Electric knives are a fast and easy way to fillet fish or carve up a turkey. They take some effort out of the cutting process and make it easy to cut through bone if necessary. Depending on what you’re cutting, you need the right blade for the job. We want to leave behind as little meat as we can and keep the meat as cleanly cut as possible.
Most electric knives are corded, but batteries have improved substantially over the year and now you can get a highly-capable cordless fillet knife at a reasonable price. Cordless gives you more freedom of movement and can be used anywhere.
Why go electric?
If you need to fillet a large batch of fish or large fish, an electric knife is simply easier than doing it manually. Of course, it does take some time to get used to using an electric knife and it’s very easy to cut deeper than you intend to. Once you get a feel for it, however, it’s a fast and easy way to fillet large quantities of fish very quickly.
How to Choose
In this section, we go over a few of the important considerations that you need to be aware of so that you purchase the right fillet knife for your particular needs. In our Top Picks section below, we have indicated the type of meat each knife is best fit for cutting, but these aren’t strict guidelines and you can often simply attach a different style blade to use the knife for a different purpose. Also, at the end of the day a knife is a knife and they can still cut even if it’s not optimal.
- Blade style – depending on the type of animal you will be harvesting meat from or the type of cooked meat you will be slicing, certain blades do a better job than others. For filleting fish, you want a relatively thin blade with some flex so that you can get as close to the bone as possible. For slicing large cuts of meat such as brisket, you want a stiff blade that gives you a clean slice and doesn’t flex from the more dense medium. For bread, you want a stiff blade that doesn’t shred the bread and gives you a clean slice.
- Powering the knife – you may want to begin filleting your fish when you may not have access to a 110V power outlet, so you either need a cordless knife or one that can connect to a lighter plug or 12V battery posts.
Blade length is one of the very practical concerns you should have when selecting a knife. Some models only come with a single blade while others come with a few different sizes and styles. Most models come standard with at least a 6″ to 7-1/2″ blade for filleting fish.
For carving at home, power isn’t a concern. However, if you want to fillet a batch of fish outdoors then there are a few options to choose from. Battery-powered knives have greatly improved over the years with lithium-ion batteries becoming the standard. The other options are lighter plugs that can plug into your vehicle or some ATVs. Lastly, the Rapala Deluxe model we recommend below also comes with battery post clips to connect directly to a 12V battery.
Our Top Picks
Our recommendation for the most versatile fish fillet knife, based on features and included accessories, is the Rapala Deluxe Electric Fillet Knife. You can plug it into a standard 110V outlet, lighter plug, or 12V battery posts. While it doesn’t come with blades long enough to handle larger fish such as salmon it’s a great choice for smaller fish with its 7-1/2″ blade option.
For the most versatile cordless, we recommend the Bubba Li-Ion Cordless Fillet Knife. Non-slip grip, storage case, and four blades ranging from 7″ to 12″ in either tapered flex or stiff style.
