Best Fillet Knife Reviews for 2017 – Expert Blueprint
After reviewing multiple fillet knives across various different brands, we think the Global Cromova G-21 is the best fillet knife for most people, while the Shun DM0743 Classic Gokujo is a superb but costlier alternative. If you're tight on budget, Victorinox 6-Inch Flex Boning might be what you're looking for.
For some people, it’s perfectly alright to have a simple and basic knife in the kitchen to do just about everything. But that’s no longer ideal for an increasing number of people who actually do care about proper food preparation. When you’re on a passionate quest for culinary perfection, you need the best tools. And that includes having the best fillet knife at your disposal.
Today, it’s not only the taste of food that’s important. Care must also be taken in how you dress and prepare your various dishes. And that’s why the fillet knife is so crucial in today’s kitchen. A fillet knife is long and thin, which enables you to glide the blade smoothly along the backbone and under the skin of the fish. Many favorite dishes include fish fillet, as a finely cut fillet can enhance a dish and stimulate the palate.
There are two basic types of fillet knives. There’s the conventional fillet knife that can measure anywhere from 5 to 11 inches long. This is one of the most popular implements in the kitchen, since delicacies like baked salmon and fish fries typically have fish fillet as one of their ingredients. These have a sharp tip, are very lightweight, and they bend enough so you can reach the more inaccessible areas of the fish. With the precise control afforded by the balanced grip and sharpness, the texture of the flesh is preserved when it is neatly torn away from the fish bone.
Then there’s the electric version. When you’re a chef preparing food for a restaurant full of patrons or the cook for a massive party of friends and family, you’ll have to reserve lots of time and effort preparing food with a conventional knife. But you can debone and slice fillet neatly with less effort and time with a powered knife.
These two categories cover thousands of different brands and models of fillet knives, and carefully looking at each one of them is impossible. So to help you out, we’ve singled out the best fillet knives.
Best Fillet Knife - Our Choices
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Zwilling JA Henckels
Global Cromova G-21
Global is a Japanese brand that has challenged the popularity of Euro-style cutlery with their high quality knives. Hard molybdenum and vanadium stainless steel is used for their blades, and the flexible 6.25-inch G-21 fillet knife features a long taper rather than a short bevel so the keen edge remains sharp for a longer time.
Their edges also feature a more acute angle than their Euro counterparts, and they’re also lighter with thinner blades. The double-beveled edge also accommodates both southpaws and righties.
The balance of the knife is due to the injection of a precise amount of sand into its hollow handle. The balance is continuous throughout, because the sand flows inside the handle as you maneuver the knife. For additional safety, there’s also a finger notch between the handle and the knife.
Another notable feature in the Global G-21 is its stainless steel handle. It features dimples for a nonslip grip and molded for a more comfortable fit in your hand. Since the circumference of the handle is smaller than typical Euro knives, they’re easier to handle if you have small hands and easier to clean too.
And as for durability, it comes with a lifetime warranty against defects and also if it breaks.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star 7-Inch High Carbon Stainless-Steel
This German brand has been producing steel knives since 1895, so they know what they’re doing. And they’re so good at what they do that they also offer a lifetime warranty for most of their products.
This Henckels knife is made from a special formula of ice-hardened high-carbon stainless steel that especially resistant to pitting and corrosion. Its one-piece construction offers the perfect design with great precision and enhanced stability. It offers a straight edge for cutting and a modest curve near the bolter. This laser-controlled edge is sharper than most of its competitors, it remains so for a longer time, and the blade angle is consistent.
The bolster adds some heft to the knife while also improving safety and balance. The full rattail tang also adds to the strength and balance. The bonded polypropylene handle is safe for food and is molded to comfortably fit your hand. And although hand washing the 7-inch fillet knife is recommended, it is also dishwasher safe.
Victorinox 6-Inch Flex Boning Knife with Fibrox Handle
You may know this brand for its renowned Swiss Army knives, but the truth is that it actually started as a cutlery workshop. Victorinox has never abandoned its kitchen tool tradition, and that’s quite evident on the quality of its 6-inch flex boning knife.
