Whether you’re taking a test sample from one of a thousand cannabis plants in your greenhouse or growing your first plant at home, having access to objective data is paramount to success. While there’s no substitute for a comprehensive post-harvest lab test, there are many worthwhile THC testers on the market today capable of providing actionable insights into the THC levels, CBD content, terpene profile, and other desirable plant compounds that work together to define the industry’s most in-demand strains.
High-quality THC testers are portable, thorough, and fast with many models providing results within a few minutes. We’ve compiled a list of the industry’s most popular handheld testing devices covering a variety of budgets and accuracy requirements. While you can expect to spend more money for the most accurate tests, a low-cost testing device might serve well to confirm laboratory results or allow for regular testing on the farm to maintain detailed records that can be used to make improvements to soil, nutrients, and other inputs.
tCheck 2 Cannabis Potency Tester
- Cost: $399.99.
- Technology: UV spectrophotometry.
- Tests: THC and CBD in buds, infused oils, butter, and edibles; THCa and CBD in winterized concentrates.
The tCheck 2 cannabis potency tester is suited for homegrowers and licensed cannabis brands that want to test cannabinoid levels in buds and other manufactured cannabis products. The small handheld device measures THC and CBD in dried flower with an accuracy of +/- 3 percentage points. However, its accuracy falls with winterized concentrates to +/- 7 percentage points, and non-winterized isolates are not supported at this time.
Test results for the tCheck are provided in milligrams per milliliter within two minutes of testing. This at-home lab utilizes advanced UV spectrophotometry technology, which is similar to what you’d find in a professional laboratory. The kit includes everything needed for testing, including a mobile app for Android and iOS as well as a reusable tray that’s simple to clean and designed for thousands of tests.
MyDx Analyzer 2.0 + CannaDx Sensor Kit: Grower’s Package
- Cost: $1,099.
- Technology: Proprietary polymer-based sensors that detect molecules in vapor.
- Tests: THC, CBD, CBN, a-pinene, linalool, ocimene, g-terpinene, myrcene, geraniol, 3-carene isopulegol, ß-pinene, ß-caryophyllene, a-terpinene, nerolidol, a-bisabolol humulene, p-cymene, guaiol, limonene, caryophyllene, oxide, eucalyptol, camphene, and terpinolene.
For small-scale growers with bigger budgets and higher stakes, the MyDx Analyzer 2.0 + CannaDx Sensor Kit might make the most sense with its ability to test for three popular cannabinoids and 20 cannabis terpenes.
The battery-powered CannaDx tests samples with a gas-flow-over-the-sensor system that supports the chemical release process, effectively volatilizing compounds for accurate analysis through the device’s polymer-based sensors. According to MyDx, released vapors cause swelling, which induces measurable resistance changes at a sensitivity of up to 500 parts per billion. Once the device “sniffs” each sample, the data is analyzed and the results are sent to the CannaDx App. The Grower’s Package costs $100 more than the standard version, but it also includes 50 sample inserts and two CannaDx sensor replacements: a total retail value of $269.97.
Sage Analytics Profiler II Humboldt Special Edition
- Cost: Unlisted.
- Technology: Near-infrared light spectroscopy.
- Tests: THCa, delta-9 THC, total THC, total potential THC, CBDa, CBD, total CBD and total potential CBD.
Described by the manufacturer as small but mighty and built for everyday potency testing with the needs of cannabis growers and extract processors in mind, the Profiler II Humboldt Special Edition by Sage Analytics is a simple way to understand your product’s potency without destroying any samples in the testing process. All data from the measuring device is sent to an Android-based touchscreen via USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connections.
The device uses near-infrared light (NIR) spectroscopy—the science of how light interacts with matter in a light region just beyond what the human eye can see—to evaluate a plant or concentrate’s THC and CBD levels in seconds. The tungsten halogen lamp used for measurement has an expected lifespan of 1,500 hours. Sage Analytics has been a member of the California Cannabis Industry Association and the National Cannabis Industry Association since 2015, with a customer base that includes growers, extractors, laboratories, and dispensaries.
