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Volcano Hybrid Vaporizer Review

Storz & Bickel’s Volcano is iconic for having started it all. Despite having been released more than 20 years ago, it remains popular and is still frequently updated by the brand. The Volcano Hybrid (review | buy) is the third iteration of Storz & Bickel’s series of desktop vaporizers and it is easily the best one yet.

The release of this powerful desktop device paved the way for vaporizers’ reputation as a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis in the traditional way. The Volcano was the first vape proven to produce no combustion contaminants – further raising the bar on health standards and is preferred vaporizer for lab studies.

During a keynote on September 2021, S&B announced updates and upgrades for both its portables and the Volcano. With Mighty being re-released as the awaited Mighty+ (plus) and several performance updates for the Crafty+ (review | buy). As for the Volcano, a new ONYX color was released for both the Volcano Classic and Volcano Hybrid. This new onyx color is on top of the silver color (available for both units) and the very flashy Classic in gold.

Volcano Classic Design ONYX

The Volcano Hybrid allows users to program heating profiles so that you can select exactly how you want to vape. It also comes with both a whip as well as balloons. It’s worth noting that the Volcano Hybrid or the Volcano Classic isn’t cheap. They retail for $699 and $479, respectively – regardless of what finish or color you get it in. It’s up there as one of the most expensive vaporizers ever made.

Kit and Accessories

Just like all S&B products, the Volcano’s kit is stocked with everything you need to start vaping. Compared to a portable dry herb vaporizer’s kit though, the Volcano Hybrid kit obviously comes with more pieces since it is more customizable and is a much more complex device.

Volcano Hybrid Kit and Accessories

Here’s what comes with the Volcano Hybrid:  

  • Volcano Hybrid vaporizer
  • Three Easy Valve balloons with mouthpieces
  • One Easy Valve balloon with an adapter 
  • One tube system
  • One filling chamber
  • Power cord
  • Air filter set
  • Spares and Cleaning tools
  • Herb mill 

There’s also a full suite of optional accessories and more spares available on the Storz & Bickel website. At the top of my recommendations list for the Volcano Hybrid are the:

Volcano Hybrid Filling Chamber Reducer
  • Dosing Capsules (visit store): Smaller capsules that may be pre-filled with herb and easily popped in and out of the oven while you’re on the go.
  • Dosing Capsule Adapter: This makes it possible to insert the capsules into the chamber. This is great for when you don’t want to fill the Volcano’s significantly sized oven.

Another recommended accessory is an herb spoon (buy on Amazon)  to help you place the herbs into the oven without leaving any particles behind, whether you use the Volcano, Mighty+, or any other dry herb vape.

Design and Features

Volcano Hybrid Background

Familiar form factor: The Volcano Hybrid retains the iconic design of the previous volcano models- which is of course, essentially the shape of a volcano. It’s a sturdy, solid unit with a tough stainless steel exterior. 

Interface: The Hybrid is definitely a device for this day and age – with a new touch interface and a large LED display. The entire interface is flat, and though the buttons aren’t tactile they do make a pretty audible “click” as you press them. The LED display is bright and very clearly shows the current status of your device

Volcano Hybrid Design and Features

Other improvements: There are some very smart and functional design choices made on the Volcano. Such as; the electrical cord can be removed from the body of the Hybrid, which makes both the cord and the device easier to carry around and store. The attachment for the whip allows it to spin around 360° so that you can access it from any angle. Clearly, Storz & Bickel thought of everything in their desire to make this a user-friendly device.

Volcano Hybrid in Onyx

The Volcano is an eye-catching centerpiece, though the new Onyx color of both the Hybrid and the Classic make it look more stylish. In Onyx, the Volcano is sleek, minimalist, and looks a lot more high-tech. The silver color is great too, but it did somewhat make the Volcano look a lot like a kitchen appliance. If you’re choosing between colors- onyx is the one to get in my opinion. 

Medical Certification

Volcano Hybrid Smartphone App

Storz & Bickel is currently the only company worldwide to produce certified medical herbal vaporizers – and the Volcano was the first-ever vaporizer to be certified. It’s also used in research labs around the world. Vaporizing with the Volcano guarantees a perfectly clean experience with zero contaminants due to combustion.

Smartphone App

The Hybrid also has Bluetooth connectivity, so it is compatible with the smartphone app that is used with the Crafty. The app makes the Hybrid customizable and allows you to program the vape in a variety of iterations and workflows.

The app works just fine if you have an android device. Apple has banned all vaping-related apps on their app store. If you have an iPhone, you may opt to use the web app. although, the app doesn’t work with Chrome or Safari. Meaning you’ll have to download a separate browser.

How to Use

The Volcano looks intimidating – and it definitely can be during your first go at it. There simply just is a lot to consider, so I highly recommend running through the manual. Other than having to decide between using the balloon or the whip, there are also the many possible custom workflows and iterations that are suited for either inhalation method.

The Volcano Hybrid got its name from its hybrid heating system, and its dual-use option. Having the option to use either the balloon and the whip either makes it more complex, or easier depending on your vaping style. But after several sessions – using the Volcano Hybrid becomes pretty second nature.

