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Best bread knife 2023: Perfect knives for slicing homemade bread

Whether you love chunky sandwich doorstops or toaster slices, there’s a dedicated bread knife that’ll suit your budget

A blunt or poor-quality bread knife can butcher a fresh loaf, turning your perfect sourdough, bread rolls or everyday white into piles of crumbs and tears. This is why a good bread knife is a must. Their long, serrated blades are designed to be able to cut through the harder crust as well as gently saw through the softer interior without squashing it.

Not only will a bread knife make slicing faster and require less effort, it’ll be more precise, meaning you can cut thin slices as easily as you can carve off chunks. Below, we cover the features you should look for when choosing a knife, followed by our list of the top picks.

READ NEXT: The best kitchen knives for all your chopping needs

Best bread knife: At a glance

Best for flawless slicesVictorinox (~£35)Check price at Victorinox
Best cheap bread knifeViners (~£4.50)Check price at Dunelm
Best professional bread knifeZwilling (~£53)Check price at Amazon

How to choose the best bread knife for you

What do I need to consider when buying a bread knife?

Bread knives may not look that different from each other, so finding the right one for you depends largely on how you plan to use it, and how often. If, for example, you only bake bread occasionally or sometimes buy unsliced loaves from the supermarket, a more affordable bread knife should suffice. However, if you’re slicing homemade bread a few times a week, investing in a bread knife that’ll stay sharp and have a comfortable, ergonomic handle is key.

Allow at least £15-20 for a budget knife, around £30-40 for a good everyday knife and £40 plus for a professional-standard design. Don’t forget to factor in an end-grain wooden chopping board to help prevent wear to your bread knife blade.

READ NEXT: Slice and dice with our pick of the best chopping boards

Which features should I look for?

Unlike chopping knives that require pressure to slice, a bread knife relies on its serrated blade to cut through food. This means that its construction can be different – there’s less need for a full tang handle (one where the metal runs the length of the knife, from end to end). Being lightweight can also be a plus, enabling the bread knife to be nimble and easier to use for extended periods of time.

It’s important that a bread knife feels well-balanced, so it can be controlled as you slice. Check that the weight isn’t concentrated in the blade – a heavier handle is better as it’ll help with the sawing motion – and that the handle itself is comfortable to hold. The right length of blade may not be the same for everyone – longer blades can be cumbersome, while shorter blades don’t suit round or wide loaves but can be ideal for sandwich slicing.

Once you’ve found your ideal knife, make sure it stays sharp. Some bread knives come with their own protector or sheath to prevent the blade dulling while in a drawer and protect fingers, but it’s best to store them on a magnetic rack or in a knife block.

How we test bread knives

To ensure our recommended bread knives tick every box, we test them on a range of crusts including a homemade white loaf with a tough exterior, a shop-bought seeded granary and shop-bought bread baps. Testing factors we take into account mainly revolve around ease of use: how comfortable the knife was to hold, how much pressure had to be exerted, accuracy of slicing, how heavy the knife is and how balanced the knife felt when in use. We also consider how easy the knives are to clean and if they’re dishwasher safe.

Any additional features, such as blade protectors, non-stick coatings and eco credentials are factored in too. Finally, while guarantees aren’t necessarily something you’ll use for a kitchen utensil, we’ve found that they tend to be a good indicator of the manufacturer’s confidence in the product, so we also consider long warranties in relation to price and value for money.

READ NEXT: Keep your blades sharp with these top knife sharpeners

The best bread knives you can buy in 2023

1. Victorinox Swiss Classic Bread Knife: Best bread knife for flawless slicing

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at Victorinox

Considering that Victorinox’s bread knives range up to the £146 Grand Maître, this version feels like a bit of a bargain. You’ll still get the razor-sharp Swiss-made blade that we found sliced through bread like it was butter, but at a far more affordable price. The trade-off is the handle. While it’s sturdy, textured and contoured to be easy to hold, the plastic feels cheap, especially when twinned with such a great blade.

