How to Choose the Best Home Rosin Press
If you want to make your own rosin at home, the first step is to choose the best home rosin press. Sure, you’ve probably read that you can make rosin using a T-shirt press or even a hair straightener, but if you’re serious about making the best dab-worthy solventless extracts, a proper rosin press is the only way to go.
Flower rosin pressed on the Helix Pro
While the idea of a home rosin press would have been inconceivable 10 years ago, the technology is now well within reach. As of this writing, 21 states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis, and forward-thinking innovators have capitalized on this cultural shift by unveiling an array of exciting new technologies that make the cannabis experience more versatile than ever. Home rosin presses are just one part of this cannabis tech boom.
So if you’ve ever thought about making your own rosin at home, whether to save money on extracts or just to expand the limits of what you can do with your stash, you’ll want to keep a few important points in mind when shopping for a rosin press.
Avoid DIY Rosin Press Kits
One of the most important recommendations we can offer is to avoid the so-called “DIY rosin press kits.” This type of kit generally consists of a heat-plate assembly that you would mount to a standard shop press. The DIY kit usually costs $300 to $500, and the shop press can cost anywhere from $100 to over $1,000, depending on the quality of the press.
DIY rosin press kits appeal to some hobbyists because they’re generally more cost-effective than a full rosin press. In other words, why spend $5,000 on a rosin press when you can make your own for just $500?
But despite the understandable temptation to save money, DIY rosin press kits come with significant downsides.
- Most notably, shop presses are not designed for precision pressing. They’re designed for objects like bearings. With the amount of pressure and repetition required for rosin pressing, it’s easy to wear down or break even a high-quality shop press within a matter of months, thus undercutting your initial savings in a big way.
- DIY rosin press kits are designed for value, not quality. As such, they’re usually made from cheap metals with poor heat distribution and are not conducive to pressing high-quality rosin.
- DIY rosin press kits also have very limited programming capabilities, which makes it next to impossible to achieve consistent results with each press.
When shopping for a home rosin press, it pays to get the real deal.
Decide Whether You Want a Pneumatic, Manual, or Hydraulic Press
The biggest distinction between rosin presses is how the pressure is delivered. The most common types of presses currently available are pneumatic rosin presses, hydraulic rosin presses, and manual rosin presses.
- Pneumatic rosin presses, also called air press machines (because they use pressurized air), are the professional-grade option. The air is forced into a tube to create the necessary pressure to move the cylinder. The air is then released, and the cylinder returns to its original position. A pneumatic rosin press requires an air compressor (often sold separately). Professional extractors love pneumatic presses because they require minimal intervention from the user and can process high volumes of cannabis extract.
- Hydraulic rosin presses use compressed fluids to achieve the necessary pressure. The operator may use a hand or foot pump to push the hydraulic fluid into the cylinder. Hydraulic presses were among the first rosin press machines to hit the market, and they remain popular among hobbyists on account of their cost-effectiveness and relative ease of use.
- Manual rosin presses are manually operated (as the name suggests). There is no automated power guiding the pressure delivery. These presses may be operated with a hand or foot pump, or they may use a twist-press mechanism to achieve the pressure. These tend to be the most cost-effective, and they’re also favored among many craft cannabis connoisseurs because they allow for total control over each extraction.
- Electric and hybrid rosin presses are available, but there are fewer of those on the market. In addition, an electric rosin press tends to cost much more in relation to the value it delivers.
With so many different types of rosin presses on the market, how do you choose the right one?
For home use, we typically recommend going with a high-quality manual press. There are a few reasons for this:
- Pneumatic rosin presses aren’t ideal for the home because they’re designed for high-volume operations (and the price typically reflects that). Though the best pneumatic rosin press offers unparalleled quality, most DIYers just don’t need that level of power and precision, not to mention a noisy air compressor.
- Hydraulic rosin presses are generally bad for the home because they’re high-maintenance and potentially messy (these presses must periodically be oiled). They tend to cost more than manual presses but often require the same type of manual operation.
- Manual rosin presses are cost-effective, easy to use, and perfect for occasional as well as everyday use (whatever your need happens to be). You get all the benefits of a hydraulic rosin press, but without the mess.
Ultimately, though, it depends on your budget and needs. Now that we’ve broken down the types of rosin presses, let’s look at the features that matter.
