Written by Terry Smith
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The best gardeners knives for quality and durability in the UK 2021
This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 1:48 am
Sometimes we need high powered tools like a petrol chainsaw to chew their way through thick logs, however often all that’s needed for general upkeep is a decent gardening knife. Inexpensive, Sharp, lightweight, and small enough to fit in your pocket, a good gardening knife can be a valuable and versatile tool. Let’s say you’re just giving your garden a quick look over and notice a wayward branch that is growing faster than the others, or maybe one you missed when you were trimming the hedge. It’s so much more convenient to pull your knife out and sort it out there and then rather than going to the shed or garage and dragging your other tools out.
Our top picks for best gardeners knife – editors pick:
Best gardeners knife overall: Draper 17558 Budding knife with FSC Certified Oak Handle
Best value for money: Davaon Pro Pruning Saw
Professional and commercial use gardeners knife for heavy duty use and grafting trees: Felco Budding Knife with Solid Brass Bark Opener
Best weeding and planting knife: Fiskars Xact Small weeding knife
Best budding knife value for money: Draper 17558 Budding knife with FSC Certified Oak Handle
What you get in this article:
What is a gardeners knife and how to pick the best one for you
Gardening knives is an umbrella term for a variety of models, such as pruning knives, edging knives, and other multipurpose garden knives. We have decided to group them all together here and review the best gardening knives, whatever the type, for you.
Understanding the different gardeners knifes and their limitations
A knife in the strictest sense will be much easier to sharpen and last longer. Something to consider when your eyes leer at all those huge teeth and start thinking how much easier the cut will be!
You’ll beed to decide just how heavy the work you intend actually is. For example, if you’re looking to dead head or do some light whittling then you’re probably going to go for the Draper 67068 Slimline Pruning Knife, on the other hand, if you want something a bit more robust for medium sized branches then you’re going to be much better suited to something closer to the pruning saw territory: probably you would then want the Davaon Pro Pruning Saw.
But how to pick the best gardeners knife?
Gardeners knives will all have some important attributes in common. Firstly you want stainless steel. How many times have you pulled a rusty knife out the shed? Don’t cut corners – pay a bit more and buy a tool that’ll last, especially when these blades aren’t that expensive anyway…
If you go for a smooth sharp knife you want a blade that is high carbon steel. This will give a sharper edge for longer. A good example of this type of knife would be the Draper 67068 Slimline Pruning Knife. I know from personal experience five minutes on a stone will have the edge tip top again.
With a serrated edge the same applies but it’s even more vital. If you pick serrated this is even move important because sharpening one with a file is very time consuming indeed! To the point you’ll probably start to consider it a throw away saw when factoring the cost of the saw vs time sharpening! Personally I look at my pruning saw in the sense of being disposable and hope I don’t nick barbed wire or other nasties when clearing gardens for clients.
Whats the difference between a gardeners knife and a pruning saw?
Surprisingly theres a few important key differences between a gardeners knife and a pruning saw. You’ll find pruning saws have serrated blades whereas a gardeners knife can also have a smooth, and extremely sharp blade. Normally a knife for whittling or dead heading will be smaller and sharp. The serrated knives are generally better for trimming branches and thicker brush.
What about weeding/planting knives?
You might be looking for a planting knife. In which case the Fiskars Xact Small weeding knife is worth a look. The idea of a weeding knife is to cut through small gaps pulling and raking out weeds. The most common use case is patios and block paving. If you don’t want to use a weed killer for whatever reason or are looking for instant neat results then this is a tool worth it’s weight in gold. That said, you absolutely want to read my review of the Fiskars Xact Small weeding knife as from personal experience there’s a couple of tools at accompany this knife and you’ll certainly thank me for it!
The best gardening knives
Read on and you will see that we have given our chosen products a nice little write up each, and also pointed out the features we thought would interest you. As with all our pages and products, we have supplied links for you to click on should you be interested in any of them, and would like to know more about them.
Let’s get started with our first gardening knives reviews.
Specification: Blade Material: Stainless Steel, Handle Material: Stainless Steel, Locking mechanism: Yes
Draper’s 67068 Slim line pruning knife can be purchased for £11.44 on Amazon. It’s a metallic style, no frills, but solidly built, folding garden knife. When closed up, the knife measures 10cm long and it weighs just over 40 grams so you can carry it comfortably in your pocket, or hang from your neck or belt with the attached 350mm lanyard. Even if you don’t hang the knife from the lanyard, it still makes it easier to find in your toolbox.
