So you’ve harvested your cannabis plants after months of taking care of them? Great! If it is a small batch or low-yielding seeds you’ve planted, you could probably trim them by hand to smaller buds that you can grind in your weed grinder and finally enjoy.
However, if you’re running a cannabis business, or just have a lot of buds that need to be trimmed this can be a very time-consuming task. This is where the humble bud trimmer steps in.
A bud trimmer is a cannabis grower’s best friend and you will enjoy its use to the fullest each time you use it. But depending on your requirements, a simple bud trimming by hand may not be enough to do the job.
Ultimately if you’re going to ask which bud trimmer is the best, the answer depends on your needs with consideration to several factors. Sorry to disappoint you but hey, life is complicated and so are your trimming options!
Main Types of Trimming Methods
Bud trimming machines fall into 3 categories: manual bud trimmers, automatic bud trimmers, and industrial bud trimmer machines. Then you also get wet and dry bud trimmers.
Wet bud is fresh flowers that have just been harvested, while dry refers to flowers that have been dried and cured. Both wet and dry trimming have advantages and disadvantages.
Trimmers range from trimming scissors for trimming small amounts to big industrial machines that do the work of 75 people trimming by hand.
If you run a large operation, you should know how many pounds per hour you need to be able to process and this will in turn dictate whether you can get away with manual sheers or if you’ll be better off investing in an automated commercial solution.
Importance of Proper Trimming
If you’re new to the processing scene and wondering what all the fuss is all about well, it essentially comes down to the quality of the cannabis being grown and the intended consumer it will be sold to.
Depending on the tastes of the patient as well as the desired end product of the grower the trimming methods will vary. Generally speaking though the importance of correct trimming includes:
- Smoking whole leaf is harsh and unpleasant on the throat. Removing as much leaf matter from your weed as possible will make it smoother and taste much better.
- Trimmed buds look way more appealing, but this comes down to personal opinion. Some folks like a less manicured look because it feels more natural. The look of clean, well-trimmed buds is a sign of a grower who cares about quality weed.
- The leaves of your plants contain much less THC and CBD, so removing as much as possible will make your net final yield “stronger” which is an important consideration for many dispensary shoppers.
What are the advantages of using automated bud trimming machines?
The biggest advantage of using a bud trimmer is efficiency and speed. Trimming by hand is a long and tedious process.
Using a machine to trim will result in you losing a little more smokeable bud as the outside of the buds are trimmed.
However, we think it’s worth it for awesome smooth buds and you can easily recover the trimmings to smoke or even cook with.
Dry Trimming vs Wet Trimming
Within the cultivation community there are generally two main philosophies when it comes to trimming.
One side says you should trim as soon as the flower is harvested while it is fresh and the other side says you should first try the flower out before trimming them down.
Below are some of the pros and cons of both wet and dry trimming:
Advantages of Wet Trimming
- The leaves are more swollen when the branch is freshly cut which makes it easier to remove the sugar leaves
- Wet trimmed buds take up less space when drying
- The buds dry faster because there is less mass to dry (wet trimming can reduce drying time to as little as 3 days in the right conditions)
Disadvantages of Wet Trimming
- Wet trimming can increase your chance of developing mold when drying
- Even though your buds dry faster, if they dry too quickly the smoke can be harsh and your weed can taste bad and smell like cat piss. (Expert growers avoid these issues by slowly and carefully drying and curing their buds after wet trimming.)
Advantages of Dry Trimming
- The smell and flavor of your weed is preserved because the leaves act as mini humidors while your buds dry
- You can trim your buds ‘on-demand’ as you want to smoke them for optimal smell and flavor
Disadvantages of Dry Trimming
- The curled up dry leaves can be harder to trim – but they do break off more easily
- Can lose more trichome material if improperly cured/overly dried and then processed.
Hand Trimming vs. Machine Trimming
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the choice between the traditional vs. machines in bud trimming. Only you can choose what manner is right for your needs.
However, machines are designed for a larger scale of operation and to make bud trimming faster without hurting or tiring your hands.
