Guide to cannabis trimming machines
List of contents
As every grower knows, the most time-consuming and labour-intensive part of the cannabis cultivation process is trimming the harvested buds. While a few small plants can be trimmed by hand with scissors in a reasonably short time, larger plants or greater numbers can be a gargantuan task and often call for the use of some kind of trimming machine if the harvest is to be carried out within the optimum time period.
Here at Alchimia Grow Shop, we understand this need and, as a result, we take care to offer a wide range of trimming machines to suit all situations and budgets. From the most basic, hand-operated manual trimmer to the most futuristic and high-specification machines, we've got something for everyone. In this article, we'll take a look at the different options available and help to make it easier for you to decide which is the right trimmer for you.
If you're only harvesting a small plant or two, then there's little point in investing in a machine of any sort when a simple pair of scissors will do the trick perfectly! Whether you choose spring-loaded clippers with straight blades or curved blades, or the classic bonsai clippers, you will find them just as useful for pruning and taking cuttings during cultivation as they will be for hand-trimming your buds.
Scissors are also great for giving machine-trimmed buds those last finishing touches when aiming for perfection. A good pair of scissors is an essential tool in every garden, with or without a trimming machine!
For growers who don't have to trim a large number of plants, but are short of time, or don't like using scissors, a manual trimmer is a perfect choice. As well as being pretty much silent to operate, which can be crucial if discretion is of the utmost importance, they are very portable and require no electricity, making them ideal for off-grid farms or guerrilla growers. First, we have the SpinPro, a near-spherical, chrome-plated apparatus that will quickly and easily trim your freshly harvested and de-stalked buds with just a few turns of the hand crank, leaving them ready for drying. If your arm gets tired, you can even upgrade it with an automatic electric motor, making it a truly versatile piece of equipment.
A step up in quality, but still offering fully manual operation, is the Trimpro Unplugged, a hand-operated trimmer from the Trimpro company. This machine also works by means of a crank on top of the trimmer, but as opposed to the SpinPro, the upper part of the trimmer is not covered, offering visual control of the process without having to open the machine to check if the buds are ready or not. Both these machines are designed to trim freshly harvested buds that have already been removed from the branches.
Simple cylindrical electric trimmers.
If turning a hand crank for hours isn't your thing, or if you just want to work at a faster rate, then a small electric trimmer may just be the thing for you. These machines consist of a metal drum that holds a motor turning a blade that sits just below a metal grill. To operate, take a branch of your freshly harvested plant and move it over the grill with a back and forth motion, combined with a gradual rotation of the branch to remove the excess leaves which are collected in a mesh bag hanging below the drum.
The first two of these cylindrical machines, the 21.5cm diameter Trimpro Trimbox and the 25.4cm Master Trimmer Pocket, are designed to be clamped to any table, desk or workbench, allowing operation anywhere that has a table and an electric socket. The Trimpro Trimbox offers the advantage that it can be upgraded to a worktable-style trimmer with the addition of a Trimbox workstation table kit.
The third machine in this class has a very similar overall design, but with the addition of short but sturdy legs that make the Eco Trimmer Oruga Verde a smaller version of a free-standing worktable trimmer, offering a slightly larger diameter, with a 26.5cm working surface. If that's not enough, there is also a second, bigger version of this model in the form of the Oruga Verde Trimmer-420, which uses the same powerful motor but has a considerably larger diameter of 46cm, bringing it much closer to the full-size worktable trimmers in our next section...
These machines are designed on the same principle as the trimmers in the previous category but are larger, have more working area and are a self-contained unit, mounted on legs to bring them up to a comfortable height and making it easier to deal with larger crops. The method of operation is the same as the smaller trimmers and involves taking a freshly-cut branch and moving it back and forth over the metal grill whilst slowly rotating the wrist, while the cut leaves are neatly collected in a mesh bag underneath.
Offering a bigger surface area than the small electric machines, worktable trimmers allow greater comfort while working as well as an increased workflow. The classic Trimpro Original has a top surface area of 45.5 x 45.5cm and stands nearly 70cm off the ground, while the Master Trimmer Standard is available in two sizes, the 50 x 50cm model which is capable of processing up to 9kg per hour, and the 75 x 75cm which can trim up to 22kg per hour and is even big enough to allow two people to trim together at the same time, working on opposite sides of the machine.
