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Best Cone-Filling Machines of 2023

Best Cone-Filling Machines of 2023

Posted by Custom Cones USA on Dec 13th 2023

First Published: August 16, 2022
Updated: December 13, 2023

Perhaps no product better epitomizes the modern cannabis industry better than the humble and ubiquitous pre-roll.

Designed as a mass-produced, consistent and consumer package goods version of the hand-rolled joint, the pre-roll has evolved to become a standard in a business that has gone from hiding in basements to become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative industries in the world.

Today, the market share for pre-roll joint cones continues to grow with sales seeing a 12% year-over-year growth in the United States in 2022 and a 38% year-over-year growth over the same period in Canada, where it is poised to surpass flower as the top sales category segment in the country. Led by new innovations like infused pre-rolls and mixed strain pre-rolls, the category continues to lead the way into the future.

As it has grown and evolved with the market, pre-roll machines have had to keep pace, evolving and changing with the industry and the product they produce. From tabletop bumpboxes to modern, automated pre-roll infusing machines, there are now pre-roll machines for every level of production, each with their own pros, cons and nuances that have to be taken into consideration to find the one that’s right for you and your business.

Pre-Roll Machine types

The first decision any cannabis business looking to get into the pre-roll game has to make is to decide what kind of machine is best for their needs. The two main considerations when choosing a cone-filling machine are electronic vs non-electronic and tabletop versus fully automated. Finally, pre-roll manufacturers need to consider whether or not their machines can fill pre-roll cones, tubes or both forms.

The basic difference is how the cannabis material is packed into your pre-rolls. There are pre-rolled cone fillers with no moving parts or electricity, which rely on you thumping the device up and down with your arms, like the Bumpbox or the Fast Fill series (which also can be used with an optional electronic vibration table). An electric cone-filling machine, on the other hand, uses either a series of vibrations or up and down motions in order to help the cannabis settle and pack into the pre-rolls evenly.

Fill and Fold Fill and Fold
Hummiongbird Hummingbird
Perfect Pack Perfect Pack
The Revolver The Revolver

But even within electronic machines, the type of motion is not equal though, as the up and down, motor-driven packing of a pre-roll filling machine the King Kone offers is naturally going to get a tighter pack than a vibrating platform machine like the Fast Fill or knockbox-style machine. Electronic machines, while usually a more expensive investment, allow for quicker production runs and cut down on labor requirements and also create a more consistently high-quality pre-roll by removing the possibility of user differences from cone to cone.

Tabletop machines are just what they seem: pre-roll filling machines that are small enough to fit on a table. Whether electronic or not, they are an excellent first foray into pre-roll manufacturing, providing multiple options for users with minimal investment.

Automated pre-roll machinery usually requires a larger investment, as well as more floor space, but are able to produce more pre-rolls faster. Automated pre-roll filling machines are best for brands that are already established and need to increase their capacity in a scalable way. Automated pre-roll machines are also a great option for startups who know that the future of pre-roll production is automated pre-roll machines and want to stay one step ahead of other pre-roll manufacturers; however, automated pre-roll machines require extreme consistency and do not handle super sticker flower as well as table top electronic pre-roll machines.

Non-electronic pre-roll machines

The simplest and smallest machines are non-electric tabletop pre-roll cone-filling machines, like the Buddies Bumpbox, a simple styrofoam box with holes designed to hold pre-roll cones, or the Fast Fill series. Users simply fill a pre-measured amount of flower into the top of the box and then, well, manually bump the box against a table to pack the flower into the cones.

The Fast Fill series of pre-roll filling machines is a similar device that holds either 55 or 121 pre-roll cones, depending on the machine. Once the pre-roll cones are loaded into the cone cartridge and filled, the machine is simply banged on a table to pack the cannabis into the rolling cones. Unlike the Bumpbox, the Fast Fill can be used with an optional electric vibration table, which helps settle the cannabis down into the cones, but these cone fillers can also be used without the vibration table, as manual thumping is often required anyways and can create a better-packed pre-roll cone.

All pre-roll cone-filling machines have pros and cons. Among the pros of non-electronic machines is a low start-up cost. The Fast Fill, for example, complete with a full setup and extra cartridges, begins at less than $1,000. It comes in two sizes, the Fast Fill 55 and the Fast Fill 121 – which fill 55 and 121 pre-roll cones –per session, respectively, and is simple to use, requiring almost no training time for employees.

