7 Best Fish Scalers Reviewed & Compared

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A day out on the water, whether you are alone or with loved ones, is always a great time. One of the best ways to top off a fishing trip is by cooking a feast using all your freshly caught fish. However, prepping the fish to be cooked is often considered to be a boring and painstaking process.

A fish scaler can help simplify and speed meal prepping up; what is the best fish scaler on the market? This review can help you choose which fish scaler is right for your home.

Preview

Model

Scaler Type

Weight

Check Price

Brass Fish Scaler L

Yamasho Brass L

Manual

1.76 ounces

Bear Paw HDEFS Heavy Duty Electric Fish...

Bear Paw HDEFS

Electric

6 pounds

Electric Fish Scaler,Powerful Cordless Fish...

Speder

Electric

1.32 pounds

Big Norm-Feets 88111 Magic Fish Scaler

Tackle Factory Big Norm-Feets 88111

Manual

0.32 ounces

Winco FSP-9 Scale Peeler, 9.5-Inch

Winco FSP-9

Manual

2.4 ounces

HIC Fish Scaler for Cleaning Fish, 8.5-Inches

Conimar HIC

Manual

1.6 ounces

Open Country TD-6065-13 Tumble Drumm...

Open Country TD-6065-13

Electric and automatic

18 pounds


Why Use a Fish Scaler

Why should I use a fish scaler when I can just use a dull knife or spoon? A fish scaler can be incredibly efficient and effective at removing scales, featuring sawtooth or ridged metal edges that lift and pull the scales away.

Typically made of a combination metal, wood, or plastic, fish scalers are most useful for people who cook fish often, fish regularly, or those with little time on their hands when in the kitchen.


Four Types Of Fish Scalers

  • Scale Peelers
    Similar to vegetable peelers, scale peelers are designed to slip under the scale and pull it out. Often made of plastic with serrated metal edges, scale peelers are easy to use and efficient.
  • Scaling Brushes or Scrapers
    Scaling brushes or scrapers have broad heads and teeth that are designed to scrape or brush away the fish scales without damaging the fillet or skin. They are typically made of plastic and steel and are often dishwasher friendly.
  • Scaling Knives
    Available in electric and non-electric versions, scaling knives feature sharp edges and comfortable grips. Some models feature changeable blades and nonstick handles. Electrical ones can be expensive and are often for commercial or very regular use.
  • Electric Scalers
    Electric scalers can come in many forms, from drill to drum to knife models. Designed to make scaling a fast and smooth process, they can be corded or cordless and come with nonstick grips and changeable blades for customization.

Choosing the Best Fish Scaler on the Market

Usage

How often do you go fishing? How often do you cook your catch after a trip? How many people do you typically feed? What types of fish do you need to descale? These are all questions that need to be considered carefully in the shopping process to help you choose the best model for you.

Fish Scaler Type

What type of scaler do you think fits your needs? Are you confident in your descaling abilities, or will you need a boost? We would typically say that handheld models are best for most people, and electrical ones are for incredibly regular fishers or cooks that need to prep large amounts of fish regularly.

Safety Features

Safety is of paramount importance in the kitchen. Read the product description and customer reviews carefully to make sure that it comes with safety features like a sheath, anti-slip grip, or other useful functions. Sometimes safety items like sheaths are sold separately, so please make sure you have everything before checking out your order.

Durability

No-one wants to repeatedly replace a valuable tool every few months or so; finding a durable and long-lasting fish scaler will save you both effort and money in the long run. Metal is lasting but can be prone to rust and corrosion if not treated and maintained carefully. Wood is eco-friendly and long-lasting but is prone to mold if not treated and cleaned regularly.

Plastic is a cheap alternative, but it is usually not eco friendly, and the construction can leave something to be desired. Read the customer reviews carefully to see how often people replace or repair your desired model to get an idea of its durability.

Ease of Use

If a new tool is difficult to use, you will not use it and will have wasted your money on it. A lightweight fish scaler that is easy to handle and comes with an easy to understand manual is the best kind to have in your home. Read the product description and customer reviews for an idea of how easy to use your preferred model is.

Clean Up

Along with being easy to use, your fish scaler should be easy to clean as well. Many modern fish scalers are dishwasher safe or able to be deconstructed for deep and easy cleaning. Think carefully about what the model is made of and check the product description; if there is no mention of it being dishwasher safe, then that typically means handwash only.

Price & Warranty

It is essential to set a budget and know exactly what you are looking for before shopping to get the best value for money. Looking online and in-store for good deals or sales on your desired model or even using a coupon or two can help ease the strain on your wallet. Getting the exact model you want for a good price can often be the icing on the cake and make you feel even better about your new tool.


7 Best Fish Scalers Reviewed

1. Yamasho Brass L

Best Handheld Fish Scaler (Top Pick!)

