removed or the edge has been prepped and prepared to move on Because at this point if I were to move on to the higher grit stone It’s a softer stone typically The burr that’s left there on the cutting edge may be too aggressive and may damage the stone or just leave micro-operations on the stone that you may not want So what I typically do is before I move on to the higher grit I will do the exact same method that just sharpens the knife with but only using maybe half a half the amount of strokes.

Or even just one or two strokes per section of the knife and once you deal with that a couple of times on both sides that will remove most of the Heavy materials that may damage the higher grit stone so that is the easiest way to For me to explain that I do have more videos kind of talking about these things If you guys watch enough of my videos you guys will see how I go about moving up to different grits But that is the easiest way I can describe it again if you guys want to see a more of an in-depth tutorial In the video of how I go about sharpening my knives just go to a video link to here in the video Or video in the video go to the video linked here, so the next question.

We are going to is by dumb 27 I hope I pronounced that right dumb 27, I’m sure that’s a joke inside joking somewhere, but the question is in recommendation What’s the best knife to cut a fish like a mackerel and salmon? Okay, so Kind of a broad question there and the reason I say that because salmon can be very small trout-sized salmon or more of a King salmon where they’re you know 2 feet 3 feet long So the first knife that I recommend people to buy is a six-inch or 7-inch fillet knife This here is a knife by Dalstrong. It’s a great knife. It’s a knife that can pretty much handle most of your filleting I use this knife pretty much all the time at this point and because it’s curved And it is very sharp it also allows me to use the knife on cutting ribs and separating ribs When I smoked ribs.

So it’s a really good overall knife for a fish. One of the best tips I can give you is that whatever knife you choose whether it’s a Victorinox, a Dalstrong, a Shun just make sure that your knife is very sharp a really sharp knife will help you cut raw fish much more easily and raw fish can be easily bruised and so certain fishes especially salmon I Find that salmon is and is a meat that you can definitely easily bruised and so you definitely want to have the sharpest knife available to you to use on that fish So this is the main knife that I use for a fillet most of my fish There is a knife that I don’t have in my studio, and it’s a called a flexible filleting fish And it looks a lot like a boning knife, but it’s even thinner than a boning knife And it has a blade that is very flexible.

I find that knife to be very useful when you are trying to separate the skin of the fish from the actual fillet itself It’s more of a specialty use case knife and knife that I find very high skill Fishmongers are very adequate at using people like myself average people like myself That knife tends to be just a little bit too specialty of a knife, and I don’t find myself Very efficient at it. I will attempt to pick up a Flexible fillet knife and compare it to what I currently use and show you guys the differences. Again, I’m not the best Knife Handler, I’m not the best fish cutter or a fishmonger So I don’t have the best skills to demonstrate that but I will make an attempt to actually make that happen at some point so debt is more like a chef’s knife, but for fish, they tend to have very thick spines, so they’re very girthy and they’re Handling ability they tend to be very efficient in terms of cutting through the fishbone so the heft of the Debas are Great for when you try to separate the tail of a fish from the body or separate the head from the body They have a very fine cutting edge and so this debate.

Here is by Shun it’s a single bevel knife and so they tend to generate a Tremendous amount of cut force because they have a really thick spine, but they also have a very thin cutting edge So it makes them really efficient at being very sharp, and so they tend to be Knives that you will see again more specialty users will use them I would see I see them being used in Japanese sushi restaurants when they are prepping larger fish. I don’t really see Most average home users using them I myself have used them a number of times They’re fun to use because they do provide such great cutting power, but you really have to be more skilled to actually use the debt Properly.

Not to say that you can’t use one, but I find them to be Again more specialty knives, and I find that the fillet knife you know a curved fillet knife has tended to serve my needs and my Purposes is better than debt. Although I am trying to use them more often, and I am trying to teach myself how to cook and prep more fish So I will make the attempt to actually use more debas here in the studio, and again these questions come from people that I have never met So dumb-dumb 27. I’m not sure what skills you are At and what type of even though you are saying you want to do salmon Do you want to you know? Do you want to get a salmon from A to Z? Or do you want to just simply take a fillet of salmon.

And cut them into chunks and smoke them like how I do it if you do it that way Then the fillet knife is gonna be the better bet for you if you go to any sushi Restaurant you will find your sushi chef using a Yanagi-ba and so these knives are definitely extremely Specialized it takes a very skilled hand to use these properly now for myself I only use these knives once every 2 to 3 months And I typically use it when I have a large slice of fish I might even use them on large pieces of beef where I’m trying to get really nice thin cuts So I do use these for things other than fish they’re great because the extra length you have really allowed your knife to have a Really nice clean long cut so when you’re trying to you know getting really nice thin slices And you don’t want to bruise the meat a great knife is a yanagi-ba And so I use these for things other than fish like I said for me I mean, to be honest with you If you really wanted to use a chef’s knife on your fish.

And I do this actually quite often is when I have my large fillet of king salmon that I smoked once or twice a month I typically would just throw it onto the cutting board after I rinse the meat under cold water and To cut the chunks I actually just use my chef’s knife half the time Because my chef’s knives are actually quite sharp and they can handle Fish fairly well and they can handle even salmon skin really well So I find myself using my chef’s knife often just to do quick cuts on the cutting board But for the majority of us if you’re just prepping and filleting Mackerel and salmon, I think a good sharp chef’s knife will do the job Just fine all right so the last question here is from caboose three.

