The Roll

Zig-Zag Guide for Cigarette Roller

Imagine rolling a joint in seconds. No fine motor skills are needed—just a straightforward machine doing almost all the hard work. Rolling machines...

Imagine rolling a joint in seconds. No fine motor skills are needed—just a straightforward machine doing almost all the hard work. Rolling machines have been around for a while. However, some purists reject them for their creative freedom, allowing rapid joint rolling.

This article will look at the differences between hand rolling and machine rolling. We'll introduce you to the different types of rolling machines and show you how to use a thumb roller. These are just a few of the points we'll cover. Keep reading to find out all there is to know.

What is a Rolling Machine?

A rolling machine is a device that replaces the need to craft a joint by hand. Some devices take up more space than others. Some require a power source, and others are manually operated. When selecting a rolling machine, you should know that the different types will offer varying levels of automation. Let's take a look at a few of the different types of rolling machines.

Powered Rolling Machines

Powered rolling machines, also called electric rolling machines, need a power source. Some operate on batteries, and others may need to be plugged into an outlet. While powered rolling machines may offer the highest level of automation, they are often heavier, bulky, and not very portable. Nevertheless, a powered rolling machine is ideal if you're looking for a stationary rolling machine for your bar counter or coffee table.

Injecting Machines

While not a rolling machine, injectors create rolled joints, so we included this type of machine. Like powered rolling machines, they can be pretty cumbersome. They usually have a tank that stores your ground herb and a mechanism that injects your empty shell with your filler. Injecting machines offer a high level of automation and come in manual and powered versions.

Automatic Rolling Machines

Automatic rolling machines are more portable than powered rolling machines and injecting devices. They offer a good level of automation, and some can easily slip into your pocket. On the other hand, they require manual operation and provide a space to keep your rolling papers and ground filler. Automatic rolling machines are ideal for taking your smoking session into the mountains or onto the city streets.

Cone Filling Machines

Cone filling machines are similar to injecting devices in that they require no actual rolling. Therefore, they are sometimes referred to as cone fillers. They can be powered but are also available as manually operated machines. Zig-Zag pre-rolled cones pair exceptionally well with these types of devices. Looking for a great way to make multiple uniform cone joints at once, a cone filling machine is an answer.

Thumb Rolling machines

Last but certainly not least, the thumb rolling machine is our favorite. This lightweight and ultra-portable contraption easily slips into a backpack and is very simple to use. The thumb roller has been around for decades, and it may be the first thing you think of when you hear someone talking about rolling machines.

Once you get the hang of using a thumb roller, it becomes second nature. With a bit of practice, you'll be churning our perfect uniform joints one after the other in a matter of seconds. In addition, thumb rollers are inexpensive and offer ease of use, portability, and quality joints.

There are a few downsides to using rolling machines. Stay with us to find out more!

What to Keep in Mind When Selecting a Rolling Machine?

With all the different rolling machine options, you may find it challenging to decide which is right for you. The suitable rolling machine depends on your lifestyle and your willingness to spend. So let's take a look at a few factors to consider.


When choosing between cigarette rolling machines, price is something to consider. Do you need a fully automated electric rolling machine? Well, maybe you do. Perhaps you're moving a lot of joints for friends and need to create uniform joints fast. Then sure, a fully powered automatic cigarette rolling machine may be exactly what you need.

Generally speaking, powered rolling machines are more expensive than manual rolling machines. This is because the more mechanisms and features, the more expensive the device is likely to be.

How Often Do You Roll?

You will need something sturdy if you plan on rolling multiple joints a day with a rolling machine. Something made from high-quality materials will stand up to the rigors of daily use.

If you're looking for an electric rolling machine to use often, you may want to consider one that plugs into a power outlet. This will save you from having to charge or replace batteries too often. If you're toying with buying an expensive rolling machine, check if replacement parts are available and if the device comes with a warranty.

Suppose you don't use a machine that often. You may not want to spend too much. You may be fine with a thumb roller to get the job done on the odd occasion quickly.


If you're a frequent traveler, your biggest concern may be portability. Automatic rolling machines and thumb rollers provide a high level of portability. You can easily toss one of these machines into a handbag and hit the road while filling machines and electric rolling machines are heavy and take up too much space.

If you spend much time at home and value convenience, a tabletop rolling machine may be your best bet.

Shape and Size

Do you like thin pinner joints or fat tapered cone joints? Do you like the 1 1/4" papers or king size? Every rolling machine requires a different size of rolling paper, producing another joint.

Thumb rollers produce untapered joints but come in a few different sizes, accommodating various paper sizes. Cone filling machines work best with pre-rolled cones and only produce cone-shaped joints.

