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Rosin dripping from parchment

Best Rosin Presses (2021) Buyer’s Guide

Dabbing or vaporizing a primo rosin is just about the cleanest, purest most flavorful way to consume your cannabis right now—and usually comes with a price tag to match! However, rosin is actually one of the simplest, quickest extracts to make. New to rosin and rosin presses? You’ll learn everything you need to know about rosin, the relative merits of each type of press and how to choose the exact right press for you. You just need the right equipment…

Best Rosin Presses for Your Money (2020)

If you’re short on time, and cannot find something suitable in our shop here’s our pick of the best rosin presses available on Amazon. All these are most suitable for personal use and cost under $500.  For commercial rosin presses, we recommend visiting Trimleaf and in particular the Nugsmasher line of products.

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Why we chose these rosin presses

Just a few years ago, rosin presses were mostly a DIY project. You’d rig a 10 or 20 ton shop press with heat plates, a heater and controller. Or grab some hair straighteners, a clamp and parchment paper.  Then you would apply heat and pressure to your marijuana buds, gradually squeezing out the oil from the plant with high concentrations of the good stuff and none of the bad stuff (meaning no solvents like alcohol or butane.)

However, as rosin has grown in popularity, so too has the number of commercially available rosin presses and commercial rosin makers. Not to mention there’s now a wide array of different types of press to choose from, all with their relative pros and cons.  As these machines have become more widely available, they have also migrated from being sold only by the manufacturers to being widely sold online.

Frankly, you could spend hours researching the best one for you. So that’s exactly what we did. And to save you all that time and hassle, we’ve put all our findings in this post, as concisely as we can.

We use Amazon as the source because in comparing the products available elsewhere, the prices on Amazon were usually significantly lower than prices at other retailers.  Although many of these machines are made in China and “white-labeled” for US retailers, there is little to guarantee the reliability of the product if purchased directly from China.  On the other hand, some of the US retailers reselling the Chinese machines are highly reputable and back their sales with good warranties.

Therefore, if you cannot find the machine you like in our list of Amazon-sold products, then the next best bet is to visit Trimleaf, a highly reputable company that has a wide variety of rosin presses all the way from small manual presses to massive commercial behemoths.  Among the brands sold by Trimleaf, you will find the Nugsmasher machines.  Nugsmasher is one of our favorites because of their excellent customer support, their good reputation, their lifetime warranty and the fact that their machines are made in California.

The best rosin press is… the one that’s right for you

Below, we’re going to show you the best value rosin press in each category. You can assume consistent, even heat across the heat plates comes as standard with all these choices. However, we know not everyone’s requirements will be the same.

Some of you will be creating small batches. Different combinations of heat, time and pressure create different consistencies of rosin (e.g. budder, shatter, etc.). Everyone’s budget and workspace environment will be different. And so on.  If we’ve done our job right, there should be something here to suit any budget, workspace or product volume.

What is rosin?

Rosin is a solvent-free cannabis extract. It is extracted through the skillfully balanced application of temperature, pressure and time. Different consistencies (e.g. budder or shatter) can be achieved through applying more or less of these three factors. The latest trend is live rosin, which is made from fresh-frozen, dehydrated flower of the highest quality.  The labor and time involved in manufacturing live rosin makes it a very expensive high, but the purest available.

Rosin Press Capacity

The capacity of the press is usually stated in grams but sometimes in ounces instead.  A typical small machine will usually have a capacity of less than 1/2 ounce.  As noted below, if you overload the machine, you risk having impure result with plant materials mixed into the rosin.  A batch of pure rosin should look like yellowish or off-white paste.

The calculation for converting ounces to grams is easy.

Just turn that around to find how many grams of weed are in the 1 ounce bag of buds you just harvested (or bought.)

Why make rosin?

Because nothing is added to the raw material, rosin is pure, highly flavorful and full of terpenes. And because it’s dabbed or vaporized, rather than burnt, it’s much healthier than smoking your bud. In addition:

  • Great way to make use of trim, shake and other plant material that might otherwise go to waste, or to clean up hash or kief
  • Truly representative of the original qualities of the plant you used—rosin quality depends a lot on strain and growing methods
  • When done well, there’s minimal degradation of terpenes, flavor or potency
  • Much simpler and quicker than other extraction methods
  • Safe to do at home, unlike solvent-based methods
  • There’s no way to mask impurities when making rosin, unlike some other concentrates
  • Making it from your own plant material is a lot cheaper than buying it at retail prices.

How does a rosin press work?

