Racks vs Lines: Which is Better for Drying Cannabis?
All cannabis growers develop their own way of doing things. When it comes to drying a cannabis harvest, some growers prefer drying lines, while others use drying racks.
As the cannabis industry continues to evolve with legalization, garden supply companies are making new equipment to cater to increasingly sophisticated needs. Today, we are seeing major new developments not only with horticultural equipment, but also harvest technology.
Most commercial producers opt with some sort of drying rack system for their harvest needs. Conversely, many home growers still work with traditional drying lines. Yet, it seems both methods have their place in certain situations.
If you are unsure of what drying method is best for you, we thought it beneficial to do a quick comparison on drying lines versus drying racks.
Ideal Consistency for Cannabis Flowers
The cannabis community has long held the belief that a 12 percent moisture content is ideal for flowers. The 12 percent mark is also where stems “crack” when bent. As such, all cannabis drying and curing practices are aimed at getting flowers to the ideal place where they hold up well in the bag, while not being harsh when smoked.
As seen with growrooms, the best drying rooms give cannabis growers absolute control over environmental conditions. Also, commercial producers are increasingly looking to sophisticated equipment such as moisture analyzers to pinpoint moisture levels in cannabis flowers. By balancing environmental factors and carefully tracking moisture content, growers bring out the very best in their chosen strains.
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Best Environment for Drying Cannabis
Cultivators work tirelessly to create environmental conditions where cannabis flowers dry correctly. Importantly, cannabis dries the best in dark rooms with humidity levels below 50 percent. Also, it’s advisable to keep temperatures between 65-75°F in your drying room. Balancing all of these factors will create conditions that inhibit mold, while also not drying flowers too quickly.
Airflow is also an important consideration to make when drying cannabis flowers. This is a major reason why indoor growers choose to dry their harvests directly in their growrooms.
Drying rooms should be equipped with wall fans that consistently keep the air moving within the room. They should also incorporate exhaust fans and carbon filters to scrub for smells, while also exchanging stale air for fresh air.
When the drying environment is appropriately balanced, you should be able to use either lines or racks for drying your cannabis harvest. However, setting up your drying system incorrectly, like hanging lines too close, can inhibit the drying environment from working correctly.
Line Drying Setup
A line drying setup is the most traditional way of drying cannabis. With these systems, growers run strings the length of a room, then they hang fresh branches on the strings to dry.
When drying cannabis on lines, you must be sure to cut branches in a way that they are easy to work with. Many growers prefer to cut just below where the branch meets the main stem of the cannabis plant. In doing so, you create a “V” shape on the end of the branch which can be hung conveniently on a line.
As you begin to hang branches on the lines, be sure to leave ample room between each. This allows for increased airflow and even drying — which helps reduce the chance of mold forming. Also, some growers leave space between the bottom row and the floor. Doing so allows them to crawl beneath the lines to check the moisture consistency of flowers in the back row.
Line Drying Pros
There are several reasons why line drying is popular. For starters, it is an extremely affordable way to dry a harvest. If you don’t have the time to build an elaborate line system, you can simply tie strings to any two objects that will support drying branches.
Because line drying works best with full branches, it provides a quick and easy way to get cannabis plants bucked down and drying. Especially if you don’t take time to cut off fan leaves, line drying does not require a huge output of labor.
Line Drying Cons
While line drying cannabis is an affordable and simple method, it also has its drawbacks. Many problems related to line drying are only further exacerbated in commercial production.
One of the primary difficulties with line drying cannabis is space. Because lines must be run from end-to-end in a room, strings and drying plant material quickly fill up any open space. Once the room is packed with drying lines, it cannot be used for additional chores. This dynamic can be quite problematic for commercial growers who need to quickly “turnover” growrooms for the next round. Finally, it is difficult to check the moisture consistency of flowers that are situated in the outer reaches of a room packed with drying lines.
Rack Drying System
Rack drying systems have gained more popularity with the advent of legal commercial growing. Drying racks come in a variety of shapes and sizes — including both metal racks and mesh racks.
Metal drying racks resemble cooling racks used in industrial kitchens. The racks are on wheels and contain a number of shelves where drying pans can be easily slid in and out of the system. Metal drying racks are used almost exclusively by commercial growers.
Mesh drying racks are a great option for home growers. These setups utilize mesh netting and a steel wireframe to create foldable drying racks. AC Infinity has a number of different-sized Herb Drying Racks. With up to eight shelves per rack, the mesh systems can handle large home harvests.
Rack Drying Pros
The perks of using drying racks are mostly related to convenience and organization.
Because they hang from a single point on the ceiling, mesh drying racks are easily moved. Even better, you can work around them in doing other chores. As they are not tied wall-to-wall, you easily check the moisture consistency of flowers anywhere in the room.
Drying racks also give you the ability to better organize your harvest. Because they come with several tiers, you can dry different strains on different shelves. Finally, because drying racks work best with flowers that are bucked off the stem, they offer a quicker dry time than line drying.
Rack Drying Cons
As seen with drying lines, drying racks also have their drawbacks.
For starters, metal racks cost around $1,000. They also take up a good deal of space in an operation. All things considered, metal racks should be reserved for commercial growers.
The biggest drawback for mesh racks has to do with labor during harvest. As flowers aren’t hung on lines in these systems, they must be manually bucked of branches before drying. Even more, flowers must be periodically turned on the racks to ensure even drying.
Summary: Which Drying Option is Best for You?
In the end, having the right moisture consistency in your cannabis will not only protect your harvest, but will also help ensure your flowers are safe for consumption. The most surefire way to ensure the correct moisture content is by having your drying system dialed.
AC Infinity is the foremost name in air delivery systems, designing and developing the latest innovations in cooling and ventilation technology. They offer a suite of quiet inline fans that automate the growing progress and track key metrics. Visit acinfinity.com or contact [email protected] to learn more.
Maximum Yield uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our content including peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, professional organizations, and governmental organizations.
- Drying cannabis - The cannabis processor’s complete guide to moisture and water activity. (2020).