What is an Electric Rosin Press?
Electric rosin presses are sometimes favored over manual, hydraulic, and pneumatic rosin presses due to their simple, lightweight design. But are electric presses actually better? And if not, where do they rank among rosin presses?
Like all rosin presses, an electric rosin press uses two heated plates to squeeze out the cannabinoid- and terpene-rich resin in cannabis flowers. This resin comes out of the sticky glands on the flowers—called trichomes. The resulting cannabis extract (known as rosin) can then be used for dabbing, vaping, and other similar applications. But while electric rosin presses offer certain advantages, they’re not the best choice for every buyer. It ultimately depends on what you’re looking to achieve with your rosin.
How an Electric Press Works
An electric press works like any other rosin press, but the machine is electronically powered without the need for a compressor to move the cylinder.
From there, it’s just basic physics and chemistry. To extract the rosin from cannabis flower, kief, dry sift, or bubble hash, the heat in the plates melts the trichomes—causing them to release the cannabinoids and terpenes. The pressure applied then squeezes these oils out. The rosin is collected onto pieces of parchment paper. After the processor is done extracting rosin, the rosin can be whipped, cured, or otherwise processed to create the desired consistency (badder, budder, shatter, etc.).
Any rosin press must have the necessary mechanisms to create heat and pressure. In the early days, heat and pressure were achieved using a hair straightener and manual pressure. On the upside, this was an extremely cheap way to extract rosin. On the downside, the results were inconsistent because the temperature and pressure applied were far from standardized.
Electric Press Pros and Cons
The major advantage of electric rosin press machines is that they are literally "plug and play." Because the electric pump is built into the machine, you don't need to buy and connect an external air compressor or any other paraphernalia.
The all-in-one design of electric presses also means that they comprise some of the smallest, most compact rosin presses on the market. A small electric press can sometimes fit in the corner of a workshop (or even kitchen) benchtop and weighs very little.
Finally, electric presses give the user full control over the heat and temperature settings with electronic pressure control. If you're experimenting with creating the most gourmet cannabis extracts, an electric press is ideal.
The main drawback to electric rosin presses is that they typically handle smaller quantities of flower and have less power than a pneumatic rosin press. This makes them especially well suited to hobbyists and very small boutique extraction companies.
How Electric Presses Compare to Other Kinds of Rosin Presses
Today, several kinds of rosin presses exist:
- Manual presses. A manual rosin press uses electricity to power the dual heated plates and elbow grease to create pressure. A manual press typically has a hand pump or twist-style fixture that you use to apply force to the material and doesn't require an external pump.
- Hydraulic presses. A hydraulic press makes the process a little easier by applying hydraulic pressure to the plant material using compressed fluids in a hydraulic cylinder. Some hydraulic rosin press models use a hand pump, foot pump, and/or an air compressor in addition to the hydraulic cylinder.
- Pneumatic presses. A pneumatic rosin press uses compressed air to create pressure between the plates and extract rosin from cannabis flower, hash, kief, etc. The air compressor used with a pneumatic rosin press doesn't require any oiling or maintenance.
- Electric presses. An electric press uses an electric pump (contained in the machine) to press rosin without any need for an external pump. These presses are operated with a button or switch and have automated pressure control.
If you're just getting started with solventless extracts and are looking for the best rosin press, deciding between an electric press and the other kinds of rosin presses really depends on what you are hoping to achieve and how much money you have to spend. Within each category, there is also a range of sizes and features available, so it helps to begin the search with some basic information:
- The rosin press temperatures and pressure capacities that you need
- The volume of flower rosin or hash rosin you plan to produce per day
- The quality of the rosin that you want to make
- How much money you have to spend
- How much time you have to learn how to use a rosin press machine
Temperatures and Pressure
The ideal temperatures and pressure for making high-quality rosin vary according to your starting material. Generally, the ideal rosin press temperatures are between 130°F and 170°F for cold pressing and 170°F to 220°F for hot pressing.
Cold pressing is best for terpene preservation—although the yield will be slightly lower—and can result in a budder or badder consistency. Hot pressing is best for maximum yield—although some of the terpenes might be lost—and can result in an oilier consistency.
As far as pressing power, the ideal ranges are as follows:
- Bubble Hash: Press between 300 and 700 psi. Bubble hash has a maximum yield of 80%.
- Kief: Press between 400 and 800 psi. Kief has a maximum yield of 60%.
- Flower: Press between 600 and 1000 psi. Flower has a maximum yield of 30%.
You should find that electric rosin presses perform just as well as other kinds of rosin presses as far as temperature and pressure are concerned. A small beginner's model typically has a temperature range of 0–250°F and a pressure range of 0–2.4 tons. In contrast, a pneumatic rosin press might come with a pressure range of up to 25 tons, sometimes much more. However, this is typically overkill. Five to eight tons is plenty for most applications. Too much tonnage can actually hinder the quality of your extract.
When it comes to producing quality rosin, the best rosin press machines will be those that have an even heat distribution through the plates—irrespective of the kind of machine. Be sure to avoid cheap rosin presses with a "U"-shaped coil in the plates, as you'll get hot patches that burn the flower and cold patches that don't produce rosin.
The advantage of an electric rosin press as far as producing quality rosin is that you can press your material with extreme precision in terms of temperature and pressure. If you start with high-quality flower, even a small change in temperature or pressure could result in rosin that's slightly more fragrant or slightly increases rosin production without compromising on quality.
Cost of the Machine
Manual rosin presses are generally the most cost-effective for novices and hobbyists because of their simple design. However, electric rosin presses are still quite affordable compared to large hydraulic rosin presses and pneumatic rosin presses that require external pumps and represent a larger investment up-front. This makes them some of the best rosin presses for flower producers who want to experiment with concentrate manufacturing.
Portability, Size, and Weight
Electric and manual rosin presses are the smallest, lightest, and most portable machines, making them the best rosin presses for extracting on the go. Their small size also makes them ideal for research and development in an extraction lab because they can both fit neatly into any available corner.
Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, electric and pneumatic rosin presses are the clear winners because they can be operated simply by flicking a switch or pressing a button—no hand pump or foot pump is required. If ease of use is your first priority and you only need a small volume of output, the simplicity of an electric rosin press would generally make this the best kind of rosin press to choose.
The Best Rosin Press for You
After selecting the kind of rosin press that best fits your goals, budget, and level of expertise, finding the best electric rosin press, best manual rosin press, best hydraulic press, or best pneumatic rosin press is often a matter of checking independent user reviews and talking with people who use these machines. You'll also want to look for machines from a reputable brand that offers warranties and takes care of repairs.
At the end of the day, an electric rosin press is a durable piece of equipment that's cost-effective, easy to use, and fits fairly easily into any space. If you want to experiment with concentrates and have a few hundred dollars to spend on a small electric rosin press, you really can’t go wrong. However, if you need maximum power and precision in a machine that’s suitable for a demanding lab environment, we still recommend going with a premium pneumatic press.