Its blade is very flexible and quite thin, so you get amazingly precise control when you’re separating the meat from the bone. Its blade is made from high carbon stainless steel for excellent sharpness, and it has also been ice-tempered so that it remains sharp longer. The edge of the blade is conical ground crosswise and on the full length of the blade. This results in a wider break point, which reduces the chance that the blade will break and there’s less resistance so cutting becomes more effortless. With the bolster-less edge, the entire blade can be used and sharpening the blade becomes easier.
Its special Fibrox handles come with a textured surface for a more secure grip. It’s also slip resistant so you don’t mess the meat and injure your fingers. Its ergonomic shape has also been designed for greater comfort and balance. And it’s also NSF certified, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Shun DM0743 Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet, 6-Inch
This is a bit expensive, but then again quality usually comes at a cost. The blade core is made from high carbon “super” steel from Japan that’s renowned for how long it retains its sharp edge. It has a Rockwell hardness rating of 60-61.
It’s sharpened to a 16-degree angle, which makes it sharper than its 20-degree Euro counterparts.
Now let’s get to the features that make it a bit more expensive. One each side of the blade, it’s clad with 16 layers of special Damascus stainless steel to bolster its flexibility and strength. This special stainless steel is also very resistant to corrosion and easy to maintain. The Damascus styling is also beautiful. The cladding process also results in microscopic air pockets, so that you don’t encounter as much friction as you make your slices with the knife.
The D-shaped handle fits comfortably in your hand and gives you precise control and a secure hold. The DM0743 is typically available for right-handed people only, but if you’re a lefty you can get a left-handed version by special order. The handle is made from Pakkawood, which is hardwood impregnated with resin and NSF-approved for commercial use.
Rapala Fish'n Fillet Knife
Now in contrast to the Japanese Shun Classic knife, the Rapala is a Finnish brand known for offering practical kitchen tools at much more affordable prices. It’s available in 3 sizes so you can pick the 4, 6, or 7-inch blade depending on the size of the fish you usually handle.
Or you can just get them all. They’re so affordable that together the combined price is only a little more than half that of the Shun Classic.
It even comes with its own sheath, and you also get a single-stage sharpener to help maintain its edge. Taken together, they’re perfect for fishermen who need to deal with their quarry when they’re out fishing on kayaks.
But affordable doesn’t necessarily mean cheap and shoddy quality. That’s attested to by the vast majority of online reviews that have given this handy kitchen implement perfect scores.
This full tang, progressively tapered blades are made from Scandinavian stainless steel. These offer a sharp edge that will last for quite a while. The birch handle is very durable, easy to hold, offers great control, and is even quite attractive. The fine-tooled leather Laplander sheath offers extra protection against moisture and it will also protect the edge whenever you drop it accidentally. With the sharpener with you, you can always ensure that you have a sharp edge to your blade.
Many buyers of the Rapala Fish'n Fillet Knife are repeat customers, because they’re so enamored of the brand. Once customer even reported that the Rapala knife he owns is more than 30 years old, and it still has a sharp edge!
The Rapala design hasn’t changed in decades, and it offers its basic function with no frills. It simply does what it’s supposed to do, and you can rely upon it to last for a very long time.
Buck Knives 220 Silver Creek Folding Fillet Fishing Knife
For newbie fishermen, bringing a knife to a fishing trip can be an iffy proposition. But that’s not a problem with the Silver Creek folding knife, as it only measures 7.25 inches long when folded and it weighs just 6 ounces.
Since it folds, you don’t need a sheath and you don’t accidentally cut yourself when you’re not using it. There’s also a lanyard hole you can use to make it more portable.
The 6.5 blade is very flexible, yet it’s also stiff enough so you can easily slide it into medium-sized trout. Out of the box, it is also extremely sharp which is excellent for a fillet knife. The material for the blade is known for its formidable edge retention and for making it easy to sharpen the blade.
You also don’t have to worry about saltwater corrosion either, as the blade is made from 420J2 Stainless Steel that’s designed specifically to resist rusting. And to make it even more corrosion resistant, the blade is coated with titanium.