Some of the most used tools in traditional bud trimming include gloves, trimming clippers, trimming scissors, mesh rack, and cookie sheets. This method requires a lot of patience since it takes some time and the long list of supplies listed above can consume quite a bit of storage/inventory space.
If you’re growing cannabis for recreational purposes and you only got around 5-10 plants, manual trimmers or small automatic cordless trimmers may be sufficient.
But when you think about planting more plants you might want to change to a decent size automatic trimmer to accommodate your growing needs.
Now, if you think about expanding and doing this growing weed to a full scale, then you might need to find the industrial type of bud trimmer machines specially designed for industrial/commercial purposes like the Twister T2 (shown above) which is full-blown commercial grade bulk trimming on steroids.
Best Shears For Hand-Trimming Cannabis Flower
Manual bud trimmers require manual trimming with the use of your hands, a few tools like a dedicated and ideally stackable trim bin and some sheers, as well as a strong back and some patience because even with a few plants the amount of flower material they can produce is significant.
This method is very time consuming and will require a larger human workforce compared to other commercial trimming machines but the benefits are the quality and attention to detail is unrivaled, producing some of the most beautiful flower possible.
For these reasons hand trimming is most popular with high end growers and boutique cultivars because it let’s the natural structure of the well-cared for plant shine. The removal of almost all if not every single sugar leaf leaves the naked bud to shine in all of it’s dank glory.
Shear bud trimmers and bud bowl trimmers are ideal for small scale growers because of its light, small, and easy storage design when managing a small number of plants. The price is low compared to the other kinds of bud trimmers.
You may lose a little extra material and shed a few more trichomes due to the added friction associated with bulk trimmers but if the product is not high end this may be acceptable for some businesses as it is still superior to higher volume industrial machines.
Best for Home Growers: Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruner with Non-Stick Blades
The Fiskar Micro-tip pruner is the best selling pruner on the market for a reason as it marries perfectly value and quality at a price point that both gets the job done while not breaking the bank.
Fiskar is one of the most well known and trusted scissor brands in the world, not just within the cultivation community but with professional chefs and botanists as well.
- GARDENING ESSENTIAL: Stainless steel blade plant shears ideal for a variety of pruning tasks like cutting flower stems, maintaining your herb garden, and more to...
- POWER AND PRECISION: Micro-Tip blades cut all the way to the tip for clean, healthy cuts on plants in tight spaces; Low-friction blade coating makes smooth cuts, reduces...
If you want to make precise cuts without spending too much time, this is a great product to consider.
The spring mechanism will allow it to cut smoother while also being able to significantly reduce fatigue and the blades are coated with a non-stick material, that while not trichome-proof gets less sticky less fast compared to steel blades.
There is also a blinged-out variant, with the same “soft-touch” spring action but with titanium nitride blades, designed to keep sharp longer and essentially last a lifetime, making them great for heavy jobs like cutting thicker/harder plant stems.
- Ideal for cutting heavy-duty materials like denim, upholstery, cardboard and more
- Blades feature a titanium coating that is three times harder than steel for lasting durability
In an ideal world, we’d have two pair of sheers, one more heavy duty for initial pass trimming of larger branches/nodes and then a smaller more delicate non-stick pair for finishing flower off.
The non-slip grip is also a plus, allowing you to work continuously without easily complaining of discomfort.
- Make quick, precise cuts when deadheading, trimming and shaping small plants with easy-to-use pruning snips
- Easy Action spring-action design gently opens blades after each cut to help reduce hand fatigue
- Fully hardened, precision-ground stainless steel blades stay sharp, even through heavy use
- Non-stick coating helps reduce jamming and build-up of sticky resin
The only real negative or con associated with the classic Fiskars is the amount of hand work that goes into the trimming process. If you operate scissors for hours on end you will inevitably have a sore wrist afterwards and over enough years may develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
As such manually operated scissors are best for very small operations, say one or two plants at a time at most. Any more and you’ll want to step up to an electric option at the least.
