Perhaps the first thing someone needs to know when buying a fillet knife is that these particular knives need to be a lot more maneuverable than your average knives. One of the reasons why fillet knives are as maneuverable as they are is because of the carbon stainless steel used in their making, a construction that also guarantees the sturdiness of their blades. At the same time, these knives are known for their impressive length, a seemingly larger profile that doesn’t affect their overall handling.
Speaking of length, you can expect fillet knives to measure between 15 and 20 cm depending on their construction. The reason why they all seem to share similar measurements is because most of them are used for roughly the same tasks. As you would expect, their specially crafted design also makes them a tad more expensive than regular knives. To ensure that you’re getting the right one, we put together a list of the ten best fillet knives the market has to offer at this point in time.
Best Fillet Knives – Reviews
10Bubba Blade 9-Inch Tapered Flex Fillet Knife
Fairly long yet surprisingly maneuverable, this particular fillet knife stands out for its ease of use and general reliability. We say this because it features a non-slip grip handle that also boasts a trigger grip feature for added security. At the same time, it features safety guards for protection from the blade. Highly durable, it is ideal for detailed precision cutting and for removing meat without any considerable losses. Not just that but the knife is also surprisingly maneuverable due to its compact size.
9Bubba Blade 7-Inch Tapered Flex Fillet Fishing Knife
Similar to the 9-inch version we just talked about, the 7-inch version grants a little more maneuverability when performing smaller tasks. Highly reliable and impressively sturdy, this knife comes with a trigger grip for an outstanding control along with a trigger grip for added convenience and security. At the same time, due to its smaller size, this particular knife is perfect for precision cutting, especially for cutting fish scales. Then again, you should expect any decent fillet knife to possess such capabilities, especially towards the high-end part of the price spectrum.
8DALSTRONG Shogun Series Fillet Knife
A sturdy fillet knife by design, this ingenious model from Dalstrong is more or less engineered to perfection. Thanks to its premium G-10 handle, it is impervious to heat, cold, and moisture of any kind. Not just that but it also enjoys a military grade construction with a hand-polished ergonomic handle for better control and hand comfort. Also worth mentioning is the AUS-10V Japanese super steel cutting core rated an impressive 62+ Rockwell hardness.
7Rapala Fish N Fillet Knife
Equipped with a classic birch handle, this particular knife features a progressively tapered, full-tang blade that allows it to handle virtually any cutting job. Due to its safety notch, it can be secured in the brass ferrule it comes with, which is bound to reduce the risk of accidents in the long run. Short-term, however, the knife can be used for almost any task on account of its full-tang Swedish stainless steel blade with a classic Rapala reinforced birch varnished handle.
6KastKing Razor Sharp G4116 Fillet Knife
This is the type of fillet knife that most people quickly realize is a lot more versatile than most. Crafted with a razor sharp stainless steel blade, this professional knife can be used for filleting and boning with no restrictions or limitations to speak of. At the same time, the knife benefits from a non-slip handle and an included protective sheath for good measure. It also needs to be said that it features a non-slip super polymer grip that makes the knife a whole lot easier to maneuver than most.
5DALSTRONG Flexible Fillet Knife
With this particular knife, you get a carefully designed blade and an equally ingenious handle that’s guaranteed to improve your grip. Very sharp and incredibly reliable, the Dalstrong Flexible Fillet Knife is considered one of the most reliable out there. This is owed to its award-winning design and mainly to its satisfying heft, premium materials, and high-quality German HC steel. Furthermore, the handle is triple-riveted so as to provide a much better grip, comfort, and maneuverability.
4Rapala NK03039-BRK Fish N Fillet
Thanks to its high-grade Swedish stainless steel construction, this reliable knife from Rapala stands out as one of the very best in this price range. For added maneuverability, the knife also benefits from a birch varnished handle that makes it very easy to handle. At the same time, the knife features a genuine leather sheath and a single-stage sharpener for good measure. Not just that but its ingenious design recommends the knife for anyone who enjoys going fishing often.
3Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife
It is very important for a fillet knife to be sturdy and durable, which are the exact features that best recommend this particular knife. Seen as one of the most versatile in its class, this knife boasts a 6.1-inch blade made of Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel. This makes it very easy to sharpen and guarantees that it will not go dull that easily. Furthermore, we should point out that its high-friction handle allows users to maintain a strong grip on the knife when performing labor-intensive tasks.
2Mercer Culinary Genesis Forged Flexible Fillet Knife
Equipped with a high-carbon, no-stain German stainless steel, this exquisite knife will not rust, corrode, or discolor over time. The knife owes its reliability to its precision forged construction that ensures its strength and durability. It also benefits from an ergonomic Santoprene handle which offers a great deal of comfort along with a non-slip grip and is guaranteed to not break down from exposure to kitchen oils or extreme temperatures. We should also point out that this is one of the sturdiest knives in this price range, one that is unlikely to get damaged from regular use.
1Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia Narrow Fillet Knife
There is perhaps no better fillet knife than Mercer Culinary’s M23860 Millennia, an 8-inch narrow fillet knife that stands out through its practical design and versatility. This reliable knife features textured finger points for added slip resistance and a protective finger guard for good measure. With a blade made from high-quality Japanese steel, most users find this particular knife to be very easy to maintain and sharpen. Also worth mentioning is the fact that it features an ergonomic handle that involves a combination of Santoprene and polypropylene that give the knife an added notch of comfort and durability.
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What To Look For In A Fillet Knife
Mainly used for removing skin and bones from meat, fillet knives are somewhat different from traditional knives by virtue of their construction and handling. For starters, most fillet knives have straight blades whereas boning knives can have curved blades for practical reasons. While other knives aren’t required to be all that flexible, fillet knives should be extremely flexible without compromising on blade strength and durability. Furthermore, fillet knives are usually thinner than your average knives, mostly because they are required to deliver a more precise cut along with increased maneuverability.
Choosing A Fillet Knife
Several factors must be considered when choosing a fillet knife, mainly the flexibility, weight, sturdiness, and overall handling of the knife. Regardless of the task at hand, you must be able to easily grip and maneuver the knife around the bones and skin without accidentally cutting into either. You can only do that if the knife is bendy and flexible, but also if the blade is sharp and sturdy enough to handle the job.
- Flexibility – You definitely want a fillet knife to be flexible above all else, even if only to a reasonable degree. The flex of a fillet knife is extremely important as it allows you to maneuver the knife around the bones without carving into the bone at any point. Most of the work in that regard is done with the blade’s wider half, which has to bend ever so slightly during the cutting/slicing motion. Ideally, you want a fillet knife that can bend around 15 to 20 percent close to the handle with a reasonable amount of bending toward the tip as well.
- Blade Size – It isn’t just the knife’s flexibility you need to consider in a fillet knife but also the size. When it comes to fillet knives, size does indeed matter for practical reasons, which is why most fillet knives measure between 6 to 9 inches depending on the model. What you want to do is to first consider what type of filleting jobs you plan to undertake and whether a standard 6 to 7-inch blade would be enough or whether you need something slightly longer.
- Construction – Another thing to consider is the knife’s construction, mainly the blade. It is common for high-end fillet knives to be made using high-carbon stainless steel of various origin. That said, some manufacturers do prefer non-stainless steel because of how much sharper the blades can be, but this usually takes a toll on the knives in regards to their overall durability. A safe bet would be to go for a stainless steel version even if you aren’t 100% certain just for the strength alone.
- Handle – The handle of a knife determines how easy it is to actually use the knife and how comfortable the knife is when used over extended periods of time. At the same time, a decent fillet knife should possess a decent grip, which is something you really shouldn’t compromise on. It isn’t just a matter of comfort, mind you, but knives with a poor grip are far more likely to slip and thus to cause injuries. In this respect, you want a knife that sits nicely in the palm of your hand, a knife that doesn’t slip whenever you use it more intensely.
Boning Knives VS Fillet Knives
Although similar in their general purpose, boning knives and fillet knives tend to differ quite a lot when it comes to their design. While fillet knives are narrow, flexible, and equipped with arched but pointy tips, boning knives usually possess straight blades to facilitate the deboning process. Needless to say, fillet knives are generally far more maneuverable than boning knives, which is understandable considering their design.
We talked about the importance of a reliable and comfortable handle with a good grip, but what materials should one look for when determining the value and usefulness of such a knife? For the most part, you might want to settle for a wooden handle, mainly Rosewood, Olive, or Birchwood. While it usually comes down to personal preference, you need to understand that different handle materials give the handles different properties.
- Wood Handles – Most people own knives with wood handles so getting a fillet knife with a similar construction isn’t that strange or peculiar. In general, wood is quite attractive and has a somewhat warm feel to it, especially if it’s a hardwood. Bear in mind that wooden handles are commonly sealed and riveted, although you can expect these handles to crack over time if exposed to too much humidity.
- Plastic Handles – It is rather common for traditional knives to be equipped with plastic handles and fillet knives are no different. With plastic, you get a lightweight alternative to wood, with the added benefit of increased resistance to humidity. The plastic also makes the whole knife somewhat lighter in weight, although this also makes the knife feel cheaper overall.
- Steel Handles – Steel handles aren’t as widespread as wood or plastic handles but they are certainly much more durable. By most standards, steel handles offer a very secure grip and provide the user with added leverage. Overall, the texture also offers a more secure and reliable handling, which might come in handy when performing laborious tasks. Keep in mind that these handles also make the knives a lot heavier in weight.
- Polypropylene Handles – As a material, polypropylene is very hard and impervious to water. At the same time, it is very durable and handles rather well when compared to traditional wood handles. Perhaps the greatest thing about these handles is their impressive durability, which is owed to the fact that most polypropylene handles are riveted together for a sturdy and long-lasting grip.