Cast your memory back to the year 2000, what were you doing?
The turn of the millennium had just occurred, and people all over the world counted our lucky stars that all our computer systems didn't shut down and spin the globe into chaos.
After narrowly avoiding the Y2K panic, what followed was a new era of technology and arguably the golden age of pop culture. Brad and Jen just got married and became America's royal couple, and the first installment of the Harry Potter film franchise had just rocked the world. The PlayStation 2 signaled a new age in gaming, and the Nokia 3310 was the height of communications technology. U2 championed this new “Beautiful Day”, Shaggy said “It Wasn't Me”, Britney “Did It Again”, and Eminem demanded “the real Slim Shady please stand up”. And amidst this cataclysm of pop culture, the Classic Volcano desktop vaporizer was born.
First, a little history lesson: Development for the Volcano began in 1996 – safe to say that the Volcano is the veteran of vaporizers.
After four years of fine-tuning and revolutionary German Engineering, Storz and Bickel released the first Volcano out into the world in 2000, and it's continued to dominate the market after almost 20 years. After quickly becoming a household name in the vaping community, it is widely regarded as one of the best – if not the best – vaporizer on the market.
Storz and Bickel have since followed up with the digital Volcano in 2007, taking the best elements of the classic model and pimping them out with the finest digital technology. Here's everything you need to know about the classic Volcano as well as its digital upgrade.
Since then, Storz and Bickel have made a name for themselves for producing high quality vaporizers in a variety of styles – the portable Crafty and Mighty, and the Whip or “Direct Inhalation” unit, the Plenty. But we’re here to talk about the flagship! Let’s get down to it.
The Volcano Classic
After revolutionising the market in 2000, the Classic Volcano remains a classic to this day. With its innovative German engineering the Volcano was lightyears ahead of its competition when it was released, and this technology has stood the test of time – the classic model is still one of the most highly regarded devices available today.
Controlled by analogue technology, you control the temperature by selecting a heat setting on the dial – from 1 (130°C / 266°F) to 9 (226°C / 439° F), in roughly 12°C/ 22°F jumps between each number.
While the temperature range is slightly more limited than the digital model, the classic still has an expansive range which is highly accommodating for a most user preferences. Storz and Bickel include a temperature guide with each unit, so be sure to follow this guide to maximise the performance of your herb with the device.
The Volcano Digital
As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it – at least not too much. Thankfully Storz and Bickel took this same approach - instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, they simply added some flashy rims.
The high-quality German technology is still present – the Volcano digital model has the exact same heating elements and valves as the classic Volcano.
The Volcano Digital's biggest defining feature in comparison to the classic model is the LED screen (and the bump in price tag that comes along with it), that allows you to control the temperature more precisely and easily than on the classic device. With the digital model there is also an extra energy-saving and safety feature, which allows the device to shut off after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Lastly, there's also a little less fluctuation in temperature with the digital model, with the temperature accuracy falling between a window of 2.7°F (1.5°C) in comparison to the analogue 9°F (5°C)
Easy Valve vs Solid Valve
While both Volcano models are effectively identical, the process of choosing your accessories and add-on packages are where it can get a little tricky. Both the classic Volcano and the Digital operate with a balloon attachment, attached with either the Easy Valve or the Solid Valve and the respective filling chamber for your herbs. When choosing between the Easy Valve vs the Solid Valve system, the decision-making process is a lot simpler than it used to be.
The Easy Valve filling chamber is fixed to the Volcano device and held in place by small teeth, while the Solid Valve filling chamber is connected purely by its own weight pressing against a silicone o-ring. This can make vapor leakage a problem if you're not careful. The Solid Valve is a slightly more sustainable option and should stand up to a bit more of a beating than the Easy Valve but, you are restricted to the use of only one balloon at a time.
For those looking for an easier solution, the Easy Valve is the way to go, and is arguably the best choice overall at the moment. The Easy Valve is also possibly a better choice for use with friends or a large group, thanks to the inclusion of multiple, disposable, pre-made balloon / valve / mouthpiece assemblies. Now the down-side to the Easy Valve system used to be that you could not replace the balloon material yourself, making it the more expensive option. Nowadays though, the Easy Valve Starter Set has been updated to include 1 "Balloon with Adaptor" which emulates the same maintenance-friendly design as that of the Solid Valve. This means you don't have to compromise - you can use either the included pre-made assemblies if you're in a rush, or for a more cost effective means, you can replace the balloon tubing yourself.
Concerned about what materials are used in these valve systems? Well you'll be pleased to note that both the Easy Valve and Solid valve feature a high-grade stainless steel-lined filling chamber. The Easy Valve does use plastic valves, but keep in mind that the Easy Valve filling chamber is shaped in a way that prevents any contact between your vapour and the valve.
Interested? See below a more in-depth description of the Easy Valve vs Solid Valve:
Ultimately, whatever valve you choose is a personal choice and the quality of vapor you will get from both devices is virtually indistinguishable. Both provide an incredibly high-quality vapor at any temperature, with a smooth and easy draw.