Ask any angler and they will tell you how satisfying it is to enjoy a home-cooked meal of a freshly caught fish because it has a great aroma and fantastic taste. However, not many people are aware of how to cut or fillet a fish properly.
While most tend to use regular kitchen knives, ideal results can be achieved only when you use the best fillet knife. Thus, we will be reviewing some of the top-rated ones on the market and also provide you with a buyer’s guide.
Best Fillet Knife Reviews
1. Mercer Culinary Millennia Chef's Knife
Mercer Culinary has brought their extraordinary Millenia Chef's Knife to the market to add to their impressive range of kitchen knives.
The Millennia Chef's Knife from Mercer Culinary is a product meant primarily for use when preparing and filleting fish. Although it is categorized as a filleting knife, it can also be used for trimming the fat from meat, and for slicing other types of food such as poultry, fruit, and vegetables into thin slices. The diversity of applications for this knife makes it even better value for money given its low price.
The blade of the Millenia knife is made using high-carbon stainless steel. The knife is heavier on the blade side, which makes applying force easy.
There is even a mark on the blade to indicate the knife’s center of gravity. This mark is surrounded by the Mercer shield symbol, which is an assurance of their high quality.
On the other hand, the jet black handle is made from a combination of polypropylene and Santoprene, which provide an excellent combination of both comfort and durability. It has textured finger points for a sure grip, and this greatly reduces any chance of the knife slipping from your grasp while cutting with it.
The end of the handle closest to the blade provides further protection as it has a raised finger guard. This should prevent your first finger slipping forward should the knife get stuck while you are cutting in a forward direction.
What's to like about the Mercer Culinary Millennia Chef's Knife
What we love about this filleting knife is that it is very versatile. You don't really need to have a collection of multiple knives just to accomplish different tasks.
What's not to like about the Mercer Culinary Millennia Chef's Knife
Given how thin the blade is, and the extremely sharp point at the end of it, it is disappointing that no blade guard is provided with its purchase.
2. Rapala Fish Fillet Knife
Are you looking for a fish fillet knife that is flexible, easy to use, and offers great precision? Then we recommend you check out the Rapala Fish Fillet Knife. This is a premium yet affordable knife that is quite easy to use and quite adaptive as well.
The Rapala Fish Fillet Knife is a premium product offering fantastic results. It is particularly known for its elegant design and beautiful sheath. It comes with a six-inch blade and is quite versatile.
The product has a pure Swedish stainless-steel blade which not only makes it highly effective but also quite durable. The blade’s sharpness is very well balanced with its flexibility, and all of this together makes this fillet knife quite responsive. It also enhances the usability and efficiency of the knife both in the kitchen as well as when you are outside.
We believe that this knife’s handle deserves a special mention. It is made out of a varnished Birchwood and is hand tooled. Its design conforms to the ergonomic basics. Additionally, it comes with a Laplander leather belt sheath and a single-stage pocket sharpener which further benefit the knife.
What's to like about the Rapala Fish Fillet Knife
One of the best things about the Rapala Fish Fillet Knife is that it is easy to use and offers great precision. Its six-inch blade is versatile and highly durable. Additionally, the blade is made using premium stainless steel.
It comes with a beautiful and ergonomic handle and there is also a leather belt sheath and a sharpener that it comes with.
What's not to like about the Rapala Fish Fillet Knife
While the handle may be beautiful and ergonomic, it may be a bit small especially for those who have larger hands since it measures at only four inches.
3. Kershaw Fillet Knife with Sheath
Kershaw is a company known to provide its customers with high-quality products with great performance. If you are looking to add a simple-looking fillet knife to your collection, then we believe that the Kershaw Fillet Knife would be a great choice.
The Kershaw Fillet Knife is a highly durable product made in the USA and comes in seven-inch and nine-inch blade options. The latter option is great if you are looking to fillet a larger fish.
The blade is crafted in a corrosion-resistant Japanese 420J2 stainless steel which makes it a brilliant choice for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
This knife is also great to use in the kitchen to handle small to medium-sized fish such as salmon, catfish, and tilapia. It also comes with an ABS sheath with the holster to protect and store it, while allowing for easy access when out of water.
What's also great about this knife is its handle. This fillet knife comes with a black colored co-polymer handle which provides it with a superior grip along with a rubbery texture which we found particularly great when we had to fillet larger fish. This handle is designed well so that you don’t experience fatigue when you use it for extended periods.
What's to like about the Kershaw Fillet Knife with Sheath
It's great that the Kershaw Fillet Knife is made using a high-end Japanese stainless steel so you can be assured that it works well. Even its handle is crafted well and quite comfortable to hold. We also love that it comes in two blade sizes, so you can fillet large and small fish conveniently.
What's not to like about the Kershaw Fillet Knife with Sheath
Even though the blade is made from premium materials and is quite sharp, it gets dull a bit too quickly. That said, sharpening it isn’t too difficult.
4. Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex
Rapala is one of the most popular knife brands on the market, so it is no surprise that we review one of their knives, which is the Fish n Fillet Superflex.
The Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex Knife is a fantastic product featuring a six-inch stainless-steel hand ground blade. However, it does come in a four-inch and 7.5-inch blade sizes.
The blade is quite thin and flexible. It is designed to allow the user to cut through fish or other foods with absolute ease and with full control. The blade also comes with a non-stick coating which makes slicing fish much easier.
The company has crafted the handle from a hand rubbed baked Birchwood. This has an ergonomic design along with a highly comfortable grip. There is also a genuine leather sheath to protect the knife when not in use and this comes with a belt loop so it stays on you at all times.
What's to like about the Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex
We liked that there are three blade size options to choose from and the blade is strong, thin, and flexible which is particularly great for filleting. We also love the leather sheath since it is meant to protect the knife when not in use.
What's not to like about the Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex
We would have preferred that they had used rubber or plastic instead of wood to make the handle.
5. Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife
The Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife is an interesting knife in this list as it is the only one that has a blade measuring less than four inches.
The Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife is a Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel fillet knife that comes in two blade size options which include 3.5-inch and 6.1-inch. The former option is ideal to remove bones on smaller fish. The blade is particularly known for its high hardness, razor sharpness, corrosion resistance, and exceptional toughness.
The knife comes with a high-friction handle that allows users to maintain the grip when filleting fish. It also does not absorb any odors. The knife also comes with a tough plastic sheath that gives it added protection when you are on the move or when you need to store it.
What's to like about the Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife
The Morakniv knife has a fantastic stainless-steel blade that cuts through fish quite efficiently. It also comes with an ergonomic handle that does not absorb any odors and maintain a good grip. We also liked the tough plastic sheath.
What's not to like about the Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife
One of the biggest issues we had with this knife is that the blade came out of the handle when used at a particular angle.
Fillet Knife Buyer's Guide
There are some obvious benefits to fillet knives which make a lot of people who have never used them more curious about them. If you are amongst them and want to learn more about these knives, then we highly recommend that you read the buyer’s guide as it will talk in detail about the top features of a fillet knife.
It goes without saying that the blade is an important part of any knife and this applies to the fillet knife as well. The blade of this knife will help you determine the kind of cut you can make and also how clean will the cut be.
When it comes to fish fillet knives, you must be certain that the blade you opt for is completely corrosion resistant. This is because the blade will typically be in wet environments majority of the time, especially for those in saltwater environments, and this can affect the blade's performance.
Ideally, we would recommend choosing a fillet knife that comes with a stainless steel blade. This is a good choice as it is not only common but also corrosion-resistant.
2. Size and Weight
You should always pay close attention to the size of a fillet knife when searching for one. This is mainly because a fillet knife with a small blade may not offer optimum results and this applies to blades that are too long too.
That said, this entirely depends on the kind of fish and the way you work. There are quite a few sizes of the fillet knife. You will find some under four or five inches and then some are over nine inches. Fillet knives with a blade size ranging between six and seven inches are ideal for filleting fish of most types.
In addition to the size, even the weight of the knife is something you should pay close attention to. Lightweight fillet knives are an ideal choice since they help with how fast you can cut the fish. Avoid using heavier fillet knives since using them for extended periods will result in your hand getting tired more quickly.
All-in-all, the thinner and longer your fillet knife blade is, the better it will perform when it comes to handling any fish size
While the blade is undoubtedly the business end of a fillet knife, its handle also plays a huge role in its functionality. Grip, execution, and comfort are all factors that can be derived from a well-constructed knife’s handle. Thus, allowing an angler to fillet effortlessly and safely.
When it comes to the handle, you must consider the material it is made out of. For the longest time, wood was the standard material used for the handle, but over the years, more and more manufacturers are switching to rubber and plastic.
That is because wood tends to get quite slippery when it gets wet and it ultimately leads to less control. All of this could be potentially dangerous as well. Another downside to wooden handles is that it tends to soak up the fish smells, which is quite difficult to clean off.
Plastic and rubber materials are great choices since they provide better grip and good traction. Both these materials can be cleaned easily and thoroughly, there is no worry of any lingering fish odor.
Additionally, they are corrosive resistant which means they will last for a long time. You must also ensure that the fillet knife comes with a beveled area for your index finger as this prevents slipping and provides extra leverage.
4. Manual vs Electric
When it comes to choosing between manual vs electric fillet knives, it honestly comes down to personal preference. Both of these knives have their own set of pros and cons.
- Electric: Electric fillet knives may not have the same level of control that a manual knife offers, but it has an incredible amount of speed, something you cannot achieve from a manual fillet knife. This makes it particularly great when you have to cut a large quantity of fish or when you have to work with a large fish. That said, when you use this for the first time, it will take some time getting used to it and you may end up wasting some of the fish.
- Manual: Manual fillet knives could be tedious to use, but they tend to work rather well. Wasting fish is the last thing on your mind when you use a manual knife as you are in full control of the knife. All you need to do is master the correct technique.
If you are particularly looking to fillet fish, we would recommend using manual fillet knives. The obvious upside to using this kind of knife is that you are in full control, they are not as expensive as its electric counterpart, and you need no power source to use it. This is important especially if you are using it outdoors.
The flex or flexibility of a fillet knife is another important factor to consider when you buy a fillet knife. Filleting a fish, especially a long fish, requires you to constantly maneuver around the fish which means that the knife should have an excellent bend. Fillet knives are known for this.
With that in mind, this factor also depends on blade size and material. If you are looking for shorter fillet knives, it is quite unlikely you will find it to be as flexible. This also applies to very long fillet knives.
While long fillet knives may be flexible, using it can be a difficult task. You should also make sure that fillet knives should not have completely rigid blades as cleaning such a blade would be difficult.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Kind of Knife Do You Use to Cut Fish?
There isn’t exactly a type of knife that can be used to cut fish. For starters, every single person, whether they are home cooks or professional chefs, have their favorite knife to cut fish.
Also, every culture cuts fish in different ways. While fillet knives offer some of the best results when it comes to cutting fish, it does not necessarily mean that other knives, such as a regular kitchen knife, will not work at all.
2. What Is the Difference Between a Fillet Knife and a Boning Knife?
One of the main characteristics of a boning knife is that they tend to have shorter blades and are quite stiff. They are often used for deboning beef, pork, or poultry.
On the other hand, fillet knives have blades which are much longer in comparison and they also tend to have a significantly higher bend. These knives are designed in such a manner that they can slice through fish under the skin and along the backbone.
3. What Are Fillet Knives Used For?
Fillet knives are great for cutting fish but its benefits do not end there. A good fillet knife is also great for:
- Trimming: It is a known fact that fillet knives can efficiently remove fish scales, so it is no surprise that it works great in trimming the fat and silver skin webbing from small game and game birds such as quail and rabbit. These require a rather delicate approach for which fillet knives work the best.
- Preparing vegetables and fruits: Whether you are peeling away the tough exterior of an avocado or slicing the membrane from a pepper, a fillet knife ensures this work gets done quickly. For example, peeling a mango is a notoriously challenging task as it can damage the tender fruit within. By using a fillet knife, you can be assured that you can peel the mango skin without damaging the fruit.
- Segmenting citrus fruits: No one likes pith in their fruit. Thankfully, with a fillet knife, it will easily slice the fruit; thus, removing the rind, pith, and membrane from citrus fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, and lemons.
4. What Angle Should a Fillet Knife Be?
You will notice that a majority of kitchen knives come with a 20-degree edge bevel. That said, fillet knives should have about 12 to 15 degrees of edge bevel per side to provide an easy and clean cut, as well as a reasonable resistance to dulling. If you do not cut monofilament, bone, or bait with the fillet knife, then a 15-degree edge bevel will also serve you just fine.
Now that you have read our reviews of the best fillet knife and the buyer’s guide, we are certain that you have a better understanding of this knife and have a personal favorite amongst the five.
That said, between them all, our personal favorite was the Mercer Culinary Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife. This is a fantastic fillet knife. It is made using only premium materials and has an ergonomic design. We can say with certainty that you will truly enjoy filleting fish with this knife, so we highly recommend that you get this one right away.