With the nascent cannabis extracts market anticipated to reach a value of $28.5 billion by 2027, now is the perfect time to get your own lab up and running. Before you can do that, though, you’ll need to start compiling your essential cannabis extraction lab equipment.

We’ve established this guide as a general introduction to help you understand the essentials. While the specific equipment and costs will vary depending on your needs and other factors, this should help you to get started.

Extraction Equipment Needed for a Traditional Hydrocarbon Lab

If you’re planning to use traditional solvents such as hydrocarbons (butane or propane) or ethanol to extract compounds from cannabis plant material, your equipment needs are going to be different from those of someone focusing on CO 2 extraction or solventless extraction.

Closed Loop Hydrocarbon Extraction System

Closed loop hydrocarbon extraction system. Image from Reddit | u/Flashthunder

To get started with solvent-based extractions, you’ll need the following equipment at a minimum:

Closed-loop extraction system

  • Average cost: $10,000 – $100,000.
  • For about $10,000 to $40,000, you can pick up a quality hydrocarbon system that holds up to 10 liters of solvent. Ethanol extraction systems tend to cost more, but that added cost comes with greater output. For around $100,000, you can pick up a system that holds more than 100 liters of ethanol, capable of extracting more than 3,000 grams in under an hour.
  • Note that the equipment requirements for carbon dioxide extraction are similar, although you’ll need a special type of closed-loop system that’s capable of meeting the high temperature and pressure demands of supercritical CO2 extraction. This type of system can run $100,000 or more and is popular for both cannabis and hemp extraction.

Recirculating chillers and heaters

  • Average cost: $8,000 – $15,000 total.
  • Precise temperature controls are required for solvent-based extraction and post-processing. To complete the job, you’re going to need a chiller and a heater. You can get a quality chiller within the $2,000 to $6,000 range, and you can find a heating circulation bath for around $6,000 to $10,000.

Vacuum oven

  • Average cost: $2,000 – $10,000 depending on size and capacity.
  • A vacuum oven is required for purging residual solvent during post-processing. It works by lowering the boiling point to eliminate the solvents without overheating the system or degrading the compounds. In addition to the oven itself, you’ll need a vacuum oven pump to run the machine. The vacuum pump can range between $500 and $3,000.

Rotary evaporator

  • Average cost: $2,000 – $15,000 depending on size.
  • If you want to make cannabis distillates (among the purest extracts available), you’re going to need a rotary evaporator. These tools can vary significantly in their capacity and complexity; you can find small evaporators that hold just 2 liters, or you can browse industrial-sized stainless-steel distillation systems that hold over 50 liters.

Jacketed reactor

  • Average cost: $400 – $700.
  • This is a special type of covered vessel that allows for the controlled heating and cooling of compounds. The chiller or heater recirculates the temperature around the reactor, and the reactor in turn helps to lock in the desired temperature during extraction and distillation. These vessels can also be used for agitation.

Your total extraction equipment costs may run you around $25,000 on the low end or more than $150,000 on the high end.

Just note that these costs only include lab equipment for cannabis extraction. They don’t account for other essential expenditures like the solvents themselves, the lab build, the real estate costs, the ancillary tools, the licensing, or the insurance.

Equipment Needed for a Solventless Extraction Lab

A solventless lab is a safer and much more cost-effective solution that allows you to produce purer extracts.

The extraction process relies on just gravity, heat, and pressure to isolate cannabinoids and terpenes, so there are no chemical impurities in the final product. That’s why more and more labs are switching to a solventless business model.

To get started with solventless extractions, you’ll need the following equipment:

Rosin press

  • Average cost: $3,000 – $10,000.
  • The rosin press is the key piece of equipment that’s used to transform flower, sift, and hash into high-quality solventless extracts (i.e. rosin). You may find a basic entry-level press for as little as $300, but professional-grade models start around $3,000. For a commercial-grade pneumatic model capable of processing high volumes with minimal user intervention, expect to pay between $6,000 and $10,000.

Hash-washing system

Hand Washing Platform Setup

PurePressure’s Bruteless hash-washing system

  • Average cost: $6,000 – $13,000.
  • A complete hash-washing system allows you to produce ice water hash extractions. While this step isn’t required for creating rosin, it does enable you to produce the purest, most potent, and highest-quality extracts. A complete manual system will contain your wash vessels, water pump, and hose kit. You can then automate the agitation process with the help of a trichome separator.

Trichome separator

PurePressure's Axis Trichome Separator

PurePressure’s Axis Trichome Separator

  • Average cost: $30,000 – $45,000.
  • When used alongside a hash-washing system, a trichome separator can maximize efficiency and throughput. It separates the source of agitation from the vessel and allows you to simultaneously process multiple batches with no downtime. A rotating head eliminates the need for manual agitation and transfers seamlessly from one vessel to the next, allowing for a more efficient lab space. This is a must-have for large commercial operations. On its own, the device will cost around $30,000. The price increases, though, when the machine is paired with a quality trichome separator filtration system (highly recommended).

Freeze dryer

Front View of Harvest Right Pharmaceutical Freeze Dryer

Medium Harvest Right Pharmaceutical freeze dryer

  • Average cost: $3,000 – $17,500 depending on size and capacity.
  • A freeze dryer is essential for drying your ice water hash. It’s the best drying method for ensuring high purity, maximum terpene preservation, optimal flavor, and overall product quality. Pharmaceutical-grade, industrial, and commercial freeze dryers are available.

So what are the total extraction equipment costs? In many cases, it’s possible to set up an entire solventless lab for less than $50,000.

Other Extraction Lab Considerations

When calculating your lab costs, you can’t just count the extraction equipment needed for cannabis processing. When you factor in the total setup and maintenance costs, the benefits of going solventless become especially apparent.

For example, consider the lab build itself. Hydrocarbon extraction labs typically require a C1D1 room, which can easily run $100,000 or more by itself.

And due to the flammable nature of solvents, traditional labs also have significantly higher inspection, licensing, overhead, and insurance costs in many cases. For more information, refer to our guide to creating a cannabis extraction business plan.

No matter what type of lab you decide to build, make sure to invest in the right equipment and take the time to understand the true cost of your operation—not just for your equipment itself, but for everything that keeps your equipment operational.