What is a Rosin Press?
The rosin press is a fairly recent innovation in the cannabis world, but it’s already changing the way we look at extracts and concentrates. Research shows that a growing number of savvy consumers are ditching traditional cannabis extracts in search of solventless alternatives, and the rosin press is the machine that makes it all possible.
A rosin press is a cannabis extraction machine that uses only heat and pressure to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the raw plant material. Unlike traditional closed-loop extraction systems, a rosin press does not require solvents to complete the cannabinoid separation. The machine does all of the work.
The resulting extract is known as rosin. Like traditional extracts (wax, shatter, etc…), rosin is a highly concentrated form of cannabis, with THC levels that can easily rise north of 60% and often hit 80%. Depending on the temperature and pressure used, rosin can take on a viscous, waxy, or glass-like consistency, making it comparable to any dabs currently available on the market—minus the solvents.
How Does Rosin Press Technology Work?
A rosin press uses heated plates to extract cannabis compounds. The plant material is commonly sorted into special rosin bags and placed between the plates, which are then squeezed together with several tons of force.
The resinous sap (which contains the active compounds) is separated from the plant and filtered through the rosin bags, leaving most traces of plant material behind. The resulting extract is then pushed out from between the hot plates and collected onto parchment paper. It’s worth noting that raw flower may also be pressed without a filter bag, particularly in home-based operations.
rosin dripping onto parchment paper
The basic process has been around for several years. Before rosin presses were developed, people would use T-shirt presses and even hair straighteners to achieve the same end goal. But these tools were crude, messy, and imprecise, not ideal for serious operations.
What Types of Products Does a Rosin Press Create?
Rosin is a blanket term for the extract pulled from a rosin press, but not all rosin is created equal. For starters, there is both flower rosin and hash rosin.
Flower rosin is created using raw cannabis flowers as the starting material. It tends to have slightly more cannabis plant material than hash rosin, but it’s the easiest kind of rosin to create. You can use any herb you have lying around.
Hash rosin can be created using bubble hash (ice water hash). Because hashish is already concentrated, hash rosin tends to be a purer product with less plant material left behind. It can also be much more potent than hash rosin.
Sift rosin is made using dry sift hash. While typically not as pure as bubble hash rosin, it’s still more potent than flower rosin since the compounds have already been separated from the plant material.
Depending on the heat and pressure you use for your extraction process, your rosin can also come to resemble wax, shatter, budder, or any other common BHO extract. For instance, rosin produced at higher heats tends to be more solid and glass-like. This type of glassy rosin is sometimes referred to as solventless shatter.
Types of Rosin Presses
Although all rosin presses use the same mechanisms for extraction, there are three main types of presses that a buyer might consider: pneumatic, hydraulic, and manual. The method of applying force varies from one type to the next.
- Manual rosin presses are operated completely by hand. They use hand pumps, twist mechanisms, or other user-operated means to apply pressure. These types of presses are often preferred by craft cannabis connoisseurs who want total control over their extracts.
- Hydraulic rosin presses are semi-manual. In other words, they do depend on hand pumps to achieve the required force, but the user can get the job done with less physical effort since the hydraulic cylinder does most of the heavy lifting. While hydraulic presses have their merits, they can be a hassle since the oiled cylinders require constant maintenance. Hydraulic presses are also less efficient for larger operations since they can’t be automated effectively.
- Pneumatic rosin presses use an air compressor to achieve the required force with very little intervention from the user. There is no hand or foot pump required. Once you have set your desired pressure and temperature, all you have to do is press a button to begin your next extraction.
- Electric rosin presses are also becoming more prevalent, though they’re still fairly new to the market. Only a few notable options are available, and they typically have smaller-than-average plates and accommodate smaller capacities. In other words, the current options are not ideal for commercial operations.
Each type of press has its merits. Pneumatic presses are the gold standard for quality and ease of use, manual presses are ideal for discriminating connoisseurs who want to literally feel the hash they press, and hydraulic presses can be suitable for serious rosin producers who can’t quite afford the investment of a more powerful pneumatic press just yet.
What Is the Best Type of Rosin Press?
Pneumatic rosin presses are highly preferred among professionals and commercial operations. That’s because they can produce the greatest amount of rosin with the least amount of labor. They use an air compressor to achieve the required force with very little intervention from the user.
While industry-leading models like the Pikes Peak V2 and Longs Peak do require the operator to control the force manually with a toggle lever, these models can be upgraded with an Automated Pressure Control system that all but eliminates the need for manual force adjustments entirely, meaning that the devices can be operated with significantly more ease and precision.
