Navigate to our accessibility widget

Wednesday June 7, 2017

Updated on 8/2/2021

By Michael Walters

View our Editorial Policy
This content contains third-party advertisements. Click here to view PotGuide's advertising policy

Although rosin is a relatively new product in the concentrate world, it is progressing at a rapid pace when it comes to quality and popularity. This is undoubtedly due to advancements made in rosin press technology and the evolving techniques surrounding its production. Once a product created from hair straighteners and tortilla presses, rosin has come a long way, now created commercially using refined processes and precisely crafted pneumatic and hydraulic presses.

If you’re unfamiliar, a rosin press is essentially anything used to extract cannabinoids through heat and pressure. Typically speaking, a rosin press has two heated plates that are pressed down onto each other to create enough force to facilitate an extraction. There’s much more that goes into a quality rosin press though. And with more and more innovation in rosin press engineering, the quality of a rosin press has never been more important.

Advancements in rosin press technology have allowed for new and exciting non-solvent products to enter the market, peaking consumer interest in rosin. With rosin now rivaling hydrocarbon extracts in terpene content and potency, it’s no wonder why more and more people are making the investment in a quality rosin press.

To fully understand why the rosin press market is on the uptick, let’s take a closer look at overall evolution of the rosin press.

Origin of the Rosin Press

While there is some speculation surrounding the origin of the rosin press, many people agree that the technique was first pioneered by Jamaicans in the 1970s. Supposedly, they used nylon pantyhose as a filter, in conjunction with heat and pressure, to make a rosin-like product to consume with their dried flower. While this process is pretty far from current industry standards, it is important to note the basic principle of rosin extraction and how it has remained similar throughout its rapid evolution.

The next big step in the evolutionary journey of rosin presses was the hair straightener. Hair straighteners are probably the most common form of rosin press used by at-home extractors and can actually produce some decent rosin when done correctly. However, due to lack of precision temperature and pressure control, consistent results are difficult to come by.

Example of a hair straightener rosin press set up Example of a hair straightener rosin press set up.

The average yield for flower rosin pressed with a hair straightener is about 5-10% – not great considering some commercial presses are yielding up to 30% on flower.

Hair straighteners are a great introductory option, but lack in yield, consistency and also the amount of product you can press at a time.

Soon, the demand for a press that could hold more starting material became forthright, leading to the first generation of actual rosin presses. Although these presses were used for rosin, most first generation presses lacked in stature and were not purpose-built specifically for rosin. Some of the first rosin presses were actually just repurposed T-shirt presses sold at a premium. In fact, the rosin industry almost failed to take off due to the instability of early rosin presses.

Problems with Low-Quality Rosin Presses

Quite frankly, first generation rosin presses were shoddy at best with poor heating elements and weak pressure distribution. Again, you could make some pretty great rosin from these presses if done correctly, but generally they do not perform very well – especially in comparison to some of the popular commercial presses on the market today.

If you’re looking to buy a rosin press, consider making an investment into a quality product. There are many options out there for rosin presses, but not all of them are created equal.

Some key traits to look out for to avoid low-quality rosin press products and companies include:

  • Poor hydraulics that are leaking or prone to malfunction

  • Oddly shaped heating elements

    • e. horseshoe-shaped (very common in cheap rosin presses)

  • Weak housing and/or structure prone to bending at high pressure

  • Heat plates that are too large to allow concentrate to escape and drip from the edges

    • If the concentrate has too far to travel, it will burn and become undesirable

  • Heat plates made from stainless steel

    • Stainless steel offers very poor heat distribution, resulting in inconsistent rosin

  • Cheap, unreliable heat controllers that don’t offer pressure control and actuation speed

  • Companies with terrible customer service

    • These companies provide poor communication and often fail to meet deadlines

    • Ordering products from China that take forever to arrive

    • Ignored emails

Cheap presses with square plates over-expose rosin to heat, resulting in sub-par end products. Cheap presses with square plates over-expose rosin to heat, resulting in sub-par end products. photo credit

If you keep an eye out for the above characteristics, you’ll be well on your way to selecting a quality press and pumping out some high-quality rosin.

Hydraulic vs. Pneumatic Rosin Presses

Another important aspect to consider when discussing rosin presses is the difference between hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders. If you don’t already know, hydraulic presses utilize compressed fluids to create pressure, while pneumatic presses use air to create pressure.

In relation to the rosin world, pneumatic pressure is king. Sure, you can get great rosin with hydraulic presses, but pneumatic rosin presses are much more consistent and reliable. In fact, the industry-leading rosin press, The “Pikes Peak” by PurePressure, utilizes a pneumatic cylinder. Since the pros are choosing pneumatic pressure, it’s probably a safe bet. In case you need a little more convincing, we’ll outline some reasons why pneumatic presses are the superior choice.

The Pikes Peak by PurePressure uses a high-quality pneumatic cylinder to generate pressure The "Pikes Peak" by PurePressure uses a high-quality pneumatic cylinder to generate pressure. photo credit

Using and maintaining a pneumatic press is much easier in relation to a hydraulic press. There are oil-less and maintenance-free pneumatic options even, making upkeep a breeze. Hydraulic presses offer a higher pressure interval, but are notoriously unreliable and can ruin your rosin with a worn or blown out seal. Additionally, pneumatic rosin presses are quieter, easier to operate and allow for a more even pressure distribution – which is key to creating top-notch rosin.

When using pneumatic pressure, be sure to go with quality. A sign of a cheap pneumatic cylinder is if it needs oiling – if that’s the case, steer clear. The best pneumatic cylinders, like the ones used by PurePressure, are assembled in America and expertly crafted to perform over and over again.

