Looking for the Best Fillet Knives for salmon? Salmon is a delicious and luxurious fish to have at home.
Being able to prepare your own salmon fillets is a great way to save money.
Whether you’re lucky enough to live somewhere you can catch them or just want to bring larger cuts of salmon home from the grocery store, filleting your own salmon gives you the freshest possible fish.
Plus, preparing your own salmon fillets can help ensure that you get all of the meat, including some of the best tasting meat right near the bone.
That’s not to mention the incredible health benefits of adding salmon as a regular part of your diet.
Filleting your own salmon isn’t a very difficult process, but you do need to have the right tool for the job. Salmon are larger fish than most people prepare at home, so you need a fillet knife that’s up to the job.
That’s what this review is for. I’ve looked at 5 of the very best salmon fillet knives and evaluated each for how effective, long lasting, and versatile each knife is.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What Makes a Great Salmon Fillet Knife
- 5 of the Best Salmon Fillet Knives, and what makes them stand out
- And much more!
Below is a quick list of my favorite fillet knives for salmon. Keep scrolling to learn more of my top tips to choose and use the best fillet knives for salmon.
Rhinoreto Fillet Knife Fishing (Flexible, stainless steel blade)
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WÜSTHOF Classic 7 Inch Fillet Knife with Leather Sheath
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Dexter-Russell 7" and 8" Fillet Knife w/Polypropylene White Handle
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DALSTRONG Gladiator Series Fillet & Boning Knife- 6"
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Shun Classic 7-in. Flexible Fillet Knife with High-Carbon Stainless Steel Blade
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What's in this Guide?
My Overall Top #1 Pick: Rhinoreto Fillet Knife Flexible, Stainless Steel Blade
This knife might not look like much but it’s one of the most effective fillet knives you can get for salmon.
The blade is incredibly sharp as soon as it arrives.
It also comes with it’s own sharpener so you can keep the blade in the best possible condition.
The blade is made from high-quality steel with a full tang for added control. The rubber grip looks a little different from most kitchen knives.
That’s alright though, because the grip design is more effective than standard knife handles. It resists moisture and provides texture to give you as much maneuverability and control as you could wish.
The handle has a lot of extra grip. The rubber is textured for maximum performance even in wet or greasy conditions. That’s an important consideration for working with salmon. Preparing salmon fillets can get both your knife and your hand somewhat moist. Since the fish is oil-rich that moisture is also usually very slick.
The addition of better grip on the handle makes the whole thing much safer to use. Not to mention it’s also significantly more effective.
Top 5 Best Fillet Knives for Salmon
In a hurry? Check out our top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these salmon fillet knives.
- Rhinoreto Fillet Knife Fishing. Flexible, Stainless Steel Blade (My Top Pick)
- WÜSTHOF Classic 7 Inch Fillet Knife with Leather Sheath (Best High-End)
- Dexter-Russell 7″ and 8″ Fillet Knife w/Polypropylene White Handle (Best Budget)
- DALSTRONG Gladiator Series Fillet & Boning Knife- 6″
- Shun Classic 7-in. Flexible Fillet Knife with High-Carbon Stainless Steel Blade
What are the Advantages of a High Quality Fillet Knife for Salmon?
High quality fillet knives take care of most of the work for you. They’re more flexible than utility knives, which makes it easier to cut right next to the bones of the fish.
The thinner profile is also a lot easier for creating your fillets in one go, instead of having to cut off smaller portions of the salmon one at a time.
The biggest difference between high quality and low quality salmon fillet knives are the quality of the metal and how durable they are. Cheap knives tend to fall apart after only minimal use, and can start to twist in the handle long before they actually fall apart.
Cheap knives also tend to use a lower quality of metal for the blade. You can’t put a great edge on inferior metal. That means that low-quality knives tend to be duller than high-quality versions. They also lose their edge faster, and you’ll need to sharpen them more often.
Since you take off a small amount of metal every time you sharpen the knife, you’ll wear out a low quality blade a lot faster.
This video of Gordon Ramsey filleting a whole salmon demonstrates how important it is to keep your blade sharp and clean while you’re working. He’s using a utility knife instead of a fillet knife. Fillet knives do make the job easier until you have his level of knife skill. The process is the same.
