Best Deba Knives – A Buying Guide and Reviews

We haven’t looked at Japanese knives for some time. Let’s fix that today and have a look at the best Deba knives.

The Deba knife is a traditional Japanese knife, that’s primarily used for cutting fish. The knife has been specifically designed for tasks such as filleting fish and removing the fish’s heads. In addition to that, it can, of course, be used for cutting other meat.

Thanks to its significant weight, the knife can handle small bones that may, for example, be encountered when breaking down a chicken. However, larger bones should be avoided, as the knife is not designed for them and they cause damage to the edge of the knife. The area near the handle is the best part of the edge to use for bones.

The spine of the Deba knives tapers along its length, which results in a surprisingly thin tip. Thanks to this thin tip, the knife can be used even for some delicate tasks such as removing bones.

The center area of the edge is best used for slicing.

Traditionally, carbon steel was utilized for these knives. As you may know, carbon steel requires maintenance. Therefore, modern Deba knives are mostly made of stainless steel, which doesn’t require as much care.

Comparison Table Of The Best Deba Knives

ImageProduct NameBladeBevelPrice
Yoshihiro Shiroko High Carbon Steel Kasumi Deba7Single Check on Amazon
Global G-7-7 inch, 18cm Oriental Deba Knife7Single Check on Amazon
Kai 6715D Wasabi Black Deba Knife, 6-Inch6Single Check on Amazon
Kai Seki Magoroku Kinju ST Japanese Deba Knife6Single Check on Amazon
AZUMASYUSAKU Deba Hocho7.1Double Check on Amazon
Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Deba Knife with NSF Handle6Single Check on Amazon
Yoshihiro Mizu Yaki Honyaki Shiroko White Steel #1 Double Mirror Polished Deba Knife6.5Single Check on Amazon

How To Choose The Best Deba Knife?

Let’s have a look at some of the factors one should consider when shopping around for a good Deba knife.

Size

From the size point of view, there are many choices available because various species of fish are caught in Japan. You wouldn’t want to use a huge 8-inch knife on a tiny fish, right?

In essence, choose the right size for the tasks you are planning to use the knife for. If you are looking for an all-purpose choice, I would probably recommend a knife with a blade around 6 or 7 inches long.

Blade

Deba knives’ blades are traditionally designed as single bevel (or single edge), although nowadays, double-edged models are available as well. If you are going for a single edge one, make sure you get the right one based on whether you are right or left-handed. The bevel should be on the left side for left-handers and on the right side for the right-handers. Double-beveled Debas can be used universally.

Another important aspect of the blade is the material it’s crafted from. Nowadays most of the Deba knives are made of stainless steel to allow for easier maintenance. The traditional Japanese Debas will, however, have high carbon steel blades that can be susceptible to rust and stains. In case, you of those, it’s vital to take proper care of the knife. That means no dishwasher, keeping the knife dry, storing in a dry environment, and regular use of maintenance oil.

Handle

The traditional Japanese Deba-bocho comes with wooden handles and I think that’s the right choice here. Wood is a nice-looking material, that can stand the test of time and provides a comfortable and firm grip.

If you are a fan of plastic or metal handles, you won’t be disappointed either as there is a wide selection of Deba knives with those as well.

Price

Price is pretty much always going to be one of the deciding factors for most of us. Know, that the selection of knives, in general, is huge. There are many Deba knives to choose from with prices starting at 15 dollars or so. Some of them, of course, are not going to be very good, but there some good choices among the cheap Deba knives as well.

On the other hand, if money is not an issue, you can get an exquisite Deba by Yoshihiro, that will set you back by more than 1000 dollars.

Top 7 Recommended Deba Knives

Yoshihiro Shiroko High Carbon Steel Kasumi Deba

Yoshihiro Shiroko High Carbon Steel Kasumi Deba Japanese Fillet Chef's KnifeThis is a beautifully handcrafted Deba knife with a 7-inch blade finished in the Kasumi style. The Kasumi style refers to a mist pattern on the blade that is created by forging the steel with iron. The blade is single-edged and is meant for right-handers. If the 7-inch blade is not ideal for your needs, there are also variants with 6.5-inch and 8.5-inch blades.

You can choose between magnolia wood or rosewood handle. Personally, I would go for the lighter magnolia wood, because it goes together well with the included wooden Saya cover.

