Vaporizers have become immensely popular in the last few years, providing another option if you’re looking for a way to enjoy smoking your favorite dry herb or extracts without the harshness of smoking. The most well-known desktop vaporizer model is Volcano. The Volcano Vaporizer is a great option for someone looking to enjoy their dry herbs, extracts or other aromatics from a dependable desktop machine.
The Volcano Vaporizer line from Storz & Bickel has stood the test of time, with the Classic Volcano that has been in production since 2000. The Volcano Vaporizer demonstrates German engineering at its finest, providing a gentle release that will ensure your herbs reach their full potential. The lack of burning materials and smoke means there are no harmful carcinogens in the vapor, resulting in a safer inhalation method that removes any risks associated with smoking.
What makes the Volcano unique is a special balloon that will fill up with the vapor as it is released. When the balloon is full you then remove it to either inhale the vapor directly from the balloon or release it into the air, depending on your preference.
These vaporizers are really designed with efficiency in mind from beginning to end – from the large heat exchanger to the on-demand convection air stream delivers the vapor of your herbs at precisely the temperature that you want. You can also remove the bowl to preserve your herbs and control how much you fill the balloon so you can control your dosage.
Top Volcano Vaporizers of 2019 Reviewed
1. Volcano Classic: Best for Most Durable & Best Price
The Volcano Classic by Storz & Bickel really sets and maintains the Gold Standard of desktop vaporizers, providing a consistent and great experience every single time you use it. Along with being aesthetically pleasing, the Volcano Classic vaporizer is durable. The metal alloy body is very solid & durable, and it has a bit of weight to it, which makes you want to keep it out on the table as a statement piece.
The balloon and valve system are so simple and easy to use. The oven sits on top of the volcano body and has a tube that clicks into the mouthpiece filling up the balloon facing up. When it’s filled, just press your lips to the mouthpiece and take a hit. Even though the Volcano Classic vaporizer has to stay plugged in, you can take the balloon away from the body of the vaporizer.
Speaking of the balloons, this is really where the Volcano shines. Vaporizing with bags or balloons, especially with the Volcano, has some advantages over other vaping methods. Using the balloons makes them easy to share, great for parties, and they also allow the vapor to expand and cool, reducing the temperature just a little to make it easier to inhale. The balloons also ensure there’s no waste because everything goes right into the balloon, instead of the potential loss of vapor after your pull from other devices. The balloon valves don’t leak and let you take hits that feel effortless, instead of the resistance you feel from a portable vape.
The Volcano’s versatility is amazing, supporting both dry herbs and extracts. The loading chamber can hold up to half a gram of dry herbs, but also works with loads as small as a tenth of a gram using the stainless-steel extract pad as a spacer, or with the dosing capsules. For the best results with extracts, you should use enough to cover roughly two-thirds of the pad and turn the temperature all the way up.
- Smoothness of vapor
- Less expensive than the digital version
- Manufacturing quality
- Consistent vapor
- Less precise temperature control
- No auto-off option
If you’re looking for a durable and quality desktop vaporizer, you really can’t go wrong with a Volcano Classic by Storz & Bickel. The body is solid, the balloons are essential if you’re looking to keep as much of the vapor as possible and the versatility of being able to use both dry herbs and extracts within the same device make this a great buy.
The biggest negative to the Volcano Classic, if any, really comes down the controls. You have to remember to turn it off, otherwise it will stay on constantly, and the temperature control is not as precise as it is with the Volcano Digit (details below). However, it is less expensive than the Volcano Digit so if you are looking to invest in your Volcano vaporizer, but maybe still want to stick to a budget, this is the better choice.
2. Volcano Digit: Best for Precise Temperature Control
The Volcano Digit, from the outside, looks like just an update to the Volcano Classic. And when you look at the specs, they seem to agree. The vapor is indistinguishable between the units and both have identical heaters and heat exchangers for tasty, consistent vapor production. Both also come with the Easy Valve system that efficiently catches all the vapor without waste within the balloon. Both units also sport the same heat up times, around 3 and a half minutes to 350°F and 6 minutes to 446°F and take about 30 seconds to fill a balloon completely.
The Volcano Digit’s biggest difference from the Volcano Classic is that it has a more accurate temperature control, thanks to its electronic thermostat, which stays within 2.7°F of the displayed temperature, unlike the Volcano Classic’s bimetallic thermostat which is only accurate to within 9°F. Also, both units go up to 446°F, but the Volcano Classic can only be dialed down to 266°F, versus 104°F for the Volcano Digit. If you need to dial in a specific temperature, the Volcano Digit is simply superior to the Volcano Classic.
