Would you rather smoke a joint from a joint-rolling machine or a joint that’s been hand-rolled?

Not sure which way to go? That’s OK.  This article discusses the pros and cons of the joint-rolling machine versus hand-rolling so you can decide for yourself which method works best for you.


Pro: No Need For Extra Supplies

Rolling smokables — be it joint, blunt or spliff— is already a paraphernalia-heavy task. Adding a joint-rolling machine to that list just complicates matters more than they need to be.

When you know how to hand-roll your joints, you won’t be as dependent on tools to get the job done. And who knows if you’ll always have your joint-rolling machine with you when Mary Jane calls your name. That’s why it’s always better to master the basics first — you’ll be able to roll a jay with minimal equipment whenever and wherever the craving strikes.

Pro: Master A Skill

There’s something to be said about the satisfaction that comes from mastering a new skill like hand-rolling your joints. It’s an accomplishment you can be proud of and communicates just how committed you are to the cannabis experience.

Hand-rolling your own joints isn’t a requirement for obtaining your stoner card anymore, but it does make you stand out from the rank and file.

Plus, it’s a good survival skill. One of these days, society may break down so all that’s left is nomadic bands of stoners hunting for whatever landrace strains they can find. If you’re one of those, wouldn’t you like to be able to roll a joint from whatever supplies you have on hand?  That’s why you might want to consider mastering hand-rolling first — so  you’ll always be able to fire up a fatty. It doesn’t mean you would never use a joint-rolling machine. It just means you have options for whatever circumstances present themselves.

Think about learning to hand-roll your joints like learning to live off the land. After mastering survival skills, you may choose to live in the city. In an emergency, though, you’d certainly be able to survive without the comforts of running water and the corner bodega.

Learn to hand-roll your joints and you’ll never go without.

Pro: Roll Anywhere

Similar to the previous two pros, when you’re able to hand-roll your joints, you’ll be able to produce a smokeable product anytime, anywhere.

At the amusement park? Check. On a bike trip? Check. Climbing Anapurna? Check. Maybe not the last one unless you’re really committed (and a little crazy), but you get the point: hand-rolling means you can be more mobile than you can be if you always need a joint-rolling machine to get by.

Con: Takes Practice To Get It Right

The most significant drawback of hand-rolling your joints is that it takes a lot of practice to get it right. You’ll probably go through tons of rolling papers and get extremely frustrated in the process of learning.

So if you want to have a joint posthaste, we recommend having several pre-rolled jays (or a joint-rolling machine) as a backup.

If you’re committed to learning — like you should be — always start your smoke experience by trying to hand-roll your own. If it all falls apart, you’ve got the pre-rolleds close at hand or the ability to crank out a joint in under a minute with the joint-rolling machine.

After a while, you won’t need these backups quite so often. Eventually, you may not need them at all.

Con: Not The Fastest Method For Producing A Joint

Hand-rolling a joint is, by no means, the fastest method for building a smokable product. Even when you’ve mastered the process, it’s still slower than relying on a joint-rolling machine or pre-rolled joints from your local dispensary.

Having said that, you’ll be proud of any joints you do hand-roll, even if they take several minutes.

Con: Irregular Joints

Another drawback of hand-rolling your joints versus using a joint-rolling machine is that hand-rolling produces irregular joints. They won’t be the perfectly cylindrical tubes of cannabis you’ll get from the machine.

But as long as they’re well-rolled, easy to draw through, and don’t canoe, who cares about a little irregularity?


Marijuana roll-up machine

Image Credit: Puntasit Choksawatdikorn/123rf.com


Joint-Rolling Machine 

Pro: Uniformity

As mentioned earlier, until you master the process, rolling your joints by hand is not the most dependable method for getting a consistent finished product. With a joint-rolling machine, on the other hand, you’ll get consistent, uniform rolls every time.

That’s peace of mind for those who haven’t tried — or haven’t yet mastered — the art and science of hand-rolling a joint.

Pro: Easy-To-Use

Joint-rolling machines are extremely easy to use. You simply load the roller with a filter and your favorite strain, roll the machine to get everything set, insert a rolling paper (gum side up and toward you), roll again, lick the paper before it goes all the way in, and then roll some more. That’s it!

The machine produces tightly-packed, structurally sound, good-looking jays every time. That’s good news on two fronts:

  1. It doesn’t require a lot of fine motor skills.
  2. It doesn’t waste your precious product and papers.

At the end of a hard day, you don’t always have the energy to focus on hand-rolling your ganja relief. Instead, grab your machine and you’ll be good to go in no time flat.

Pro: Speed

One of the most significant benefits of the joint-rolling machine is speed. That process mentioned earlier — load, roll, insert paper, roll, lick, roll some more — takes a minute depending on your experience (20-30 seconds if you’re a pro).

You can roll a baggie-full of joints in 10 minutes and still have time to light one up as a reward for all your hard work. That’s the beauty of a joint-rolling machine: you can go from separate components to fully formed joint to high as a kite in two minutes or less.

Con: Bad Rollers = Bad Joints

There are all kinds of rolling machines on the market made from all kinds of different materials. The bad rollers — with sheaths made from cheap vinyl — will, nine times out of 10, produce joints that are uneven or too tight, resulting in canoeing and a tough draw (the inhale through the joint).

You may have to experiment with different brands until you find the one that produces the joints you’re looking for every time.

Con: Only Rolls One Size

Though joint-rolling machines do come in different sizes, if you’ve got a 78mm machine, you’re only going to get 78mm-long joints.

When you know how to roll a joint by hand, you can change the length and even the girth according to your mood and the product you have on hand.

And, let’s face it, sometimes you need a joint that looks more like a blunt after a long week conquering the world (or just getting through it).

Con: Snobbish Behavior

One of the most unfortunate cons of using a joint-rolling machine is the snobbish behavior you’ll encounter from those who draw the line at hand-rolled joints or nothing at all.

Let them have their hard-fast convictions. You’ll be over here smoking whatever joint is passed your way.

So Which Is Better? 

Honestly, it’s entirely up to individual preference. Asking which is better, a joint-rolling machine or hand-rolling, is like asking which is better, Ford or Chevy? Marvel or DC? Star Wars or Star Trek?

Remember, variety is the spice of life and different strokes for different folks. It all comes down to the method that makes your smoking experience the most enjoyable. Because, either way, when you’re done rolling, you’ve got a joint in your hand — and that’s all that matters.

If you want the best possible joint-smoking experience you can get — be it from a machine-rolled jay or hand-rolled jay — it’s all about what you put inside. So be sure to roll your joints with a high-quality, sustainably sourced, organically grown cannabis bud.


Anthony Franciosi

Anthony Franciosi, also known as Ant, is an honest to goodness farmer whose fingers are as green as the organic cannabis he grows. He is the proud founder of Honest Marijuana – an all natural, completely organic marijuana growery in Colorado.