The 6 Best Bread Knives for Effortless Slicing, According to Our Tests

The Zwilling Pro 9-inch Bread Knife performed the Best Overall in our in-house tests.

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Best Bread Knives
Courtesy of Amazon

Whether you regularly buy your loaves of bread from an exceptional artisan bakery, you're an aspiring sourdough bread baker, or you've been baking for years and have an extensive baking cloche collection, a distinctive bread knife is a necessity — and not just any bread knife. It won't hurt if it is sleek since knife design is generally fun. It needs to be easy to use because slicing sourdough can quickly tire the hand, and having multiple applications is a plus. Like, say, easily slicing your hard-won homegrown tomatoes into uniform slices without tearing the poor skin to shreds. Tomatoes were part of the slicing portion of our testing process, in addition to baguettes and sourdough boules.

If you want to upgrade your bread-baking tools or expand your flourishing knife collection, you need to consider how you'll typically use the knife, what you'd like to cut, and your hand size. "I find a 7-to-9-inch blade will handle most breads," says Gerry Klaskala, chef and owner of Aria in Atlanta. But "if your preference is huge loaves of bread, you're going to need a longer blade." After our testers used many knives in-house and we consulted with our culinary experts, we chose these the very best bread knives. The Zwilling Pro 9-inch Bread Knife, Z15 Serration, performed the best overall in our tests thanks to its length and superior edge. Keep in mind that knife shopping from the cream of the crop can often come down to personal taste and budget, so read on for all our picks to fit your purposes.

Best Overall: Zwilling Pro 9-inch Bread Knife Z15 Serration

5
Zwilling Pro 9-inch Bread Knife, Z15 Serration

Zwilling Pro

Pros: The knife's classic design and unique-looking serration make slicing through any bread a joy.

Cons: The knife might be too long for some smaller objects and possibly too expensive for some people.

The Zwilling Pro 9-inch Bread Knife was our overall winner across all the categories we tested. The significantly sized knife easily cuts through any bread, whether baguette or sourdough boule. The design's serrated edges are a series of scallops and points with a rounded tip that comes to a point, which makes the knife able to clean even slices through the boule each time. The blade cut through the tomato "like whipped butter," according to a tester who added, "I never thought I'd be this excited about a bread knife. It's possibly the best bread knife I've ever encountered." The plastic and metal handle was comfortable to hold, which is a plus when you are slicing crustier loaves of bread, so your hand doesn't fatigue. While the manufacturer states the knife is dishwasher safe, we always recommend hand-washing your blades, and this one was super easy to clean with hot soapy water.

Price at time of publish: $140

  • Blade length: 9-inch
  • Knife handle material: Plastic
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes

Best Splurge: Global Sai Bread Knife

5
Global Sai Bread Knife

Pros: This beautiful knife will last many years and has a lifetime warranty should you ever have issues.

Cons: Testers didn't see enough of a difference in the knife's performance to fully justify the jump in price difference versus its competitors in class.

The Global brand is known for its high-end design amongst home cooks and professional chefs. This Global Sai Bread Knife is a splurge for anyone who wants to treat themselves or add to their existing Global collection. The stainless steel handle is a benchmark for ergonomics and is comfortable to hold with its thumb rest, no matter your hand size. The knife's hand-hammered blade is incredibly sharp right out of the box, making it easy to work on anything it slices. The circular hollows along the edge help food fall away, so slicing is even more seamless. Since the Global Sai is an ultra-thin and long blade, it is easy to get thin, precise slices without being unwieldy. This Global is the knife for those that want to impress dinner guests crowding around your kitchen island, or for the perfect housewarming or wedding gift.

Price at time of publish: $190

  • Blade length: 9 inches
  • Knife handle material: Stainless Steel
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

Best Design: Miyabi Kaizen II 9.5-inch Bread Knife

4.9
Miyabi Kaizen II 9.5-inch Bread Knife

Saks Fifth Avenue

Pros: The jaw-dropping flourishes from handle to blade and performance across our tests make this a design lover's dream knife.

Cons: The blade is incredibly sharp, so take care when handling it and dry it thoroughly before storing it to protect it from tarnishing.

The first thing that impresses people that behold the Miyabi Kaizen bread knife is its design flourishes throughout the piece. The long oval-shaped design has an ornamental design embedded on the handle and the brand's logo on the end of the handle. Given how the blade centers in the knife, the handhold feels sturdy and comfortable for both left and right-handed people. The shallow serrations of the blade, which is dropped and pointed at the tip, make easy work of everything. You don't need to use extra force to cut most things, but the shape of the handle makes this easy should you need to for something more intense such as a fall squash. Cleanup is simple as the manufacturer says to use the scarcest amount of soap and water and to ensure you dry it thoroughly before storing.

