If you’re in the market for a boning knife, chances are good that you plan to put it to a very specific use. Boning knives have a very particular set of abilities, and because of their specialty uses, it’s important to treat the hunt for the perfect blade with respect.
Finding the perfect boning knife can seem like a daunting task, though! With so many blades and so many different options, it can seem impossible to choose. These are some of the absolute best boning knives of 2019-2020 to get you started on the search.
- 1 Top 8 Best Boning Knives 2019-2020
- 1.1 1. Wusthof Classic Boning Knife – Best Overall
- 1.2 2. Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro – Best for a Budget
- 1.3 3. Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Inch Knife – Best Value
- 1.4 4. Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe Series – Best Boning Knife for Fish
- 1.5 5. Shun Classic Gokujo Boning Knife – Best Multipurpose Japanese-Style
- 1.6 6. Dalstrong Phantom Series – Best Knife for De-Boning Large Game
- 1.7 7. J.A. Henckels International Forged Classic – Safest Boning Knife
- 1.8 8. Enso HD Hammered Damascus– Best for Master Chefs
- 2 When Do You Need a Boning Knife?
- 3 How to Choose the Best Boning Knife
- 4 Conclusion
Top 8 Best Boning Knives 2019-2020
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1. Wusthof Classic Boning Knife – Best Overall
The Wusthof Classic boning knife is a German-made knife with spectacular craftsmanship. With both 5-inch and 6-inch long models, you can choose the length that best suits your unique meat-cutting needs! This knife is top-rated for a reason.
The cutting edge of this Wusthof model stays sharp for a comparatively long period of time, at least when it comes to regular boning knives. It’s possible to sharpen the blade with a steel or most other regular sharpeners, so there’s no need for any special equipment.
The Wusthof Classic is particularly well-suited to working with poultry and fish since it has a flexible blade that moves easily into small and difficult to reach spaces. But its narrow knife design can also be highly effective with pork or beef, in the right contexts.
This knife features a full bolster drop-down as a finger guard, which is a simple yet effective safety solution. The Wusthof Classic is dishwasher safe, but it’s recommended that you hand wash and immediately dry the blade to preserve its lifespan.
- German steel construction
- Narrow; easy to reach tight corners
- Can be sharpened with regular blade sharpeners
- Especially good for poultry and fish
- Dishwasher safe
- Stay sharp
- Flexible blade
- Lifetime guarantee included
- Triple-riveted handle
- More expensive than other models
- Not for use on large pieces of meat
2. Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro – Best for a Budget
This 6-inch boning knife from Victorinox is an outstanding piece of cutlery that’s certain to be well within the budgetary constraints of most individuals! It has a beautiful design that’s both pleasant to look at as well as being highly effective and efficient.
The Victorinox Fibrox Pro knife uses Swiss engineering and high grade stainless steel to achieve a smooth, clean cut on even the most difficult of meat pieces. Because it’s a bit heavier and sturdier than other models, the Victorinox is better equipped to handle larger pieces.
The ergonomic Fibrox handle of this knife is particularly advantageous. Cutting meat can be messy, slippery business, but the excellent grip of this knife makes it perfect for both big and small cutting jobs, no matter the type of meat.
Most importantly, this budget boning knife is quite sharp! Although many cheaper boning knives on the market require extra sharpening in the midst of a cutting project, this Victorinox knife can blow through even large batches of meat with relative ease, and then be polished up at the end.
- Works as both a fillet knife and a boning knife
- Sturdy yet flexible knife design
- Affordable price
- Sharp blade; easily sharpened with regular tools
- High-quality Swiss steel construction
- Ergonomic handle
- Excellent Fibrox grip
- 6-inch blade
- Professional level craftsmanship
- Not good for especially wet cutting jobs
- Blade may not be sharp enough to handle certain types of fish or meat
3. Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Inch Knife – Best Value
The Mercer Culinary Genesis is easily one of the best on this list, but even with all its great features, it still comes at a comparatively affordable price! The Mercer brand name is well known and respected among culinary students, and this knife lives up to its name.
This particular boning knife is a 6-inch knife with a traditional design that includes a flexible blade. The Mercer Culinary Genesis can reach hard to reach spots easily and can efficiently remove meat from bone in almost every situation.
The blade is made from high-quality German steel and is exceptionally sharp. The steel used with this knife is rust and corrosion resistant, meaning that its super easy to clean and maintain over time. This knife will be in the family for generations to come!
Customers reported that the Mercer Culinary Genesis was one of the easiest and most comfortable blades that they’d ever used. Perfectly weighted and with exquisite proportions, this knife is one of the slickest and most enjoyable boning knives of 2019-2020.
- Made of high-quality German steel
- Rust and corrosion resistant
- Sharp, flexible blade
- Textured Santoprene handle offers extra grip and comfort
- Excellent balance and weight
- Reinforced to not be affected by hot or cold temperatures or by oils
- Thin tip to reach difficult places
- Versatile; can be used in a variety of settings
- Must be hand washed and dried
- Some customers complained that the blade was wider than they would have preferred
4. Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe Series – Best Boning Knife for Fish
This Sani-Safe Series knife from Dexter-Russell is a 6-inch knife that packs a punch. This knife features an arched blade design distinct from other traditional blades on this list and is one of the most lightweight and ergonomic knives currently available.
The Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe knife is ideal for slicing and trimming and is perfect for removing meat from the bones of poultry and fish or for separating layers and creating fine slices for jerky (or other purposes).
The larger-sized handle on this boning knife in combination with its narrow, agile blade make it one of the top boning knives on this list. It’s easy to hold onto even when the cutting gets greasy or otherwise slippery, which is another reason why it’s excellent for cutting fish.
As an added bonus, cleanup is super simple because this blade is dishwasher safe! Just throw it in the dishwasher with the other dishes and you can expect to come out perfectly clean and to last for many years to come. Still, hand washing is always recommended.
- Large, easy to hold knife handle
- Ergonomically designed
- Slip guard
- Dishwasher safe
- Well balanced
- Curved, flexible blade
- Grip-Tex handle for excellent grip
- Very pointy blade tip; damage can occur if not maintained properly
- This knife is not made of stainless steel; it may rust
5. Shun Classic Gokujo Boning Knife – Best Multipurpose Japanese-Style
The first Japanese Gokujo knife on this list, the Shun Classic is indeed a classic Japanese style gokujo that is extraordinarily versatile when it comes to removing meat from the bone. Beautiful and efficient, this knife has everything you could possibly want from a boning knife.
The handle is exquisitely made from dark pakkawood and capped with a stainless steel cover on the bottom. This knife offers excellent control for both right and left handed users and has surprisingly good grip. It’s easy to maneuver in all situations.
Unfortunately, the Shun Classic Gokujo is a bit more on the expensive side, but it is truly one of the best knives on the market. Its design is unique, with an arched blade and wooden handle, making it both a tool as well as a piece of art.
This is a 6-inch knife that’s well suited to trimming all kinds of meats. Although this gokujo can handle almost any situation, its ultra sharp blade excels at removing poultry, fish, and silver meats. Still, meats from large game can also be removed with this versatile knife.
- Beautiful design
- Super sharp blade
- Easy to handle and maneuver
- Multifunctional Japanese gokujo engineering
- Made from high quality, layered stainless steel
- Won’t rust or corrode easily
- Good for right handed and left handed individuals
- Smartly designed blade with a balance of stiffness and flexibility
- Customers complained the knife was not adequate for working with large batches of meat
6. Dalstrong Phantom Series – Best Knife for De-Boning Large Game
Dalstrong has the word “strong” in its name, and indeed this Phantom Series boning and fillet knife is strong both in looks as well as functionality. It blends together the strength of the west with the flexibility of the east to create a surprisingly versatile blade!
This Dalstrong knife has been expertly designed with the highest quality stainless steel with flawless engineering that equals a wonderfully sharp blade that can cut through nearly anything. The knife is excellent for working with cutting large game.
The ergonomic design of this Phantom Series knife makes it possible to comfortably use this knife without tiring. Have a lot of game to de-bone in one sitting? Not to worry! The Dalstrong boning and fillet knife will make easy work of it without even the need to sharpen the blade.
This knife is one of few on this list that comes with scalloped indentations along the blade. These indentations make a difference in how smoothly the knife cuts through meats (and vegetables), and dramatically reduces the chance of sticking.
- Super strong stainless steel construction
- Stiff blade for cutting large game
- Scalloped indentations to reduce sticking
- Ergonomic design
- Need to sharpen is minimal
- Has a full tang on through the handle
- Comes with a plastic scabbard and cleaning cloth
- The chance of slipping and accidentally cutting yourself is higher with this blade
- Not for use with small pieces; the blade is more stiff than flexible
- Higher price than some other models
7. J.A. Henckels International Forged Classic – Safest Boning Knife
This is a 5.5-inch blade, making it somewhat shorter than most of the other blades on this list. But the J.A. Henckels Classic boning knife is a pretty amazing blade, nonetheless! With international craftsmanship, this blade has the soul of many culinary cultures infused inside.
The J.A. Henckels knife has a traditional style with a narrow, curved blade that has a balance of flexibility and stiffness, making it perfect as an all-purpose boning knife. This knife can thus be used for nearly everything, including game, poultry, fish, and small pieces of meat.
One of the key features of this blade is its solid, reliable finger guard. Because safety is one of the essential parts of any knife, of course this J.A. Henckels Classic boning knife would earn points for its safety credibility.
An ergonomically designed, triple riveted handle makes using this knife a breeze! The knife is easy to maneuver and has excellent balance too, so it’s easy to use for either long or short periods of time, depending on your personal situation.
- Traditional style
- Smaller 5.5 blade makes it easier to handle
- Flexible/stiff blade
- Better safety features
- Triple riveted handle
- Ergonomic design
- Aesthetically pleasing knife
- Multifunctional and efficient
- Budget friendly price
- Blade is not exceptionally flexible in comparison with other knives on this list
- Large knife; some customers labeled it as being unwieldy.
