Best Hori Hori Knife | 6 Japanese Gardening Knives

The Hori Hori knife also known as a Japanese gardening knife is a fantastic utility tool that has taken a resurgence in recent years. Use it to weed, lift roots, or prune, a Hori Hori knife has become a must-have for any serious gardener. 

But what makes a good Hori Hori…well that’s what we are going to get into what sets the best Hori Hori knife apart from the poor-quality blades. After all Japanese gardening knives are crafted to last a lifetime.

In this article, I will guide you through the options, characteristics, and build quality and offer you six recommendations to find the best Hori Hori knives available today. 

Best Hori Hori Knife

If you’re short of time then I can recommend the two best Hori Hori knives. Barebones are pure quality, in my view the best carbon blade knife that money can buy. If you’re looking for a stainless-steel blade then the Japanese Knife below will not disappoint with excellent features and a fantastic feel to it. 

Best Hori Hori Knife
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Best Carbon Blade Knife

Barebones Hori Hori Ultimate Walnut Handle

Premium carbon steel blade and walnut handle. This 13-inch knife is the ultimate quality built to last a lifetime.

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Japanese Hori Hori Knife Stainless Steel 
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Best Stainless-Steel Blade

Japanese Hori Hori Knife Stainless Steel 

Beautiful hardwood handle and stainless-steel blade. Comes with a sheath and sharpening stone included.

When to Use a New Hori Hori Knife

When I say the Hori Hori knife is a utility blade, it is perhaps unselling the tool. From weeding to pruning, you will find that a Hori Hori knife can take the place of several essential gardening tools that you may already have in your arsenal. 

It’s that one product that you have on your belt strap that you turn to whenever you need to lift a tap rooted weed, loosen the pot of that root bound plant, cut the tops of beets and much more. 

Weed Removal Tool

A Hori Hori knife is particularly useful for removing deep-rooted weeds that would be difficult to pull by hand. 

Slide the broad blade of the knife deep into the soil next to the plant. Then tilt the knife’s handle away from the weed while pulling gently on the weed simultaneously. 

This allows the knife to loosen the soil around the weed, allowing you to pull the whole tap root out in one single piece.

Light Pruning

Some Hori Hori knives have a serrated edge. They make an excellent pruning tool small branches and limbs. 

For Hori Hori knives without a serrated edge, the knife blade is still sharp enough to cut back herbaceous plants, woody vines or pruning throughout flower beds. 

Planting and Lifting

The Hori Hori knife is the perfect shape for both planting bulbs and new plants or for lifting existing plants from their current position. 

To start off, the pointed tip of the Hori Hori is excellent for channelling a row for seeds. The concave shape acts as a narrow trowel so that you can drag and push soil into furrows. 

The long blade and trowel shape also make it easy to get under the plants and scoop them up to move. This is an excellent option for moving seedlings from nursery pots into gardens or even just from garden spot to garden spot. 

Harvesting Fruit and Vegetables

Like cutting weeds, the Hori Hori knife is a great companion for harvest time. By inserting the knife blade into the soil, you can loosen the soil enough to make it easy to pull out root vegetables or plants with deep root systems.

Additionally, the knife blade is excellent for cutting vines, such as with cucumber or pumpkins. It can even be used to cut fruit from trees, such as peaches. 

Choosing the Best Hori Hori Knife

Not all Hori Hori knives are created equal. They come in a variety of materials, shapes, and sizes. Some have serrated edges to help with sawing or pruning whilst others have measurements etched into the blade to help with planting depths. So, lets run down the various options available. 

Hori Hori Knife Blades

No doubt the blade is the most important part of the Hori Hori knife. It is the implement that will be taking care of the digging and cutting. So, a solid stainless steel, tempered steel or carbon-based steel blade will give you extreme strength and a blade that will remain sharp for prolong periods. 

Length

Depending on what you grow, some gardeners prefer shorter blades that are easier to handle, while others may prefer longer ones for cutting through deep weeds. Whatever your preference, most Hori Hori knives come from anywhere between 11 and 15 inches in total length. 

I would recommend a blade in the region of 6-8 inches is ideal for most general use. 

Material

Hori Hori blades consist of stainless steel or carbon tempered steel. Both have beneficial qualities that make for a good knife 

The blade’s material will dictate how strong the blade will be and how it will hold up over years of use. 

