Before cooking any fish delicacies, the carcass must be processed efficiently. In principle, this can be done with a regular kitchen knife, but for convenience, it is better to purchase specialized best fish fillet knife, especially if this product is used frequently.
There are many top-rated fish fillet knife models from different manufacturers on the market, which includes the necessary tools. Therefore, the choice should be made depending on personal preferences and the money available. Experts recommend to buy knives made either in Japan or in Germany, and we have prepared a list of the best fish fillet knife 2019 to ease your choice.
What Is a Fish Fillet Knife?
As a rule, the term “fish knife” means exactly the tool for filleting. The best fish fillet knife has a long narrow and flexible cutting blade, the length of which varies from 14 to 30 cm. The most popular models are those that have a length of 16, 19 or 21 cm. The optimal length of the best fish fillet knife is determined depending on the size of the carcass processed: usually, it is one and a half times the width of the fish itself. The blade is also pre-sharpened at an angle of 25 °, and it is provided with a curved shape.
The handle of the fish fillet knife is made of a material that will not slip out of hands. Previously, most of the knives were sold with wooden handles, but today the downsides they have do not satisfy the buyers. Despite all the advantages, wood begins to slide with even a slight ingress of moisture and also becomes impregnated with an unpleasant fishy smell. As a result, such a knife cannot be properly cleaned.
Therefore, today the most common materials for the handles are plastic or molded rubber. Both materials have a high coefficient of friction, so they are very comfortable to hold. In addition, these materials are easy to clean, and there is no odor or grease on them.
The preference is most often given to the concave model with a platform for the support of the index finger. This pad is where the blade connects to the handle. Nevertheless, it is the best fillet knife for fish that is sometimes characterized by the absence of a limiter that protects the arm from slipping to the sharp part. The width of the cutting blade is always less than the width of the handle, and the blade thickness is rather small. The steel used to create it is resistant to corrosion and withstands sharpening without problems. For example, it may be Damascus steel, which in addition is also characterized by an elegant, patterned surface.
Why Do You Desperately Need a Fish Filleting Knife?
So, the best knife for filleting fish is an uneasy knife, multifunctional in operations, with several grips, quite traumatic. The fish fillet knife set should be able to perform a variety of operations. The main are:
- Removal of the gills – cutting the gills with the tip of the best fish fillet knife in the places of their attachment.
- Removal of the ventral fins – separation of the fins from the carcass by a reverse movement of the knife (butt), reversal and removal of the fins with a single, twisted movement.
- Exfoliation of the peritoneum – a long cut from inside to outside with the tip of best fish fillet knife from the anus to the head.
- A cut of the abdominal bones – (for herring, for example) – neat, so as not to touch the insides, a cut of the lower part of the peritoneum.
- Removal of viscera and internal tapes, kidneys (this is such a dark, blood crap under the very spine and under the internal film) – scraping and small cutting movements.
- Cuts of different depths and configurations – to the depth of certain bones or to the skin, or through.
- Turns inside the cuts, when you need to change the movement of the knife to move at a different angle. The reversal is done when the knife is in the fish with a medium or thin end.
- The breakdown of the fish – when you need to separate the fillets from the spine, cutting through both rib and transverse bones (and entrails and peritoneum – if the fish is not gutted), but without touching the spine and moving away from it, pressing the blade of the best fish fillet knife to the spine.
- Removal of rib bones – pressing the blade to the ribs and sliding along them.
- Cutting the spine (when you need, for example, to separate the head).
- The separation of meat from bones in several cuts with complex geometry (for example, when the fish is milled not along the plate, but in two directions from the spine across).
- Removal of transverse bones (pulling out, pinching the tip of the bone between the thumb and knife, or cutting out, if these bones have a simple geometry).
- Removal of the fillet from the skin.
- Cutting the fillet into slices or plates.
- Removal of large waste from the working plane.
Some of these operations can be done with other knives and not with knives at all, but with other devices. But in the home kitchen, if there is a task of speed for you, it is better to choose a good fish fillet knife that will allow you not to change tools too often.
When Is a Fillet Knife Necessary?