Get the Right Rosin Press Plates
When shopping for a rosin press, you want to ensure that your heated plates meet two important criteria:
- Aluminum heat plates. Most rosin press plates are made with either aluminum or stainless steel. Many DIY rosin press kits are made with stainless-steel plates, which is yet another reason to be cautious about buying DIY kits. Aluminum is more durable and (perhaps more importantly) offers more even heat distribution. This is essential for ensuring a smooth, consistent texture. PurePressure rosin presses are designed with premium 6061 aluminum heat plate assemblies for uniform heat distribution and temperature accuracy to within 1 degree.
- Rectangular shape. If you see a rosin press with square or horseshoe-shaped plates, keep looking. A quality rosin press should have rectangular plates. It’s all about the perimeter-to-area ratio. A rectangular plate gives you a large perimeter, which means a larger escape route for your rosin. Rosin has less distance to travel and is more likely to be pushed out quickly and smoothly from all sides. This means a smoother, more consistent product that doesn’t get burned.
Get the Right Pressure Delivery
When choosing a rosin press, you also have to consider the pressure capacity, which is typically measured in pounds-force (lbf). While some presses can deliver less than one ton of pressure, others can deliver up to 200 tons of pressure, or 400,000 lbf. So how much do you actually need?
The best rosin presses aren’t necessarily those with the most pressure delivery. In fact, applying too much pressure can be a bad thing, as it pushes excess fats, lipids, and chlorophyll into your extract and leaves you with a cloudy, lower-quality product.
For pressing rosin at home, we generally recommend a range of 6,000 lbf (3 tons) to 10,000 lbf (5 tons). This should result in good yields and excellent-quality extracts. And it’s easy to find a quality manual rosin press within this range.
Opt for Compact Size
If you’re buying a rosin press for your home, you want a machine that occupies minimal space but is still large enough to get the job done. Compact and portable is the way to go.
While a full-scale pneumatic rosin press can weigh well over 100 pounds, a good manual press for the home should weigh no more than 60 to 70 pounds. Then you have to consider the surface area. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule, but you should have an idea of how much space you’re willing to sacrifice. This might depend on whether you’re keeping the press in your garage or in your bedroom. As a point of reference, the popular Helix and Helix Pro models measure just 14" D x 21.4" T x 15.5" W, which is perfectly suited to most home environments.
Make Ease of Use a Priority
Ease of use is another critical feature for home presses. Most home rosin press buyers aren’t seasoned extraction techs, nor do they have a lot of supplementary equipment available to fine-tune their products. So the machine should make the job as easy as possible.
First and foremost, you need easy pressure delivery. This is especially important when using a manual rosin press, as many of these machines use a manual compressor. As you can imagine, a compressor can be difficult—and exhausting—to operate without the help of mechanized air pressure or hydraulic fluid. That’s why, if you’re going with a manual, you should choose a model like the Helix that utilizes a simple twist-press operation. Anyone can deliver the required pressure with minimal effort.
In addition, you should be able to save your favorite time, temperature, and pressure settings in the form of custom recipes. This will help you to achieve consistent results with each press, so you don’t have to rely entirely on your own precision.
When shopping for a rosin press for the home, the following qualities should also be top of mind:
- Noise levels. If noise is a concern in your home, make sure to buy accordingly. Manual presses tend to be the quietest of all rosin presses, and pneumatics tend to be the loudest (though you can invest in a quiet air compressor for a pneumatic press).
- A trusted product. Research both the product and manufacturer. The manufacturer should have an established reputation within the industry, and the product should have an impeccable reputation of its own.
- Manufacturer support. A reputable rosin press manufacturer should offer lifetime support, providing any necessary software updates and customer assistance.
So What’s the Best Rosin Press for the Home?
If you want the best manual rosin press that checks all of the boxes on this list, go with the Helix 3 or Helix Pro. These industry-leading manual presses offer the perfect balance of cost-effectiveness, precision, and versatility. You can feel the crunch of the starting material and maintain total control over each press. In addition:
- Each Helix rosin press includes our proprietary Pressware™ technology, with a full-color LCD touch-screen and support for up to 29 pre-set recipes.
- Our lead-screw twist operation makes pressing simple. There’s no air compressor required, and anyone can press rosin with minimal effort and with greater precision than most pump-driven hydraulic models.
- PurePressure offers lifetime end-user support, a 2-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects for structural components, a 1-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects for the entire press, and the option of PurePressure’s complete Peace of Mind warranty (which offers full coverage for 5 years).
- All of our rosin presses are made in the USA.
No matter which home rosin press you ultimately buy, remember the basic guidelines: Manual works best, DIY presses are bad news, and any good home press should be compact, easy to use, and made with rectangular aluminum plates. If you keep those basic goals in mind, you should be in excellent shape.