Carbon steel (tempered steel) is known for being much harder than stainless steel. That said, a harder metal is often more brittle, so under extreme pressure, a carbon steel knife is more likely to snap than a simple bend. Well forged carbon steel Hori Hori knife will hold its shape for long and will be much more resistant to knicks. 

On the other hand, stainless steel is slightly softer, but thanks to the mineral composition of the metal, it has a natural coating that protects it from corrosion. When you’re working in damp environments, a stainless-steel Hori Hori knife will be naturally protected from rust and corrosion between washes. 

Shape

The Hori Hori knife typically has two blade sides, one side with a sharp smooth edge and one side with a serrated edge. 

The blade itself is relatively wide and is concave along the length, much like a small shovel. Hori Hori knifes then come to a point at the end of the blade. Some versions will have a forked tip for a little added versatility. 

Full Tang

The best quality knives will have what’s called a ‘full tang’ handle. blade will extend into the full length of the handle. This makes the knife stronger overall and less likely to come loose from any weak point where the blade is attached to the handle. 

Blade Edges

Hori Hori knives come with two different blade edges. One side of the blade will be sharpened like a traditional knife. This blade edge will extend all the way to the tip. 

On the reverse side of the knife, there is a serrated edge. The serration usually stops about an inch before the tip of the blade.

Some knives have a double-edged flat blade without serration. These are more suited for deep digging for weeds and obviously not suitable for sawing.

Measurement Marks

Most modern Hori Hori blades will have depth markers etched into the blade itself. In some, the markings might be intricate, showing the full ruler of measurements with ¼ or ⅕ inch increments along with markers for the numbers in both metric and imperial scale. 

More minimalist designs may have the measurement lines simply at every inch without any numbers or fractional measurements at all. Some Hori Hori blades may not have depth markers at all. 

Hori Hori Knife Handles

Moving on to the handle, the part that makes the knife genuinely functional. A good quality handle is essential to give you a good grip on the knife and let the knife hold up over the years in potentially rough situations. 

Look out for high quality durable materials, whether that’s a solid wood handle or hard cast synthetic handle. 

Grip Type

Most Hori Hori knives don’t have any special grip applied, nor is the handle carved in such a way to make it more ergonomic when handling in one direction. 

As both sides of the blade have separate cutting styles, the handle should be symmetrical so that it is easy to turn over in hand and still be comfortable. 

Some modern knives include a soft rubberized coating over the handle to give extra grip, keeping this general symmetrical shape. 

Material

Most handles consist of hardwood. The specific species of wood is mostly up to the manufacturer. The wood is usually polished and coated to protect it from rot and to avoid the chance of splinters. 

Some Hori Hori knives are made with a hard plastic handle. In these, the handle can be either smooth or textured. Some knives include a rubberized coating to make them extra easy to grip. 

Construction

Most Hori Hori knives are full tang knives. This means that the metal material of the blade extends into the full length of the handle. In the case of wooden handles, this generally means that the metal of the blade is sandwiched between two handle halves and bolted in place. 

With plastic handles, the blade handle is usually made separately from the blade, and the blade inserts into the handle. 

Hori Hori Knife Accessories

To properly maintain your Hori Hori knife, there are a couple of accessories that you can use to increase your ease of use. 

Sheath

Most Hori Hori knives will come with a sheath of some kind. The sheath is a protective holder for the knife that slides over the blade. This not only protects the blade itself when it’s not in use, but it also protects the user from accidental cuts. 

Most sheaths use high-quality leather. There is usually a small strap that will wrap around the knife handle to keep the knife in the sheath when not in use. Some sheths include the option to hook it to your belt, making it easy to carry your knife with you as you work in your garden. 

Sharpening Tools

Many Hori Hori knives will come with sharpening tools. These tools come in the form of sharpening stones and honing rods.

Honing rods can be used to realign the existing edge. Regular use will make the knife’s edge uneven over time and, therefore, will act duller. 

Sharpening stones will shave away a small amount of the existing metal to create a brand new edge.

Of the two, honing rods are easier for beginners to use. They can be used to hone the blade’s edge so that you can regain that sharp edge without removing material. A stone is best left to experienced knife users as you are removing metal from the knife to create an entirely new edge. 