|Model Name||Preview||Details||Best For|
|Rapala Deluxe Electric Fillet Knife||6" And 7-1/2" Reciprocating blades; Includes Adapters for 110V AC, 12V Post Clips & 12V Lighter Plug||Fish||Check Amazon|
|American Angler Professional Electric Fillet Knife||5 blades: (1) 10" Saltwater Blade, (1) 5.5" Curved Tip Blade, (1) 8" Curved Tip Blade, (1) 10" Heavy Duty Shark Blade and (1) 8" Heavy Duty Shark Blade; Only plugs into a standard 110V outlet||Fish||Check Amazon|
|Bubba Electric Fillet Knife||7 inch E FLEX, 9 inch E FLEX, 9 inch E STIFF and 12 inch E STIFF Blades; Only plugs into a standard 110V outlet||Fish||Check Amazon|
|Hamilton Beach Electric Knife||Storage Case, Stainless Steel Blade and Fork Included||Beef, Poultry, Pork, Bread||Check Amazon
|NutriChef Electric Knife||Includes 2 stainless steel blades, Wooden Block for storing the knife on your countertop or in a drawer||Beef, Poultry, Pork, Bread||Check Amazon
|Cuisinart CEK-30 Electric Knife||Stainless steel blade included||Beef, Poultry, Pork, Bread||Check Amazon
|Rapala Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife||Padded storage case, Wall Charger, 2 Batteries, 6" Blade, 7.5" Blade||Fish||Check Amazon
|Bubba Li-Ion Cordless Electric Fillet Knife||7” E-FLEX, 9” E-FLEX, 9” E-STIFF and 12” E-STIFF Blades, wall charger, (2) lithium ion batteries and a premium EVA case||Fish||Check Amazon
Blades for Filleting Fish
American Angler recommends the following blade sizes and styles for each different species of fish shown in the table below. The blades we linked to below are from American Angler, but you can find comparable blades from other manufacturers that we have discussed above. These are rough estimates for blade sizes that you need to get the job done.
|10" Heavy Duty||Tuna, Swordfish, Halibut|
|10" Shark Style||Grouper, Striped Bass, Salmon, Redfish|
|8" Shark Style||Catfish, Bass Walleye, Snook|
|8" Curved Style||Snapper, Cod, Flounder|
|5.5" Curved Style||Crappie, Bream, Trout, Yellow Perch, Whitefish, White Bass|
Electric Knives for Filleting Fish
For filleting fish, we usually want to cleanly separate as much meat as possible from the carcass and skin by cutting as close to the bone as possible. For thicker-skinned fish, such as catfish an electric knife can help you quickly remove the skin from the fillet. It’s fast, easy and requires less effort on your part which can be helpful if you’ve got a lot of fish to fillet. If the technique you’re using involves cutting through bone, then it’s usually much easier with an electric knife.
Fish come in such a wide range of sizes that it’s important to have a few different blades to choose from, such as a 10” for larger fish like tuna, grouper, salmon, and a more nimble 5”-8” curved blade for bream, catfish, or trout.
At the end of the day, it’s all about getting as much meat off the bone as possible and selecting the right blade is the first step.
Rapala Deluxe Electric Fillet Knife (AC or DC Power)
- Includes adapters for 110V AC, 12V Post Clips, and 12V Lighter Plug
- Advanced Air Flow Design for staying cool while handling many fish
- 18 Foot Power Cord
- Easy to use with a trolling motor, car, or boat battery post
- Includes convenient travel case that fits all hardware
- Includes 6″ and 7-1/2″ Reciprocating Blades
Many people choose to process their fish in a garage, on your boat dock, or just about anywhere except their kitchen since it can be quite messy and it’s easier to dispose of waste when you’re already outside. For that reason, one of our primary concerns when selecting a top-rated model is how versatile its included power connections are.
The Rapala Deluxe includes comfortably long 18-feet power cords that can plug into a standard home AC socket, 12V lighter plug, or use post clips to connect to a 12-volt battery on your trolling motor, boat, or car. With these options, it doesn’t much sense for most people that want to fillet large batches of fish to buy a cordless fillet knife. However, a cordless fillet knife is a great backup option and even could be your primary fillet knife depending on the volume of fish you typically handle.
The 6″ and 7-1/2″ blades are a great size for small to mid-size fish such as crappie, perch, bass, or small trout. Optionally, you can purchase a 9-inch blade that is ideal for pike, salmon, and larger fish.
This next knife is our top recommendation for a cordless fillet knife. It has a variety of blades included along with 2 batteries and a storage case. It’s a great option for
Bubba Cordless Electric Fillet Knife
- 7″ E-Flex, 9″ E -Flex, 9″ E-Stiff, and 12″ E-Stiff Blades
- Wall Charger and 2 lithium-ion batteries
- Premium EVA Case for storage
- 8′ Cord
- Safety Lock and Trigger Guard
One of the great features of the Bubba cordless model that some other manufacturers take for granted is the non-slip grip handle. Filleting fish is a messy, wet task and a knife that slips in your hand not only could injure you, but ruin a fillet. Precise control means you can get the most meat off the bone in a single motion.
