Top 10 Best Boning Knives 2021
By Bobby B. | Updated Jan. 2, 2021 | Knives
Unlike some of the more popular all-purpose knives in a kitchen, the boning knife is a specific tool for specific task. What is a boning knife you ask? They are the perfect tool for de-boning or quartering chickens as well as removing meat from the bones on pork, beef, and fish. Boning ribs is another particularly popular reason to look for the best boning knife. Boning knives commonly come in blade lengths between 5-7″ and have varying flexibility among them.
More on the flexibility later, but it’s one of the features that allows the knife to get so close to bone when removing the meat. This along with the ultra-sharp thin blade ensure little wasted meat left on the bones. Although if you’re not a butcher you may not use this knife every day, it’s a great tool to have in the kitchen when you do. It makes these jobs easier and safer than other random knives that you might have available to you with less flexibility.
Our Best Boning Knife Picks for 2021
Best Boning Knife
Dalstrong Boning Knife (Shogun), 6″
The Popular Classic
Wüsthof Boning Knife, 6″
Best Reviews / Social Proof
Zelite Boning Knife, 6″
Professional Boning Knife
Henckels Flexible Boning Knife, 5.5″
Global Boning Knife, 6.25″
Shun Boning Knife (Gokujo), 6″
Mercer Culinary Genesis, 6″
Best Cheap Boning Knife
Victorinox Boning Knife, 6″
Best Value Knife (Forged)
J.A. Henckels Forged Boning Knife, 5.5″
Best All-Stainless Boning Knife
Dalstrong Crusader Boning Knife, 6″
Top 3 Boning Knife Reviews
1. Dalstrong Boning Knife (Shogun Series), 6″
- AUS-10V Japanese Super Steel
- 66 Layers High-Carbon Stainless Steel
- Rockwell Hardness 62+
- Full Tang, Triple Riveted G10 Handle
- Tsunami Rose Damascus Pattern
- Liquid Nitrogen Cooled Blade
- Premium Sheath Included
- 3-Stage Honbazuke Sharpening
- Lifetime Warranty
DALSTRONG BONING KNIFE REVIEW
This “Shogun” boning knife from Dalstrong has all the high-end features but is priced lower than most in its class. The hardness of steel, enhanced by Dalstrong’s Cryogenic Hardening Process, in this blade makes for superb edge retention. Similarly the 8-12 degree angle on each side, plus the 3-step Honbazuke sharpening method, makes it ultra-sharp for easy bone cleaning.
2. Wüsthof Classic Boning Knife, 6″
- High Carbon Stainless Steel
- Rockwell Hardness 58
- Full Tang, Triple Riveted Handle
- Full Bolster and Finger Guard
- Precision Edge Technology
- Lifetime Warranty
WUSTHOF BONING KNIFE REVIEW
Wusthof Classic boning knives are a very popular choice among chefs. Likewise, many other online boning knife reviewers label this as their top choice. It is a great knife, but at nearly double the cost of our Best Boning Knife “winner”, we just don’t believe it’s that much better. Although, some will argue that buying from a world-class knife maker like Wusthof is worth it.
3. Zelite Infinity Boning Knife (Alpha Royal), 6″
- AUS10 Japanese Super Steel
- 67 Layers High-Carbon Stainless Steel
- Rockwell Hardness 61
- Full Tang, Triple Riveted G10 Handle
- Tsunami Rose Damascus Pattern
- Lifetime Warranty
ZELITE BONING KNIFE REVIEW
This boning knife from Zelite has all the high-end features but is priced lower than most in its class. The hardness of steel in this blade makes for superb edge retention. Similarly the narrow 12-15 degree angle makes it ultra-sharp for easy bone cleaning. Learn more about the differences between Zelite and Dalstrong knives.
Boning Knife Buying Guide
Boning knives are a less frequently used knife, but they definitely still plan an important role in your kitchen knife arsenal. As you saw in the list above, there are many good boning knives available to consumers today. Even the best boning knife can be purchased for around $100, with most on the list coming in at an even lower price.
