Best Electric Fillet Knife (7 Badass Blades Reviewed)
If you’ve never cleaned a fish before then using the best electric fillet knife is probably not an ideal place to start.
These days for most home cooks and even pro chefs like me all the heavy lifting is done by your friendly fishmonger or wholesaler.
Take a trip to any fish market and you’ll be able to buy your fish all neatly cleaned, filleted, skinned, and even pin boned if that's the way you want it.
In most restaurant kitchens it's the same. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to fillet a fish in work over the past year.
And on the odd occasion when we do get a couple of fish on the bone that needs filleting a regular knife does the job just fine.
Even most professional fish filleters, the guys who do it day in day out for a living prefer the precise precision and control of manual blades.
It begs the question, do you really need to invest in an electrically driven blade?
So, here's the deal.
Who Needs An Electric Fillet Knife
Gutting, boning, filleting, and skinning fish are all jobs that require a certain amount of expertise.
And for most mere mortals who are able to do it, but aren't anywhere near the skill level of a pro, a good electric knife can speed up things significantly.
When you’ve only a couple of fish to fillet a man-powered knife is hunky-dory, but if you're faced with anything more than say 15 or 20 it's a job that gets old fast.
But where good electric knives really come into their own is when you’ve got a large amount of big, tough boned, round fish to fillet.
Think salmon, trout, pike, walleyes, redfish, perch...etc
The best electric fillet knives will make short work of game fish like these and that's why they're the fisherman's best friend.
Most anglers who are lucky skilled enough to catch a lot of the above species know filleting them is a monotonous repetitive task.
And using machine power to fillet a couple of hundred fish is faster and requires a hell of a lot less effort than using a traditional blade.
So, you’ll spend less time filleting and more time fishing.
Coming up, we’ve got a rundown of the 7 best electric fillet knives on the market today. As well as a detailed buying guide.
We’ll also point out some key features to look for so you can best match a knife to your particular needs.
But before we get to the nitty-gritty, if you're in a bit of a hurry below are some of our favorites.
One of the first things you need to think about once you’ve decided to go for an electric knife is where you plan to use it.
Corded V’s Cordless
Do you want a bit of flexibility and the option to take it with you on fishing trips?
Or will you be waiting until you get back to base before cleaning your catch?
You can get both battery and mains powered blades but there are some major trade-offs between the two.
The best way to make your decision is to think about where you're most lightly to do a bit of filleting.
If you reckon you’ll mostly be using your knife at home then go for a corded knife that you can plug into mains power.
Corded knives are generally more powerful than their battery-powered counterparts.
This translates into a higher RPM, more torque, a faster-moving blade, and a knife that cuts cleanly and smoothly.
You might find working with a corded blade a bit difficult at first and it does take a little getting used to.
After all, most of us aren’t used to a cleaning fish with a knife that's plugged into the wall. Those power cables can misbehave and get in the way as you fillet.
So, before you buy, pay close attention to the length of the power cord.
Look for something that swivels from the end of the handle, is at least 3 feet long, and maybe has the option to be extended.
Remember to keep a neat and tidy cleaning station, don’t get distracted, and make sure the kids aren't around while you're working. Slicing through that cord with your knife could have shocking results.
Battery-powered knives, on the other hand, are far more maneuverable with the added benefit that you can pack them up and take them anywhere.
And if you plan to fillet on the fly, they're definitely the way to go.
Most cordless models come equipped with powerful lithium-ion batteries that have an excellent runtime.
The main drawback with some of them is that they’ll slow down, and tire to a snail's pace as the battery wains.
If you do decide to go cordless, think about getting a spare battery to make sure you’ve enough power to fillet everything you catch if you have a particularly good day.
So which type is better? The truth is, each has its pros and cons. It all boils down to where you do your filleting and the level of convenience and flexibility your work demands.
How to Choose The Best Electric Fillet Knife
The main workhorse of any knife is, of course, the blade.
Fillet knives need to be strong enough to cut through the bones and scales of fish yet thin and flexible enough to manoeuvre around them too.
Stainless steel is the preferred material and for good reason.
It’s tough, flexible, and cheap for both the manufacturer and consumer.
