‘It’s like Apple made a grinder’: This all-in-one product rolls your joint and grinds your weed for you

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Hey, newbies – not the greatest at rolling your own joints? No problem. There’s a grinder on the market that can do it for you.

Techies and couch potatoes alike have been raving about the OTTO joint machine by Banana Bros – or, as it’s cleverly labeled on Amazon Prime, the “electric smart herb and spice grinder.” It was released last October.

“We set out to conquer one of the most challenging problems for both new and seasoned herb users: how to roll,” Banana Bros CEO Dave Richmond said in a press release. “It’s the perfect solution to achieve the perfect smoke so you can spend more time enjoying time with friends, relaxing, or doing whatever makes you happy.”

But does it hold up? The product appears to have the potential to be especially useful for those with medical concerns like Parkinson’s or arthritis, or other dexterity issues. According to reviews on Amazon, it’s also been particularly popular with veterans.

While vaping or edibles are always an option, some people just prefer the old-fashioned flower experience. For $130, OTTO promises “the perfect smoke every time.” No matter what kind of user you are, the company emphasizes with the challenges that can come with making a cone. It can be time-consuming to get it right, especially if you want to make more than one. If you’re not careful, you can end up with a lap full of flower and sticky fingers. And, despite your best efforts, the fruits of your labor could just turn out to be a mediocre joint. That’s not to mention all of the rolling papers – or green – that can be wasted during the process.

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No judgment from OTTO, though. Its AI capabilities sense the unique texture, density and moisture level of each nug, automatically changing direction, pressure and speed as necessary. Think of it like a fancy espresso maker for your weed: the body of the product is divided into two pieces, where you place the flower inside. The OTTO grinds it up, and it trickles down into the paper cone below. Simply twist the top of the cone, and you’re ready to smoke.

Some users have encountered issues with loose cones, the product not holding a charge for as long as expected or dying after just a few uses. Others said that using particularly sticky flower caused it to get stuck in the smart grinder.

Amazon user Jefe Lomar called it a “waste of money, time and flower,” and recommended the RAW brand natural rolling papers cone filler as an alternative.

That product, which looks reminiscent of a tape dispenser, requires you to use your own grinder, but takes care of the most challenging part: filling the joint. Once you mill the flower using your grinder of choice, you can sprinkle it into the filler.

The RAW brand cone filler comes with a bamboo packing stick, which makes it easier to scoop residual flower into the filler. After that, you pack it down using the supplementary packing tool and close the top of the filler. Then, slip your pre-rolled cone onto the mount tip of the cone filler. Once you close the top of the filler, the product allows you to gradually slide the cone toward the flower and back out, filling it up. You can choose to do this part again to fill the cone all the way, or use the packing stick to finish it off. You can actually pick these up online at Walmart.com.

It’s a bit more of a DIY approach, but according to Lomar, it’s “much better, cheaper and faster.”

Otherwise, 68 percent of reviews gave the OTTO grinder-roller five stars.

“You could leave this thing on the coffee table and it almost looks like an art piece,” Amazon user Kelly L. Vrooman said in a 5-star review. “It’s like Apple made a grinder.”

OTTO doesn’t appear to have any competitors in the AI-grinding realm, but we’d love to see more products in this space, especially given what they can do in terms of accessibility.

Have comments on this story or questions about cannabis? Send inquiries and tips to amanda.bartlett@sfchronicle.com