As for cons, the small size and mostly manual nature of the machines can lead to increased labor costs and smaller production runs and though the Fast Fill machines have an optional vibration table, the vibration it creates does not provide for as reliable a fill as an up-and-down packing motion you’d see in the King Kone pre-roll machine.

Electronic pre-roll machines

Electric cone-filling machines use a motor to either vibrate or shake the machine up and down in order to help the cannabis settle and pack into the pre-rolls evenly. But the difference between vibration-only and a motor-driven up and down motion is important. An up-and-down, motor-driven pre-roll packing machine like the King Kone is naturally going to get a tighter pack than a vibrating platform machine like the Fast Fill or knockbox-style machine. While electric machines are a more expensive investment than their non-electric counterparts, it is often offset by the reduction in labor costs of running manual machines, as well as in the higher quality pre-rolls that can be produced with these types of cone filling machines.

The King Kone machine provides the best of both worlds. It is a tabletop machine that takes up very little room, but unlike similar machines, includes an adjustable motor that provides the up-and-down bounce to perfectly pack up to 169 cones at a time. It is perfect for both small and large farms, as its modular design is very friendly for assembly line manufacturing processes.

Compared to other pre-roll machines, the metal King Kone is solid and heavy-duty, leading to better overall filling. However, this model is still extremely versatile, easy to use and budget-friendly, starting at less than $1,700.

The King Kone pre-roll machine comes with several attachments, so it can pack half-gram 84mm pre-rolled cones, 3/4 gram 98mm pre-rolled cones, and 1 gram 109mm king-sized pre-rolled cones right out of the box - no extra attachments required. All you have to do is set up the proper cone filling trays, load the cones, and start filling the top tray with your ground flower.

The King Kone is also versatile and can be used to fill pre-roll tubes as easily as pre-roll cones and it’s low price means that scaling up often just involves buying a second or third unit.

The oldest pre-roll filling machine is, of course, the Knockbox. The Knockbox, which comes in multiple sizes from 50-500, uses vibration to help pack pre-roll cones. Its ubiquity in the early era of the cannabis industry means that almost all longtime industry workers have some experience with a Knockbox, which often means less training time for employees.

However, the Knockbox has its downsides. It is expensive, for example, starting at more than $4,200 for the smallest model. It also uses glass tubes that break easily and often in a fast-paced environment. Plus, unlike the cone trays of the King Kone, the glass tubes that hold the pre-roll papers are not tapered, so pre-roll cones do not fit as snugly, creating a gap around the cone’s opening that can lead to spillage and wasted employee time in cleaning out excess flower spilled during the filling process.

Another popular electronic tabletop pre-roll cone filling machine is the Mini-Rocketbox, the smallest entry in the Rocketbox series. The Mini-Rocketbox is a small, vibration-based machine that can produce up to 143 pre-rolls per cycle. It includes a stronger packing mechanism than the Knockbox. It is also highly adaptable, able to fill standard 84mm, 98mm and 109mm pre-roll cones. It can also handle 70mm “dogwalker” mini cones, 98 mm "reefer" cones and 83mm cigarette-style tubes with the addition of special trays.

On the downside, however, is the cost, with the Mini-Rocketbox coming in at $6,600.

Another more economical pre-roll machine is the Fill N’ Fold. This durable cone filling machine comes with a powerful vibrating motor and a tamping tool designed to pack material tight into up to 121 pre-rolls at a time. The Fill N’ Fold comes with a tamping tool to fold the paper and produce a finish similar to the popular “Dutch crown” or “Dutch fold” flat-top finish.

The Fill N’ Fold comes with a metering tray of your preference so you can create 70mm, 84mm, 98mm,and 109mm pre-rolled cones. No matter which size you choose, you can fill, fold, and finish your pre-rolls in a matter of minutes. The Fill N’ Fold starts at $2,500 and is a more economical option than the Knockbox and other vibrating machines.

Large Electronic Pre-Roll Machines

While tabletop machines make an excellent starting point, manufacturers looking to produce larger quantities of pre-rolls also have choices when it comes to cone-filling machines.

The Rocketbox line of machines, for example, also comes in two larger units: The Rocketbox 2.0, capable of producing up to 453 pre-rolls per cycle, and the Rocketbox Pro, which essentially combines five Mini Rocketboxes into a single unit – each with individual controls – for a total production capacity of more than 3,000 pre-rolls at once, if all bays are in use.