It doesn’t tarnish, won’t warp, and it’s corrosion-resistant - even if it’s subjected to wet conditions which obviously happens a lot when you're handling fish.
And if you think you’ll be filleting a lot of fresh sea fish, look for a stainless steel blade with a bit of chrome added to the mix.
Chromium will make your knife even more corrosion-resistant, durable, and better able to deal with all that salt water.
The best electric fillet knives come with a pair of sharp serrated reciprocating blades that clip together for stability and lock into the handle.
Once turned on the motor moves the blades back and forth, and the more powerful the motor and the better the gearing, the higher the RPM, and the faster the blades move.
And fast moving blades mean more accuracy, control, and maneuverability. Whether you’re removing skin, entrails, fins, or bones from fish.
They also stay sharper for longer and are far more efficient than a manual knife because you don’t have to stop every few fish to run them over a steel.
There's a bit of a knack to using them though.
The secret is not to exert too much pressure as you would with a regular knife, just guide it along and let the blade do all the work.
It’s also really important that the blade has the right amount of flex and will bend a bit when you apply some pressure.
Unfortunately, even the best electric knife is usually nowhere near as flexible as a traditional manual one.
The reason being their design and the fact that 2 blades need to be clipped together before they will work.
This usually results in a slightly thicker blade and one that's a little less flexable.
However, the amount of flex you need comes down to the way you tackle the job and your filleting style.
Let me quickly explain.
If you're a rib bone cutter who makes an incision behind the head and removes the fillet by keeping the knife close to the back bone and slicing down to the tail then an electric knife is ideal because you barely need to flex it at all.
But if your plan is to tackle the fish by cutting down along it’s back, coming over the back bone, then skirting around the rib cage, and removing the fillet with the belly still attached then you need a bit more flexibility.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still fillet this way with an electric knife, it just takes a little getting used to.
And you’ll find a thinner, more flexible blade offers less resistance, is easier to maneuver around those bones, and will give you a better result with a cleaner cut fillet.
A more malleability knife is better at making some of those more delicate cuts too. like when you want to trim off the ribcage, remove fin’s, or skin the fish.
As well as the material it’s made of, and it’s flexibility, you also need to think about the length of the blade.
And at the risk of stating the obvious, make sure you get a knife that's long enough for the size and species of fish you’ll hopefully be catching.
The majority of knives come with a blade somewhere between 7 and 9 inches in length. Which will work fine for most of the fish you need to fillet.
But you will start running into problems when filleting fish at either end of the size spectrum
Luckily, the best electric fillet knives usually come with at least 2 interchangeable blades while some have up to 5. There are manufacturers that will even provide blades that can be used to slice vegetables, fruits, bread and other types of meat.
So, if you need a versatile knife that gives you the option to fillet absolutely anything that lands on your hook (including the little lad below) then look for one where you can change the blades.
The Knife Tip
Another really important but often overlooked feature is the tip of the knife. All the top electric fillet knives have blades that taper down from the handle to a pointy and flexible sharp end.
This makes them easier to guide in close to the bone and navigate around them without damaging the flesh of the fish.
Of course, you’ll still be able to fillet with a knife that's got a rounded or a square tip, it's just a bit more awkward, you’ll find you do a much better job when the blades got a more pointed end.
Unfortunately, the handles of most commercial electric fillet knives are big, bulky, and a little bit heavy when compared to a manual one.
This is down to the fact that there's a motor inside and cordless versions will also have a battery attached.
Electric motors also vibrate, some more than others, but when you add all these factors up, even the best electric fillet knife can be a bit uncomfortable to use for prolonged periods.
I suppose this is the tradeoff for being able to fillet so many fish with such little effort.
There are a few features to look for in a knife that can help make them a little more comfortable to hold, especially if you know you're going to undertake a few arduous filleting sessions.
Shape And Ergonomics
First off, look for a knife that's got some contours and nicely rounded edges.
Anything too boxy with lots of 90 degree angles will get uncomfortable and hard to hold after a while increasing strain, pressure, and fatigue in your hand and wrist.
An ergonomic handle not only helps you to clean quite a few fish before becoming weary but enhances your safety too.
