The best garden knives have blades that are sharp enough to slice through weeds and vines, and a grip that makes them comfortable to use for extended periods.
Gardening knives come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. From the multipurpose hori hori, to specialised grafting and budding knives, there’s a tool for every purpose. We cover them all below.
Our top pick: Hori Hori Garden Knife
This multipurpose tool is ideal for a variety of gardening tasks. The two working blade edges on this knife are both sharp: one is serrated with a sawing edge and the other is a razor-sharp cutting edge.
The full tang design means this knife won’t bend or break under pressure while you’re working with it. It also features gradation marks on the blade that allow you to plant properly according to depth.
The polished stainless steel blade resists rust, so you can rest assured that this knife will last you for years to come. The high-quality wooden handle comes with a protective handguard for comfortable and safe use.
Finally, this knife comes with a 90 days money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your purchase.
Best general purpose: Opinel No.08 Stainless Steel Garden Knife
Opinel is a 130-year-old French knife company known around the world for its high-quality yet affordable knives.
This particular model is their No.08 Garden Knife, which features a sharp, pointy 8.5cm blade for weeding, harvesting, and other garden tasks.
It has a folding design that makes it easy to transport and protect the blade, as well as strong construction and lightweight materials.
The handle is made from natural beech wood from France and the blade is stainless steel so is anti-corrosive and requires no special maintenance.
This knife is an excellent choice for anyone who wants an easy-to-use knife that can take care of many different tasks in your garden.
Also great: Radius Garden Root Slayer
The Root Slayer is a versatile garden knife that can be used for a wide variety of tasks, from cutting roots to slicing small branches, and is similar to the traditional Japanese hori hori design.
This heavy-duty soil knife features ripsaw teeth on one side and a smooth cutting blade on the other, and an inverted V-shaped tip for cutting roots.
The blade is made of powder-coated carbon steel, which can penetrate rocky or clay soil with ease.
It comes with a comfortable thermoplastic grip for comfort and ease of use.
Best value: Linsen-outdoor Pruning Knife
This affordable garden knife is sharp enough to handle delicate pruning and grafting work, but also durable enough to handle tough jobs like trimming branches.
The blade is made of stainless steel, which makes it easy to sharpen and keep sharp over time.
It has a comfortable ergonomic handle that it fits your hand perfectly, allowing you to work quickly and efficiently.
Best for grafting and budding: Victorinox Horticultural Knife
The Victorinox Horticultural Knife is a Swiss-made budding and grafting knife with two functions.
It has a straight blade with a centre point and a brass bark lifter, making it a great option for nurseries and gardeners.
Victorinox is known around the world for its quality products, and this horticultural knife is no exception. You can rest assured knowing that it comes with a lifetime warranty from Victorinox.
This tool is made from high-quality steel that won’t rust or corrode over time.
This functional, lightweight garden knife features a traditional hori hori design.
The curved surface works like a trowel and the sharp point will help you penetrate through tough dirt surfaces.
The stainless steel blade has a straight edge on one side and a serrated edge on the other. This makes it easy to saw through thick roots and slice through weeds.
There is a handy depth scale marked on one side of the blade, while the handle features a non-slip finish for comfortable use.
The Hoselink Garden Knife also comes with an included sheath for storage, so you can keep it safe when not in use.
Types of garden knives
There are many types of garden knives, weeding knives, and other tools that are designed specifically for different tasks in the garden.
Here’s a list of the common types:
Japanese hori hori knife
The Japanese hori hori knife is a gardening tool that has been around for centuries.
Also referred to as a “soil knife”, a hori hori knife can be used for digging in the garden thanks to its scooped design.
The two-sided blade on a hori hori knife is very versatile. The jagged side can be used to slice through tough roots, while the smoother side is better for more delicate cutting tasks such as slicing through plant stems.
Pruning knives are ideal for pruning and cutting small branches. They are also great for clipping, trimming and shaping all sorts of plants.
The curved blade is sharpened on the inner side and has a smooth, rounded point that makes it perfect for cutting stems without damaging delicate plant material.
You can use it to harvest vegetables or fruit, as well as cleanly slice larger cuts in your plants (like trimmings).
A weeding knife is a tool specifically designed to dig out weeds. It’s a good alternative to using a trowel, which can be more difficult to wield and less precise when pulling out the roots of weeds.
While weeding knives can often be in the form of a Hori Hori knife, as discussed earlier, they can also be L-shaped, almost like a sickle.
As the name suggests, this is a knife used for grafting. Grafting knives have thin very sharp blades that are bevelled on only one side so the knife can cut easily through tough material.
Grafting knives are commonly used on tree branches or rootstock as part of the grafting process. If you want to learn how to graft plants, this is an essential tool for your garden kit.
Note that grafting knives come in both left and right-handed versions.
A budding knife is a precision tool with a sharp, slightly curved blade that’s used to create a budding union in plants. It is typically dull at the tip, enabling it to open the bark and insert the bud.
While grafting involves taking an upper piece (called a scion) of one plant and attaching it to another to grow as one, the budding process involves taking a bud from one plant and growing it on another.
Budding knives are sometimes used in the floristry industry because it is safer to use than a regular knife.
Floral knives cleanly cut stems and are a handy tool for any gardener who regularly snips flowers. They allow you to make clean cuts without bruising the stems.
They are compact so that you can comfortably hold them in one hand, and they have small blades, which are very sharp on one side only. They often fold into the handle like a pocket knife.
A pruning saw is a tool used to cut through woody stems. They are very handy when you need to cut down branches or tree limbs that are too large for your garden shears.
They are serrated on one side and come in two main varieties: curved-blade or straight-blade.
Mushroom knives have a curved “hawk-bill” narrow blade that is used to cut through the stems of mushrooms.
A mushroom knife is not typically used for anything else, but it can be valuable if you want to keep your mushrooms intact when harvesting and not damage the mycelium that remains in the soil.
Mushroom knives are also designed to make the harvesting process safer than when using a regular knife.
Features to look for
The handle is one of the most important parts of your garden knife. You want it to be comfortable to hold, and easy to grip. If it’s made from a material that is durable and easy to clean, even better.
There are many different types of blades on the market, each with its own benefits.
Serrated blades have teeth that look like a saw blade. They’re designed to slice through thick materials like roots or dead branches. You can find serrated blades on folding pocket knives and multi-purpose garden knives.
Plain edge blades are better for slicing through green plants like flower stems as they cause less damage to the plant.
Large scooped blades are great for digging and slicing through soil and roots, but smaller blades can be used for precision work such as pruning and budding.
Smaller knives are also useful for cutting flowers from their stalks without damaging other parts of the plant.
A sheath is a handy accessory for safely keeping your blade. They are usually made from leather or nylon.
A sheath with a belt clip allows you to attach it to your belt loop so that you don’t have to hold onto the knife while working in the garden.
What does a hori hori knife do?
A hori hori knife is a multipurpose gardening tool that can be used for digging, cutting, weeding and planting. It’s also commonly called a soil knife or weeding knife. The hori hori originated in Japan, where it was used for carefully removing plants from the soil. The word hori means “to dig” in Japanese.