Last updated: August 9, 2021

Welcome to our big fillet knife test 2021. Here we present all the fillet knives we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best fillet knives for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a fillet knife.




Summary

  • The filleting knife is mainly used for filleting fish. However, it can also be used for portioning meat or finely slicing fruit and vegetables and is therefore a useful kitchen utensil.
  • The blade of a filleting knife should always be very thin, narrow and extremely sharp so that very thin fillets can be cut. To ensure that even large pieces of meat can be cut without the blade settling, you need to allow for a blade length of about 20 cm.
  • Short, flexible blades are particularly suitable for smaller fish. For a large fish, you need a strong, large and solid blade. For beginners, rigid blades are more suitable to have more control over the cut.

The Best Filleting Knife: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Filleting Knife

What is a filleting knife?

If you feel like preparing food professionally, sooner or later you will have to deal with the equipment needed to do so. Cooking knives are among the most important tools in the kitchen and are divided into true specialists. One such specialist is the filleting knife.

What exactly is meant by a filleting knife and what special properties a good filleting knife must have is explained in this guide.

A filleting knife is an indispensable utensil for amateur or professional chefs, anglers or hunters. (Image source: pixabay.com / kathrine)

The filleting knife, also called a filleting knife, is mainly used for filletingfish. It has a narrow, usually pointed blade and must be particularly sharp.

The filleting knife is designed so that you have as little waste as possible. The skin can be cut thinly and precisely in order to lose as little as possible of the actual fillet piece.

Tendons or skin are removed from the meat with a flexibly designed blade of the filleting knife. In principle, a fillet knife is used whenever you want to cut fish, meat or fruit into thin slices.

Filleting knives are typically long, flexible knives with a slender, long and hollow-ground blade. This makes it easier to make cuts, for example around the bones.

How can I recognise a good fillet knife?

The blade of a filleting knife should always be very thin, narrow and extremely sharp. This is the only way to cut very thin fillets. The blade should be about 20 cm long so that you can also cut large pieces of meat without the blade coming off.

A fillet knife must be very sharp to work well. You can sharpen the blade of the knife using a manual or electric knife sharpener. We will explain all the criteria for a good fillet knife in more detail in the following text.

What is a fillet knife suitable for?

Basically, the design and the size of the blade are decisive for the use of a fillet knife. Not every fish can be filleted with every knife, for example, because the thickness of the fish skin is different. You should therefore be clear about what you want to use the fillet knife for.

A fillet knife is suitable for filleting fish, meat, fruit or vegetables. You can mainly use it to fillet fish by removing the skin and bones from the fish. However, the knife can also be used to remove skin and tendons from meat.

The flesh of fruit and vegetables can be cleanly separated from the core and skin using a filleting knife. (Image source: pixabay.com / sandumorar)

What does a fillet knife cost?

Fillet knives are available in different price and quality segments. Beginners can find usable models for as little as 20 euros. Professional models start at just under 40 euros.

Japanese fillet knives called sashimi or yanagiba are mainly used for professional sushi production. These knives differ fundamentally from "normal" filleting knives.

They are ground on one side and hollow and have a long blade (up to 36 cm). Working with these knives requires a great deal of experience and expertise. Such high-quality knives start at 100 euros.

Type Price
Entry-level models from 20 euros
Professional models from 40 euros
Japanese fillet knives from 100 euros

Based on extensive research, the price-performance ratio of fillet knives is best for models between 40 and 50 euros. It is, of course, entirely up to you to decide what price you want to pay for what performance.

How do I care for and clean fillet knives?

Hygienic food handling is a particularly important aspect. Immediately after using a fillet knife, it should be rinsed under running water. Afterwards, the knife can be cleaned effectively with a mild detergent and a soft cloth.

Filleting knives that are advertised as dishwasher-safe should rather be cleaned by hand. The fine edge of the knife can be damaged by high temperature, aggressive cleaning substances and contact with other items in the dishwasher.

If the fillet knife has a wooden handle, make sure that it is not left in the dishwater for too long. If the knife comes into contact with salt water, it must be rinsed with plenty of fresh water, as even stainless blades can rust if left in salt water for a long time.

It is also particularly important to sharpen the knife regularly. Many knives even come with their own sharpening stone and sharpening device.

What types of Filleting Knives are there and which is the right one for you?

Depending on the purpose for which you want to use your fillet knife, the types of knives listed are suitable for you. In the following section we would like to help you find the ideal knife for you. We will introduce you to two types of fillet knives and show you what they are best suited for.

