Best Fillet Knife: Top 10 – Tested & Reviewed

Last updated on January 18th, 2024.

Leonard Schoenberger

A fillet knife is a crucial tool when you decide to process the fish you caught. Here are the best ones on the market.

Disclaimer: All products in this guide are independently researched by our team. We only recommend products we believe in and never get paid for the reviews. Learn more about our review process here

A lot of people think they can use any kitchen knife to get the job done. However, if you invest a bit of money in a quality fish knife you will have a lot more fun in the kitchen. And you will honor the exceptional produce laying in front of you.

How to Choose the Best Filet Knife

What sets a filleting knife apart from a conventional one is primarily its blade. A filleting knife’s blade is more flexible and lightweight enabling you to separate the flesh from the bone with ease. In this article we will give you an overview of the best filet knives on the market. We will also tell you what to look for in a quality knife and answer all the questions you might have before making your purchase. There are a few things to pay attention before you purchase. Most of all you want a quality knife that will last you a long time. That knife will be cheaper on the long run. We’ll now take a look at the best fillet knives on the market. Afterwards, we’ll explain some of the basics that you should know about filet knives. Jump to the knowledge section here. You should consider a number of factors concerning the filleting knife’s blade.

A blade knife and a fillet knife on a wooden table
Blades of a filet and a chef knife

Our Top Picks of 2024

Disclaimer: The Wading List is reader-supported: If you click one of the links and end up purchasing a product we might earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. We only recommend products for purchase that we tested and believe in. Thanks for your support! Learn more here.

Filetting a Striped Bass on the dock
Filetting a Striped Bass on the docks – Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List 2024

1. Best Grip: Bubba 9 Inch Flex

Bubba Fillet Knife 9"
Bubba 9 Inch Flex

Key features:

– 9″ blade, 15″ overall length

– Comes with a sheath

Why we picked it:

The Bubba 9 Inch Flex is our top choice when it comes to the best grip. The trigger grip where the handle meets the blade adds another level of security. The blade is highly flexible and allows you to make very precise cuts. We found the Bubba’s blade to stay sharp even after filleting multiple big fish over a span of several weeks.

I particularly liked the extra sharp tip of the Bubba 9 Inch Flex that makes starting the cut a piece of cake. The Bubba is also a great choice if you want to take your knife to the water. It features a lanyard hole at the end of the handle and comes with a synthetic sheath for easy transport.

My Verdict: Fantastic all-around fish knife that is well equipped and thought through. Due to its outdoorsy design not the first choice for the kitchen.

PROS:

  • Fantastic, non-slip grip
  • Highly flexible blade
  • Sheath and lanyard hole included

CONS:

  • Not the most elegant for a high-end kitchen
  • Blade is not as delicate as the Wüsthof

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT BUBBA BLADE

GET IT AT CAMPSAVER

Bubba Blade Fillet Knife in Use on a Boat
Putting the Bubba blade to use

2. Best for Frequent Use: Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Straight

Victorinox Cutlery Fish Knife
Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Straight Fillet Knife

Key features:

– No sheath included

– Lifetime warranty

Why we picked it:

Swiss brand Victorinox is best known for their iconic pocket knifes. But they also produce high-end fillet knives as the Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Straight proves. At less than $30 it is a great entry-level product. The Victorinox’s handle is made from fibrox, ensure a safe grip due to its textured surface. Made in Switzerland the Victorinox comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.

My Verdict: Great entry-level product. Take special care when cleaning the transition from blade to handle.

PROS:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Slim blade for ideal manoeuvrability

CONS:

  • Does not come with a sheath
  • Grip is not as non-slip as the Bubba

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT BASS PRO SHOPS

GET IT AT VICTORINOX

3. Best Performance: WÜSTHOF Classic 7 Inch

Wüsthof Classic 7 inch fillet knife
WÜSTHOF Classic 7″: Best Fillet Knife Review

Key features:

– 7″ blade

– Leather sheath provides great protection and transportability

Why we picked it:

German manufacturer Wüsthof has been making knives for two centuries. The WÜSTHOF Classic 7 Inch is an expression of their long-standing knowledge. The tapered single piece high carbon steel ensures precise cuts. Used by professional chefs around the world, the WÜSTHOF Classic 7 Inch brings a high-end feel and performance to your kitchen. The black leather sheath enables you to safely take the knife along on a trip if needed.

