Whether it be ethanol extraction, carbon dioxide extraction, or some other method, Analytical Cannabis has the ultimate guide to machines and equipment for cannabis extraction. For businesses across the spectrum of the cannabis industry, extracts are in high demand. Innovation has led to a wide range of new cannabis and hemp products available for retail, and smart entrepreneurs are thinking strategically about the extraction equipment they use in their operations. According to Headset, vape
A Guide to Cannabis Extraction Equipment and Machines
Before any CBD oil, THC tincture, weed butter or cannabis concentrate can be bought, first, it must be extracted. This is the job of cannabis extraction equipment, the machines that remove the coveted cannabis compounds from the plant’s matrix (a process explored in more detail here).
And just like any other piece of kit, an inevitable question arises when considering extraction machines: which one’s the best value for money?
Some are industrial, some are the size of a kettle. Some use CO2 as a solvent, others utilize alcohol. All have their pros and cons which can be listed in a nice, handy guide to cannabis extraction equipment and machines. A guide just like this.
The top 12 cannabis extraction machines:
CO2 Cannabis Extraction
CO2 might not be the cheapest solvent going, but its benefits can be worth the price tag. Inside these machines, high heat and pressures turn the gas supercritical, enabling it to extract higher yields than many other solvent methods.
Automation at all stages has already improved the extraction process, especially with regard to repeatability and accuracy. Soma Labs Scientific focuses on developing automated extraction systems specifically for the cannabis industry. Its BOSS CO2 Extraction System incorporates automated controls that eliminate the use of manual valves and has been designed to make load and unload times as short as possible to increase production capacity. The company claims that by streamlining the process its setup can process 20 pounds of cannabis material in 4 hours and run continuously without supervision, enabling a total of 6 runs per day.
The BOSS CO 2 extraction system. Image credit: Soma Labs Scientific.
The price: approximately $250,000
|Small footprint||Not suitable for small-scale production|
|Relatively low energy costs||Relatively expensive|
|Automated batch loading||CO2 must be stored carefully|
|Easy to use for this kind of system||Operates at high pressures|
|Does not require harmful solvents||Relatively complex|
In all extraction methods, throughput will always be a key element for improvement. For example, the SFT-SP1100, a supercritical CO2 extraction system from Supercritical Fluid Technologies, is able to perform both at subcritical (for terpenes) and supercritical levels (for cannabinoids) with simple setting adjustments. Flexibility and scalability in throughput are always desirable attributes, particularly in the fast-paced cannabis industry where companies grow fast and requirements can change overnight.
The SFT-SP1100 Supercritical CO 2 Extraction Unit. Image credit: Supercritical Fluid Technologies.
The price: $490,500
|Small footprint||Not suitable for large scale production|
|Extractions up to 10,000 psi||No automated loading between runs|
|Scalable capacity||CO2 must be stored carefully|
|Add-ons available to enhance functionality||Operates at high pressures|
|Does not require harmful solvents||Relatively complex|
The Hi-Flo™ High Performance Series from Eden Labs is known for its processing powers, and one of the latest in the series, the Hi-Flo FX2, is no exception. Capable of processing as much as 107lbs of biomass a day, the extractor offers up to 5,000 psi and a rapid change-over for maximum extraction times.
The Hi-Flo FX 2 . Image credit: Eden Labs LLC.
The price: $175,000
|Closed-loop design with up to 95% CO2 recapture rate||Requires a well-ventilated, tightly controlled lab environment|
|Extractions up to 5,000 psi||Not suitable for small scale operators|
|Easy step-by-step protocol for upkeep||Relatively expensive|
|No internal moving parts so fewer points of failure||Requires scientific expertise to optimize|
|Energy efficient||Lower capacity than some competitors|
The most industrial extraction products deserve intimidating names, and the Force is certainly no exception. Able to process a colossal 200 pounds of dried botanical material every day, the system from Prospiant (formally Apeks Supercritical) is optimized to tackle the biggest workloads in the industry. This one’s for the pros.
The Force . Image credit: Apeks Supercritical.
The price: start at $473,800
|Can perform supercritical and subcritical extractions||Hefty price tag|
|Equipped with CO2 storage tank||Not suitable for small operations|
|Fully automated||Extensive scientific expertise required to run and optimize system|
|Works for large scale operations||High energy consumption|
Compared to the industrial behemoths, OCO Labs’ SuperC extractor looks like a toy. But don’t be fooled by its size; for the right buyer, this little extractor has is it all-in-one. Capable of processing 1oz at 4500 psi by itself, the SuperC’s capabilities can also be expanded with purchased additions such as OCO Labs’ rack specs.