- Smoothness of vapor
- Manufacturing quality
- Consistent vapor
- Precise temperature control
- Auto-shutoff timer
- More expensive
- Electronic controls could fail
The Volcano Digit really is the better option if you’re looking to have complete control over your temperature, but that precise control comes at a price compared to the Volcano Classic.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the auto-shutoff timer that the Volcano Digit has, and the Volcano Classic does not. The Volcano Classic will stay on until you turn it off, while the Volcano Digit has a 30-minute auto-shutoff timer. This is great for those that might forget to turn their Volcano off but can be a bit frustrating when you want another balloon or bag because you’ll have to wait for the unit to heat up again. If you just want to have your Volcano at the ready all evening, go with the Volcano Classic.
How to Choose the Best Volcano Vaporizer
There are a few differences between the Volcano Classic and the Volcano Digit, and they mostly point to different types of users that are interested in the Volcano models. The biggest differences are the price, temperature control, and the shutoff timer between the two of them. Users that need exact temperature, whether due to medical needs or preference, will need to look to the Volcano Digit over the Volcano Classic. The Volcano Classic will appeal to people who want a solid and serious vaporizer but don’t need to dial in a specific temperature, or for someone who wants their vaporizer always ready to go without waiting for it to heat up again.
There is the price difference as well that may need to be taken into account when choosing between the Volcano Classic and the Volcano Digit. The Volcano Digit is $120 more expensive than the Volcano Classic as of this article’s writing, so if you’re looking to buy a Volcano, but you’re on a tighter budget, you should look to the Volcano Classic over the Volcano Digit. You’ll be giving up on the more precise temperature of the Volcano Digit, but the cost savings may be worth the potential 9°F difference.
How Do Volcano Vaporizers Work?
A Volcano vaporizer, whether a Volcano Classic or a Volcano Digit, will consist of a metal heating chamber, an electric energy source, and a fine screen or a filter. Conduction units heat the material via direct contact with a heat source. This can result in incidental overheating of some parts of the chamber, which can cause accidental combustion and a harsher flavor, but you don’t have to worry about that thanks to the precision involved in both of the Volcano’s production.
In order to get the perfect hit from your vaporizer, though, you should use a grinder to break down the dry herbs or tobacco. A fine grind makes the difference between a so-so vape experience and a great one, even within both of the Volcano’s models.
The quality management systems (ISO 13485) and medical-grade materials that Storz & Bickel have built into their manufacturing process for both of their Volcano models certified their company and their products as the first-ever medical-use vaporizers, which is a great distinction over other companies.
The balloons are made of food-safe, heat-proof and odor-free materials, and can be purchased separately from their website. The balloon was specifically designed to separate the vaporization and inhalation processes, keeping you out of contact with the vaporizer and the heat created by vaporization.
Easy Valve Starter Set VS Solid Valve Starter Set
If you spend any time on the Volcano site, deciding between the Volcano Classic and the Volcano Digit, you’ll also see that there are two different options for valves, the “Easy Valve” starter set, and the “Solid Valve” starter set. The main difference between the two valve sets is the required maintenance. With Solid Valve, you can choose your own custom balloon size.
The Easy Valve was developed to provide an “easy to use” solution to their customers that doesn’t require as much maintenance. It is ideal for everyday use, and is easy to handle, requiring minimal maintenance work. With Easy Valve, you no longer need to attach a new Balloon to the Valve. It comes ready to use. Once the Easy Valve can no longer be used, simply replace the old with a new one.
The Solid Valve is a less expensive long-term option. Because you can replace the balloons yourself, you can use the bulk Balloon Material or other heat resistant oven bags.
What are the uses for the Volcano?
The Volcano creates a convection stream of hot air that heats the flavors and aromas of material and creates a vapor (like steam, not smoke) that is captured in a heat resistant balloon. The Volcano can be used for aromatherapy, culinary, and mixology applications.
Is the Volcano easy to use?
The Volcano is very easy to use. The simple design allows a novice to become an expert in no time. Most users master the system in less than 10 minutes. There is manufacturer support, so if you do have questions, you can get them answered quickly.
What determines the vapor quality in the Volcano?
The proportion of aroma, flavor and material are the key to the vapor quality in your Balloon. It is best to use quality material in limited quantity in the Volcano to achieve best results. Pay attention to how well the material is ground.
Obviously, neither of the Volcano vaporizers are in everyone’s price range. For some consumers, they just don’t have the funds to purchase either of the model options, even if they recognize that the device is superior. But if you want to purchase one of the best vaporizer devices on the planet, either the Volcano Classic or the Volcano Digit is worth every penny.
The ease of use, durability, and cost savings that come over time, and the consumer experience is immense. You will get an excellent vaping experience with consistent vapor and an amazing lifespan on a vaporizer. If you’re willing to put in the investment for either of the Volcano models, it is well worth it.
It’s safe to say that both of the Volcano models are a medical grade vaporizer you can be completely confident in. Many imitation devices have been introduced to the market to try to duplicate Storz & Bickel’s success with the Volcano models, but virtually all have missed the mark. The Volcano vaporizers are the vaporizers that all others are measured against, and that has been the case for nearly 20 years. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend that you look deeper and try one for yourself.