My Verdict: High-end German-made fish product that raises the bar. Delicate blade to be handled with care.

PROS:

  • Comes with a leather sheath
  • Highly flexible blade allows for great manoeuvrability
  • Haute-cuisine feel

CONS:

  • Tip of the blade is delicate at the tip
  • High-end pricing

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT WALMART

GET IT AT WUESTHOF

4. Best Professional: Zwilling Pro 7″

Zwilling Pro 7" Fillet Knife
Zwilling Pro 7″

Key features:

– Forged from a single piece of steel

– Wooden handle is for traditionalists

Why we picked it:

Zwilling has a long tradition of high quality kitchen knives: The Zwilling Pro 7″ (read our in-depth review here) is no exception to this rule. Its stainless steel blade is incredibly flexible. The knife is forged from a single piece of steel making it incredibly durable and long lasting.

The Zwilling Pro 7″ is available in multiple variations. If you’re a traditionalist, we recommend the version with the wooden handle. It comes as a 7″ or 8″ depending on your personal preference. We found the 8″ version to be a great choice if you tend to fillet bigger fish often as it makes handling larger fillets a little easier.

My Verdict: Elegant design with beautiful transition from blade to handle. Trusted by professionals and amateur chefs around the globe.

PROS:

  • Most elegant blade
  • Beautiful wooden handle

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with a sheath
  • Knob at the end of the blade can be a bit obstructive at times

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT WALMART

GET IT AT ZWILLING

5. Best Electric Filleting Knife: Bubba Electric Fillet Knife Corded

Bubba Electric Fillet Knife Corded: One of the best electric fillet knives
Bubba Corded

Key features:

– Ideal choice for frequent filleting

– Powerful electric engine helps cut multiple fish with ease

Why we picked it:

The Bubba Corded is a fantastic option if you are looking for a corded knife. None of the other products offers the flexibility and versatility of the Bubba Electric.

The Bubba Corded features four removable blades that come in different lengths and degrees of stiffness – two more flexible blades and two stiffer ones. The great feature of the Bubba Corded is the fact that all of these blades can be stored in the case that comes with the knife. The Bubba Corded also comes with a very grippy and ergonomic handle that makes it comfortable to fillet several fish in a row. A safety lock and trigger guard place an extra on security.

My Verdict: The Bubba Electric is the best electric filet knife out there in our eyes. If you are often filleting multiple fish, there’s no better choice.

PROS:

  • Powerful engine
  • Blades are removable

CONS:

  • Set including protective case takes up quite a bit of space

GET IT AT BUBBA

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT CAMPSAVER

6. Best On-the-go Fish Knife: Rapala4 Soft Grip

Rapala Fillet Knife: Best Fillet Knife for on the Go
Rapala4 Soft Grip

Key features:

– Soft handle provides exceptional feel

– Comes with sheath and sharpener

Why we picked it:

The Rapala4 Soft Grip is the right choice if you are looking for a knife to put into your tackle box. The stainless steel blade by Martiini Finland is known to be rock solid. The soft-grip handle gives you great control, especially when you are filleting outdoors and your hands might be a little wet. The Rapala4 Soft Grip comes with a black sheath and a sharpener to keep the blade sharp at all times.

My Verdict: Best fish filet knife for everyday (outdoor) use. Not the one you would add to your kitchen equipment.