It is important to note that when you settle on a machine, you agree on one size joint. Hand rolling offers some flexibility in this regard. Let's look at the differences between hand rolling and machine rolling.

How does Hand Rolling Compare to Machine Rolling?

So if rolling machines are so convenient, why doesn't every smoker use them exclusively? Well, there are some downsides to using a rolling machine. The downsides may or may not be a deal breaker for you. It all depends on your personal preference. Do you value ultimate creative control over the way your joints turn out? Are you looking for uniformity, convenience, and reliability?

Machine Rolling

You may have guessed that rolling with a machine is the easiest way to roll a joint. But ease of use is not the only benefit. Rolling joints with a device ensure a perfect joint every time. There is very little room for error. Once you use your machine, you can create the same size and shape joint.

You may be a little OCD or just a sucker for uniformity. Either way, a rolling machine gives you just that. Perfectly crafted joints look like they could have been made in a factory. The downside is that you will have to sacrifice some creative freedom. For example, your machine will either create untapered joints or cone joints. However, you will have some control over the size of your joint, but rolling by hand gives you greater control.

This may not be a big deal for you at all. However, it's important to remember that there are no rules. For example, you don't have to use a machine exclusively. Instead, use a machine to get the job done quickly when you need to and roll by hand when you feel like extending the ritual and having more control.

Photo by
Ziv Paczy on Unsplash

Hand Rolling

Rolling by hand is for the minimalist, the craftsman, the slow smoker, the person who enjoys having all the control to create something unique. But rolling a joint by hand is not easy. It takes hours of practice to learn the technique and to build muscle memory to develop good joints consistently.

When beginning your rolling journey, you'll end up with a pile of rejected joints, but this is normal. If you need a break from practice, the rolling machine will always help you get what you want in a joint.

Rolling by hand allows you to create pinner, cone-shaped, and varying-sized joints. You will also have the option to choose the paper size, while your rolling machine may only be able to take one size.

When you use a rolling machine, you may sacrifice creative control, but you gain convenience and ease of use. Whichever method you decide to use, enjoy the process. There is no correct way to enjoy the smoking ritual.

Zig-Zag Cigarette Rolling Machines

Zig-Zag cigarette rolling machines are made to last. The classic design is easy to use and features the famous Zig-Zag artwork. You can choose between 70mm, 78mm, or the king-size compatible 100mm. Roll any size untapered joint with these high-quality rollers. Create consistently great joints without needing fine motor skills and hours of practice.

Pair these rollers with our wide range of rolling papers, from the classic French Orange rolling paper to our Organic Hemp range. First, try out our filter tips for a refined smoking experience. Then, co-create your perfect joints with everything we have to offer.

How to Roll a Joint with a Zig-Zag Cigarette Rolling Machine?

This section provides instructions for rolling with a Zig-Zag thumb roller. Roll great quality joints with Zig-Zag rolling paper and machines. Let's get rolling.

Lock and Load

Click the thumb roller in the open position to accept your ground herb with the fixed rail closest to you. Next, place your filler into the rolling machine. Again, using the correct amount is critical.

If you use too much, your joint will be too tight. If you use too little, your joint will be too loose. Place a filter tip to the left of your filler. The herb should be evenly distributed from the right side of the roller to the filter tip.

Next, close the thumb rolling machine and draw your thumbs over the top, spinning both rails. You're now ready to load the paper.

Feed the Rolling Paper

Feed your rolling paper into the slit at the top of the machine. The fixed rail should be closest to you. The gummed edge of the paper should be at the top and facing you, rolling both the rails to feed that rolling paper into the machine.

Continue to roll until just the gummed edge is sticking out. Lick or moisten the edge before completing the roll. Spin the rails a few times to ensure the paper has completed its journey and has stuck to itself.

Look for a perfect cigarette-shaped joint. If the joint doesn't draw, it's too tight.

With a bit of practice, you'll learn exactly how much filler is required to roll the perfect joint with a thumb roller. So take your time and enjoy the process. You'll be churning them out in no time.


Don't work hard to create the perfect joint if you don't want to. Instead, use empty cigarette tubes with an injection roller. Or pack multiple pre-rolled cones with the help of a cone fill machine. If you don't mind sacrificing portability and are looking for a high level of automation, choose a powered rolling machine.

Opt for a thumb roller if you are looking for something simple and lightweight to roll perfect untapered joints. This simple device is excellent for beginners and veterans alike. Zig-Zag rolling machines are available in a few different sizes and are great for quickly creating perfect joints. Try one out today!