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.
UPDATE SUMMER 2019: 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 one from the authorized S&B dealer I personally recommend who always has the latest stock. Use my promo code VAPENOW15 to get 15% off which brings the price down to $408 for the exact model I have. This store compensates me if you buy through my link and I appreciate your support more than you can imagine!
This video is my extended comparison and review of the Classic Volcano and Plenty vaporizers:
My original Volcano vaporizer review video from 2011 can be seen here, and below is a transcription of that video:
The first thing I’m going to do is turn it on. I had it running before for a few minutes to kind of preheat it a little bit. Let me explain what that means. With the Volcano Vaporizer the only thing people could possibly get annoyed with is that when you first turn it on after not using it for awhile, you need to wait about two or three minutes before the heating element heats up to the proper temperature where you could actually start vaping from it. That’s the reason that I turned it on first, because even though it’s preheated a little bit, we’ll still have to probably wait a minute.
This is the way you can tell when it’s ready to start using. You’ll notice when I first flipped the switch the light went on in the middle. That means that the heating element is on and is heating up. When it reaches the optimal temperature, which you set with the dial, the light is going to turn off. That indicates that the system reached the proper temperature. It has an automatic cut-off where it shuts off for maybe 30 seconds. It’s not too long. Then it will cycle back on again and get back up to the proper temperature, and then click off.
If you just turned this thing on and you left it here, every few minutes you would see it cycle off and on. All it’s doing is keeping an ambient temperature to keep you in the optimal vapor zone, which is a good thing. To be completely honest with you, that is the only thing that you could possibly complain about with this.
This is the most amazing device, let alone vaporizer, that I’ve ever used. It blows every other vaporizer away. Some people are going to tell you that there are better ones. There are other $500 vaporizers out there, too, but this thing is just crazy. The amount of engineering that they put into this when they made it, and how easy it is to use, and how clean it stays no matter how much you use it, is just amazing.
I’ve had this thing for two and a half years now and it looks practically new on the outside, which is expected. But even this piece where you put your herbs in, the screen up here on the top of the vaporizer, everything is very clean.
If you noticed, the light just turned off. That means that it reached the optimal temperature. We could talk about that for a second because I have a few posts on one of my sites about this, and there seems to be a lot of comments and a big discussion on what the optimal vape temperature is. I’ve personally found after using this for two and a half years that keeping it on the number six is pretty much the best place to be. The optimal temperature range is going to vary slightly depending on how much moisture is in the herbs you’re using, but generally, six is the lowest I’ll go. If I have to, I’ll bump it up a little bit to six and a half, but I’ve never really had to go over six and a half. You’re going to get the effects with six.
If you’ve never vaped before, you’ll have to get used to the fact that you’re not going to blow out a full stream of smoke. With the Volcano you actually will get a lot of visible vapor so it’s kind of a cool experience. Not with every vaporizer you could use out there do you actually see the vapor when you exhale. So that’s another thing that makes it really cool.
Once it reaches the optimal temperature and the light turns off, this means that it’s ready to go. This is the top piece to the Easy Valve system. This is all you need for this to work; the base unit, this top piece and then the bags. The way this part works, if you have the Easy Valve system like I do, it just twists apart. There’s a little screen compartment in here where you put your herbs in – you really don’t need a lot at all – and then you put it on.
You’ll see that the light just turned on again. That just means that it was monitoring the temperature and it dropped a few degrees after it reached the optimal temperature, so it turned the heating element back on again to get back up to the perfect temperature.
Even when it cycles on and off, it doesn’t vary more than 5 degrees. It tells you in the manual exactly what the variation is, but it’s not that much, which basically means you’re always in the optimal vape zone. You don’t have to worry. You put that piece on with the Easy Valve. You pull out the mouth piece. It’s one, two, three. You snap the bag on and then you hit the other button for the fan.
This part will last about 30 seconds. That’s how long it takes to fill the bag completely. Not very exciting, as you can see, but it’s really not a long wait at all. You want to watch it carefully because as soon as the bag gets to the point where it’s full, which is right now, you shut the fan off, you pull off this part and then you pull off this part. They also tell you in the manual that you don’t want to leave this part on for too long. You want to pop that right off afterwards.
