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The Very Best Bread Knives You Can Buy Right Now

updated Apr 6, 2021
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I tried to think of a different way to kick off this review, but all I have is this: I set out to find a bread knife that’s seriously the best thing since sliced bread. Lame, I know — so allow me to get a little more serious. Bread knives (or, more technically speaking, serrated knives) are ideal for slicing through crusty loaves of sourdough, soft rounds of challah, and tall loaves of brioche. However, they’re also the perfect tool for slicing a soft tomato, halving or quartering a sandwich, cutting a cake layer in half, and, in a pinch, carving a roast (although I do prefer a carving knife for this). 

So, yeah, these not-so-little knives are pretty versatile. Which means you’re gonna need a good one. To find out which serrated knife is best, I tested around a dozen of them, focusing on knives that were nine to 10 inches long (any shorter is too short for cutting through those wider loaves of bread). I used all of the knives to slice through round, crusty boules, soft loaves of challah, and whole, round tomatoes. I also used them to quarter BLTs. I used these knives for weeks, too. Let’s take a look to see how all my testing went — and which knives became my top picks. 

Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Best Bread Knives

The Tests

  • Slice one tomato into thin slices, to gauge the knife’s initial sharpness.
  • Slice half of a loaf of challah.
  • Slice half of a crusty boule.
  • Quarter a BLT.
  • Slice one tomato into thin slices, to gauge knife’s sharpness after some use.
  • Clean each knife by hand after every test.
Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
Just some of the tomatoes that were sliced in the name of finding the best bread knife.

Why You Should Trust Us 

I’m the Tools Editor at The Kitchn and a professional kitchen equipment tester. I previously worked at America’s Test Kitchen and my reviews on topics like stand mixers, induction burners, toaster ovens, and multicookers have been published in Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and on the America’s Test Kitchen website. My work has also been featured on America’s Test Kitchen’s and Cook’s Country’s television programs. And I own more knives than any human could possibly need.

Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
Our favorite bread knife effortlessly sliced challah.

What to Consider When Buying a Serrated/Bread Knife 

How Well Does It Slice? 

If any knife doesn’t slice well, what’s the point? This is certainly true for serrated or bread knives. I wanted to find a knife that would effortlessly slice tomatoes, crusty and soft loaves of bread, and sandwiches. If a knife jaggedly sliced, squished, or tore any one of these, there was no point. (The knife puns just keep on coming!)

There was a key difference between the best-performing knives and the worst-performing ones: their serrated points. The best bread knives had super-sharp points. My favorite model, by Mercer Culinary, had the widest, deepest serrations of them all and stayed super-sharp throughout testing. Shallower, less pointy, and even rounded serrations had a tougher time cutting through bread — especially crusty loaves. And loaves with shorter, spike-like serrations and knives with grooves above their serrations made me feel like I was “sawing” through food, even tomatoes, and created more jagged slices. 

The thickness of the knife’s blade also played a role in how well it sliced. Simply put, the thickest blades were more difficult to control and get clean slices with — especially something soft, like tomatoes — and were more likely to squish tall BLT sandwiches, causing the filling to slip out the sides. Thinner blades were more agile, easier to maneuver, and produced crisper slices.

Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
The grippy handle on our favorite bread knife was both comfortable and non-slip.

How Comfortable Is It to Hold? 

While my favorite bread knife’s handle has (as my colleague, Lisa Freedman, pointed out) the aesthetics of a bicycle tire, it’s extremely grippy. It has a textured handle that means there’s no chance of my fingers slipping around. Overall, in my testing, I learned that I recommend knives with rounded, rather than squared, handles, because they just feel more comfortable to hold. 

What We Look for in a Bread Knife

I judged all of the bread knives on the following criteria, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the worst and 5 being the best):

  • Performance: Did the knife cut cleanly and precisely? Was it able to slice the crustiest loaf of bread without a lot of force?
  • Durability: I sliced tomatoes at both the very beginning and end of testing, to see how the knife handled the tomatoes initially and whether its blade dulled after some use. 
  • Comfort: How comfortable was the knife’s handle? Was it grippy or, conversely, too slippery in the hand? 

