Top 10 Best Deba Knives 2020

The Deba Knives or Deba bōchō

If you translate Deba knife from Japanese it means “pointed carving knife”. They were first used to cut fish but do a fine job cutting meat as well. The knife comes in different sizes up to 12 inches in length. Traditionally, Deba knives are made of carbon steel. This knife needs regular maintenance and oiling to prevent rust. Many modern knives are also available in stainless steel. The carbon steel blades can be honed into a sharper cutting edge.

Deba knife at fish market
Deba knife at a fish market

When to use Deba Knives

A Deba knife is an ideal tool to work with whole pieces of fish or birds. Of course, you can use it for vegetables and fruit too. You simply choose a size that is fitting for the task you are going to do. The knife design allows for making deep and precise cuts. You can easily control the pressure that you exert on the blade.

Deba knives have a wider and sturdier spine. This is good for strong cuts where the auxiliary hand can apply a little more force. The edge of the blade is prepared to cut thorns and bones of fish or small birds.

Thanks to the special shape of the blade you can use each part for a specific purpose:

  • Near the handle: Cutting small bones with the heel
  • The center of the edge: Slicing
  • The tip of the knife: Boning

A Deba knife should be heavy and well balanced with the handle in weight and length. The blade of the Deba knife is wide at the heel and pointed at the tip.

How to care for you Deba Knife Wood Handle

Depending on the use of the knife and the conditions of the kitchen you should oil the handle at last once per month. Choose a food-grade oil that can be easily absorbed by the handle. Make sure you use enough oil so it can penetrate deeply into the grain of the wood to help protect, revitalize and moisturize the wood fibers. Let it soak overnight and wipe off any excess oil after. Apply additional oil to any visible dry spots or for any other necessary reasons.
DO NOT allow liquids of any type to accumulate on the handle for long periods of time.
DO NOT soak the handle in water during cleaning.

The 10 best Deba Knives

Yoshihiro Shiroko Kasumi Deba Japanese Fillet Chef’s Knife

Yoshihiro Shiroko Kasumi Deba Japanese Fillet Chef's Knife

The handmade Yoshihiro Shiroko Kasumi knives are the most expensive ones on this page. But these high-quality knives offer exceptional performance with exceptional value. The blade is made from White Steel number 2 with a hardness of 62-63 Rockwell. They are forged with iron to create the beautiful mist patterns that the Japanese call Kasumi.
This Deba knife is made with a traditional style handcrafted round shaped Magnolia wood handle which is affixed with a Water Buffalo horn bolster. Since Water Buffalo horn comes from an animal this knife is not Vegan and the color of the horn is slightly different for every horn.
The Yoshihiro Kasumi knife comes with a protective wooden sheath called “Saya”. It protects the knife when it is not in use or when you transport it. The White steel make is very easy to keep this knife sharp when using a wet stone.

  • Steel: Shiroko High Carbon Steel (White Steel 2)
  • Single-beveled blade
  • Handle: Magnolia wood with Water Buffalo Horn bolster
  • Blade length: 7 in.

Kai Seki Magoroku Kinju ST Japanese Deba Knife

Kai Seki Magoroku Kinju ST Japanese Deba Knife

Kai uses traditional techniques to produce the blade of the Seki Magoroku Kinju knife series. The Kai Seki Magoroku Kinju ST Japanese Deba Knife is a beautiful example of a Japanese Deba knife with the pointed cutting edges of traditional Japanese kitchen knives. It is ground on one side to guarantee an optimal and straight cut. The maximum blade sharpness is achieved by highly precise processing of the cutting edge.
The hexagonal handle of the Kinju knives is made of laminated, reinforced wood for a comfortable feel when cutting. The traditional Japanese style octagonal handle is extremely water-resistant. Kai uses high-quality natural wood which is treated by a special process for the handles. The knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is made in Japan.

  • Steel: Molybdenum vanadium stainless steel
  • Single-beveled blade
  • Handle: Nylon / Laminated wood
  • Blade length: 7 in. total 12.72 in.

Kotobuki High-Carbon SK-5 Japanese Deba Fish Filleting Knife

Kotobuki High-Carbon SK-5 Japanese Deba Fish Filleting Knife

For the true Japanese sushi and sashimi experience you need the Kotobuki SK-5 Deba Fish Filleting Knife. This knife is made in Japan and has a 6.5-inch blade and a solid wood handle. The blade is made from high-carbon SK-5 steel. On the Rockwell Hardness Scale, SK-5 has a hardness of 65, making it perfect for the delicate slicing tasks. Additional manganese helps combat the brittle properties of high-carbon steel. This process makes the knife really tough. You will love it when making sashimi and sushi. Or slicing your vegetables and fruits or any slicing tasks that require great precision.

