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Hemp Flower: Buying Hand-Trimmed vs. Machine-Trimmed

Jar of Wild Hemp Brand Hemp Flowers

Hemp flower gives us the ability to enjoy the hemp plant’s many properties in its most natural form. These raw, unprocessed flower buds are rich in cannabinoids, terpenes, and other valuable compounds that can offer a multitude of desirable effects to our daily lives.  But, your experience with hemp flower largely depends on which specific product you buy.

Hemp flower, also known as “CBD flower”, comes in a wide selection of options including different strains, and the choice of loose buds or pre-rolls.  But, we’re going to be focusing on another factor that rarely gets attention, which is the difference between hand-trimmed and machine-trimmed

Why is Hemp Flower Trimmed in the First Place?

When we think of hemp flower, we imagine farmers plucking the flowering buds off of the hemp plant and placing them directly into a pouch or container.  But the reality is that there are a few steps that take place in-between that elevate the quality of the final product.  One of the very last steps is trimming the buds, and this is a fairly time-consuming process.

Trimming is done in order to shape the buds and remove the leaves and stems.  These leaves and stems aren’t good sources of the compounds that people seek out such as CBD, and therefore they should be discarded.  Also, trimming the buds into a uniform shape and size means that they will cure evenly and reduce the risk of mold and mildew that can affect the plant material.

As you can imagine, trimming each individual bud of the hemp plant by hand involves a lot of work, and so it’s not surprising that the industry has developed new ways to execute this process without relying on manual labor.


Hand-trimming obviously predates machine trimming, and was, up until recently, the only way to produce uniform hemp flower buds.  It simply involves using a pair of trimmers to trim each individual bud down to the desired shape and size, and then discard the unwanted plant material such as the stems and leaves. 


  • Hand-trimming is favored by traditionalists who view the hand-trimming process as a sign of fine craftsmanship and care.
  • Hand-trimming offers more control over each and every bud’s shape and size, and can ensure more perfect results due to its level of precision.
  • Hand-trimming allows buds to be trimmed in a way that enhances their natural traits, such as making certain buds appear fluffier, or emphasizing a specific shape and structure that makes a particular strain unique.
  • Hand-trimming allows each bud to be thoroughly inspected by human eyes for quality.
  • Hand-trimming only removes the undesirable parts of the buds, while machine-trimming indiscriminately cuts off pieces of the flower.
  • Hand-trimming employs more individuals who wish to start a career in the hemp market, and many trimmers can move onto more lucrative tasks in the industry.


  • Hand-trimming is extremely time-consuming, and because of that, companies must pay more money for this type of labor.


The fairly recent success of the hemp industry has meant that farmers and manufacturers have been able to develop more technologically advanced production methods to bring down costs and save time.  One innovation has been machine-trimming, which uses special equipment that can trim up to just under 20 pounds of buds per hour, as opposed to 1-3 pounds per day which is the average rate for hand-trimming.  Machine-trimming is surprisingly accessible to both big and small companies, with different machines existing on the market to handle different amounts of volume.


  • Obviously, the biggest advantage of machine-trimming is the amount of time that it saves. It allows companies to amp up their production by being able to produce higher volumes of trimmed buds each and every day.
  • As a result, machine-trimming saves companies money. They no longer have to pay workers to manually trim each bud by hand.
  • Because machine-trimming is such a faster process, there is less time during which flower buds are sitting around waiting to be trimmed, which decreases the chances of buds degrading due to exposure to harsh environmental factors, as well as the chances of them picking up contaminants.
  • The more uniform the buds, the more evenly they cure.
  • Machine-trimmed buds may be more affordable because the labor costs are lower.


  • With machine-trimmed buds, you may end up with buds that are so uniform that they appear generic, ridding each bud of its characteristics that make it unique and beautiful.
  • Machine-trimming reduces the amount of human attention that is given to each and every bud, which means that some less-than-ideal buds may pass through the inspection process and end up in the final product.

It’s important to point out that machine-trimming has come a long way since it first became used throughout the industry.  The machines that are currently employed are far better at preserving the distinctive traits of the buds without making them so uniform that they no longer have distinctive qualities that connoisseurs greatly appreciate.  Today, the average hemp enthusiast is far less likely to be able to tell the difference between hand-trimmed and machine-trimmed buds than ever before.

Hand-Trimmed or Machine-Trimmed? You Decide

What’s clear is that both hand-trimmed and machine-trimmed hemp flower buds have their pros and cons, and it’s reasonable for each individual to have a preference.  If you’re someone who loves the distinctive nature of each and every bud, and appreciates the craftsmanship found in the hemp industry, hand-trimmed buds may be for you.  If you care about uniformity and desire the most economical option, machine-trimming is probably going to appeal to you more.

The good news is that at BnB Tobacco, you can choose from a wide selection of hemp flower products that allow you to zero in on the method that you prefer.  While most of our customers do appreciate hand-trimmed buds, machine-trimmed buds do offer their advantages, and many companies that use machine-trimming methods are working with advanced equipment that still highlights the unique nature of each bud while cutting down on manufacturing costs. 

So, decide which method appeals to you and find it on our website.

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