Scaler Type

Manual

Dishwasher Safe

N/A

Battery Type & Life

N/A

Weight

1.76 ounces

Our top handheld fish scaler, the Yamasho Brass L is an effective and sharp tool that requires little effort to remove all of the fish scales you need. Amazon's choice for brass fish scalers, this beautiful and inexpensive scaler has sharp edges and a comfortable wooden handle. It is simple in terms of design, function, and maintenance, needing a simple clean and occasional mold treatment.

This particular scraper is most effective when fully submerged rather than above water, which can be a positive or a negative depending on your needs. The wooden handle could be more secure but does not stop this model from being the best handheld fish scaler.

Pros
  • Amazon’s Choice
  • Beautiful
  • Inexpensive
  • Sharp head
  • Secure grip and comfy
Cons
  • Handle not the best quality
  • More effective underwater than above

2. Bear Paw HDEFS

Best Heavy-Duty Electric Scaler

Scaler Type

Electric

Dishwasher Safe

No

Battery Type & Life

N/A

Weight

6 pounds

The best heavy-duty electric scaler, the Bear Paw HDEFS is perfect for both commercial and at-home use. This model is both saltwater and rust-resistant and has a Teflon infused coating for added durability. Specially designed for descaling larger fish, this electric scaler has a long and flexible cord.

The Bear Paw electric fish scaler is durable, safe, and easy to clean despite not being dishwasher safe. The scaler carefully lifts the scales to prevent damage to the fillet and the skin, making for an even better meal. While all of that is great, this model is on the expensive side, and the cord can get in the way if not positioned properly.

Pros
  • Saltwater and rust-resistant
  • For larger fish
  • Teflon infused coating
  • Flexible cording
  • Commercial and home use
Cons
  • The cord can get in the way
  • On the expensive side

3. Speder

Best Cheap Electric Fish Scaler

Scaler Type

Electric

Dishwasher Safe

No

Battery Type & Life

Rechargeable 12 V lithium battery, 3-4 hours

Weight

1.32 pounds

Our best cheap electric fish scaler, the Speder electric fish scaler is a fully submersible model with a powerful motor and ergonomic handle. Amazon’s choice for electric fish scalers, the Speder model has a waterproof level of IPX7, and the blades are made of stainless steel.

This model is both durable and efficient; it can descale a fish in less than a minute if used correctly, making it perfect for plowing through a large scale catch or for speeding up cooking on a busy work night. Various electric fish scaler reviews note that this model's battery life is on the short side, so remember to charge this properly before you leave.

Pros
  • Fully submersible
  • Stainless steel
  • Powerful motor
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Comes with charger
Cons
  • Short battery life

4. Tackle Factory Big Norm-Feets 88111

Best Fish Scaler Tool

Scaler Type

Manual

Dishwasher Safe

Yes

Battery Type & Life

N/A

Weight

0.32 ounces

One of the best fish scaler tools on the market, the Big Norm-Feets fish scaler is simple to use and effective. It is both affordable and effective, making fast work of removing scales. This fish scaler tool’s design prevents scales from flying everywhere during the scaling process, making cleanup even easier and faster.

Because it is not a sharp-edged blade, this model may be a little unusual for anglers, but it is easy enough to get used to. That being said, the handle is just made of plastic, making it hard to hold or slippery when wet, which can be problematic when things get messy during the cleaning, fish scaling, and cooking process.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Effective
  • No scales flying
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Slippy handle
  • Hard to hold

5. Winco FSP-9

Best scale peeler

Scaler Type

Manual

Dishwasher Safe

Yes

Battery Type & Life

N/A

Weight

2.4 ounces

The best scale peeler on our list, the Winco FSP-9 is a sharp all-metal peeler that is available in both single and multipack. The Winco is suitable for both home and commercial use, with its small and light construction making for easy cleaning and storage. This fish scaler tool has a sharp, compact, all-metal design that is inexpensive.

It is dishwasher safe and manual, making it perfect for taking on the go or using at home. As the entire thing is made of metal, the handle can be uncomfortable to hold for long periods, which makes it better for the occasional fish cook or fisherman who cooks for one.

Pros
  • Available in a multipack
  • Inexpensive
  • All-metal design
  • Industry and home use
  • Sharp
Cons
  • The grip could be more comfortable

6. Conimar HIC

Best Aluminum Handheld Fish Scaler

Scaler Type

Manual

Dishwasher Safe

Yes

Battery Type & Life

N/A

Weight

1.6 ounces

Our pick for best aluminum handheld fish scaler, the Conimar HIC fish scaler has the most unique design of all of the fish scalers on our list. This affordable and dishwasher safe model has an appealing design and aims to scrape the scales without damaging the fish itself. The all-metal design and rounded edges mean that this is both durable and comfortable to hold.

The edges are not sharp, making it safe around children, and the hole in the all-metal handle means that it can be hung up for easy and convenient storage. To clean, simply scrub with soap and warm water or put it in the dishwasher. 

