What bonsai tools should I start with?

Bonsai scissors

There are many options for bonsai tools and what supplies you should start with depends on the kind of tree you have and the type of work you plan on doing.

A complete set of tools generally includes bonsai shears, wire cutters (manufactured for bonsai styling, not regular wire cutters), jin pliers, knob cutters, concave cutters, wire in various sizes, a root hook and a broom.

As a beginner, you can generally start with just bonsai shears for a while. However, if you plan on starting with untrained nursery stock or collecting trees from the wild, you will find a lot of the other tools helpful.

At a minimum, we would recommend these as a basic bonsai tool starter set:

If you would like to have a more comprehensive tool kit that will grow with your hobby and new tree, we would also suggest:

  • A root hook – handy when repotting
  • A long pair of bonsai tweezers –  useful for all kinds of things
  • Cut paste
  • A long wooden chopstick - useful for all kinds of things, but particularly useful when repotting

As with all tools, there are various levels of tool quality. Entry level tools are good for beginners and as long as they are well maintained will last several years. With basic tools it is important to clean, dry and store your tools after each use to prevent rust. These tools also require regular sharpening to maintain a proper cutting edge. View our recommended starter kit of bonsai tools here.

When you are ready to invest in the highest quality tools, we recommend that you look for Japanese Stainless Steel. These professional level tools will operate as well as the day you purchased them and require only light maintenance after use. Japanese bonsai tools made from stainless steel will also hold a cutting edge much longer. View our 8 Piece Premium Stainless Steel Japanese Tool Set with Suede Wrap here.