Price at time of publish: $180

  • Blade length: 9.5 inches
  • Knife handle material: Pakkawood
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

Best Offset: Shun Classic Offset 8.25-inch Bread Knife

5
Shun Classic Offset 8.25-inch Bread Knife

Amazon

Pros: The knife is sleek and well-designed in both looks and functionality.

Cons: It is not overly comfortable due to the lack of contour for the hand, and the knife might be too large and complicated to handle for those who prefer smaller knives.

The only offset knife on our list and a repeat winner from our last roundup, this Shun Classic Offset 8.25-inch Bread Knife has a blade positioned lower than the handle. This design keeps the "knuckles clear of the cutting board," says chef Suzanne Lane of Aster Hall in Chicago. Aster also says she appreciates that the bread knife's Japanese steel makes it lightweight. Our testers agreed and also found the Shun had an excellent hand feel. The handle is not a perfect oval. And instead, it has a slight angular protrusion along the right side, providing extra stability. Home cooks making many homemade loaves of bread as well as professional bakers will appreciate the uniformity of slices. The blade is incredibly sharp, so you can easily slice through with one clean cut with little pressure. It looks super sleek and high quality to boot.

Price at time of publish: $167

  • Blade length: 10.6-inches
  • Knife handle material: Wood
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

Best for Precision: Tojiro Bread Slicer 270mm F-687

4.8
Tojiro Bread Slicer 270mm F-687

Amazon

Pros: The knife makes clean and consistent cuts with bread and easy work of slicing more oversized items and fruit.

Cons: The blade is extra long, making slicing things like vegetables awkward and difficult with stale bread.

Tojiro's long and agile blades make these knives an excellent choice for those who like Japanese design and a professional-grade knife. The Tojiro ITK Bread Slicer is no exception and a step up from the brand's other excellent bread knives. The exaggerated length of the blade makes it a perfect tool for easily slicing bread. The knife makes clean and consistent cuts with bread and easy work of slicing more oversized items and fruit. Even the best bread knives can tear apart the delicate crumb home bakers work for days to achieve. The long and bluntly scalloped serrated edges highlighted the bubbles and created a crisp cut without needing to see or tear. The blade's serrated edges are not pointy, so you are less likely to poke or injure yourself. Anyone who bakes or consumes a lot of artisanal baked bread would enjoy this and use it frequently. The brand uses the names Tojiro and Fujiro interchangeably, depending on the market, but they are the same knife.

Price at time of publish: $64

  • Blade length: 10 inches
  • Knife handle material: Wood
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

Best Value: Misen Serrated Knife

4.9
Misen Serrated Knife

Misen

Pros: The knife is suitable for small and large hands.

Cons: The shorter length of the blade makes it slightly more difficult to wield.

Out of the box, the Misen Serrated Knife looks like a standard sleek black bread knife, but you can get it in different colors such as gray, blue, and red if customization is your thing. It's a well-designed knife with a sloped bolster to encourage a proper "pinch grip" for optimal control. The colorful handle options are a nice addition that most other knives don't offer. Given the blade's sharpness, it takes only one motion to slice through tomatoes. It was simple to get even slices of the baguette, but the shorter blade made sourdough boules harder to manage. Still, nothing tore, and it's an excellent knife for any task requiring a serrated knife. It handles tougher, denser loaves of bread as effortlessly as it slices through tomatoes, citrus, and tender loaves of bread.

Price at time of publish: $80

  • Blade length: 8 inches
  • Knife handle material: Alloy steel
  • Dishwasher-safe: No

Conclusion

There are so many gorgeous and high-performing bread knives on the market it can be overwhelming, but we've sliced through countless baguettes to award Best Overall to the Zwilling Pro 9-inch Bread Knife, Z15 Serration. For those looking to splurge on a gift for themselves or newlyweds, look no further than Japan's Global Sai Bread Knife.

Factors to Consider

Length

A good bread knife must be long enough to clear the width of the bread you want to slice, without the tip getting caught on the bread's interior. If you are mostly slicing basic sandwich loaves or baguette-style breads, an 8-inch bread knife will likely be all you need. If you buy larger artisanal loaves, wide bâtards, or boules, you will want a longer blade to effectively deal with those bigger loaves and may want to look at a 10 or 12-inch blade.

Sharpness

While the presumption when looking at a serrated blade is that it is always sharp, it can dull just like any knife. You want the teeth to grip the crust, but not mangle it and the serrations to move smoothly through the crumb of your loaf of bread without shredding. All knives you purchase should be sharp when you purchase, and easy to maintain.

