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The 9 Best Fillet Knives to Include in Your Kitchen This 2022

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Fish filleting is a valuable technique — slicing away the perfect strips of fish from the bone isn’t something you can learn overnight. It’s a process that requires you to know everything from scaling to filleting. Whether you’re a home chef, pro chef, or fisherman, it’s vital to master this art. Perfecting the technique is even easier when you have the best fish fillet knife. With a variety of designs and sizes out there, finding the ideal knife can be an involved process — most knives have very identical characteristics.

Regardless, it’s worth spending some time shopping for the right kitchen tool — picking the wrong knife will result in wasted meat and even possible injuries due to slippage. These different knife options can do the work for you.

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Best Overall: I.O. SHEN 8 in. Japanese Filleting Knife

I.O. SHEN 8 in. Japanese Filleting Knife
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This I.O. SHEN Master Grade Filleting Chef Knife offers everything you want in a fillet knife. Its long-lasting sharpness allows you to use the knife for a long time before sharpening it again, and the Yin Yang design of the handle improves stability and balance. I.O. Shen uses Triplex technology on its knives to produce a quality cutting edge. The blade also has a slender design for seamless filleting, slicing, or carving. We also rounded up the best Japanese chef knives and chef’s knives in case you need another reliable blade in your kitchen.

Best Versatile: KastKing 6-Inch Fillet Knife

KastKing Fillet Knife 6 Inch, Professional Level Knives for Filleting Fish
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Ideal for fish filleting, boning, and other food processing tasks, this KastKing 6-Inch Fillet Knife is an all-around knife that’s functional in both salt and freshwater applications. It’s made from stainless steel to offer the perfect flexibility during filleting, while its non-slip super polymer grip is comfortable and slip-resistant for safe usage. This knife comes with a protective knife sheath as well.

Best Compact: Dexter-Russell SofGrip Fisherman’s Flex Fillet Knife

Dexter-Russell SofGrip Fisherman's Flex Fillet KnifeMade of high-carbon Dexsteel, this Dexter-Russell SofGrip Fillet Knife has a straight edge for effortless filleting, while its molded handle is non-slip for a secure grip. The blade’s geometry ensures durability, and it’s easy to restore its performance. This fixed fillet knife has a compact size, allowing you to store it in small pockets or sheaths.

Best Electric: Rapala Heavy-Duty Electric Fillet Knife

Rapala Heavy-Duty Electric Fillet Knife
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There are electric options, too, and this Rapala Heavy-Duty Electric Fillet Knife is probably the best electric fillet knife you’ll find. It features a quiet and long-lasting 110V motor for optimal power, while its advanced airflow body design reduces vibration while you’re using it. The knife has a relaxed grip for comfortable filleting, and its 8-foot power cord provides ample room for working.

Best Budget: Ozark Trail 6-Inch Fillet Knife with Protective Sheath

Ozark Trail 6-Inch Fillet Knife with Protective Sheath
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Made from durable stainless steel, this Ozark Trail 6″ Fillet Knife is a worthy contender. It’s ideal for those looking for the most affordable yet effective filleting knife. The knife has a comfortable plastic handle for effortless and safe use, while its extra sharp stainless steel blade delivers consistent cuts. It also comes with a protective sheath for easy storage — it’s a perfect addition to your toolset!

Best Tapered: Bubba Blade Tapered Blade FLEX 9-Inch Fillet Knife

Bubba Blade Tapered Blade FLEX 9'' Fillet Knife
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Boasting exceptional strength and flexibility, this Bubba Blade Tapered Fillet Knife is made from one piece of steel for full tang construction. It has a non-stick surface to prevent sticking, and it’s bonded with titanium to prevent rust. The 9-inch fillet knife also features thumb and finger pads for a comfortable grip, and its safety guards protect you from the blade and fish spines.

