​Pros & Cons of Pre-Roll Tubes - An Overview of the Pre-Roll Tube Packaging

​Pros & Cons of Pre-Roll Tubes - An Overview of the Pre-Roll Tube Packaging

Dec 31st 2019

These days there are many different ways to package your pre-rolls from custom cigarette boxes to child resistant slider boxes, however one mainstay of pre-roll packaging without a doubt is the humble but useful pre-roll tube.

What has made the pre-roll tube so attractive to cannabis companies is the low-cost, availability, and wide-selection of colors.

Another attractive point is that most cannabis consumers are familiar with the pre-roll tube and so there is no need for the budtender to explain how to open the dreaded and complicated child-resistant mechanism seen in other types of packaging.

Lastly the pre-roll tube has a multitude of branding options available such as pre-roll stickers, direct printing, and shrink wrap. This allows cannabis brands to customize the pre-roll tube to fit exactly with their brand.

So without further delay allow us to explain what exactly the pre-roll tube is.

What is a pre-roll tube?

A pre-roll tube is a cylinder shaped container meant to store pre-rolls while also keeping the joint fresh and secure. Generally pre-roll tubes are either made from polypropylene, a type of plastic, or glass.

The polypropylene pre-roll tubes are the more economic option for cannabis brands costing as little as 7 cents per tube. Most plastic polypropylene pre-roll tubes have the same opening mechanism - when you squeeze the sides of the container near the top - the lid will open. This comes with a satisfying popping sound which has led the industry to also calling pre-roll tubes, pop-top tubes.

Are pre-roll tubes child-resistant?

The strength required to pop open the pre-roll tube is what make the pre-roll tube child-resistant. However do make sure that the pre-roll tube is certified according to ASTM D-3475 standards.

This requires that the package is tested with 100 children under the age of 5. A passing grade requires that 85% of the 100 children are unable to open the pre-roll tube without a demonstration and 80% of the 100 children are unable to open the pre-roll tube with a demonstration.

Equally as important is that at least 90% of 100 adults between 50-70 years are able to open the pre-roll tube. We often see pre-roll tubes which are child-resistant but nearly impossible to open without extreme force.

You have to press the pre-roll tube against the table with your weight in order for the tube to open. Even worse is when you finally manage to open the pre-roll tube the hinge breaks and the lid falls off which means you can’t even store your joint for later use. It makes your pre-roll feel cheap.

All the pre-roll tubes we offer at Custom Cones USA are made in the USA and child resistant certified according to these standards. Not only are our pre-roll tubes child-resistant certified, they pass the requirements with flying colors. 98.5% of children are unable to open the pre-roll tube without a demonstration. 92.5% of children are unable to open the pre-roll tube with a demonstration. And 100% of adults are able to open the pre-roll tube.

Not only are our pre-roll tubes child-resistant and easy for adults to open. A lot of time was spent designing and testing the hinge on the lid of the pre-roll. The type of hinge used on pre-roll tubes is called a “living hinge” this means that the hinge which connects the lid to the body of the container is made from the same material.

Competitor pre-roll tubes often have a living hinge which is too brittle. This means the hinge will break easily. Our pre-roll tubes have a living hinge which can be opened and closed over 100 times!

This means the pre-roll tubes we offer are the perfect balance of enough resistance so that the pre-roll tube can be considered child-resistant while soft enough that any average adult can easily open and access their hard-earned pre-roll.

Plastic polypropylene pre-roll tubes come with other child resistant opening mechanisms such as the push and turn lid and align the arrows lid however these are less common due to being more expensive as compared with the industry standard pop-top pre-roll tube.

What sizes do pre-roll tubes come in?

Pre-roll tubes come in many different sizes with a variety of lengths and diameters. However there are some industry standard sizes when it comes to pre-roll tubes.

The standard diameter for a single joint pre-roll tube is a 16mm diameter. This allows ample room for the pre-roll to fit in the tube while still being slim enough to easily fit in the pocket.

Some standard lengths for pre-roll tubes are 90mm, 98mm, and 116mm. The 90mm pre-roll tube works well for 84mm pre-rolled cones also known as half-gram joints. We see a number of brands who will use the 90mm tube for a half-gram pre-roll offering which sits right next to the register at the dispensary. It can be nice for a dispensary to have a grab and go options which can easily be upsold to the customer as they check out their flower, concentrate or edible purchase.