Because it is a knife made of high carbon steel, it’s vital to take proper care of it. The manufacturer recommends applying Tsubaki oil before storage.

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

Global G-7 Deba KnifeWe have reviewed some other Global knives before, and they were all pretty solid knives. The same can be said about Global’s take on the Japanese Deba knife.

It has a slightly different shape to the blade’s spine and tip than you’d expect from the Deba knife, but it still works great. The blade is 7 inches long and has a single edge design.

The knife is made of Cromova 18 stainless steel, which retains sharpness very well. The handle is molded from stainless steel as well and it has the traditional Global dimpled texture to it. This provides a safer grip.

Overall a solid knife that can be had for a reasonable price.

Kai 6715D Wasabi Black Deba Knife, 6-Inch

Kai 6715D Wasabi Black Deba KnifeKai Japanese knives are some of the most popular knives available on the market. The Wasabi line is the basic line Kai manufactures. Even though the price is lower, the knives are still made in Japan.

The 6-inch Deba knife sports pretty simple, yet efficient, design. The blade is made of stainless steel, providing easier maintenance. With its traditional single bevel design, the knife is more oriented towards right-handed users.

The handle is made of pakkawood. Nowadays this material is quite popular in the cutlery industry, mainly due to its durability. It is pretty much resin-impregnated hardwood.

Give its low price and very good quality, this can be a great choice for someone not wanting to spend a lot of money.

Kai Seki Magoroku Kinju ST Japanese Deba Knife

Kai Seki Magoroku Kinju ST Japanese Deba KnifeThis is another Deba knife made by Kai in Japan. It’s made of molybdenum vanadium stainless steel and has a 6 inches long blade. The blade is single-edged making it more suitable for right-handers. It’s extremely sharp right out of the box.

The octagonal-shaped handle is made of nylon and is reinforced with laminated wood.

This knife is about twice as expensive as the Kai 6715D Wasabi Deba but the price is still very reasonable given the quality.

AZUMASYUSAKU Deba Hocho

AZUMASYUSAKU Deba HochoHere’s another handcrafted Deba knife from Japan. This one is made by a company called Honmamon.

It has a 180mm blade which translates to about 7.1 inches. It’s made of the famous Aogami Steel 2 and unlike most other traditional Japanese knives, this has double-bevel. This makes it suitable even for left-handed chefs. Needless to say, the blade looks awesome with its roughness and blueish tint.

The handle is of the traditional Japanese style and is suitable for both left-handers and right-handers.

Overall, it’s a very nice knife, that might be an interesting choice for someone who prefers double-beveled knives. As you may, these are easier to sharpen than the single-bevel knives.

Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Deba Knife with NSF Handle

Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Deba Knife with NSF HandleThis is one of the cheapest options in our collection of the best Deba knives. This Deba knife from Mercer Culinary’s Asian collection has a 6-inch blade made of high carbon stainless steel, which resists corrosion and discoloration. You should still only handwash the knife. Never put it into the dishwasher, if you want it to last. Also, note that the blade is single-edged.

The handle is made of a material called santorprene, that’s colored to look like wood but provides better slip control. The knife is NSF certified. If you would prefer a wooden handle, Mercer Culinary makes their Debas with wooden handles as well.

The knife is covered by a limited lifetime warranty.

Yoshihiro Mizu Yaki Honyaki Shiroko White Steel #1 Double Mirror Polished Deba Knife

Yoshihiro Mizu Yaki Honyaki Shiroko White Steel Deba Fish Fillet KnifeThis knife is like Ferrari of the Deba knives. It is a beautifully handcrafted Deba knife from the premium Yoshihiro Honyaki line.

It’s forged from a single piece of the highest quality steel utilizing the same methods used ancient Japanese sword makers. The blade looks absolutely gorgeous with a unique contrast between the dark bluish and the mirror-polished areas. Keep in mind that the blade requires proper care, to remain looking like that. Regular oiling and prompt washing and drying after use are of utmost importance. Sharpening is only supposed to be done with water whetstones. Forget about electric knife sharpeners.

The octagonal handle is handcrafted as well and is made of wood. A traditional wooden Saya cover is included as well.

Thanks to the handcrafting involved, no two knives will look the same. If you are a fan of beautiful and unique knives, this one might be a fine addition to your collection.