To evaluate the quality of bonsai tools,
it is important to pay attention not to the price,
not to the brand, but to the factory.
The brand name on the tools does not always refer to the factory
where they were made.
Roughly speaking, bonsai tools nowadays
can be classified into 3 groups.
Masakuni tools are considered to be the best and
they are manufactured at its own factory.
And Masakuni is the only bonsai tool manufacturer in Japan
which is qualified to manufacture medical instruments.
Medical instruments treat human bodies,
so they requires far more precision and
are produced according to a much higher quality standard
than bonsai tools.
Masakuni also manufactures a sickle
for the Emperor of Japan(ten-no)
to crop rice plants in a court ritual.
The 2nd best choice is Suwada.
Suwada is an ODM(Original Design Manufacturer) factory
of concave cutters, knob cutters, wire cutters, and so on.
(“Original” designer of bonsai tools is Masakuni, though.)
While Suwada tools are distributed
under various different brand names,
it is possible to tell Suwada products by its mark(circle and dot)
on the inside of their handles engraved since 2003
in light of product liability.
In Japan, Suwada is more famous for
its precise-made nail nippers.
Tools lower than Suwada are manufactured at
Maybe in Japan, maybe in China.
No guarantee for quality.
Some may be mediocre, some may be bad, some may be very bad.
To make matters worse, in the third group,
the factory is subject to chage
even though the brand name does not change,
and the quality is not always the same.