After a successful catch of fresh fish, as a rule, s the process of its preparation follows. To maximally simplify it, you need to use a suitable quality best knife for filleting fish. Otherwise, the cutting can take quite a long time, and you have to put a lot of effort.
What to Pay Attention to?
To separate the meaty part from the bone, the optimum blade length is from 16 to 21 cm. You need to choose a specific model based on the size of the fish. The shortest point is suitable for herring. When it comes to larger fish, such as pike, perch or ide, you should prefer the elongated knives. With regard to the choice of material, today products from diamond and Damascus steel are in great demand. Such unique models are more expensive. As a rule, they have an expensive wood handle and a unique engraving.
Another important selection criterion for the best fish fillet knife is flexibility. It is not recommended to buy knives with a very thin blade, since with such a tool it will be more difficult to remove the fillet, and the process will take much longer. It is necessary to take into account that the longer the blade is, the thicker it is. For the filleting of fish, it is better to choose more elastic and durable products.
It is also important to pay attention to the blade. The handle of the best fillet knife for fish plays an important role in the process of butchering. To prevent the palm from sliding on the blade, a guard should be installed with an emphasis for the index finger. Thus, when choosing a knife for carving fish, it is necessary to pay attention to each of its components. For security reasons, it is better to buy products in special cases.
How Does a Fillet Knife Differ from other Knives?
Best knife for filleting fish is the narrowest and longest. This knife is designed for cutting thin and even pieces of meat or fish. The cut will be even and neat if it is made with one movement of the knife, and this is possible only if the knife blade is long. Due to the flexibility of the blade, it is possible to remove thin skin, to separate the fish fillets from the bones.
What is the Minimum and Maximum Size of a Fillet Knife?
The length of the blade varies from 13 to 30 cm. In most knives, this value lies in the range of 15-19 cm. The best fillet knife for fish with a blade up to 20 cm is considered universal and is suitable for cutting medium and large fish.
What Is a Good Material for a Fillet Knife?
The best material for the blade of any best knife for filleting fish is stainless steel. It should be borne in mind that not all steel of this brand has the same properties. Therefore to acquire a truly durable reliable knife, you should primarily focus on the reputation and credibility of its manufacturer.
Why Is it Not Necessary to Wash the Fillet Knives in a Dishwasher?
Experts say that the knives cannot be washed in the dishwasher. The reasons are actually quite a few. The main reason is that the metal and ceramic blades can deteriorate. Whether the knives are dull in the dishwasher is a moot point, but the fact that their blades are deformed by heat is a fact. It should also be borne in mind that metal knives after repeated washing begin to be covered with corrosion and fail in the very near future.
Why Is the Handle Important for a Knife?
Handles of modern kitchen knives are made of plastic, wood, metal or rubber. The surface of the handle is made to eliminate sliding of the hand. It is very important for the handle to be “ergonomic” – it lay well in hand. But since there are many forms and sizes of hands, the best fillet knife for fish must be selected personally for your hand. Take it in your hand and feel right away – is it your knife or not? In any case, the handles of high-quality professional fish filleting knives should not be chipped, cracked and deformed.
What Is the Difference between an Ordinary Fillet Knife and an Electrical One?
For those who constantly have to process a lot of fish, best electric fillet knife will be a great help. According to electric fish fillet knife reviews, such a knife effortlessly penetrates into the body of the fish, as in oil, significantly saving your time, effort and attention. And although such a knife still needs to be learned to use, its use will quickly pay for the costs.
Many battery-operated fish fillet knife models are equipped with batteries, they can be powered from a 12-volt car cigarette lighter (which is extremely convenient for work in nature, where there is no other power source than a car) or from a household electrical outlet. An electric fish fillet knife can be equipped with terminals for connection to the car battery. The choice of cordless fish fillet knife models in this sense is truly limitless.
Do all Sets Come with the Best Fish Fillet Knife?
The best fish fillet knife enters into the standard knife sets far from always, and usually, the hostesses are treated with a simple cutting knife. However, if you fillet fish often and in large quantities, a special best knife for filleting fish becomes a necessary tool.