Battery technology has come a long way over the years and lithium-ion batteries are the standard for most consumer electronics, and they replaced the less robust NiMH and other similar batteries in many products. They charge quickly and are less particular about how they are charged. We haven’t been able to find a battery life that we can quote from the manufacturer, but we’ve seen customers say that the Bubba knife can fillet 60 crappies with about half a charge left on the battery indicator. Naturally, it would be hard to provide an exact number for the battery life as it depends on the type and size of the fish you’re filleting as the blade resistance will be different as well as the length of time you need to turn the knife on to cut off a fillet.
The selection of blades included with the Bubba Cordless Fillet Knife is essentially all you will ever need until you either need replacements or to sharpen them. It includes 2 flexible blades and 2 stiff blades between 7″ and 12″. Bubba blades are made out of high-carbon stainless steel and finished with a titanium nitride coating, which makes them corrosion resistant and causes meat to fall effortlessly off the blade.
The Bubba Cordless Knife really is a complete package for when you want to fillet a batch of fish and don’t have access to power, or just want the convenience of a cordless knife. We’ve seen customers say they have cleaned about 20 large fish in a row on a single battery charge, and the Bubba includes 2 batteries so you can expect to be able to handle quite a few fish. Obviously, larger saltwater fish and even catfish or walleye can be several times larger than smaller bream or perch, so take the battery life number above with a grain of salt. Smaller fish require less effort and you should find this knife can handle more than 20.
American Angler Pro Electric Fillet Knife
- 5 Blades Included: 10″ Saltwater Blade, 5.5″ Curved Tip Blade, 8″ Curved Tip Blade, 10″ Heavy Duty Shark Blade, and 8″ Heavy Duty Shark Blade
- 2-year Warranty
- Storage Bag
- Safety Glove
The American Angler Pro Fillet Knife comes with a more versatile set of blades than the Rapala, but doesn’t have the power connection options since it can only plug into a standard 120V socket. With that said, you can always use a power inverter in your vehicle’s lighter plug to plug in the fillet knife if needed. If you’ve already got an inverter, then the American Angler Pro might be better for you since the included blades are more robust. Otherwise, if larger saltwater fish isn’t something you’re worried about then consider the Rapala.
Rapala Li-Ion Cordless Fillet Knife
- 2 Lithium-Ion Batteries Included
- 80 continuous minutes of run-time per battery
- 6″ Blade and 7.5″ Blade Included
- EVA Padded Storage Case
Rapala gives a number, 80 minutes, for the life of its batteries, however, this is highly subjective as the size and type of fish you’re cutting will drain the battery differently. Either way, the battery life on both the Bubba and Rapala models seems to be impressive.
Like with the corded Rapala fillet knife, the cordless model comes with two blades, 6″ and 7-1/2″. These are great blades for most freshwater fish, but you will likely want to get a 9″ to 10″ blade for saltwater fish and salmon or tuna.
Electric Knives for Carving and Slicing
Carving breasts from large poultry, such as turkeys, is possibly the most common use for electric carving knives. The blades used on electric knives for carving turkeys are usually much different than those used for filleting fish. For turkey carving, we generally use a straight, serrated blade that doesn’t flex and can withstand the more dense meat and skin from a large turkey. The same is true for large cuts of beef or pork, such as brisket or Boston butt. A flimsy filleting blade is not recommended for these applications.
One of the first things you should consider when selecting an electric knife is whether or not it has a blade that fits your needs. You generally want an 8 to 10-inch blade for carving a turkey or large cuts of beef or pork. Keep in mind you may want to slice large loaves of bread as well, so a longer blade is desirable for that as well.
