How to Buy the Dry Bud Trimmer That’s Right For You

Growing & Harvesting |

Are you ready to revolutionize how you trim with a shiny, new, high-capacity, dry bud trimmer? Great! You’re smart to be doing some research too. Purchasing one is a big, complex decision because your new trimmer will need to fit your operation for years to come—not just now.

So, you’ve decided to trim dry, not wet. That means you’re shooting for top-quality product over speed. Drying and curing pre-trim will indeed retain terpenes. But a quality industrial cannabis trimmer is a “must” for enacting that plan and keeping your trichomes intact. There are lots of good machines on the market. So, which one is right for you?

If you’re not familiar with industrial bud trimmers—or if you’re only familiar with one design—it makes sense to take the long view before buying. There are numerous dry trimmers, all promising the best results, but the best results will vary with how you use the machine and what your goals are.

Read this post for a quick synopsis of the things to consider when buying a dry trimmer—whether it’s a Triminator machine or not!

Through-put or Batch Trimming?

Conveyor-style or through-put trimmers send your bud through one or more barrel-rolling trimming chambers and out the other end. On some models, an actual conveyor belt speeds things along. These designs are known for their speed, and they lend themselves to assembly line-style trimming and workflow.

Depending on your staffing, “assembly line-style” might be your preference. It takes three or four people to keep up with a through-put trimmer, which can be either or good or a bad thing. It’s quick, but you need a larger staff to keep up pace. Through-put trimmers also require extra attention because the bud often needs to be run through the machine two or three times.

“Batch” trimmers come in two versions. There are tumbler batch trimmers—like we design here at Triminator— and rotating batch trimmers. Rotating batch trimmers use a grate of blades on top of a stationary blade. This design yields a quality trim, but there’s a lot of metal-on-metal movement. The friction creates heat, and heat creates stickiness. Because of this rotating trimmers need to be cleaned as often as every 30 minutes.

At Triminator, we design tumbler trimmers for their simplicity and ease of use. Load it in, set the timer, take it out. Our pivoting design lets you load from the top of the tumbler and unload with the tumbler facing downward. Like through-put designs, these machines are fast. Their runtimes range from 3 to 12 minutes depending on the bud’s density, calyx-to-leaf ratio, and the closeness of the trim you desire.

Batch trimmers allow flexibility in your staffing and workflow. There’s no constant output to keep pace with, and our customers report that one person can effectively operate the Triminator dry machines—and package in bulk at the same time. Ultimately, “batch-style versus through-put” is a matter of taste and workflow preference, but we appreciate batch trimming.

Trim Quality

An industrial cannabis trimmer is only as good as its final product. Speed, upfront cost, and staffing logistics all fall by the wayside if you can’t get the high quality, nicely trimmed bud that you’re after.

To know that you’re getting what you want out of your next trimmer, it’s best to see it in action and try it yourself. There are plenty of videos online, but nothing beats hands-on experience. By renting a machine, you really know what you’re getting when you purchase. Renting gives you time to become a master operator and to understand what a machine can—and can’t—do with your strain.

And when comparing bud trimmers, we encourage our customers to take an objective, Pepsi Challenge-style approach. After using it, take your trimmed product to a lab and have it potency tested. You can compare Triminator dry trimmers to other bud trimmers that you’re considering purchasing—or compare it to hand trimming for that matter. A good trimmer should have minimal—if any—trichome loss. Expect a THC loss of less than 0.25% when using a Triminator dry trimmer—or no loss at all.

Speed and Sizing

Know how much machine to buy. With projected cycle times and weight capacities, you can calculate how much and how fast you can operate. Will your trimmer keep up with your harvest interval? If you’re harvesting in mass, the largest dry trimmer you’ll find on the market is the Triminator XL, which processes 60 pounds per hour. For those harvesting boutique crops, mini trimmers have gained a following for their convenience and versatility. One of our most popular models is the Triminator Mini Dry, which trims 2 to 5 pounds per hour.

Staffing and downtime play a role in speed too. If a “fast on paper” machine has a lot of downtime and cleaning tasks involved, it’s not necessarily faster. When maintenance tasks are factored in, you get the real speed of the machine, so capacity-per-shift rather than capacity-per-hour is actually a better measurement. That’s why Triminator’s designs minimize cleaning.