  • Steel: High-carbon steel
  • Single-beveled blade
  • Handle: Wood
  • Blade length: 6 1/2 in.

Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Deba Knife

Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Deba Knife

Mercer markets the Mercer Asian Collection to prepare Asian dishes. This knife they recommend to make sushi. And it is true – you can cut without snagging or dragging. The knife is precision-made from German stainless steel to hold the edge without rusting. Beware that the knife is not made to cut bones. I was very happy to use it to cut vegetables, meat, and fish of all kinds. The Mercer Culinary Asian Deba Knife is a great starter knife for someone who is learning the Asian culinary arts. Honed high carbon stainless steel German steel blade is 6 inches long and weighs 8 ounces. It has a traditional white wooden handle that is easy to grip.

  • Steel: High Carbon German Steel
  • Blade Angle 6° one side/15° other side
  • HRC 56+/-1
  • Handle: Wood
  • Blade length: 5 7/8 in.

Kai 6715D Wasabi Black Deba Knife, 6-Inch

Kai 6715D Wasabi Black Deba Knife

The Wasabi Deba is part of Kai’s Wasabi series. The series features traditional Japanese single-bevel blade shapes as well as a selection of double-bevel Western-style blade shapes. The Kai Wasabi Deba is a medium-sized Deba with the traditional single-bevel blade. The 6-inch Japanese Deba knife is good for ultra-thin slices that require a delicate touch. For the blade, Kai uses Daido 1k6 high-carbon, stainless steel. It is designed to take and hold a sharp edge. After it is bead-blasted to an attractive finish. D-shaped ergonomically designed Pakkawood resin-impregnated hardwood handle which feels very good in the hand. Please hand wash and dry right after use. The knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is made in Japan.

  • Steel: High-carbon stainless steel, graze finished
  • Sharpened to 16° cutting angle
  • Single-beveled blade
  • Handle: Polypropylene
  • Blade length: 6 in.

Wüsthof Classic 7-inch Deba Wide Chef’s Knife

Wusthof Classic 7-inch Deba Wide Chef's Knife

You might be surprised to find a German knife on a page of the 10 best Deba knives. But this one belongs right here. Meet the Wüsthof Classic Deba Knife is an excellent all-around chef’s knife. It excels at precision slicing of fish, meats, and poultry. The curved edge promotes a rocking motion that works well for chopping fruits and vegetables too, making this an exceptionally versatile knife in the kitchen. The Wüsthof Classic is a full-tang knife with a razor-sharp double bevel edge with a 10° angle per side. This new angle and more tapered cutting edge reduce the drag when slicing through foods, allowing for seamless effortless cutting. It is precision-forged from a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel. It features a new handle design made of highly durable synthetic material: Polyoxymethylene. The handle has a tighter molecular structure to resist fading and discoloration. Wüsthof’s Precision Edge Technology ensures a 20% sharper blade with twice the edge retention. It is made in Solingen, Germany and comes with a lifetime warranty.

  • Steel: High-carbon steel
  • Sharpened to 10° cutting angle
  • Double-beveled blade
  • Handle: Polyoxymethylene
  • Blade length: 7 in.

Tosa Kurouchi Deba Hocho Knife

Tosa Kurouchi Deba Hocho Knife

The Tosa Kurouchi Deba Hocho Knife is handmade in the Tosa region of Japan. Tosa faces the Pacific Ocean in the south and is walled by steep mountains on the other three sides. This made the area rather isolated in the old days. Most of the Tosa blacksmiths make Kurouchi knives. “Kurouchi,” translates into black forged and the knife is left raw. The knives are finished using traditional hammer forge techniques. They are rough but you can almost feel the warmth and the high spirits of the craftsmen that made the knife.
The blade is made from the famous Aogami Steel No.2 and the hardness is around HRC61 +/- 1 so it can be sharpened razor sharp and still be particularly sturdy. Aogami is Japanese for “blue paper” Blue Paper Steel was named after the paper the manufacturer Hitachi packages steel in. It is a variation of White Paper Steel which is very pure with only carbon as an alloy. White Paper Steel is identical to the traditional Tamahagene steel used for the production of Japanese swords but made in a modern way. The carbon is mainly located in the crystal grid and not between the intersections between the crystals. Aogami 2 is the same steel with small quantities of Chrome and Wolfram with about 1.2% carbon.
It is a double-bevel blade with a round handle. Left-hander can enjoy this knife as well.
These knives are handmade so every knife is a bit different.