9 Best Fish Fillet Knives Reviews and Comparison
Flexible fillet blade
Elk Ridge ER-028 Fillet Knife
Ideal for hunting excursions and for kitchen use
Plastic zone sheath with a built-in ceramic sharpener
Rapala NK03039-BRK Fish N Fillet
Rapala Teflon-coated blade
CRKT Clark Fork Folding
Innovative way to secure the lock up for those larger tasks
High carbon stainless steel blade
Schrade Steelhead Knife 167UH
1. Best Fillet Knife Overall: Ka-Bar Review
Ka Bar fillet knife will make preparing food very easy and require no effort at all. This knife is ideal for avid fishermen and will make your fishing trips very exciting. The knife comes with 9” flexible fillet blade made from rust proof 440A stainless steel. The blade has then been hollow ground and sharpened allowing it to maintain its razor sharp edge.
This best fillet knife for fish also comes with an ergonomically shaped handle made from Kraton G elastomer with slight finger grooves letting you keep in control at all times, not the other way around. Even when your hands are wet, you can feel confident you will not part company with the knife. Given the Ka Bar review, it has a curved pommel on the end of the handle, which makes it look very nice.
- Flexible fillet blade
- Rustproof 440a stainless steel
- Ergonomically shaped handle
- Ideal for avid fishermen
- Long blade
2. Best Price: Elk Ridge ER-028 Fillet Knife Review
This blade is 12 1/8″ overall. The blade is produced from 6 7/8″ of quality, sharpened 440 stainless steel. The handle is made from laminated wood, with a full tang running the entire 12″. This best knife for filleting fish has a convenient lanyard hole, and a black nylon sheath. The knife is ideal for hunting excursions and for performing kitchen tasks.
- Fixed blade knife
- 440 stainless steel
- Mirror blade
- Nylon sheath
- Needs to be sharpened
3. Best Ergonomic: Gerber Gator Review
The blade of the Fillet Knife Gator from Gerber is made of high carbon 420HC stainless steel with a hardness of 57 HRC. This material keeps the cutting edge sharply and resists corrosion well. The straight thin and flexible blade in the form of a clip-point allows you to accurately separate the parts of the fillet from the bones and skin. The design of the knife is full tang, when the shank is a continuation of the blade, repeating the shape of the handle, which makes the knife extremely durable and reliable.
Given the Gerber fillet knife review, the ergonomic handle is made of heat-resistant fiberglass with rubberized lining, textured under the skin of an alligator. The large stop and the rough surface of the handle allow you to hold the knife securely even in a wet or greasy palm, which is very convenient when used in natural conditions.
The knife comes complete with a molded plastic black belt sheath. The special ceramic sharpener is built into the sheath, which allows you to quickly sharpen the knife in field conditions.
- Fixed blade knife
- Elegant design
- High functionality
- Plastic zone sheath with a built-in ceramic sharpener
4. Best Folding Fillet Knife: Havalon Baracuta Review
The company Havalon Knives is considered to be the ancestor of a series of filet folding knives – pocket scalpels, developed in the early 1980s for hunters and taxidermists. The new fillet folding knives of the Baracuta series have a weight of only 85 grams, are made according to Quik-Change technology and are equipped with a longer handle and, accordingly, longer replaceable stainless steel blades (5 pieces included) made in Japan. In contrast to similar analogs widely represented in construction and hardware stores, the replaceable blade in Havalon fillet knives is rigidly fixed in the handle with the help of the patented Liner-Lock.
- High-quality surgically sharp #115XT hunter’s blade
- 3-in-1 capability
- 5 additional Quik-Change “easy-on, easy-off” stainless replacement blades
- ABS plastic handles
- Black nylon belt sheath
- Needs proper care to prevent from rusting
5. Best Sharpened by Hand: Rapala Fish N Fillet Review
Rapala Fish Fillet knife with a thin and very flexible European stainless steel blade is made by the Finnish company Marttiini. The handle is made of Karelian birch. The actual length of the blade may vary slightly due to the manual handling of the blades. The knife is supplied in the leather sheath.
Finnish Rapala knives are sharpened by hand, which provides an individual professional approach to each model. Based on what kind of fish you catch, you can choose a knife of a suitable size. The thin, sharp and flexible Rapala Teflon-coated blade will serve you long and reliably in fishing and hiking. The Rapala fillet knife review states that with their knife the filing will turn into pleasure.