I hope I pronounced that right or Cabos three caboose let’s just say caboose three So the question is what is the best way to sharpen a knife without getting out my sharpening stone? Okay Okay hmm good question It’s a question that I have been exploring a lot lately mainly because none because I don’t like sharpening on wet stones I love sharpening on wet stones, but because my time these days is very tight. I only have about one day Maybe two days a week where actually can come back here and actually do sharpening videos for you guys So here we go we have two straps here And I’m only using two because one is Loaded and when it’s not and so these are buffalo straps that I have made for my own personal usage I Have found that buffalo straps are great because they the grit level is close to what you would see on a six to eight thousand gritstone.

So they are very high gloss they provide a lot of oil inside of the skin itself So they’re really great for people who just are like me who may only have one or two minutes a day to get your knives sharp and So this here is the same strop. It’s the same block, but it has an NK Greene Strapping compound on it compound. It’s great because they make everything work a little bit faster But the finish that you get on a good drop or a really good leather strop can be just as good as most compounds drops unless you’re going to Like a 15,000 grits drop strapping compound or even like a twenty thousand or 40,000 DMT If you are not interested in getting super high-end.

Or super-low grit or high grit ratings You can just go with a good leather strop whether a latigo cowhide Which pushes or what I would recommend for the basic straps, and you can go up to you know Buffalo Which is a higher-end strop? And then you have shell cordovan? Which is a horsehide stroke, which is very expensive? I do have a video on how to maintain your knives on a weekly basis, which I will link here in the corner there It’s basically me showing you the benefits of having a straw? Access to a strop is okay so from my personal usage in my home I find that I strop my knives every three to four days if I’m testing a knife I may not stop it because I want to see how How long that edge can last but for my personal apps that I use I simply take the strap out Every three to four days and my knife, and I just drop the knife That’s really all I do and I do this like I said every three to four days in my knives stay very very sharp Over time the edge will not hold up as well because you are gonna be wearing down materials and for me I am a sharp knife.

I Would call myself a sharp knife freak, but I do enjoy having a sharp knife and so after some time I don’t know exactly how long that is gonna be my The curt knife that I have in my kitchen the DAO strong 8-inch Shogun has now been three months since I have not sharpened it and I only stopped it every three to four days It’s still just as sharp as I left the studio here You know being sharpened or polished on a 6000 gritstone So I can tell you that dropping will save you a lot of time And it makes it really easy to keep a knife very sharp.

This is especially handy for those Who are in the food industry? If you are chef a sous chef or line cook and you only have you know a couple of minutes when you get into your Kitchen to prep a meal to get ready before the kitchen starts up having a strop It’s much handier than having a whetstone there because they strop will allow you to take your knife that hopefully has been well-maintained You simply just wrap your knives For 12 to 20 strokes on each side and your knife should be ready to go for the ready for the whole day Strokes are great more so for people who have knives That are higher on the heat treatment scale so if you have a knife that is 60 or 59 or above having a strap is great because you can literally just drop your knives.

Before your workday begins or at the end of the workday, and your knives will stay razor-sharp for the next day For those who have a knife that is heat-treated from a 55 let’s say to a 58 Then the other option would be a honing rod, which I have one here Okay, so this here is a boost off Classic icon with the CREM handle this one here Let’s just say you’re cutting into your meats, and you Nick a bone You don’t ship the knife, and you don’t really damage the knife anyway, but you notice on the cutting edge There’s a slight indentation.

On or a very slight You know bump on the cutting edge in that sort of situation the rod we actually do a better job at realigning that edge It’s gonna straighten the edge much better and also will take off larger amounts of material versus the strop where that strap will instead of trying to take off you know larger chunks of material It will try to polish that edge And so you don’t want to polish the edge when you have a chunk or a low dent you want that dent Let’s call that micro dent Realigned not polished so that is really the main difference between a strop and a rod the rod will realign your edge better The strop will polish your edge better if you’re using a knife from again he treated from a 55 or lower up to a 58 I would say go with a rod a Steel.

Rod that you have from your kitchens knife set will work just fine You don’t have to have anything fancy and for those who have knives that are heat-treated from a 59 and upwards I think that you’ll be served better if you were to maintain your knives on a daily basis on a strop Cool, I want to try something a little bit different here and see if it will work if you guys want your questions answered all my videos on my ask Ricky videos leave in the comments with the hashtag ask Ricky and Also either on Facebook or Twitter ask hashtag ask Ricky and so when I do a search on Twitter Facebook or on youtube with the hashtag ask Ricky in the comment section.

All of the questions that come up with the hashtag in front of it will automatically appear on one page that way I don’t have to search every video individually I can just do a comet search on the Line of my home page, I think that will work so again in the comments either before or after the questions Just put the hashtag ask Ricky, and I will just do a quick search for it and I’ll take the top three or four comments every single week and put it into a video.

And in case you guys have not heard I’m doing a shoe knife giveaway. This year is a shoo-in santoku classic which I have just restored I would say that this lamp here is probably just as good as new or maybe even better than new If I may say so myself in case you guys want to be a part of the giveaway head over to this video here or Check the video description, and I will leave a link there as well or where I will that’ll be it for this video Thank you for being here. I’ll catch you guys in the next video.


When it comes to filleting, keeping the right filleting knife on hand would ensure that your filleting tasks are simpler, faster, and better to complete than if you were using a normal best filleting knife. A dull or blunt fillet knife will haphazardly shred the cod.

For better performance, such a knife must be sharp, flexible, and thin. Although, choosing the best fillet knife can be difficult, but we are sure that this guide would have made it much easier for you.

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