Bonsai Tools: Top 10 Most Popular to Buy for Beginners

bonsai pruning with tools

You don’t need many tools for bonsai. But some tasks are just quicker and easier with the right tools. You can expect to pay a few or a few hundred dollars for your tools. In most cases, the more you pay, the better the tool you’re buying is. You should probably start out with a sturdy yet inexpensive set of basic tools; you don’t need to go all out when you’re just starting. If you take good care of your tools you can expect them to be useful for a very long time.

While there are many bonsai tools and gadgets that the experienced bonsai enthusiast will use, the most common ones are listed below with images and a brief description. These are the 10 most popular bonsai tools used but if you can’t get all 10 of them you could easily get started with a pair of concave cutters, a pair of butterfly shears and a root hook.​

10 Most Popular Bonsai Tools

#1 - Long Handle Shears

Long Handle Shears

These trimmers are used to to eliminate small twigs and new buds. They have a very sharp and narrow point so you can be very precise on your cuts. A nice long handle in order to get into those hard to reach places.

#2 - Butterfly Shears

Butterfly Shears

The butterfly shears should be used to cut medium sized branches of your tree. You can also use them for trimming the roots back during repotting.

#3 - Small Handheld Broom


The small hand heldbroom enables you to gently brush away your trimmings and fallen debris from the surface. As we learned in an earlier lesson of bonsai trees for beginners, leaving leaves and and branches to decompose creates a breeding ground for fungus and disease.

#4 - Concave Cutters/Knob Cutters

Concave Cutters

Concave cutters are just about the most necessary tool for good bonsai tending and growing. Knob cutters much like concave cutters have spherical heads.Sometimes you can’t get close enough to the base of a twig or branch you’re trying to cut and it leaves a knob. Use the knob cutters to cut away the knob of the twig or branch. It will leave a recessed spot where the branch or tree once was. Fill the depression with mastic and soon it will be as if it was never there.

#5 – Tweezers


An incredibly useful tool for bonsai is one of the simplest things around: tweezers. Tweezers can remove obstacles and other troublesome objects from your bonsai growth, hold back new growths, prune your trees, and anything in between. Specialty bonsai tweezers tend to come with a little trowel that you can use for sowing seeds, patting down moss, and whatever else you need.

#6 – Small Root Rake with Trowel

Rake with Trowel

If you need to re-pot your bonsai tree, invest in a root rake. You’ll use it to get dirt out of the root ball by combing it out. A small root rake can be used to gently separate tangled roots when re-potting. The opposite end of this hand-held rake has a small trowel used for gently pushing moss into the topsoil or gently pushing the down the topsoil itself around the edges of the container.

#7 – The Chopstick


Once you place your soil in the container for your new bonsai, gently insert the chopstick into the soil and make a circular motion. This helps to ensure your soil is free from air pockets and is spread evenly around the roots of your bonsai. Beside this, there are many more uses for this simple little bonsai tool.

#8 – Watering Can

Watering Can

You can alway use the hose but often times it will come out to strong and wash your soil away. Using a watering can or wand allows you to water your bonsai from the top like a gentle rain.

#9 – Mister


A bonsai tool used to mist the foliage of your bonsai tree. This particular bonsai tool is not essential but misting the plant is.

#10 – Bonsai Tool Improvisation

Spray Bottle with Misting Trigger

Nothing fancy needed here. I simply bought a plastic spray bottle with a misting trigger. The bonsai doesn’t know the difference between these and the expensive misters and they love this type of watering during hot days. Not all bonsai tools have to be expensive.