All in all, high quality blades are better at filleting salmon efficiently and well. They’re more expensive up front, but they last longer and are much more durable, saving money in the long run.
Plus, since they are easier and safer to use, you’re a lot less likely to have a kitchen accident if you use a high quality knife.
How to Pick the Best Fillet Knife for Salmon?
While I’ve gone through and picked out some of the best fillet knives for salmon for you, it’s still important to know what makes a great fillet knife, and why. That way you can decide what features are most important for you.
Salmon are large fish, so you’ll want a longer fillet knife to get the job done. Longer often means larger, but in the case of fillet knives you really want to avoid having too much width between the spine of the blade and it’s edge.
That flat surface is called the ricasso, and should be pretty minimal on a good fillet knife. (learn more knife terminology in my Complete Guide to Kitchen Knives.)
Ideally you’re looking for a long very thin knife. For salmon, a long 8-inch fillet knife is a good option. Slightly shorter and slightly longer will still work, but will take a little more effort.
Fillet knives are usually made from stainless steel. There are a few that are made from high carbon steel. Normally in a knife high-carbon steel offers a better edge than stainless, but in this case the extra maintenance requirements aren’t worth the benefits.
That’s because stainless steel is much more rust and corrosion resistant than high carbon steel. Stainless steel you can clean and put away and it’s mostly good to go. High carbon steel needs oiling, and a good amount of polishing as well.
Unless you fillet fish several times a week, stainless is going to be the more flexible and lower maintenance option.
I already mentioned that you should look for fillet knives that are at least 8 inches long. You should also look for your fillet knife to come to a sharp point that is tilted slightly up toward the spine of the blade.
That tip design makes it significantly easier to cut into your salmon, making filleting much simpler.
This guide goes over some important tips about the design of your fillet knife, and also talks about some other useful tools you may want if you eat a lot of seafood.
The most important aspect of your fillet knife handle is how it feels in your hand. Since fillet knives tend to flex in your hand it’s important that you have a secure grip on the handle.
Security comes from a combination of good design and an ergonomic shape along with moisture resistant materials. Sealed wood is one option, but polypropylene tends to be a slightly better option for fish fillets.
A big reason to prefer polypropylene is that it will resist picking up the scent of the fish. Polypropylene handles also usually last longer. Poly handles also save you time since they need very little maintenance.
A flexible blade lets you get closer to the bones along the spine of your salmon. The flexibility is also what gives you the option to cut around the ribs instead of straight through them. Cutting around the ribs gives you more meat and a more satisfying fillet.
You should look for a knife that has a high degree of flexibility. If you’re trying them in person, look for a blade that bends at least an inch in either direction with minimal pressure on the tip of the knife.
A good fillet knife should also maintain its shape when there isn’t pressure on the knife. They may develop a slight curve in one direction over time, but a high quality knife should never get a wavy or s-shaped curve.
That’s important because s-shaped curves make it much harder to cut a clean fillet.
Before we get into the review, here is another slightly longer video, which talks a little more about the shape of the fish as it’s filleted. This video really shows how important it is to get all the little sections of salmon.
Getting all those delicious sections of fish is virtually impossible if you have a cheaper fillet knife that has developed a wavy curve.
My Reviews of the Best Fillet Knives for Salmon
This fillet knife is the complete package. The blade is flexible and thin, but takes on an impressively sharp edge.
It’s designed to easily cut through fish. The added flexibility also helps it conform to the shape of the fish.
Since you’ll likely want to sharpen your fillet knife often the added sharpener is a serious bonus.
You’ll be able to quickly sharpen your knife between cuts for the best possible results.
The knife also comes with it’s own plastic sheath. The sheath protects the blade from damage and helps your blade last longer.
For all those anglers out there this design works just as well out by the lake as it does in the comfort of your kitchen.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Long lasting blade with a very sharp edge|
+ Comes with its own sharpener
+ Comes with a custom plastic sheath
|– Might not fit in with your other kitchen knives|
– Rubber handle may discolor with regular use
For my high-end pick, the Wusthof fillet knife is designed with all the best principles to create a fully functional and useful knife.
The design is especially thin, which gives the knife added flexibility. It’s also very durable and resists permanent curvature.