The SuperC. Image credit: OCO Labs.
The price: $4000
Alcohol Cannabis Extraction
Like CO2, alcohol is one of the most commonly used solvents for cannabis extraction. Cheap to source, the ethanol soaks up the prized compounds, which can then be separated via evaporation. But this cheap solution doesn’t come without its challenges. Ethanol is highly flammable, and any temperature change can drastically alter the final product. Luckily, these machines come with instruction manuals.
A leading company in the supply of extraction machines, Precision Extraction Solutions offers several solutions for ethanol extractors. One of these is the C-40 Centrifugal Extractor, an all-in-one kit for those looking to produce cannabis extracts at a mid scale volume under low to room temperatures.
The C-40 Centrifugal Extractor. Image credit: Precision Extraction Solutions.
The price: $449,470
|98%+ removal of cannabinoids||Not suitable for small operations|
|97%+ removal of solvent||Certain safety risks (ethanol is flammable)|
|Up to around 40 lb per cycle||Winterization steps will be required post-extraction to create the final product|
|Designed to be used by a single operator||Requires some assembling|
|Relatively lower costs of extraction at room or below room temperatures|
With an average run time of around 10 to 20 minutes, the CUP-30 is one of the faster pieces of ethanol extraction equipment on the market. Produced by Prospiant (formally Delta Separations), the machine is the larger of the two CUP series, being able to process 25-30 pounds of cannabis material per batch.
The CUP-30. Image credit: Delta Separations .
The price: $133,900
|Up to 98% extraction of cannabinoids||Too limited for mid-scale or large operations|
|Up to 97% recovery of solvent from spent biomass||Winterization steps will be required post-extraction to create the final product|
|Quick run time||Certain safety risks (ethanol is flammable)|
|Can be operated by a single person|
The extractor for the on-the-go cannabis connoisseur, the Source Turbo can be operated remotely via a mobile app. No day is too jam-packed for this extract. As an extra feature, the Turbo also comes equipped with altitude-specific tuning, so it can operate at its best performance whether up in the mountains or down on the beach.
The Source Turbo. Image credit: Extract Craft.
The price: $599
|Suitable for home-use||Very low production capacity|
|Easy to use||Alcohol extracts can require extensive clean up|
|Does not require harmful solvents||Not suitable for commercial extraction|
Butane Cannabis Extraction
Butane, or propane in some instances, can be seen as similar solvents to CO2 in many ways. The butane is pressurized and heated, which transforms it from liquid to a vapor, making it easier to remove. This process creates a shatter, a clear material of THC, CBD and other cannabis compounds like terpenes. Although effective, the process can be undesirable for medicinal products, due to the risk of contamination.
Throughput and scalability have been the focus of manufacturers of hydrocarbon solvent-based extraction equipment too. Precision Extraction Solutions, for example, continuously update their flagship PX40 Extraction System. Run using either butane, propane or isobutane, this system can process up to 36lbs in one go, and up to 250lbs per 8-hour run.
The X40 MSE Extraction System. Image credit: Precision Extraction Solutions.
The price: starts at $189,000
|Comes with vacuum jacketing||Uses hydrocarbon solvents which must be removed|
|Compatible with propane and butane gas||Hydrocarbon solvents must be handled with care|
|High capacity||Not suitable for small-scale production|
|High throughput||Relatively complex|
|97% cannabinoid and terpene removal|
The Io extractor from Luna Technologies processes both butane and propane, though at slightly different rates. When using propane, the fully automated extractor can process 37lbs of cannabis material per hour. If using butane, it can process slightly less at 27lbs per hour. a fully automated system capable of extracting 18lbs of plant material per hour.
The Io extractor. Image credit: Luna Technologies.
The price: approximately $225,000
|Computer controls can help refine extraction
recipes for maximum yield and efficiency
|Mid-level processing capacity (37lbs)|
|Automation-ready||The dangers associated with butane|
|Simple to use||Butane must be removed post-processing|
And here it is, what might be the cheapest butane extractor on the market: Ablaze’s Mini Closed Loop Extractor. With a 45g capacity and a 100psi limit, this processing product might only be capable of the most humdrum extractions, but for those interested in a saving, this is one of the best deals out there.