We found it took very little effort to slice through a loaf, with even thicker crusts such as artisan sourdough presenting no challenge. As we sliced, there were virtually no crumbs produced and we were able to easily cut thin toaster-friendly slices. It’s good value for a high-quality, fairly well-balanced knife but the feel of the handle may be a deal-breaker.

Key specs – Size: 3 x 1.8 x 34cm (WDH); Blade length: 21cm; Features: choice of six colours; Weight: 90g

2. Viners Assure 8in Bread Knife: Best budget bread knife

Price when reviewed: £4.50 | Check price at Dunelm

While this is one of the smaller knives in our selection, and by far the cheapest, we felt it delivered a good performance for the price. It was easy to steer as bread was sliced, has a sharp, yet lightweight blade, and only produced small crumbs as it cut. The handle is well designed too, made from a soft-touch non-slip material, with a groove so your finger won’t scrape the chopping block at the bottom of a slice.

There are some other thoughtful features too, including a squared tip to reduce the risk of accidents and a non-stick coating to help it glide through loaves as well as fruit and vegetables. While we found it a comfortable knife to use, it wasn’t as balanced as pricier designs. It’s also not dishwasher safe, so you’ll have to carefully hand wash it each time.

Key specs – Size: 3.5 x 2.3 x 31cm (WDH); Blade length: 20cm; Features: 10-year guarantee; Weight: 108g

3. Kuhn Rikon 23059 Colori+ Sandwich Knife: Best bread knife for picnics

Price when reviewed: £19 | Check price at Amazon

This multifunctional serrated knife doesn’t just cut bread, it has holes in the tip that create easily spreadable curls from cold butter, so can butter your bread as well. Where the Colori+ is also different is that it has a silicone-coated blade for less friction while slicing, and a handy guard that fits snugly onto the top and side. This means that you can pack one in your picnic basket for freshly sliced bread while out and about, or simply not worry about catching your fingertips on it in the cutlery drawer. It’ll help keep the blade sharp over time too.

For its size, it’s quite a heavy knife with the weight concentrated in the blade, and it doesn’t have the length of a standard bread knife, so it’s better for smaller loaves. The plastic handle has a lip to protect your fingers but isn’t especially ergonomic, so it’s probably not the one to pick for sawing your way through granary loaves. However, if homemade sarnies are your idea of heaven, this knife should be your go-to.

Key specs – Size: 4.5 x 1.5 x 25.5cm (WDH); Blade length: 14cm; Features: grater tip, safety sheath; Weight: 159g

4. Dexam Forest and Forge 20cm Spalted Beech Bread Knife: Best all-rounder bread knife

Price when reviewed: £125 | Check price at Lakeland

As the most expensive bread knife in our round-up, you’d be forgiven for expecting something special from this tool – and special it is. That’s because it’s fully forged, its full tang blade is made from high carbon steel, designed to stay terrifyingly sharp for years. During testing, it cut cleanly and effortlessly through whatever bread it was presented with, from a basic white homemade loaf to baps and seeded loaves. There were minimal crumbs when slicing and harder crusts were no issue at all. In fact, you might find you need to adjust a vigorous sawing motion to let the blade do the work.

It rates highly on sustainable credentials too. Its Sheffield-forged blade is twinned with a beautiful beech wood handle, which is made from reclaimed wood (often fallen branches or storm damaged) sourced by tree surgeons who manage country estates near Malton in North Yorkshire. While this is incredibly tactile to grip, it’s not suitable for dishwasher cleaning, which is possibly its only downside.

Key specs – Size: 3 x 1.8 x 32.5cm (WDH); Blade length: 20cm; Features: 10-year guarantee; Weight: 155g

Check price at Lakeland

5. Zwilling Pro 23cm bread knife: Best professional bread knife

Price when reviewed: £53 | Check price at Amazon

While Zwilling’s traditional bread knife is more of an investment in your kitchen kit, this blade’s lifetime guarantee and reassuringly high quality should mean you may never have to buy another. Everything you’d expect is here – a full tang, beautiful balance with a little extra weight in the handle and an ice-hardened blade to ensure a durable cutting edge. The edge itself is also notable – rather than a uniform serrated pattern, it features a mix of points and curves that have excellent grip on soft, fluffy bread.

