If you make your own bread, or buy specialty, artisan breads, a good bread knife is a necessity in your kitchen tool chest. Even if you are not a bread lover, a top serrated knife can make slicing tomatoes, watermelon and other large items easier and more accurate. However, you may only need a chef's knife or paring knife, we discuss both of those elsewhere in this report. If you opt for a knife set instead, it will give you a wide range of knives -- including a serrated knife -- as well as handy storage options. Also, if you make your own bread, see our report on bread machines; these highly programmable, easy-to-use appliances allow you to wake up to fresh bread every day.
The Wusthof Classic 10-inch Bread Knife (Est. $120) is our top pick in this category. It also comes in 8- and 9-inch lengths, but experts say 10-inches is the perfect size for slicing through even the largest loaves of specialty breads, such as sourdough rounds, brioches and boules. It can also slice through 9-inch round cakes with one cut, and section angel food cakes for use in popular recipes. But its usefulness is not limited to baked goods. In one professional test, the Wusthof 10-inch serrated knife also sliced tomatoes into paper thin slices without crushing them. Reviewers say it's a great knife for cutting up melons, particularly watermelons.
The Wusthof 10-inch bread knife is forged of high-carbon steel, with a very sharp, deeply serrated edge that experts and owners say stays sharp for years. Wusthof does not recommend sharpening this knife, saying that with proper care, it will never dull. That includes hand washing and using a soft cutting board to keep from damaging the serrations. The knife's full tang construction contributes to the hefty, well-balanced durable feel, owners say, making it easy to cut through practically anything with one, smooth slice. This knife works equally well with right- or left-handed cooks, something that's not true with many other serrated knives. Those who don't need to cut through larger items say they like the Wusthof Classic 8-inch Bread Knife (Est. $100) as a versatile utility knife.
It gets better reviews from owners, just barely missing our top spot because it doesn't score as well in professional reviews, but the Victorinox 10-1/4-inch Fibrox Serrated Bread Knife (Est. $50) is another great choice in this category. Unlike traditional, long, straight bread knives, this Victorinox is described as "curvy and wavy" and it's a larger knife overall, making it a good choice for people with bigger hands. It also works well for lefties.
Because it's stamped rather than forged, the Victorinox is much less expensive than the Wusthof, but owners say there's no drop-off in performance. Many say they use it not just for bread, but as a carving knife for larger cuts of meats and as a utility knife for other cutting tasks, like slicing tomatoes and peppers. A few say that it tends to glide off-track a bit, but most note that if you're aware of that tendency, it's easy to compensate. This seems to be the go-to choice for those who don't need or want a dedicated bread knife, but just want to keep a serrated knife around for the occasional need.
It's not included in any professional reviews, but we just had to include the OXO Good Grips 8 Inch Bread Knife (Est. $10) in this report because of the jaw-dropping price and the fact that it's so highly rated at retail sites. The OXO doesn't get quite the overall ratings of the Wusthof or Victorinox, but it comes close. Most say that it's sharp out of the box and the edge lasts for a decent amount of time, and it's so inexpensive that it's worth just buying another when the edge does eventually dull. Many say it's flimsy, but perfectly adequate for occasional or light use.
If you want a knife that will last forever as a bread knife and is sturdy enough for big jobs like sawing through a watermelon, the Wusthof might be the only serrated knife you ever need to buy. If you use a serrated knife less often, either of our runners up in this category will be a worthy alternative.