Both units are made with stainless steel for durability and easy cleaning and use the same vibration technology as the Mini. The Rocketbox 2.0 also features an easy-to-use video interface screen with built-in training videos. The Pro, with its multiple bays and independently controlled stations, allows for the production of multiple types of prerolls – from size differences to multiple strain types – at the same time and is designed for large producers and white labelers.

Both machines, however, come with hefty price tags. The 2.0 checks in more than $18,500 while the Pro costs just under $50,000.

One of the newer pre-roll filling machines, The Hummingbird PR-1 Pre-Roll System, eschews vibration entirely in favor of using centrifugal force to fill pre-roll cones. The spinning motion used by the Hummingbird helps pack higher-density material near the crutch and a looser density of material near the top with a smooth gradient throughout the cone in order to provide a more consistent burn. Remarkably, you can even hold the filled cone upside down without twisting it and no flower falls out.

Designed, built and used by successful pre-roll manufacturers, the machine can pack dozens of cones in every 60-second cycle, using specially designed, color-coded pods of various size to hold pre-roll cones or pre-roll tubes of different lengths, from dogwalker mini-cones to 109mm king cone pre-rolls and, using different pods, tubes up to and including 2-gram blunt tubes. The pods make for a quick and accurate metering system that add to the versatility of the Hummingbird, and with the ability to run multiple pods at the same time, you can pack multiple cone or tube sizes at the same time.

While more expensive than the King Kone, at $15,000 the Hummingbird is still a value for businesses looking to scale up production.

Automated Pre-Roll Machines

Fully automated pre-roll machines are the ideal solution for large brands looking for total automation for their pre-roll production process. Automated pre-roll machines can take boxes of cones, ground cannabis and automatically fill, weigh, pack, tamp, twist, cut off any excess paper and even weigh the final joint, delivering a level of consistency and automation unmatched by traditional pre-roll manufacturing methods.

Automated pre-roll machines can typically produce between 1,000 and 2,000 pre-rolls per hour depending on the size and level of automation. Pre-roll machines like this can autonomously run for hours with minimal human supervision, potentially creating labor savings and freeing up employees to package the pre-rolls or finish other projects.

There are cons to automated pre-roll filling machines, however. First, the cost can often be prohibitive for smaller operations. Additionally, they can be incredibly finicky. Machines are designed to operate in a uniform and repeatable fashion, but as an input, cannabis is anything but uniform. Automated pre-roll machines are simply not as flexible and forgiving as tabletop pre-roll machines like the King Kone. Different strains – and even different harvest of the same strain – vary greatly in stickiness and density and the changeover from one strain to another can take time because recalibration may be needed, taking your pre-roll production offline during the process.

For more information on finding the automated pre-roll filling machine to fit your needs, click here.

At Custom Cones USA, we’ve done the research on automated pre-roll filling machines so you don’t have to. We offer multiple automated pre-roll filling machines, from the Automated pre-Roll Pro and the Automated Pre-Roll Lite to an Automated cigarette-making machine and even an automated dutch crown machine.

We also offer automated grinders, sifters and twisting machines to further help you scale your pre-roll business.

Each machine comes with pros and cons, depending on the number of pre-rolls you are looking to produce and the amount of space you can dedicate to each machine. Contact the Pre-Roll Experts today to learn more about what how you can automate your pre-roll production and to schedule an in-person or virtual demo of our selection of machines

Automated Infused Pre-Roll Machines

Automation can also help pre-roll manufacturers break into the fastest-growing segment of the pre-roll market, infused pre-rolls. Featuring a combination of ground flower and a concentrate, infused pre-rolls carry the higher potency consumers search for with the comfort and convenience of a traditional pre-roll. And as markets mature and prices for flower drop, the cost of producing these premium items continues to drop while still commanding a premium price at retailers. Sales have skyrocketed in recent years with the segment growing 22% in the U.S. and a massive 1426% in Canada in 2022, quickly becoming more than 50% of all pre-roll sales.

While the simplest infused pre-roll can be made by hand-painting oil on the outside of cone and rolling it in kief, new machinery is making infused pre-rolls easier to produce. Some automated pre-roll making machines can now handle flower that has already been infused with a concentrate while others are designed to inject a concentrate core through the center of a traditional pre-roll, boosting the value and price point while reaching a new, growing market.

As the cannabis industry grows, the pre-roll sector continues to grow with it and no matter how big your cannabis business is, pre-rolls are must-have in your product line. Choosing the right machine to meet your needs is not always easy, but knowing the pros and cons of each can help ensure you find the right pre-roll filling machine to meet your needs.

It's time once again for our annual round-up of the best joint-rolling machines.