In my opinion the Volcano vaporizer is still one of the best vapes money can buy, seriously. There are plenty of imitators, and many that try to compete, but only a few are on the same level in terms of quality, performance, ease of use and cleanliness.
Check out my review of the NEW Volcano Hybrid!
Below is a continuation of my general Volcano review based on the Classic model I’ve owned since 2009!
Storz & Bickel makes this vape in Germany along with the Plenty, Crafty, and Mighty – the latter two being their portable models. This desktop unit came to market well over a decade ago and it’s still the boss!
This is one of those things that at first you don’t understand how they can be so expensive, but then once you own it you don’t know how you lived without it. Check out my extended Volcano review and Plenty comparison video at the bottom of this page for my rant on this (it’s long but there’s lots on info in it).
These photos are of my original unit that I bought in April 2009, and I still use it all the time to this day! It performs like new, literally the only thing that’s shown wear after ~8 years of regular use is the lettering on the front under the Air button, from filling so many balloons ;-)
I consider the vapor quality from this unit to be top-notch. It’s potent, tasty and comfortable. The density of the vapor it produces can easily be controlled by how finely you grind your material and how much you pack in the chamber. Generally, the finer the grind the thicker the vapor, and the more you pack the more balloons you can fill.
I have been using mine regularly since early-2009 and it still performs and looks like new. You rarely have to clean any parts of this vape, it’s the cleanest one I own, all you do is lightly brush out the herb chamber after each session. Most other vaporizers get residue buildup in various areas and need to be cleaned regularly to operate properly and to not look ugly.
The Volcano is available in two styles: Classic and Digit (digital). I have the Classic model, and I feel it is all you really need. There are two main differences between the two types: 1) The Digit has a digital temperature gauge on the front, while the Classic has a dial, and 2) the temperature fluctuation is slightly lower with the Digit, meaning the unit will stay slightly closer to the ideal vapor temp (we’re only talking a few degrees though).
You also have the choice of an Easy Valve or Solid Valve kit. I have the Easy Valve kit and that is what I recommend for most users – it’s the simpler, easier way to use this vape. With this kit the balloons come pre-assembled and the herb chamber is just two pieces. Each balloon should last you about 4 months, so the five that it first comes with should last you well over a year, after which replacement bags can then be purchased separately. The Solid Valve chamber is more parts and slightly more complicated, but the advantage of this kit is being able to make your balloons any size you want, and slightly lower costs in the future for more bag material. I think both kits work great but in my personal opinion the Easy Valve balloons are already the perfect size and are much more convenient to use.
Click here to buy the Volcano from the authorized Storz & Bickel dealer I recommend.
Learn more about the Volcano Classic Vaporizer in this in-depth review.
Below is a transcription of my original Volcano Hybrid vaporizer review video from 2021:
What’s up? This is the new Volcano Hybrid Vaporizer from Storz and Bickel.
First, we’ll go over all the important things you need to know about this one, talk about how it works, we’ll talk about the performance, and then we will discuss how it compares to my trusty classic Model. This one I bought 10 years ago,10 years and 4 months ago, still works. So we’re going to see what’s up with this new hybrid, let me take a hit.
So I have it propped up right now because of the lighting so you can see it, don’t mind my fingerprints. So here it is, we’ll spin it around. Touch screen, again the lighting, can’t see. Oh, my heat turned off. So it’s got four buttons on the front: up, down, heat, and air. The plug is detachable on this one. On the bottom, you have an air filter access port and you can change the air filter if it gets dirty. It’s the intake air filter, and on top here is the herb chamber that screws on. The top of the Volcano, that’s what you’re looking at. Ope, 421 that’s no good, there we go.
Alright, before I even get into it, let me give you a high-level overview here, okay? These are all the areas that the volcano gets an A or an A+ from me. Vapor production, flavor or taste, strength or potency of the vapor, the smoothness of the vapor, draw resistance is negligible, efficiency, look and feel, build quality, ease-of-use, cleanliness, and maintenance. All excellent, in all of those categories, okay?
The Volcano has been the benchmark desktop vaporizer for a very long time. Since I started doing this 10 years ago, this has been the benchmark for performance and build quality. Now, for anybody who is familiar with or has the Volcano Classic or digital, one of the things that they changed with this one is the herb chamber and how it connects to the top of the heater.
So the word “hybrid” with vaporizers typically means it is convection and conduction heating. Hybrid refers to the type of heating, so convection heating is with hot air, conduction heating is with a hot surface that radiates the heat. So the original Volcano chamber, or, this is the original easy that I’ve had for a while, you’re going to get mostly convection with this one. A little tiny bit of conduction but really not much. It’s pretty negligible but it is there. The old one is still kind of a hybrid but mostly convection.