8. Enso HD Hammered Damascus– Best for Master Chefs
The Enso HD Damascus boning knife is artfully crafted and truly a beautiful blade. Its unique design sets it apart from the rest in so many ways, all the way from function to aesthetics. This is a knife to be proud of, and it will surely serve you well for many, many years.
The 37 layers of Damascus steel on each side of the blade make this an extraordinarily resilient boning knife that can handle a lot of wear and tear. Its Japanese design includes a double beveled edge that offers maximum sharpness for the cleanest cut possible.
The hand-hammered blade is beautiful but also functional because it prevents food from sticking during the cutting process. It is a traditional 6-inches long and provides a sturdy, balanced feel that is both adequately heavy while being light enough to wield easily.
The Enso HD boning knife handle is crafted from black linen micarta, a material that resembles the look and feel of regular wood, but with significantly better grip and a longer lifespan. Cracking is not a concern with this ergonomically designed knife handle.
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Food doesn’t stick easily to the blade
- Average 6-inch long blade
- Easy to maneuver
- Sturdy, balanced weight
- Crack resistant black linen micarta handle
- Full bolster drops to create a finger guard
- Lifetime warranty included
- Multifunctional blade applies to many different types of meat
- Very sharp blade
- More expensive than other boning knives
- Some customers reported that the tip of the blade chipped off after a few months of use
When Do You Need a Boning Knife?
Boning knives are specially designed tools that are made to remove delicious, meaty pieces directly from the bone when you’re prepping or dressing meats. They can be used with both cooked and uncooked meats.
Boning knives are quite versatile and essential for anyone who loves to cook or grill meat-based masterpieces. They’re capable of removing even the most hard-to-reach pieces of meat right from the bone!
This unique knife is engineered with a long, thin blade that’s exceptionally sharp, and they’re especially easy to maneuver. But, because the boning knife is a specialty knife, you may need a few other knives to round out a suitable meat-cutting set.
How to Choose the Best Boning Knife
Different boning knives are made in a variety of ways. There are even 3 different kinds of boning knives! With so much variety, it’s important to know something about boning knives before you start doing your research, so that you know what you want and know what you’ll get.
Here are some of the most important things to consider with how to choose the best boning knife!
1. Boning Knives vs Fillet Knives vs Japanese Gokujo
There are three different kinds of boning knives, and although they’re very similar and have ultimately the same purpose, the three have important differences. Let’s take a look at their differences in use and design.
The boning knife is most often used with larger pieces of meat, such as those that come from game, red meat, and larger pieces of poultry meat. It is designed to remove the bones from the meat quickly and efficiently.
The fillet knife, in contrast with the boning knife, usually has a more flexible blade. This type of knife can be used primarily on poultry and small pieces of meat where there’s a need to remove smaller pieces of bone from the meat.
Finally, the gokujo style knife is a Japanese boning knife that’s multipurpose and can be used as either a boning knife or a fillet knife. In Japanese, “gokujo” means “all-in-one”, an apt name for this diverse and highly effective knife style.
Boning knives range in length from 5 inches all the way up to 9 inches. But, on average, most traditional knives are about 5-6 inches in length. Choose the length of your boning knife based off of personal preference and what you plan to use it for in the kitchen.
Traditionally, the boning knife has a mostly straight blade that is thicker close to the handle and tapers off to a thin, sharp tip. The blade rounds upward to create the sharp tip but maintains a mostly straight edge until the last part of the knife.
However, a slightly different shape has recently come into vogue. An arched, fully curved boning knife is becoming more and more popular! Knives with this shape are particularly well suited to skinning and trimming, and they’re very sharp.
4. Flexible vs Semi Stiff Blade
In the world of boning knives, there is a differentiation between those that are designed with flexible blades, and those that have a stiffer, more solid blade (known as semi stiff blades). Here we’ll examine a few of the key differences between the two.
Flexible knives are best used for pieces of meat that are smaller, and for times when more agility is required to remove delicate pieces of meat from small bones. Flexible knives move with the contours of the bone. These are not for cutting large pieces of meat.
Semi stiff knives are best suited for removing larger pieces of meat directly from the bone. They’re stronger and can handle larger cutting projects. If you plan on cutting up larger game, for example, you may need to use a semi stiff knife more than a flexible knife!
5. Type of Finger Guard
All boning knives have a built-in finger guard, but it’s a matter of what kind of finger guard is included that you’ll want to consider. You’ll also want to consider its placement and your personal preference when it comes to this particular safety mechanism.
Because there are a wide variety of finger guards on the market, take a look the specific guards on the knives you’re interested in to get a feel for what’s available. This is largely a personal preference, but good reviews on safety are of course essential when buying a knife.
Choosing the right boning knife is not something to be taken lightly. There are many factors to consider and a variety of possibilites, and indeed, it’s important to dedicate true time and research into finding the right blade for you.
Luckily, there are many excellent boning knives out there on the market currently! Now that you know the basics of what you need to know to find the best boning knife for you, you’re better equipped to make a purchase that will stay with you for years to come.