What is a Boning Knife?
A boning knife is used for removing bones (deboning) from meat, poultry, and larger fish. They are good for breaking down larger cuts of meat into smaller pieces and separating the meat from the bones in a more efficient manner then a carving or chef’s knife. Most boning knives have straight, thin, semi-flexible blades for getting in tight areas and cutting along bone material. By definition, boning knives are not typically knives that cut through bone. As funny as it might sound, it might be more accurate to call them a deboning knife.
You might ask yourself, is a boning knife necessary? While if only done rarely, the task of removing meat from bones could be done with another knife, but this is the most efficient way of accomplishing it, leaving the least amount of meet on the bones. Now, on the other hand, if your family is vegetarian and you don’t cook with meat, by all means, you have very little use for this knife.
This buying guide is for those of you with very little experience with boning knives. It was written to help educate you on what a boning knife is, what they are used for, and how to use them. But first, let’s go through the criteria we used to choose the best boning knife. You can put your own twist on these topics to select a boning knife that fits your needs as well, so follow along closely.
How To Choose a Good Boning Knife
Are you curious how we came up with the list of best boning knives above? Since you’re probably not alone, we wanted to discuss the criteria we used for the selection process. This will in turn help you better understand what’s important when buying a boning knife. While our top pick is the best for most people, you might find that you’re interested in paying a couple extra bucks to get a more comfortable handle or higher-end steel. The opposite is true to. Perhaps your budget doesn’t allow for our top pick.
Boning knives come in a variety of flexibility levels. Some are more stiff than others, while some are actually quite flexible. Which should you use? Some of the answer has to do with personal preference, but more than likely your interest in flexibility will have to do with the way you intend to use the knife and what proteins you intend to cut with it.
Stiff Boning Knives
Stiff boning knifes are perfect for trimming meat and filleting very large fish like tuna and salmon, but they are too rigid to work on smaller fish. There is a bit of confusion between boning knives vs. fillet knives by the way. They are different and a true fillet knife is what should be used on these smaller fish.
Flexible Boning Knives
A flexible boning knife is more suited for smaller pieces of meat or working around cartilage and small bones. A good example would be small chickens or other smaller birds and sometimes boning medium-sized fish. The flexible blade allows you to work around the bone, minimizing the meat left on the bone. These also work well for trimming fat and removing skin.
Semi-Flexible Boning Knives
Some boning knives are semi-flexible. You guessed it! These are used for cases in between the others. Larger pieces of meat and around larger, heavy-duty bones that could damage your thinner, flexible blade, but require more dexterity than the stiff one. These work well on beef, port, and all types of ribs.
Blade & Handle Materials
Like almost every other knife guide we’ve written on BladeAdvisor, the materials used in boning knives matter. This holds true for both the blade steel and the handles.
When it comes to blade steels, the harder the steel, the better. This means you’re looking for a higher number on the Rockwell Hardness scale. Another thing to look out for is carbon steel vs. stainless steel. Carbon steel is typically harder than stainless, but stainless is less likely to oxidize. If you spend money on a good boning knife, your best bet is to just always wash and dry it by hand each time you use it, even if it’s dishwasher safe.
Handles also come in myriad materials. Most of them are some sort of plastic or G10 material, but some have wood handles and yet others are totally steel. G10 is a very durable composite material and one of our favorites, especially for boning knives that will get wet during usage.
Shape of the Blade
It’s common to see traditional boning knife models that are straight across the top and have a finger guard near the bolster for safety (some are built into the handle itself). This is an important feature to consider as raw meat and poultry can be quite slippery. The finger guard will protect your finger from slipping onto the cutting edge.
Most knives have adapted in shape and size a little over the years as we change what we eat and manufacturing processes become more advanced. The santoku knife becoming more rounded on the bottom to mimic a chef’s knife comes to mind. This is also the case for boning knives. You will now also find many curved boning knife options available, blurring the lines with a fillet knife. Here’s an example of a really nice curved boning knife from Dalstrong.
