Original Volcano Vaporizer Review

Storz & Bickel Volcano Classic

Medical Grade Vapor

The Volcano vaporizer by Storz & Bickel was introduced in Europe in 2000 and in the United States in 2003. This was the first in S&B’s line of world renown dry herb vapes, and one could say it caused something of an eruption on the landscape. Not only was the Classic Volcano the first fan driven forced-air vaporizer to achieve widespread commercial success, it was the fist to employ its patented balloon technology. Originally designed to allow caregivers the ability to create medicinal vapor dosage independent of the patient, the Volcano is actually pictured in Wikipedia under the entry Medical Vaporizers. But it was the balloon’s multi-purpose functionality that made it an immediate hit.

Classic Volcano Goes Digital

In 2007 S&B introduced the Volcano Digit utilizing an identical design with the addition of digital temperature control. The Volcano Classic allows one to control the chamber temp using an analog dial that ranges from 266 to 446 degrees Fahrenheit and an orange light to signal when the desired temperature is reached. The Volcano Digit, on the other hand, displays target temp and current temp in an LED panel. While the digital Volcano accommodates greater precision, dialing in the right temp with the Classic is not difficult. With a little practice you can learn exactly where to dial to optimize your vaping experience. Having said that, we like vaping our first bag at level 5, ratcheting up toward 7 by the end.

Classic Volcano, Digital Volcano

You say Tomato, I Say Tomaato?

Not exactly. But both models do produce equivalent and unparalleled vapor that exceeds any other desktop vaporizer we’ve tested. The Digit’s only differences are digital temp control, a 30 minute auto shutoff switch, and eight ounces of additional weight due to the electronics. If you’re interested in buying either Volcano you can click here to check them out at our recommended S&B dealer. Here you will receive the manufacturer’s warranty as well as an impressive collection of bonus accessories valued at $94. At the time of this review the bonus pack includes:

  • aluminum carrying case with combination locks (this alone is a $55 value)
  • four piece aluminum CNC grinder
  • TightVac airtight herb storage chamber
  • free shipping

All this comes in addition to the Storz & Bickel standard kit which includes:

  • Easy Valve Starter Set with 5 balloons
  • S&B acrylic grinder
  • extra air filters
  • 6 replacement screens
  • stainless steel liquid pad for wax and oils
  • mouthpiece
  • cleaning brush

This is an awesome deal we wish we had access to back in the day.

Technical Specifications

The Volcano Classic is a desktop vaporizer intended for stationary use. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg), standing 7.9 inches (20 cm) tall, and with a diameter of 7.1 inches (18 cm) at its base, this is not a compact device and does require being plugged in to function. If size is not an issue then you will be blown away by this vaporization masterpiece. We’re talking best in class vapor production using dried blends or concentrates. To vape concentrates just place the liquid pad inside the chamber, apply the payload and vape as usual.

The Volcano Digit and Classic are fan driven, forced-air, zero combustion vaporizers. The volcano-shaped external housing is made of stainless steel. The steel clad ceramic heating element is paired with an aluminum block heat exchanger to first heat the chamber and then the the air which is moved through the blend by the fan. Before entering the fan, outside air is cleansed of any stray particles through a replaceable filter. This method perfectly distributes heat through the payload utilizing pure convection to create unparalleled vapor.

Firing Up the Volcano

Beyond its exceptional vapor quality, what we really like about the Volcano is its ease of use. It takes three to five minutes for a stone cold heating element to warm up depending on load size and taste preference. Use this time to prepare and load your blend into the filling chamber. When the orange light goes off snap the filling chamber on top and turn on the fan. Wait a few seconds until you start seeing vapor then connect the balloon and let ‘er rip. Watching the Volcano erupt with super dense ultra flavorful vapor is (shall we say it? cough) a gas.

It takes about a minute to fill a standard size balloon but rest assured there won’t be any real coughing because the vapor is just that smooth. When the balloon is full simply disconnect it from the filling chamber, attach the mouthpiece and enjoy a billowous bag of clean, cool, delicious vapor. Or store it in the bag for later enjoyment. Some users report storing vapor for up to 8 hours but Storz & Bickel liken a Volcano vapor bag to a fresh pot of coffee – best when consumed within 15 minutes. A standard two foot bag should provide five good man-size draws. Medication dispensation as we like it.

Volcano Easy Valve vs. Sold Valve

In order to trap the vapor inside the bag a valve must exist between the filling chamber and the balloon. Both Volcano models now come standard with the redesigned Easy Valve System. But the old school Solid Valve remains available as an option. The Solid Valve, which can be cleaned and reused, is constructed of stainless steel and heat resistant plastic. Prior to recent modifications, the Easy Valve System could not accommodate replacement balloons. The entire balloon/valve assembly had to be discarded after a balloon reached its useful life. The Solid Valve was the only way to utilize non-standard (read large) balloons. But the redesigned Easy Valve with optional slip-ring adapter allows one to use and replace balloons cut from a roll just like the old system. Which means you can make your balloons two feet or ten feet long.

Volcano Easy Valve System with Adapter

Volcano Easy Valve System with Adapter and Mouthpiece

We see no reason to go with the Solid Valve system since the redesigned Easy Valve with adapter now accommodates replacement balloons. The Solid Valve requires frequent cleaning and relies on nothing but its own weight to rest atop the heating chamber, a design that sometimes allows vapor to leak out. The Easy Valve, on the other hand, kind of snaps into place and is leak free. Previously, the Solid Valve system was more economical in the long run but in our opinion that is no longer the case.

Volcano Mouthpiece

The Volcano’s mouthpiece also acts as a valve that opens to allow inhalation when pressed to the mouth. With some balloon vaporizers the mouthpiece valve requires manual action in order to open and close. But with the Volcano the mouthpiece valve opens automatically when pressed. This is the best balloon vapor delivery system we’ve encountered and about as flawless as we can imagine.

Three Year Warranty

Just like S&B sibling “the Plenty,” both the Volcano Classic and the Volcano Digit are backed by a three-year manufacturer’s warranty. The Mighty and the Crafty, on the other hand, come with two year warranties. From our own experience with customer service we can attest that Storz & Bickel truly go the extra mile to keep customers happy.

Conclusion

Very simply, this is one of the best vaporizers ever made. Vapor quality is incredible, build quality is superb, it’s easy to use, customer support is excellent, and it works great when vaping solo or in group sessions. From our point of view, the only drawbacks are cost and lack of a direct draw option (balloons only). Having said that, we think it’s worth the price; not only because of its superior vapor production, but due to its efficiency. Over time, you’ll save a bundle on unwasted herb and, if you cut your own balloons from a roll, that expense becomes de minimis. If you’d like to pick one up, we suggest buying from this authorized Storz & Bickel dealer. The Volcano Classic and Volcano Digit set the benchmark for convection vaporization.