These bags are self-sealing, by the way, so when you pop off this bag, there’s a valve in here. It seals it up so no vapor is escaping from here. Then you take your mouthpiece and you just snap it right in. It’s also still sealed. Unless you push the mouthpiece in, nothing comes out. That’s another amazing thing about this vaporizer compared to other ones. You don’t have a lot of extra vapor escaping, coming out and stinking up your room. You’re not wasting any, so it’s super-efficient, which is great.
I’m not going to sit here and smoke this whole thing but I’ll give you an example. You could hold the vapor in for a few seconds. You’ll see a little visible vapor come out, it’s nothing crazy. Depending on what situation you’re in, you might actually have to worry about the odor. Some people have claimed that you can smell it if you walk into a room where someone is vaping with this. Other people say you can’t smell it. To be on the safe side, you could do different things like use a spoof to mask the smell. Generally, it’s not going to smell too much and any smell that is there will dissipate fairly quickly.
I took one pull from the bag and you can see there is still a lot left. Out of each bagful you could expect to get maybe five nice draws depending on how much you put in. I put in a little bit more than a pinch here for myself. I usually get about four nice bags from each filling of this, which is pretty cool.
It is the most efficient thing. I know I said that already, but I’ve used a handful of other vaporizers and this one really is the most efficient. I know they say that all vaporizers are more efficient than smoking, but this one is twice as efficient as an inefficient vaporizer. So it really is crazy; obviously crazy and good. All these good things I’m saying about it mean that it’s expensive, and it is expensive. The Classic model was $539 when I bought it.
There’s also the Volcano Digit which has the digital temperature reading this is $669. I didn’t find the need for the digital temperature reading. I just played with the dial until I found the right thing and then you leave it there. Once you find the right temperature, you just leave the dial. I haven’t changed it in a long time. The ballers will get the digital one but it’s really not necessary.
Even still, this one at $539 is kind of a lot. I know it seems like a lot, but if you’re really into vaporizing or if you really want to quit smoking, it is totally worth the investment. It is one of the coolest and best things I’ve ever bought. I don’t buy a lot of expensive things like that but it’s the coolest thing ever. I use the crap out of it and it still works amazingly, and like I said, it’s been two and a half years.
I don’t want this video to go on forever, but briefly, I have a few other videos about my second favorite vaporizer which is the Magic Flight Launch Box, which is this little thing. It’s kind of two different purposes. This one is the stay-at-home unit, obviously. But this one is cool for on-the-go or if you’re traveling or you’re somewhere else, or if you’re not going to be home, because this one is tiny and super-portable.
The cool thing about the Magic Flight is that it is pretty much instantaneous. It uses rechargeable batteries and when you put the battery in and start heating it up it only takes about 5-10 seconds before vapor starts coming out. It has the Volcano on that one with the quickness, but otherwise this is just a secondary thing. This one is much cheaper. I think it’s $119 now.
Between these two, these are the best out of any I’ve used and this is all you need. I’ve almost completely stopped smoking at this point. I now favor this completely over smoking. I find the effects to be better. It feels cleaner, less nose and throat irritation and all that crap. Like I said, you could use it indoors and not blow out the place wherever you’re staying. Any odor there is, is really faint and you could take care of it easily.
The other thing that gives this credibility is that if you’ve ever seen videos or news reports, or read articles about the medicinal users and the dispensaries in California and things like that, they all use this. This is the one that you’ll see in the video of people using. This is medicinal grade top quality stuff. If you’re serious about this, this is what you want. This is what I’m talking about. This is what you need to get.
I think I covered everything but if I missed anything or if you have any questions, just leave a comment below and let me know. I respond to all of the comments. Also, if you don’t have one and you want to get one, or if you have one and you misplaced some parts and you want to get some new parts, or if you need to order new bags, go to VolcanoVape.info. That will redirect you to the store that I found is the best for buying all this vaporizer stuff. I get all my stuff there and I have for years. I actually just got my order of replacement bags. They ship really fast and their prices are good. They’re an authorized dealer so if you have any problems you can get them taken care of. You’re not buying a black market unit or anything.