The Volcano vaporizer by Storz and Bickel has been on the market for many years now, and to some, its name is widely renowned for being the best desktop vaporizer you can purchase.
In my strong opinion, this the best vaporizer you can purchase for group use in mind, and sheer reliability alone. If you purchase a Volcano vaporizer, expect it to stay with you for awhile – these things are tanks and rarely break down or have issues.
There are Volcanos from the early 2000’s still kicking around in circulation. If that doesn’t say something about the Volcano’s reliability and build quality, I don’t know what will.
Storz and Bickel revamped the Volcano design with the release of the Volcano Digital around 2007.
The Volcano Digital traded off the traditional rotary dial for a digital temperature display and tactile buttons for temperature readout and adjustment.
Now you may encounter a little sticker shock when you initially find out how much the Volcano Classic and Volcano Digital run for. However, with that said, I feel it is worth every penny when considering every aspect of owning a vaporizer.
While other vaporizers may offer similar features at a cheaper price, they usually lack in ease of use, build quality, and reliability.
As we move through this review, I think you will start to understand why I recommend the Volcano so strongly. To make this review easier to follow, we’re going to break it down into the following sections:
- Volcano Classic Vs Volcano Digital
- Vapor Path
- Easy Valve
- Solid Valve
- Temperature Control
- Volcano Classic
- Volcano Digital
- Oven Capacity and Efficiency
- Easy Valve
- Solid Valve
- Vapor Quality
- Dry Herbs
- Build Quality
- Easy Valve
- Solid Valve
- Pros/Cons Breakdown
- Final Subjective Assessment
When we get to each section, I’ll explain what I’m exactly looking at when we talk about vapor quality, vapor path, build quality, etc.
Alright, let’s get into our Volcano vaporizer review!
Volcano Classic Vs Volcano Digital
Storz and Bickel offers two versions of the Volcano, as we learned in the introduction of this review. The Volcano Classic and the Volcano Digital are both very similar and only have a few slight variations in their design.
The Volcano Classic simply uses a rotary dial like the kind you would find on a guitar amplifier. The dial has an operating range of 1-9, and each number represents a different temperature setting.
We’re going to go into the actual temperature control later in the review.
The Volcano Classic also does not have any form of auto shut off, it will remain powered on until you physically turn off the heater or unplug the unit.
The Volcano Digital is slightly different. As we established before, it features a very large LCD screen which reads out your preset temperature and the Volcano oven’s current operating temperature. Also, the unit uses “+” and “-” buttons to adjust the temperature instead of a rotary dial.
The Volcano Digital also has an auto shutoff unlike the Volcano Classic.
Something else I should mention is the fact that these two vaporizers technically have different temperature spectrums that they allow its users to utilize. Both vaporizers have a maximum temperature of 446°F, but each of them have different minimum temperature settings.
The Volcano Classic can only be set as low as 266°F, while the Volcano Digital can go as low as 104°F.
This shouldn’t be an issue for most people as the lowest I typically go is 330°F. Most people will have no need to go below 300°F in my opinion.
There’s not much of a difference other than that, it’s really all subjective and a matter of personal preference. I would just go for the Classic myself as I find the rotary dial to be more than sufficient for my needs and it’s the cheaper of the two.
Vapor Path of the Volcano Vaporizer
What we’re looking at here is the actual path the vapor takes before reaching your lungs. So we’re going to talk about materials used in the vapor path, and we’re going to look at the two slightly different vapor paths that you can choose from before purchasing the Volcano.
The only part of the vapor path that is on the Volcano itself is the heater, which is found on top of the unit itself.
This is where the hot air is pushed out from, which allows the Volcano to simultaneously vaporize your material and fill a bag at the same time.
Now let’s talk about the two bag systems that you have the choice of using, which are the Solid Valve and the Easy Valve. Each one has advantages over the other and we’re going to talk everything regarding each method.
Storz and Bickel uses the same material for the bags in both the Easy Valve and Solid Valve kits. The official Storz and Bickel bags are of very high quality and do not produce any foul odors or flavors when heated.
In general, the Volcano features odor free and food safe materials throughout its design.
Vapor Path of the Easy Valve
The Easy Valve system is personally my favorite method of using the Volcano.
This system utilizes replaceable mouthpiece/balloon sets which you just throw away and replace once the balloons become noticeably dirty.
The filling chamber is constructed out of a durable, black plastic material similar to the material used on the Crafty and Mighty vapes, which Storz and Bickel also produces.
You simply give it about a quarter turn counter-clockwise to separate the filling chamber, revealing the bowl you load your material into.
It seems like this same plastic is also used on the Easy Valve mouthpieces, except it is orange in color.
There’s a small black plastic insert which is what opens the valve in the bag assembly when you push your lips up to it to take your draw.
