Ultimate 2022 Guide to the Best Small Pre-Roll Machines

Why a Use a Pre-Roll Machine?

The rise of automated and semi-automated pre-roll machines have made a huge impact in the cannabis production arena the past few years. Previously, if you wanted to produce joints in high volumes, in the tunes of hundreds or even a thousands a day, it was a tedious manual process requiring a dedicated army of personnel from dusk till dawn loading, filling, packing and carefully closing each pre-roll by hand. Automated pre-roll machines simplify the process by filling and packing dozens of pre-rolls at once maximizing production efficiency and capacity.

With the rise of small and large filling and packing machines, the process of meeting large production pre-roll demands is now a reality. These joint filling machines typically fill between 50 and 500 pre-rolls at a time and are efficient, fast and cost effective, saving you time and reducing labor costs. The return on investment (ROI) is usually achieved in a matter of weeks, making them a great investment for your operation.

What is a Pre-Roll and How Are They Made?

A pre-roll is another name for a marijuana or hemp joint which is smoked. Ground cannabis is packed into various types of paper cones. Instead of using straight cigarette style papers, joints use paper cones where the top is wider than the bottom. The filter or crutch is the part you draw from and hold onto during smoking.

Joints used to be rolled by hand or in other ways manually until the Futurola Knockbox 100 came onto the scene and changed the game forever. Instead of having a line of employees manually making joints, the Knockbox could do 100 in a few minutes.

What Type of Business Would Use a Compact Pre-Roll Machine?

  • Smaller cannabis production facilities looking to do a few hundred pre-rolls a week.
  • Retail and medical cannabis dispensaries who produce their own joints in-house.
  • Large cannabis production facilities looking to do smaller boutique runs.
  • Individuals who like to smoke a lot of weed.

How to Select a Compact Pre-Roll Machine?

The best way to select a pre-roll machine is to first decide on your budget and your needs. Choose a joint rolling machine which will meet your production goals while also keeping in mind any future growth and expansion which might happen.

Manual systems such as the Buddie’s Bump Box, Thousand Per Hour and even the Knockbox are designed for light duty production. If you have the staff and your goal is to make a few hundred a day, any one of those machines will probably suffice.

However, if you want to scale and grow your production output, you will need to consider a commercial grade machine at some point. A machine such as the Mini-RocketBox Plus is considered a commercial grade pre-roll machine which is durable and can handle the rigorous demands of your production if that is your goal. This type of machine is good quality, sturdy and reliable which will last a long time. The Mini-RocketBox can run continuously if needed.

How Much Do Compact Pre-Roll Machines Cost?

Smaller pre-roll machines vary in price and tend to range between $2500-6000. The difference in price can vary greatly and typically the higher priced machines use superior grade components and have a higher capacity per cycle.

A cycle is defined as a single run in a given machine. When comparing costs, consider what you are getting in the base packages with your machines. These machines are generally part of a larger system and the extras can add up making the lower priced machine not so cost effective.

How Do Compact Pre-Roll Machines Work?

All pre-roll machines use some type of tray or loading system to place the blank cones. They also use some type of vibration mechanism during the filling process. Generally, they all work by pouring your material onto the machine as it is running or something similar.

The Futurola Knockbox uses a tamping system which bounces the cones up and down while lightly tapping the crutches of the papers during filling.

The Thousand Per Hour is lightweight and comes with a tray to hold the cones and a fill funnel to pour your material in.

The Mini-RocketBox Plus uses a more sophisticated vibration system consisting of nitrogen filled airbags and a powerful variable vibration motor. No tamping or touching the cones. The cones free-float in the trays as they vibrate, fill and pack.

How Many Pre-Rolls Can a Compact Machine Make?

The Knockbox can fill either 50 or 100 cones every 2 or so minutes depending on which machine you get. The machines and trays are not interchangeable and you need to purchase separate machines to do either size.
The Thousand Per Hour 128 can fill 128 cones in a few minutes. You can use standard trays or buy custom size trays which makes this machine quite versatile. It is super light and portable.

The Mini-RocketBox Plus can fill 143 pre-rolls in 30-45 seconds. There is also an option to purchase the new Mini-50 tray to do smaller runs of 50 with the same machine. Unlike the Knockbox, you only need 1 machine to do either 143 or 50 depending on how small or how large a run you need. The Mini-RocketBox weighs about 35 pounds.

How Portable are these Compact Pre-Roll Machines?

The KnockBox is mostly plastic and weighs just a couple of points. The Thousand Per Hour is a combination of stainless steel and plastic and weighs about 10 pounds. The Mini-RocketBox is constructed of mostly stainless steel and aluminum, along with commercial components and weighs around 35 pounds.

Do Pre-Roll Machines Make Good Joints?

Pre-roll machines generally do make good quality joints providing you are using good quality papers, have the proper grind size and are using good quality flower.

What is the Best Grind for a Pre-Roll?

The best grind is one that is not too fine or powder like or too coarse with stems and seeds. If your grind is too fine (powder like), then your joints will overfill and not have a good smoking experience as it will be difficult to pull through a densely packed pre-roll.

Conversely, a course joint may have air pockets and weak necks causing an uneven burn and equally poor smoking experience. Grinders such as the Futurola Shredders can get the job done quickly. If you want to take more care with your grinding, the STM Revolution cannabis grinders are known for their low heat, low friction grinding technology to preserve your precious terpenes and cannabinoids. This comes at a higher price, however, the results are worth it to some producers.

What Are the Best Pre-Rolled Paper Cones to Use in a Pre-Roll Machine?

