The Volcano vaporizer was released in 2000 as an analog vaporizer, and dubbed the Volcano Classic in 2007 when Storz & Bickel released the Volcano Digit. In 2019, the Digit was replaced with the Volcano Hybrid, with significant internal changes. Today’s choice between a Classic or Hybrid Volcano vaporizer goes a lot deeper than a shiny new interface.
Hybrid Volcano vs Classic Volcano - Why they’re different
The Volcano Classic and Volcano Digit use convection heating that’s popular, in part, for its taste and efficiency. Every vape Storz & Bickel has made since, however, adds conduction heat, for a hybrid of the two heating styles, that extracts quicker. In this regard, the Hybrid Volcano represents an upgrade to the Volcano Classic. But does that mean it’s the better desktop vaporizer?Read our full Volcano Classic Review
Hybrid has more punch
When I put the same herbs into both Volcanoes, the Hybrid extracts everything I want in two bags, where the Classic takes four. Hybrid bags are milkier, heavier, and more intense. This can benefit heavy users who need to quickly take down a lot of herbs, but can be intense for lighter users. The Classic is preferred by those who look for lighter vapor.
Volcano Hybrid has more features - if you have access
The Volcano Classic has everything you need to vape all day - analog temperature control, an internal air pump, and no shutoff timer. In addition to the precision of digital temperature control, the Hybrid brings a host of custom options, if you can access them. Apple banned all vape apps from their platform in 2019, leaving vape enthusiasts with a hot mess to work around. If you have a PC, Mac, or Android phone, you’ll be able to adjust the Hybrid’s shutoff timer, brightness, phone alerts, and even program the perfect bag fill with multiple temperatures. Otherwise, you’ll lose a lot of the Hybrid’s functionality.
Hybrid has a whip
For those that complained the Volcano only blows bags, enter the Hybrid. It comes with a whip that perfectly swivels atop the Volcano, making it easy to share. The Hybrid Filling Chamber twists onto the base so the whip doesn’t fall off, like it would on the Classic’s chamber that simply sits on top.
Hybrid has more precise controls
The Classic’s bimetallic thermostat is only accurate to within 9° F (5° C), while the Volcano Hybrid vaporizer has an electronic thermostat which stays within 2.7° F (1.5° C) of the displayed temperature. Both units go up to 446° F (230° C), but the Classic can only be dialed down to 266° F (130° C) versus 104° F (40° C) for the Hybrid. If your needs require more precise temperature control, the Hybrid is superior, with a wider temperature range.
Hybrid heats up quicker
The Volcano Classic’s heat up time is slow by today’s standards. It can take as long as six minutes to heat up to the higher temperatures, which is why so many users choose to leave it on for extended periods. The Hybrid, however, gets to temperature in less than two minutes, or about as long as it takes to prepare the Filling Chamber. The Hybrid should be the more energy efficient unit.
Shut-off timer no longer an issue
When the choice was between the Classic or Digit Volcanos, the main discussion point was the Digit’s inconvenient 30-minute shutoff timer, while the Classic had none. If the Hybrid’s heat up time doesn’t make this a non-issue, its variable shutoff timer will. The Volcano Hybrid’s timer can be adjusted from five minutes all the way up to six hours.
Durable design, the Classic even more so
Both vapes were designed without any glass components, so durability is a strong point, and Volcanoes have been known to last well over ten years. The Classic still has a slight advantage with its analog controls, as there are no electronics that could fail.
Analog versus digital controls
The Classic and Hybrid Volcanoes differ significantly when it comes to the user interface, but both can be a pain to use in the dark. The Classic’s lighted buttons are easy to find, but the analog knob makes it hard to see what temperature is selected at night. The Hybrid’s lighted digital temperature display is easy to see in any conditions (and can be dimmed with the custom controls), but the buttons don’t light up, making them hard to locate in darker conditions.
Hybrid is $220 more
The Hybrid ($699) costs significantly more than the Classic ($479). The Volcano Classic has satisfied users for decades, so there’s nothing to shy away from. But the Hybrid brings significant upgrades to the table. It’s not just tighter digital temperature control - the Hybrid adds a whip, quicker extraction, and programmable features not found anywhere else.
The differences between the Classic and Hybrid Volcanoes are real, but so is the price. If you already have a Volcano Classic, or are locked into its lower price point for a new one, you’re going to be fine. Its time-tested design and fantastic vapor are loved by many. In the 20 years since its release, Storz & Bickel has learned a lot, and their pursuit of the ultimate medical vaporizer led to the refined heating system we now see in the Volcano Hybrid. If you vaporize herbs for relief, or are simply a heavy vaporist, you will appreciate the Hybrid’s lightning speed and extra “oomph”.Shop Storz & Bickel Vaporizers