In general, there are less parts involved with the Easy Valve system due to its disposable nature.
Vapor Path of the Solid Valve
While I personally prefer the Easy Valve system out of convenience, the Solid Valve system is overall built to a higher degree of durability and a more economical approach as the whole system is user serviceable.
The Solid Valve can be taken apart and thoroughly cleaned and the bags can be replaced.
The Solid Valve filling chamber is constructed out of a high quality temperature resistant plastic similar to the filling chamber used with the Easy Valve.
There’s a stainless steel filling chamber insert, which is what holds down your herb while the Volcano’s powerful air pump pushes air through your material. The cool thing with the filling chamber insert on the Solid Valve is that it easily allows you to load smaller amounts of material natively without any tricks or anything extra.
The mouthpiece is a lot heavier with the Solid Valve when compared to ones included with the Easy Valve. It makes sense though, the Solid Valve mouthpiece is meant to be cleaned and reused over and over again. It is made out of the same material used on the filling chamber.
There are more parts with the Solid Valve assembly, but it will cost you less money over the long term. A roll of Volcano bags go for about $10, and that will last most people about a year.
You also have the ability of fully customizable bag lengths with the Solid Valve kit. You can make super small bags for solo use, or crazy 10 foot bags for parties and special occasions.
Temperature Control for the Volcano Vaporizer
What we’re looking at here is how exactly you adjust the temperature that you want to vape at, and it couldn’t be any more simple with both models of the Volcano.
For starters, both units have two switches at the base of the unit and a “control” light.
The red switch on the left is the “HEAT” switch. This for all intents and purposes is the on and off switch. When you switch this into the on position it will glow red to tell you that the heating element is now going to start heating to your desired temperature.
The green switch all the way on the right is the “AIR” switch. This is what activates the high powered air pump present inside the Volcano that will vaporizer your material.
The “CONTROL” light in between the two switches is what tells you that your Volcano vaporizer is at its operating temperature that you set it to. When the light is glowing orange, this means that the heating element is currently powered on and climbing to your desired temperature. When the light is off, this means that the unit is at temperature and ready for vaporization.
Both the Volcano Classic and Volcano Digital take about 3 minutes to get to operating temperature.
Besides all that, this is where the Classic and Digital models differ, and we’ll look at each model separately.
Temperature Control for the Volcano Classic
As we’ve talked about before, the Volcano Classic uses a rotary dial to cycle between its 9 heat levels.
Heat level 1 starts the temperature spectrum at 266°F, and heat level 9 ends the spectrum at 439°F.
The temperature control and accuracy seem pretty good from my experience. Heat level 5 for example definitely feels around 350°F based off of my experience with other vaporizers as well.
With the dial, you are able to get pretty close to the temperature you want to vape at, and I’ve found from experience with vaporizing that being off 1°F-5°F doesn’t make a significant impact in the vapor quality.
Temperature Control for the Volcano Digital
The Volcano Digital is sporting a very large LCD temperature readout on the front of the vape with “+” and “-” buttons beside said LCD screen.
The Volcano Digital has an operating temperature range of 104°F all the way up to 446°F. Being able to go lower than 266°F may benefit some users who use other herbs or essential oils, but I don’t think these lower temperatures are of much benefit to most cannabis users.
If you are looking for dead accurate temperature control, the Volcano Digital is the model you are looking for.
Oven Capacity and Efficiency of the Volcano
This section looks at how much you need to load into the oven to get good results. Likewise, we’re going to look at how efficiently the Volcano overall vaporizers your flower with each method.
Overall, both methods have about the same efficiency. Both the Easy Valve and Solid Valve systems will fully extract all of the active compounds out of your dried flower. Fully loaded chambers with both the Easy Valve and Solid Valve last me pretty much all day, filling multiple bags over the course of the day.
Both the Easy Valve and the Solid Valve have different size ovens. While they’re the same diameter in size, they both differ in the amount of materials you have to load into them to get good results.
Oven Capacity with the Easy Valve
I feel the Easy Valve is better suited towards groups for most people. The Easy Valve filling chamber works best when fully loaded, which is about a half gram of ground cannabis flower. You can get away with loading half and using the concentrate pad to fill in the remaining space, however I found the bags weren’t as dense when I used this method of packing less herb.
Storz and Bickel also offers an Easy Valve Reducer which will decrease the oven capacity to about .15-.2 of ground material. This system requires the separate dosing capsules as I found loading material directly into the reduced filling chamber led to terrible results. There was very little vapor production and the herb flew everywhere. Pairing the Reduced Easy Valve system with the dosing capsules is ideal for extracting a very small load into one bag. At most, you’re only going to get three bags of vapor when using the Easy Valve Reducer and dosing capsules.
