Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
✅ Updated 3/9/21
From small, home made presses to 20-ton pneumatic behemoths, there are a wide variety of presses on the market. If you’re just starting out with pressing rosin and want to invest in your first real press, it can be difficult to decide which type will best suit your needs.
In this quick guide, we’ll outline the main types of presses currently available and discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each kind. Read on to discover which type of press is best for you!
Manual rosin presses rely on the muscle input of the operator to get the job done. While these presses don’t optimize for maximum pressure application, they do allow you to “feel” the pressure and connect at a higher sensory level with the art of creating rosin.
As you put in the hours pressing rosin with a manual press, you’ll develop a sense of the combination of pressure, heat, and timing that’s optimal for every individual batch of source material you run through. While you can develop your expertise with any type of press, the main advantage of the manual-style press is the level of finesse you can exercise while “feeling” the cannabis between the plates.
Manual presses tend to be on the smaller side of the different kinds of presses, and therefore are mostly used for pressing personal use amounts at home. They also aren’t capable of reaching the total pressure of an automated type of press.
Upsides: “Feel” the press, small footprint and easy to transport, entry-level costs
Downsides: Not efficient to press large amounts of material, limited pressure capabilities
Bonus Tip: Operate your rosin press in a well-lit area. Our hands-free light makes pressing rosin easier to enjoy.
Unlike manual presses, electric presses rely on pressure applied by an electrical input rather than the muscle of the operator. Electric presses offer easy pressure applications without the bulk and additional costs associated with other types of automated presses. They are ready to go right out of the box, without a bulky pump. Simply plug into the wall and start pressing.
All you do is plug in the press and you’re good to go. With just a push of a button, electric presses are a great solution right out of the box, and can handle similar pressure as a manual press without your sweat equity.
Electric presses are a great choice for home use since they’re easy to operate, take up a relatively small amount of space, and can manage pressures needed for smaller batches of material.
Upsides: Easy to use, not as costly as other types of automated presses (e.g. pneumatic)
Downsides: Not as easy to transport as a manual press, more expensive than manual presses
Hydraulic presses can be considered manual in the sense that they normally require the operator to put some elbow grease into a lever, however they’re not completely manual. Hydraulic presses utilize an internal system of pressurized oil to generate the pounds per square inch you can apply between the plates.
Basically, you use your muscles (hand-pressed lever) to pressurize a hydraulic system, and the hydraulics amplify that pressure and apply it to the plates. Paired with high quality, uncaged rosin plates, the H-Frame Hydraulic Press is one of the most popular setups in rosin extraction.
Hydraulic presses are suited for commercial use, as 10 tons is an easy benchmark for hydraulic presses. There are many on the market which exceed this threshold, however keep in mind more pressure doesn’t necessarily mean more (or better) rosin.
If you're looking for that sweet spot of just the right pressure then you'll like the guide we put together on rosin press pressure.
That said, with the higher pressure that hydraulic presses offer, you can get away with pressing at lower temperatures, which can preserve more of the unique blend of terpenes that characterize your source material.
If you want to read more about choosing the right temperature for your rosin extractions you can dig into this article on Hot Pressing vs Cold Pressing Rosin.
Another benefit of hydraulic presses is that they are available at a lower cost than other commercial varieties, like pneumatic presses.
Upsides: Able to achieve pressures at 10-tons and beyond, not as costly as other commercial presses
Downsides: Requires some manual work, not as efficient to transport as purely manual presses or electric presses due to the external hydraulics system
Pneumatic presses rely on compressed air to effortlessly generate peak pressure between the plates. These automated presses are generally seen in commercial operations where efficient processing of high amounts of material is key. Pneumatic presses are optimized for production, and they generally sit at the top of the price spectrum.
In addition, they offer precise adjustments in pressure and temperature, which gives you the level of control you need to ensure your quantity doesn’t supersede your quality.
Pneumatic presses take up the most amount of space as well. An external air compressor will need to accompany the press, which complicates mobility. However, at the commercial level, mobility is normally not a deal breaker.
When you find yourself looking to explode your rosin production to the next level, look no further than pneumatic presses.
Upsides: Effortlessly produce commercial volumes of rosin, precise control
Downsides: Highest cost, bulky piece of equipment, takes up a large footprint
Hybrid presses combine two distinct sets of pressure applications to offer the most control and precision of any type of rosin press. Hybrid presses utilize a hydraulic system as described above to generate pressure that can easily accommodate the needs of a commercial operation. They generally come with king-sized plates that can save you the most time when working through large volumes of material.
What makes hybrid presses special is that they offer another layer of automation to easily achieve precise amounts of pressure via the hydraulic system. Rather than relying on hand pumps, hybrid presses employ an electronic pump or pneumatic controller with air compression to achieve precise inputs of pressure into the hydraulic cylinders.
Upsides: Optimal control coupled with ease of use and max pressure capabilities
Downsides: Highest cost of any type of press
Whether you’re looking to advance your pressing skills and upgrade your current setup, or you’re just starting out and shopping for your first press, consider the following: How much material do I want to be able to press at a time? What level of precision will I require? Do I want to develop a “feel” for pressing? Will I be frequently transporting the press? What’s my budget?
As you consider your answers to the questions above, be sure to do your research and look for products that have earned a level of credibility in the market. There are a lot of great presses out there. Which one is your favorite?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a rosin press?
A rosin press is used to generate the pressure needed for rosin extraction. The rosin press is a framework onto which rosin plates are fitted. The main types of rosin presses are manual, hydraulic, and pneumatic.
How big is a rosin press?
Rosin presses are made in various sizes, from all-in-one premade solutions to home made DIY presses. Most presses can fit on a regular table top, and some compact presses are small enough to easily carry around and transport. An ideal H-Frame hydraulic rosin press is relatively heavy and bulky but can still be easily used in a small space. You can even use a hair straightener as a rosin press.
How do you build a rosin press?
The best way to build a rosin press is to start with an H-Frame style press and install rosin plates like these premium rosin plates from The Press Club. See this article for more details about how to build your own rosin press at home.
How do you use a rosin press?
Different types of rosin presses are operated in different ways. Manual presses require high energy output from the extractor, requiring a lever or a wheel to transform muscle effort into extraction pressure. A hair straightener can be considered a manual press. Other presses, such as pneumatic presses, require only the push of a button.
How much does a rosin press cost?
The cost of a rosin press depends on what type of rosin press is the best fit for your needs. Even a hair straightener costing under $100 can produce high quality rosin from small amounts of material. H-Frame presses made at home with the addition of rosin plates can cost somewhere in the $500-$700 range. The cost of presses goes up from there, into the thousands of dollars.