If you have landed here you probably have heard of the Volcano vaporizer previously, maybe it was a friend who mentioned it, or maybe you read about it on a forum, whatever the case, the Volcano spiked your interest.
The Volcano vaporizer is listed as one of the best in our list of the best desktop vaporizers, and they deserve that. In this Volcano vaporizer review, we will go through what makes the Volcano so special as well as compare the two different models available – classic and digital as well as the two different valve systems – Solid Valve and Easy Valve.
Let’s jump straight into it!
The Volcano vaporizer is an iconic desktop vaporizer made by Storz & Bickel, which is a company based in Germany and have since 1996 developed quality vaporizers. One of the reasons you might have heard about the Volcano vaporizer so much is that it’s been around for a long time, being patented in the late 90s and officially entering the market year 2000. The gentlemen, Storz and Bickel, wanted to have a high-quality way of enjoying cannabis – so they made their own product for it. Like a boss (or two to be correct)!
The Volcano is a sturdy vaporizer that lasts for years, which is why there seem to be so many users of it – once you buy one, you will never need to replace it!
Rating The Volcano
Design – 9
Safety – 10
Potency – 7
Flavor – 8
Efficiency – 7
Ease of Use – 10
Temperature Control – 10
Reputation & Reliability – 10
Volcano Solid Valve vs. Easy Valve
Two types of valve systems are offered in the Volcano. The Solid Valve uses stainless steel and durable, heat-resistant plastic while offering different balloon sizes, depending on how much vapor you want to enjoy. The pros of picking Solid Valve is that you will save money on balloon costs, but that requires you to clean it more frequently. The mouthpiece and chamber are of higher quality. The estimated annual cost of replacement balloons for this system is $5-10.
Easy Valve is exactly what it sounds like, an easy system that is totally free from maintenance. The downside is that you can have one balloon size, and you will need more replacement balloons per year. The annual cost of replacement balloons is estimated at around $25-50, which is 5-10x more than the solid valve.
Personally, I feel that it is worth the small maintenance to save those $50 per year, as well as using my own balloon sizes without any restrictions. But it really just comes down to user preference. Do you rather put $25-50 per year to be able to have a maintenance free system? Then go for the Easy Valve. It’s totally up to you and both systems work just as good.
The Volcano uses forced air to fill the balloon with vapor. There are two different versions out now, the Volcano Digit and the Volcano Classic.
Volcano Classic vs. Volcano Digital (Digit)
The Volcano Classic came to the market in the early 2000s, and back then, all vaporizers were manual. But since then, digital versions have become popular and thus Volcano came out with a digital desktop vaporizer.
What is the difference between the classic and the Volcano Digit you may ask? Digit offers a LED display that enables you to easily and precisely adjust the temperature between 104° F – 446° F. It also includes an automatic shutoff timer that shuts down your system if it isn’t being used for over 30 minutes, which is great if you have a tendency of forgetting to turn things off and keep them running. The lifetime of the Volcano greatly increases if you make sure it is turned off when it is not being used. The Volcano Classic offers an analog button so that you can precisely set the temperature with between 266° F – 446° F. It does not show the temperature on a LED screen, but shows you a number between 1 and 9 (1 being lowest and 9 being highest), in the box you will find a chart explaining what number corresponds with what temperature.
The downside with the Digital version is that the price tag is a whopping $120 more than what the Classic model is. The outcome of the vapor isn’t different from the Classic, which from a logical perspective makes it a bit hard to reason the need for the Digital model. However, if you really feel like getting the Digital version, I’d say go ahead!
You get a 3-year warranty on the Classic, Digit, Easy Valve and Solid Valve filling chambers provided by Storz and Bickel, which just goes to show how confident they are in the quality of the Volcano vape.
Volcano Pros & Cons
- The Volcano has gotten 2 governmental medical certifications (Israel and Canada). This means that they have gone through thorough tests by medical experts that have approved of this product.
- Easy to set up and low maintenance: Even though you go with the Solid valve, the maintenance is a piece of cake. You can just turn it on and wait until your balloon is completely filled with delicious vapor.
- A reliable company that has been in this industry for more than 20 years now. A Volcano can easily last for 10+ years if handled properly. Even though the market has gotten tougher as the interest and competition in vaping products has grown, someone has yet to beat the Volcano in terms of quality and durability.
- Group-vaping friendly: Since you use balloons to inhale the vapor you can easily fill up a couple of balloons and vape with your friends. One might not want to pass on a portable vaporizer to people you haven’t met before, but with a balloon, it’s much easier.
- The precise temperature control makes it easy to not overheat or underheat the vaporizer. You can find what temperature you like the best and adjust it over time without having to mix with the settings each time as you would with a vaporizer with a unreliable temperature control.
- Its lack of potency and the flavor is a bit concerning given that the price tag is high. I would expect more from a vaporizer for $500-ish.
- The big bowl makes it fairly inefficient. It can take upwards of 4 to 5 minutes to heat the vaporizer up properly. The inefficient heating process makes many have their vaporizer running constantly since they don’t want to wait 5 minutes to be able to take a hit. This in return causes the lifetime to drastically go down. We cannot really blame the manufacturers for the result, but just as a heads up – turn it off when it’s not being used.
- It’s only made for balloon usage, so you cannot hook up a bong or a water-filtration to it (at least not that easily).
