Bonsai tools are often thought to be very expensive. While fine Japanese forged steel tools can sometimes be well over $100, simple hobbyist tools are very affordable. Although some multi-tool sets can bring the average price of each tool to less than $10, there are also some individual tools that cost less than $10 as well. These tools won't last as long as fine bonsai tools, but are often a good way to get started working with bonsai. These tools are available from bonsai tool sources and some larger online retailers, such as Amazon.com.
Whisk brooms, small palmetto brooms that look like hand versions of old-fashioned home brooms, are good for cleaning dirt away from roots when pruning the roots on your bonsai trees. Although many whisk brooms are made of palmetto, inexpensive brooms can be made of a variety of materials, including stiff string or coconut coir.
Leaf pruners are small scissor-like pruners designed to help reduce the size of the leaves on bonsai trees. By clipping the leaves back by 1/3 to 2/3, the leaves that grow back will often be smaller than the original ones. Through a series of leaf prunings, you can effectively reduce the size of the leaves, making the tree resemble larger tree-to-leaf proportions.
Bonsai trowels are like small V-shaped shovels. They are useful for many planting tasks, including filling pots with soil. If you are using rocks to create a bonsai scape, bonsai trowels can help you separate roots to allow more easy placement of stones. In some cases, they can also help to sever roots when performing a root pruning. Bonsai trowels are available from larger web retailers and specialized shops. If you can't find a bonsai trowel, a small, inexpensive garden hand shovel can often be substituted.
Root rakes are cast-metal rakes designed to help remove soil and separate roots during a root pruning. Although high-end tools are very expensive, there are a number of simple, inexpensive root rakes available for under $10.00. Root rakes have one end with a three- or four-tine rake, and a small spade on the other end.
Root cutters are single blades used to come in from behind a root to shear it. Although not a traditional bonsai tool, root cutters are used by bonsai enthusiasts both in the United States and Asia.
A branch bender is a specialized clamp that uses two hooks with wing nuts to help bend and hold branches in place during wiring.