Are Hand Trimmed Buds Really Better Than Machine Trimmed Buds?

20 years ago, the only method that was available to trim bud was by hand. While this process is a slow one, it is also very thorough—in fact many professionals in the industry still adhere to this method and swear by it to this day. 

Machine trimming on the other hand is starting to transform the entire industry by making the entire process much more versatile, saving time and labor costs. 

Commercial trimmers are able to process a week’s worth of hand trimmed bud in just a day or two—and with increasing demand, oftentimes hand trimming isn’t fast or efficient enough to keep up. 

But before we dive in too deep, lets quickly go over the benefits and pitfalls for both hand and machine trimming so you can make a fair assessment for yourself. 

Pros of Hand Trimming Buds

  • Hand trimming is 100% accurate because nothing is more precise than good hand-eye coordination, especially considering the fact there is no machine on the market that currently beats out experienced hand trimmers— as far as accuracy is concerned. 
  • Finding willing hand trimmers is an easy feat. 
  • Hand trimming positions increase the amount of job opportunities in the cannabis industry.
  • Less trichome loss. Trimming bud by hand is the gentlest method to process bud and in turn you lose less resin—which means a better product. 
  • Hand trimming gives dispensaries the option of using their higher quality (more resin) trim to be utilized for making pure oils to re-sell. Many trimming machines require food grade oil to be used to prevent them from overheating; which ruins trim. 

Cons of Hand Trimming Bud

  • It is much more time consuming than machine trimming and requires patient hands. 
  • It can be labor intensive, especially on your back and it requires many people to get the job done which increases labor costs. 
  • The risk of theft increases because the more trimmers you bring in, the more people that have the opportunity to snag some for themselves. 

Pros of Machine Trimmers

  • Faster processing time. Machines don’t need to take lunch breaks and machine trimmers can run for an entire year without ever needing to be fed. Now all jokes aside, they do require minimal upkeep and can run for days on end— which is a huge pro for a large operation. 
  • While machines cost more upfront than hiring a hand trimmer, automated trimmers end up paying for themselves rather quickly. Time is money and these appliances definitely save time and eliminate the need to hire and compensate hand trimmers. 
  • The bud produced by machine trimmers are of high quality and produce consistent and reliable results every time. While hand trimming does have its pros, most smokers are more than happy with machine trimmed bud. 

This video showcases the high-tech Kairos Cultivator Dry Trimmer Machine for cannabis trimming.

The Trimbag also speeds up efficiency but is still manual method of trimming, requiring a person to rotate the bag to trim the product.

Cons of Automated Bud Trimmers

  • Automated trimmed flower can have its yield, flavor, and potency affected. This can happen when bud is left in the trimmer for too long and it “over-trims” the product—which results in small buds and profit loss.  
  • The initial investment is pricey, costing a good $4000-$6,000 upfront. 
  • Loss of trichomes. As we learned earlier, hand trimmed bud retains much more of its resins and trichomes than machine trimmed bud. This is because resin is very sticky and when it gets run through the machine, a small amount of it gets removed in the process—much like when you run bud through your grinder. Some of it gets removed. 

In Conclusion

Regardless of which method is used, most cannabis experts can distinguish if it was trimmed by machine or hand—but the majority of people can’t tell the difference. Shops and dispensaries pay a premium for bud that is hand trimmed, but the money made vs. time lost isn’t worth it for some growers. 

The important thing for you as a consumer to take away from all of this is hand trimmed bud and machine trimmed bud will both get you high and can both be high quality—hand trimmed just has more resin on it. 

We hope you found this article useful, and if you would like to see more these machine trimmers in action, check out the video below! 

Breckenridge Organic Therapy carries a variety of cannabis products that are naturally sourced and high quality. Feel free to stop by or contact us with any questions you may have and we will be happy to help!


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