Best Overall: Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Bread Knife 

This bread knife is incredible for its value and performance. It effortlessly quartered a BLT and sliced tomatoes and crusty and soft loaves of bread. In fact, it was one of the only knives that didn’t struggle through a crusty boule. It had the widest and sharpest serrations of all the knives I tried and its blade wasn’t too thick, so it offered great slice control. It stayed sharp throughout testing and had a fantastic handle, too, which I found to be comfortable to hold and super-grippy, thanks to textured dots. And for this price, well, I can’t recommend it more.

For what it’s worth, I also loved this Tojiro Bread Slicer, which is also around $22. It had a thinner blade and was more flexible than the Mercer Culinary model, but it struggled a little bit more with the crusty boule. However, it did a stellar job slicing tomatoes and soft loaves of bread and, overall, I highly recommend it as well.

Let me cut to the chase (I did it again!): You clearly do not need to spend lots of money (dough?) on a great bread knife. Of course you can (see below!) but you certainly do not have to.


  • Blade length: 10 inches
  • Handle material: Santoprene and polypropylene

Rating Criteria

  • Performance: 5
  • Durability: 5
  • Comfort: 5

Who it’s best for: Anyone who wants an excellent bread knife at a bargain price (it also makes a great gift!).
Good to know: You can choose the plain black handle, however they also offer handles that have colorful stripes on their sides. The latter have more textured dots all-over the handles and are, in my opinion, much more grippy than the plain black handle. 

Best Splurge: Miyabi Kaizen II Bread Knife

This is the by far the prettiest bread knife I’ve ever seen — and it performed pretty flawlessly, too. It has a stainless steel Damascus blade, which means it has a visible grain pattern created by layers upon layers of stainless steel (49, to be specific!). It did an amazing job with tomatoes, crusty and soft loaves of bread, and sandwiches. Its blade stayed sharp throughout testing and it had a smooth handle that just felt good in hand, although it was less grippy than the Mercer Culinary knife.

If you have the money to spend, you can’t go wrong with this knife. For a slightly less expensive splurge, this model by Wüsthof also performed excellently. It’s ever-so-slightly less sharp than the Mercer Culinary and the Miyabi knives and has a squared, rather than a rounded, handle. Personally, I prefer a rounded handle. However, this is a classic knife from a reputable brand that will not disappoint. 


  • Blade length: 9.5 inches 
  • Handle material: Pakkawood 

Rating Criteria

  • Performance: 5
  • Durability: 5
  • Comfort: 5

Who it’s best for: Those looking to invest in a bread knife that’s as beautiful as it is functional.
Good to know: Miyabi is owned by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, the German company that’s also behind brands like Staub, Zwilling, and Demeyere.

Best Offset: Mercer Culinary Millennia 9-Inch Offset Wavy Edge Bread Knife 

An offset bread knife has a blade that’s lower than the handle, which offers a touch more leverage when cutting through crusty loaves of bread, especially. Some people prefer an offset bread knife, but I find that I feel less in control when using one to tackle smaller tasks, like slicing through a tomato. For cutting up bread, though, these things are great! This offset bread knife is the best in its category: It has sharp, wide teeth, stayed sharp throughout testing, and its handle is grippy and comfortable to hold. Bonus: It’s also under $20!


  • Blade length: 9 inches
  • Handle material: Santoprene and polypropylene

Rating Criteria

  • Performance: 5
  • Durability: 5
  • Comfort: 4

Who it’s best for: Those who make (or buy) lots of crusty breads, like sourdoughs!
Good to know: Mercer Culinary also makes our favorite overall bread knife, of course!

Kitchn’s Best List Promise

We will do our homework, going wildly in depth with our testing. But we’ll condense the info into easy, breezy summaries, so that you can see what we picked and why, and then move on your life. Because we know you’re busy!

Do you have a question about bread knives? Ask us in the comments!

Credit: Kitchn