Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Best Sharpener For Fillet Knives

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Looking for the best fillet knife sharpeners?

Keeping your fillet knives nice and sharp is vital for filleting your fish. These specialized knives need to be at their best to ensure that you’re getting the most meat out of your fish, simply because your needs can vary quite a bit depending on the fish that you’re filleting.

Some fish are oil, for instance, while others have very tough scales. Some fish have softer meat than others, which can end up mashed up if your knife is too dull. These are just a few examples of the problem but today we’re going to focus on the solution!

In this article, we’re going on a quest for the best sharpener for filet knives and we’ve collected a sampling for you to help you to make an informed decision about the right one for you! Along the way, we’ll also give you some newbie tips on using your sharpener, as well as buying tips for purchasing them locally and more!

If you’re ready to get started, then let’s talk about the best sharpeners for filet knives so that you can get the job done right!

Keeping your filet knives at their best

Regular sharpening is going to be vital for getting the best performance out of your fillet knives, and also for getting the most time out of the knives’ usefulness. The latter point is very important, because if you don’t keep your knives sharp, then when you finally get around to sharpening and honing you’ll need to take more metal off of the blade.

With regular sharpening, you won’t have to do this so often, and so your fillet knife is going to last a lot longer. While you can certainly damage it occasionally with regular use, chipping in the blade can be repaired with a coarse sharpening stone, while sharpening is done with a medium-grade one, and polishing and honing are accomplished with a fine-grade stone.

The thing is, not everyone has the time or the practiced skill to sharpen their knives the old-fashioned way, and this is where a nice handheld or kitchen standalone sharpener can really make your life much easier.

Some of these sharpeners will just cover the basics, for instance, they’ll provide you with a ‘coarse’ sharpener that can repair or sharpen a blade, while others will have different slots that you can press or pull the knife through which are already set at the perfect angle to make it easy and perfect every time.

It’s better to show you, though, so let’s get to those sharpeners and you can see some of the best options that you’ll have for making your sharpening requirements quick and easy to get out of the way!

The best sharpeners for fillet knives

In the sections below, we’re going to share with you some of the best sharpeners for fillet knives on the market. We’ve included a diverse selection, so that there is a little something for everyone, and for each product, we’ll tell you about their durability, and what they can do, and we’ll even share some real feedback from other folks who have used that specific product.

You’ll see the praise for the products, of course, but to keep things fair and balanced, we’re also going to share some of the 1-star reviews with you as well. It’s a little different from most reviews but we like to think that this is a much fairer approach for you, our readers.

Just be sure to withhold judgment until you can see the reviews on your own to make the most out of this approach.

After all, if 1500 people like something and 4 or 5 people don’t, the odds are still pretty darned good that you’re going to love the product that caught your eye in the first place.

Let’s take a look at those sharpeners!

Presto 08810 Professional Electric Knife Sharpener

Presto 08810 Professional Electric Knife Sharpener, Multi/None

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Our first entry is the Presto 08810 Professional Electric Knife Sharpener which is great for standard (non-serrated) fillet knives, as well as most of the knives in your kitchen!

With a 3-step system that consists of slots you slowly feed your knives through, you can sharpen your knives with coarse, medium, and fine grinding settings. It also has 3 adjustable angle settings, so that you can always use the right angle for your knives.

Checking out the reviews, the Presto was definitely well-received, with 70% of a pool of 8849 reviewers giving this product 5 stars. Another 18% felt that it had earned 4, and comments in praise of the Presto included ‘Should have bought it years ago’ by ‘al’ and ‘Mike E’, who has been sharpening his own knives for 40 years, tells us he is ‘so glad I didn’t spend $120 on a Chef’s Choice 3 stage’.

Flipping the review coin to find a little ‘dirt’ on the Presto, we’re happy to report that only 3% of customers felt that this sharpener was not worth their while. User ‘Charles F.’ said he ended up with notches in the 3 knives he tested and ‘B. Boham’ was of the opinion that the fine sharpening setting was off-balance with this unit.

With all the positive feedback, we’re pretty confident that you’ll love the Presto, but just be sure to check the reviews on your own to see what you think!

Orange Ninja 4-Stage Knife Sharpener

Orange Ninja 4-Stage Knife Sharpener - Premium Kitchen Knife Sharpeners - Adjustable Handheld Manual Knife Sharpeners for Kitchen Knives, Pocket knife Sharpener, Chef & Serrated Knife by Sharp Pebble

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Next up we have another economy model that’s not electric but definitely gets the job done.