Filleting knives can be roughly divided into two categories:

  • Filleting knives with rigid blades
  • Fillet knives with flexible blades

Of course, there are many different sub-types, which in turn have different functions as well as advantages and disadvantages.

What are the characteristics of rigid blades and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

The higher the blade thickness, the longer the blade and the less flexible it is. Short, flexible blades are most suitable for smaller fish, as the piercing and cutting angles are often narrower. For a big fish, you need a strong, large and rigid blade. For beginners, rigid blades are more suitable for the time being, as the cut can be made in a more controlled manner.

Advantages
  • Good control
  • Easy handling
  • Suitable for beginners
Disadvantages
  • Unsuitable for clean filleting
  • Little precision

What are the characteristics of flexible blades and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

A flexible blade adapts ideally to the material being cut and can, for example, be guided particularly close to the skin so that neither too much nor too little is removed. The flexibility depends mainly on the thickness of the blade. The more flexible the blade, the more challenging it is to control.

Advantages
  • Ideal for anglers
  • Best fillet knife for fish
Disadvantages
  • Difficult to handle
  • Unsuitable for beginners

There is no clear recommendation as to which type of fillet knife you should choose. In this case, it depends entirely on the cook's personal feeling. A flexible blade is usually better if you mainly want to use the knife for fish.

A high degree of stability is ensured if the blade is made of one piece. In contrast to other knives, these are more durable.

Buying Criteria: You can use these Factors to compare and evaluate Filleting Knives

In the following, we would like to show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate fillet kn ives. This way you can decide for yourself which knife is suitable for you and best fulfils your intended purpose.

These are the most important comparison criteria:

In the following paragraphs, we explain the individual buying criteria and how you can rank them.

Material

Since the fillet knife, like other knives, often comes into contact with moisture, the knife blade should preferably be made of stainless steel. The optimum degree of hardness and corrosion resistance combined with flexibility require a special type of steel and a special manufacturing process.

High-quality knife blades are made of Damascus steel. Damascus steel is composed of several hundred layers of steel that are individually forged on top of each other. This results in blades with an extremely decorative pattern. Since damask steel can also rust, you should always choose a stainless steel model.

Filleting knives made of damask steel look very elegant, but they have no significant advantages over knives with ordinary stainless steel blades. A sharp knife for filleting fish and meat can therefore also be made of stainless steel.

High-quality stainless steel withstands special demands. A stainless steel blade is both tasteless and odourless. Quality knives made of ice-hardened special steel are extra hard, flexible and long-lasting sharp.

Blade length

Filleting knives have long or short blades, depending on what is to be cut. The blade length usually varies between 15 cm and 30 cm. The length of the knife blade is often around 20 cm.

A thin, fine and flexible blade is available in lengths between 18 cm and 21 cm. The sharp and slender blade makes it particularly easy to fillet fish and meat and to remove skin and bones precisely.

The length of the knife should be chosen to suit the material being cut: A shorter blade is sufficient for filleting small fish. With a longer blade, large pieces of meat can also be cut without the blade settling. This results in particularly cleanly separated fillets.

The longer the blade, the more challenging it is to work with.

Sets with several sizes are also available, so that there is a suitable fillet knife for every fillet. A fillet knife set is particularly recommended for advanced fillet cutters.

Flexibility

As already mentioned in the point "Decision", the ideal flexibility of the blade depends on its use. In principle, the fillet knife is characterised by its long and narrow blade, which is also flexible to a certain extent.

Did you know that the softer and more flexible the knife blade is, the lower the overall degree of hardness?

Softer blades or blades with a low degree of hardness become blunt more quickly.

A flexible blade adapts to the material being cut so that waste is minimal. Filleting is easier if the blade is flexible. Flexibility, in turn, depends on the thickness of the blade.

A short, flexible blade is used for filleting smaller fish. A strong, large and firm blade, on the other hand, you need for a larger fish.

Sharpness

The sharpness of a filleting knife is of particular relevance. The blade of the knife must be extremely sharp in order to be able to release wafer-thin and perfectly cut fillets.

With a curved sharp tip of the knife, you can easily reach the meat between the bones of large fish, for example. The sharp blade of the classic filleting knife cuts not only fish but also meat and vegetables with ease.

It is essential to sharpen the fillet knife regularly. Many knives come with a whetstone and sharpener. In this respect, you should also always check the scope of delivery of the fillet knife. If this is not the case, you can also buy a knife sharpener.

