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The 5 best bread knives of 2024, tested and reviewed

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A selection of the best bread knives on a cutting board with a cut up sandwich.The best bread knives are versatile kitchen tools that make quick work of bread, plus tough fruits and vegetables.

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If you’ve ever tried to slice open a loaf of sourdough with a dull kitchen knife, you know the struggle. With its serrated blade and sharp edge, a dedicated bread knife makes cutting through crusts almost effortless. Sure, you can get by without it, but having this kitchen essential is like having any of the best kitchen knives: a game-changer.

To find out which bread knives are worth the dough, we consulted with professional chefs and tested several popular models. Our top pick is the HexClad Damascus Steel Serrated Bread Knife because it has a balanced feel and cuts through tender fruits and tough bread loaves with ease. For a more budget-friendly alternative, we like the Mercer Culinary Millenia Bread Knife. It’s lightweight, has a rounded tip for a smooth slice, and a quarter of the price of our top pick.

Here are our top picks for the best bread knife:

Best overall: HexClad Damascus Steel Serrated Bread Knife — See at Amazon

Best budget: Mercer Culinary Millennia Bread Knife — See at Amazon

Best upgrade: Steelport Bread Knife and Sheath — See at Sur La Table

Best for sourdough: Made In Bread Knife — See at Amazon

Best Japanese: Shun Classic Bread Knife — See at Amazon

Best overall

We chose the HexClad Damascus Steel Serrated Bread Knife as our best overall pick because it hit the mark for quality, value, and performance. This knife’s performance surprised us by feeling just as balanced and cutting just as well as the more expensive options we tested. And that’s likely all thanks to its 67 layers of Japanese Damascus steel.

Instead of the typical wide serrations found on most bread knife blades, HexClad opted for finer, pointer teeth to create a faster, smoother cut. Celebrity chef Gocha Hawkins told us that if you want to test a knife’s sharpness, you should see how it cuts through a tomato. If it slides right through without crushing the fruit, it’s a winner. The HexClad passed this test with flying colors.

HexClad Bread Knife cutting a loaf of bread.The HexClad knife’s has sharp teeth and medium troughs that slices through bread crust and delicate fruit.

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Though we do wish it came with a sheath for safety purposes, considering its affordability, impressive blade performance, and nicely balanced Pakkawood handle, we can’t complain too much. Plus, its 60 Rockwell Hardness Rating indicates decent durability and sharpness retention, which are necessary two qualities for a long-lasting bread knife. We’re big fans of the HexClad brand: read our guide to the best nonstick cookware (featuring a HexClad set) if you need to upgrade your cookware.

Best budget

We love all the knives on this list, but you don’t need to spend $100 to get a reliable bread knife. Mercer Culinary has a few budget-friendly lines (like the Millennia and Renaissance collections) that outperform pricier alternatives. Straight out of the box, this knife cuts just as well as any of our top picks. You can even match this knife to kitchen tools you already have: there are five available handle colors.

The Millenia Bread Knife is lightweight, in part thanks to the Santoprene handle. We sliced through fragile tomatoes and ripe strawberries without crushing the delicate flesh, and we weren’t foiled by stale, crusty bread. The Millenia Bread Knife has a rounded tip, which helps create a smooth slice, but leaves you unable to pierce tough skins or rinds. 

With an HRC of 54, the Millenia knives are on the lower end of edge retention and wear resistance. Essentially, you’ll probably have to sharpen this knife more frequently than one of the tougher knives we highlight. The Millenia Bread knife isn’t a legacy piece that you’ll hand down to future generations of breadbakers, but it’s the best bread knife for today’s budget-minded sandwich eaters. — Lily Alig, Kitchen Editor

Best upgrade

The Steelport Bread Knife is truly a cut above the rest. Most blades of this kind have a traditional pointed serration that catches the bread’s crust to slice it, but the Steelport’s blade is wavy. Out of all the knives we tested, we found that this distinctive serration made for the nicest pull, cutting even the most well-stocked sandwiches as smoothly as butter.

Also helping its slicing abilities is the ergonomic handle made with locally sourced Oregon big-leaf maple burl wood. We thought it felt heavy without being cumbersome, resulting in a comfortable grip that requires minimal force to slice through the crustiest of loaves. The handle even has a built-in notch for your index finger to rest in while you’re making quick cuts. This level of attention to detail shows how much thought was put into this knife’s design.

A hand using a Steelport Bread Knife to cut a loaf of bread.Did we mention the Steelport Bread Knife can can be engraved? Not only does this make for a great personalized gift, but it also adds to the elegance of the overall design.

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Perhaps the most impressive feature is this knife’s 65 Rockwell Hardness Rating (HRC). According to Elizabeth Mehditach, an executive chef and founder of a Mediterranean catering company in L.A., HRC is a method of determining a knife’s hardness and how long it will maintain its sharp edge. She says that most kitchen knives range between 50 and 65 HRC, so having an HRC of 65 means this knife is incredibly durable and will stay sharp for longer. Of course, if you’re in need of a knife tune-up, we tested the best knife sharpeners to keep your tools in good shape.

