Fishing is a fun sport and eating fish is healthy. But before you can cook the fish you catch or buy, you have to remove the scales – not a fun task. While you can use a dull knife or spoon to hack away at those scales, using the right fish scaler will get the job done easily and efficiently.
This handy little tool features sawtooth or ridged metal edges that lift and pull away the scales on fish. Typically made of a metal, a combination of metal and wood, or plastic, fish scalers are a must-have in your kitchen if you cook fish often or going fishing regularly.
Because they are specifically designed to scrape the scales off fish, they make quick work of an otherwise messy and tedious job. While some models can only be used on certain fish, others are versatile and can be used on different types of fish, from salmon and rainbow trout to bass and perch.
We feature five fish scalers you can purchase online. Read on to find the one that best suits your needs
Top Pick Best Overall: SUPERBEAR Fish Scaler Remover
For a simple yet effective fish scaler, this model from Superbear checks off all the boxes to ensure a painless and successful experience. Featuring a 58-sawtooth design, this scaler makes removing fish scales easy, even for beginners, without harming your hands or the skin of the fish.
Made of US standard food-grade, 430-stainless steel, it’s sturdy, lightweight and resists rust. With a thumb-pressing point and an ergonomical handle, the scaler will not slip or scratch your hands. Easy to clean, simply rise or pop into the dishwasher.
This scaler is ideal to use on all fish with large or fine scales, from salmon and sea bass, to sardines, trout, red snapper and mackerel. And since it comes in a lovely drawstring pouch, it’s easy to tuck away safely in a drawer between uses.
- Easy to use
- Non-slip grip
- Made from 430-stainless steel
- Ideal for large and small scaled fish
- Comes with a drawstring bag
- Would be difficult to use for someone with arthritic hands
Top Pick Best Versatile: Honoson 4 Pieces Stainless Steel Fish Scale Remover
Fish scalers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and sometimes it’s hard to know which one will best suit your grip, use and style. Buying different models separately to test each one can end up being wasteful, expensive and time consuming. When you can’t decide on one specific model, an economical solution is to purchase a set that includes some of the best styles in one package.
This four-piece set is a great way to try a variety of fish scalers to find the one that works best for you, while leaving the other versions to be tried and used by other members of your family.
This set features three stainless steel fish graters and one made of ABS plastic. The peeler-style, stainless steel scraper measures 7.6 inches long, fits nicely into smaller hands and has sharp teeth for quickly scraping scales. The comfortable handle makes for a firm grip and the front end can also be used as a bottle opener.
The sharp stainless steel clawtool scaler has a long, 7.9-inch non-slip handle with a comfortable grip and a hanging hole at the end so it can be stored out of the way when not in use. The third stainless steel scraper has a long, narrow design with a circle of sharp teeth to get all the scales off fish. Finally, the last option is shaped like a fish and is made from plastic with a clear cover to capture the scales as you scrape them from the fish skin.
Durable, lightweight, wear- and rust-resistant, this convenient set is perfect for all the members of your family, or for you if you like the variety of being able to choose the right fish scaler for the job at hand.
- Contains four different fish scalers
- Lightweight, easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Makes a nice gift
- Hanging hole design
- Comfortable non-skid grip
- Contains plastic
Top Pick Best Electric: REEXBON Electric Fish Scaler
If you do a lot of fishing, scaling your catch can be a long and tedious task. And if over the years you’ve noticed your hands and fingers becoming stiffer, grasping a fish and a scaler can turn into a painful experience. To keep you at the fishing game for as long as you want, consider using an electric fish scaler to take the hard work – and pain – out of removing scales.
This cordless electric model is safe and easy to use and is equipped with a comfortable handle for a solid grip. The 56W, powerful all-copper motor and 304-stainless steel rust-proof roller blade makes quick, efficient work of removing scales. The one-button operation, two-speed adjustment and staggered knife teeth offer maximum cleaning for a variety of fish, without harming the skin.
Equipped with a large capacity 2200mAh, 12 V lithium battery, you can be sure of long-lasting use and stable operation for between three to four hours on a full charge. Completely waterproof with an Ipx7 waterproof level, this electric scaler is fully immersible in water and easy to clean.
