Absolute Basic Bonsai Tools You Need

Since I am finally able to grow my bonsais… ahem bonchis… I need some actual tools. The world of bonsais has many tools; scissors, cutters, splitters, rakes, branch benders and wires, root hooks, brooms… It’s really quite overwhelming if you don’t know what you need to buy.

Sticking to the core basics, you really only need a few tools to get started. Typically you will want some scissors to cut leaves and small branches, a larger cutter for removing unwanted larger branches, and a root rake.


Many of my bonsais benefit from regular pruning. To help get into all those tight spaces, I got some long handled shears for USD$28.

I was pretty happy with how sharp these scissors were. I cut through several small woodened branches and the thicker green branches of my basil bonsai and it handled the cuts with ease.

The only thing I have realised after use is that the shears don’t have springs, so they aren’t quite as user-friendly as my other shears.

I have owned some Fiskar Micro-Tip shears for several years now. I bought these for USD$16. These cut quite comparatively, however the handles aren’t as fine so best approaching the plant from the outside.

I am happy with both of these tools and hope to get a lot of use out of both.


Some branches are too thick for the scissors, and that’s when you really need some heavy duty cutters. I have two different types of cutters; bonsai knob cutters and generic garden cutters.

I bought the Master Grade Knob cutter for USD$47. This cutter is unique in it’s curved blade shape; it allows you to more easily remove excess bark and shape the dead wood.

I also have the Fiskar Steel Bypass Pruners that I bought for about USD$15. These are generic garden shears that make a straight cut.

My Fiskar’s work perfectly, and I’ve been using them for a while now. However since they are straight cutters, and rather large, they aren’t very good at getting into the crotches between branches.

I haven’t had as much chances to use the Knob Cutter yet as I only had a couple dead branches to remove. I did find that the knob cutters were a bit more difficult to use than I expected; for one of the thicker branches I needed my husband to cut as his grip and squeeze strength was much stronger than mine. Despite this it did seem relatively effective at trimming away excess bark, creating a smoother transition line.

I need a bit more use out of the knob cutters before I decide if I like them. Currently I am “on the fence”.

Do you have any specialty bonsai or garden tools that you love? Let me know in the comments below.

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