The cannabis cloning equipment buyer’s guide: Best cloning machines and tools
Growing weed from a clone can be a lot easier than growing from seed because you skip the process of germination every time you start a new crop, saving you time and labor. Modern technology has also made growing clones easier than ever.
Below are some different cloning products that we recommend, showing a variety of methods, in a range of prices, so you can get the setup that fits your needs.
Check out How to clone a cannabis plant for more info on cannabis clones.
What is a cannabis cloning machine?
Cloning a cannabis plant isn’t a natural process—you’re cutting off part of a plant and forcing the cutting to sprout roots from its stem. Clones can be very delicate, and a cloning machine can help ensure your clones survive and thrive so they can all turn into big, healthy weed plants.
Cloning machines typically use aeroponics to keep a clone alive and encourage root development. Machines usually have a chamber which holds a water and nutrient solution, and misters which spray the bottom of clones. Some cloning machines have a dome to protect clones and keep humidity in.
To clone, simply take a cutting off a plant, put it in a rooting medium or cloning machine, and give it nutrients or a rooting solution. It’ll root out and be ready for potting in 10-14 days, giving you a solid start to your cannabis plant.
What to consider when buying a cannabis cloning machine
Every grower will have different needs when looking for a cloning machine. Here are some considerations:
- Number of cloning sites
- Growing experience
- Size of cloning machine
The first question is, how many clones will you have at once? If you’re a homegrower, you’ll likely be limited to 6 or 12 plants, so you won’t need an Elite TurboKlone 144—those are for commercial growers.
Another question is experience: Cloners can have a learning curve, so if you’re somewhat new to growing weed, using a cloner could just complicate things. If you’re comfortable with the cloning process, give one a shot.
It also depends on the amount of space you have in your grow, or where your cloner will be set up. Weed clones like lots of light, so be sure to have a space where you can set up a light close to clones in the machine—you don’t need anything big and bulky, a T5 will do fine.
Best base level cloning equipment
These options are great for someone who’s looking to get into growing and not sure if they want to invest in an expensive product. Anyone can get started and use these simple materials.
Root cloning cubes and trays (~$40)
The tried-and-true and most basic method of cloning, starting your clones in root cubes is something that every grower has done in their lifetime. To get started, you’ll need:
- Set of 1½ x1½ inch rooting cubes (~$15)
- Tray to catch water (~$2)
- Tray-cell insert to put your rooting clones in (~$2)
- Humidity dome (~$5)
- Rooting hormone (~$5)
- Heat pad (~$10)
There are multiple types of rooting cubes made from different material, each with its own benefits:
- Rockwool: Made by melting rock and spinning it into fine threads, this common material is sterile and very porous. Make sure it has good drainage because it sucks up water easily.
- Peat: These hold onto moisture and are organic and biodegradable, but they can have difficulty maintaining their structure.
- Foam: These cubes don’t get as waterlogged as rockwool and have no effect on pH levels.
Before cloning machines became more affordable this method of cloning was the go-to for growers. It’s becoming less desirable because it can be a hassle to use all the pieces and machines are much easier and have a higher success rate.
Clone Bucket 8 (~$50)
This is the most affordable aeroponic cloning machine in our buyer’s guide. Aeroponics is the practice of growing plants with their roots suspended in air while they receive a continual misting from sprays and nozzles in the cloning machine (see a graphic of this system below). This gives roots high levels of oxygen, helping clones grow rapidly.
With a simple design, the Clone Bucket offers a misting system for 8 clones for just under $50. The 2-gallon bucket is small in size and will give you similar results to more expensive aeroponic cloners.
Its spray nozzle is attached to a 171 gallon per hour (gph) pump which is more than enough to keep your clones happy. The plus side is that it has few moving parts, but if the nozzle ever clogs, your clones will be in trouble.
This functional and affordable machine is great for anyone looking to experiment with cloning. You can also make your own version of this with a 5-gallon bucket or something similar if you want to cut costs even further.
Best midrange cloning machine options
These cloning machines are great if you will be cloning routinely and want a product that doesn’t require much attention, so you can focus on other aspects of your garden.
Clone King 25 ($70)
A reputable midrange option, the Clone King is an aeroponic clone machine with 13 spray nozzles and a powerful 317 gph submersible pump. With so many nozzles and a strong pump, you can be sure that every developing root gets a healthy dose of H2O, promoting strong, healthy, and rapid growth. If one of the nozzles clogs, your clones will still make it because there are many backups. Other models have 36 and 64 clone sites.
HydroFarm OxyClone 20 ($90)
Instead of misting clone stems with spray nozzles, HydroFarm’s OxyClone submerges stems completely under water. This allows roots to receive both oxygen and H2O to ensure that clones stay healthy while developing roots. This different design is great because it has few moving parts and no spray nozzles, which are known to clog up.
This model is made for 20 clones, but OxyClone also offers versions with 40 and 80 clone sites for growers with bigger gardens.
Best high-end cloning machine and equipment
This cloning machine and equipment are the top-of-the-line. Some might argue that cloning doesn’t have to be this complicated, but it will step up your growing game.
TurboKlone 24 ($170)
Our top choice for high-end cloners has a similar design to the Clone King, but it also has a cooling fan to help maintain a consistent temperature in the rooting chamber. This helps keep the water cool, making it easier for clones to receive oxygen, which means faster rooting and healthier clones.
It’s important to note that in order for this cooling process to work, the ambient air temperature must be cooler than the temperature of the water. The TurboKlone is also available in models with 28, 96, and 144 clone sites, covering both small- and large-scale growers.
The most expensive and most complicated form of cloning, tissue culturing is an emerging method for cloning cannabis. This process involves taking a tissue sample from a mother plant, sterilizing it, and then giving it the right hormones, nutrients, and light.
The plant cell culture can be preserved indefinitely. To start growing, just give it a different set of nutrients to encourage root development.
There are numerous benefits to this cloning method. Tissue cultures are completely sterile, meaning you don’t have to worry about pests or diseases being transferred into your grow room. These cultures can also be stored for long periods of time, given they have the right environment, and they save space because you don’t need to keep a mother plant around.
Tissue culturing is an advanced technique and should be explored by growers looking to preserve the genetics of a specific strain rather than just grow a few quick clones.
Trevor Hennings contributed to this article.
Read more of Leafly’s guide to growing marijuana
- How to grow weed: Basics of growing marijuana
- 4 stages of marijuana plant growth
- Marijuana plant anatomy
- How to grow weed indoors
- How to grow marijuana outdoors
- Cannabis seeds 101: How to grow marijuana from seed
- How to clone cannabis plants
- Marijuana seedling and plant care
- How to harvest marijuana plants
- Troubleshooting common cannabis plant problems
- Buyer’s guides for cannabis seeds and growing equipment
- How to grow marijuana using hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics