Best Fish Fillet Knife: 2020 Reviews & Buying Guide

When it comes to preparing seafood, one of the most important tools you’ll need is a fillet knife for fish. Whether you’re looking to fillet saltwater fish, walleye or redfish, the proper knife is a must-have item. It’s a common mistake to assume that all knives do the same job. Unfortunately, a standard kitchen knife just won’t cut it (literally) when filleting fish. That’s why we’re going to break down the absolute best fish fillet knives of 2020.

Fillet knives are thin, with a curved blade. This makes them ideal for slicing through fish skin without ripping the flesh to shreds. And among fillet knives, there are even more specific types and features. There’s quite a bit of variation when it comes to things like length, sharpness and shape. With so many options at your disposal, it can be a bit confusing to know where to start. The best fish fillet knife easily skins the fish and cuts along the backbone with precision. It’s also comfortable, durable and safe.

The 10 Best Fish Fillet Knives in 2020

Undoubtedly, there are a lot of fish fillet knives on the market. But there are a few benefits and features that make certain knives stand out from the crowd. Preparing fish requires certain skills, but the right fillet knife does all the hard work for you! Below, our top choices for the best fish fillet knife of 2020.

1 – Kershaw Clearwater Fillet Knife (Best Pick 🥇)

Excitingly, this fillet knife is made from Japanese steel that’s both stain and corrosion resistant. You’ll enjoy the easy carrying option that comes with the ABS sheath and belt holster. It’s a stylish knife, too, with a satin finish textured black handle. This product is made in the USA and backed by a Lifetime Warranty, so the quality is guaranteed. This knife has a reputation of being one of the sharpest, high-quality options out there. This, in spite of its very modest price.

Key Features

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Corrosion resistant stainless steel blade 
  • Comfortable co-polymer soft rubber grip
  • Great for filleting all kinds of fish
  • Flexible blade
  • Includes belt loop clip

Pros

  • This fillet knife is made in the USA and backed by the Kershaw Lifetime Warranty.
  • Users report that this knife is skilled with all kinds of fish: Catfish, Salmon, Snapper, Tune, Cod and more.

Cons

  • Some reviewers claim the belt loop is fragile
  • The handle of this fillet knife is not one of the most comfortable.

2 – Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex Knife

The Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex is an excellent fishing knife with a superior design. The high quality of this product is immediately apparent. The tooled leather sheath is striking and beautifully crafted. More evidence of its superior craftsmanship: its impressive, extra thin blade which allows for precise maneuverability. Especially nice, the price is modest for such a well-constructed, durable fillet knife. At 6”, this knife is great for nearly all kinds of fish. 

Key Features

  • Tooled leather sheath
  • PTFE non-stick coating
  • Extra thin blade
  • Polished brass ferrule
  • 6” blade length
  • Stainless steel blade

Pros

  • This knife is great for all kinds of fish.
  • This incredibly sharp knife makes for precise filleting and skinning.

Cons

  • May be too small to handle very large fish.
  • Some customers did not like that the sheath is longer than the knife.

3 – Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife

This fillet knife gets bonus points for its high friction handle that ensures a great grip. The sheath is very easy to clean and includes two belt clips: clip-on or belt loop. Because it’s on the longer side, this fillet knife is fantastic for filleting many different kinds and sizes of fish. And if you’re working in the wet and chilly outdoors, you’ll appreciate the rubber handle that doesn’t slip or conduct cold. You have the option of two sizes here. Pick up the 3.5” knife to de bone or fillet small pan fish. Or, opt for the 6.1” if you’re cleaning and filleting larger fish.

Key Features

  • Sandvic stainless steel blade
  • High-friction handle
  • Easy to clean slotted plastic sheath
  • High quality
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Belt loop and clip-on

Pros

  • Can clean, fillet and de bone.
  • The high-friction handle allows for maximum grip and doesn’t absorb odors.

Cons

  • Can only de bone smaller pan fish.
  • Not ideal for filleting very large fish.

4 – Dalstrong Fillet Knife

An impressive part of the Gladiator Series, this particular fillet knife does it all. It’s a multi-tasking pro that can de bone, fillet, butterfly, skin and scale. The design is award-winning and it’s not hard to see why. This fillet knife has a lot to offer, including a triple-riveted blade and supreme quality laminated handle. At 7”, it can handle most fish. Lastly, it comes with two different covers – one for outdoors and one for the kitchen drawer.

Key Features

  • High carbon stainless steel
  • Black Pakkawood handle
  • High Quality
  • Hand Polished
  • PerfectFit Dalstrong sheath
  • PLU Outdoor leather sheath

Pros

  • This knife is capable of skinning, scaling, boning and fillet.
  • The ergonomic handle guarantees good grip and flexibility.

Cons

  • Some customers found this fishing knife too flexible.
  • It needs to be re-sharpened to maintain its edge.

5 – Zwilling J.A. Henckels Fillet Knife

Though this fillet knife is on the higher end price-wise, it’s easy to see why. Firstly, it’s a very high quality knife that’s comfortable and retains its sharpness. Zwilling knives are forged from a single piece of high carbon stainless steel. As such, their precision and consistency are nearly unmatched. In addition, this steel won’t stain, chip or lose is sharpness like other blades might. Zwilling is known for their signature ice-hardening techniques. This practice boasts a harder, sharper knife as its primary result. All things considered, Zwilling is an easy pick for best fish fillet knife of 2020. 

Key Features

  • Laser controlled edge
  • High carbon stainless steel
  • SIGMAFORGE 1-piece construction
  • Full rat-tail tang
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Flexible blade

Pros

  • This fillet knife has a thin edge that separates the meat’s fiber in a clean fashion.
  • The FRIODUR blade is manufactured to stay sharper, longer.

Cons

  • The flex of the blade can be too much for some people.
  • As fish fillet knives go, this one is on the higher end price-wise.

6 – KastKing Fillet Knife

This vibrant fillet knife stands out in more ways than one. Most importantly for filleting fish, it comes with a razor-sharp blade made of German stainless steel. You can use it for cutting bait as well as filleting and it’s also suitable for staking large game fish. And this knife’s flexibility makes it perfect for the delicate task of filleting fish, which is why you’re here! KastKing has a really good grip, so it’s comfortable and easy to use.

Key Features

  • Premium stainless steel blades
  • Flexible blade
  • Non-Slip super polymer grip
  • Includes protective cover to protect blade and handle
  • Serrated top edge
  • Available in other lengths and shapes

Pros

  • This is a very affordable option compared to other fillet knives but it measures up quality-wise.
  • The super polymer grip is excellent for maneuvering precisely and accurately.

Cons

  • This knife includes a protective cover but not a full sheath.
  • Some users report that the handle absorbs odor.

7 – Wusthof Classic 7 Inch Fillet Knife

This remarkably thin fish fillet knife has a full tang triple riveted synthetic handle. This high quality handle is fade-resistant and won’t succumb to discoloration. As such, this is a knife that’s going to look nice for a long time to come. But it has a lot more to offer than just its sleek appearance. Wusthof Classic Series Knives are made with high carbon stainless steel, and this version boasts a blade that’s 20% sharper than older models. Wusthof ranks well on flexibility, a key feature necessary for any superior fillet knife.

Key Features

  • Triple riveted synthetic polypropylene handle
  • Thin flexible blade
  • Founded in Germany over 200 years ago
  • High carbon stainless steel
  • Finger Guard
  • Long Narrow Blade

Pros

  • This multi-tasker fillet knife will also de bone fish.
  • Made with Precision Edge Technology, guaranteeing a sharper blade.

Cons

  • One of the most high-priced fillet knives on our list

8 – Bubba 9 Inch Tapered Flex Fillet Knife

A very smart-looking knife, the Bubba Flex Fillet Knife is made with impressive high carbon stainless steel and includes a titanium-coated blade. The 9” blade makes this a formidable knife capable of effectively filleting most fish. It also comes with a lanyard hole and belt loop so you can enjoy hands-free carry. Most importantly, it has a high quality handle with superb grip. Good grip helps you avoid slipping and prevents hand fatigue when filleting fish.

Key Features

  • Non-slip grip handle
  • High carbon stainless steel
  • Tri-Nitride coated, rust-resistant blade
  • Super thin blade for precision cutting
  • Comes with protective sheath and belt loop
  • Extra sharp tip

Pros

  • The incredibly sharp tip of this fillet knife makes slicing a breeze.
  • The trigger grip and finger guard help ensure your safety while using it.

Cons

  • The knife can get salt water corrosion.
  • The price is a little higher than some comparable fillet knives out there.

