Volcano Hybrid Desktop Vaporizer Review
Volcano Hybrid Canada Review
For those familiar with cannabis, Storz and Bickel, does not need an introduction. Storz and Arizer are the top two manufacturers for vaporizers when it comes to quality and performance. The Mighty, Crafty, Plenty, Volcano Classic and Digit (I always want to say Digital) are all part of the S and B’s strong line up.
The newest addition to their vaporizer offering is the Volcano Hybrid. The Hybrid is an update to the beloved Volcano Digit, which will no longer be available once the new product launches in Canada. The Hybrid is a convection/conduction desktop vaporizer that can handle big doses and produce pure, hard hitting flavour. This vape can handle both dry herb and concentrates, which will give you the flexibility to consume your cannabis any way you want.
Heating up 10 times faster than the Digit, the Hybrid uses its 100 watt heater to maximum efficiency.
A lot of cheaper desktop vapes come with a whip or a balloon, but the Hybrid offers both methods of inhalation. A balloon is a thin plastic bag that attaches to the vaporizer and fills with vapour. This allows the user to inhale the vapour when it cools down inside the inflated bag. A whip is very similar as it cools down the hot air over a long, tubular path.
I have to admit I am a portable vaporizer geek who typically vapes in the garage or outside. I have never owned a desktop vape, so I was pretty excited when the Volcano Hybrid arrived.
The box itself has a plastic handle, much like a speaker box, which makes it easy to port around. My advice is to keep the box because if you ever wanted to haul it around it makes it easy to throw the unit in there and hit the road. Plus, it comes with quite a few accessories which may get lost if you keep them separate.
When you unpackage the Volcano you will notice that everything is fitted perfectly into separate plastic containers. Again, this makes it easy to keep track of all your attachments. Storz has really included a lot of add ins that will handle all of your vaping and maintenance needs for the future. Included in the box are :
- 1 pc. Power Cord
- 3 x Easy Valve Balloons with Mouthpiece
- 1 x Easy Valve Balloon with Adapter
- 1 x Whip
- 1 x Filling Chamber
- 1 x Maintenance Pieces; Cap Ring, Normal Screen Set, Drip Pad, Cleaning Brush, Air Filter Set
- 1 x Herb Grinder
I really appreciate the extra balloons and mouthpieces as these are the consumables that you don’t want to be without. I was a little disappointed that they did not include dosing capsules as they did with my Crafty. It’s a small complaint, but I love those things. The one bonus is the easy valve balloon with adjustable collar. This is the attachment that will let you cut, adjust and create your own balloons going forward. Additional bag material is not included, but you can find these readily available on most sites or the instruction booklet recommends any food grade or medical grade plastic.
How does the Volcano Hybrid work?
I have read some other articles about the Volcano stating that it is a product designed for the advanced user. I didn’t find this at all, as there are only a couple steps to get started. As always, the first step is to grind your herb prior to your session. You will find the acrylic grinder (also known as the Storz and Bickel Herb Mill) included with the Volcano to be quite the shredder. The teeth are sharp and at 3 inches in diameter it will handle more than your standard dosage.
The next step is to place your cannabis in the bowl and attach the top piece that joins to the balloon or whip. This combo is known as the filling chamber and ensures a nice, evenly cooked, smooth vaping experience. The pieces are large and join quite nicely without the need to fidget or force them together.
You will need to get this prepared ahead of time as the next step is to heat the volcano to your selected temperature. This is done with the arrows on the display face or via the S & B app. This is an important step as you will need to reach the desired temperature first and then connect the filling chamber to the Volcano vaporizer.
Next you will need to choose your inhalation method; balloon or whip. The balloon is a favourite amongst vapers and my experience was no different. The easy valve balloon is correctly named as you just have to remove the black mouthpiece on stick it on top of the filling chamber. That's it! After this step is complete you will hit the air button on the display and the balloon will begin to fill with vapour. Make sure you stop before the balloon gets completely full. It is recommended that you get a bag that is misty, but not completely opaque. The choice of how full is up to the vaper, but for this review I couldn’t help but go all the way. To stop the air pump, you simply hit the air button again. You remove the filling chamber from the vaporizer's easy valve and place the mouthpiece back into the orange coupling on the balloon. Now the fun part; just depress the mouthpiece and inhale.
The balloon itself is impressive, it has an auto lock system that traps the vapour in the bag to prevent leakage. Air only comes out when the mouthpiece is depressed.