Now, this one, if any of you are also familiar with the Plenty Vaporizer, also made by Storz and Bickel, this herb chamber is similar to the Plenty herb chamber. More similar to that one than to the old Volcano chamber. So one of the things they did with this new chamber is they made the metal ring surrounding it a little more pronounced and also gave it like a ring, like a surface on the bottom to attach to a matching surface on the top of the heater.
So what that does is while it is sitting on top and you screw it on to keep it on there, while it’s sitting on there, the bowl is now heating up. So even if you were to turn on the air and just start filling balloons, it would work. You could use it, but as you let it sit here, the bowl keeps getting hotter. The herb chamber is going to keep warming up, more heat is going to radiate from the walls of the chamber of the metal walls.
So you’re going to get a more complete vaporization effect at the end. The bud, when you take it out, the AVB is going to be darker with the hybrid, versus the mostly convection older models. So that is one of the bigger differences here. I am noticing that the performance from this one, especially with the whip attachment, is fairly similar to how the Plenty performs. And I really like the Plenty. So that’s a good thing. You do get a stronger feeling of vapor, a little more vapor production with the increase in conduction heat.
The other way that I kind of use the word “hybrid”, in this case, is that now it is a combo balloon vape and whip vape. Whereas the prior models, like the Original Classic, were balloon only. That’s what this was known for, best balloon desktop vape there’s ever been. But now you have options, but you use the same top which is cool. So it’s very easy to switch between the two. You could fill a bag, take it off, slap on the whip, take a couple of rips, take off the whip, and put the bag back on. It’s pretty versatile, it’s pretty cool. This is what the balloons are like, okay?
This is an easy valve, very easy to use, you pull it out. Then this is what you would just push right onto the top and fill the bag. Then when it’s full, you just pull it off. The valve inside automatically closes so no vapor is going to come out. And you take your mouthpiece and you just push it in. See the vapor is still trapped inside until you push in the mouthpiece.
Let me demonstrate. The bag is on, the heats on, my herb chamber is full, and I turn on the air. So, as you can see, this is pretty thick. So 420 °F is a pretty high temperature. The max temperature is 446. When the bag is full, turn off the air, and remove the balloon before it explodes. Typically my recommendation is, and I’m sure this is Storz and Bickel’s recommendation also, don’t leave this on for too long.
It is plastic on the outside and if you leave this on for a long time, there is the possibility of it overheating. Even on the back it says “never leave the heating chamber on the Volcano ”. So even though you’re kind of supposed to leave it on for a few minutes, have it heat up, and after that take it off. And it’s very easy to get on and off.
So now we have the balloon full of vapor. Nice vapor. Thick vapor. It’s not coming out, closed valve. I take my mouthpiece, still no vapor coming out, until I push the mouthpiece in. Pretty cool, right? So this is what I consider having vapor on tap. This is like a keg of vapor. This is one of the easiest ways to vape for people who don’t have a high lung capacity and can’t take a big draw, all they could do is sip on it. That’s all you gotta do. This is a vapor-on tap that you sip on. You can rip it too, but you mainly sip, and that’s all you gotta do. Nice medium-sized draw, you blow out a nice cloud, that’s it.
Everybody, everybody can use the Volcano. This is not a vape with a learning curve, this is not a vape some people can use and some can’t. Everybody that I’ve ever known, whether or not they like it, was able to use it. If you don’t want to sip and if you want to rip, go ahead. So, as I mentioned before, A plus: flavor, density, potency, and smoothness. I’m going to give smoothness an A, but I think it could be bumped to an A-plus.
There is no need to stir this one, I don’t need to open it up in the middle of a session. If you want to, like if you only put a little bit in, you do want to make sure that it stays flat against the bottom, so in that case, you might want to open it up. One little tip I have is if you’re only going to load a little bit or you’re only going to load it halfway, the way to make sure that everything’s cool inside, without having to open it up is to shake it and now everything should be nice and even across the bottom of the screen. So I don’t ever open this up during a session, which is a huge, huge bonus of this vape. Also, a bonus of the Plenty as well and all of their vapes is you do not open during your session.
One of the most common questions with the volcano has been how long does the vapor stay good in the bag after you fill it? My recommendation is after you filled it in, 5 minutes. If you wait longer than 5 minutes for the vapor, to put it bluntly, the vapor gets a little less smooth and a little less awesome tasting. So the longer you let it sit in there, the more that happens. So for the ideal experience, for the best vapor quality, I would empty the balloon within about 5 minutes. Which is pretty reasonable and maybe even 10 if you would need to stretch it if you’re vaping slow. 5 minutes is ideal.