DIY Rosin Presses

Now, you may be reading this article and asking yourself, why can’t I just build a rosin press? The answer is you can! But be aware, your home-grown mechanical engineering skills might not make the grade when it comes to crafting and outfitting a consistently reliable rosin press.

While DIY presses may work, faulty engineering or exposed wires can be dangerous While DIY presses may work, faulty engineering or exposed wires can be dangerous. photo credit

That’s not to say that you won’t be able to build a functional rosin press that is capable of extracting quality rosin, but there are many factors that come in to play that could jeopardize the efficacy. One of the biggest issues with DIY rosin presses is obtaining quality parts.

A lot of DIY rosin presses experience similar issues that cheaply made rosin presses face simply due to a lack of quality parts. Without the right equipment, your press could be subject to a bending frame, leaking hydraulics and, most importantly, unsafe conditions. Because of the potential safety hazard at hand, we’d recommend investing in a more reliable, long-term option. Which brings us to our next segment, exploring the advancements in rosin press technology.

DIY Hydraulic presses may be subject to leakage if the parts are not quality DIY Hydraulic presses may be subject to leakage if the parts are not quality. photo credit

Rosin Press Technology Advancements

While hair straighteners, T-shirt presses and DIY presses might work for the occasional at-home rosin extractor, these units fall short for true rosin connoisseurs, cannabis enthusiasts and most importantly, commercial extractors.

Enter the leaders of the rosin press industry. These companies are taking rosin presses to the next level, incorporating cutting edge technology and the latest and greatest parts to ensure consistency and reliability across the board. These presses are made with the commercial extractor in mind, and can produce large quantities of high-quality rosin with ease.

Companies like PurePressure, for example, are paving the way for quality in the rosin press market, creating high-caliber rosin presses that are built to last. What’s great about companies like PurePressure is their relentless attention to craftsmanship and safety, as well as a valued approach to customer service. Unlike companies who outsource parts and labor, PurePressure builds and assembles every rosin press in-house in the United States. That means you can always reach out with questions or quickly order and obtain replacement parts.

But what sets these presses apart from the rest? The answer is in technological advancements engineered out of necessity. Here’s what they’re doing right:

Precisely measured, quality heat plates

Making sure your extraction runs smoothly is, obviously, a key principle of rosin extraction. And heat plates play a big factor in the overall quality of your end-product. PurePressure utilizes longer, more narrow plates in their presses to reduce the distance traveled by the extracted material. Reducing this distance prevents degradation and over-exposure to heat, resulting in a consistent product.

Narrow heat plates allow rosin to escape, preventing heat degradation Narrow heat plates allow rosin to escape, preventing heat degradation. photo credit

Even pressure distribution & controlled plate press speed

Debatably the most important aspect of a rosin press is its ability to provide measured and evenly distributed pressure. A high amount of evenly distributed pressure isn’t the only key factor when it comes to pressing though. The speed you apply pressure to a filled rosin bag is very important. Too fast and you’ll have a blow-out, while pressing too slowly will result in overexposure to the heat plates, leading to degradation.


When you’re operating machinery capable of exerting thousands of pounds of force, it’s generally a good idea to adhere to safety standards and best practices. High-quality rosin presses take the (minimal) risk out of rosin pressing and have built-in safety features and fail-safes to prevent any accidents from happening.


Craftsmanship is an integral aspect to a quality rosin press. As stated above, buying cheap rosin presses may work out, but a lack of quality craftsmanship will hurt your extraction process in the long run. Imagine pressing out some of the best rosin you’ve ever seen and not being able to duplicate those results.

Without a well-built press, consistency is near impossible, leading to frustration and sub-par rosin. Buying an advanced rosin press is the easiest way to eliminate any shred of doubt when it comes to consistency and reliability of the machine. A quality, well-crafted rosin press makes pressing a breeze. And with results you can count on, it is easier to maintain a dependable product.

Every PurePressure rosin press is assembled in America by their dedicated team Every PurePressure rosin press is assembled in America by their dedicated team. photo credit

No matter what type of rosin press you decide to use, the results are undeniable. Rosin is rapidly gaining in popularity, resulting in some of the most exciting non-solvent products on the market. As consumer interest continues to grow, there’s no telling where advancements in rosin press technology will take us. One thing is certain though, the rosin revolution is here, and it’s here to stay.

Practically anyone can try their hand at extracting rosin, making it very to many members of the cannabis community. Rosin is a safe option and requires no solvents, meaning there is no risk for explosion or inhalation of chemicals. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get a rosin press and start squishing!

Photo Credit: PurePressure


Michael Walters Michael Walters

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric, Michael started his journey in the cannabis industry managing content, communications, and technical writing for one of Colorado's largest dispensary chains. In 2016, Michael pivoted to the ancillary sector to become PotGuide's Content Manager and was responsible for overseeing all of PotGuide’s editorial endeavors and content marketing strategies. Now, Michael is PotGuide's Director of Content & Marketing, focusing his efforts toward new educational content and exciting media endeavors.

With a life-long passion for cannabis knowledge and education, Michael devoted himself to becoming a subject matter expert on marijuana at an early age. Now, Michael has worked in the marijuana industry for over four years helping break down negative stigma and promoting safe cannabis practices. An avid consumer himself, Michael has worked tirelessly to improve content marketing strategies for cannabis businesses and is devoted to creating meaningful content that is useful to a wide variety of marijuana consumers. Follow Michael on LinkedIn and Instagram for updates and insights.

More From This Author

Related Articles