Informational Guide

Electric Vs Regular Fillet Knife

There are pros and cons to both kinds of fishing knives. We explore the differences between electric vs regular fillet knives for anglers.

by Andrew

Informational Guide

Electric Vs Regular Fillet Knife

There are pros and cons to both kinds of fishing knives. We explore the differences between electric vs regular fillet knives for anglers.

by Andrew

by Andrew

Fillet knives are made to clean fish and prepare them to be cooked. This is an important tool for those who enjoy catching their own fish, and these handy knives make the process of creating the perfect fish fillets easy. 

If you have been wondering if an electric fillet knife vs a regular fillet knife was better for the job, that is a fair question. 

There are pros and cons to both kinds of knives, and some fishermen prefer one over the other. Some people will choose to have both tools on hand for different jobs as needed.

If you want to learn more about which of these two knives is right for your needs, you should read on! 

Electric fillet knives are made to take the heavy-lifting out of the filleting process when cleaning fish. These knives are made with reciprocating saws that are mounted on both sides of the handle of the knife. They push back and forth in opposing directions to help cut through bone and tissue to separate the good parts of the fish from the rest of the carcass. 

electric fillet knife

This kind of knife is a big help for people who have issues with gripping a knife or might have something like arthritis that makes working with their hands painful. This can be a great knife for use on a large batch of fish, and it can help you clean larger fish with ease. 

The downside to this kind of knife is that it can be hard to get a feel for the use of it at first, and it might require more steps to clean and care for than some anglers want to commit to the process. There are reasons that many people still use a traditional fillet knife, and these are the two main concerns that purists have with electric knives. 

  • Easy to handle 
  • Cuts readily  
  • Makes cleaning fish faster 
  • Helps those with arthritis or grip issues to clean fish 
  • Requires power to use 
  • More work to clean and care for 
  • Not something that you can carry on your belt 
  • Must be used in a specific way for success 

Regular Fillet Knives: A Worthwhile Option? 

Regular fillet knives are the traditional choice of many anglers, and for good reason. These knives are made to cut through tough tissue and bone and can generate well-cleaned and well-prepared fish fillets for your eating enjoyment. These knives can be stored in a sheath on your belt or at your side, which makes them a great choice for cleaning on the go. 

cut fish

Regular fillet knives are made to be durable and to hold up to tough demands. They are easy to sharpen and care for and can come in many sizes and lengths for your specific needs. This knife will require limited sharpening so long as you take care of the blade with the proper honing techniques as needed. 

  • Durable gripping handle 
  • Sharp and effective blade 
  • Easy to store and clean 
  • Practical and affordable 
  • Requires some time to learn to sharpen 
  • Requires honing between uses 
  • Might be hard to use with arthritis or grip issues 

Electric Knife Vs Regular Fillet Knife: Which is Better? 

There are pros and cons to both kinds of fillet knife. As mentioned before, you might choose to use these knives for different kinds of tasks when cleaning fish.

They both offer some features that the other does not, and you might benefit from having both of them on hand.

If you are not sure which is the right knife for your needs, let’s talk about some of the processes that each knife is best suited for. 

Cleaning Various Fish Types 

Both kinds of knives can take care of this job with ease, but if you have to clean fish that are quite large or have tough scales and large bones, you might want to use an electric fillet knife. This does not mean that you cannot use your traditional fillet knife for this job, but the electric knife will be easier on your hands and wrists in some instances. 

Large Amounts of Cutting 

This is where the electric knife really shines since you will not have to exert much effort to use this knife to create fillets. You will find that larger volumes of filleting are best done with an electric fillet knife, and your hands and wrists will thank you for this assistance. 

Filleting Styles 

There are some filleting styles that simply cannot be done with an electric fillet knife. You will need to consider that you cannot take care of more delicate tasks with an electric fillet knife, and your traditional blade will likely be needed for these jobs. 


Both of these knife types are equally safe to use, but if you have an issue with your hands that prevents your grip from being very strong, the electric fillet knife might be a better choice for your needs. Traditional fillet knives are made with durable, grippy handles, and this is usually all that is needed to prevent accidents related to the use of the knife. 

Sharpness Over Time 

Both of these knife types are made to hold up to lots of tough work. Your traditional blade will require honing more often than the electric blades, and you will need to sharpen it at least once a year. The electric blades will likely stay sharper for longer, but you will probably have to send them out to a professional sharpener when the time comes. 

Purchase Costs 

The costs for both of these knives can be variable. Overall, a quality traditional knife will cost you less than an electric knife will. You will find that both knife types are fairly reasonably priced, but you should be aware of the added cost for the motor and other components that are required for an electric knife to do its job. 

Blade Flexibility 

The flexibility of the blade on a traditional knife is superior to that of the electric fillet knife. The electric fillet knife has two blades, and this makes it much stiffer to use. The traditional knife will have some flex naturally, making it easier to use for more delicate work such as boning.

People also Ask (FAQs)

Can you fillet with any kitchen knife? 

While you can fillet with most kitchen knives, you will only get a good result from working with a real fillet knife. The shape and flexibility of the fillet knife design make it the best choice for this task. There are many different filleting styles, and some basic knives are up to the task of the simplest of these styles. 

What is a good size manual fillet knife? 

There are various sizes of this kind of knife, and you can choose from any of them that suit your needs. The most common size is about 7 inches in length, but some more durable blades will be more in the range of 9 inches or so. 

What is a good size for an electric fillet knife? 

This style of knife also should be about 7 to 8 inches long. There are not as many sizing options with an electric fillet knife, so you will probably have a more limited buying experience with this factor in mind. 


Electric fillet knife vs. regular fillet knife is a common question, but there is really no right or wrong answer. For most people, both knives can have benefits, and you might want to keep one of each on hand for your fish cleaning needs.

If you have to prepare a large volume of fish fillets or are working with large and heavy fish, an electric knife can be a big help. Otherwise, your traditional fillet knife will take care of all of your needs with ease.