- Runs on a 12V lithium battery
- Three- to four-hour run time after a full charge
- Charging time of approximately 1.5 hours
- Powerful 56 W, all copper motor
- 304-stainless steel roller blade
- Includes USB cable and instruction manual
- More expensive than manual models
Top Pick Best Gift Set: Honoson 7 Pieces Fish Scaler Brush Remover with Gray Mitten
It’s that time of year when we’re all thinking of giving gifts to friends and family. But even without the Yuletide holiday, there are many special occasions when we want to give a gift. If there is a special person in your life who is an avid fisherman or who aspires to be one, then consider this awesome fish scaler and accessories set as a gift they are bound to enjoy.
This complete package includes five different types of fish scale brushes, one stainless steel fish tweezers and a pair of gray mittens, everything that is needed to handle, scale and properly prepare fresh fish.
The mittens in this set have a dual function – they protect your hands from being scratched or cut by the scaler, and they provide a sure grip to prevent slipping, allowing you to grasp the fish firmly. The plastic scraper is lightweight, made from durable ABS and AS plastic and has a smart, transparent cover to collect the scales and keep them from flying around.
The stainless steel scrapers have pointed edges to easily remove the abdomen, gills and fins, with a choice of using sharp blades or a serrated edge. Both have comfortable, long handles with non-slip features, so it’s easier to get to hard-to-reach areas of the fish. Then use the stainless steel fish tweezers to remove fine bones.
With this handy practical set, you – or the person who receives this as a gift – won’t need another scaler or tool to make sure all the fish caught and eaten are entirely scale-free.
- Seven-piece set
- Reasonably priced
- Fish scalers made of stainless steel
- Durable and anti-rust
- Scaler with cover made from ABS plastic
- Includes cut-resistant gloves
- Makes an ideal gift
- Contains more pieces than some people need
Top Pick Best Large Capacity Automatic: Open Country TD-6065-13 Tumble Drumm Sportsman Automatic Fish Scaler
If you spend your summers catching fish every day and then having community fish fries at night, then you know how laborious it can be to clean all that fish, especially smaller sizes. But what if you could do it quickly and easily without using a hand scraper?
This automatic fish scaler is a game-changer when it comes to cleaning the scales from large quantities of small fish. It consists of a large capacity stainless steel drum with a geared electronic motor so you can scale up to 50 pan fish at a time in about 20 minutes. Simply place the fish inside the drum, add water and turn on the tumbler.
The tumbling action works to gently remove scales, leaving the fish clean and undamaged, with the scales settling on the bottom of the sturdy holding tank for easy, clean disposal.
With this fish scaler, you can save time and energy and concentrate on enjoying the taste of your catch, rather than spending hours cleaning it.
- Plyproplyene tub resists odors and mildew
- Built for hot or cold climates
- Can scale up to 50 pan fish in 20 minutes
- Ideal for 12 to 14-inch fish like brim, small bass and perch
- Not recommended to scale large fish
- Very pricey
- Needs an electrical outlet to operate
Things to look out for:
Consider these things when looking for a fish scaler so you will choose one that best suits your needs:
Fish scales are available in a number of models and made from a variety of materials. Each one has its own benefits and pitfalls. The following are a few of the different types of fish scalers on the market.
These gadgets are similar-looking to vegetable peelers and are designed to slip under the scale and pull it out. They are often made of plastic with serrated metal edges, and are easy to use and efficient.
Brushes or scrapers
Scaling brushes or scrapers have broad heads and teeth that are designed to scrape or brush away the fish scales without damaging the fillet or skin. They are usually made from stainless steel and can be put into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
These are available in electric and non-electric versions and feature sharp edges and a comfortable grip. Some models have changeable blades and easy grip handles. Electric ones can be expensive and are advised more for the avid fisherman and frequent use.
These can also come in many forms, from a drill to a drum version to a knife model. They are designed to make scaling a fast and smooth process, they can be corded or cordless and come with nonstick grips and changeable blades for customization.
Before you decide on which fish scaler would work best for you, think about how much you will use it. If you or a family member fish often and you cook the catch, then look for one that is durable and able to do a fast and efficient job. If you plan on scaling a lot of fish all year round, then perhaps an electric model would be a good choice, offering up less hand and wrist fatigue. Also consider the type of fish you will descale. Some fish scalers are versatile enough to work well on all types of fish, while others are more specialized for small fish only.
Even though it’s always best to work within your budget, sometimes it doesn’t pay to purchase a cheaper model that you’ll have to replace after a month or two of use. Look for a durable and long-lasting fish scaler. Those made from stainless steel are typically more durable than those made from plastic, but metal can be prone to corrosion and rust. However, if properly cared for and carefully maintained, there is less likelihood of it rusting. Wood is eco-friendly and durable but can be prone to mold if not treated and cleaned regularly.