The main reason why pneumatic devices are preferred by professionals can be summed up in three letters: ROI. Because pneumatic presses are faster, more efficient, and less labor-intensive, they can extract more pounds of hash and flower in a given shift with less personnel. This means that it’s often possible to achieve an ROI in weeks, not months. And even after the device has paid for itself, you’ll continue to produce more profit per day—assuming you have a solid business plan.
What Are the Best Rosin Presses Available?
The following are among the best rosin presses you’ll find:
Longs Peak Rosin Press
Pressure type: Pneumatic
Ideal for: Larger commercial operations
The Longs Peak is the ultimate pneumatic commercial rosin press. Capable of up to 8 tons of force (15,300 lbf @ 140 PSI), it’s equipped with premium 10” x 3” heat plate assemblies made from 6061 aluminum (when it comes to heat plates, you always want to go with high-grade aluminum as opposed to stainless steel, which has a much lower thermal conductivity).
When you need maximum precision and consistency, the Longs Peak doesn’t disappoint. It comes equipped with PurePressure’s intuitive Pressware™ technology, consisting of a full-color LCD touch screen and the ability to save up to 29 pre-set recipes.
Best of all, the Longs Peak can yield up to 7 pounds of flower or 12+ pounds of sift or hash per day, all at the push of a button. And if you opt for the Automated Pressure Control upgrade, the process becomes almost entirely automated.
Pikes Peak Rosin Press V2
Pressure type: Pneumatic
With 5 tons of force (9,876 lbf @ 120 PSI) and PurePressure’s signature
Pressware™ technology, the Pikes Peak V2 offers professional-grade power and precision. And like the Longs Peak, it offers an oil-less and maintenance-free pneumatic cylinder that does the heavy lifting for you.
With the Pikes Peak, you can
process up to 3.75 pounds of flower or 7+ pounds of dry sift or hash every day. Get the Automated Pressure Control upgrade for maximum ease of use, or enjoy it out of the box with dual pressure control. Think of it as a slightly smaller version of the Longs Peak.
Pressure type: Manual
Ideal for: Home growers and commercial labs seeking maximum precision
The Helix Pro 5 ton manual rosin press is, hands down, the best manual press on the market. With its easy-to-twist press operation, the Helix makes it possible for anyone to manually press high-quality rosin.
You can generate up to 5 tons of force (10,000 lbf) output, and the ultra-accurate force-measuring load cell reveals your bag pressure in real time, ensuring maximum precision. Press up to 12 grams of flower or 20+ grams of dry sift or hash per cycle.
At just 70 pounds, the Helix Pro is much lighter than the pneumatic Longs Peak and Pikes Peak V2, but it still offers the same 0°F - 300°F temperature range, aluminum heat plate assemblies with independent thermocouples (ensuring even heat distribution), and Pressware™ technology for precise, consistent rosin extractions.
Pressure type: Manual
Ideal for: Home growers seeking professional-grade quality
The Helix 3 ton manual rosin press is the smaller, more cost-effective cousin of the Helix Pro. It offers the same custom-engineered lead screw twist press technology, the same Pressware™ LCD touch screen, and the same premium-grade aluminum heat plate assemblies for maximum precision and even heat distribution.
This powerhouse is capable of up to 3 tons of force (6,000 lbf) output, perfect for most home-based operations. Press up to 6 grams of flower or 10 grams of sift or hash per cycle.
All of the above presses are built in the USA and warranty-protected for up to 2 years. Extended warranties are also available.
Why Do You Need a Rosin Press?
For anyone considering cannabis extraction, a rosin press is a worthwhile investment. As part of a solventless extraction lab, it’s far more affordable than a traditional closed-loop extraction system, and it comes with far fewer safety and environmental concerns. It also requires far less specialized training to operate.
There are no solvents (and therefore no solvent-derived VOCs), and there’s no need for dewaxing or winterization tools. And as previously noted, you can achieve the same consistencies that you would achieve with traditional dabs—it’s all about fine-tuning your pressure and temperature to achieve the desired viscosity.
Perhaps most importantly, dab enthusiasts are becoming more particular about the products they consume. Lab reports and certificates of analysis have shed increasing light on the types of chemical impurities commonly found in cannabis byproducts, and product purity is becoming increasingly important. By going solventless, you can build your brand on maximum purity and offer the kind of artisan extracts that discriminating connoisseurs will pay top dollar for.
It all starts with choosing the right rosin press.