Grafting knives may seem a bit unusual at first. Most of them are compact and similar to Swiss pocket knives. You probably ask yourself, why would you need a specialized tool? The truth is classic Swiss knives are suitable for everything, but a grafting knife is specifically developed for gardening activities.
Now, choosing the best grafting knife could be a bit tricky with so many options out there. Some grafting knives come as a combo of classic knives and Swiss knives, while others feature a few extras for other gardening aspects. Having a decent idea about these knives can point you in the right direction. At the same time, it pays off researching the top-rated options on the market. If a knife is well-reviewed by thousands of people, chances are it will work for you as well.
What is a Grafting Knife?
Grafting knives often go in the same category as budding knives and sometimes come together. There are, indeed, a few similarities between these two different knives. Plus, you may find grafting knives designed like multi-blade pocket knives and some of the blades are used for budding, such as the famous Tina grafting knife.
Generally speaking, grafting knives come in many types, based on the design, the blades, and quality standards. As a general rule of thumb, they must have a super sharp edge. They are usually sharp out of the box. Hard steel is also recommended, as you will use these knives for wooden parts. In other words, you do not want them to go dull after a few uses only.
There are also some differences between grafting knives and budding knives. The grafting knife usually comes with a straight edge. The budding one is slightly curved. Plus, it has a blunt end to open the bark and insert the bud.
Double bladed knives with multiple purposes are just as common. At the end of the day, it depends on what you need the knife for.
Based on what you use the grafting knife for, you may find it under different names too. For instance, the Japanese use such knives for bonsai, rather than in agriculture. Therefore, you can find a grafting knife advertised as a bonsai knife.
Now that you have an idea about grafting knife, what are the best options available in the market, and what makes them so special?
2021’s 5 Best Grafting Knives
Victorinox Budding & Grafting Knife
Multipurpose tool – This Victorinox grafting knife is designed like a pocket knife. It carries high Swiss quality standards and it is likely to last for ages. It is a multipurpose tool, so you can use it for both grafting and budding. It is only available in a dark red color and it provides excellent value for money – after all, you get two tools hidden in one handle only.
Superior blade – The knife is more commonly used for grafting, yet it is designed with budding purposes too. Practically, the blade is straight. Budding requires a bit of curve, but it can be easily done. You have a 2.25-inch bark lifter, as well as a four-inch blade. The blade is based on stainless steel, so it is less likely to corrode or rust over time.
Durable handle – The handle is just as good. There are three rivets to keep all the mechanisms in place. While smooth, it is less likely to slip out of your hands anyway. There are no mechanisms to open it quickly – you will have to use your fingernail and pull the blade out. The system ensures the knife will not accidentally open up in your pocket, so it adds to your safety standards.
Care and maintenance – There is not much to do to look after this Victorinox grafting knife. Most importantly, never clean it in a dishwasher. Simply wipe it clean after each use and let it dry before storing it. Since the blade is made of stainless steel, you do not have to oil it when the knife is not in use for long periods of time.
- Durable construction
- Suitable for both grafting and budding
- Nonslip surface
- Easy to look after
- Safe to keep in the pocket
- No thumb stud for easy opening
Naye Grafting Gardening Knife
Value for money – Naye does not fool around when it comes to quality and value for money. Its best grafting knife is a proper gardening tool with multiple purposes and various applications. Apart from the actual multipurpose knife, the package also includes grafting tape, which is mandatory in grafting. Plus, you can use it to label your plants as well, so it basically saves you some money.
Double blades – Since the knife is used for both grafting and budding, Naye has brought in a double blade to ensure a smooth and efficient operation. You have a perfectly straight blade for grafting, as well as a slightly curved hawkbill knife. Blades are razor sharp out of the box, so be careful when you open the knife up. They are both made of stainless steel for durability and great edge retention.
Beautiful handle – The handle is both functional and beautiful. It is based on natural wood. It features three rivets, so the system is well put together. Each knife has a different pattern and colors may vary slightly, but the natural wood is normally brown. Other than that, you will love the nonslip surface, which ensures a stable operation even if your hands are sweaty.
Care and maintenance – The good news about stainless steel is that it never corrodes or rusts, so you do not have to oil it if you fail to use the knife for long periods of time. However, blades could go dull if you fail to clean it properly. Avoid doing it in a dishwasher – always clean it manually and make sure the blades are dry before storing the knife.
- Suitable for both budding and grafting
- Grafting tape and metallic labels
- Nonslip handle
- Good value for money
- Blades are tightly put together, so closing and opening them could be tricky
Funteck Grafting Tools Pruner Kit
Full package and great value for money – Funteck’s kit might bring in the best grafting knife out there if you want everything in one package. There is no need to purchase any additional accessories, while the overall cost could be smaller than for single knives. All in all, this kit brings in a grafting knife, tapes, replacement blades, U, V, and omega grafting tools. Simply put, value for money is almost impossible to beat.
Grafting versatility – When it comes to grafting, you have three different types of grafts and each of them can be done with this kit – V, U, and omega grafts. Branch trimming is also doable. Grafting scissors bring in a perfect alignment, while the kit can tackle both rootstock and scion in diameter – 1/6 inches to half an inch.