In any case, the knives we’re going to review in this section are more general-purpose slicing and carving knives that have more rigid blades than the fish fillet knives above and can be used to cut vegetables, fruit, meat, bread, or anything else you need.
BLACK+DECKER 9-Inch Electric Carving Knife, EK500B
- Safety Lock and easy blade release
- 9-inch stainless steel blades
- 5 ft. power cord
- 2-year Warranty
The nice thing about this Black & Decker electric knife is the length of the blades. Many of the knives in this price range come with 6″ blades which is really too small for larger cuts of meat such as turkey, brisket, or Boston Butt. As far as customer satisfaction goes, the Black & Decker seems to be one of the higher-rated models and fewer bad experiences. It seems with any electric knife there is someone that has had a terrible problem that caused them to give up on using the knife, but overall the Black & Decker has received very nice reviews from many people. We think it’s important to evaluate the best and worst customer experiences to see if there is a fatal flaw with a product that might pop up after long term use, and isn’t immediately obvious just from using the product a few times.
The length of the warranty is another big factor in us choosing the Black & Decker model, as a 2-year warranty for an electric knife in this price range is impressive.
The NutriChef is another great option that comes with two pairs of blades and a convenient storage block that lets you store the knife on your countertop.
NutriChef PKELKN16 Portable Electrical Food Cutter Knife Set
- Includes a Wooden Butcher Block for storing the handheld and blades on your countertop or in a drawer
- Safety Lock
- Includes 2 stainless steel blades
- Storage Block Dimensions: 5.5″ L x 3.5″ W x 12.5″ H
- 100W Max Power
The wooden storage block gives you a way to store the knife on your countertop instead of in a drawer. Depending on how your kitchen is setup and if you have a lot of spare countertop space, then you at least have an option to store it either way.
It’s not clear if there is a warranty provided with the NutriChef, but the retailer that you purchase it from will generally have a short return period that you can allow you to get your money back if it’s not working for you. The NutriChef has very positive reviews. It is important to read the manual, as maintaining your knife and using it properly can extend its life. One of the common complaints with any electric knife is how much they can heat up. Every model is different, but for the NutriChef it is recommended that you only operate the knife for 5 minutes at a time and allow it to cool.
Cuisinart CEK-30 Electric Knife
- 5′ Cord
- Single Blade included
- One-touch On/Off operation
- 18-month Warranty
Cuisinart is a well-known brand for making kitchen products. The CEK-30 electric knife has a slightly shorter blade than the Black & Decker model we recommended above, but is still a reasonable option for an electric knife in this price range. The 18-month warranty is a great bonus as well.
Safety gloves are always a good idea when dealing with sharp objects, especially sharp objects attached to a motor and are electric. There are a few electric knife models that come with a safety glove, but most don’t.
A simple pair of cut resistant gloves can save you a lot of trouble and maybe even a fingertip.
Filleting fish is one of the more dangerous applications of an electric knife since you typically hold the fish with your hand while cutting with the other. For slicing meat, you can use a fork to avoid ever having your hand near the blade.
Fish are going to be slippery and require proper technique to fillet successfully.
|NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves||100% food safe and machine washable; 4 sizes available||Check Amazon
|2 Pairs EVRIDWEAR Cut Resistant Gloves With Silicone Grip Dots||Made from high performance Polyethylene (HPPE) glass fibers, which are knitted together tightly to prevent the knife from cutting through. Highly durable, lightweight, and comfortable. Easy to clean them in the washer.||Check Amazon
|KOqwez33 Cut Resistant Fishing Gloves||1Pc Cut-Resistant Fishing Gloves + 1Pc Carabiner, There are M/L/XL sizes to choose||Check Amazon
|Schwer Cut Resistant Stainless Steel Metal Mesh Chainmail Gloves||5,000 tightly connected small steel rings make your work gloves stronger and won’t tear or wear easily like normal cut resistant gloves; 7 sizes available||Check Amazon