The blade is about 3.5 inches long and has been made out of stainless steel to keep it rust free. You need to be careful when you use this knife as the blade is very sharp and dare I say you could even use it for a some whittling. Thankfully there is a locking mechanism that works really well in my opinion (given just how sharp this is out the box) but some have noted the release pin dangerous if you read other comments online but as you research the product more, my opinion is this is more the fault of the user than the knife – after all, you really want a decent locking pin as this has. This is a pruning knife and so has the curved blade, but it can also be used for whittling and other gardening tasks and is quite useful when combined with a pruning saw.
When you compare this Draper to the Davaon Pro Pruning Saw you would say this knife is far better suited to lighter work such as dead heading or clearing lighter objects such as growth between pavers for example and not designed for cutting of heavier tree branches for example.
- Good price
- Solid construction
- All metallic silver design looks great
- Folds away to 10cm and can easily be carried in the pocket
- Very sharp 3.5 inches stainless steel blade
- Good locking mechanism for keeping your fingers safe
- 350mm lanyard attached
- The occasional knife has been known to fail in a few months
- Some consider the release pin dangerous but that is not my opinion
Going on price and performance, as well as build quality which is now well proven it’s reasonable to say this is the best gardeners knife in the UK for your average garden enthusiast!
2. Felco Budding Knife with Solid Brass Bark Opener
Specification: Blade Material: Stainless Steel 5.1 cm, Handle Material: Brass, Locking mechanism: Yes
Our next gardening knife review is of this Felco budding knife with solid brass bark opener. Felco are known for making excellent knives and this model is no exception. The 51mm Swiss victorinox blade is incredibly well made and super sharp. Its thin design is perfect for making very precise cuts. The bark opener is made from solid brass and measures 32mm. Both this and the blade fold away neatly into the handle which is made from eye catching red nylon with alloy lining. If you want a knife for budding / grafting then you can’t go far wrong with this one.
- Great all round horticultural knife. Especially good for grafting and budding
- Swiss Victorinox knife
- 51mm thin blade is super sharp for precise cutting
- 32mm solid brass bark opener
- Folds away neatly to fit in the pocket
- Nylon handle with alloy lining
- Costly but you get what you pay for.
If you’re a professional and you want something for grafting then this is the best in the UK without question, nothing really compares in quality. Whilst you pay more upfront, I know of so few failures and returns even under daily use. This is certainly buy once, buy right!
3. Fiskars Xact Small weeding knife
Specification: Blade Material: Stainless Steel 33.8 cm, Handle Material: Plastic, Locking mechanism: No
This is a great, low priced little tool for weeding in tighter spaces such as between paving and the lawn. It has a 33cm blade made from cold rolled steel and ideally shaped for cutting out weeds and dandelion roots without causing too much damage to the surrounding plants and vegetation. The large handle has been ergonomically designed to sit comfortably in the hand, and the bright colour scheme will make it easy to find and harder to lose. The end of the handle is larger than the rest of it so you can place your palm on it to push into harder ground.
When you’re using this between pavers and stones (I presume you wouldn’t want this for anything else), you’ll be nicely surprised how the build quality backs you up. It doesn’t twist or pull away, weeds come out very easily with minimal fuss but don’t make the mistake of forgetting a garden kneeler or knee pads if you go at this painstaking job without the use of weed killer 😀 You’ve been warned!
At 270 grams which is about half a pound it is light enough to use all day without getting fatigued hands and wrists but heavy enough that you can pull and grapple with a decent amount of force and no worries about the product failing. My pavers aren’t tight, but if yours are really snug you might want to check this blade fits comfortably. That said, I’d take a thicker durable blade that’s a bit tight over a slimmer one that looses it edge in five minutes – a case of picking your poison.
Talking about snug fits – I like the triangular weeder on top too. This is ideal for racking between larger gaps like flag stones and a far better tool for wider gaps. The thinner sharp blade doesn’t do as well when the gaps are large so this is a well thought out and designed tool.