The process is similar with the whip only after the desired temperature is achieved, your run the air through the cannabis for 5 seconds then turn the air off. After this, you attach the whip to the filling chamber and inhale. The Hybrid now operates like a hookah and still delivers a smooth, tasty, hard hitting toke. All of the inhalation is now lung powered, but still filtered through the bottom of the Volcano. The whip is 1M (3 feet), so it still gives you plenty of options when hosting a group session, and it sits on a swivel for easy passing.
With both methods you can’t leave the filling chamber on for too long or it will get pretty hot. Even when the whip is being used, you should take it off right after you have finished.
Performance- Whip it good
Both the bag and the whip produce smooth, tasty, vapour. Some users switching from smoking to vaping complain about the vapour not producing the same effect as a joint. My advice; get a Volcano! The balloon hits hard, very hard and has the best flavour I have ever tasted. The flavours (terpenes) were amazing and I could taste every bit of my Solei Gathers' musky profile. I let the vapour cool in the bag for around 30 seconds which produced a nice clean draw.
If you are a current Volcano owner you are probably wondering; how well does the whip work? My answer is great, but I still prefer the balloon better. The vapour was still cooler, but not as smooth as the balloon. At first, I also felt the taste was not as good as I had hoped it would be. Chalk this up to user error though. When you attach the whip, your first instinct is to get those clouds into your lungs as quickly as possible. This was my mistake. Take long, slow draws so the warm air passes through the material for a longer time. This method improves the flavour significantly as your lungs now act as the air pump for convection heating to take place.
One thing that I did like about the whip was the flat shape of the mouthpiece. Some whip attachments have cylindrical designs which I find roll around in your mouth too much. The Volcano Hybrid mouthpiece sits nicely and is easy to hold.
With the Volcano Classic and Digit, heating could take anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes. This is nowhere near comparable to a regular vaping experience. The Hybrid crushes the old heating times due to its re-designed double helix heat exchanger.
How fast does the Volcano Hybrid heating take? It takes anywhere between 1 to 2 minutes, which is still slower than most portables, but you won’t care as the quality of the hit will be better than you could ever imagine.
The Hybrid is much lighter than it looks and comes in at a sturdy 4 lbs. The new face has a nice flat display and the temperature is easy to see and includes both your set temperature and current temperature. You can control the intensity of the light with your app if you desire, but I didn’t think it was necessary with a desktop vaporizer. No real need for stealth when you are vaping out of a giant bag; right?
I also liked some of the more subtle features like the removable power cord which makes storage a breeze and the haptic feedback when you reach your desired temperature.
I have to admit the Volcano looks cool, like a nice clean stainless steel kitchen appliance. This is still a classic look and has been virtually untouched since it was launched in 2000.
The Hybrid will also vape concentrates. Like other Storz products, it comes with a liquid pad that you can use with waxes and oils. The pad can also be used as a reducer should you want to vape smaller dry herb doses. You can just put your herbs on top of the pad and enjoy a quick session. Just be sure to tamp your material down, so you get a nice tight fit.
The bowl size of the Volcano is about the size of a toonie and will handle .5 grams. I don’t think anyone will argue with the size of the bowl as it will handle big doses.
Storz and Bickel has also updated their app which now controls your Crafty and Volcano Hybrid. I have to admit that I am a simpleton when it comes to vaping and easier is better. The S and B app, however, will allow you to set your session anyway you like it. Aside from the typical features like temperature control, brightness, shut off etc, the app has a new feature for hard core users.
The new app has a workflow tab that lets you alternate between different temperatures and determines how long you want to pump air through your herb. So you can select 375, pump air for 5 seconds, then increase the temperature and pump air for 15 seconds. My guess is this is designed more for medical dosing (especially now that the Medic version is only available in Europe), but connoisseurs will love this feature.
This is like brew your own for vape nerds. I can see someone coming up with a hard hitting formula and posting it on social media sites. I know there is a super hit combo out there, but for now I'll just select 1 temp per session.
If the OG Volcano Digit was a solid 9 then the Hybrid is definitely a 9.5/10. It is a beautiful piece of machinery that deserves a try from even the lightest user. It is like a fine bottle of wine; amazing quality, but for a price. The whip, improved heating time, detachable power cord and slick user interface are all an improvement over the old model. I am only holding back .5 due to the price. It is the age old marketing battle between performance, price and quality. Having said that you cannot compare the output of this vaporizer to anything else in the marketplace.