When the Volcano Classic came out in 2000, it revolutionised the world of desktop vaporizers. Many brands have since tried to emulate the success formula of the Classic, but only a few came close. Now, in 2019, after years of development, Storz & Bickel are back with a new and improved version of the Volcano; the Hybrid. This spiritual successor of the Volcano Classic and replacement of the 2007 Volcano Digit received a huge upgrade, both in its functionality as well as performance.
But, how different is it really? How does it stack up against its predecessor? More importantly, is it worth replacing your old Classic with this new kid on the block? That is exactly what we’ll be investigating in this in-depth review; a closer look at the distinguishing features between the Volcano Hybrid and the Volcano Classic. Ready to rumble? Here comes round one.
Volcano Hybrid vs. Classic: Performance
Still champion in cloud production
Those who are familiar with the Volcano Classic, know it is unrivalled when it comes to cloud production. This fact hasn’t changed. Both the Classic and the Hybrid perform equally brilliant in cloud density and flavour production. The vapour produced by both devices is still smooth, clean, cool, visibly dense and flavourful.
Bring the heat at lightning speed
The vapour quality might be the same for both devices, but one of the (many) things that sets these two vaporizers apart is the pre-heat-up time. Where it took the Classic 1 to 3 minutes to reach the desired temperature, the Hybrid does it in a whopping 40 seconds(!). This is thanks to the new and improved Double Helix Heat Exchanger which delivers convection heat twice as fast, slicing the waiting time in half.
Winner in the lowest heat range
Another difference between the Classic and the Hybrid is the temperature range. Where the Classic had a minimum temp. of 130°C (266°F), the new Hybrid goes as low as 40°C (104°F). This might not seem like a big deal, but consider the fact that this dramatically increases the range of aromatic herbs and oils you can use to treat your olfactory senses.
Balloon or tube?
One of the biggest innovations for the new Volcano is undoubtedly the addition of the Tube Kit. It is actually the reason for the Hybrid’s name; two delivery systems in-one! This improvement changes the whole vaping experience you get with the Hybrid. Where the Easy Valve Balloon gives you shorter, interposed vaping sessions, the Tube Kit allows for a continuous vaping session. No more waiting for the balloon to fill up and taking off the filling chamber, just connect the tube and puff away to your heart's content. With minimal draw resistance, if we may add. Vaping with the Tube Kit feels more like sharing a Hookah.
Volcano Hybrid vs. Classic: Build quality
Welcome to the digital age
The new Hybrid might look the same as the Classic at first glance, its design did get a slightly more modern look. The most obvious change is the digital display and touchscreen, instead of the analogue buttons and knobs. This upgrade makes the Hybrid so much more user-friendly, especially when it comes to locking-in your preferred temperature with pinpoint precision.
Improved Filling Chamber
Besides the new display/touchscreen, another major improvement is the new locking system for the Filling Chamber. The old version, that came with the Classic, had the tendency to come off too easily. That problem is now fixed with the new Hybrid Filling Chamber. This new version locks tight with a simple twist and stays there until you want it to come off.
Volcano Hybrid vs. Classic: User-friendliness
Vaping made easier
Here we come to the crux of the matter because for all its added power and visual changes, the biggest difference between the Volcano Classic and Hybrid lie in their user-friendliness. Not that the Classic was lacking in that department, far from it. The Hybrid, however, makes vaping so much easier. The new display, the touchscreen, the improved Double Helix Heating Coil and Filling Chamber, it all feels so much more intuitive. The Volcano was never an overly complicated device to work with, but now it just feels effortless.
Bluetooth for the win!
And we haven’t even talked about the Storz & Bickel Smartphone app. The Volcano Hybrid now comes with a Bluetooth connection that allows you to operate and customize the Hybrid remotely. Now, you may be wondering if you ever need to operate the Volcano from a distance, seeing most of the time the device sits right in front of you on the table. And you might even be right. But, there is a good chance that the future will hold scenarios where a feature like that will come in quite handy.
Even if you will never use the Smartphone app to adjust the temperature settings directly, you are still going to love it. That’s because the app does so much more! Consider the ability to upgrade the firmware of the Hybrid or set up your own, custom-programmed heat-settings.
Volcano Hybrid vs. Classic: Maintenance and essential accessories
Never change a winning team
Maintenance wise, the Volcano has always been a breeze to (keep) clean. That hasn’t changed one bit. All the components that tend to get dirty can still be disassembled and cleaned separately.
The Tube Kit is a gamechanger
As mentioned before, the newly added Tube Kit is what makes the Hybrid earn its name. The ability to continuously take hits with the Volcano is a real gamechanger. It might not be for everyone and the tube itself may give off a slight silicon flavour for the first few draws, but after a couple of sessions, you too will realise that it adds a whole new dimension to the vaping experience.
Volcano Hybrid vs. Classic: Who should buy this?
Should you replace the Volcano Classic with the new Volcano Hybrid?
Hmmm... That is the elephant in the room, isn’t it? Should you replace your trusty Volcano Classic with the new Volcano Hybrid? The short answer? Yes! The Hybrid is a superior device when it comes to performance and ease-of-use. But, if you recently bought the Classic or your old Classic is still in good working order, then it might be worth your while to wait a bit before you invest in the Hybrid.
If, however, you don’t have a desktop vaporizer yet, then it’s a no-brainer. Just go with the Hybrid. All the improvements are well worth the high price tag.
Volcano Hybrid vs. Classic: Pros and cons
- The new, digital display gives you much more control over the heat settings.
- The pre-heat-up time is only 40 seconds (!).
- The new filling chamber is much better than that of the Classic and easier to use.
- The addition of the Tube Kit gives the Hybrid a whole new dimension.
- The Smartphone app really does add extra functionality and control.
- The Hybrid is almost twice as expensive as the Classic.
- The new Hybrid Filling Chamber is not backwards-compatible with the Classic.
- During the first few sessions, the Tube Kit may give off a slight silicon scent and flavour.
- Half the price of the Volcano Hybrid
- May be slightly easier to use for people who aren’t very ‘tech-savvy’
- The Classic takes much longer to heat up to the desired temperature.
- Not compatible with the Hybrid Filling Chamber.
- Not compatible with the Hybrid’s Tube Kit.
Volcano Hybrid vs. Classic: Final verdict
Let’s be clear; The Volcano Classic is still one of the best desktop vaporizers on today’s market and will serve you well for many more years. But, the Volcano Hybrid is the superior device in this comparison. It’s an upgrade in performance, user-friendliness and functionality. So, if you are looking for a replacement anyway, and you have the budget, go for the Hybrid!
If you don’t have a desktop vaporizer yet and you want the absolute best of the best, then it’s a no-brainer too. Go for the Hybrid! If you have the budget for it, that is…...