(This site is reader-supported. When you buy something using retail links on our articles, we may earn a small commission.)
Hori hori knife is one of the most preferred tools seen in the arsenal of many gardeners. It got this name due to the sound it made at the time of use. The traditional meaning of this tool is to dig, which is precisely the purpose of this knife.
Did you know that a hori hori knife is a Japanese brainchild? The Japanese are admired for their lasting and ergonomic tool designs made for their diverse cultural and professional jobs, including gardening. Their tools for gardening are among the most efficient and sturdiest tools all gardeners should possess.
One of these tools is a hori hori knife. While designed to aid in gathering bonsai trees from the mountains in Japan, this knife is now useful for several tasks ranging right from digging up weeds to planting bulbs. You can use it for all gardening jobs such as pruning, weeding, and transplanting.
The edge is typically sharp enough to cut strings, bags, small roots, or branches. You can even easily detach plants from pots. This versatility of this digging knife makes it sensible to replace many standard tools for gardening, including small saws, trowels, pruners, and weed extractors.
However, the market is filled with many varieties of the hori hori knife. This can make selecting the most suitable one a tough job. This post will guide you find the right hori hori for you.
Also known as soil or a weeding knife, a genuine hori hori features a concave metal blade that is usually seven inch-long, serrated on one of the edges, is quite sharp, has a semi-sharp tip, and is connected to a straight handle made up of wood.
The blade is typically made using stainless steel, carbon steel, or aluminum. Each of these build materials is likely to differ in terms of longevity and strength. For measurement purposes, the blade shows a ruler having marks of inches, which helps in setting the digging depth or planting distance.
The concave shape contributes to a comfortable plant hold at the time of transplanting. The serrated edge is handy for pruning overgrown roots and cutting branches. The tip is capable of penetrating the soil regardless of how hard or clay-rich it is and effortlessly extract the tap- or shallow-rooted weeds.
2021’s 3 Best Hori Hori Knives Reviewed
Nisaku NJP650 Hori-Hori Weeding & Digging Knife with Sheath
The 10-oz Nisaku knife is a solid tool designed for all types of gardening and any other outdoor tasks such as digging a hole while camping. This is perhaps due to the mix of straight and serrated edges.
Forged well, the blade is made using the premium Japanese stainless steel known for its precision, longevity, and resistance to corrosion and rust such that it can endure extremely harsh conditions and intense use.
The concave blade is super sharp and is 7.25 inches long comes with sufficient depth for digging as well as the width for other gardening tasks.
The blade also has Metric and Imperial markings for quick measurements. The wooden handle is comfortable, ensures extra control while digging, and retains a solid grip. You also get a sheath with this knife.
- Long, super-sharp blade
- Well-balanced handle
- For all weather conditions
- Uncomfortable feel on small hands
Truly Garden Hori Hori Garden Knife with Sharpening Stone
This is another versatile knife but comes with a diamond sharpening stone so that you do not have to face any sharpening issue. The curved blade is 7 inches long and has sharp serrations and a flat edge to ensure versatility.
The lasting and strong blade is made using 420-grade stainless steel that is resistant to rust. The full-length tang contributes to the overall strength. The blade also has clear markings and graduations in millimeters and inches.
Giving a solid grip, the polished, sleek handle is made up of Beech certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). It is riveted well via three rivets onto the blade. A metal safety guard exists for your hands’ safety while trimming.
- Great handle look
- Long and sturdy blade
- Full tang
- Sharpening rod included
- Extra-thick sheath
- 5-year warranty
MLTOOLS Hori-Hori Weeding & Digging Knife
Consider this 10-oz hori hori knife not only for gardening but also for outdoor adventures such as camping and hiking. Yes, it is that versatile! The credit goes to the sharp straight edge on one side and a tough serrated one on the other.
The blade is made using stainless steel with a mirror polish, which is resistant to rust and breaking, making it ultra-durable. The textured handle ensures a cozy, non-slip grip in any condition and ensures safe operations. Although made up of plastic, the handle does not feel flimsy. The blade is marked with a graded depth scale.
- Classic look
- Long blade
- Sturdy plastic handle
- Sheath included
- Reliable for all outdoor tasks/adventures
- The sheath may not last for long
Factors To Consider When Buying Hori Hori Knife
Hori hori knives have several uses when putting into action in a garden. Regardless of whether using it on camping or while gardening, the hori hori knife you have should be durable and dependable.
However, at the time of buying, it can become confusing to choose the best hori hori knife due to the variety you get to see. To avoid any confusion, it is worth comparing the features of the promising models and finding out which one most closely or fully meets your requirements and budget.
Keeping this in mind, here are the features or buying factors to consider and compare.
