Scaling a fish is perhaps the least pleasant part of fishing. This tedious yet necessary job involves spending precious time looking for each and every scale to ensure that your fish is free of muck and is perfectly clean.
But cleaning a fish doesn’t have to be as hard as it is. With the help of the best fish scalers at your side, you can streamline this chore and have your fish cleaned faster and better than ever before!
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Fish Scaler Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to buying fish scalers, there are a few things you need to consider.
First off is the size of the fish you’re planning to catch. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the fish you’re planning to scale, the bigger your scaler should be – simply because a bigger fish scaler covers more ground at once. Conversely, you’ll want a small scaler for small fish, as a large scaler can do more harm than good and even ruin your catch.
Automatic vs Manual Fish Scaler
Next off is the decision to go automatic or manual. While there are manual fish scalers for fish of any size, automatic descalers tend to have a size restriction on the fish they can scale. If you’re planning to go automatic, be sure to get a fish scale scraper that’s appropriate for the size of the fish you plan to catch.
If you’re planning to go automatic or electric, there’s also the question of the fish scaler’s heads. As a general rule, the more cutting heads a fish scaler has, the better. Cutter heads with more edges are better for small scales, which are much harder to remove. Before you commit to your electric fish scale remover, try and see if it comes with at least one head with a different amount of edges – this way, your scaler can adapt to multiple situations on the fly.
Finally, there’s the question of the handle. Most, if not all fish scalers are made of metals such as stainless steel. However, their handles can be very different, from simple steel extensions to classier wood and even rubberized ergonomic grips. Depending on how you want your scaler to look, as well as your dexterity, you may want a fish scaler that’s easier to work with.
Now that you know what to look out for, here’s my list of the best fish scalers available on the market today.
Fish Scaler Reviews
Open Country TD-6065-13 Tumble Drumm Sportsman Automatic Fish Scaler
- Stainless steel drum with automatic tumbling action
- Can scale up to 50 panfish at the same time
- Sturdy polypropylene tub that’s easy to wash and resists odors and mildew
Pros: Fully automatic, doesn’t leave messes, high capacity
Cons: Pricey, ideal only for panfish (roughly 14 inches max)
For those that loathe the job of scaling a fish – especially lots of small fish – say hello to the Open Country TD-6065-13 Tumble Drumm Sportsman Automatic Fish Scaler.
This automatic dish scaler features a drum design with automatic tumbling action, and will perfectly scale up to 50 panfish at once, without any input from you. All you really need to do is load the fish in, start the motor, and come back in roughly 20 minutes to harvest your cleaned fish!
Not only is this fish descaler very thorough, but it’s also incredibly portable. Featuring a lightweight, polypropylene design, the Open Country TD-6065-13 Tumble Drumm Sportsman Automatic Fish Scaler is a must-have companion for anglers who prefer smaller fish.
Bottomline: Scaling a fish is a difficult and time-consuming process – but it doesn’t have to be. With the Open Country TD-6065-13 Tumble Drumm Sportsman Automatic fish scale remover at your side, you can simply leave your fish to be ready and descaled as you continue fishing!
Amayia Electric Fish Scaler
- Stainless steel roller blade
- IP7 waterproofing
- Ergonomic handle
Pros: Can be used with or without the cord, quick and powerful performance
Cons: Not good at scaling panfish
The Amayia Electric Fish Scale scraper is an excellent companion for anyone looking to snag medium to large fish. With a stainless steel roller blade and a cordless design, you can scale your catch in a matter of seconds even while you’re still on the water.
This fish scaler also features IP7 waterproofing for additional protection not only from accidents but also from moisture trapped between a fish’s scales. An ergonomic handle will help even unsteady hands descale a fish with pinpoint precision.
On the other hand, do not attempt to use this fish scaler for panfish – it will not only do a sloppy job, but can be dangerous due to the unpredictable movement and sharp parts.
Bottomline: If you’re going fishing for large fish, the Amayia Electric Fish Scale Remover will undoubtedly make your scaling a lot easier and faster.
Adorambling SUPERBEAR Fish Scaler
- 58 sawtooth design for better purchase on slippery fish scales
- Lightweight stainless steel construction with additional anti-rust protection
- Ergonomic, grooved handle
Pros: Simple and efficient design, super affordable
Cons: Manual, can cut you during cleaning
Ultimately, a fish scaler is just a sharp cutting tool meant specifically to remove fish scales – nothing more, nothing less. If you’re looking for something affordable yet sturdy, give the Adorambling SUPERBEAR Fish Scale Remover a go.