- Scandinavian stainless steel
- Full-length shank handle
- Sheath made of high quality embossed leather
- Comes with an easy-to-use sharpener
- Small handle
6. Best Fillet Knife for Salt Water Fish: Schrade Steelhead Knife Review
Uncle Henry’s Steel Head Fillet Knife represents the old good traditions of the American west – durability, keen edge, and long-lasting. The knife has a stainless steel trailing point blade with nice flex, which is ideal for use with large fish, Staglon handles, nickel silver bolsters, brass rivets, and lanyard hole. The Fillet Knife comes with a leather sheath.
- Rust-resistant stainless steel blades
- Solid nickel silver bolster
- Staglon Handle
- 100% Hand Inspected
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Blade can snap
7. Best Non-Folding: Kershaw Fillet Knife Review
The 18 cm non-folding Kershaw fillet knife has a soft contour handle for reliable grip and neon inserts that make it easy to detect the knife in an aquatic environment. The blade of the knife is made of high carbon stainless steel and provides the ideal degree of deflection for quick and convenient filleting of fish, as Kershaw fillet knife review proved.
- Soft contour handle
- Neon inserts
- High carbon stainless steel blade
- Easy to sharpen
- Uncomfortable handle
8. Best Innovative Fillet Knife for Larger Tasks: CRKT Clark Fork Folding Review
Clark Fork Fillet Knife is an easy choice for fishers everywhere. Thanks to its Ken Steigerwalt design it has a long flexible stainless steel blade and glass-reinforced nylon handle for easy cleaning. The knife is equipped with a tail that folds into the handle to lock the blade open and folds out to cover the long blade tip. There is a black nylon sheath for storage.
- Extended tail
- Nylon sheath
- Ken Steigerwalt design
- Long flexible stainless steel blade
- Plastic Latch
9. Best for Fishermen and Hunters: Bubba Blade Fillet Knife Review
This piece of a stainless steel blade with a thickness of 2mm is an overall heavier knife. The Stiffie Fillet knife is not very flexible, so you may use it even with the big fish. This best knife for filleting fish is also suitable for meat carving, thanks to the beveled edge allowing you thinner cuts. Due to a non-stick coated blade, the knife glides easily through any fish or meat, and as the Bubba Blade fillet knife review states, it is perfect for the fishermen and hunters.
- Factory sharpened by hand to razor sharpness
- Made from a single piece of steel
- Non-stick coating
- Specially designed bevel edge allows for thinner cuts
- Custom black synthetic sheath
- For small hands
Types of Best Fish Fillet Knives
If you plan to prepare dishes from fresh fish, its cutting will be more convenient if you have a special best knife for filleting fish. Finding the right device turns out to be quite a problematic task for beginners in cooking even after reading numerous fish fillet knife reviews. The bulk of the products has similar characteristics, so before choosing the most appropriate option, you should carefully understand the differences of such knives.
There are three main types of such knives:
- Fillet knives for the kitchen;
- Field fillet knives;
- Folding fillet knives.
Fillet Knives for the Kitchen
The best knife for filleting fish for the kitchen, as a rule, is narrow and long with a square butt. They are intended for cutting and filing of fish at home. The handle of these knives is usually made from plastic or wood. Such a knife is designed to work in a relaxed atmosphere on an even cutting board. The blade deflection at such a knife is not very strong. It is used only for one task – cutting fish into thin and long layers. To clean and gut fish at home, as a rule, other knives are used.
Field Fillet Knives
Field fillet knives, which are a large class of various knives, are sometimes called “fishing”. The range of tasks that are performed by such a knife, as a rule, is wider. In field conditions, the caught fish must be opened, gutted, cleaned and then milled. Field knives are usually equipped with a rubberized grip that does not slip in a wet hand. Many models of camping knives are equipped with a sheath for carrying and storage. The blade of such a knife has a butt width of 1.3 to 1.7 millimeters. The blade should bend well and quickly return to its original state. This is important since it is necessary to work with fish on any object that is at hand: a stone or a stump. Marching fillet knives often have a soaring tip, which is convenient for opening and gutting of the fish. On the butt of such a knife, there can be located a “saw”, which is used to clean the fish. Sometimes the teeth for cleaning fish can be located on the cutting edge.