Best High-Carbon: Mercer Culinary Ultimate 7-Inch Fillet Knife

Mercer Culinary Ultimate 7-Inch Fillet Knife
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You’ll also like this Mercer Culinary Ultimate 7-Inch Fillet Knife for its razor-sharp edge and stain-resistant steel. An ergonomic polypropylene handle with textured points provides for secure grip and slip-resistance. Its hollow-ground edge facilitates quick sharpening and easy maintenance. If you need a high-quality fillet knife, this Japanese steel knife is a great option — it’s easy to maintain and non-staining.

Best Sheath: Rapala Fillet Knife with Sheath

Rapala Fillet Knife with Sheath
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Get the perfect knife for filleting with this Rapala Fillet Knife. It has a leather sheath with decorative patterns for an elegant appeal, while its reinforced birch handle delivers optimal grip during filleting. This knife comes with an easy-to-use, single-stage sharpener that lets you keep your knife sharp all the time, and it is made from a full-tang premium stainless steel for sturdy strength and optimal stability.

Best Premium: Mono Sarah Weiner 3.4-Inch Fillet Knife

Mono Sarah Weiner 3.4 Inch Fillet Knife
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It’s great to try premium options, too, and this Mono Sarah Weiner Fillet Knife will definitely pique your interest. It’s hand-made through forging to deliver the finest quality for chefs and fishers, and its wooden handle exudes a classic appeal. This knife comes with a leather pouch for convenient storage and conditioning oil to care for your knife.

What Size Fish Fillet Knife is Best?

If you’re looking for the best fishing fillet knife, you’ll find lots of options ranging from 4 to 10 inches long. Shorter options are about 4 to 6 inches — while they’re great, they can limit your use. As such, it’s advisable to opt for a fillet knife that measures 7 to 8 inches long — this size will give you more versatility.

Plus, this length makes for the best salmon fillet knife, and you can also use it to cut other medium-sized fishes, such as catfish and trout. However, when filleting bigger fishes, you’ll get better results with blades that are 8 inches or longer. You’ll definitely need several fillet knives for different fish sizes.

How Do I Choose a Fillet Knife?

When choosing the right knife, there are factors to consider, including the type of knife, blade, handle, material, and sheath. Be sure to go for a blade that’s sleek yet durable and has a razor-sharp edge for seamless filleting. It should be easy to maintain and safe to use.

Opt for an ergonomic handle that is comfortable in your hands and provides optimal control over the blade. A comfortable grip also prevents strain during extended filleting sessions. Handles come in different materials, such as rubber, wood, and plastic. Wood and plastic tend to be slippery when wet, while rubber grips are less prone to slippage.

You should also pay attention to the sheath — some knives come with one while others don’t. They are available in different materials, such as nylon, plastic, and leather. Leather and nylon are popular, but they tend to retain moisture. A sheath made from quick-drying molded plastic makes a great option. Whatever your pick, go for one with draining ports and ventilation.

What Is the Best Steel for a Fillet Knife?

Fillet knives come in different steel options, including carbon steel, stainless steel, tool steel, and alloy steel. Stainless steel is the widely popular option because it’s the most corrosion-resistant. While carbon steel is perfect for use under normal conditions, it doesn’t perform well in demanding environments.

It’s also worth pointing out that the best steel for knives involves different hardness scales, which determine its stability, flexibility, and strength. Some excellent levels include 154CM, S30V, Bohler 690, CPM154, etc. Other levels, such as 70 HRC, are usually not stable, and knives with such hardness levels may fail, crack, or chip.

Of course, there are premium and high-end steel levels, such as CTS-204P, CPM-20CV, CPM-4V, CPM-S30V, and CPM-M4. If you’re concerned about your knife’s hardness level, some retailers provide steel hardness charts to help you determine the right option. Don’t forget to maintain your blade’s sharpness with the best knife sharpeners.

Nate Swanner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nate is General Manager for all not-Digital-Trends properties at DTMG, including The Manual, Digital Trends en Espanol…
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