PROS:

  • Excellent non-slip grip
  • Set includes sheath and sharpener

CONS:

  • Outdoorsy look and feel, not ideal for elegant kitchen environment

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT ON ALS

GET IT AT BASS PRO SHOPS

Filetting a sea trout with a filet knife
Filetting a sea trout with the Rapala filet knife – Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List 2024

7. Best Minimalist Fish Knife: Global Flexible Swedish

Swedish Filleting Knife
Global Flexible Swedish G-30, 8″

Key features:

– Made from a single piece of steel including the handle

– Easiest to clean in the test

Why we picked it:

The Swedish G-30, 8″ is one for the purist. Made from one piece of stainless steel it is incredibly flexible making it a joy to use. The one piece design also makes cleaning it a piece of cake.

The dimple features of the Swedish G 30, 8″ are meant to ensure a safe grip. It comes down to personal taste. Some people prefer a rubber or wooden handle. They also contribute to the knife’s low weight of only 0.55lbs (0.25 kg). The double-beveled edge ensures that both right- and left-handers can use the knife. Made in Japan.

My Verdict: Beautiful, one piece design. Extreme flexibility. Some people perceive the steel handle as not slip-resistant enough

PROS:

  • Beautiful minimalist design
  • Very easy to clean

CONS:

  • Grip can be a bit slippery at times

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT GLOBAL

8. Best Classic Foldable: Opinel Slim No 12

Opinel Slim Line No 12

Key features:

– Classic looks and foldability combined

– Sharp, yet sturdy blade

Why we picked it:

French manufacturer has been making some of the best knives on the planet for decades when it comes to value for money – plus they look extremely classy and cool. If you’re looking for a on the go fillet knife that you can simply fold away when not needed, make sure to check out the Opinel No 12 Slim Line (read our in-depth review here).

The folding mechanism features a little safety know that prevents the blade from folding in when you’re working your magic on a fish. The blade is not as flexible as a full on kitchen fillet knife (such as the Zwilling or the Wuesthof) but absolutely flexible enough to fillet a fresh trout for your campfire. I’d recommend getting it with the olive wood handle since that type of wood can withstand water much better and won’t soak as easily (testing the folding mechanism).

My Verdict: Fantastic versatility and classy looks combined. The No 12 size is just right for bigger fish and still folds away to a compact size.

PROS:

  • Excellent packability
  • Classy looks

CONS:

  • Blade is not as flexible as a full on kitchen fillet knife

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT OPINEL

9. Best in Medium-price Range: Hammer Stahl 7-Inch

Hammer Stahl Fillet Knife
Hammer Stahl 7-Inch – German High Carbon Steel

Key features:

– Wooden handle provides classic feel

– Extreme sharpness out of the box

Why we picked it:

The Hammer Stahl 7-Inch is a fantastic knife if you are looking for a medium-priced product that portrays premium quality. Made from German High Carbon steel, the Hammer Stahl has a beautiful one-piece design.

The PakkaWood handle of the Hammer Stahl 7-Inch adds to the premium aspiration. Measured by laser, the Hammer Stahl blade is sharpened to a 20 degree bevel angle for superior cutting performance.

My Verdict: Our mid price-range favorit with a premium approach. Nice traditional look with the combination of Pakkawood and steel in the handle.

PROS:

  • Classic look and feel
  • Easy to clean

CONS:

  • Blade is not as flexible as the Bubba or Wüsthof

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT WALMART

10. Best Saltwater Filet Knife: Gerber Controller Folding Fillet

Gerber controller folding fillet knife
Gerber Gear Controller Folding Fillet

Key features:

– Most ergonomic grip of all knives tested

– Folding

– Saltwater proof

Why we picked it:

If you are a fan of saltwater species and love to fillet them on the boat or dock, make sure to check out the Gerber Gear Controller Folding Fillet (read our in-depth review here). With a folding mechanism for easy stowaway and a 6″ blade this knife ticks all the boxes of a great saltwater filet knife with an increased degree of corrosion resistance.

