Fillet Knife vs Chef Knife – Difference and Pros/Cons

Here we will compare a fillet knife and a chef knife and draw some conclusions about which knife is better for which purpose. We will explain what are the characteristics of fillet knives and where their use is more effective and also highlight the characteristics of chef knives. The purpose of this comparison is to enlighten those who are confused as to which type of knife can best meet their needs. 

People are often confused to distinguish between these two types, mainly due to their long blades. After reading this article you will know what the real difference is between a fillet knife vs a chef knife. To find out, we’ll explain their differences and the pros and cons of each. Interestingly, both types are invaluable to both the kitchen cook and the outdoorsman.

Fillet Knife vs Chef Knife: Differences

The main difference between the two is their use, a fillet knife is designed specifically for filleting meat and fish while a chef’s knife is designed for general kitchen tasks such as cutting vegetables and fruits. As the name of the fillet knife is clear, its specialty is to fillet all types of small and large fishes. While a chef knife is multi-purpose, it can be used for canning, slicing and cutting.

As for other differences in blades, fillet knives have long, narrow blades that curve at the end, called drag point blades, to delicately separate meat from bones. Chef’s knives also have long but wide blades that are used mostly for cooking.

What’s a Fillet Knife and How is it Used?

Knife control is essential when cutting a piece of meat or fish away from the bone, which no one does better than a fillet knife. The grip of the handle and the sharpness of the blade help in moving smoothly along the backbone and under the skin of the meat.

A fillet knife is a member of the boning knife family, but a fillet knife (with a blade 6 to 8 inches long) is lighter and more flexible for filleting any type of fish, while a boning knife is better for separating meat from bones.

When filleting, the method of using a fillet knife is to pull the blade cleanly towards the knife user, cleanly separating the skin or flesh from the fish. But first, you need to identify where the primary bone is. Then use the edge of the knife to slice around the bone and the meat should come out in one piece when you’re done.

What’s a Chef Knife and How is it Used?

Chef knives are in high demand for use in home kitchens and restaurants. It is useful in many kitchen tasks due to its wide, long (6 to 14 inches in length) and sharp blade characteristic. People like to use them for slicing meat, chopping vegetables, chopping herbs, splitting nuts etc. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when cutting with a chef’s knife:

  • Hold the knife in the center of the blade, not the handle, keeping the knife balanced on your hand.
  • Your four fingers should be on one side and your thumb on the other side of the blade.
  • Steady the tip of the knife with the other hand, rocking it back and forth, so you can get the most out of your cut. (when cutting with one hand)

Fillet Knife vs. Chef Knife: Pros

As we know, the fillet knife is designed to cut meat right off the bone, has a back point and a large, curved cutting part of the blade, favored by hunters and fishermen. 

A chef’s knife can be used for a variety of tasks before eating, such as chopping and slicing vegetables, meat, and can come in handy when you’re camping.

Fillet Knife vs. Chef’s Knife: Cons

Not good for other things, suitable only for filleting fishes, so you should avoid it or it will break. It is never good to keep more than one knife in a case because the tip requires care, it is better to keep them in the case they came in or in a special container where the tip and blade are not damaged.

The disadvantage of a chef knife is that it cannot be used to cut hard objects such as separating meat from bones, they can only be used for minor kitchen tasks. Although a chef’s knife can usually cut through meat, making a long, large cut with a short blade is not good and will also spoil the meat. Use a butcher knife for thick cuts.

Buying Tips

Fillet knives have different sizes of blades (4, 6, 8, 9), you will choose them according to the fish whether you want to flatten a large or small fish. A large blade is suitable for large fish and a small blade for small fish, so that there is no obstacle in cutting and separating the meat from the bones.

If you don’t know how many inches of blade will work for which fish, we will give you our experience.

  • 6-inch fillet knife for panfish (bluegills, crappie, perch).
  • 9 inch blade for pike, salmon and other large fish
  • Although a 7.5 and 8 inch fillet knife can be an “all round”.

The material of the knife is very important, it should be of quality so that it lasts for a long time and provides quality results. In terms of quality, stainless steel is the best, but remember that there are many people selling replicas in the market, so choose one from a reputable company.

We need to bend the blade to make the cut so it must be flexible enough to bend easily when pressed down. The handle should be easy to hold and should not be difficult to work for a long time, preferably with a rubber grip. The handle should have a beveled area where your index finger meets the handle to prevent slipping.

The use of a chef knife is more because the kitchen has to work daily, so it should be more comfortable to hold, the weight should not be too much so that the hand does not feel tired while cutting.

Use the 8-inch blade for chopping herbs, small fruits and vegetables, and the 10-inch serrated chef’s knife is perfect for slicing cantaloupes, watermelon and larger foods.


If you are a fisherman, a fillet knife is an indispensable tool when cleaning fish. However, if you are a normal or professional kitchen chef, a chef knife is useful for preparing meat and vegetables. Each style of knife has its advantages and disadvantages, and one is not better than the other.

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