For those of us into Hemp and Marijuana, there’s nothing like experimenting with your own plant material.
When I was growing up, decarbing your buds in an oven was pretty much the only option.
The problem? If you’re wanting to max out terpene or cannabinoid content you’ll need a machine designed for the purpose.
Below, I’ve checked out the best decarboxylation machines on the market in 2021, and with my 20+ years of growing my own stash, I’d like to hope I’m helping you avoid making an error when buying!
Here are the top picks if you’re in a hurry:
CBD & THC Activation
Alright, here’s a quick science lesson to get acquainted:
The decarboxylation of weed has been traditionally been accomplished by gently heating pre-ground buds from the Cannabis plant.
These buds are ground down to a semi-fine consistency in a conventional oven and then heated to approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit for around 45 minutes.
The problem is that, because of the variance of temperature settings, this method often results in underprocessing or overheating.
As a result, you end up with a product that’s either undercooked or one that has been overly-heated to the point where the THC content (and other cannabinoid compounds) has been destroyed.
In this traditional form, you also cannot control for maximizing terpene content.
Nowadays, this old school method is well – old school. If you’re after something optimal, you’re going to need a specific decarb device.
A modern Decarboxylation device offers you a high-tech option to determine, down to a single degree, the exact temperature necessary for decarbing.
This allows for the Isolation of more of the cannabinoids and terpenes that are appropriate and necessary to decarb marijuana produce the specific Cannabis products you intend to create.
Best Decarboxylation Machines For Cannabis 2021
1. Ardent Nova Decarboxylator
The Nova by Ardent is the Apple iPhone of decarboxylation machines. If you’re interested in the top-of-line machinery which does all the work seamlessly, then look no further.
Unlike other similar products that require you to negotiate their menu of temperature settings, the Ardent Nova allows you to decarboxylate herbs with the simple push of a button
- Easy to operate & easy to clean
- No grinding necessary
- Exterior remains cool when in use
- Probably don’t need all those features
The Nova is far superior, because you do not have to closely monitor the heat of the product throughout the entire heat and decarbing process, and the product doesn’t end up getting burned or charred.
Normally, the decarbing process may take hours of prep time, but this unit puts an end to that because it requires no prep time and requires no additional substances to get the job done.
The Nova stores easily on your counter and looks like a capped tumbler you might take to a football game. The unit only consists of four parts, all of which interface easily.
All you have to do is place your flower into the inner container, secure the cap, place it into the outer container, secure the outer cap, press the power button …and then just wait for the light to turn green. It couldn’t be simpler.
Although this model may emit some degree of herbal aroma during processing, it is not to a high enough degree that it should present a problem as far as discreet operation goes.
As a matter of fact, the company has since come out with an updated unit that effectively addresses the issue of aroma control and offers all of the same features, but it is at a higher price.
All in all, this unit gained the highest rating in this review because it had just about every feature that a consumer could ask for in regard to efficiency, ease of operation, appearance, storability, and safety.
2. Magical Butter Home Infusion Extractor Machine
The Magical Butter Machine is a multipurpose botanical extraction device that is basically an immersion blender combined with a heating element and a digital thermostat.
- Timing cycles are perfectly pre-set to produce perfectly consistent batches
- Easy to use, self-cleaning, and hardly requires any maintenance.
- Auto-Stir function removes the need to monitor the decarbing process constantly
- The unit’s handle is prone to breakage
- Minimum half-ounce of herbs to decarboxylate weed
This countertop unit stores easily so it won’t get in the way when not in use and can dramatically cut the lengthy preparation time that is necessary to decarboxylate Cannabis flower.
Meaning you can easily create a premium-grade Cannabis product like edibles cannabutter, infused oils, tinctures, lotions, and much more.
The Magic Butter Machine has 4 different temperature settings to heat and instigate the THC decarbing procedure: 54℃ / 130℉, 71℃/ 160℉, 88℃ / 190℉, and 104℃ / 220℉ that conform to the type of extraction that you want to perform.
This is useful if you want to preserve a specific cannabinoid(s)or terps, each of which has its own decarb temp!
The machine also outlines timing-related with the four different temperature settings to accommodate the product that you are planning to make:
- 1 hour – for oils
- 2 hours – for butter
- 4 hours – for tinctures
- 8 hours – for deeper and stronger flavors
As this unit’s microprocessor takes out most of the hassle and all of the guesswork involved in the decarbing of herbs, it’s perfect for someone looking to make edibles on autopilot.
It not only heats the machine to the exact temperature you need but also does much more by grinding, mixing, stirring, and establishing the proper moisture content.
Extracting the herbal essence necessary to create a base for many THC-based items for edible consumption or topical use.
What’s more, once the decarbing and extracting procedures have been completed, the Magical Butter Machine self-cleaning setting makes things a cinch to get back in order.
Simply fill the jug with warm water and a bit of liquid dish soap and let it go through the process. After that, just rinse it out, and it is ready for the next time you plan to decarboxylate herbs.
The only thing that kept the Magical Butter Machine out of the 4 star category was that it required more manual interaction than fully automated units.
Otherwise, the various items that it produced get high marks from the customers who own one.
3. Levo II
If you happen to be a person who is looking for both functionality and style in their decarb machine, checking out the Levo II is something that you might want to consider.
- Can be used for both decarbing and oil extraction
- Controllable from your smartphone
- 100 day risk free trial
- Stylish design for countertop display
- An expensive product
- Levo Customer service could be improved
The Levo II is a sleek unit that will fit in perfectly alongside virtually any appliance in your kitchen, including the oven that you may have once used to decarb your herb. They also come in 5 different colors to compliment your preferences.