This stainless steel fish scale features 58 sawteeth which allows it to easily slip in between slippery and slimy fish scales. A lightweight stainless steel construction is coupled with a grooved, ergonomic handle for a comfortable scaling experience.
Bottomline: As an angler, sometimes simple is best – and the Adorambling SUPERBEAR Fish Scaler is the epitome of practicality with its low cost, sturdy construction, and easy operation.
4 Pieces Stainless Steel Fish Scale Remover
- Comes with 4 types of scale remover
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Packed with features
Cons: Not best for heavy-duty fish scaling
This 4 Pieces Stainless Steel Fish Scale Remover set is the perfect gift for any angler. The set comes with 4 different scrapers, made of quality stainless steel and ABS plastic, to help make quick work of removing fish scales. The 3 sharp scrapers are perfect for quickly removing scales, while the plastic scraper is great for delicate work.
The non-slip handles and serrated edges make removing scales quick and easy, while the built-in bottle opener is a handy bonus. The set also comes with a storage case to keep the scrapers organized and ready for use. And when it’s time to clean up, simply pop the removers in the dishwasher – they’re dishwasher safe. Plus, the hanging hole design means they can be stored out of the way when not in use.
Bottomline: If you’re looking for a complete set of fish scalers for different needs, this set is the best one out there.
Kwizing Fish Scaler Brush
- Not messy to use
- Doesn’t hurt the flesh of the fish
- High-quality and ergonomic design
Pros: Comes with 2 cutter heads, can be used cordless, long battery life
Cons: Not dishwasher safe
The Kwizing’s Urokotori is the perfect tool for quickly and easily removing scales from fish. The brush is made of brass with 32 individual serrated sawteeth, providing large surface coverage and high-tensile strength. The sawteeth are spaced closely together to prevent scales from slipping through, and the ergonomic design ensures a comfortable grip.
Kwizing Fish Scaler Brush is one of the best fish scalers because of its ergonomic design. It’s the perfect tool for removing fish scales quickly and easily. With just one stroke, most of the scales will be removed. It works great for fish with small scales and is especially good for sushi and sashimi.
Bottomline: The Kwizing Fish Scaler Brush is handcrafted by Japanese artisans and is the perfect way to ensure a clean, scale-free fish.
Big Norm-Feets 88111 Magic Fish Scaler
- High-quality plastic construction
- Easy to clean
- Affordable and lightweight
Pros: Never worry about rust because of its plastic construction.
Cons: Doesn’t work on larger scales.
Big Norm-Feet 88111 Magic Fish Scaler is one of the most efficient fish scalers on the market. Its free-floating fingers remove fish scales with ease, and it works on big scales, small scales, and corner scales. Plus, it’s not messy like some other fish scalers. It’s also great for fish like trout, snapper, and flounder.
This tough little scale scrapper is made of durable plastic and is solid enough to press against the fish skin without breaking. Plus, it’s faster than using a spoon – simply press the scaler against the skin and watch the scales come flying off! When you’re finished, simply rinse the scaler underwater and it’s ready to use again.
Bottomline: For those who’d prefer lighter tools to bring on a fishing camp, the Big Norm-Feets 88111 Magic Fish Scaler is your best choice.
FAQs about Fish Scalers
Should I gut and clean my fish before using an automatic descaler?
Ideally, no. By keeping the fish whole during the descaling process, your automatic fish scaler will have an easier time getting rid of all the fish’s scales.
What tools can I use to scale a fish if I don’t have a fish scaler?
You can always fall back on the tried and true method of using a knife to scale a fish. Bear in mind that you’ll need to rinse the fish first under cold water to help loosen the scales.
Why should I use a fish scale remover over a knife?
Fish scalers are made especially to catch and remove the scales of a fish. These tools are built specifically to remove scales, and don’t carry the risk of accidentally cutting either yourself or your fish during cleaning.
Should I apply a lot of force when using a manual fish scaler?
No, and in fact, you should be using as little force as possible. Manual fish scale scrapers should be able to remove scales with minimal effort.
What happens if I choose to not scale a fish?
If you don’t descale a fish – either with a knife or with a fish scaler – you’ll not only run the risk of getting sick from the gunk that’s stuck to the fish’s scales, but you’ll also have a harder time seasoning and marinating the fish, as the scales will prevent your spices from getting in.
Say Goodbye to those Fish Scales!
Unless you invested in a fully automatic fish scaler (which I suggest you do), there’s no getting around the work of descaling a fish. However, with these fish scalers at your side, I’m 100 positive that your descaling work will be easier, faster, and less of a hassle.