Folding Fillet Knives
Folding fillet knives make a special class. These knives are convenient because they take up little space when folded and can be used as a normal folding knife for everyday needs.
Best Fish Fillet Knife Buying Guide – What to Look At?
In any kitchen, you can find the most diverse utensils that are used in cooking and for a beautiful serving of dishes. Of course, the knives are an integral part of the arsenal. And there can never be too much of them. Moreover, for each type of food, it is recommended to use a special knife that facilitates cutting. For example, the best knife for filleting fish allows you to quickly gut and chop fish fillets. But choosing a worthy piece of such a kitchen assistant is not always easy.
Blade Material and Handle Quality
A standard fish fillet knife can have a blade of 16, 19, or 21 centimeters in length. This is dictated by the need for cutting fish of a certain size. With products with short blades, it is convenient to process small loin pieces. At the same time, to cut large fish, for example, salmon, you will require a long blade.
The decisive criterion in the selection of the cutting part is the flexibility of the blade. The most flexible fish fillet knife will have a thin blade. If you have such a product, you will have to work much longer when separating the loin from the spine. Therefore, this option is suitable only for the separation of directly soft parts in the preparation of fish for cooking.
So, the blade of a good, multifunctional fillet knife should be:
- Long, but quite flexible.
- The blade must be highly sensitive to the actions of the cook; otherwise, you may miss the whole mass of small bones when cutting.
- A fish knife from stainless steel is capable of maintaining the required level of sharpening in the best way. However, due to its low strength, this option is suitable only for cutting fillets or cutting vegetables.
Since the best fillet knife for fish is often used directly on fishing, its handle must be made using moisture-proof materials. An excellent option could be to buy a product with a handle covered with leather, made of birch bark, or wood with a water-repellent coating.
If you need to choose a truly high-quality fish fillet knife, it is recommended to pay attention to the products with handles made of horn. This option is not only extremely durable but also has an original, attractive appearance. As for the shape of the handle, it should be different maximum convenience for a particular user. To determine the most convenient form, it is enough to test the knife in practice.
Currently, fillet knives are in high demand, the handles of which assume the possibility of blade replacement. This allows you to quickly restore the functionality of the product when the blade is damaged or broken. However, in no case, the products with synthetic handles should be neglected. Naturally, such a knife for cutting fish will become a reliable assistant only if it is made by a reputable manufacturer.
To buy a knife for filleting fish means to pick up the appropriate sheath. Since the products of this category have extremely sharp blades, the presence of such protection is imperative. It is necessary to pick up a sheath which will not begin to hold down movements when using. It is good that the design is in harmony with the appearance of the handle and the whole product.
Usability and Design
When choosing a fish fillet knife, you need to pay attention to flexibility. It greatly influences the process of cutting and dressing the product. As a rule, flexibility depends on the thickness of the blade. The more this indicator is, the less flexibility it possesses. Long blades should have their degree of flexibility. The blade of 10-15 cm is thin and bends well. By increasing the length of the blade, the fish knife should not lose flexibility.
Products of reputable companies like Havalon, Ka-Bar or Bubba are in rather high demand among consumers. If we talk about the price range, then the consumer has a huge breadth of products costing from $10 to 60.
The length of the filet blade can be different and depends on how large the fish is planned to be filleted. For convenience, choose a knife whose length is at least 1.5 times greater than the width of the fish carcass.
The Best Fish Fillet Knife 2019: Our Advice
Such a kitchen assistant as the best fish fillet knife can be bought on average for $10-$50. Our pick is Ka-Bar Fillet Knife, the price of which is a bit more than $30. This knife is made of stainless steel and has a special curved blade shape, a comfortable handle that does not rub hands and fingers when cutting. One of its main advantages is the blade flexibility. Since during the separation of the fillet, it is necessary to twist the knife smoothly so that the pulp is separated from the bones. Ka-Bar’s flexible and very thin blade perfectly cuts the thickest part without problems. In addition, a big plus of this best fish fillet knife is the handle, made of moisture-resistant material. It provides convenience while cooking. Therefore, the best option according to all the criteria is the Ka-Bar best fish fillet knife.