Great blades – Blades are not that durable, but they are actually rated as consumables. They are razor sharp out of the box, so they do not need any sharpening straight away. Regular maintenance is needed though. You have multiple types of grafting blades and replacement options. Replacing blades is fairly simple – no experience required.
Solid knife – The knife feels well put together as you hold it. You have a wooden handle and multiple rivets for a stable and safe operation. The wooden handle is ergonomic and follows the shape of your hand. Moreover, it has a nonslip surface. As for the overall maintenance, these tools must be cleaned manually and never in a dishwasher.
- Full grafting kit
- Razor-sharp blades
- Replacement blades included
- More types of grafts
- Carry case included
- Blades are consumables
Comkit Grafting Knife – Cheap Grafting Knife
All-purpose gardening tool – Comkit’s best grafting knife is designed as a multipurpose tool and it costs less than other single tools, so value for money is excellent. It makes a great all-purpose gardening tool and it is built like a foldable knife. You can use it for grafting, budding, or pruning, but you can also use it to trim small branches and bushes. It is only available in light green.
Durable blades – There are not less than three blades and each of them has specific purposes. Each blade is strong and razor-sharp, but also made of stainless steel. The main blades measure 2.4 inches. Stainless steel will never corrode or rust, so there is not much to worry about in terms of maintenance. Other than that, opening and closing blades is a manual operation.
Durable handle – The handle is based on PVC. It is extremely sturdy and durable. It also features a nonslip surface due to the slight textures. The handle is suitable for both small and large hands. There are a few rivets to keep the blades in place, so the unit feels solid when you use it. There are no thumb studs on it, hence the manual operation when in need of a particular blade.
Safety and maintenance – In terms of health and safety, the knife is less likely to open up accidentally while in your pocket, so you can carry it with no risks at all. The blades are super sharp though, so be careful. Looking after this grafting knife is fairly simple. Clean it manually, let it dry before closing the blades and never put it in a dishwasher.
- Designed with multiple purposes
- Durable stainless steel blades
- Safe to carry around
- Easy to look after
- Solid handle
- The manual operation could be difficult at times
Pgcoko Garden Grafting Pruning Knife
All-purpose gardening – Pgcoko’s best grafting knife features a classic design for such tools. It comes with a couple of blades, a folding profile, and a durable design. It is only available in one color and style, but more importantly, performance is flawless. It is versatile and designed as a multipurpose tool, so it could become your most convenient gardening tool.
Excellent blades – There are two different blades to use in your gardening applications. One of them is straight and the other one is curved. They are razor sharp out of the box. They are designed for grafting and budding. Each blade measures about 2.7 inches. They are made of stainless steel, so they are durable, sturdy, and super hard.
Superior handle – What would a good blade be without an appropriate handle? You want the handle to be just as good. This unit features a wooden handle based on rosewood. It does not have any thumb studs, so you can use the knife whether you are left or right-handed. It has a few rivets to keep everything in place – after all, it is built like a pocket knife. It is ergonomic, comfortable, and less likely to slip.
Package and maintenance – The package brings in an extra that you would have to purchase anyway. You get a roll of grafting tape, which is mandatory in gardening. As for the actual maintenance, make sure you clean the blades manually and let them dry before closing the knife. Avoid cleaning the knife in a dishwasher though.
- Full package
- Ergonomic and comfortable handle
- Ambidextrous uses
- Great blades
- Durable and convenient
- No thumb stud for easy opening, but safer due to the manual operation
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need grafting tape and what does it do?
You might have noticed that many kits or plain knives come with some grafting tape as well. It is a way for manufacturers to add more value for money. The grafting tape is mandatory for successful grafting, so you would have to purchase it separately anyway.
Its main role is to reinforce the union between the scion and the rootstock. At the same time, it protects the new graft from water and air, which will inevitably lead to dehydration. When using wax, it replaces the paste normally applied later on. It has the same purpose – protection against dehydration.
What is the perfect time of the year for grafting?
Grafting and budding often go hand in hand and many grafting knives out there have an extra blade for budding too, and vice versa. However, the actual operations are completely different and must be performed at different times of the year.
Budding is usually performed before the growing season, but many gardeners do it during the actual season too. Grafting is different and mostly recommended for the wintertime. In some cases, it could be done in early spring if the winter is too harsh. The operation is more successful if both the rootstock and scion are dormant.
How do you know your grafting operation has been successful?
Grafting is not always pure science. While there is some science behind it, it also depends on the plants and their strength. Even the most experienced gardeners may fail sometimes. Generally speaking, you can tell whether or not a graft is successful by giving it time.
Keep an eye on the scion. Does it plump up? If it does, chances are you have done a good job. If it looks a bit flaccid and less likely to recover, you might have failed. You should not get rid of the plant straight away though. Give it time and keep an eye on it – it may be too slow.
There are a few things to pay attention to when trying to find the best grafting knife out there. Most importantly, you want a durable design, sharpness, edge retention, and strength. Grafting is not a soft operation, so you need a tool that you can rely on.
Any of the above-mentioned knives could be excellent for your applications. They come with multipurpose blades, so they can be used for other gardening activities too, such as budding. Moreover, these knives are affordable.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.