As this is a heavier, more unwieldy knife, we found it performed best when you cut with confidence. Long, deliberate strokes worked better rather than tentative sawing. It sliced through crusty breads with ease but, due to its length, is more difficult to use on small items, such as rolls. It’s dishwasher-safe too, though hand washing is recommended.

Key specs – Size: 3.13 x 1.8 x 36cm (WDH); Blade length: 23cm; Features: lifetime warranty; Weight: 193g

Check price at Amazon

6. Stellar Samurai: The most stylish bread knife

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at Amazon

If a standard bread knife jars alongside your santoku blades or Damascus steel, this samurai model may be more your thing. Like some Japanese knives, it’s only sharpened on one side, making it suitable for those who are right-handed rather than left. This allows it to have a fine edge and be extremely sharp. In testing, we found that it sliced bread easily – although getting used to only having the cutting edge on one side took practice. Tilt it ever so slightly and it’s hard work getting through a thick crust.

Design-wise, it could also take some adjustment – the wooden handle, while rounded, isn’t as comfy as some of the ergonomic soft touch handles we tested. It’s not dishwasher safe either, so you’ll need to remember to wash this one by hand to keep it looking lovely. Where it does do well is with its incredibly hard blade – designed so that it’ll never need sharpening, meaning you can keep slicing for years to come.

Key specs – Size: 3.3 x 2.5 x 35.5cm (WDH); Blade length: 21cm; Features: natural maple handle; Weight: 130g

7. Zyliss Comfort Pro Bread Knife 20cm: Best bread knife for sourdough

Price when reviewed: £27 | Check price at Amazon

If it’s a tough crust you’re facing, the Zyliss Comfort Pro Bread Knife is the one to reach for. That’s because it’s made from rust-resistant ice-hardened German stainless steel designed to whizz through hard loaves. And for when you need to apply a little more pressure while maintaining a precision cut, there’s a scooped indent on top of the handle where you can put your index finger. Overall, the knife is fairly well balanced, heavier than most and comfortable to hold. The handle feels a bit plasticky but is smooth and has anti-bacterial protection built-in.

It was excellent at slicing bread – in tests, it went through even the hardest crust with ease and minimal crumbs left behind. It was also great on softer crusts and cut bagels without any tearing. Another plus is that it’s dishwasher-safe so you can simply slice and go without fuss.

Key specs – Size: 3 x 2 x 34cm (WDH); Blade length: 20cm; Features: 25-year guarantee; Weight: 196g

8. Opinel Intempora No.216 Bread Knife: Best bread knife for baguettes

Price when reviewed: £54 | Check price at Whitby & Co

Opinel started life as a pocket knife maker in 1890, so you can be sure it knows a thing or two about sharp blades. Its bread knives are a case in point: made in France, the mid-range Intempora features a blade made from stainless steel that has added chrome to protect it from rust and a 2mm-thick blade that doesn’t bend when faced with the toughest of sourdough. The deep blue handle is equally durable. Made from POM plastic reinforced with fibreglass, it’s resistant to temperature and shock, so should last for years – although it isn’t dishwasher safe, so you’ll need to clean this one carefully by hand.

It feels lighter than some bread knives and is beautifully balanced. The handle is smooth and comfortable to hold, and we found that it glided through our loaf easily with few crumbs produced. Our only issue was that it sometimes needed a little extra pressure to cut through the crust at the bottom of a slice, rather than being effortless all the way through.

Key specs – Size: 3 x 2 x 34.5cm (WDH); Blade length: 21cm; Features: Lifetime guarantee, free sharpening service; Weight: 166g

Check price at Whitby & Co

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