Maintenance and Cleaning

With great power comes great responsibility. Or so they say. Your next trimmer will bring a new world of speed, but you will have to slow down and care for it regularly. Buyers often overlook the cleaning and maintenance behind those high pound-per-hour numbers. Machines need care, and they all have scheduled “downtime.” So, for an honest comparison, you need to factor that in.

It probably won’t be just you operating your trimmer. Less qualified members of your staff will be taking a crack at it too, and they may not be so mechanically inclined.  We design our dry machines to be simple – or, as the engineering world likes to say, elegant. All maintenance and cleaning tasks can be done by hand in the field. You won’t need tools for disassembly, and operation is simple enough to be all but foolproof.

Triminator’s dry trimmers run cleaner than any other trimmer in the industry. That’s because our patented shearband cutting surface doesn’t create heat. Metal blades create significant friction during the cutting process. And because of that, they get hot. Then, they get sticky with trichomes and oils. Other trimmers typically need cleaning every hour or two; the Triminator Dry can go a full shift before a bath. And when it’s time for cleaning, the Triminator Dry is pressure washable.

What’s Your “Trim Style?”

Are you the hands-on type? If so, you’ll want your employees monitoring the trimming process and constantly adjusting for variables. It’s true —cannabis trimming is an art and bud shape does come into play.

Some machines lend themselves to adjusting mid-cycle—or rather, require that you adjust mid-cycle—to get the best results. Not to humble-brag too much, but we’ve found that quality control can still be great without all the adjustments. Yet some people still like to keep a closer eye on things, and we understand that too.

A Dry Trimmer is Not a Wet Trimmer

Trimming dry is a fundamentally different process than trimming wet. Dry material is more delicate, and the design strategies that worked for wet trimming may threaten dry bud. The process needs to be gentler in general, but there are some wet-trim design approaches that just don’t work for dry trimming.

Trimmers that use a vacuum to collect trim naturally create a mess when the trichomes are dry and looser. Airflow through the trimming chamber encourages the unfortunate exit of pollens—pollens that would otherwise hang around in the rolling mass of the buds. So, converting a “vacuum-design,” wet trimmer into a dry trimmer will affect product quality. Wet trimmers-turned-dry will likely have cleanliness issues too, because dry bud is more prone to stickiness when processed with friction-heated blades.

Ergonomics and Safety

The various trimmer designs all have their own pitfalls and workflow liabilities. It’s important to design around them. We believe that anytime you’re doing something repeatedly, the task should be easy and safe. So, we created our tilt-forward/tilt-backward trimmers for easy and surefire loading/unloading. Simply load from above, collect from below.

Any industrial equipment with moving parts should be operated carefully, and trimmers—while generally safe—are no exception. When it comes to safety, batch trimmers have a slight “edge” over conveyor style trimmers. They use shear bands rather than actual blades. The cutting mechanism is more akin to a pair of scissors than a knife.

On a tumbling trimmer, an enclosed trimming chamber prevents anything other than bud from coming into contact with the shear bands, whereas conveyor style systems may invite problems. On a rotating trimmer, the unit can be run with the top cover open, which, if you’re not careful of hair or fingers, could pose problems.

Remember that blades are a risk during maintenance and cleaning tasks too. Shear bands—like the Triminator’s—don’t pose as much of a hazard to personnel during cleaning.

Warranty and Customer Service

Your trimmer breaks. What do you do? Though we design against it, any system with moving parts can experience failure. Make sure your new trimmer has a warranty! At Triminator, we’ve got you covered for a full two years after your purchase. But it’s not just a two-year warranty; it’s full support.

If you have a problem with your Triminator machine, call us. Or you could take a picture of what’s going on and send it to us. If you need parts, we can often send them to you without you needing to send anything back. For any issue that we need to fix, we can get a new machine in the mail to you as soon as we have confirmation that yours is on its way back to us. Always feel free to give us a ring at (530) 265-4277 if you’re having issues.

Whichever trimmer you use, make sure to try it before buying. The final word on its effectiveness is whether it will work with your product, in the environment you will be using it, at your production volume, in the way that you want.

For a personal consultation on how a dry trimmer might fit your needs, contact us today.