The grip of the Gerber Gear Controller features an ergonomic shape that makes sure you don’t slip even when applying increased pressure as is often necessary when filleting strong saltwater species. It also features a little hole at the end of the blade where you can attach a leash to make sure you don’t loos your knife even if you drop it in the heat of the battle.

My Verdict: Excellent choice for the saltwater fly angler due to its features specifically aimed at stronger species and the availability to fold it away easily.

PROS:

  • Excellent grip that provides a lot of protection
  • Hole to attach a leash

CONS:

  • Look and feel is very outdoorsy
  • A foldable version with an 8″ blade would be a great addition to the lineup for bigger saltwater species like tuna

GET IT AT GERBER

GET IT ON AMAZON

GET IT AT CAMPSAVER

Filetting a Red Snapper
Filetting a Red Snapper

What you Need to Know about Fillet Knives

Filetting a freshly caught Mackerel
Filetting a freshly caught Mackerel – Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List 2024

Sharpness and Blade Retention

In order to make precise cuts it is essential that the blade is sharp at all times. Funnily enough a sharper blade is also less dangerous than a blunt blade because the cuts can be performed more easily. If you feel insecure using razor sharp blades consider getting a filleting glove. Here are a couple of filleting gloves you can’t go wrong with:

DEX FIT Level 5 Cut...
NoCry Cut Resistant...
SAFEAT Safety Grip Work...
DEX FIT Level 5 Cut...
NoCry Cut Resistant...
SAFEAT Safety Grip Work...
$14.99
Price not available
$8.98
DEX FIT Level 5 Cut...
DEX FIT Level 5 Cut...
$14.99
NoCry Cut Resistant...
NoCry Cut Resistant...
Price not available
SAFEAT Safety Grip Work...
SAFEAT Safety Grip Work...
$8.98

Last update on 2024-07-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Blade retention is another crucial factor. It defines a knife’s ability to stay sharp over a certain amount of time. A quality one should stay sharp for a while. But over time you will eventually have to sharpen your knife using a knife sharpener. In the following paragraphs we want to give you an overview of the best knife sharpeners on the market and different options for filet knife sharpeners.

Best Knife Sharpeners

Knife sharpening tools come in different forms and sizes. We picked some of the best options and will tell you about their details here.

Mueller Original Premium

Mueller Fillet Knife Sharpener
Mueller Knife Sharpener

The Mueller Sharpener is a great entry level knife sharpener for only a little more than $10. The best thing about it is its versatility. This fish knife sharpener allows you to sharpen all kinds of knives, ranging from ceramic knives, to steel knives and scissors.

All you have to do is place the blade in the respective slot of the Mueller Sharpener and pull the knife towards you a few times. Simple as that. The sharpening will be automatically correct. A great tool for the not so experienced sharpener.

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

AnySharp Pro

AnySharp Pro
AnySharp Pro: One of the best fillet knife sharpeners

The AnySharp Pro our favorite when it comes to versatility. It can virtually sharpen any knife out there. The best thing about it is the fact that you can even sharpen serrated blades using the AnySharp Pro. Unless most knife sharpeners, this filet knife sharpening tool uses tungsten carbide as the material of choice for the sharpening process. This guarantees a long life for your tools.

The AnySharp Pro makes sharpening a piece of cake. All you have to do is draw your weapon of choice through the sharpener and your blades will be as new. Comes in a variety of colors to easily blend into any kitchen surrounding.

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener

Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener
Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener

The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is a great fish filet knife sharpener if you are looking for a tool to take with you on your adventures. Yet, you’ll need to know or learn the basics of knife sharpening in order to use the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener properly. Don’t worry though, it’s no rocket science.

The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener diamond plates that always ensure a sharp blade after using it. This sharpener easily fits into luggage due to its very slim silhouette. Great for the outdoor lover.

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

Review of the best fillet knives: fillet knives on a wall
Best Fillet Knife Review: Filleting knives that have been used well

Construction of Filleting Knives

There are three characteristics that a quality filet knife blade has to fulfil: it needs to be thin, strong and yet flexible. A high quality steel (often made in Japan or made in Germany) ensures a thin and sharp blade.

