When it comes to fillet knives, they are definitely not all created equal…and that’s not a bad thing! A high-quality fillet knife is one of the most important tools to have on hand and is essential for just about everyone from fish lovers and hunters to home cooks.
There are a variety of different types of fillet knives within the category that work better for filleting certain types of meats. From those that work well for fish to the best fillet knife for deer, the unique design and features of each knife determines the best way to use it.
Fillet knives are a popular choice for many different uses and despite its stellar reputation and its intended use, the fillet knife is definitely not just for filleting and preparing fish anymore!
Here are some of the top picks for great all-around fillet knives, as well as some that are specially designed for your particular type of preparation.
• #1 Best Overall – KastKing Fillet Knife – This professional yet rugged fillet knife offers a variety of sizes, a flexible, razor-sharp, blade that maintains its edge, and is comfortable to use, making it our choice of the best overall fillet knife.
• Best for Salmon – Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet Knife with Sheath – The full-tang stainless 6-inch blade and single-stage sharpener are the perfect duo for filleting salmon or your favorite fish on the go, guaranteeing a sharp, precise cut fillet each time.
• Best for Meat – Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition 7.5 Slicer/Fillet Knife – Make easy work of even the most difficult meats with the 7 ½” high-carbon stainless fillet knife that delivers precision cutting to reach tight-fitting spaces when filleting.
Best Fillet Knives
1. KastKing Fillet Knife
KastKing professional knives are popular with those who know their way around a kitchen and a hunting lodge! These top-quality fillet knives are available in 6”, 7” and 9” with stainless curved blades that are ready to get the task done…and well.
The KastKing Fillet Knife offers a unique, flexible blade for perfectly filleting fish, boning meat, and quickly processing any food. This razor-sharp black finished fillet knife has a G4116 German stainless-steel blade that maintains its edge even in saltwater applications, for easy boning and filleting.
The included durable knife sheath is an added bonus and helps keep the blade safe and ready to accomplish just about any culinary task with ease. This rugged fillet knife gets any job done and is ultra-comfortable to use!
2. Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife
Made from one-piece high-carbon Japanese steel, this razor-sharp fillet knife is designed for strength and durability. Its sharp, nimble blade makes filleting and cutting quick and easy while the ergonomic handle offers a great comfort grip.
The non-staining high quality Japanese steel means easy maintenance and no rust or discoloration from water or liquids. Built in safety features like the textured finger points for slip resistance and protective finger guard lets protects you as you fillet your catch.
Top it off with an NSF certification indicating that the knife has been rigorously tested and certified and have met their standards for safety, quality, and performance, and the Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife is a great performing knife to have in your collection.
3. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Professional “S” 7-inch Fillet Knife
Made in Germany, J.A. Henckels has a reputation of making quality knives, and the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional “S” 7-inch Fillet Knife is no exception. Henckels Professional “S” knives are designed for serious chefs and are made of a proprietary special formula steel they have used for over 280 years.
Precision-forged from a single piece of steel, this three-rivet handle knife is hand-finished by skilled artisans, who are masters at making the laser-controlled edge of the fillet knife super sharp, with a sturdy bolster to keep it balanced and serve as a finger guard.
This tried and true formula combined with Zwilling’s ice-hardening technique, gives this popular fillet knife more resilience and keeps the blade sharper longer.
4. Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet Knife with Sheath
The perfect accessory for any fishing trip or culinary feast preparation, the Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet Knife with Sheath lets you fillet fish or prepare meat for cooking in a snap. The full-tang (meaning the blade runs the entire length of the reinforced birch handle), stainless-steel 6-inch blade is strong and durable, while the single-stage sharpener keeps the blade ready for long-lasting use.
Take it along wherever you go safely with the included leather sheath and be prepared to clean, fillet, or prepare any fresh catch anywhere. The Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet Knife is perfect for filleting fish in your home kitchen or along the shores at your riverside campsite!
5. Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition 7.5 Slicer/Fillet Knife
Chicago Cutlery, known worldwide as makers of fine knives, offers the Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition 7.5 Slicer/Fillet Knife, which makes easy work of even the most difficult meats to fillet.
The 7 ½” fillet knife has a slender blade, which is perfectly designed for precision cutting and to reach tight-fitting spaces when filleting. When paired with the ultra-strong high-carbon stainless steel blade, which offers extreme cutting power, the Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition 7.5 Slicer/Fillet Knife dices the competition with ease.
Not only does it have a stain resistant blade that won’t rust or pit, but it also has triple-compression brass rivets on the comfort-contoured handle for extra safety and stability.
Those who appreciate a precision cuts while filleting even the most difficult nooks and crannies in fish and meats will appreciate this fillet knife from Chicago Cutlery.