A blunt fillet knife can quickly lead to injuries, as too much pressure has to be applied.

Handle

Smooth, clean cuts without force depend not only on the sharpness and length of the blade but also on the handle of the knife. The right handle scales or grips contribute to this. They should be non-slip and easy to grip. Because cutting is much easier when you can control the knife.

The ideal material for a knife handle ranges from wood to rubber to plastic. Wooden handles are less popular because they are naturally slippery and not fireproof. In addition, bacteria, dirt and typical fish smells can settle more easily in wooden handles.

Plastic and rubber are comparatively easy to clean. Rubber is also very easy to grip. When working with knives, safety is always the top priority. That is why good handling of the filleting knife is so important.

The following is a summary of all handle materials along with their advantages and disadvantages:

Stainless steel handle

Advantages
  • Blade and handle form one unit
  • Very stable
  • No gap between blade and handle
  • Very hygienic
Disadvantages
  • Little slip

Wooden handle

Advantages
  • Very noble
  • Pleasant to the touch
Disadvantages
  • Not moisture-resistant

Riveted plastic handle shells

Advantages
  • Very robust
  • Easy to clean
  • Very hygienic
  • Very safe
Disadvantages
  • Not slip-proof
  • Rivets can come loose

Injected plastic handle

Advantages
  • High slip resistance
  • Relatively cheap
Disadvantages
  • Blade can come loose

Knife guard

Like any other knife, you should keep your fillet knife in a protective sheath when you are not using it. This applies to the kitchen but especially to fishing trips.

If you want to use the fillet knife outdoors, you must pay attention to how the sheath can be fastened. For example, it has a belt loop or is MOLLE-compatible. The knife is usually supplied with an appropriate sheath or scabbard.

Charger (optional)

In addition to the well-known knife models, there are also electric fillet knives on the market. These are ideal if you want to fillet a lot on a regular basis, especially larger fish and pieces of meat.

Of course, it takes some practice to learn how to use them. With electric fillet knives, you should pay particular attention to how long the batteries last and how they can be recharged.

Facts worth knowing about Filleting Knives

How do I fillet my fish correctly?

Separating the fish from the skin and bones requires both a certain knowledge of the anatomy of the fish and your own skill in handling the right filleting knife.

Did you know that the right technique defines the success of the work?

Correct, controlled movements are important. The knife should also glide with decreasing pressure. Chopping and excessive sawing movements, on the other hand, are not beneficial.

Filleting takes some practice, so don't expect to get a perfect fillet on the first try.

With a good quality fillet knife, filleting fish is relatively easy. First, place the blade behind the gills and cut through the tissue in an arc towards the middle bone.

Now run the knife flat along the bone. The first fillet comes off the bone. Finally, turn the fish over to remove the second fillet. Finally, remove the belly flaps and you have two wonderful fish fillets.

If you also want to remove the skin, carefully peel off a small piece of the fillet at the tail end. You then fix the detached piece of fish skin to a filleting board and cut it off completely with the flat-bladed filleting knife.

How can I sharpen a fillet knife?

The fillet knife will stay sharp for a long time if it is sharpened with a sharpening steel before each use. To do this, place the sharpening steel vertically on a firm surface and pull the blade along the sharpening steel from the root to the tip at an angle of 20 degrees. Repeat this process 25 times on each side of the blade.

If the fillet knife does not sharpen properly despite the sharpening steel, you can use a whetstone. Use it to remove some of the material from the blade and restore the fine edge that keeps the knife sharp.

If you like to have your knife sharpened electrically, you can of course also use various models of knife sharpeners.

Are there fillet knives specifically for anglers?

Popular among anglers are, for example, the Dick fillet knife or the somewhat cheaper Ergogrip series. If you want to use a premium model, you can buy a fillet knife by Haimo Roselli from his Finnish workshop. Otherwise, you can get various fillet knives that are also suitable for fishing in almost every knife series.

In principle, an angler needs two knives: a good fishing knife and an even better fillet knife.

How can I handle a fillet knife safely?

Work safety always has top priority when handling a knife. Therefore, beginners are recommended to start with a more compact knife.

A good fillet knife must allow absolutely safe handling. Above all, the ergonomic design of the handles determines how well the knife sits in the hand when cutting. The handles must be absolutely non-slip.

To be on the safe side, it is recommended, especially for beginners, to use a special filleting glove. This is made of a plastic-covered stainless steel fabric and reliably protects the hand from cuts during filleting.

Image source: unsplash.com / Erica Leong

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