You get a handle with a rubberized anti-slip grip, and there’s also a stainless steel safety guard. This offers you a supremely secure hold on the handle, and you’re not going to lose your grip. It doesn’t matter if the handle is wet or if your hands are slick with fish oil. It’ll stay in your hand as you slice the fish.
It’s virtually indestructible, in other words. So you can be sure that with proper maintenance this knife can help you on your fishing trips and in the kitchen for many years to come. And it also comes with the “forever” warranty, which somehow seems longer than a lifetime warranty.
Schmidt Brothers Cutlery, SBOBO07, Bonded Teak 7 Inch Boning Knife
The Schmidt Brothers Cutlery company is actually a pair of brothers named Schmidt. They’re American, and they use the same X50CrMo15 steel used by top brands like Henckels and Wusthof. They’re determined to cater to both newbies and professionals by offering the best materials at the lowest costs.
With the superb stainless steel in their blades, you also get the same quality of polish, stain resistance, and corrosion resistance in the SBOBO07. It also comes with a full-tang, full forge handle made from high quality teak wood. Just don’t use the dishwasher to clean it.
It’ll do its job as well as advertised, and they’re quite beautiful as well. It gets high marks from chefs for sharpness, edge retention, balance, ergonomics, and durability.
And their customer support is remarkable as well. One customer even reported online about how he dropped the knife after owning it for more than a year and it broke upon hitting the ceramic floor. He called the company who was troubled by the news, and they sent him a replacement at no cost.
Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Fillet Knife with Sheath
Finally we come to the Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Fillet Knife. Wusthof is another hallowed name in the cutlery industry, and this Classic 7-inch fillet knife is a good example of how they made their reputation.
It is made from high carbon precision-forged stainless steel, and it will resist staining and last for many years. It tapers accurately because the blade went through a special grinding and polishing process. Also, it provides a firm grip due to its triple-riveted handle with its ergonomic design. If you’re skinning, filleting, or de-boning, then this is a knife you can really use. Just wipe the knife with a wet cloth and then dry it immediately and you’re done.
It may be a bit expensive, but you need to pay for quality especially when your knife is manufactured by a company founded on 1814. And it’s still being run by the Wusthof family.
The knife measures 12 inches with the blade coming in at 7 inches. It’s quite light at a pound. With its keen edge, its startlingly sharp point, and its flexible blade, this is a fillet knife you can put to good use with the very minimum of maintenance.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Fillet Knife
It’s very easy to be ensnared by clever marketing campaigns and attractive pictures when you’re trying to decide on a fillet knife. Even the most experienced chefs have fallen prey to this type of vulnerability, and they too have wasted good money on inadequate tools.
So to boost your chances of getting the right tool for the job, here are some factors you need to consider.
- Brand and blade material. Stainless steel is the most common material used for both expensive and cheap knives. But not all stainless steel is the same, and the stainless steel used by the most reputable brands is typically much better. While they may be more expensive, the brand name knives offer much better value for money since the cheap knives often fail to deliver adequate performance. Their material retains their ken edge better and they’re more resistant to corrosion.
- Flexibility. When you’re filleting smaller fish, you need a blade that can bend adequately so that it can run along the backbone with no difficulty. For longer knives flexibility becomes less crucial, but some flexibility is still necessary.
- Size. You need a longer blade when you’re filleting bigger fish like salmon. That means using at least a 9-inch blade to be on the safe side. It’s also necessary to use smaller blades for smaller knives for easier handling.
- Handle. The handle is crucial for a fillet knife, as the best blade in the world will just mangle your fish if you can’t get a good grip on your knife. And there’s also the risk to your fingers as well. The handle should offer good ergonomics for a confortable grip as well as a nonslip surface for a secure hold.
With these fillet knife reviews, hopefully you can spend some time deliberating your choice more carefully so that you can end up with the best fish fillet knives for your culinary creations. Just make sure you take care of these knives properly by cleaning it thoroughly after each use and by sharpening the edge regularly, and the knives will help you take care of your fish preparation.