Best for Serious Volume Growers: Speedee Trim Cordless Electric Hand Trimmer
If manually sheering your flower is too time consuming or you are getting carpal tunnel but you still prefer the accuracy associated with hand trimming then the Speedee cordless trimmers might be to your liking.
A perfect step-gap between the precision of sheers but with the speed associated with less-precise bowl trimmers the Speedee line truly balances quality and speed.
One of the most popular models is the Speedee cordless trimmer with the gnarly and aptly named “butterfly blade” that allows maximum flexibility in the angles and fine-tuning possible at the hands of the operator.
These little guys feature a dual sided design, great for right handed trimmers and left handed trimmers and can be operated cordless for up to 80 minutes or they can be plugged in for endless corded power.
Other unique features include:
- Electric blades for high volume yet precise trimming
- Locking blades stay put for safety and can be changed without any special tooling
- Can be operated cordless or corded for maximum operational versatility
- One year warranty
Electric hand sheers are a great option for home growers who grow for their entire network of friends and family because at that point the time and wrist work that is required of scissor operation becomes a bit sketch. Electric trimmers are also a nice consideration for boutique businesses too as it cuts down the total time to trim and makes for a happier trim crew.
The main drawbacks with cordless electric trimmers are the lithium batteries that will require regular charging and if you forget one night then you are all out of luck the next day as you can’t avoid the recharge time.
Operating electric trimmer will require more training as well as the potential to cut yourself is a lot higher with the larger faster moving blade surface compared to manually hand-operated sheers for example.
Best Manual Machine Trimmer: iPower GLTRIMBOWL16M 16-Inch Leaf Bowl
While the Fiskars mentioned above are great for home-growers and hobbyists with small yields, they can be a bit inadequate for medium-sized home grows or anyone growing enough for more than one person.
That’s where the iPower GLTrimBowl comes into the picture. This, while still a manually powered solution is semi-automated in its capacity to bulk-trim at a larger scale than individual flower tripping with sheers.
- Time and labor saving design: The removable ergonomic handle fits firmly and rotates smoothly for easy handling. See-through dome ensures total visibility for precise...
- Safe and precise processing: Food grade rubber strips can simultaneously refine high volumes of plant material with delicate care and its non-stick surface minimizes...
The iPower Bowl Leaf Trimmer is one of the best bud trimming machines you will find. This trimmer bowl has a transparent acrylic cover, along with a stainless steel basin and mesh.
It also comes with black rubber materials for additional security and flexibility so that you do not damage your plants.
The only downside to the iPower and the below automated solutions is there is no getting around the fact you WILL lose some trichomes in the process compared to hand trimming
For this reason, we’d advise sticking to manual trimming with hand sheers for super premium buds and only using automated solutions if your volume prevents you from manual trimming or if the product is a lower tier.
While better than a commercial tunnel trimmer because you have more finite control over duration and can view the progress in real-time the cons of going to a machine are you will inevitably miss a few sugar leaves as well as lose a fair amount of trichomes via the extra friction associated with the churning of the flower.
Best Electric & Automatic Trimmers for Small-Medium Yields
Electric operated bud trimmer machines are the most popular in the ever-growing market of weed growers. These products give you the perfect speed of trimming machine with your hands’ precision.
The Magic™ Trimmer Bud Trimmer
Compared to everything below here the Magic Trimmer is probably the most precise tool you’ll get that’s still automatic.
This is because the Magic Trimmer is simply an automated trimmer that still requires human eyes and hands and dexterity to manually trim a plant, whereas other automated solutions rely more on mechanical agitation and fixed sheers to bulk process material.
- At just 2.5 pounds it's light and easy to maneuver
- Comes with 3 replacement blades
Buying the Magic Trimmer will yield a good return of investment each harvest time. This is one of the bestsellers in the market today because of its design built for safety, speed, and efficient trimming. You cannot get any better offer than that on top of a very affordable price and portability.