As a second-generation upgrade to their original product, the Levo II offers an improved interface system and customized temperature control that allows you a way to determine the exact temperature that will be necessary for any decarb process.
It offers three separate settings:
One to dry the fresh herbs, the second to begin the dacarbing procedure using the activation feature, and another to infuse butter, oils, or edibles.
But, the unit can take a bit longer to complete the cycle than other units in the same class; in some cases, up to 2 hours.
On the more positive side, its reservoir features a ceramic-coated safety cup, a metal herb pod, and the option of several silicone accessories, all of which are dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
Nonetheless, at a retail cost of nearly $400.00, the Levo II is definitely at the top end of market prices, but this may not be an issue with those who are equally concerned about maintaining a well-coordinated color scheme in their kitchen.
Plus, it comes backed with a 3 year warranty and 100 day free trial!
Although it is stylish, the Levo II generally takes longer and is known to produce a greater degree of an herbal aroma than most similar units in its class.
So much so that in one online review, one customer indicated that it had been detected and mentioned by a neighbor living across the hallway…Naughty!
4. NugSmasher Decarboxylation Capsule
NugSmasher presses offer a fast and easy pathway to the efficient decarbing of raw marijuana flowers and are designed to interface with the OG line and larger models of NugSmasher machines.
- Very easy to use
- Not great for large batches
- Basic features
Simply add solventless rosin to the Rosin pot, which is comprised of a large nonstick food-grade container, and then add the herbs to be processed to the decarbing capsule.
Set the machine to one of the recommended times provided to convert the THCA or CBDA into the activated cannabinoids for tasty edibles and other goodies.
The compact NugSmasher decarb capsule is only 1.75” tall and measures 3” x 3.5” hexagonally and offers a less expensive way to economize without the purchase of a more sophisticated decarbing machine.
It is important to remember that the decarb capsule is designed to seal under pressure and requires sufficient time to cool down prior to opening after the decarbing procedure has been completed.
5. NugSmasher Mini Decarboxylation Capsule
The NugSmasher Mini Capsule is essentially the same decarb unit as their standard model, but with a slightly smaller processing capacity and an even lower price tag, which comes in under 100 bucks!
This unit is especially suitable for customers whose primary concern is a lower price rather than a bundle of customized features.
- Highly rated product
- Compact design that’s portable and convenient
- Excellent warranty protection policy
- It can only be used with the NugSmasher line of machines
It includes a non-stick rosin pot that sits in the center of a solid CNC milled 6061 Aluminum chamber – great for uniform temp control.
The Rosin Pot Measures 1.25″ in diameter .750″ tall, and each decarb capsule comes with two Rosin Pots and a capsule that stands 1.5″ x 1″ tall.
Both models of NugSmasher capsules are long on portability and convenience but short on production capability.
They are less expensive than the competition but are more geared toward experienced users than those looking for a ‘one touch’ unit.
All in all, a good pick for those of you who already own a Nugsmasher rosin press and just need the next step for making edible treats!
Your Cannabis Decarboxylation Buyers Guide
No matter how delightfully enticing a mature, freshly clipped Marijuana flower may appear, without first going through the process of decarboxylation, it will not produce any intoxicating effects whatsoever.
This is because tetrahydrocannabinolic acids such as THC are not psychoactive in their raw form.
They require the right amount of heat and time to be properly converted into a form that will achieve more of the mind-altering effects that Cannabis is noted for imparting.
Decarboxylation is the first step that must be taken to transform cannabis flowers into an end product such as Cannabis-coconut oil, Cannabis butter, Cannabis-olive oil, tinctures, and more.
For those who are only intent upon smoking the weed, the best way to accomplish this is to simply let that fresh bud thoroughly dry and cure naturally to ultimately be ignited in a pipe or joint, which completes the process of decarbing.
However, to reap the benefits of activated Cannabis in the making of edibles, oils, tinctures, and more, decarboxylation must first occur.
There are many types of Decarboxylators on the market these days. Therefore, it pays to understand all of the attributes and limitations of any given unit prior to making a final purchase decision.
What’s The Best Decarb Method?
In the past, the best way to decarb weed was by using a conventional oven for baking it at a low temperature for about 30 minutes.
Slower baking for longer periods can help enhance the flavor of the herb’s terpene profile.
However, various cannabinoid compounds, terpenes, and flavonoids decarboxylate at different temperatures.
This makes it extremely difficult to fine-tune those specific components for a variety of applications using this method.
Nonetheless, if you find yourself motivated to do things ‘the old fashioned way, you can still decarboxylate Cannabis by following these basic steps:
- Preheat the oven to 250℉.
- Grind up your herbs into a fine texture.
- Spread them onto a piece of baking parchment.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Check to make sure that the herbs have turned from green to light brown.
If all of this seems to be way too involved or a bit much for your busy schedule, simply purchase a state-of-the-art Decarboxylation unit to handle all of the work for you.
What’s The Best Temperature To Decarboxylate Cannabis?
Different temperatures and processing times are necessary to decarboxylate Cannabis and the cannabinoid compounds within the hemp plant, which all dercarb at different temperatures.
Each cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid contained therein requires its own unique time setting to render the product that you are looking for.
The Final Verdict
Our top pick is the Ardent Nova, simply because it does all the things you could want it to do!
Although, if you’re on a tighter budget and don’t mind fewer bells and whistles, the Magical Butter is our runner-up choice.