Personally, I would recommend just sticking with the Solid Valve if you need vape smaller amounts with the Volcano as the Easy Valve Filling Chamber Reducer yielded less than stellar results from my personal testing,
Oven Capacity with the Solid Valve
In terms of chamber size, I feel the Solid Valve is the best compromise for solo and group use.
The stainless steel filling chamber insert allows you to load small or large amounts natively into the Solid Valve easily.
The metal screen will change its position depending on how much material is loaded into the chamber. I found you want to load about a maximum of a half gram. If you are going to be vaping by yourself, simply load enough to cover the entire screen. You don’t need much more than that if you’re by yourself.
Vapor Quality from the Volcano Vaporizer
We’re talking about 3 different things when we look at a vaporizer’s overall vapor quality. Vapor production, flavor, and smoothness all make up the criteria that we look at when rating a vaporizer’s vapor quality.
Since the Volcano does both Dry Herbs and Concentrates, we’re going to look at each separately
In general, the Volcano offers some of the best vapor quality you can get on the market.
The Volcano’s Vapor Quality with Dry Herbs
If you’re looking into purchasing a Volcano, you’re more than likely looking to use it primarily with dry herbs, and this is what the Volcano excels at.
First of all, the Volcano’s vapor production is pretty awe inspiring to see in person for someone who’s never seen a vapor bag being filled before. When you get over 350°F, the Volcano really starts to produce insane amounts of vapor.
I found 380°F and beyond to fill bags with dense and opaque vapor.
Flavor with the Volcano is also fantastic, but not as great as other high end vaporizers like the VapeXhale Cloud EVO. The terpenes in the vapor will begin to condense in the bag as the vapor sits in the bag between draws.
Terpenes for those that don’t know are the chemicals produced by plants that give flowers their smell and flavors. If you’re looking for the best flavor, I would look for a vape that doesn’t use bags. Bag vapes like the Volcano still produce great flavor, but a direct draw vape like the Cloud EVO just produces tastier vapor simply because of the shorter vapor path.
I find the smoothness of the Volcano’s vapor to be one of its best selling points. The vapor from the Volcano goes down really easy, and it never feels scratchy or harsh on the throat unless you turn the temperature up stupidly high.
The Volcano’s vapor would be great for a medical patient who needs a means of delivering a significant amount of medicine without the vapor being too harsh. This is one of the only vapes I have used that can produce insane amounts of vapor and still remain smooth and enjoyable.
The Volcano’s Vapor Quality with Concentrates
The Volcano is also a great option for vaporizing various types of melty concentrates like BHO or Bubble Hash.
I found vapor production to not be anything crazy when using concentrates with the Volcano. You’re going to get a lot of bags, but they aren’t as dense as the bags filled with dry herb vapor. This does not mean that the vapor is not potent though, because it sure is!
I found the flavor with concentrates to be much more pronounced than dry herbs in the Volcano, even after sitting in the bag for a minute or two.
Like dry herb vapor, the vapor produced with concentrates is also super smooth. I found the concentrate vapor from the Volcano was much smoother compared to other methods of consuming concentrates like an oil rig or a dab pen.
Build Quality of the Volcano
For build quality, we’re looking at the materials used, how it was assembled, and the reliability of the unit.
Both the Volcano Classic and Volcano Digital have in my opinion the best build quality out of any electrically operated vaporizer on the market period.
It is not uncommon for someone to say they have been a proud Volcano owner for 4+ years; these vapes never stop kicking.
The exterior of the unit is constructed out of stainless steel, with any plastic portions being a very high quality durable temperature resistant material.
The switches and buttons that you’ll find on either model of the Volcano are also quality. Everything’s very tactile and provides satisfying feedback when you engage them.
A lot of the time, vaporizers will drop the ball with their controls. The buttons, switches, or dials found on other vaporizers can sometimes feel really cheap and poorly implemented. This is not the case with the Volcano.
Storz and Bickel is a big name in the industry for a reason. They only put out quality products and the Volcano was their first example of the hard work and dedication this company puts into designing quality vaporizers.
Quality assurance when opening your brand new Volcano is a given; you’d be surprised at the amount of companies in the industry who do little to no quality assurance on their products.
The actual Volcano unit itself requires very little maintenance, if any. No vapor or material should actually make any contact with the vaporizer itself. The only parts that require cleaning are your Easy Valve or Solid Valve bag systems.
There is an air filter on the bottom of the unit that will have to periodically be changed, but this is something that only needs to be done once every 1-2 years as the air filters will last awhile.
Cleaning the Easy Valve
The Easy Valve is your best option if you’re looking for the least amount of maintenance as possible.
You simply throw away the bag and mouthpieces when they are finally too dirty to be used anymore. In general, you can get about a few months per bag, depending on your usage.