The Orange Ninja 4-stage knife sharpener is great for your kitchen or camping. It’s made of high-quality ABS plastic, so you’ll have a hard time damaging it if it takes a fall, and it has everything you need to keep your fillet knife and your other knives razor sharp.

There’s a single slot that has a thumb-lever that will adjust it so that you effectively have 4 slots in 1. You can adjust to have a coarse grit for repairing chipped blades, a medium grit for good, basic sharpening, and a fine setting to finish the blades off, but the last setting is perfect for any serrated blades that you have.

It’s incredibly cost-effective so we wanted to see if the reviews backed up the hype this little handheld did pretty well, with 82% of customers falling into the 5 and 4-star category, 61% of which gave it 5 stars, and 21% giving it 4. ‘EllaGant’ says she’s ‘glad I bought it’, adding that it’s easy to use and adheres to the counter so that she can put the pressure she needs on it.

‘Nadine West’, a 79-year-old reviewer shares her opinion as well, telling us that it ‘takes all of the guesswork out of honing a blade’ and that she’s used a number of sharpeners and whetstones over the years and none of them have come close to her Orange Ninja.

Praise is all good and well, but in the interest of fairness we checked the ‘dark side’ of the reviews and it looks like 5% of customers didn’t like this sharpener as much as the others. ‘Brian G.’ tells us that this sharpener turned his knives into mini-serrated blades and ‘M S Cohen’ says much the opposite, stating that it made his knives DULLER.

As always, be sure to check the reviews and see what you think, but we promised both sides of the reviews and so that’s what you’re going to get!

AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener

AccuSharp Knife & Tool Sharpener - Ergonomic Knife Sharpener for Kitchen Knives, Pocket Knives, Serrated Blades, Cleavers, Axes & Machetes - Diamond-Honed Tungsten Carbide Sharpens, Restores & Repairs

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Our next sharpener is this AccuSharp Knife and Tool sharpener and it’s a powerful option in a very portable package.

Great for fillet knives, this little handheld also works on paring or Chef’s knives, Butcher knives, and more. For sharpening, this pocket tool utilizes diamond-honed tungsten carbide and when the grit starts to wear out, you can reverse it to extend the life of your sharpener.

When you consider that these can last a good 5 or 10 years, that’s a great deal, especially at the price. Just keep in mind that this is basically a ‘coarse-to-medium grit’ type grit only, but it’s designed for utility. With 3-4 pulls of your knife through this sharpener, the blade is sharp and ready to go!

Taking a look at the reviews, the AccuSharp is really quite popular. In an impressive pool of 2118 reviewers, a solid 78% felt that this little sharpener was worth 5 stars and another 14% felt it had earned at least 4.

Feedback in favor of the AccuSharp included ‘Scary-sharp results!’ from ‘John-Mark’ and ‘Sks’ assures us that his knives can ‘slice through a tomato as if it was butter’ and added that it only takes 5 quick strokes to sharpen his knives.

Taking a look at the negative feedback, only 2% of customers felt that this sharpener was only worth 1 star. ‘Doll’ tells us that this ruined a pair of scissors and ‘W.H. Clark’ advised that he felt the ‘results were uniformly bad’.

Ultimately, with the single-grit setting, we would recommend this as ideal for cheaper knife sets, but if you have any fancy $100+ chef knives then you’ll really be better off with a Japanese whetstone or a higher-end sharpener.

SMITH’S 50729 Fillet Knife & Hook Sharpener

SMITH'S 50729 Fillet Knife & Hook Sharpener Yellow

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The Smith’s 5029 Fillet Knife and Hook sharpener is a perfect fit for folks who love to fish and it’s one heck of a no-nonsense sharpener. As far as ‘fishing features’ you get a handy line cutter and a hook sharpener, and for your fillet knife you have a bladed groove and one with angled rods so that you can repair a damaged knife or hone simply sharpen it up with just a few strokes through the grooves.

Made of high-impact, bright yellow plastic, you won’t need to worry about losing this field sharpener, and between the finger guards and the soft grip handle, your sharpening will be safe, comfy, and efficient. If you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, but just a reliable and well-nigh indestructible tool to keep your knives sharp, then the Smith’s Fillet Knife and Hook Sharpener might be just about a perfect fit!

Looking at the reviews, from a modest pool of 116 customers, 70% of the feedback was 5-star quality, and another 19% grudgingly gave the Smith’s a 4. Feedback for this product included ‘Erich D.’ telling us that they had all but given up on sharpeners before this model, and ‘now I can keep cheap 5$ knives as sharp as $100 knives”. ‘John’ chips his own 2 cents in, telling us ‘After using this on my fillet knife, it worked so well I sharpened every smooth edge knife I owned’. Excellent praise, indeed!

