Cannabis Harvest: Hand Trimming or Machine Trimming?

By JP Wood
Published: July 12, 2018 | Last updated: May 11, 2021 05:32:43
Presented by GreenBroz Inc.
Key Takeaways

Cannabis growers have two choices when it comes to trimming their harvest: Hand trimming, or automated trimming. Which is right for you?

Trimming a cannabis harvest can mean the difference between a smooth, even-smoking final product and a disappointing result that provides a harsher, far less pleasant experience. In a world where the business of growing and selling cannabis legally is becoming more competitive, this step is imperative.


There are two ways that a grower can get their trimming done; either by hand or via automated trimmer.

Which is better? Which is best for you?


Hand Trimming

Hand trimming works how it sounds: a gardener trims the leaves of each bud individually, by hand, to remove the undesirable parts of the plant from the rest. Traditionally, hand trimming has been the only way to go in terms of ridding your cannabis buds of the pesky leaves and other plant matter that, if missed, can seriously degrade the pleasantness and value of a harvest.

Hand trimming professionals are able to get the absolute most out of each bud in a harvest, revealing unique, desirable nugs with little to no waste of the valuable bud. Hand-trimming amateurs, on the other hand, may not get things perfect right out of the gate, but can improve with practice without much financial investment.

There are those within the cannabis sphere who would suggest that hand-trimming your buds is the only way to go, and that it is an art form that can be judged by the result of the final product. Cannabis connoisseurs are said, for example, to be able to instantly tell the difference between a hand trimmed bud and its mechanically trimmed brothers.


With such clear benefits, and a heap of history behind it, why would anyone do it any other way?

Automated Trimming

Hand trimming is a time-consuming process, requiring personal attention and expertise. While that’s fine with small or personal amounts for those with the time and dedication, the hand-crafted approach starts to become more difficult to sustain in larger quantity.


Hand trimmers, in general, can take between one and two days to trim a pound of bud while an automated trimmer like the 215 Dry Trimmer from Greenbroz, for example, can trim between 2 and 4 pounds of product an hour.

This means that using an automated trimmer can produce an average of 24 lbs. of trimmed weed in the same time that it takes a hand trimmer to produce a single pound, and while there is certainly a market out there for the kind of connoisseur experience that hand-trimmed bud can provide, legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana means that the market for less expensive, mass-produced product has never been larger - and it’s only continuing to grow. Fortunately, the technology has been improving over time.

One of the hallmarks of machine-trimmed bud: a uniform, artificial-looking cut, has been replaced with machines that are able to produce trimmed buds while maintaining their own unique shapes. Automated trimmers have come a long way since the times of wasted product and mangled buds, and if that’s your perception it might be time to check them out again.

A Third Option?

Hybrids are obligatory when talking about Cannabis, so why shouldn't your trimming experience borrow a little bit from each method?

That's what the good folks at Greenbroz are doing with dry trimmers like the 215 model mentioned above. That technology allows users to easily check and stop progress on the trim at any time.

This revolutionary technique has led some of their clients to find great success in using this for of customized automation to get 75-90% of the flower trimmed, and finishing off with hand trimming techniques to create a much cheaper hand-crafted bud.

The Right Tool For The Job

Don’t let the naysayers dissuade you from looking at technology as a solution to your trimming needs. Whether you’re a home grower without the time to trim, or you’re a bulk cultivator with demanding customers and shareholders watching your bottom line, a trimmer might be exactly what you need.

If, on the other hand, you are looking to create a boutique, hand-crafted cannabis product then hiring a team of professional trimmers may make more sense for your particular needs. Take the time to figure out what you want.


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