Another aspect you should pay attention to is the handle. Some filleting knives are made from one piece of steel, others have handles made of plastic or wood. An ergonomic shape of the handle will ensure a tight fit and safe cutting.

Guarantee and Price

The price range of filleting knives is big. You can get started with around $25 and spend several hundred dollars if you want to. It comes down to taste and exclusivity in the end. You should look for a guarantee as fillet knives can break despite being flexible. Quality manufacturers often offer a lifetime guarantee.

Filleting a Mackerel with a Fish Fillet Knife
Filleting a Mackerel

Taking Care of your Knife

Taking care of your knife is easy. Clean and dry it after every use. Store in a dry place and prevent it from dropping. Don’t use it for other purposes than filleting, it will get blunt faster. Do not put a quality knife in the dishwasher. Water and some soap is enough – dry it with a towel.

Conclusion on the Best Fillet Knife

As you can see from our test, fillet knives come in all sorts of makes, forms and shapes. You might be looking for a different type of filet knife if you are looking for one to use on a trip or outdoors.

You might be looking for a high-end knife to use in your kitchen on special occasions. No matter which one you choose in the end, all the knives in our test promise quality and longevity.

Why Trust our Expertise

Why you should trust us: As fly fishermen we know a thing or two about the best fillet knives out there. We use them all the time and hence know about the best products on the market and what to pay attention to. For this review, we’ve made sure to pick only our top choices and offer you a wide variety of filet knives. Some of you will want to use them outdoors, others only in their high-end kitchen. Hence we’ve made sure to include solid options for every taste.

Frequently Asked Questions: Fillet Knives FAQs

What is a fillet knife used for?

A fillet knife (often also called filet knife or filleting knife) is used to fillet fish or meat such as poultry. Its slimmer and more flexible blade (when compared to a kitchen knife) makes it easier to make precise cuts along bones. On average a fillet’s knife blade is between 6 and 11″ (15-28cm).

Do you need a filet knife to fillet fish?

A filet knife is a great tool to cut fish such as salmon or trout. The difference between a filet knife and a normal kitchen knife is the thickness and flexibility of the blade. A fillet knife is thinner and more flexible and hence makes it easier to make precise cuts along the spine of a fish.

Is a fillet knife the same as a carving knife?

No, a fillet knife and a carving knife are different. A fillet knife has a thin, flexible blade designed for precision in filleting fish, while a carving knife has a longer, rigid blade suitable for slicing cooked meats like turkey or ham.

Who uses a fillet blade?

Fillet knives are commonly used by anglers, chefs, and individuals who prepare fish regularly. Anglers use them to fillet caught fish, and chefs use them in professional kitchens for precise filleting.

What are the two most common knives used in fish?

The two most common knives used in fish preparation are the fillet knife and the boning knife. The fillet knife is ideal for removing skin and bones, while the boning knife is designed for separating meat from bones.

Do you need a sharp knife to fillet a fish?

Yes, a sharp knife is crucial for filleting fish. A sharp blade ensures clean and precise cuts, making the filleting process more efficient and reducing the risk of injury.

What knife do the Japanese use to fillet fish?

In Japanese cuisine, a traditional knife called the “Deba” is commonly used for filleting fish. The Deba knife has a thick, durable blade that excels at cutting through fish bones.

Can you fillet fish with a regular knife?

While it’s possible to fillet fish with a regular kitchen knife, using a dedicated fillet knife is recommended for better results. Fillet knives have a specialized design, including flexibility and sharpness, which makes the filleting process smoother and more efficient.

Can you sharpen a fillet knife?

Yes, fillet knives can be sharpened. Regular maintenance, such as honing the blade with a sharpening steel or using a sharpening stone, helps keep the edge sharp. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for sharpening to maintain the knife’s effectiveness.

Disclaimer: If you click on one of the links in this article and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you!