Japanese Boning Knife
As you can see in the picture here of Shun’s traditional Japanese boning knife, it contains more of a wedge shape to it than most Western-style boning knives. Japanese boning knives have a thicker spine towards the handle that gets much thinner as you get to the tip of the blade. Their shape makes them especially useful as a deboning knife on fish. The added length and slight curvature allows for an easier slice through the meat without having to saw back and forth. Western knives are often better for chicken, ribs, and other meats with tighter areas around larger bones due to their lower profile blades.
Another consideration in selecting a top rated boning knife is its price. A good example of this is the Shun TDM0774 Gokujo Boning Knife. This is an awesome knife and it contains high-quality materials, so why is it sitting down at #6 on the list? We believe it’s slightly overpriced and thus priced out of range for the average buyer considering a boning knife. Of course that doesn’t make it bad. It’s a great knife.
We think you should first decide what your budget is, then grade on value or performance vs. price. The Dalstrong Shogun Boning Knife is a great example of this. It checks many boxes when it comes to quality and craftsmanship, and it even carries a lifetime warranty. All this for a great price. Now that’s a great value!
Customer reviews are one of the most important considerations that we use here at BladeAdvisor for rating kitchen knives. Some knife brands have great marketing and make their stuff look better than it is in their advertising. Others don’t have the same advertising budget, but do have similar quality knives. Additionally, most consumers are buying their knives over the internet now and don’t get a chance to see them in person prior to buying them. This typically adds a layer of discomfort that you’re selection the right knife.
By reading through real customer reviews online at Amazon or product comparisons on pages like this one or another website’s boning knife reviews, you can feel good about your selection. It’s an easy process to confirm your feelings by reading what other users have to say about the item. Were they happy or were they not? Is there a common theme when it comes to a flaw? For the most part, consumers tend to be very honest in their online reviews and should be thanked for it. It’s a luxury we haven’t always had.
What is a Boning Knife Used For?
Boning knives are used for a handful of tasks, nearly all of them have to do with removing meat from bones (or bones from meat in some cases). Some boning knifes uses include deboning chicken (similar to kitchen shears), cleaning larger fish like salmon or tuna, and removing rib meat from the bones. Butchers also use them often when paring down larger cuts of meat into smaller ones and removing beef from bones to make hamburger. Here are some images to show a few boning knife uses in action.
Boning Knife Uses
Cutting Lamb Chops
How To Use a Boning Knife
There are many boning knife uses. Most include separating meat from bone, but not always. In some cases, it’s more of a trimming in the case of removing a fat cap or trimming fatty edges. Yet another way to use a boning knife would be to pare down larger cuts of meat into smaller pieces such as butchering a side of beef or quartering a chicken.
De-Boning a Chicken (9-min video)
French Trimming a Rack of Lamb (2-min video)
De-Boning a Pork Loin (4-min video)
Filleting Salmon (2-min video)
Our Boning Knife Reviews: The Final Cut
To summarize, boning knives aren’t used as often as steak knives or a paring knife, but they are very efficient tools when it comes to removing meat from a bone. The reverse statement is true as well. They are often used to remove bones from meat. This is a common practice in poultry when you’re de-boning chicken.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Do I really need another knife in my kitchen just for this purpose? I already have so many, and I could just use my “insert knife type here” to do this job.” While that is true, the best boning knife options will make you so much more efficient at cleaning bones that you’ll be saving money by wasting less meat. Maybe more importantly, you run the risk of injury when you don’t use the right tool for the job and that’s not good when you’re using sharp knives. We recommend using the right tool, even if you have to get a cheap boning knife that will require frequent sharpening over using something that was not designed for your task.
As a quick reminder, we really like the Dalstrong Shogun 6″ Boning Knife as our top boning knife. However, there are many other deserving boning knives available for sale at Amazon with great prices. Here are links to a few of our other favorites. Thanks for visiting!