  • Steel: Aogami Steel No.2
  • Double-beveled blade
  • Handle: Wood
  • Blade length: about 5.9 in. Length about 11.7 in.

Global G-7 – 7 inch, 18cm Oriental Deba Knife

Global G-7-7 inch, 18cm Oriental Deba Knife

The Global G-7 Oriental Deba Knife is quite a different knife. The knife is made of a single piece of steel, with a unique convex edge. The hollow handle is filled with sand to achieve the desired weight and deliver the perfect balance. Now comes the best part: To ensure that the balance is continuous, the sand flows inside the handle when you work with the knife. Perfectly balanced knives provide optimal control. You will feel the difference when you use a Global knife for the first time. The blade is made of CROMOVA 18 stainless steel with Chromium, Molybdenum, and Vanadium which is designed exclusively for Global. The blade is ice tempered and hardened to Rockwell C56 – C58 degrees with a long taper rather than a short bevel. This ensures the knifes blade holds it’s a razor-sharp edge longer than any other steel. Thick at the back, the broad, 7-inch blade, designed for butchering fish and chopping hard vegetables, carries enough weight to chop through fish bones. I like to use it for har vegetables as well. For clean, low-friction cutting, the blade is tapered to an edge on only one side. The ergonomic stainless steel handle offers a comfortable, slip-resistant grip and looks good. They’re molded to fit the hand and dimpled to resist slipping.

The knife is made in Japan and comes with a lifetime warranty against defects and breakage.

  • Steel: Cromova18 Stainless Steel
  • Single-beveled blade Acute 15 Degree Cutting Edge
  • Handle: Steel
  • Blade length: 7 in.

Kai Seki Magoroku Kinju ST Japanese Deba Knife

Kai-Seki-Magoroku-Kinju-ST-Japanese-Deba-Knife

The Seki Magoroku Kinju is particularly light in the hand compared to most other knives on this page. I like this typical Japanese blade shape in combination with the simple, black handle. It creates a timeless, minimalist aesthetic that fits well in a modern kitchen. But this knife does not only look it performs excellently as well. Unique technologies are applied in producing the molybdenum vanadium stainless steel blade. The blade is ground on one side, which guarantees an optimal and straight cut. The hexagonal handle of this Kinju knife is made of laminated, reinforced wood for a comfortable feel when cutting. The handle is extremely water-resistant, thanks to the use of high-quality natural wood which is treated by a special process. Still, we advise you not to soak the handle in liquids.
The knife comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is made in Japan.

  • Steel: Molybdenum Vanadium stainless steel
  • Sharpened to 16° cutting angle
  • Single-beveled blade
  • Handle: Laminated wood / Nylon cap
  • Blade length: 7 in.

Keemake 8.25 Inch Deba Knife

Keemake Deba Knife

The Keemake 8.25 inch Gyuto knife was made with cutting fish in mind. You will love it when preparing fish, including chopping, gutting, and filleting. The knife is very precise to work with fish, but also fairs excellently to part out poultry or for use as a vegetable cleaver.
Keemake uses premium German high-quality 1.4116 stainless steel for the blade to help keep it sharp and durable. The blade is sharpened to a 15° edge on the right side while the other side remains flat. It is quite easy to sharpen as well. Its hardness (HRC 58) is hard enough for heavy work but not too hard to be fragile. An extra matte sandblasting strip is applied in the middle of layers of the right side for quick food release. Not sure if this is really working better but it sure does look good.
For the handle, they use G10 which is strong and durable. I do like the Global Classic Metal Mosaic Rivet.

  • Steel: German 1.4116 stainless steel
  • Single-beveled blade
  • Handle: High density G10
  • Blade length: 8.25 in. / Knife Length: 14 in.
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Ivan

I'm Ivan - living and recently working in Southern California as a sous chef at various leading hotel chains. I’ve been fascinated by knives since my childhood in the Rocky Mountains. My career has made me passionate about all aspects of knives and I love sharing what I discover.