- It makes quite a bit of noise. If you want to vape some without disturbing your family or get caught doing so, this might not be the best choice for you.
- It got a high price tag, being one of the most expensive vaporizers around.
Which is the best Volcano vaporizer?
Now that we have gone through the different models and valves to pick between, you probably wonder which the best Volcano vaporizer is. While this is a personal choice, depending on the budget as well as what you value the most (low maintenance but higher cost vs. high maintenance and lower costs). Personally, I own the Volcano Classic with a solid valve. Whatever model or valve you choose you’ll get the same outcome, the vapor will be just as thick and tasty!
What’s inside the Volcano box?
When you open up the box, you get that fresh smell of a new vaporizer. It’s one lovely smell. When you, after sniffing up all this fresh air, open your eyes you are met with a front view of the Volcano Vaporizer. Inside the box, you will also find the Volcano vaporizer bag which comes handy when you want to carry the vaporizer around with you (and do it rather stealthy). The vaporizer weights between 3.5-4 lbs (depending on which model), so a bag really helps out when carrying for longer distances. I’ve also been told that sometimes it is a case instead of a bag, so if you really want the bag make sure that it is included.
If you buy from the same dealer as me, Planet of the Vapes, you get their 4-piece grinder as a bonus!
Summary of this Volcano vaporizer review
If you are looking for a desktop vaporizer, this is your best bet. While this is a vaporizer that only blows balloons and is priced so high, it is not a vaporizer for everyone. But by just looking at the high rating in each category, one couldn’t possibly price it lower.
Whether or not to go with Digital or Classic, or Easy or Solid valve is totally your choice. I am not so sure the automatic shutoff timer and the LED display is worth $120 extra, but if you think those are features that would help you out then, by all means, go for it.
If you are still looking for a desktop vaporizer and just cannot seem to justify the Volcano price, then visit this Extreme Q Review, and see if the Extreme Q multi-use vaporizer is for you. It offers a whip and balloon feature, and while it doesn’t offer as high-end vapor as the Volcano does, the price is easier to overcome.
Volcano Tips & Tricks
How to grind your herb properly
Make sure the herb is grounded finely. Use a fine grinder that eliminates all chunks of herb. Go as fine as possible without having the weed go through your screen – there is a fine line and it takes some practice to get it perfected. Keep on grindin’ and you’ll get there eventually!
How to pack your bowl for the best experience
The minimum amount of herb should be so that you don’t see the bottom screen. If you use the vaporizer without that your vapor won’t be as tasty and efficient as you want it to be.
How long can I store the vapor in a balloon?
15-30 minutes, max. According to this study, after as little as 5 minutes 2% of the THC condensed onto the balloon. After 3 hours no THC were spotted in the vapor. To be straightforward, fill up your balloon and empty it as quickly as possible (while still having a good time). If you have a balloon that is still to be used after 30 minutes you might as well make a new balloon of vape, it really isn’t worth trying to inhale it (taste is gone as well as the potency).
The best temperature for Volcano
This is a complex question, it’s like saying “what’s the best movie” – everyone will answer differently and the answer is totally based on personal preferences and not objectively. The best temperature depends on what you are looking for when vaping.
I’ve dedicated a full tutorial on temperatures when vaping that you can check out if you are interested. However, to answer your question I can give you some small guidelines that you can start off with and then adapt to make it perfect, for you.
I’d start at 6 if you are going to smoke one balloon. If you want to smoke more than one balloon I’d start off at 5 1/2 and then go up 1/2 for each successful bag until you feel the taste worsen (usually at around 7-8).
For 1 bag I’d start off with 365°F /185°C. If you want to vape more than one bag start off at the same temperature as with 1 bag, and slowly increase 5°F/9°C for each bag until the taste worsens (at around 392°F/200°C).
Stir your herbs
For each filled balloon, make sure to stir your herbs to get the most taste and potency out of them possible. If you do not stir your herbs, you are essentially wasting it.
Deep Cleaning Tutorial
What you will need:
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- A sharp metal object
- A bucket/jar with a lid, large enough to fit the Volcano filling chamber in
- A bowl of soapy water
- Paper towels
Filling chamber cleaning process:
- Disassemble the chamber carefully
- Put all metallic pieces in the jar
- Put the plastic pieces and the O-Rings into the bowl of soapy water
Solid Valve cleaning process:
- Remove the mouthpiece from attachment
- Disassemble the mouthpiece down completely
- Put metal pieces in bucket/jar
- Put plastic pieces in the bowl of soapy water
- Disassemble the Valve (where you usually attach the balloon and the mouthpiece)
- Put metal pieces in bucket/jar
- Put plastic pieces (including O-Ring) in the bowl of soapy water
- Fill jar/bucket with Isopropyl Alcohol until all parts are under the alcohol
- Put salt in bucket/jar
- Let the jar sit for 5 minutes or so
- During these 5 minutes, clean the plastic pieces in the soapy water, rinse with warm water and dry them using paper towels
- Put on the lid on the bucket/jar, and shake for 2 minutes
- If any resin is left on any of the pieces, scrape them off with the sharp metal object
- Rinse the metal pieces with warm water and dry them with paper towels
- Assemble back all the pieces, there are guides you can follow to get it right – or make sure to memorize it when dissembling it