9 – Shun Cutlery Classic Boning and Fillet Knife

Shun is an extremely high quality Japanese fillet knife that comes complete with a double-bevel VG-MAX steel blade. Its unique D-shaped handle and extra-sharp blade help you easily separate skin and de bone. Impressively, this knife is hand-crafted in Japan via 100 individual steps. Shun metal is heated and cooled in such a way that its microstructure is transformed, making it stronger and harder.

Key Features

  • Damascus clad blade
  • Made with advanced high quality steel
  • Thin flexible blade
  • Handcrafted in Japan 
  • Traditional Pakkawood handle
  • Free sharpening

Pros

  • This fillet knife has a narrow, curved blade that’s provides expert support to not only fillet fish but de bone as well.
  • The high quality craftsmanship of the traditional Japanese handle gives you a secure grip that’s also comfortable.

Cons

  • While it does de bone, it is not as flexible as a true de boning knife.

10 – American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife

A truly unique knife, the American Angler PRO has plenty of torque to help get you through your more challenging filleting jobs. Unlike many other fillet knives, this one has no problem with big bones. With an impressive lifespan and Superior Drive Train Components, the American Angler also includes the efk Pro series handset. This is your ideal knife if you’re a fisherman. It’s also going to be your top choice if you work with high quantities of fish or large fish with big bones.

Key Features

  • Includes pro series electric motor
  • Comes with 2 year limited Lifetime Guarantee
  • Long lifespan
  • Electric filleting knife motor cuts through bones and tough scaled fish
  • Includes ergonomic motorized handset
  • Great for big fish

Pros

  • This fillet knife is the only electric filleting knife on the list and it’s a prime option for big fish, tough scales and large bones.
  • Fillet the biggest, toughest fish comfortably thanks to the handset with advanced airflow design to keep it cool.

Cons

  • The motor can get a bit hot with prolonged use.
  • It is not a great option for individuals with small hands.

A Simple Buying Guide To Determine The Best Fish Fillet Knife

The average person probably thinks that a knife is a knife! But as you can see, knives come in many varieties. Even when discussing the best fish fillet knife, the options are plentiful.  Whether you’re a fisherman or you just love cooking fish, investing in a high quality fillet knife is a decision that will pay off in the long run. Not only will it keep you from ruining your dinner, having the right fishing knife or fillet knife will help keep you safe and protected when preparing your meal.

Before you buy, you’ll want to take several things into consideration. In addition to our list of the best fish fillet knives, we’ve put together a buying guide and some frequently asked questions. It’s very helpful to know what to look for in a fillet knife. You’ll also want to consider the knife’s primary purpose and use.

Advantages of a fish filleting knife

Any other kind of knife simply is not built to do the job of a fillet knife. Fillet knives are designed specifically to gut, slice and sometimes de bone fish. These knives have a special slim blade that skin fish without making a mess. The aim is to seamlessly remove the skin and scales without mangling the meat of the fish. 

If you’re a fisherman, a fishing and filleting knife is essential. You need the right kind of tool to gut and prepare the fish for the kitchen. A larger fish with thicker bones or tougher scales might require an electric filleting knife to help you tackle the task without exhausting your hand or breaking your blade. And that brings us to safety. Because using the wrong tool is never a great idea, in the kitchen or elsewhere. You’ll notice many fillet knives have a finger guard or other safety features to help sufficiently protect you during the delicate process of filleting fish. Some fillet knives even double as a boning knife. Because fillet knives can take a beating, it’s a good idea to have a knife sharpener, and some knives even include them.

What to Pay Attention to When Buying This Product

Filleting fish can be difficult enough without adding the wrong knife to the equation. To ensure that you choose the best knife for your purposes, here are a few things to consider.

Price

If you’re like most people, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck when you set out to purchase a fillet knife. Prices range from modest to quite high, and the frequency with which you plan on using this knife should be taken into consideration. If you only occasionally cook small pan fish, you probably don’t need an advanced tool. If you cook fish weekly and make a wide variety of fish, you’ll want to choose something more versatile and durable.

Blade Material

Because your fillet knife is being used for some pretty tough work, the blade material is very important. You want to look for high-quality material that offers flexibility and durability at the same time. Another thing to keep in mind is whether it’s easy to sharpen. You’ll need to do this occasionally to keep your fillet knife in optimal shape. Many of the knives on this list are made from non-corrosive stainless steel and that is a recommended material.