Choosing a Fillet Knife
There are so many options available today when it comes to choosing a good fillet knife including design, size, blade, raw materials, and quality.
It is important to choose the right fillet knife for your needs, as the wrong knife can easily cause you to waste precious meat, slow down cleaning and preparation tasks, and even increase your risk of injury while filleting your catch.
Also, be sure to look for a fillet knife that has an ergonomic handle that will be comfortable in your hand while giving you the necessary power to control the blade and keep a firm grip, which can be difficult with some knives when your hands become wet.
Not only does a firm, comfortable grip offer safety for the user, but also reduces unnecessary strain while cleaning and filleting meat.
An included sheath for protection of the blade and the carrier is always a plus when choosing a fillet knife. Those with a built-in sharpener are especially helpful as well, because it lets you perform a quick blade sharpening while you are preparing the catch, with no need to stopand search for a sharpener to get the job done.
Also, notable is the mounting options for the fillet knife sheath, which can vary by product and manufacturer.
Look for those with a standard belt loop, as well as handy clips and loop attachments for backpacks, and even pockets for storage, as those features can come in handy for a variety of users, especially when out in the field.
With the wide selection of unique types of fillet knives available today, it is easy to find one that works well for your task, has the features needed to do a good job, and is well within your budget. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect fillet knife.
Tips for Choosing a Fillet Knife
• Blade – One of the most important choices when selecting a fillet knife is obviously the blade. Choose a thin and durable blade with some flexibility for ease of use. It should hold a sharp edge and be the right length for the meat or fish you plan to clean.
• Handle – Do not underestimate the importance of the handle of your fillet knife when making your selection. Choose an ergonomic handle with a comfortable fit that allows you to have control over the blade. Safety and comfort are key features to seek in a good fillet knife.
• Sheath – While not an actual part of the fillet knife, the sheath is an extremely important accessory, as it protects the blade and keeps you and others safe during transport. Sheaths come in a variety of materials like leather, nylon, and plastic.
Either type is fine, but those with a built-in sharpener get extra points. In addition, be sure to pay attention to the mounting options of the fillet knife sheath to ensure it has the features you prefer, such as belt loop mounting or additional hooks for attaching to tackle boxes, etc.
Fillet Knife FAQs
What is a Fillet Knife Used For?
A fillet knife features a thin, flexible, and typically short blade that offers the perfect precision, control, and maneuverability for cleaning fish and other meats for cooking. Fillet knives are made specially for removing bones, skin, and entrails from a fish to form fillets.
While cleaning and preparing fish for cooking is the main use of a fillet knife, it is also excellent for use on other types of meat such as poultry and beef.
Hunters and fishers are also big fans of fillet knives for use when cleaning big game and fish in the field. In fact, just about anyone who cooks – from professional chefs to the ordinary home cook, can benefit from having a favorite fillet knife to handle all of the precision filleting, cutting, dicing, and slicing these popular knives can do.
Is a Boning Knife the Same as a Fillet Knife?
While the fillet knife is technically a part of the boning knife family, the popular knife is actually quite different in its features and functions.
A fillet knife has a thinner and more flexible blade than boning knives, offering the user the chance for more precise cuts with less wasted meat. In addition, fillet knives are super flexible, making for better maneuverability when removing skin.
A major difference between the boning knife and the fillet knife is that the fillet knife is curved, were the boning knife has a completely straight blade. The curving of the fillet blade gives added flexibility when cleaning fish and meat and allows easier cuts to help make the job so much quicker to complete.
How Sharp is a Fillet Knife?
Razor sharp! And just how sharp is that, you ask? Typical kitchen knives have a 20-degree edge bevel, and the preferred edge bevel is 12 to 15 degrees per side for filleting. This extreme bevel provides precise, easy cuts, with a decent resistance to dulling.
If you are doing a light fillet job or a task that does not cut into bones or monofilament and fibers with your fillet knife, a 15-degree bevel should do the job just fine. Having a sharp fillet knife at all times is crucial for success when filleting fish and other meats.
The sharper the fillet knife, the more precise and attractive the fillet will be.
No matter what type of meat you want to fillet, there is a perfect knife for the job. In fact, it is actually a good idea to have two or three fillet knives with different blade lengths and features, so you are prepared for any occasion.
Once you find the perfect fillet knife for you, it will be almost impossible to work in the kitchen without it!
If you don’t have the luxury of getting several of these amazing fillet knives and you have to choose just one fillet knife for your tasks, the KastKing Fillet Knife is professional yet rugged and comes in a variety of sizes, and offers durability and precision needed for perfect fillet work every time!