Of course, it’s time now to check for dirt, and we’re pleased as punch to say that only 2% of customers felt that Smith’s wasn’t ‘all that’, with the ironically-named ‘Satisfied customer’ saying it was ‘cheap and poor function’ and adding that it fragmented and chunked the edge of his knife.

We couldn’t find any other verbal feedback in the 1, 2, or even 3 stars, but our humble advice would be that if you’re looking for a good pocket sharpener for your utility blades, the Smiths will not disappoint. Just check the reviews and we think you’ll agree – no fancy extras, just a sharpening array that gets the job done!

Brod & Taylor VG2 Classic Knife Sharpener

Brod & Taylor VG2 Classic Knife Sharpener | 3-Action Tungsten Carbide (Nylon)

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Next up we have this Brod & Taylor VG2 Classic Knife Sharpener and it’s based on an Austrian design that’s a beautiful medley of utility and aesthetics.

Small enough to bring with you wherever you like, but attractive enough to display in the kitchen, this sharpener has a 3-action sharpening system that incorporates springs so that the unit adjusts to your fillet knife or other blades that you wish to sharpen. You can also sharpen serrated blades with this if you like – it’s really a graceful, but handy design – and the angle range is a wide one, of 11 to 21 degrees.

It has a robust nylon base to keep it in place while you use it and the sharpening system employs tungsten carbide to help grind your blades to perfection. If you like your utility items to be efficient, but also beautiful, then the Brod & Taylor is absolutely the model for you!

Let’s see how it did in reviews, though, and looking there we have an appreciable pool of 2346 reviews, 76% of which were 5-star quality, while 14% gave this product 4-star feedback.

Commentary on this Austrian beauty included an entry from ‘John’ who tells us that he used it for his high-quality kitchen knives and that it ‘worked like a charm’, adding that ‘anyone can do it and get the same results every time!’. ‘John Setzler’ liked it so much that he shared a video and assured us that he tried 6 different knives of different quality types and that this sharpener worked well on them all!

Getting our boots dirty, we descend into the pit of 1-star reviews, and we’re happy to report that only 3% of customers didn’t like this sharpener, with ‘profit_bird’ saying that he was upset that this product comes from China and that it made his damaged ‘test knife’ worse. ‘Lucia H.’ seemed to agree, stating that she wasn’t a ‘happy camper’ and while she’s ‘glad that everyone else is happy’, she’d like to return hers.

Don’t shoot the messenger just yet, though – it’s our job to bring this stuff to your attention, but you’ll want to check the reviews to make your own judgment on this sharpener – be sure to check the video while you’re there in the reviews, as nothing quite beats seeing the real thing in action.

HORL 2 Oak Rolling Knife Sharpener

HORL 2 Oak Rolling Knife Sharpener Engineered in Germany for Straight Edge with Industry Diamonds for Steel of any hardness and Magnetic Angle Technology with 15 & 20 Degrees

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If you want a serious sharpener to make your fillet knife essentially a laser with a handle, then we’ve got a great sharpener for you.

The HORL 2 Oak Rolling Knife Sharpener brings German precision engineering to the table, providing a 15 inch angle for thin blades and a 20 inch angle for your fillet knife. Utilizing a system of diamond and ceramic disc, you can sharpen knives of any hardness that you own – even Damascus—and as the discs are interchangeable, you can swap them out with replacements or even other grinding discs that will fit in the Horl cylinder! It’s always nice when you can upgrade.

To top it off, it’s super easy on the eyes – with its pleasing shape and real oak or walnut wood construction, so you can make your blades razor sharp with style and let’s face it, who doesn’t want a little style in their kitchen?

Scoping out the reviews, from a pool of a respectable 451 global reviews, we can see that the Horl2 did quite well for itself, with 69% of customers giving this product 5 stars, while an additional 14% gave it 4, so we have an overall satisfaction of 83% so far. Praise for this product included ‘Ali Ali’ who calls it ‘Best knife sharpener by far’, adding that it makes his knives feel like out-of-the-box new. ‘John Mish’ also doesn’t mince words with his praise, telling us that ‘it’s insane how sharp this thing can get a knife’, adding that he uses it to maintain, repair, and resharpen his Chicago Cutlery knives.