Automatic electric trimmers
While the electric trimming machines we've already mentioned have all been designed to work with whole branches being manipulated by the user, the next section in our guide deals with machines which automatically trim buds that have already been removed from the branches. With this type of automatic trimmer, the operation is as simple as placing the individual buds into the top of the drum, where they will be gently moved over the metal grill by rotating soft leather straps while the blade below the grill trims off the excess foliage. The finished flowers then exit from the machine automatically, ready to be collected and to start the drying process.
There are plenty of choices when it comes to automatic trimmers, starting with the Trimpro Rotor and its 40cm diameter drum that stands 60cm tall and can be converted to a full-height worktable trimmer with the optional Trimpro Work Station, adding to its versatility. The machine is fully adjustable, efficient at trimming and gentle in the way it treats the flowers, giving great quality results.
The Master Trimmer brand has various interesting entries in this category, ranging from the Master Trimmer Gentle which is available in two sizes: 50 x 50cm, with a 180W motor and a work rate of 9kg per hour; and 75 x 75cm, with a 250W motor capable of trimming up to 25kg per hour, to the Master Trimmer Professional, a high-quality, 3-phase machine that is available in two sizes as well. The 50 x 50cm, 180W model can finish up to 12kg of buds per hour, while the 75 x 75cm 250W variant will trim an amazing 30kg per hour, replacing up to 17 people trimming with scissors!
Oruga Verde has a couple of interesting products in this category too, with a standard automatic trimming machine, the Multi-Trimmer M-1002 which boasts a 200w motor, a 42.5cm blade and the option to swap between two different grill sizes: 10mm or 6mm. The star of the Oruga Verde product line, however, has to be the Multi-Trimmer M-1003-01 PRO, essentially a double-version of the M-1002, with two 200w motors, two blades, 7mm and 10mm grills, an automatic trimmer drum attachment and enough room for as many as four people to work together at the same time!
Professional Tumbler trimmers
Up to this point, all the different machines we've looked at have been intended to carry out "wet trimming" or work exclusively with freshly-harvested plants. This next category of trimmers, however, has been conceived to trim dried buds, with some models having the capability to collect dry sift hash or to deal with fresh-cut flowers as well. It's no exaggeration to say that they really are the Swiss Army knives of trimming machines!
First in line is the Triminator Mini Dry, an easy-to-use, compact and portable machine that, with its special metal drum and plastic blades can trim between 1 and 2.2kg of dried buds per hour, in batches of 100g at a time. Specially designed to function without any lubricants to guarantee residue-free flowers at the end of the process, it is also available with the Triminator Kief kit, which collects all the trichome heads that fall from the buds as the machine works, allowing you to make dry sift hash as you trim.
At the highest end of the trimming market, the Master Trimmer brand has assembled a formidable range of professional quality machines that are perfectly at home in any large legal cultivation facility, be it for hemp production or for legal medicinal or recreational cannabis. Made of Stainless Steel and with a 5-year manufacturer's guarantee just like all their products, the Master Trimmer Tumbler 200 is capable of trimming up to 3kg per hour of dried buds or 12-14kg per hour of freshly-harvested flowers with its carbon steel blade. It is also available with an optional speed controller, allowing the user to vary the cutting rate to efficiently trim strains with different characteristics.
Top of the range here is the Master Trimmer Tumbler 500, a seriously advanced piece of kit that can trim up to 9kg of dried flowers or 40kg of wet buds per hour, collecting the leaves in a separate vessel via suction. The blades can be set with such accuracy that the finished flowers have the same quality as hand-trimmed flowers. Perfect for very large grow facilities, up to four machines can be run in tandem, in combination with inlet and outlet conveyor belts to increase workflow by up to 30% as well as improving quality control, offering a truly professional solution to the fast processing of large cannabis crops. Master Trimmer also offer this model with an optional trim filter that separates the larger leaves from the trim leaves covered in trichomes, which can then be used to make resin extractions, ensuring that nothing goes to waste.
Hopefully, with this article, we've helped give you an overview of the different choices available when shopping for a trimming machine. Now it's up to you to make your mind up about which machine to buy, and then you'll have to think of what to do with all the time you'll save when you get one!