- Low price at only £12.99
- Designed specifically for getting rid of deep rooted weeds
- 33cm alloy steel blade
- Large ergonomic handle with larger end for pushing with your palm
- Bright colour scheme makes this tool easy to find
- Very Durable
- Backed up by thousands of reviews on Amazon
- Occasionally one breaks but warrantee is offered and this product fully supported for replacements and refunds.
- Some may think the robust blade is slightly too thick for tight pavers.
As a weeding knife this is probably the best in the UK. As a knife durable and holds it’s edge well between pavers, patios, and flag stones theres no question, this knife is absolutely built for the job.
4. Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens Razorsharp 7946KEW
Specification: Blade Material: Carbon Steel 17.8 cm , Handle Material: Plastic, Locking mechanism: Yes
Spear & Jackson have teamed up with the horticultural experts at Kew gardens to develop this folding garden knife, so it is an officially licensed product and it can be yours for £16.51. It has an 178mm serrated steel blade that didn’t hold as sharp as I’d liked but certainly lasts more than a few months in daily use when trimming and cutting shrubs and branches
This knife can be used for various garden tasks such as pruning and . The wooden handle has been weatherproofed to increase the tool’s longevity and the blade folds neatly away into it. The end of the handle is a little wider than the top and it makes it fit in the hand better. Overall quality of the knife is very good, and it feels sturdy enough to last a while. At only 10cm long when fully opened it is a good tool for getting into tight spaces.
- Officially licensed by the Kew gardens experts
- Well-made and sturdy pruning knife
- 178 mm seven carbon steel blade
- Compact and good for working in tight spaces
- Handle fits nicely in the hand
- Good lock on the bade for safety
- Decent value for money
- Not the best knife but reasonable value
- Not for professional use day in day out
A good pruning knife for the UK market – if you’re a part time user looking for medium or smaller branches then expect this to do you very well in your garden.
5. Davaon Pro Pruning Saw
Specification: Blade Material: Carbon Steel 7 Inches , Handle Material: ABS + TPR, Locking mechanism: Yes
Davaon have done it again, bringing us a top quality pruning saw a very affordable price of £13.99. Ideal for sawing through small to medium sized branches, this pruning saw has a 7 inch blade made from top quality SK5 carbon steel that has been heat treated to ensure hardness and a sharp edge. You can cut a very respectable two inch branch with this tool, absolutely no problem at all.
When I reviewed this model back in 2019 it was the best value for money gardeners knife and it still is now in 2021.
Friction reduction and smoothness have been improved with the blades special coating. The blade has the brilliant ability of being able to be adjusted and locked into multiple positions making cutting oddly angle branches so much easier, and reduces the risk of straining the wrist. The super sharp (7 Tpi), triple cut blades will have you pruning even the thickest branches in your garden with ease, and in double quick time too. This handheld saw has been designed to cut on the pulling motion rather than the push for extra safety.
The handle is non-slip thanks to groves etched into it and the TPR soft grip material makes it more comfortable to hold than standard plastic. The rounded space to rest your thumb on the back of the handle is a very nice idea, as is the eyelet on the bottom that you can use to attach the tool to your belt or to hang up in the shed.
All the plastic components are made of heavy duty materials and built to last. Davaon are offering a money back non-satisfaction guarantee on this product.
- Great value for money at £13.99
- Very popular product, receiving praise from many customers
- SK5 high carbon steel blade, heat treated for hardness
- Coated blade for friction reduction and a smooth cutting motion
- Super sharp triple cut blades on the saw edge
- Non-slip, TPR soft grip handle with thumb rest and eyelet for securing the tool
- Money back non-satisfaction guarantee
- Will blunt quickly if you hit dense material such as stone or metal
- With so many sold you get the odd breakage report
6. Draper 24935 Carbon Steel Hand Patio Weeder
Specification: Blade Material: Carbon Steel 12.5 cm, Handle Material: Lacquered ash handle, Locking mechanism: No
If you’ve got a patio, you’ll no doubt be looking for something to get rid of the weeds and moss that grows between the slabs. Sure, you can use weed killer, but a safer and ‘greener’ alternative is to use a patio knife like this one from Draper. The blade on arrival isn’t that sharp but as it’s made from carbon steel and tempered with plated ferrule, it’s very easy to get a good edge on it. The head has been epoxy coated to make it resistant to the elements and to stop damage from rust, humidity, soil alkali, and corrosion. Blisters aren’t a worry thanks to the comfortable wooden handle made from lacquer treated ash.