Given how sharp the blades of fillet knives are, and how slippy fish can be, a well designed handle can help you keep a firm grip and avoid slipages and accidents.
And to establish if a knife has a good grip you need to check what materials are used in its build.
The material used in most electric knife handles is hard plastic. And although it’s sturdy, it has one glaring issue, it can become a little slippery when wet and difficult to hold properly.
This won’t be a problem if you’ve only a few fish to fillet but once you get up to number 20 or so you might have to clean your hands or the handle to maintain a good grip.
Soft rubber, on the other hand is a lot more slippage resistant even if it’s exposed to wet conditions.
It's also easier to hold so it's a worthwhile investment in comfort too.
Now that you know what to look for its time to review some knives.
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Best Electric Fillet Knife Reviews
Rapala Cordless Fillet Knife Combo
Sturdy and lightweight Rapala Cordless is one of our favourite electric blades. A bit pricier than other fillet knives on the market it's packed with a great selection of features including......
The knife itself is powered using lithium-ion batteries (2 hour re-charge time) so it's easy to take fishing and use on the go.
Rapala has designed the knife to provide 80 continuous minutes of runtime with zero loss of power and torque.
This means that as the power drains from the battery the blades will keep going at the same speed.
And just in case your battery does die with only a few fish left to fillet there's a back up included in the price.
That's a total of 160 minutes which should give even the best anglers enough time to fillet their catch.
And if you're worried the motor will overheat given that the knife is capable of being used constantly for more than 2 hours Rapala’s advanced air flow body design keeps things running cool and smooth.
Plus, it comes with an ergonomic handle that's comfortable to grip for long periods preventing what I like to call fillet fatigue.
The key highlight of the Rapala though, has to be the variety of components provided.
Other than the cordless knife, you also get 2 lithium ion batteries, 2 interchangeable blades, and a wall charger.
Essentially, you have everything you need to start filleting straight away and all these accessories can be neatly packed away into a padded EVA storage case.
Berkley BCEFK110 Electric Fillet Knife
In contrast to the Rapala above the very affordable Berkley, Electric Fillet Knife is a corded blade that needs to be plugged in.
So, you’ll have to wait till you return to base before cleaning your catch. On the brighter side, you never have to worry about replacing or recharging batteries.
Powered by 110 volts the Berkley feels quite robust and solid in your hand. Weighing in at a little over 2 pounds the knife is 13 inches long from heel to tip.
The blade itself is made from stainless steel and is high quality, sharp, and corrosion-resistant.
And at 8 inches in length, it’s capable of tackling a wide variety of fish sizes.
Another plus of the Berkley is the handle which is designed with contours to fit snugly in the palm of your hand making it really comfortable to hold.
A great safety feature of the Berkeley is the side blade release buttons. Positioned out of the way on the side of the knife they help avoid accidental blade release when it’s in operation.
American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife
If you catch and fillet a lot of different species and sizes of fish then the American Angler PRO will make an excellent addition to your arsenal of equipment.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the American pro is a bit expensive compared to other knives.
But for a heftier price tag, you’ll get up to 5 different blades. These include a 10-inch, a 5.5-inch with a curved tip, an 8-inch with a curved tip as well as an 8- and 10-inch heavy-duty shark blades.
With such a wide range of blades, there’s no one task involved in cleaning fish that you can’t tackle.
According to the manufacturer, this fillet set provides 2 times the amount of torque that conventional fillet knives offer. This means they’re more powerful, which makes them suitable for achieving clean, smooth and precise cuts.
Another feature the American Angler offers that other brands don’t is the 2-year limited lifetime warranty. This means that at any time the knife stops working because of defects in materials or poor workmanship, the manufacturer will cover these damages.
Mr Twister Gent’s Best Fish Knife
If you’re just getting started with filleting fish and don’t want to spend a fortune on an electric knife then the Gent’s Best is one of the best value models on the market.
And despite being quite affordable, it has many of the essential features you’d expect from an electrically driven blade.
Designed with the avid fisherman in mind, the gents best strikes a great balance between pricing and features.
For starters, It’s lightweight design makes it possible to use for extended periods. While the contoured handle fits really nicely in your hand.
This gives you great control and enhances your safety as you fillet your catch.