Grip

Almost nothing is more essential in a solid fillet knife than good grip. You want to be able to glide through fish with ease and you want to do it safely. In order to be effective, your fillet knife should support you in this area. The handle needs to be comfortable, too. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to give it much use. When you’re fishing and/or preparing fish, conditions are wet and slippery. A good grip is of utmost importance so you don’t make a mess of the fish or nick yourself in the process.

Knife Blade Size

You will find that most fillet knives come in sizes between 4 and 9 inches. The most standard sizes are 4,6,7.5 and 9. Because fillet knives are designed to effectively prepare certain kinds of fish, the variety in sizes makes sense. Obviously, bigger fish will require a larger blade to get the job done. On the other hand, you won’t want to use a hefty knife for a small fish. 

Pan fish like Crappie and Perch will do well with a 6” blade. Bass and smaller Trout are very popular fish and will require a 7.5” blade. But you’ll want to select the 9” blade if you’re a fan of larger fish like Salmon or Pike. If you’re used to cooking a wide variety of fish, you might find that several fillet knives are in order!

Electric Fillet Knives

Depending on your needs, an electric filleting knife might be just the tool for you. If you’re someone who regularly prepares batches of fish, an electric fillet knife is essential. In fact, many fishermen swear by their electric filleting knives. An electric fillet knife can help prevent hand fatigue since the torque is doing most of the hard work. While not everyone needs an electric fillet knife, they’re a must-have if you work with piles of fish or larger fish that have tough scales and large bones. 

Bend

If you’re able to check your fillet knife in-person, you might want to take a look at the blade flexibility. Time and time again, you’ll see reviewers mentioning the flexibility of a fillet knife. Flex is important because you need your fillet knife to maneuver well around backbones and under skin. Most of the work is performed by the wider half of the blade. As such, you want to select a fillet knife with 15-20% flex by the handle. Even better if there’s slight flex at the tip as well. If you can’t study the knife in person, just look for reviews and descriptions emphasizing a flexible blade.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many sets of blades typically come with the electric knives?

Most electric knives, including the American Angles PRO, only comes with one set of blades. But you can find a variety of blades on the respective company websites.

Is a fillet knife the same thing as a boning knife?

No. A fillet knife and a boning knife are two separate tools. However, some fillet knives, and several of the ones listed above, will also de bone.

What is the best blade length for filleting fish?

The general consensus is that 6″ of 8″ are suitable and standard blade lengths for a fillet knife.

Are fillet knives dishwasher proof?

This will vary by knife and depends on the materials. You may consult your care manual or the company’s website for washing instructions.

Will one fish fillet knife handle any kind of fish?

Probably not. You don’t want to use a large fillet knife on a small fish because it’s going to make a mess of the more delicate fish. Likewise, a small knife won’t properly fillet a large fish. And for big quantities of fish or much larger fish in general, you’ll probably need an electric fillet knife. If you catch and prepare or simply cook a wide variety of fish, you may want to have several styles of fillet knife handy.

Final Verdict

All things considered the Kershaw Clearwater Fillet Knife earns our top spot among best fish fillet knives in 2020. 

Firstly, there’s no better knife for the price. And this knife doesn’t skimp on quality as you might suspect. While it’s one of the least expensive fillet knives on the market, it receives some of the highest user reviews. It’s great in the water or at home and it handles a variety of fish. 

The main thing to appreciate about the Kershaw Clearwater is its blade. Made from Japanese stainless steel, this fillet knife gets top marks for its flexible blade and corrosion resistance. The Kershaw has a superb blade for filleting – sharp, nice flex, and easily cuts through the body of a fish with precision. 

Of equal importance is the Kershaw’s handle. Many filet knives get poor reviews based on the discomfort or cheap material used for the handle. But the Kershaw Clearwater is universally well-rated for its sleek co-polymer handle. As far as grip goes, this fillet knife’s rubbery handle has one of the best grips around. Because a good handle can prevent hand fatigue, this is of utmost importance. And to protect your blade and handle, the Kershaw includes an easy-carry ABS sheath. 

Surprisingly, the Kershaw Clearwater delivers the same high quality product you’ll find in much higher-priced fillet knives. That’s why it’s our choice for the best fish fillet knife of 2020.