Best Serrated Utility Knives

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
238 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best serrated utility knives

Last Updated December 2019

Every well-appointed kitchen needs an assortment of quality knives. If you aren’t looking to purchase a full set, choosing the right knives for your kitchen can be challenging — but a serrated utility knife is one of the most versatile options and will prevent you from squashing your tomatoes, flattening your bread, and shredding other expensive treats.

These versatile, toothed knives are a safe choice when you’re not sure which knife to pick. As size goes, they split the difference between shorter paring knives and longer chef’s knives. Serrated utility knives vary in their length, material, and design, making the task of choosing the right tool somewhat challenging.

Our buying guide will walk you through the most important aspects of utility knives to help you find the right tool for your kitchen. If you’re ready to buy, check out our recommendations for the top serrated utility knives on the market. If you’re not sure what you need, keep reading to learn more.

Serrated utility knives are a great option for children learning to cook since they are smaller, lightweight, and don’t easily crush food.

Key considerations

Blade material

Most serrated utility knives feature blades made from stainless steel or high carbon steel. An increasing number of knives feature ceramic blades — a material with advantages and disadvantages.

Stainless steel

Many users find stainless steel blades to be tougher than high carbon options since they are not prone to chips, rust, or other stains. They owe this durability to their chromium content — but this alloy also makes them slightly softer than blades made with high carbon steel. This means they lose their sharpness a little more quickly.

High carbon steel

Blades made from high carbon steel are coveted for their unrivaled sharpness. They’re stronger and harder than stainless steel blades, so they stay sharp longer. These blades are, however, more prone to chipping. High carbon steel blades also have little rust resistance, so they must be cleaned and dried thoroughly after each use. If properly maintained, high carbon steel blades can last for years.

Ceramic

Many chefs are increasingly reaching for knives with ceramic blades. These knives are often brightly-colored, adding some fun to your kitchen tasks. Their blades tend to be sharper than metal blades and require less frequent sharpening. Ceramic knives are lightweight, and since they contain no metal, they don’t rust.

The lack of metal can be a downside, too. It’s not uncommon for ceramic knife blades to break, unlike those made with steel. If you drop a ceramic knife on a hard kitchen floor, it can shatter like a ceramic bowl. You must also choose your cutting boards carefully, since marble, granite and glass cutting boards can damage ceramic blades. You’ll need to use only plastic or wooden boards, and never use a ceramic blade to cut through hard vegetables, frozen food items or bones. If you find these restrictions too limiting, it may be best to stick with metal blades.

Blade length

Serrated utility knife blades vary from 4 to 7 inches in length. Knives in the middle of the range — 5 to 6 inches — are often the most practical. Short blades don’t give much more leverage than paring knives and may not effectively cut larger fruits and vegetables. Longer blades may stick out from the food you’re cutting, increasing the risk of injury.

Handle material

In the past, most high-end knife handles were made from wood. A handful still feature wooden handles, but they have drawbacks. Wood is an organic, porous material, so putting it in the dishwasher is unthinkable. Wood handles can absorb water even with normal washing, which sometimes leads to bacteria growth and food contamination.

More recently, manufacturers have started using rubber, plastic, and other synthetic materials to make knife handles. These handles are dishwasher safe — technically speaking — and don’t have openings to soak up water or harbor bacteria. Many are coated with materials that give you a better grip.

Some knife makers combine natural wood and synthetic materials to create handles with the benefits of both. The end result is a knife with the classic wooden look but fewer sanitation concerns.

EXPERT TIP

If you have a favorite knife brand but can’t find a serrated utility knife in the assortment, try looking for sandwich knives or petty knives — colloquial alternatives for knives of this size.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Serrated utility knives aren’t known for having loads of bells and whistles, but a few features go a long way toward making your utility knife last.

Knife design

Full tang: Full tang knives are made from a single piece of metal that runs from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle. A full tang gives the knife more strength and stability. Knives with shorter blades that simply insert into the handle require more effort and may break more easily.

Rivets: A serrated utility knife with a full tang should have metal rivets securing the tang to the handle. Rivets should be flush with the handle, so they don’t irritate your skin or snag on clothing.

Bolster: The lack of this feature shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but many quality knives feature a bolster at the top where the blade meets the handle. The bolster is wider than the blade and indicates the original thickness of the steel before being tapered to a slender slicing surface. It gives the knife balance, provides a space for fingers to rest, and serves as a tactile cue to stay away from the sharp spots.