Pros
  • Unique design
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable and simple
  • Not dangerous
  • Affordable
Cons
  • The grip can be slippery

7. Open Country TD-6065-13

Top Of The Range Drum Fish Scaler

Scaler Type

Electric and automatic

Dishwasher Safe

No

Battery Type & Life

N/A

Weight

18 pounds

The top of the range drum fish scaler, the Open Country TD-6065-13 is a tumble drum automatic fish scaler, meaning that putting fish and water in a bucket and putting the scaler on top allows it to scale up to 50 fish at once with no effort from yourself. The drum has a large capacity and resists odor and mildew.

The simple roller and bucket design make this model easy to clean and dispose of any waste. While the lack of effort is wonderful, this drum fish scaler is on the expensive side and is a large piece of equipment that takes up space; this makes it less ideal for those with limited space.

Pros
  • Large capacity drum
  • Easy cleaning and disposal
  • Up to 50 panfish at once
  • Easy to use
  • Resists odor and mildew
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Takes up space

How to Use a Fish Scaler Effectively

As there are a wide variety of fish scaler models on the market, we can only give general guidance and tips. Check your fish scaler’s manual or the company website for specific tips and instructions.

  • Simple Handheld
    Hold the fish firmly by the tail in one hand and the scaler handle in the other. Stroke the surface of the fish from tail to head to lift and remove the scales, washing the scales and scaler off with clean water and repeating if necessary.

The above method can be used for most peeler types, with the biggest variation being in stroke length and time taken. Experiment and follow the model’s instructions carefully; speed and confidence come with practice.


Tips on Fish Cleaning

You will need:

  • Newspaper or old towels
  • Scaler
  • Fresh clean water
  • Scissors
  1. 1
    Lay out your newspaper on your preparation surface and put the bucket within arm's reach. The newspaper will help soak up any excess liquid, and the bucket will store the innards and other unusable parts of the fish.
  2. 2
    Place your fish on its side and hold its tail firmly. Run the scaler up the fish from the tail to the head. Do this on all sides of the fish and rinse in the freshwater when necessary.
  3. 3
    If your fish is particularly thick-skinned, it may be best to skin it with a knife rather than remove the scales.
  4. 4
    Find the small hole by the tail and make a small incision from that hole to just underneath the gills.
  5. 5
    Using a dull spoon or your hands, scoop out all of the innards in the fish. Look inside to make sure that you got all of the organs.
  6. 6
    Scrape and remove the dark membrane from the inner walls of the fish.
  7. 7
    Cut off the fish’s head if desired.
  8. 8
    Cut off the dorsal fin with the scissors if desired.
  9. 9
    Rinse both the outside and inside of the fish carefully with clean water.

Cleaning, Storing & Maintaining Your Fish Scaler

  • Cleaning Your Fish Scaler
    While your specific model should come with a manual detailing how to clean it, most fish scalers can either be hand washed or are dishwasher safe. If you do decide to handwash your fish scaler, check if it can be deconstructed for deeper cleaning beforehand. Be careful while handling sharp parts, use soapy water, and allow the scaler to dry completely before putting it away.
  • Storing Your Fish Scaler
    As your fish scaler has sharp edges, do ensure to store it in a cool, dry place that cannot be reached by children. Always store it in the given sheath or in a box to be extra safe.
  • Maintaining Your Fish Scaler
    If your fish scaler has a protective coating, make sure to avoid damaging it and replenish it when necessary. Clean it thoroughly and inspect it regularly for damage or loose parts. Your model’s manual should have more tips on how to care for your specific tool.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long does it take to scale fish?

The length of time taken to scale a fish depends on the tools used, your confidence, your skill, and the size of the fish in question. That being said, scaling a fish can be done anytime between 5 and 15 minutes.

What is the fastest way to remove fish scales?

The fastest way to remove fish scales is to use a fish scaler; depending on your skill and confidence, an electrical model may speed things up.

Can I cook fish with scales on?

Some types of fish can be cooked with the scales on while others leave a bad texture in your mouth. The type of fish and cooking method determine whether descaling is necessary or not.

Is it worth it to buy an automatic fish scaler?

If you regularly catch or buy a large volume of fish and cook them regularly, then we would argue that an automatic fish scaler may be a great investment. If you only cook fish occasionally, then we would recommend choosing a cheap or non-electrical model.

Which direction should I move when scaling a fish?

Always run the descaling tool from the tail up to the head using medium-length strokes. Going in the direction goes against the scales layout and gets the tools underneath the scale for easy removal.

Who can benefit most from using a fish scaler?

The people who typically benefit the most from using a fish scaler are fishermen who cook their catches regularly, commercial chefs who specialize in seafood, and home cooks with little time on their hands.


Conclusion

While we love all of the fish scalers on our list, we have to recommend the Yamato Brass L as the best fish scaler on the market overall due to its extra features, affordable price, and customer reviews. If you need any other fishing accessories, we have more articles and recommendations on our website.