Volcano Hybrid Balloon

With The Balloon

  1. Remove the filling chamber cap from the filling chamber.
  2. Place dry herb into the chamber and then replace the cap.
  3. Place the filling chamber onto the hot air outlet and firmly turn it clockwise.
  4. Select the desired temperature setting and wait for heating to be completed.
  5. Once heating is complete, remove the mouthpiece from the balloon and attach the balloon to the filling chamber.
  6. Switch on the air pump to start filling the balloon with vapor.
  7. Turn off the pump once the balloon has been filled with the desired amount of vapor.
  8. Hold the filling chamber cap and rotate it counterclockwise to remove the balloon from the vaporizer.
  9. Reattach the mouthpiece to the balloon.
  10. Place the mouthpiece against your lips and lightly press against it to inhale the vapor.

With The Whip 

Volcano Hybrid Performance and Vapor Quality
  1. Remove the filling chamber cap from the filling chamber.
  2. Place dry herb into the chamber and then replace the cap.
  3. Place the filling chamber onto the hot air outlet and firmly turn it clockwise.
  4. Select the desired temperature setting and wait for heating to be completed.
  5. Once heating is complete, attach the tube flexer to the filling chamber and inhale from the mouthpiece. 
  6. (Optional) Turn on the pump to push the vapor through the tube and into the mouthpiece.

Forced Air: A fan is the largest difference between a portable and a desktop. The “Forced Air” function is a pretty useful feature for users with breathing issues since the fan pushes air for you. Making draws that much easier. This is a feature that the Volcano shares with the Arizer XQ2 (review | buy), which may also be used with both a whip and balloon. 

Heating profiles (Aka “Iterations”): are a custom set of instructions that allow for the automatic increase of temperature by a certain number of degrees over a set period of time. So, for example, you can program an iteration that starts your session at 380°F and increases it by 10°F every minute over a period of 5 minutes. A lot of users like to bump up the temp towards the end of a session, and will find this very useful. 

Cleaning and Maintenance

Volcano Hybrid vs Mighty Vapor Quality

The Hybrid is a pretty low maintenance device because the only parts that you need to clean on a regular basis are the screen and the filling chamber. You can easily and quickly clean both using the included cleaning brush to dust off any residue

The bags and tubes will eventually need to be replaced – especially when they start to become discolored, grimy, and brittle. When that happens, flavor quality goes downhill and they have a higher chance of rupturing, so don’t hang on to them for any longer than you need to. Spare balloons and tubes are available for sale on the Storz & Bickel website

Performance and Vapor Quality

Volcano Hybrid How to Use Whip

Hybrid Heating: S&B is credited with the invention of hybrid heating and while many other vaporizers have begun following suit. S&B’s perfect blend of conduction and convection heating produces vapor that is simply unmatched. It’s better than the result that either method could achieve on its own.

Vapor Quality: In one word, vapor quality on the Hybrid is just – excellent. Obviously, it’s a much larger device, with more power available to it – making it fully capable of providing you with cooler, more flavorful results. Regardless of which workflow, iteration, or whether you use the balloon or the whip – expect to get great and consistent results.

Zero Draw Resistance: If you want to really understand what’s meant by “zero-draw resistance”, try a Volcano. Both inhalation methods allow for draws that feel as natural as taking a breath. On the balloon, the vapor is cooler since there’s more room for it to expand, and on the whip – the sheer length of the path cools down the vapor.

Volcano Hybrid How to Use: Balloon
The balloon has a valve that prevents air from escaping when it is removed from the Hybrid.

Inhalation Method: Although, between the balloon and the whip – I preferred the balloon. The balloon just added a sort of ease since even without the app, I was able to get richer vapor – which improved once I started messing around with the workflow programs. The balloons may be filled with as much and as little vapor as you like, but note that it’ll be best to consume it within 5 minutes of filling it.

The whip is better suited for when you’re looking to draw as you go. You have the option to inhale as you want – provided that you don’t use the pump. With the pump, draws are easier but are somewhat less controllable. Both the balloon and the whip are made with food-safe, neutral materials that ensure that your vapor is untainted.

Bottom Line

Volcano Hybrid vs Mighty

The Volcano Hybrid provides nothing but the cleanest and best vaporizer experience on the market – but it does come at the cost of $699 and portability. It’s an at-home device – and its capabilities make it more suited for larger amounts of vapor and longer sessions.

The Volcano’s medical certification makes it the most highly recommended device for medical marijuana users. But other than that, I’d highly recommend the Mighty+ (plus). (See the full comparison) The Mighty+ is the first portable on the market medically certified. It might not deliver the exact same experience, but it comes close enough – which by S&B standards, is still pretty exceptional.

If you’re on the hunt for a desktop vaporizer but don’t have a $600 budget, I recommend checking out the Arizer XQ2 (review | buy). It’s also functional with both a balloon and a whip and is at half the price. For portables, there are several more devices you can check out on our list of best dry herb vaporizers of 2021.