Other features

When comparing serrated utility knives, you should also consider these features:

  • Pointed, toothy serrations with wide valleys between them create cleaner slices than teeth that are rounded or scalloped. Pointed edges mean that the force is concentrated in a smaller surface area.
  • Knives with fewer serrations usually cut cleaner than those with more. Since the force is distributed among the serrations, knives with fewer teeth give each one more power.
  • Knives that are forged from an individual piece of metal are stronger and higher quality than knives that are stamped. Stamped knives are made from a sheet of metal where knife blade outlines have been pressed in, like a metal cookie cutter.
  • Knife handles should have gentle curves rather than harsh angles. Angular handles can look interesting but may dig into your hand when pressure and force are applied.

Lefties should look for knives with beveled serrations on both sides to make the most of their cutting strength.

Accessories

Though a serrated utility knife serves multiple purposes in your kitchen, it can’t do it all. Here are a few other tools to help you prep for any meal.

Paring knife: DALSTRONG Gladiator Series Paring KnifeIf you’re looking for a knife the next size down, this option from DALSTRONG can’t be beat. Amazingly hard and seriously sharp, its high carbon blade is triple-riveted into a comfortable composite handle. Paring knives are designed for peeling and dicing, and this 3.5-inch model gives you the precise control needed for both.

Chef’s knife: Shun Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife
Even a utility knife can’t handle everything. For bigger jobs, consider this powerful model from Shun. Its blade is made from a proprietary steel formula that maximizes the benefits of its chromium, tungsten and carbon alloys. Its Japanese construction makes it lighter and thinner — but by no means inferior — compared with classic German designs.

Serrated utility knife prices

When it comes to knife prices, the sky’s the limit. But it doesn’t have to be. You can find dependable serrated utility knives to fit almost any budget.

Inexpensive: It’s possible to find reliable serrated utility knives priced under $20. Some multi-packs may even dip below $10 per knife. In this bucket, knife blades will likely be made from stainless steel. Most are not full tang but are instead insert into a handle made from synthetic materials. Some may last a surprisingly long time without sharpening.

Mid-range: The next tier of utility knives will likely run you $30 to $50. Knives in this price range should have a full tang blade made from steel with a high carbon content. Handles should be riveted and may be made from synthetic materials or a combination of naturals and synthetics.

Expensive: The best, highest-priced serrated utility knives often cost $100 or more. If you’re paying this much for a knife, it should be extremely well-balanced and forged from superior high carbon steel. It should have a full tang riveted into a handle made from grippable synthetic or combination materials. Knives that cost this much should last for years.

EXPERT TIP

Is your knife well-balanced? Place your finger below the bolster’s curve. If the design distributes the weight well, it will rest in place on your finger without tipping.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Your serrated utility knife may last longer if you wash it by hand, even if it’s marked as dishwasher-safe.
  • Don’t push through a job with an uncomfortable knife handle. Ill-designed handles can tire your hand quickly, putting you at risk for cutting accidents. Over time, prolonged use can result in hand strain and related injuries.
  • If you choose a ceramic knife blade, never use it to pry open a jar or you may break off the tip of the knife.

Other products we considered

Renowned knife maker J.A. Henckels doesn’t disappoint with this 5-inch classic utility knife. One look reveals this knife’s quality, from its forged, full-tang construction to its smooth, triple-riveted handle. Though the manufacturer labels it as dishwasher-safe, we recommend hand washing.

If you need something less pricey, this 4.5-inch selection from Good Cook may fit the bill. It’s a little shorter than average, but it’s hard to beat the price. Users say its stainless steel blade expertly handles tomatoes long after purchase.

Poorly cut, ragged slices usually say more about the quality of your knife than about your cutting skills.

FAQ

Q. Why don’t serrated blades crush food like straight blades?
A.
Straight blades require pressure to force an entry point into food. Serrated knives can ease their way in without forcing the issue. This reduces friction when the rest of the blade goes in. Once the serrations puncture the surface, the blade can saw through the food without tearing.

Q. It is possible to sharpen a serrated knife?
A.
Yes, but it’s not as simple as sharpening a straight-edged knife. Each serration must be sharpened individually with a tool designed for serrated knives. To sharpen, you’ll place the cone of the sharpener in the valley of each serration and slide it back and forth over the beveled edge. You can move to the next serration when you feel a rough edge on the backside of the knife. Once you’ve sharpened each serration, turn the knife over and gently grind the burrs off using a flat pass of the sharpener.

Q. Are there any tasks that are off-limits for a serrated utility knife?
A.
While serrated utility knives can be used for almost everything, there are a handful of jobs that they won’t do well. They often lack the precision for mincing and peeling produce — look for a paring knife instead. Crusty baguettes may tear if cut with a serrated utility knife, but a good bread knife should slice it neatly. And these versatile knives lack the size and strength to slice through bones or navigate joints.

The team that worked on this review
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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