Flipping the page to the less savory side of reviews, however, we find that 6% of customers were not as enchanted with their new rolling sharpener system. User ‘Noah Bennett’ advised that within a month, he was noticing a lot of diamond residue and said that customer service didn’t want to work with him as he’d purchased the item off of Amazon. User ‘John’ echoed that he also had an issue with the diamond disc. We should note on our end, a representative of Horl made contact and advised us that there is a small amount of surplus diamond on each disc which will come off normally during the first few uses of the product – this is normal and should not affect performance.

As far as the customer service aspect, however, as we do not have details on this specific customer’s interaction, it is best to contact customer service in advance to make sure that your Amazon purchased item will still be warrantied or you may simply buy direct from the vendor if you are worried.

All in all, it seems a pretty solid sharpener with nice aesthetics and potential upgrades if you like, so we highly recommend checking the reviews directly to see what YOU think.

Chef’s Choice 312 UltraHone Professional Electric Knife Sharpener

Chef'sChoice 312 UltraHone Professional Electric Knife Sharpener for 20-Degree Straight-Edge and Serrated Knives, 2 Stage, White

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Our final entry is this Chef’s Choice 12 UltraHone Professional Electric Knife Sharpener with its 20-degree angle sharpening action, it’s the perfect electric sharpener for your fillet knife and should work well with other compatible kitchen knives, too. This 2-stage sharpener doesn’t mess around, either, using 100% diamond abrasives to help sharpen and hone your blades so that they look and perform their best.

So, how did this automated wonder do in the reviews? From a modest pool of 524 global ratings, the Chef’s Choice received 72% 5-star feedback, and an additional 19% of reviewers gave it 4 stars. Comments about the Chef’s Choice included ‘Mrs. Z’ advising others to be careful with their knives after use because they’ll be ‘really sharp’ and ‘James Ledbetter’ says ‘every kitchen should have one’ and calls his ‘indispensable’.

On the less savory side of reviews, 3% of customers had a different song to sing about the Chef’s Choice, with ‘Tommy L. Black’ saying he was heartbroken when it destroyed his knives and ‘James Hottenstein’ felt they shouldn’t even be given away… ouch!

We advise that you take these with a grain of salt, however, and remember that this is a specialty sharpener, designed for 20-degree sharpening – so it’s best to withhold judgment until you’ve checked the reviews yourself with your own specific knives in mind. For 20-degree blades, this thing is a powerhouse, but something like a 10-15 degree Japanese blade will definitely NOT be a good fit for this particular model.

Best newbie tips for fillet knife sharpeners

If you’re just getting started with a handheld or standalone sharpener, we’ve got a few tips that we’ll share in this section that we hope you will find helpful. We recommend starting with a ‘test knife’ so that you can get a feel for it and beyond that, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You’ll be sharpening your fillet knife at an angle falling between 18-21 degrees. If you are using sharpening stones, we recommend an angle guide to learn how you’ll need to hold it and if you’re not sure about the angle, check the manufacturer’s webpage and you should be able to get it in a jiffy!
  • With handheld and standalone sharpeners, how much pressure you put on the blade will make a big difference, ESPECIALLY with coarse grinding stones. Too much pressure can remove excessive amounts of metal from your blade, shortening its lifespan, so start with light pressure first and experiment to find the ideal amount for your sharpener and knives.
  • Sharpening is good, but it’s also important to hone your blade so that it’s razor-sharp. If you don’t, then sometimes it will seem to ‘mash’ rather than cut and will feel like a dull knife.
  • Test after each stroke through a handheld sharpener or every few seconds with an electric one. Often you can get results very quickly and learning how long it takes will protect you from over-sharpening it and stripping too much metal in the process.

Buying information for fillet knife sharpeners

If you prefer to do your sharpener shopping locally, then there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind to help ensure that you’ll still like that sharpener once you’ve got it home. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Sharpening stones may seem old-fashioned, but they WORK and it’s worth getting at least a starter set to play with in your free time to gain a little skill. Not only do you get a handy new talent from this, but you’ll also understand better how your more modern sharpeners work and this will help you when it’s time to upgrade.
  • With fillet knives, having a ‘fine grind’ option on the sharpener is much more important than with other knives, so keep this in mind when you are buying one on your own.
  • Diamond sharpeners are fantastic… when it’s a good model. Research before you buy if you want to go with a diamond, as cheaper sharpeners can have the diamond dust flake off quickly and you won’t be very happy about that.
  • Pass-through sharpeners can save you a little money but if you work with your hands a lot, an electric sharpener is quick and won’t require a lot of time and pressure that can further tax your hands.
  • Inventory your important knives before shopping to check the sharpening angles you will require – Some knives require very different angles, with Japanese knives being a good example. Look for an adjustable-angle sharpener and barring this, just make sure that you get one that is compatible with your fillet knife. Putting a knife in a sharpener with the wrong angle setting can badly damage your blade, so this is very important.

