A study of the coherence and wavefront properties of a pseudo-channel-cut monochromator in comparison with a double-crystal monochromator is presented. Using a double-grating interferometer designed for the hard X-ray regime, the complex coherence factor was measured and the wavefront distortions at the sample position were analyzed. A transverse coherence length was found in the vertical direction that was a factor of two larger for the channel-cut monochromator owing to its higher mechanical stability. The wavefront distortions after different optical elements in the beam, such as monochromators and mirrors, were also quantified. This work is particularly relevant for coherent diffraction imaging experiments with synchrotron sources. (C) 2010 International Union of Crystallography Printed in Singapore - all rights reserved