- Cost: $7,999
- Technology: NIR spectrometry.
- Tests: Total THC, total CBD, total CBG, and water activity.
The GemmaCert Professional is one of the industry’s go-tos when it comes to in-house testing for dried buds, ground plant material, and ethanol-based extractions. According to the manufacturer, flower tests are accurate within +/-10 percent of a high-performance liquid chromatography lab result for the same sample. In layman’s terms, if a comprehensive lab test shows the potency of a sample is 8 percent THC, a GemmaCert test will report around 7.2 to 8.8 percent THC using the same sample. For extracts, accuracy is +/- 2.5 percent for CBD and +/- 6 percent for THC.
Each sample takes about 5 minutes for analysis with results available for THC, CBD, CBG, and water activity. The spectrometer is especially useful as a data aggregator, allowing users to review past scans and prior data through the GemmaCert dashboard to maintain accurate records and make improvements with each subsequent harvest.
Purpl Scientific Purpl PRO Potency Measurement System
- Cost: $1,995.
- Technology: NIR spectrometry.
- Tests: THC, CBD, and water activity.
The Purpl Scientific Purpl PRO Potency Measurement System utilizes NIR spectrometry to create a “molecular fingerprint” of each sample. According to the manufacturer, accuracy is about +/- 2 percent when analyzing THC and CBD in dry flower. The device also provides unlimited, instant test results for water activity and moisture percentages. Pocket-sized, easy-to-use, and eerily precise, the Purpl PRO allows cultivators, distributors, manufacturers, extractors, dispensaries, and consumers to turn their mobile phones into a portable lab capable of providing reliable results in as few as three clicks.
The complete package includes the Purpl PRO bench, sample holder, grinder, carrying case, USB cable, calibration cartridge, and access to the web portal and mobile apps. The Purpl PRO is compatible with Apple iOS version 11.0 and later as well as Android version 5.0 and later
Alpha-Cat Mini-Lab Cannabinoid Test Kit
- Cost: $699.
- Technology: Thin-layer chromatography.
- Tests: CBD, THC, CBN, CBC, and THCV.
The Alpha-Cat mini-lab cannabinoid test kit is able to analyze a small amount of plant material—as little as 0.1 grams—and still provide a thorough breakdown of the sample’s chemical makeup. This mini lab combines the simple analytical technique of thin-layer chromatography with specific thin-layers and developing fluid to test the potency of flower, oils, tinctures, and edibles. In addition to potency testing, this kit provides information on chemotype and cannabinoid profiles for strain categorization purposes.
This kit comes in a sturdy travel case that ensures safe transportation. It includes a scale, 80 centrifuge reaction test tubes, 100 micropipette tips, and 20 THC plates that allow up to five samples per plate—enough material to perform 80 tests. According to the manufacturer, the thin layer chromatography Alpha-cat uses is reliable and standardized within +/- 1 percent deviation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best at-home THC tester?
Based on web traffic, the tCheck 2 cannabis potency tester is one of the most popular devices to test for THC and CBD in buds, infused oils, butters, and edibles. Whether you’re trying to improve your crops or verify lab results from products you’ve purchased, this popular analysis tool has everything needed with an accuracy of +/- 3 percentage points when compared against a comprehensive laboratory test.
What’s the best at-home THC tester for professionals?
The best in-house tests for professional cultivators use near-infrared light spectroscopy to analyze samples without destroying them. Manufacturers that use this testing technology for at-home kits include Purpl Scientific, GemmaCert, and Sage Analytics.
Are at-home THC testers accurate?
The accuracy of an at-home THC test kit can vary by device, but your results will not be as accurate as a laboratory test. At-home kits often have an advertised accuracy rating of around +/- 3 percentage points, which is likely more than enough for hobbyists and smaller craft farmers or dispensaries that want to test more frequently than required by law or verify results from a third-party testing lab.