ABLAZE Mini Closed Loop Extractor. Image credit: Ablaze.
The price: $550
|Low price point||Not as simple as at-home alcohol extractors|
|Suitable for home-use||Very low production capacity|
|Easy to use||Vacuum pump and recovery tank also required|
Ice Water Extraction
More back-to-basics than other extraction methods, ice water extraction isn’t a step too far from giving the cannabis plant a cold bath. Because THC is denser than water, the compound can separate from the leaf material when washed. After this, the cannabinoid-rich water only needs to be filtered through a series of micron bags before it’s ready to be used.
Working to create a safe and easy method for cannabis extraction, collaborators at Mountain High Suckers and Eberbach have developed a commercial platform that enables ice-water extraction, which eliminates any concern of residual chemicals in extracts. Plus, putting cannabis material in ice water and then filtering it is an extremely safe process. Currently available on their website, the Model E5703 can process over 1lb of plant material per hour and has been designed to comply with existing FDA standards. They are yet to release detailed information on the results of their experimentation, but the technique holds promise for small scale extraction and could potentially be scaled up to process more material.
The Eberbach Model E5703. Image credit: Eberbach.
The price: approximately $13,500
|Does not require harmful solvents||Methodology still in development|
|Very easy to use||Scalability unknown|
|No dangerous chemicals or equipment required||No public data available to prove efficacy|
|Cheap to run||Ice water extraction is non-specific|
|Suitable for small scale operations||Water-based extraction can be slow|
Cannabis extraction equipment
As this industry grows, so will the equipment options for extraction. These advances will probably go across the kinds of extraction processes, and the connection between extraction and analytical testing could also see improvement. Even with the best equipment, though, only skilled operators can produce the intended results. So, training operators as needed should always be performed in any company to guarantee results.
7 Leading Cannabis Extraction Machines
For businesses across the spectrum of the cannabis industry, extracts are in high demand. Innovation has led to a wide range of new cannabis and hemp products available for retail, and smart entrepreneurs are thinking strategically about the extraction equipment they use in their operations. According to Headset , vape pens alone accounted for nearly 25 percent of overall industry sales in the first quarter of 2022. As the industry continues to expand and innovation persists, businesses with the right extraction equipment will be more capable of meeting the evolving marketplace’s demands.
3 Methods of Extraction
As with any significant purchase, smart businesses develop a comprehensive understanding of their options before making any investment. There are three main methods of extraction used to create high-quality hash. When the processes are conducted correctly, they all produce a final product without any leftover solvent residue. However, each method maintains its own appeal.
Ethanol extraction is a popular method because of its versatility; it can produce several different cannabinoid derivatives. This may be ideal for craft processors creating high-end exploratory products or large-scale labs working to isolate specific terpenes or cannabinoids. Ethanol extraction processes must be conducted in C1D1 or C1D2 conditions because it involves volatile, flammable substances. This means the layout of an ethanol extraction lab must be designed and outfitted according to strict government regulations. A big selling point for ethanol extraction is its solid ROI and cost-effective operation. Ethanol is recoverable and reusable over multiple cycles, making the process easily scalable and financially responsible for many operators.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extraction uses pressurized supercritical CO2 to lift cannabinoids from cannabis and hemp biomass. Unlike ethanol, CO2 is not volatile as a solvent and is commonly used to produce essential oils. Manufacturers of medicinal products may be drawn to CO2 extraction to ensure their extracts are safe for consumers with compromised immune systems. CO2 extraction is also an appealing option for those creating vape products and other concentrates. Using CO2 helps maintain the flavor profiles of the strain during the extraction process because it preserves fragile terpenes.
Solventless extraction uses heat, pressure, ice, or water to extract cannabinoids from plant matter. With the rapid development of cannabis processing technology and the consumers’ overwhelming demand for “clean” products, solventless extraction has grown in popularity. According to Headset , solventless products are contributing to the overall rise of the concentrated cannabis sector despite their relatively high retail price. It is worth noting that some common cultivars, like OG Kush, do not perform as well in solventless extraction.
If you’re researching your next major extraction equipment purchase, consider some of the following leading options for ethanol, C02, and solventless systems designed for the cannabis industry.
Apeks Supercritical Duplex
The Apeks Duplex is a CO2 system optimized for both subcritical and supercritical processing. Using a continuous batch operation system and featuring multiple separator cups, the Duplex can process up to 180 pounds of dried botanical material per day. Its closed-loop system recovers 95 percent of the CO2 for efficient extraction of oils without thermal degradation. There are no decompression valves in this system, meaning operators never have to worry about clogs. Its open-frame design and visual indication of valve positions enable easy configuration. The Duplex can be fully automated with its integrated chiller control, ability to interface with SQL databases, and data collecting control panel.
Delta Separations VTS-50
Delta Separations recently launched its solventless extractor, the VTS-50 , using cold-water mechanical separation techniques for producing ice-water hash. A two-person team can output up to 33 pounds of dry hash per day, with options for manual operations or automated functions. The VTS-50 uses crossflow vortex agitation with customizable ranges to separate trichomes in water as suspended undissolved solids. Once this water and trichome mix is separated from the remaining biomass, it’s easy to filter, separate, collect, and dry the product for use in high-quality, light-colored hash. The machine is also easy to clean, UL certified, and comes with comprehensive customer support.
Eden Labs Hi-Flo FX2
Eden Labs’ Hi-Flo FX2 is a powerful closed-loop CO2 extractor with the ability to process over 100 pounds of biomass in a single day. This system’s automation software collects valuable data for research and development, offers rich analysis for pilot programs, and provides industrial output evaluation. The Hi-Flo FX2 features an electric pump for quiet and dependable operations, no internal moving parts for seamless operations, and fast terpene capture with an advanced oil integrity cup design. Eden Labs also offers onsite installation and training, and they guarantee operator certification in two days. With the available Self-Sufficiency Kit, it’s easy to keep the system operating at peak performance over the long run.
This CO2 extractor is a versatile cold trap available for terpene and vapor recovery in pre-extraction decarboxylation processes. Decarboxylation of the biomass using vacuum ovens is performed before CO2 extraction, increasing the efficiency and accuracy of terpene captures. Depending on biomass moisture, ExtraktLAB’s terpTRAP can handle 10 tons per day. Its heat exchanger is capable of 20 tons of heat exchange capacity and features process connections to support chilling, vacuum, and condensates produced by the largest decarboxylation processes. Using the vacuum distillation method collects terpene vapors for high-quality products and makes biomass more liquid-soluble. The terpTRAP is UL certified, GMP compliant, and accommodates full-spectrum terpene recovery.
GreenBroz 420 Alchemist
With GreenBroz 420 Alchemist Trichome Extractor, businesses can turn their trim into high-quality kief, ideal for producing profitable solventless extracts. The 420 Alchemist, with an eight cubic foot capacity, yields 15 to 25 percent by weight through their standard 180-micron screens that can be used with or without dry ice. It is also incredibly simple to operate; with just one adjustable timer dial to turn, the operator can lock the trim, unlock the tumbler, and set the timer for seamless functionality. The whisper-quiet motor spins the trim chamber at 20 revolutions per minute, and its surgical grade steel design is easy to clean and food-grade certified. GreenBroz American-made products come with a three-year warranty and boast customizable compatibility with almost any system for post-harvest automation.
C-40 Centrifugal Extractor
Precision Extraction C-40 Centrifugal Extractor
Precision Extraction is a branch of Agrify, the vertically-integrated cannabis solutions provider, that creates top-of-the-line ethanol extractors for businesses of all sizes. The C-40 is designed for mid- and large-scale volumes with C1D1 compliance and PSI certification. In a 10 to 20-minute cycle, the C-40 can process up to 40 pounds of biomass. The low-temp configuration features multi-function jacketed housing that supports either liquid coolant or vacuum insulation. With impressive efficiency and accuracy, the C-40 removes 98 percent of cannabinoids from biomass and removes 97 percent of solvents from final products. Precision Extraction knows that its machinery is a big investment for any business, and offers financing options to make acquisition fast, easy, and economical.
Pure Pressure Pikes Peak Rosin Press
Pure Pressure has created a rosin press that is lauded by many in the cannabis industry. The solventless extractor can process up to 3.75 pounds of flower or over seven pounds of dry sift or hash per day. The aluminum heat plate assemblies feature independent thermocouples which evenly distribute heat and ensure temperature accuracy. Each Pikes Peak Rosin Press includes two sets of orientation legs, so the machine can operate vertically or horizontally. Pure Pressure’s custom intuitive software, called Pressware, enables incredible control, consistency, and the ability to save up to 29 pre-set recipes for consistency across markets and suppliers. To guarantee customer satisfaction, Pure Pressure offers a two-year warranty and professional end-user support.