Introduction to the Volcano
Every market has its big players, and the vaporizer market is no exception. Storz & Bickel has been a large presence in the vaporizer market for over 11 years. S&B has relied on its workhorse, the Volcano Vaporizer, as its only offering for over nine years and they’re still producing them to this day. The Volcano is a plug in vaporizer that relies on filling a bag with hot air that passes through the herb chamber which sits on top of the Volcano. The bag attaches to the herb chamber via one of two different attachment valves.
Why Volcano Vaporizer?
The Volcano has the largest footprint of any vaporizer I’ve used to date with the base measuring at approximately 8″ in diameter. Having a large circular footprint makes this unit incredibly stable on most surfaces which is important because nobody wants a 3-4lb vaporizer (depending on model) falling from a raised surface onto their feet. The Volcano comes in two different varieties which I’ll outline below.
- The classic Volcano model has an analogue dial which functions to set the temperature, because there are less components involved in the entire temperature selection process, there are less components that can break.
- The classic Volcano has a smaller temperature range due to its higher low end temperature of 266°F compared to the digital low end of 104°F. The temperature nob isn’t as accurate as the digital controls for dialing in a precise preferred setting. I would suggest once you find a good temperature nob location for your preference for low, medium, and high heat mark it on the Volcano so that you can consistently recall the same temperatures.
- The digital temperature gauge not only allows you to dial in a precise temperature, it will also display the units current temperature which will give you an estimate of warm-up time or how long ago the unit was shut off.
- The digital temperature display adds an additional two buttons and LCD (similar to an alarm clock) screen which will be subject to wear and tear through regular use and can eventually fail. The additional components of the digital model also add .4lb of weight making the digital model heavier than its classic counterpart.
Performance & Use
For this section I’m going to be referencing the digital Volcano Vaporizer model as that is the model that I have experience with. When you first plug in the Volcano the screen lights up with a small green dot in the center to let you know that it is plugged in.
A press of the red button (marked “HEAT”) will light up the LCD panel with a green and red temperature value. The upper red value represents the units current temperature and the lower green value represents the desired temperature. The green desired temperature can be controlled by the “+” and “-” signs in the green triangles on either side of the display. As soon as the display lights up, the Volcano begins heating up to the desired temperature.
The CONTROL light in between the HEAT and AIR buttons serves to indicate if the heating element inside the Volcano is on or off. While the Volcano is heating up, the control light will glow with a solid orange, once the Volcano is up to temperature you’ll see the control turn off, and then occasionally turn on again to maintain the desired temperature.
The green AIR button serves to begin the air pump to fill the bag, pressing this button will turn the pump on even if the Volcano is off but still plugged into the wall. Once you’re done using the Volcano and you’re ready to turn it off, simply press the HEAT button one more time and the unit will shut off. The red current temperature remains on in order to warn users that the unit is still hot.
Attachments for the Volcano are referred to as valve sets. They come in two different varieties an Easy Valve and a Solid Valve. Outlined below are the differences between the two valve varieties:
The Easy Valve kit is designed to be a plug and play solution for the Volcano. From personal experience I’d say the Easy Valve meets and exceeds the qualifications which make it an “easy” solution. The bags are pre-attached to the nozzle which connects to the herb chamber.
A mouthpiece which attaches to the bag nozzle allows the user to draw from the bag without needing to worry about vapor escaping when not in use. The mouthpiece works by way of a rubbery seal which is scored in the shape of an X. When the mouthpiece presses against the seal it opens up allowing vapor to flow out of the bag. Once the bags have worn out and need to be replaced, the easy valve nozzle (and bag) can be disposed of.
Unfortunately I do not own nor have I had the chance to use a solid valve. I understand that the benefits of the solid valve lie in the ability to create various size bags due to the nature of the solid valve being designed to accommodate replaceable bags as opposed to disposable bags.
The downside of this is that the solid valve mouthpiece and herb chamber have a larger variety of moving or removable parts that will need to be cleaned and/or replaced with time. To sum up my lack of experience: The Solid Valve is more versatile at the cost of significantly increased maintenance.
Additional Easy Valve images
$539 with an Easy Valve Starter Kit (includes five bags and various wear and tear accouterments)
$669 with an Easy Valve Starter Kit (includes five bags and various wear and tear accouterments)
It amazes me to say it, but the Volcano downsides aren’t in reference to the functionality of the vaporizer, only to its size and price. The Volcano is one of the largest vaporizers on the market not counting its bag, standard operation of the Volcano will also generate some noise which may not appeal to all audiences. Size aside, the Volcano is on the higher end of the vaporizer price spectrum, but I dare say that it has proven to stand the test of time and the price may accurately reflect what other vapor enthusiasts are willing to pay.
While the Volcano Vaporizer may not be for everyone, I’d say it fills a great niche that other vaporizers have yet to compete with. As a bag vaporizer, the Volcano is top of its class. Despite multiple attempts on my part to sell my Volcano due to lack of everyday use (which would help justify its price tag) my wife refuses to let me sell it. Every time we have company over, the volcano comes out of storage (I store my Volcano in a VAPECASE Volcano Soft Case which is, in my opinion, the best and only way to store and travel with a Volcano) and entertains the crowd for a night. In closing, the Volcano by Storz & Bickel holds the same place in my heart as my copy of Mario Party. Its not always my first choice when I’m alone, but if you add a few people to the mix it becomes the gold standard in fun.
The Volcano Vaporizer (Digital or Classic) is available for purchase in the United States here (or click the banner above for free shipping) along with both valve options.