The 98mm pre-roll tube works well for the 98mm pre-rolled cones also known as the three-fourth gram joint. This is a nice in-between size for those who think a half gram is too short and stubby and a king-size joint is too much.

Another option with the 98mm pre-roll tube is instead of putting one 98mm pre-rolled cone to put two 98mm reefer cones. The 98mm reefer cone is a slimmer version of the standard one and fits a half-gram as opposed to ¾ of a gram. This makes it a competitive offering as compared with the classic 1 gram king-size pre-roll. So for a similar price the customer can buy 2 half gram pre-rolls, oftentimes this is a more attractive offering as you get 2 joints instead of 1.

The 116mm pre-roll tube works well for the 109mm pre-rolled cone also known as the king-size or one gram joint. This is the most common single pre-roll pack in all dispensaries. A creative ideas with the 116mm pre-roll tube we have seen is including a mini-bud with the joint. This mini bud is a nice bonus for the customers pipe, bowl, or bong!

How can you custom brand the pre-roll tube?

There are three main ways you can custom brand the pre-roll tube; with a pre-roll tube sticker, direct printing on the tube or branded shrink wraps. The lowest cost option out of the three is the pre-roll tube sticker and the highest cost option would be direct printing onto the tube.

The pre-roll tube label is the most versatile option out of the three as you can customize the sticker in almost any way you want. The pre-roll sticker can be a half wrap label or a full wrap label around the pre-roll tube. You can die cut the sticker into unique shapes if you want a different look. The sticker can also be printed with several unique styles such as gold foil, embossing, spot-uv, soft touch and more!

The next option is direct printing on the tube. This can be achieved in several ways such as hot stamping or UV-printing. The small size of the container makes it quite tricky to get a full print on - it is possible but the cost will be higher than compared with pre-roll labels or shrink wrap on the pre-roll tube. Direct printing does however give the pre-roll tube a premium look which will impress your customers!

The last option is to shrink wrap the tube. The final look is premium and it also creates a tamper evident seal. However you will need to first invest in some equipment in order to pull it off. You will need a heat-shrink device, variable printer and purchase the MOQ requirement for custom shrink sleeves.

Are Pre-Roll Tubes smell proof? Are Pre-Roll Tubes airtight? Will Pre-roll Tubes keep the joint fresh?

The pre-roll tubes we offer here at Custom Cones USA has a plug seal to create a tight connection between the lid and the body of the tube. This will restrict most smell and air from seeping out of the pre-roll tube. This in turn will help to keep the pre-roll fresh and extend its shelf life.

Further the material the pre-roll tube is made from polypropylene, has a good to moderate moisture barrier as well as being highly resistant to absorbing moisture. The chemical properties of the propylene tube are helpful to keeping your pre-roll fresh.

You can further enhance the freshness of your pre-roll by including a moisture pack inside the pre-roll tube or adding a tamper evident heat shrink band around the lid.

Are pre-roll tubes good pre-roll packaging?

Ultimately you will have to decide for your brand whether the classic polypropylene pre-roll tube is a good fit for your brand. Below we summarize some of the pros & cons of pre-roll tubes.

PROS

  • Easy to Open - the pre-roll tube is easy to open and a familiar child-resistant packaging for most consumers. 90-95% of the time the customer will have no issue opening this type of package
  • Low Cost - pre-roll tubes are economical and readily available for cannabis brands to purchase
  • Helps Keeps Product Fresh - pre-roll tubes help to keep joints fresh and last longer on the store shelf
  • Relatively Smell Proof - pre-roll tubes help to keep smell inside the container allowing your customer to discreetly keep their pre-roll in their pocket or bag
  • Multiple Branding Options - you can brand your pre-roll tube in many ways from pre-roll labels to full shrink wraps. You can get the pre-roll tube to match your brand.

CONS

  • Can be bad quality - non US-made pre-roll tubes can be low quality, the issue being that some manufacturers will run the plastic injection machine too quickly in order to lower costs - this will not allow the propylene to properly form leading to uneven tubes which are harder to label and look unprofessional on the store shelf. 
  • Single-use plastic - A lot of brands in Cannabis want to be eco-friendly and move away from single-use plastic. For those looking for alternatives consider paper packaging.