There are a variety of pre-rolled cone paper types and sizes. Most common are organic or bio-organic (hemp), regular classic brown hemp and white rice or flax type papers. The typical sizes are 84mm (½ gram), 98mm or 98 Specials, and 109mm or King Sized. Crutch sizes vary, however most standard cones use a 26mm crutch though you will also find 20mm, 30mm and everything in between.

Raw and Elements brand papers are the most common and have been around the longest. Raw papers date back to the 1990’s and are the most well known brand in the world. There are several other good papers available from The Rolling Paper Company, Hara Supply and Custom Cones.

What Type of Pre-Rolls are Popular in 2022?

Pre-roll sales have been steadily rising into 2022 and the data shows 50% growth over 2020 even despite Covid-19. Joints of all types and sizes are popular including your typical pre-roll, infused pre-rolls and the growth and rise in CBD hemp pre-roll.

Production facilities which diversify and offer several pre-roll options for sale will need to use some type of automated pre-roll machine to maximize production efficiencies.

How Fast are Small Compact Pre-Roll Machines?

Using a pre-roll machine is much faster than rolling by hand. The Futurola Knockbox fills and packs 50 or 100 (depending on which model you have) in about 2 minutes. The Mini-RocketBox Plus with the 50 or 143 tray fills and packs in roughly 30-45 seconds.

How Accurate are Small Compact Pre-Roll Machines?

Most are fairly accurate like the Futurola KnockBox and Thousand Per Hour 128. Sometimes, fairly accurate is not close enough, as some states and countries such as Canada have strict requirements for pre-roll weights. The Mini-RocketBox can fill and pack with accuracy variance within 10% or less.

What sets the Mini-RocketBox Plus apart from the others is that it utilizes a proprietary Lift Plate to level out the cones during filling and an Adjustable Top Tray to regulate fill volume into the cones. Both of these enhancements allow the Mini-RocketBox to produce results with accuracy.

Furthermore, the Mini-RocketBox can even control the vibration motor speed to get that targeted pack. The Mini-RocketBox is so much more versatile and able to hit the weights you require with no pre-weighing of material, saving your much time in the process.

What is the Best Way to Close or Fold Pre-Rolls?

The best way to close joints is actually a personal preference.  Closing your joints properly can impact the smoke of the joint. Poorly packed joints may not pull properly or you can have “canoeing” which is uneven burning.

Some people like to twist the ends so they have something to light when smoking. The best overall method is the the dimple or fold method. This allows you to tightly (but not too tightly) pack the joint while dimpling the end. This allows the joint to burn more evenly (no canoeing) and looks much cleaner. Check out this video which shows you how to do the typical twist close and the cool dimple method.

What is the Best Small Pre-Roll Machine?

The Futurola Knockbox 100 has been the standard go to pre-roll machine for years. It is quite capable of filling 100 joints a time but not under constant use. It was not made for that purpose. It is a light-medium duty machine. Likewise, the Thousand Per Hour 128 is a light and capable machine for those on a budget.

If you are seeking a machine which is fast and efficient but also built to be a workhorse, look no further than the Mini-RocketBox which is the best bang for your buck.

The Mini-RocketBox is the absolute best compact pre-roll machine for these reasons:

  • The Mini-RocketBox Plus is made of stainless steel and aluminum so it is durable.
  • The Mini-RocketBox Plus only uses food grade materials and is OSHA compliant.
  • The Mini-RocketBox Plus uses industrial grade components and is the only true compact commercial joint rolling machine.
  • The Mini-RocketBox Plus is faster and fills a larger capacity at 143 in 30-45-seconds.Check out the STM Canna’s YouTube playlist for the 45-Second Challenge where people who have never operated the Mini-RocketBox fill and pack 143 joints in 45 seconds!
  • The Mini-RocketBox Plus is more versatile and accurate with a variable motor speed control, Adjustable Top Tray to regulate fill volume and Lift Plate to level cones for accurate filling. The optional 50 tray adds to this versatility.
  • Finally, the Mini-RocketBox Plus is faster than any other machine available. It is also the simplest to use – just load empty cones, add material (no pre-weighing necessary) and in 45 seconds or less, you will have 143 accurately filled pre-rolled cones.

Furthermore, the Mini-RocketBox Plus improves greatly upon 2019’s Mini-RocketBox in areas speed, quality of pack and accuracy of weights. The Plus model adds the adjustable Top Tray, the Lift Plate leveling technology and is twice as fast.

At $6000, the Mini-RocketBox Plus is light years ahead of the competition for the reasons above. Once you add the 1-year warranty backed by a superior STM Client Services support team, there is only one clear choice – The Mini-RocketBox Compact Pre-Roll Machine is the best pre-roll machine in 2022.

Related Posts



  • The RocketBox 2.0’s user-friendly design easily fills & packs more efficiently with accurate weights than the competition.
  • RocketBox 2.0 is twice as fast as the original and up to 7x faster than our competitors.
  • User-Friendly software measures target weights using a built-in density calculator with one-touch repeatable results.
  • Exclusive Adjustable Top Tray and Lift Plate technology improves fill rate and accuracy.
  • Comprehensive 1-year parts & labor warranty with optional extended warranty to double production.

The RocketBox commercial pre-roll machine is designed with durability in mind and is engineered with industrial grade components and food grade materials. We have clients who have produced millions of pre-rolls using the RocketBox without incident.

Our RocketBox product is built to last and will become an asset for your cannabis facilities for many years to come.

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