The filling chamber is the only part of the whole system that needs to be cleaned. The screen can simply be replaced and the whole unit can be soaked in warm soapy water or alcohol to fully clean it.
While this isn’t the most economical option for using the Volcano, it is my preferred primarily because I absolutely hate cleaning my vapes! I know there’s a few crazy people who find the process therapeutic, but I am not one of those people personally.
I like just picking up a set of Easy Valve Balloons every year and not having to worry about anything else really.
Cleaning the Solid Valve
Nothing besides the bags are thrown out when you clean the Solid Valve. The Solid Valve filling chamber and mouthpiece can both be taken fully apart to be cleaned and serviced.
The instructions included with the Solid Valve are pretty easy to follow, and I didn’t have any issues taking apart the Solid Valve.
In general, all the pieces just need to be soaked in warm soapy water or isopropyl alcohol.
You can pick up a roll of Volcano bags for about $7 and this roll should last you about a year.
If spending around $50 for Easy Valve balloons a year sounds like too much for you, the Solid Valve is the better option for you. It costs under $10 yearly to maintain, which I think is more than acceptable.
Accessories Included with the Volcano
This section is going to list out what accessories you will get in the box with your vaporizer. The accessories you get with your Volcano are primarily dependent on whether you pick the Solid Valve or the Easy Valve.
Easy Valve Kit
- 5x EASY VALVE Balloons
- Filling Chamber
- Normal Screen Set
- Air Filter Set
- Liquid Pad
- Cleaning Brush
Solid Valve Kit
- SOLID VALVE
- Filling Chamber
- Normal Screen Set
- Air Filter Set
- Liquid Pad
- Balloon Tube
- Cleaning Brush
The Volcano Classic and the Volcano Digital both offer a 3 year warranty on defects and flaws in the materials or workmanship of the vaporizer.
3 years is pretty good coverage compared to other vaporizers on the market currently. It could be longer, but in general the Volcano is one of the most reliable vaporizers on the market. The chances of you actually needing to warranty your Volcano vaporizer are very slim.
To conclude the review, we are going to break down the pros and cons of the Volcano vaporizer.
- Fantastic vapor quality
- Durable and reliable build quality
- Ease of use
- Great for groups
- Little to no Maintenance with Easy Valve
- Long heat up time
- Noisy air pump
Final Subjective Assessment of the Volcano Vaporizer
Now to wrap everything up, I’m just briefly going to cover how the Volcano fits into my life, and who I would recommend this vaporizer to.
I typically leave my Volcano Classic on all day long, and while Storz and Bickel does not recommend this practice, myself and many others in the vaping community online have had no such issues. The Volcano has been proven time and time again to be an all around reliable unit.
It is just convenient having a vape that’s always ready to go. My VapeXhale Cloud EVO is my favorite vaporizer, but I can’t leave it on all day, so I typically use the Volcano in between the times I want to sit down and session with the Cloud EVO.
I find the Volcano much more convenient to use with friends than any of the other 10+ vaporizers in my collection. I don’t think whip or direct draw vaporizers can quite beat the convenience and ease of use with a bag vape when vaping with friends.
You can simply pass a bag to someone and there’s nothing much else to do besides taking a hit from it. A lot of vaporizers require some type of technique to get good results, and the Volcano just doesn’t require any of that fluff. It just works, and it works amazingly well at that.
I would personally recommend this vaporizer to someone who has group use in mind, or is looking for an easy to use and reliable vaporizer.
As we have stated probably a million times at this point, the Volcano and bag vapes in general are the easiest method of vaping with friends.
If you are interested in purchasing the Volcano for solo use, you’ll probably want the Solid Valve as you can load smaller amounts of material comfortably in its filling chamber.
Or, you could always go with the the Storz and Bickel Easy Valve Filling Chamber Reducer, which also works great for someone who prefers the Easy Valve system (like myself). It allows you to vaporize small amounts without sacrificing performance and still use the Easy Valve instead of the Solid Valve.
If you’re a medical user and need something that will work everyday, this is also a good option. Not only can the Volcano reliably deliver large amounts of medicine with a fully adjustable temperature spectrum, it also has proven itself has a workhorse in the vaping community.
The Volcano does not let down when you need it, it’s one of the best vaporizers on the market and always ready for you to fill a bag with your needed medicine.
Looking for the best deal on the Volcano vaporizer?
If you want to buy the Volcano, we recommend picking it up from Vaporizer Chief. They are one of our favorite companies in the industry and have proven themselves to be highly reputable with all their customers.
If you pick it up from PoTV, you will get all of these bonuses:
- Free Shipping
- Free 4-piece grinder
- Free storage case so you can store and transport your unit
- Free TightVac air tight storage container for your herbs to keep them fresh
Overall, it’s one of the best deals online.