- Good for wet and dry trim
- 1 yr. warranty
- Lightweight and portable
- Excellent precision
- Good for small and medium growers
Risentek XLE Automatic 16inch Trimmer
Everything up to this point was the minor leagues. Everything below this point is commercial-grade major leagues.
There is definitely a jump in price but there is an even greater jump in the total processing capacity of the fully-automated trimming solutions like the Risentek commercial grade trimmer.
- UPGRADED ELETRIC TRIMMER MACHINE: Most efficient, time saver, commercial grade manual plexiglass lid electric bud leaf trimmer with stainless cylinder, silicone finger,...
- WET & DRY TRIMMING: compatible with wet and dry trim. Ideal for getting rid of excess leaves and trim twigs from a variety of plants and flowers. Featured with rotor...
The Risentek Spin Cutter uses all industrial grade materials, from a plexiglass lid to a entirely stainless steel bowl to food-grade non-stick silicone fingers and heavy duty mesh collection bag.
Other features of the commercial-grade Risentek include:
- Handles both wet and dry (cured) trimming jobs
- Completely adjustable rotor speed, important for varying yield sizes
- Extra large 16 inch trimmer for large yields
- CNC’d center grate with standardized 5/16th inc slots
- Emptying shoot with latched gate for quick and efficient emptying
In essence, this is a MACHINE. Risentek claim this machine can produce the trimming power of over 20 scissors. Clutch productivity if you’re producing at scale!
Best Industrial Trimmers for High Yield Commercial Operations
Industrial bud trimmer machines are ideal for larger-scale operations, usually for commercial purposes. These are a good investment for your money. Each time you use these trimmers, your labor costs are reduced and the processing time is decreased.
We are now into full-blown commercial cultivation and processing territory with price tags to match.
The below systems are not for home use and would be complete overkill for anyone processing less than 100lbs of flower per day.
That said, if you ARE processing bulk volumes then automated trimming machines like the Triminator are about to make your life a whole lot easier!
If you have a large-scale commercial grow, you need a trimmer than can keep up with demand. The Triminator trims wet buds on a scale of 200lbs per day. The blade reel is so sharp and accurate that it cuts as close as the width of a human hair.
The Triminator (wet) was built from military-grade material and it can be pressure-washed with no problem. It’s covered by a 2-year warranty.
Key Features Include:
- High Output
- Precise Cuts at Fast Speeds
- Gentle Bud Treatment
- Easy Clean-Up
- Tough Build
If you are looking to bulk trim only dry herb Triminator that is a little less mechanically complicated and also a little bit cheaper, win-win for the dry trimmers!
If you’re looking for an automated solution that is ready for all out war on leaves then the 10-year-warranty-backed Centurion Pro Mini might be the beast for you.
When you’re growing on a large scale, you need a powerful trimmer to take care of big harvests. The Centurion Pro Mini can do both dry and wet trimming—just select the tumbler you need. This trimmer is very compact, but it can process 12-16 pounds of dry flower and up to 60-80 pounds of wet flower per hour!
The efficient dust collection system and dust collector keeps everything as neat and clean as possible. And when you’re done trimming, it’s easy to pull apart and wash. Centurion Pro covers the Mini with an excellent 5-year warranty.
Other Key Features Include:
- Built-in suction power allows for a very tight trim.
- Fully pressure washable and easy to clean.
CenturionPro 3.0 Trimmer (Medical Grade)
Finally, here we are at the end of our “best bud trimmers” roundup and we’re going out with a bang with what is perhaps the biggest, baddest, full-blown commercial-est bulk trimming solution out there, the CenturionPro 3.0.
The 3.0, Medical Grade Trimming System is the highest capacity automated trimming machine in the world, but this system also comes Health Canada/FDA ready with medical-grade anodized aluminum and stainless-steel components to meet all regulatory standards.