So if you don’t think you can finish a whole balloon in 5 minutes, you don’t need to fill a whole balloon. You can stop when it’s halfway full and take it off. You don’t have to fill it to the end, so that would be my recommendation if you think that you’re going to be vaping longer than 5 minutes. Only fill an amount that you’ll vape in 5 minutes.
This will also help extend the life of your balloon because the number one balloon and valve killer is vapor sitting in there forever and just building up on the walls and building up on the valve. That’s how these things fail. So the quicker you get the vapor out of it, the longer the bags are going to last. This is all you have to do to maintain the vapor chamber after each session. If you can do it while this is still warm, that’s a plus. They give you this brush, over an ashtray or garbage, just brush it clean. On this side, you can see there’s a bunch of particles stuck to it. So I’m going to brush those off, the brush they give you is perfect for this. A really good brush. Good to go. Now, it’s ready to be loaded again next time, all clean.
Now, one of the other new things about it is that it has Bluetooth built-in. Storz and Bickel have an app. You can control the vape and you can see some info about your vape. The first time I ran the app it told me there was a firmware update available, so I ran it and everything went smoothly. It took a few minutes.
It was very easy to load, you don’t need to pack it tight, you don’t need to grind any certain way, you could use a fine grind, medium grind, or coarse grind. So just take your ground up, right now I’m using medium to coarse ground, Gorilla Glue. And you can load it anywhere from, I’m going to call it a third of the way up all the way up. The minimum amount you want to put in here is enough to completely cover the bottom of the screen. I’m going to call that .15 is the absolute minimum you should use here. The maximum, you’re looking at like .4 ish, so it holds a decent amount. And again you don’t pack it tight. You want the air to flow through your bud, so just place it in there, lightly even it out, that’s it! Take your top and screw it on.
So, as you can see the touch screen isn’t like a hundred percent always responsive. Sometimes I have to double-tap, but it’s been pretty good. I’m actually really digging the whip. I didn’t think I was going to because in my mind this was always a balloon vape, so they threw me for a loop with this one. But it’s growing on me, I kind of like it because it does perform a lot like the Plenty and I like the Plenty, and this is kind of like a little bit more of a convenient way to vape, like when you’re at a desk.
So, now as far as the build quality and the warranty stuff goes, Storz and Bickel is a German company. This vape is made in Germany. Normally that’s a very good thing. Storz and Bickel have had a few run-ins with product defects with some of their stuff. Not totally uncommon, but it has happened. However, their warranty service is good and their policy is good. This one has a 3-year warranty, so that is the summary. Those are the main bullet points that you need to know about this one, okay?
It is a $699 list price vaporizer, so you’re talking high-end, okay? I do have a coupon code to get you 15% off at my recommended dealer. It’s in the description if you’re interested, it brings it down to $600. That is still in the upper tier of vape prices, but some other ones are that expensive as well. And I would say overall, the value of the Volcano Hybrid is average. The average value, very good performing vape, cool features, but it’s expensive. Very expensive. There are some things about it that I didn’t see improve that I would have liked to, from the older one. But overall this is a good vaporizer, so if you’re looking into a Volcano, if your thinking about a Volcano and this one piques your interest, it’s a good buy.
I like the fact that this one has the whip. It makes it a lot more appealing to me. If this was balloon only I would be saying what I said in my original video, just go with the classic because there’s no point, but I kind of like this. I like it. I like the option. I like the way it works. How it spins around but still maintains a perfect connection. It’s cool stuff. All right, so now that we have a normal review out of the way, I think I covered everything I normally would, right? Pretty fair.
Now, it’s time to turn up the heat and start to talk about what’s wrong with this Volcano. Now, before I pop off let me just say that I mean no disrespect to anybody who has this vape and likes it. But I must express my true emotions because the Volcano is what got me started in this business. Ten years ago in April 2009, when I picked up this bad boy right here. That is what made up my mind that vaping was for me. This is the first Volcano I’ve gotten since this one. Now, when I think about this, if I had to be a dick about it, I would say that this is a fairly embarrassing progression, okay?
Let me familiarize you with the classic in case you don’t know about it, okay? Real quick, crash course. The first vape introduced by Storz & Bickel was in the year 2000. This one I bought in 2009. The same as the first one that was released. Now, this is an analog vaporizer with buttons and a dial. So you have the fan button, the mechanical switch and this is your temperature dial, okay? Just an analog rotary dial. The chamber is on the top. The easy valve you don’t screw it off. You just place it on top and pop it off. It’s held in by a couple of clips. The herb chamber is similar, a slightly different shape, and again the bottom part is different because the new one has a little more metal-on-metal contact for the conduction effect.