That added durability also helps this knife last longer even with frequent sharpening.
This fillet knife also has a Wusthorf edge design that helps the blade stay sharper longer. That will help minimize how often you need to sharpen it.
Overall this knife is a great investment if you fillet a lot of fish. It’s also a good choice if you’d rather buy one knife and never need to replace it.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Extremely sharp design|
+ Holds an edge much longer than other blade designs
+ Made from a durable high-carbon stainless that holds its shape and flexibility well
+ Comes with it’s own leather sheath
|– Slightly shorter than some alternatives|
This two for one set is a lot more affordable than some of the other knives on my list. The steel is slightly lower quality, which is part of why this set is more affordable.
Having two knives instead of one also helps share the work. That helps keep the blades in better condition even though the steel isn’t quite as good.
Both knives hold a good edge and need minimal sharpening between fish fillets.
The handle on both knives is ergonomically designed for good grip and control. They are also both easier to clean and maintain than other handle materials.
Overall, if you’re looking for a more affordable fillet knife this set is a great option.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Two knives for the price of one|
+ Ergonomically designed handles
+ Easy to clean and maintain
|– Slightly less durable steel|
This knife offers a slightly different design. It’s more robust and durable with a thicker ricasso.
However, that doesn’t reduce the flexibility of the blade.
Dalstrong is a very reliable and well known knife manufacturer brand.
They use high quality steel that creates consistently high performance knives.
While this design is a little thicker than some options it’s still more than up to the job of filleting salmon. It’s also a slightly more versatile version of a fillet knife.
The thicker design means it also works as a boning knife. As a slicing knife it’s incredibly sharp blade is also highly effective.
The granton edge adds a touch of elegance to this design. Of course it’s a functional elegance. The granton helps reduce friction and lets the knife slide through fish without causing any flaking.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Hand polished for a keener edge|
+ Incredibly high quality steel for added durability
+ Doubles as a boning knife and is more versatile than most fillet knives
|– The thicker design means that this knife doesn’t behave like thinner fillet knives. There’s a slight learning curve to really master it|
This knife is a Japanese design made specifically for filleting large fish. The design isn’t quite as flexible as Western fillet knives but it’s still focused on efficiency.
This knife is a good option for people looking for a slightly different design. It’s thicker and more durable than traditional fillet knives.
Despite being a little stiffer than traditional western fillet knives this design still conforms to the shape of the ribs. That allows you to make precise cuts without wasting any of your salmon.
This knife is also well suited to other large fish. You can use this knife on large lake fish like catfish. It really shines as a knife for larger ocean fish. It’s a good investment for any serious coastal angler.
This more durable knife is also a good option if you have a local fish market or anywhere you can purchase fish whole. That’s because the more durable design helps cut off the heads and fins of whole fish much more efficiently.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Durable design helps handle larger varieties of fish|
+ Good option if you find fillet knives too light or difficult to use
+ More versatile than a standard western fillet knife
+ D-shaped handle for the best possible grip and maneuverability
|– Uses a slightly different technique than other fillet knives|
– Doesn’t come with any kind of cover or sheath
This knife is not only the most flexible of the knives on my list, but it also comes with the most complete set of accessories and maintenance tools. This design works well in your home kitchen and can also add versatility to your fishing kit.
Made from high quality steel with a durable blade design it’s long lasting and needs minimal maintenance. The Rhinoreto Fillet Knife is also an affordable option despite its high quality design.
Though this knife comes in several sizes I highly recommend the 8” version for filleting salmon. The added length makes sure you have plenty of cutting surface to cut the fillet in one clean slice.
Even though this knife is marketed as much toward anglers as it is toward homeowners I think that there is plenty of room for this incredibly specialized knife in most home kitchens.
Final Thoughts On The Best Fillet Knives for Salmon
Salmon fillet knives need to have a delicate balance between durability to help get the job done and thin flexibility to make slicing easier. All of the knives on my list meet those criteria. They are also made from high-quality materials and using highly functional designs.
With any of these knives in your kitchen you’ll be ready to tackle filleting salmon, lake fish, and even larger more complex species of fish.
There’s just one thing left. Enjoy your fresh-prepared salmon fillets!