If you’re not comfortable using a stone, it may be best to bring your knife to a professional to get sharpened if honing no longer works. 

Best Hori Hori Knives Reviews

Now that we have gone over what makes a hero Hori knife, we will look at some of the best Hori Hori knives available on the market. We will briefly review each knife, followed by the essential stats, including blade length and accessories. 

Barebones Hori Hori Ultimate Walnut Handle
  • Full Length: 13.125″ 
  • Blade Length: 6 ¾”
  • Blade Material: Tempered Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Walnut
  • Accessories: Matching sheath available.

Barebones living really strips down the Hori Hori knife to its natural form. To start off, the handle is made of a stunning polished walnut that’s sturdy and will hold up under intense work. 

The blade itself is made of tempered steel and has a darkened, aged look. The straight cutting edge and the serrated edge both extend fully to the blade’s tip. There is a slight curve to the sides of this knife so that it also makes a teardrop shape before coming to the full point. 

As a bonus, there is a bottle opening and twine cutter on the straight edge side of the knife. On the backside of the knife, there are minimalistic depth markers carved into the blade. They are just simple lines etched at inch widths apart without added numbers. 

At the base of the knife, there is a tempered steel pommel that holds the blade into the handle. The knife itself advertises as full tang, but the construction is more similar to rat tail tang.

Japanese Hori Hori Garden Knife 7 Inch Stainless Steel
  • Full Length: 13.5″
  • Blade Length: 7″
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Hardwood
  • Accessories: Leather sheath, sharpening stone

This Hori Hori knife is in a more traditional style than the Barebones knife. To start out, the handle is made of high-quality hardwood that will hold up under heavy use. You can clearly see the pins holding the handle in place with the tang and the tang itself running through the center of the handle. 

The traditional shape of the Hori Hori knife has a straight cutting edge and a serrated edge running parallel with each other before meeting at a point. Both edges make full use of the blade’s length, running from just off the base of the handle right to the tip of the blade itself. The knife is made of stainless steel and polished to a shine. 

The front side of the knife features the brand name Black Iron and some Japanese lettering stamped in black on the blade. On the other side, there is a detailed depth marker with measurements etched in both metric and imperial. 

Every Hori Hori knife from Black Iron comes with a heavy-duty, brown leather sheath that will protect your knife when not in use. 

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  • Full Length: 12.3″
  • Blade Length: 7″
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Hardwood
  • Accessories: Leather sheath, sharpening stone

HOKURU is a brand that specializes in home and garden products. Like the Black Iron brand, they have opted to go for a more traditional style knife for their Hori Hori. They have only a few items that they currently sell, and their take on the Hori Hori knife is one of them. 

The hardwood handle is expertly carved to fit nicely in hand and is used to show off the entire tang blade that extends into the handle. Thanks to the sandwiched nature of the handle, you can easily see the solid construction of the pins used to hold the tang in place. You can be sure that this knife will hold up to some serious gardening. 

Next, the blade itself consists of stainless steel. It follows the traditional shape of the Hori Hori knife, with both the straight edge and the serrated edge running parallel with each other before coming to a point. This knife is another that uses the entire length of the blade to its advantage by having the separate blade edges run from the base of the handle right to the very tip. 

The HOKURU brand is etched into the front side of the blade, while the backside has depth markings in both metric and imperial measurements. 

The included leather sheath is high-quality brown leather and uses metal snaps to keep the knife securely in place. This sheath also has a belt loop, making it easy to carry your knife with you as you work in the garden. 

Hori Hori Garden Knife with Diamond Sharpening Rod
  • Full Length: 13.5″
  • Blade Length: 7″
  • Blade Material: 420 Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: FSC Certified Beechwood
  • Accessories: Leather sheath, sharpening rod, gift box

The Truly Garden Store takes a classic and updates it ever so slightly. The handle on this one is made of FSC Certified Beechwood. This means that this wood is durable enough to take on work in the garden. It was also sustainably harvested. 

The handle takes on the traditional shape, allowing you to see the pins that hold the tang in place and the full tang itself as it gets sandwiched between the two halves of the handle. This handle also includes a handle guard between the handle and the blade. This guard will help prevent your hand from slipping onto the edge while working. 