Essentially a rosin press is anything that uses heat and pressure to extract terpenes and cannabinoids. Typically, it has two rectangular hot plates, between which the starting material (flower, kief, trim, etc.) is heated and pressed. Between the plates and the cannabis there is also usually either waxless parchment paper or a filter bag.

The main types of press are manual, hydraulic, pneumatic, electric and hybrid. Each uses a different mechanism to apply the pressure. You’ll also find DIY kits that will allow you to transform a regular shop press into a rosin press. The main difference between the types of press has to do with how pressure is applied.  Manual machines “squish” the plant matter with a clamp or screw mechanism, hydraulic and pneumatic use a liquid hydraulic pump or an air pump as the source of pressure and the electric press uses a motor to apply pressure. There are tricks to using any of these presses, principally applying the right amount of pressure and heat to the right amount of plant material.

A few words on temperature, pressure, quality and yield

The main thing that degrades the quality of concentrates is too much heat—either too high a temperature, or too long an exposure to heat.

cannabis rosin - pressure vs yieldHigher pressures allow shorter exposure times and lower heats, as well as increasing yield.

However, above a certain point, increasing the pressure only achieves minimal increases in yield. And too much pressure can press unwanted plant material into the rosin (you’ll see green flecks or ‘hairs’ in it).  Here’s a graph of the sweet spots for processing flower, kief and bubble hash. In other words, don’t just look for the highest pressure press you can find!

cannabis rosin - quality vs yieldFinally, remember that yield varies a lot depending on what starting material you’re processing. Flower gives the highest quality rosin, but unfortunately the lowest yield. To get the most out of pressing flower, use smaller nugs to create greater surface area and allow better travel of rosin to the collecting area.  The rosin from flowers is the highest quality but the yield is low.

What do I need to consider when buying a rosin press?

First, consider your available workspace:

  • If noise is going to be a problem, avoid pneumatic presses
  • If space is limited, pay careful attention to the unit’s dimensions
  • Where are you going to put the press? Will it be able to support the weight?
  • Will you often need to move the press or take it elsewhere?

Next, think about how much starting material you’ll need to process, what kind and how often:

  • Is manual operation going to become tiring or too time consuming? Consider a pneumatic or electric press.
  • Is the press versatile enough to handle different kinds of starting material well? The more adjustable the pressure and temperature, the more likely you’ll get good results with everything from trim to hash to flower

Finally, what end product are you looking for?

  • Some presses allow much finer control over heating and pressure than others, which allows you to achieve a wider range of rosin consistencies. If you like to experiment and perfect, bear that in mind

Rosin Presses for Personal Use

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Editor’s Choice

This hand-pumped machine from Dabpress is a complete solution with a reputable company and good customer support.

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MaryJane Farmer on Rosin

The prices of finished cannabis product (edibles, hash, oil and resin) will continue to climb in the legal dispensaries and outlets, who themselves are facing increasing pressure from taxes and licensing fees.  Meantime you have the choice of buying high-priced product that you are reasonably certain is not adulterated and is free of pesticides OR buying from a gray-market or black-market unlicensed dealer who is selling untested product that may or may not be safe.  Witness the recent deaths from vaping supposedly pure THC that had been cut with Vitamin E, rendering it dangerous to vape.

How to handle this? The obvious way, but not the easiest, is to grow your own weed.  You know it will be safe. You know it will be free of impurities.  And you can tailor it to your taste. In states where you can grow your own, there is more than enough leeway to grow plants that will provide all your needs (and maybe some for friends.)

The other option is to pay up for legal product.  Or wait until the industry matures enough to lower costs–that might be a long wait.

Send me your comments below.  I love to hear from you.

Last update on 2023-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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7 thoughts on “Best Rosin Presses (2021) Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Charles Robertson

    The 10 ton and 4 ton presses both have 3 X 5″ plates, yet the 10 ton press has twice the capacity (14g) as the 4 ton (7g). Is this just marketing?

    1. Hi Charles.

      We don’t think so. It is more about the amount of rosin that can be handled in relation to the amount of pressure. The size of the plates does vary from model to model but in the case you mention it seems to be that with 4ton the machine will only be able to extract the maximum when dealing with 7g. With the 10ton machine, even though the 14g is distributed on the same size plates the additional pressure is able to handle the more tightly concentrated buds and extract the maximum rosin.

  2. I love the idea of this website. It gives me more knowledge and I really appreciate it. Will love to see more information in the future.

    1. all browsers can zoom in, different way in each. Firefox: hold “Control” key, tap “+” key as many times as needed to get to zoom you want. “Control” “-” takes you back.

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