The 7 inch blades are incredibly sharp and once you factor in the 110v high-torque motor you have a fillet knife that cuts smoothly and accurately.
The knife comes with a tough and durable cord that's coiled and extendable giving you a bit more length to work with while you fillet.
To further enhance your safety, the manufacturer has incorporated a safety lock to prevent accidental release of the blade.
But perhaps the best feature of the knife is the high impact housing that protects the motor.
Filleting fresh fish can be a slippery business and a tough motor housing protects the knife in case you accidentally drop it on a hard surface.
Designed to tackle the tough scales, skin, and bone of large saltwater species the first thing you’ll notice about the MT-1208 by Mr Twister is the vibrant blue colour that this fillet knife comes in.
But looks aside, this fillet knife offers a top-notch performance. It’s equipped with a heavy duty stainless steel blade with hundreds of serrations so it glides through the tough scales of almost any fish.
And at 9 inches in length, the knife is fit for tackling some of the larger fish species such as tuna, billfish, and tarpon.
Lightweight at just 1.5 pounds the piranha’s motor is quite powerful offering 25% more torque and 15% more speed than previous versions according to the manufacturer.
The coiled power cord extends to about 5 feet giving you enough length to move around as you clean your catch. And the knife comes with a 1-year warranty.
Rapala Deluxe Electric Fillet Knife
The Rapala deluxe is the only corded model on the market that is somewhat portable and gives you a couple of options if you want to take it on the road.
This is down to the number of adapters that come with the blade. Included are a 110V AC, 12V Post Clips & 12V Lighter Plug.
You can either power it from the mains, work it off your car or jeeps battery, and even plug it into your car or boat lighter outlet.
Like the other Rapala on the list this knife comes with interchangeable stainless steel 6 and 7½ inch reciprocating blades which makes it capable of filleting both small and larger fish species.
The extra-long 18-foot power cord gives you plenty of room to work and the freedom to move about as you fillet your catch.
Weighing in at just 1 pound the Rapala deluxe is lightweight and inside the handle there's a powerful quiet motor designed with advanced airflow technology to keep things running cool and smooth.
Bubba Li-Ion Cordless Electric Fillet Knife
There's a lot to like about this electric blade from Bubba. Not least its comfortable contoured non-slip rubber handle that fits neatly into your hand like a dream.
Powered by Lithium-Ion batteries with an excellent run time, the knife comes with a spare one included, and there's also a LED indicator light on the handle that lets you know when you're running low on power.
One of the key features of the bubba is the wide variety of blades that come with the knife. Included are a 7” E-FLEX, 9” E-FLEX, 9” E-STIFF and 12” E-STIFF.
This makes the knife a worthwhile investment for any fisherman who goes after a wide variety of different sizes and species of fish.
The blades themselves are some of the most flexible you’ll see in an electric knife and are made from high carbon stainless steel and coated in titanium-nitride for some added corrosion resistance.
Weighing in at 1.11 lbs the bubba is quite lightweight but still feels substantial in your hand.
Even the very best electric fillet knife will overheat and slow down with long drawn out use.
But if it’s happening a lot it could mean that the blades are blunt and need changing.
Using dull blades means you’ve got to push the blade harder which puts more pressure on the motor and can cause it to heat up.
You could put an edge back on the blades yourself, but serrated knives are notoriously difficult to sharpen. You need a special rod and a little know how.
And although some manufacturers recommend it, it's far easier to just replace them.
Their not that expensive anyway, and as you’ve probably cleaned anywhere up to 800 fish with them they don't owe you anything,
Which One To Go For
An electric fillet knife is a worthy investment; it works a lot faster and more efficiently than the manual fillet knife.
There's a lot to think about before splash the cash though. Corded vs cordless, comfort, blade length and construction etc. etc...
But the main thing to focus on is the quantity, species, and size of the fish you'll be filleting and then pick the knife you think will do the best job for you.
And if you're looking for a good all rounder then we really like the Bubba.
You can take it anywhere, it comes with a spare battery and a nice carry case. The handle is comfortable and the 4 interchangeable blades are strong and flexible so you can tackle any fish in the sea...
Good luck on your next fishing trip!
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