Blade Flexibility

Bread knives should not have too much flex in them, since that can be dangerous. You want a pretty solid blade, and while it can have a small amount of bend, should not feel thin or wobbly. If you press the tip into your cutting board you should only get the slightest bow when pressure is applied, if you can create a larger arc, the blade is too thin or flexible, and can be a hazard since it could slip and cut the user when slicing heartier bread.

Serration Shape

If you work with mostly hard-crusted hearth-style bread, you may want serrations with pointier teeth to grip. If you are mostly working with softer style crusts, a more gentle rounded tooth style might work better for smoother slices and less damage to the crumb. In general, serrations that are in a scallop sort of pattern will be better overall and easier to maintain long-term than those that look like a saw blade with tiny serrations that are close together. Those saw-style blades usually cannot be sharpened.

The Tests

Our testers evaluated 20 different bread knives based on performance, size, design, and how easy it was to clean. To test how the knives worked under pressure, our testers sliced baguettes, boules of sourdough bread, and tomatoes galore. While the margins were thin, we arrived at a short list of six knives that any discerning home cook and some chefs might like in their collection.

What Didn't Make the List

Strong Contenders

Results Still Simmering

  • Mercer Culinary Millennia Wide Wavy Edge Bread Knife: The grip is bulky, and you don't feel a ton of connectivity between your hand and blade. Smaller hands might be slightly less comfortable than large hands because it feels big.
  • King Arthur Offset Bread Knife: The knife is lightweight and feels decently balanced, but the handle is heavier. The blade struggled to slice through the sourdough boule's crust cleanly, and tests required a good bit of sawing and firmly holding the loaf in place to get a cut.
  • Wusthof Classic Double Serrated 9-inch Bread Knife: This knife is a bit handle-heavy and feels oversized for small hands. The blade end feels lighter when you hold it in your hand, and testers wished for more balance.

Low Performers

  • Mac Knife Superior Bread Knife: The tang's riveted design and fasteners might separate over time. And the handle is very short, making it more difficult for larger hands to manage.
  • Made In 9-inch Bread Knife: This knife didn't easily slice through the baguette and was challenging to use. It took so much force that testers were concerned they might cut themselves with the amount of pressure needed to cut through bread.
  • Our Place Serrated Slicing Knife: The knife's handle feels too heavy and off balance, which made it complicated to get even slices.
  • DALSTRONG Bread Knife, 9-inch: With this knife, you need an extraordinary amount of pressure to get a lean cut. And even though you have to saw at the bottom o the crust. It looks high quality, but the performance does not match.
  • Victorinox Swiss Army 10.25-inch Bread Knife: The handle is too light, and all the weight is in the blade. Given the imbalance, it feels less secure in the hand, and you must exert some effort to complete a cut without snagging the product.
  • Dexter Outdoors 10-inch Scalloped Bread Knife: This knife's long, skinny blade cuts a little too rough for our testers. The design also failed to deliver much joy.

Pro Panel Q+A

We spoke with Anthony Contrino, Emmy Award-winning culinary producer, food stylist, and the host of Saucy on NBCUniversal's streaming platform Peacock to get his thoughts on bread knives.

Do bread knives need sharpening?

"Bread knives do require sharpening," says Contrino, "however, not nearly as often as a paring or chef knife would when used properly." A good professional sharpening once a year should keep a bread knife that gets regular use in good working sharpness, if you use yours more than a normal household, have it sharpened every six months.

Why are bread knives serrated?

"Bread knives are serrated so that the teeth when used in a sawing motion, can cut through items that have a firm or crusty exterior without crushing or damaging a usually softer interior." Using a non-serrated knife on hard-crusted breads will slip on the tough crust and can be a danger, and on soft breads will compact the bread before getting through the crust, creating mashed loaves.

What else are bread knives used for?

Don't leave that bread knife just for bread, says Contrino. "Serrated knives are great for slicing through delicate fruits, like tomatoes and grapes, cutting a cake into layers, and even chopping chocolate."

Our Expertise

Jennifer Zyman is a Senior Commerce Writer for Food & Wine and a recovering restaurant critic with a culinary school degree and over 15 years of food writing experience. Her work has appeared in Atlanta Magazine, Bon Appetit, Eater Atlanta, The Kitchn, Local Palate, National Geographic, Southern Living, and Thrillist. To write this story, she used our testers' insights and extensive data, her culinary expertise, and expert advice from chefs such as Gerry Klaskala of Aria in Atlanta. Food writer and recipe developer Stacey Ballis provided additional reporting for this piece, with additional advice from Emmy Award-winning culinary producer and food stylist Anthony Contrino.

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