So mind you, this 10-year-old vape is extensively used and abused. Moved between about four different living quarters, and the only thing that’s wrong with it is some faded print underneath the green button, okay? This thing is a tank. This is when made in Germany meant what you bought was a tank, okay? 10 years old, boom! Turns on, boom! The dial has no problems. Easy valve with the balloon, okay? Like I showed you before, this is from this one okay? Balloon, boom! You fill it up, boom! Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?
I didn’t even want to mention it because it happens to everybody. It happens to every company, but this was such an emotional experience for me, so I have to tell you that the first Volcano Hybrid I got, I bought it, and when I opened it up on Livestream it didn’t turn on. So I sent it back and they sent me a new one, no problem. However, I must tell you that I was heartbroken.
So, my point of saying that is obviously with an increase in technology, with this screen, with the Bluetooth, all this digitalness going on, the touching, it just means more things can go wrong, okay? It must have just been a loose connection on my screen and it didn’t turn on. Now, with something like this, with a tank, it’s not an issue. Its reliability is okay, so far my reliability is a little medium right now because I’m sketched. Reliability with this one is through the roof. These switches will always work, okay? Unless you beat it with a hammer, it’s going to work.
Now, you may be wondering why am I even comparing these, this one’s so old and this new one, the vapor quality must be so much better. The performance must be so much better. Let me tell you something, most people, I would say, in a blind vapor taste test, with these two vapes, if two balloons were mixed up and given to them, it would be a coin toss. I believe most people would not consistently be able to tell the difference between the vapor from these two vapes.
That being said, they had two decades to do something about that. Two decades. Now, if you want to argue, “well this one is a little different. It’s got the conduction now, with the hybrid.” Well, in two decades all they did to create that hybrid production was to add a metal ring to the bottom, okay? They did nothing different in here. This little plastic piece, that little metal ring is what is making this hybrid!
Now, on that note, it’s said that there have been made improvements to the internals and the heating in the heating element. So, this is the way my 10-year-old vape sounds. My 10-year-old Volcano sounds, and this is how it sounded two decades ago when they released it, okay? Two decade-old design. That was a little bit of an annoyance and nuisance. It’s kind of loud, it might wake up somebody next to you if you’re trying to be discreet.
Alright, here’s the new and improved two decades of R & D fan, okay? If I blindfolded myself, I don’t know if I’d be able to hear the difference, and again, I’m very sorry to say it but I find that to be a slightly embarrassing progression. How is it that in 20 years they can’t figure out how to make it a little quieter than the sound of a vacuum next to you? It would have been a nice upgrade, that’s all I’m trying to say.
Sort of on that same topic, these balloons, the turkey bags have long been a point of contention for many people because of the crinkly loudness. Trying to be discreet, nope? So what has 20 years of R & D brought us? The turkey bag! Boom! Okay, but there wasn’t any progression there.
The next thing I need to mention briefly is cutting corners because it’s a little pet peeve of mine. I don’t like to see corners being cut after a standard has been established. So, more specifically, if any of you have the Plenty Vaporizer and are familiar with the herb chamber, which is pretty similar to this one, you know the feeling of the plastic and the sturdiness of it. And the general feel of materials being used by Storz and Bickel.
Now, with this new herb chamber, one of the first things I noticed is that it bent in my hand. To the plastic being used, plastic already being an inexpensive, not desirable component, it feels even cheaper than it used to, okay? This feels like cheaper plastic, I can’t believe I’m able to squeeze it and bend it. Not cool. Not cool. It needs to be rigid enough at least if it’s going to be plastic where I can’t squeeze it and bend it.
Alright, all bullshit aside though, it’s a great vape. I take it a little personal because this is what I have dedicated my life to for damn near a decade, but for most people who are not as quite as deeply embedded as I am, this is a fantastic vaporized.
If someone was to ask me, for raw performance alone, if they should get the hybrid or if the classic is good enough for over $200 less? I would say if you only want it for balloon purposes, the classic is good enough. If you want the latest and greatest, if you got a little cash to burn, and if you want the whip feature, which I like, the Hybrid is cool. So those are my feelings, good and bad. Storz and Bickel…please keep improving, coming out with cool stuff, keep us all motivated, thank you!
Thank you for watching and don’t forget that there is a little discount code in the description if you want to buy any Storz and Bickel stuff. It’s good on all their other stuff like the Mighty and the Crafty. Also, the Portables are good, okay? So, I appreciate your continued support and viewership very much. Stay up!