It takes the right tool to do a job well. When it comes to preparing fish, a quality fish cleaning knife is the right tool. The best fish fillet knives offer the control, flexibility, and sharpness needed to make cuts precisely.

A good fillet knife is like an extension of your hand making you precise and delivering great fillets you’re proud to present. In the fish fillet knife reviews below, we have singled out the 10 best fillet knives most adept at filleting fish. 

How To Choose A Fish Fillet Knife – Buying Guide


Blade and Handle Material

The best fish cleaning knives have stainless steel blades. What makes it a great fillet knife material is its strength, and rust, corrosion, and stain resistance. It handles water, blood, and scales well, and sharpens easily. The best fish fillet knife made of high carbon stainless steel is especially easy to sharpen.

Fish filleting knife handles are usually made of wood, rubber, or plastic. Rubber offers the best fish fillet knife grip even in wet and slippery conditions. Wooden handles look good and are comfortable to use. However, wood easily gets slippery, absorbs odors, and continued exposure to water can cause it to rot. Plastic is hard-wearing and doesn’t retain odors.

Safety and Hygiene

With its razor-sharp blade and constant contact with bacteria, a fish flaying knife is a dangerous tool. It should be designed in a way that promotes safe and sanitary handling. Finger grooves and a protective finger guard at the point where the blade meets the handle helps protect fingers from slipping.

When it comes to hygiene, a good fillet knife should have the handle molded in place and sealed so there’s no gap for the flesh, blood, and slime to accumulate and become a breeding ground for bacteria.  

Type and Design

For preparing large fish, bulk filleting, or for handling a variety of fish when indoors, consider an electric fillet knife. It’s fast, requires little effort on your part, and you can swap blades. This makes it the best fish fillet knife for saltwater fish. For outdoor use, a manual fillet knife for fish is great because it doesn’t require a power source.  

A straight-edge blade is great for filleting as it makes precise cuts and clean slices. A fillet knife fish with a serrated blade is a good option for piercing through tough scales. The handle should have an ergonomic design that fits well in the hands. A full tang makes a knife robust and offers greater control and leverage.  

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Blade Size

A good guideline is to choose a blade that’s just slightly longer than the depth of your target fish at its widest point. This will ensure that only one pass is needed to fillet and the result will be a clean and solid fillet. You will come across 4 inch, 6 inch, 7.5 inch, and 9 inch long blades.

Shorter 4-5inch long blades work best for small-sized fish such as bluegills, crappie, panfish or walleye. A medium blade of 6-7.5inch length makes for a good all-purpose fillet knife great for lakes and river fishing and medium-sized fish such as trout. Larger fish such as tuna, salmon, and steelhead require larger sized blades with an 8-9inch blade length. 

Grip and Handling

When preparing fish, your hands will be wet and even slippery. The best fish fillet knife offers a firm, non-slip grip no matter the conditions. The handle should be sturdy and comfortable to hold. A strong grip offers better control and leverage, which makes it easier to maneuver through the fish and achieve precision. Features to look for including a slip-resistant texture and finger grooves.


Filleting fish precisely requires flexibility to maneuver between flesh and bones. Long and thin blades flex easily and this is why the best fillet knives for fish have such blades. Shorter and thinner blades offer a lot of flexibility for cleaning small fish and removing bones. Larger, longer, and thicker blades offer less flexibility but more stiffness for larger and tougher cutting jobs.


The blade is the most important part of a knife for filleting fish. It should be super-sharp so it slices right through the fish making clean cuts without tearing or jagging. The best fillet knives come razor-sharp and hold their edge well. It’s also important to hone your knife for fish fillet on a regular basis. Without routine upkeep, even the sharpest fillet knife blades will lose their edge.



Q: When Is A Fillet Knife Necessary?


A fillet knife is necessary for extracting the meat from the bones. A fish flaying knife comes handy whenever you need to prepare, descale, skin, or fillet fish. It offers the flexibility you need to easily maneuver through the flesh and separate the meat from the bones, scales, and skin with great precision. A good fillet knife easily becomes the go-to knife for all kinds of cutting tasks.

Q: How Does A Fillet Knife Differ From Other Knives?


A fillet knife is specially designed for separating meat from bones. A fish cleaning knife is an even more specialized knife for filleting fish. Fish fillet knives usually feature a thin heavily tapered blade with pointed ends and have a lighter feel than other knives. This design enables them to maneuver through the delicate flesh of fish.

Q: What Is Considered Good Material?


Stainless steel is the best material for the blade. It’s strong yet flexible, and resistant to rust, corrosion, stains, and odors. It’s also easy to sharpen and retains the edge well. For the handle, a good material should offer a comfortable yet strong grip and be easy to clean. Wood, rubber, and plastic are all good handle materials.

Q: Is It Safe To Put A Fillet Knife In The Dishwasher?


Throwing fillet knives in the dishwasher is not a good idea. The intense heat and harsh detergents will cause the handle and adhesive to deteriorate gradually. Colliding with other dishes can also dull the blade’s edge. Even though the knife label may say ‘dishwater safe’, we recommend hand washing fillet knives to preserve the edges and make them last longer in tiptop condition.

Q: Why Is The Handle Important?


The handle of a fillet knife is very important because it determines how well you can fillet using the knife. The handle determines the kind of grip, control and leverage you have for maneuvering through the flesh and executing the cut. For the best filleting experience, the handle should be sturdy, comfortable, and offer non-slip grip even in wet conditions.

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If you want to prepare nice fillets, a good fish cleaning knife is vital. Hopefully, our reviews of the best fillet knives will help you find the best fillet knife for your needs. With a good fish flaying knife, filleting fish will be a breeze. A good quality fish cleaning knife also comes handy for all kinds of cutting tasks when fishing or preparing food. 

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Which is the best fillet knife? We would love to hear about your filleting knife experience! Share in the comment box below.