The handle has a wrist strap attached which I thought was a nice touch, as it’s so easy to drop and misplace garden tools. The Draper Carbon Steel Hand Patio Weeder is 28cm long and weighs 163 grams. The blade is a little thicker than some other similar products and might not fit between very tightly fit together patio slabs. That being said, you can also use this knife to weed gravel driveways too.
One thing, if the gaps on your patio are wide then this is a cracking tool and super value for money. If the gaps are small you might do better to go with the Fiskars knife. Although the Fiskars knife is much more expensive when compared directly, it’s equally as solid and will get into the smaller gaps.
- Great for weeding patios with wide gaps and gravel driveways
- Carbon steel, tempered with plated ferrule makes the head very strong
- Epoxy coated to resist the elements
- Comfortable wooden handle made from lacquer treated ash
- Wrist strap on handle
- Not as durable when compared to other models in this review
- Blade too wide for tight gaps
7. Draper 17558 Budding knife with FSC Certified Oak Handle
Specification: Blade Material: Stainless steel 8 cm, Handle Material: Oak handle, Locking mechanism: No
I really like the Draper 17558 Budding knife. The curved design is a godsend when you’re trying to pair the branch and push with your thumb – if you’ve used one with a curve before you’ll know what I mean, if not, the design gives you much better leverage than say the Fiskars when directly compared.
The blades sharp and holds it’s edge well. It has all the signs of a quality tool but the only surprise is just how cheap it is. In fact, the price may put you off at first glance but don’t let it, what a lovely little budding come grafting knife this is. If not for the fact the Fiskars has the extra blunt blade for bark removal I’d make this the best pick overall as well!
I love the Oak handle finish – an exceptional quality looking piece which again brings me back to just how much of a bargain this little knife is. And actually, I call it little which isn’t really right, at 8 inches or so long with a blade just over three inches you’ll be able to do some pretty robust budding and grafting.
If you’re into the classic look of a knife and want something to last then you’ll be very happy with this. Surprisingly this is the cheapest which doesn’t make sense -a definite buy from me.
- Extremely good value for money
- Arrives sharp enough for budding out the box
- Lovely classic design that oozes quality
- No lock on the blade makes for easier release
- Despite the price very well made and built to last
- Probably want to remove the keyring loop so you can close the knife one handed
- No lock on the blade, not that I want one myself
Gardening knife price comparison table
FAQs when buying a gardening knife
I’m often asked questions with regards to best use purpose and case for the different garden knives available. So below I’ve tried to cover some of the better knifes for specific for specific jobs in the garden to give you some better guide towards buying the right product
What knife do I need for weeding?
If I was weeding then I would go for the Fiskars Xact Small weeding knife or the Draper 24935 Carbon Steel Hand Patio Weeder. Which I chose could be broken down again. If I was weeding flag stones or large gaps in patio stones then I would certainly choose the Draper as this is much cheaper and does the job just fine. It’s also plenty well built enough when compared to the Fiskars.
However, if I had intricate work or tight gaps then I would only choose the Fiskars. It’s a much more refined blade and smaller in width when compared with the Draper model.
If there was a requirement to do both of the jobs then there would be no question, the only knife that works is the Fiskars but don’t be concerned. The triangular wedge weeder on top of a the Fiskars model allows for robust work as well.
What knife should I buy for grafting?
If you’re looking for a quality product for precision and extremely clean cutting to give yourself the best chance at a successful graft then look no further than the Felco Budding Knife with Solid Brass Bark Opener.
This knife is razor sharp and the bark opener makes this tool absolutely tailor made for the job of grafting anything up to medium thickness branches. The blade also sharpens well on a stone and holds its edge too. There’s nothing worse than a blade that fails quickly but this one will look after you due to the high carbon content in the steel making the edge hard, thin, and super sharp.
What’s the best garden knife for cutting down branches?
For trimming branches you want the Davaon Pro Pruning Saw. There are more options for pruning saws if you’re interested in this type of knife. For mid range work with a serrated edge you won’t go far wrong with the Davaon.
Fun fact: as a point of interest you might be surprised to know you can cut when pulling with this blade too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the best gardeners knives.