Product recommendations

Now that you’ve seen a good range of sharpeners, we’re going to give you our 2 cents worth and tell you which one we liked the best. Out of all of these models, our fillet knife favorites were twofold – we’ve picked one for ‘kitchen only’ use and one for ‘outdoors’ use.

The kitchen favorite was the Brod & Taylor VG2 Classic Knife Sharpener. Not only does it bring those dashing good looks into one of the most beloved places in the home –your kitchen — but it also covers a wide angle range, making it useful for your fillet knife but also for just about any other knife in your kitchen.

For on-the-go use outdoors, the SMITH’S 50729 Fillet Knife & Hook Sharpener is going to be your best bet, as it is 100% utility so that you can sharpen up your fillet knife and if you like fishing, you can sharpen your hooks and cut lines with it to boot. It’s also perfect for sharpening before field dressing.

Those are just our favorites, of course, so if anything else on this list has tickled your fancy then that’s fine – we just give you the numbers on each and since we’ve included only the best, you really can’t go wrong.

Just check the angle and if you’ve got a serrated blade, make sure that your sharpener is equipped for that, and the rest is a piece of cake!

FAQs

We’re just about ready to wrap things up for today, but before we go, we’ve collected a few frequently asked questions that we think you’ll find most useful. These are some of the questions that we get the most on the subject of sharpening fillet knives so without further ado, let’s take a look at them so that you’ll have the answers just in case you need them!

How often should my fillet knives be sharpened?

While regular knives can be sharpened once every month or two and Japanese knives every 6 months, fillet knives need a little more regular attention than your average blade. That’s because they need to stay sharp if they’re going to be of any use to you, so if you regularly fillet a lot of fish, it’s best to sharpen your blade at least once a week between uses.

In a lot of cases, you’ll just need to hone it — which is using the ‘fine’ setting on your sharpener, unless you are doing a lot of volumes. If that’s the case, then sharpen with medium and then fine to get your blade back to razor sharpness.

Avoid the coarse unless you need to repair damage such as chips in the blade or are sharpening a very old, dull blade, as this removes the most metal so you want to be careful with it.

Why is it important to sharpen a fillet knife before use?

While it’s tempting to simply use your fillet knife right away, if it hasn’t been sharpened since the last time, then you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. A dull blade can slip, so it won’t be very safe, and because of the delicate work you’ll be doing with those fillets, you really need a razor edge to cut it perfectly and to get the most meat out of your fish.

It only takes a few moments to sharpen your knife if you need it, so try not to skip this unless you absolutely have to (and be very careful in such cases if you do).

How long should it take to sharpen a fillet knife?

With whetstones, you’re usually looking at about 5 minutes, while a pull-through style hand-sharpener can sharpen the blade in 3-4 pulls through the medium setting and 2 – 3 through the fine setting. With an electric model, usually you’re talking about seconds so be careful with that – too much pressure or time can shave your knife when you’re just trying to sharpen it!

What do I know if my fillet knife is sharp enough?

The paper test is one of the most fun ways to make sure that your fillet knife is ready for a fish-filleting fiesta. To do this, hold a piece of printer or copy paper tightly at the top and then draw your fillet knife through the paper, starting from the back of the knife right up to the tip. The blade should cut smoothly through the paper, but if you get a snag on any areas, you might want to hone your fillet knife a little more on the ‘fine’ grit sharpening slot or stone.

In Conclusion

In our article for today, we have taken a look at some of the best sharpeners for fillet knives and out of all of the ones we reviewed today, our favorites were the Brod & Taylor VG2 Classic Knife Sharpener for home use and the SMITH’S 50729 Fillet Knife & Hook Sharpener for sharpening on-the-go. Both of these models are really at the top of their game for keeping your fillet knife sharp and ready and we feel that these models will definitely not disappoint.

Still, if another model on the list appeals to you more, then by all means visit the page and check the reviews on your own. We’ve selected these carefully so that each one is a gem, and if you prefer to shop locally instead then just take advantage of the tips that we’ve shared and you can purchase with confidence.

We really appreciate your visit and until next time, we wish you and yours the very best!

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: David McLemore

David learned to cook at an early age after his mother told him that he couldn't live on pizza forever, Dave uses his modest kitchen skills to recreate sorely-missed recipes from home and to occasionally make new favorite ones from places he is visiting.

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