Best for sourdough

As delicious as it is, sourdough is notoriously difficult to cut. So if your pandemic hobby was perfecting your boules, you’ll want to invest in a the best bread knife to handle its crust. The Made In Bread Knife’s stainless steel, medium-sized teeth — which Hawkins advises is best for cutting bread without changing the structure of the loaf — offer a sharp tip for piercing through thick crusts that the other knives we tested just didn’t match.

While sourdough is no match for that sharpness, the tip does result in a less-than-smooth slice. No sandwich guts or tomato skins were crushed, but we found that the HexClad created a cleaner cut in those cases for a similar price point.

A serrated knife from MadeIn cutting a tomato into thin slices.Made In’s knife has a sharp tip that helps to pierce stubborn crusts or the thick skin of a pineapple.

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We appreciate the hearty handle on Made In’s knife, which felt substantial in our hands, and the colorful handle options. It’s not as professional looking as, say, the Shun or the Steelport, but you can match the handle to your other kitchen gadgets. There’s a little room to be desired in the HRC department (clocking in at 58), but it should suffice for most home cooks.

Best Japanese

Japanese-style knives are known for having some of the best blades in the world, and the Shun Classic Bread Knife is no exception. We found that the wide serrations on this blade — which is made of 34 layers of stainless Damascus steel — cut much easier and with far less pressure than others we tested. While Mehditach says that this kind of shallow blade with slightly rounded edges will offer more kitchen versatility, it likely won’t be sharp enough for those tough, crusty loaves. But for softer breads, pastries, and even tomatoes, this knife cuts like a dream.

Using a Shun Bread Knife to slice into a tomato.The Shun Classic Bread Knife also comes with a lifetime warranty, which is always a plus when investing in high-quality kitchen tools.

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We also appreciate this knife’s weight. It felt nice and heavy in our hands, with a comfortable ebony-finished Pakkawood handle that looks as good as it feels and doesn’t harbor bacteria. However, some users may find that the weight distribution where the handle meets the blade is too uneven for their liking. Though not a dealbreaker (and definitely something you can get used to over time) it’s worth noting for those who prefer a more balanced knife.

While we wish there was more info regarding its HRC, overall, this knife is a solid option for those who appreciate Japanese craftsmanship and sleek design. Shun also makes a set of the best steak knives we’ve used, perfect for a wedding gift or treating a lucky meat eater.

Other bread knives we tested

We also tested the Quince Essential Japanese Damascus Steel 9″ Serrated Bread Knife and the Material Serrated 6″ Knife. Even though they’re both fairly priced, we found these knives to be too light. They also didn’t do a good job of cutting through bread or tomatoes.

What to look for in a bread knife

Grip: As with any kitchen utensil, a comfortable grip is essential. We noted the weight of each knife — too heavy can tire your hand, but too light may not give you enough control — and how it felt in our hands. A balanced knife makes all the difference when it comes to ease of use and precision, so Hawkins advises looking for the best bread knife that’s also ergonomically designed and has an anti-slip surface.

Sharpness: You want your bread knife to be sharp enough to slice through crusty loaves without crushing them. A serrated or scalloped edge is best for this type of cutting, as it helps grip the surface of the food better. We put each one through Hawkins’ tomato test and noted whether or not it slid directly through the fruit.

High HRC: The Rockwell Hardness Rating (HRC) is a measure of how hard and durable the blade is. A high HRC rating means it’s less likely to dull quickly and will retain its sharpness for longer. Look for a rating of 55 and above for the best bread knives.

How we tested

A chef using a bread knife to cut through sandwich loaded with tomato, lettuce, and meat.We analyzed the weight and how each knife felt in our hands, checking to see if it was overly heavy, cheaply made, or balanced and comfortable.

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After wading through dozens of the best bread knives, we narrowed it down to the top ten. Then we put each one through three tests to see how well they cut.

Bread test: We used each knife to cut through a loaf of bread, noting how many strokes it took and how much pressure we had to put on the knife. We also paid attention to how cleanly it cut through the crust and if it left any torn or jagged edges.

Tomato test: Like bread, tomatoes can be tough to cut through with a dull knife. We sliced a ripe tomato with each knife, taking note of how easily it pierced the skin and how cleanly it cut through without squishing the fruit.

Sandwich test: Finally, we made sandwiches with each bread knife to see how well it handled the combination of bread and fillings like tomatoes, lettuce, and meats. We noted if the cut was clean and easy or if it tore through the ingredients, making a huge mess.

Bread knife FAQs

Are bread knives and serrated knives the same?

While there are some similarities, Hawkins says that bread knives tend to have longer blades than serrated knives. A longer blade can cover the width of large, oval shaped loaves instead of requiring multiple initial cuts. 

What should you use a serrated knife for?

Hawkins likes to use serrated knives for not just slicing sandwiches, but also tough-to-cut fruit like pineapples. She also says they’re great for cutting other starchy meals like burritos. 

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