Volcano Vaporizer Throwdown: Comparing the Classic Volcano and Hybrid
Storz & Bickel dropped their new vaporizer, the Hybrid Volcano last month and to no one’s surprise, it’s an amazing vaporizer. Yet what sets the Volcano Hybrid apart from the pack of other desktop vaporizers isn’t much different from what makes the Classic Volcano better than the rest. Storz & Bickel is regarded as the manufacturer of the best dry herb vaporizers on the planet, whether it’s the Volcano or Mighty. So is the Volcano Hybrid worth it or should you go with the Classic and save some cash ?
The Digital Volcano is out of production ( but can be purchased used here) so it will shortly be only the Classic and the Hybrid and the price points of the two are rather drastic. Essentially you could buy the Classic Volcano and still have money for a portable vaporizer instead of splurging on the Hybrid, but read on to see what works for you.
The most obvious of differences. Currently the Classic Volcano is $479 and the Volcano Hybrid is $699. Granted the Classic Volcano was $539 up until 2016 and the Digital $669 (now $599). I do not see a price drop coming on these anytime soon given the lack of competition in the high end desktop space, where we have seen the only serious competitor , Herbalizer, bow out in 2018.
That is a price difference of $220 between the Classic Volcano and Volcano Hybrid. With that extra $220 you could buy the Classic Volcano and have some left over for a good portable herb vaporizer. The Hybrid is currently the most expensive mainstream vaporizer on the market.
The Volcano Vaporizer gets its esteemed reputation from it’s amazing vapor quality. The Volcano Vapor has a smooth texture, tastes great and goes down easy with great effect. That is saying the Volcano Vaporizer sends you to the cloud.
The Volcano Hybrid and Classic Volcano both deliver on this amazing vapor. If I were to blindfold myself and take a bag from the Classic Volcano and one from the Hybrid , I would not know the difference. Here we have a classic case of PAX 2 vs PAX 3 vapor, where a puff from the PAX 2 is going to deliver the same vapor profile (texture, flavor , potency etc) as the PAX 3.
The added delivery and convenience are the two methods where the Hybrid has been improved on greatly. For obvious reasons you cannot compare the vapor from the Hybrid’s whip to that of the bag on the Classic. But when drawing from the bags on both, I personally know no difference.
Heat up Time
The Hybrid heats up in between 60 – 90 seconds. The Classic Volcano will take about 4-5 minutes to get heated to the temperature you want. I know many people who use the Classic alot will just leave it on throughout the evening so there is no need to turn off and wait the heat up time out again. However if you are someone who likes to turn your devices off when not in use, the Hybrid’s fast heat up time is going to come in handy if having multiple sessions.
One thing that Storz & Bickel has added to the Volcano Hybrid software is the ability to program a session so you can , for example , have one bag filled with vapor from different temperature levels or have the hybrid increase in temperature over a predetermined time as you lay back with the whip. Davinci first did this with the IQ and it really didn’t move the needle in terms of garnering excitement , but it is a neat feature nonetheless.
In theory you could do this with the Classic Volcano by shutting off the fan, increasing the temperature and then begin filling the bag again when it hits that temperature. Personally I like to choose a temperature and get going, I will turn the temperature up from there should I see fit, but the vapor and session doesn’t become mind blowingly enhanced by setting up a pre-programed vapor session.
The Hybrid does come with a whip option which was a feature alot of customers loved about the Herbalizer. Granted there are some great desktop vaporizers such as the Extreme Q and Da Buddha which offer whip functionality, they are not in the same realm as the Volcano Vaporizer and now that there is a Volcano option which offers whip functionality , it is a big draw ( no pun intended).
You can set up a whip on the Classic. here we have pictured the Herbalizer whip sitting atop the easy valve. Granted it is not designed for this and I do not do this often , it is just to prove a point that if you really want a whip you don’t need to shell out $220 more.