The blade is made of stainless steel and continues to follow the traditional shape. Both the serrated edge and the straight edge run from the handle to the tip in a straight line and use up the entire length of the blade edge. On the front side of the blade, the Truly Garden logo is etched. On the backside of the knife, there are the depth markers etched in both metric and imperial scale. 

This blade comes with a high-quality leather sheath that includes a belt loop and metal clasps. You will have no worries about keeping your knife safe and secure and with you. It also comes with a sharpening rod. This rod allows you to sharpen the individual curves of the serrated edge, along with the straight edge. A standard sharpening stone would only work with the straight edge. 

The entire collection comes in a gift box and makes an excellent gift for the garden in your life. Or even for yourself. 

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  • Total Length: 12.5″
  • Blade Length: 7″
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Plastic
  • Accessories: Heavy nylon sheath

For a modern take on the Hori Hori knife, we have this one from MLTOOLS. The handle of this one consists of durable, heavy-duty plastic that will hold up to use just as good as the wooden handles. The handle is also contoured to make it comfortable to hold and reduce slipping. This particular knife is not a full tang knife, but users have found that it still has sound construction, and there have been no issues with the knife popping out of the handle or breaking. 

The blade itself is made of stainless steel and follows the traditional shape. The serrated and the straight edge run straight until they curve towards the tip. Both edges also take advantage of the entire length of the knife. 

On the front side of the knife, the MLTOOLS logo is stamped in black ink. On the other side, there is a depth marker etched in inches. The scale is there in quarter-inch increments. 

The sheath is heavy-duty black nylon and has the MLTOOLS logo stamped in white. This sheath uses strong velcro straps to hold the knife in place and even has a belt loop to make it easy to carry the knife. This is a good thing, as this knife performs well as a gardening tool and a general tool for hiking and hunting. 

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  • Full Length: 12 ¼”
  • Blade Length: 7″
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Rose Hardwood
  • Accessories: Nylon Sheath

Last on our list is this Hori Hori knife from Garden Guru. The handle of this one consists of tropical rose hardwood. The wooden handle allows you to see the full tang of the blade and the pins holding it all together to guarantee expert construction. 

The blade itself contains stainless steel and, for the most part, follows the traditional shape. The only difference is that the edges go deeper than normal before curving upwards into the knife’s friendly rounded front face. 

The Garden Guru logo got stamped in black on the front of the knife. There are the depth markers in both metric and imperial measurements on the back. 

This knife comes with a sturdy nylon sheath that includes a belt loop for easy storage and transport. The blade is held in the sheath using heavy-duty velcro straps. 

Verdict: Best Hori Hori Knife for Gardening

The Hori Hori knife is an invaluable part of any gardener’s toolbox. With a single knife, you could replace a trowel, small shovel, depth marker, pruning shears, weeding tools, and so many more. We hope that you enjoyed our deep dive on Hori Hori knives and perhaps helped you find your next favorite gardening tool. 

Barebones Hori Hori Ultimate Walnut Handle
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Best Carbon Blade Knife

Barebones Hori Hori Ultimate Walnut Handle

Premium carbon steel blade and walnut handle. This 13-inch knife is the ultimate quality built to last a lifetime.

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Japanese Hori Hori Knife Stainless Steel 
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Best Stainless-Steel Blade

Japanese Hori Hori Knife Stainless Steel 

Beautiful hardwood handle and stainless-steel blade. Comes with a sheath and sharpening stone included.

Hori Hori Knife Maintenance? 

Maintaining your Hori Hori knife is relatively easy. The main thing is to keep your knife clean and dry while not using it. While most blades are made of stainless steel and are resistant to corrosion, keeping your knife clean and dry will still help keep it in good shape for longer. 

Secondly, store your knife in a sheath when not in use. This will keep the blade from being scratched or knicked. It will also keep the knife from accidentally cutting something. 

Lastly, the knife will need occasional sharpening to maintain its edge. If you are using it in rocky or sandy soil, you may need to sharpen it more often than you would if you were using it in loam or clay. A nice sharp edge will make cutting roots, harvesting vegetables, and prune your plants much easier and safer. 

Hori Hori Knife Expected Lifespan

A well-made Hori Hori knife should last a lifetime, possibly even more. This is so true that many manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their cutters. 

FAQ Best Hori Hori Knife