As one of the most frequently used kitchen utensils, it is important to have a reliable and effective bread knife. 

But despite its name, this kitchen essential shouldn’t be reserved for cutting bread alone: a long serrated knife is also the best tool for the job for many foods with a tough exterior and squishy middle so a good one will make quick work of slicing pineapple and melons. 

You’ll also find a bread knife is useful in dealing with slippery foods like tomatoes, cabbages or salami thanks to the saw-like blade; often toothless knives can’t get a good purchase on these foods.

To test each bread knife, we cut through several loaves of crusty sourdough looking for how precisely it sliced through the hard crust, before moving on to a squishy white loaf where we were interested in how much pressure was required to slice without squashing the bread. 

We also tried the knives on flaky pastry and tomatoes and considered comfort, weight and ease of use to find the knives that were a cut above the rest. 

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ProCook elite ice X50 bread knife: £44, ProCook

A weighty and professional-feeling bread knife, this features a very long (25cm) gently curved blade of ice-hardened German stainless steel that will make light work of the crustiest artisanal loaf. This range of knives are all stone-ground for razor sharp edges and contain carbon for durability; they come with a 25-year guarantee which we doubt you’ll need. A good investment knife, this has triple rivets for extra strength and a comfortable wood resin handle. The teeth are gently scalloped rather than the sharp dagger style of others, but don’t let this fool you; they are super sharp and will slice through bread or soft fruit without tearing.

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BergHOFF Leo Bread Knife: £9, Sainsbury’s (in-store only in support of the government move to age-verify knife sales)

Another long-bladed knife, this is a modern-looking all-rounder at a brilliant price. It’s made from high grade stainless steel then coated with non-stick ceramic – choose from light grey, a duck egg blue or millennial pink shaded blade – leading up to a soft-grip non-slip dark grey handle. This knife is well-balanced, so you feel neither the blade nor handle weigh down on you, and the blade is angled gently upwards to aid slicing bread. Teeth are aggressively sharp, dagger style rather than the scallop shape of others and are designed to be able to pierce foods quickly, but this can mean stubborn crusts can tear, though it is excellent on squishy and slippery foods.

Lakeland fully forged stainless steel bread knife: £22, Lakeland

A traditional style triple-riveted fully forged bread knife in a serviceable black and silver design which is easily matched to other knives. This knife is made from a single piece of corrosion-resistant stainless steel, with the straight blade running up the full length of the handle for super-strength. We found the handle was better for larger hands when it was found to be comfortable and allowed balanced handling of the knife – which is the heaviest of the knives we tried. The teeth follow a shallow waving design with no sharp points, so works well with pastries and fine crumbed loaves with very little pressure required for a precise slice.

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Lakeland select-grip Japanese steel bread knife: £29.99, Lakeland

An alternative from Lakeland is this professional-grade Japanese stainless steel bread knife which has been ice-hardened to stay ruthlessly sharp for longer. It’s fully forged and has a good non-slip handle which we tested with wet hands and does the trick. The knife is 20cm long but very lightweight and works well for fine cutting and slicing for all the breads we tried as the teeth are shallow but sharp so don’t snag or tear the bread. It also claims to be good for shredding lettuce which it did indeed do a fine job of.

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Sabatier trompette bread knife: £9.99, Robert Dyas

Sabatier has a long-held history of making knives for chefs and their standards are maintained in this home-use bread knife which is made from carbon enhanced stainless steel for durability and guaranteed for 25 years. The blade is straight with slight tapering at the top which allows for extra purchase and piercing troublesome crusts with a wavily serrated edge featuring razor sharp teeth. The knife has full tang running the length of the handle for strength and we found the handle to be comfortable and easy to control in cutting all sorts of loaves, though more delicate work might require a finer tooth. All in all extremely good value.

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Brabantia tasty+ dark grey bread knife: £10.95, Brabantia

The lightest of the knives we tried, this knife is part of Brabantia’s wide Tasty+ range, so features the matte plastic handle in a variety of colours to match its other items. The blade is made from ice-hardened steel with carbon which is scratch-resistant and guards against corrosion while being suitably sharp to cut bread and other soft foods with a harder exterior. The blade curves gently up for easier cutting and the blade makes a good compromise between the softly scalloped waves and the hook-style teeth so it does both jobs of piercing and slicing without squashing quite well without too much mess.

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Robert Welch signature bread knife: £48, Robert Welch

Definitely the most beautiful and stylish of the knives we tested, this Signature knife from Cotswold-based designers Robert Welch is one you would be happy to have out on your buffet table. It’s impressively weighty and features a 22cm serrated blade angled at 15 degrees to aid slicing. The blade is made from fully forged German stainless steel and has full tang through the ergonomically designed handle to ensure strength; not that you need to apply much when using this knife. It is the ideal balance between being dangerously sharp-toothed while maintaining a precise, fine scallop edge so provided you look after it this knife will see you through croissants, cakes and baguettes all the way up to pineapple and frozen foods for at least the 25 years it’s guaranteed for.

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Alessi bread knife mami: £23, Alessi

This fully metal number from design-led Alessi looks very smart on the chopping board and is surprisingly comfortable and easy to use too – provided your hands aren’t wet. It’s made from forged stainless steel and has a long, evenly serrated straight blade with a pointed end that deals with crusty or soft breads well as well as uncooperative tomatoes and soft foods with a rougher or tougher exterior. 

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The verdict: Bread knives

We found the ProCook bread knife to be the best quality, most effective and comfortable to use. As an all-rounder we highly recommend the Sabatier trompette knife – which is well crafted and offers good performance on most foods at an impressive price. 

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