We also did put the Hybrid whip on the easy valve of the Classic Volcano. Since the hybrid whip utilizes the easy valve bag design it fits right on the easy valve however the easy valve herb chamber becomes so top heavy and the whip pulls at it when used causing it to tip over. So trying to use the hybrid whip on your easy valve is not 100% compatible and will lead to headaches.
Volcano Vapor Bags
The Hybrid Valve and the Easy Valve utilize the same vapor bags, currently called the easy valve bags, I imagine in the future they could be renamed to avoid confusion, but now with every Volcano coming with the easy valve automatically the old school solid valve loyalists will be well aware.
The Volcano vapor bags have drawn criticism for being loud and hard to manage for someone just wanting a mellow solo session. They also become unsightly when dirty and don’t store in any sort of sleek manner representative of a $500 – $700 luxury vaporizer.
What they lack in aesthetics they more than make up for in function and if the minor noise doesn’t bother you and you are fine with the procedure of filling the bags , then having the added whip might not be worth the extra $220.
The Hybrid chamber does have a slight difference being designed with more conduction exposure. The bottom inside metal piece touches the heating element, which gives more surface area to heat up the herb without the fan pushing hot air through your flower. This is good since the whip gives you the option to draw without needing to utilize the fan making conduction heat essential.
The upper metal pieces of the herb chambers are interchangeable.
The Hybrid herb chamber will lock on to the top of the heating elements. The Easy valve herb chamber is just placed on the top but does not lock on.
Automatic Shut Off
The Classic Volcano comes with no auto shut off at all. This was a great feature during parties in college or when watching movies on the weekends. The Volcano could remain on and bags could be filled on one’s own accord without delay.
The Hybrid let’s you choose via the app if you want to unit to auto shutoff after 5 minutes or as long as 6 hours.
Realistically this is better than having no shut off timer. I can’t think of any reason you will want to have your Volcano Vaporizer on for longer than 6 hours. However working in this space we have heard stories of those who claim to have left their Classic Volcano on for days at a time , allowing those to take a proverbial sip from the magical vapor well everytime a bag was filled
The Hybrid comes with a power chord which can be detached from the actual unit. On the Classic Volcano it cannot. However the Hybrid’s power chord is not like the detachable magnetic power chord on a Macbook which comes undone if tripped over. If you trip over the chord on either the Classic or Hybrid you could send your Volcano tumbling to the ground. I don’t really see any benefit to the removable power chord besides it is less cumbersome.
Again not a major game changer. The air filter size and design on the Hybrid is a tad larger and square. It also sits directly over the air intake whereas on the classic it sits to the side of the air intake.
Both the Classic Volcano and Volcano Hybrid are built astoundingly well. Storz & Bickel make everything in Germany and are among a handful of manufacturers who produce outside of China. It will be interesting to see if the bluetooth electronics in the Hybrid do cause more technical issues than what is typical with the Classic Volcano, however it being so new we can not comment to this yet.
The Classic Volcano is tried and true and one we can vouch for. There is probably no other vaporizer that will last 10+ years like the Volcano.
Hybrid or Classic
Personally I equate a session from the Volcano as making a phone call. If I have a phone that I can put on speaker , dials faster but at the end of the day still makes the same phone call and I don’t even use the speaker phone, spending hundreds more doesn’t seem worth it. Cannabis vaporizers aren’t to a level where they can map my brain and let me know what I am feeling , what kind of flower I need, at what temperature what are the ideal hits, etc. The Hybrid is a Volcano Vaporizer with some new and improved features.
My phone on the other hand has become much cooler in the last 10 years with the apps and what I can do with it, vaporizers not so much. It was time for Storz & Bickel to put out a new upgraded vaporizer after 5 years and the refinements on the Volcano Hybrid are great , but just like the PAX 3 or the Firefly 2 Plus , they are very very similar to the original model and besides some additional conveniences give you the same vapor. My personal verdict is save yourself the $220 and go with the Classic. This is my personal opinion alone and only you can decide for yourself.