Key Features Include:
- Food grade direct feed hopper
- Unsurpassed quality
- Hardened steel, 11 blade cutting reel (x3)
- Rugged, stainless steel tumblers (x3)
- 40% greater trichome preservation
The CenturionPro 3.0 is essentially 3 regular Centurion’s welded together to triple efficiency. If you’re weighing the Centurion Pro mini vs the Pro 3.0 it should all come down to the total projected poundage of plant you expect to process in a day.
Otherwise in terms of build quality, warranty, and effectiveness they are just about equal.
All of the above mentioned commercial processing solutions will work for 90% of small cannabis growers and processors but or those 10% that operate on a whole different level when it comes to scale the Twister T4 System is unrivaled in the sheer volume of plant material that can be processed.
Just because it the T4 can handle insane volume doesn’t mean it can’t be precise either. This unit has blade speed adjustments from as low as 980RPM all the way up to 1875RPM and tumbler speeds ranging from just 47RPM al the way up o 96RPM.
The T4 also has a digital control interface for fine tuning tumbler speed, blade speed and airflow via vacuum bypass functionality.
This system can process the same if not more bud than a full-time crew of 7 people (if trimming by hand), making it a great way to scale your business to meet growing cannabis consumer demands.
Other Twister T4 Key Features Include:
- Processing 150+ pounds per hour throughput
- Easily interchangeable and cleanable components
- Patented gear drive system for more reliable operation long-term
- Washdown rated (no need to fear the pressure washer)
- Built-in feed safety features to prevent injuries
- Employee-safe emergency stop
- Modular, meaning the belts, hoppers, barrels can all be disconnected for easy storage
- Chomps dry and wet material with a nonchalant attitude.
Things to Remember When Choosing a Trimming Solution
Ultra-modern technology continuously changes and improves machines to make life better and easier.
Depending on your business or personal needs you can go for manual, automatic, or industrial bud trimmer machines and end up happy with your investment but be sure to consider the product’s quality, features, warranty, and your budget in your purchase.
- Sheers for home grow and ultra-premium boutique buds
- Semi-auto for premium buds and startup sized businesses
- Automatic trimmers for large scale commercial operations
***Note, there are PLENTY of cultivars that process thousands of pounds of plants annually who still prefer to hire teams of manual trimmers with sheers, and we definitely respect that as providing safe, good paying jobs is just one way the cannabis industry can support their local communities.
We also understand the work supply might be tight in some areas or the buds might be for products that don’t require finesse (hello edibles) in which case automated and semi-automated solutions make perfect sense.
Keep in mind: the best machines for you are the right ones that let you run a smoother operation and help achieve your purpose after all factors are considered. Don’t get distracted by bling-bling yo!
Common Trimming Questions & Answers
What is the best bud trimmer?
The highest quality trimming must be done by hand. For this, using a pair of non-stick titanium hand snippers is the best option for less-mess trimming.
What is the best trimming machine?
For large volumes trimming machines from Centurion, Mobius, Twister and GreenBroz are considered to be elite in their space.
How do you clean a bud trimmer?
Each trimming machine will require unique cleaning processes so first consult with the company you purchased your trimmer machine from. For hand trimmers rubbing alcohol, citrus oils, or vinegar all are great at removing stickiness.
Do bud trimmers work?
Hand trimmers work as well as the person operating them. Mechanical trimmers work, but due to their bulk/volume nature are not as precise or delicate as human trimmers.
How much trim do you get per plant?
Amount of trim per plant is dependent on a variety of variables including strain, grow style and harvest time. Ballpark trim per plant can range from 20% to 50%.
What is rough cut bud?
Rough cut generally refers to mechanical or automated trimming via trim machines. An amateur hand-trimmer could also produce some rough cut buds.
How do you store trim after harvest?
In an air-tight space that is void of harmful UV light. Keep it cool and don’t jostle it too much to avoid damaging delicate trichomes.
How do you trim CBD?
It depends on the final desired use but CBD is generally trimmed in a similar fashion to its THC-containing brothers and sisters.
What do bud trimmers do?
Bud trimmers remove excess leaf and foliage from the cannabis flower so that only a naked, sexy little nug of goodness remains.
Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API