Usually, the overall size of this knife is around 12 inches in length, while that of the blade ranges from 6.5 to 7.5 inches. What you need to know here is that you can dig deeper into the soil with a longer blade. So, if this is what you want, go with a longer blade measuring 7.5 inches in length.
Just as the size, weight also contributes to the overall efficiency. Thus, if you will be using the knife regularly, it is wise to choose the weight that your hands can handle comfortably. If the knife is too bulky, it will decrease your productivity.
Many hori hori knives are heavy, weighing more than 10 ounces. Thus, you should ideally go with a knife whose weight is less than 10 ounces.
The blades of hori hori knives are available in different shapes. Not all these shapes are identical, as some are better than the others in terms of efficiency or performance. Of all the professionals prefer the concave shape in which the blade features a parallel length, which wanes from the sides until the point.
The blade is undoubtedly the most important part of any knife. So, it is sensible to check the blade first. When it comes to hori hori knives, the blade should be sharp, stainless, durable, and thick enough to fulfill your specific requirements. These features are best met by stainless steel.
The blade should not even rust or corrode. For this, a stainless steel blade is coated well to prevent it.
It is important to consider serrations while choosing a hori hori knife. Such an edge aids in penetrating through the tough garden or other outdoor materials. With it, your knife goes deeper into a surface than usual for easier and more efficient use.
For this purpose and to meet your requirements, the serrated edge you choose should be sufficiently wide or deep. Further, it is ideal to choose the one that is coated with powder or stainless ingredient so that it is resistant to rusting and corrosion.
A poor handle can make even the best knife dangerous, as it then becomes prone to accidents. The original hori hori knives have a handle made up of wood. They also have a full tang.
Today, most modern models come with plastic or soft polymer handles. These handles are popular for ensuring more comfort as well as grip than the original wooden handles.
Many users prefer soft polymer handles, as they are quite comfortable to use and typically feature an ergonomic design. Although the handles having full tang are likely to be handier due to a wider grip area, they are not suitable for some digging and cutting jobs in gardens.
In short, when you choose the handle, go with the one that comfortably fits your hand, ensures reliable grip, and is durable.
Of all the knives that are sold, only the hori hori knives come with graduations. These marks facilitate effective measurement while cutting or digging profoundly into surfaces. Thus, you can measure and work at the same time.
The best graduation marks are the ones that are profoundly inscribed on the blade and do not fade quickly or easily. It is obvious that they also should be readable and clear.
A sheath is undoubtedly an important accessory to have, as it facilitates quick, safe, and easy storage of your hori hori knife.
These days, the market is full of leather, wooden, plastic, and metal sheaths. All of them are reliable when it comes to storing a hori hori knife safely and carrying it comfortably. However, each one has a differing level of durability and price.
For your hori hori knife, you can easily find some more accessories in the market at the time of shopping. Some of the useful accessories are whetstones and rods for sharpening and belt clips.
It makes sense to buy a suitable hori hori knife sharpener, as you will have to sharpen its blade once it starts getting dull after prolonged use. While other accessories may not be important, they are likely to ensure better convenience.
How should I ideally use a hori hori knife?
It is easy to use this versatile knife. However, you need to know how to use it most efficiently. It is ideal for holding it in one hand and considering it as a tool. Now, you can focus on its part that is designed to fulfill a specific purpose.
For example, its smooth edge is ideal for slicing weeds, small stems, and fertilizer bags. Similarly, its long and narrow shape is best for loosening soil and removing the crops’ roots once they are prepared for harvesting.
The pointed tip allows you to drag across the soil effortlessly for forming seed troughs, while the serrated edge easily works with the small roots as well as branches.
How do I sharpen a hori-hori knife?
This task is similar to grinding any knife. A honing rod is required for sharpening a hori hori knife. In its absence, even the rear of your coffee mug will do the job.
You start by holding the knife at an angle of 20 degrees such that the blade’s bottom area relaxes against the sharpening tool. Then, flip to the other side and redo the same procedure. It is recommended sharpening this knife at the beginning of spring or summer.
How long can a hori hori last?
Well, there is no exact reply to this question, as it is a subjective matter. The longevity of any hori hori knife is reliant on its build as well as material quality, how do you maintain it, and how do you sharpen it. Generally, the best hori hori knife is likely to last for over ten years. Even if you care well, your knife will succumb to the harsh external elements if put in the rain.
How should I clean my hori hori knife?
You should clean your hori hori knife with warm, soapy water after use and let it dry before storing it. If the handle is made using natural hardwood, consider rubbing it using linseed oil and then wiping using a cloth. Doing so is likely to extend the handle’s life.
Tagged as a jack of all trades, a hori hori is a multi-purpose gardening and adventure tool. While most models are versatile, you should buy the one that best fits your requirements.
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.