Volcano Digital Review
Since its release in 2000, the Volcano has been the world’s premier desktop vaporizer. This Volcano Digital review shows why this is the “godfather of vapes”. Initially, the Volcano was a desktop vaporizer that had attachments for the innovative bag/balloon system and tubes but no display. Over the years Storz and Bickel have refined and modified the Volcano, with the Volcano Digit being the most advanced version yet. Read on to find out more in this Volcano Digit review.
Volcano Digit Review - A Little History of the Volcano
When the Volcano was released in 2000, it was hailed as a breakthrough in reliable, high quality vaporizing technology. Vaporizers had been gaining steadily in popularity for the previous decade, but it was the Volcano that won all the awards. It had taken 4 years of development by graphic designer Markus Storz, who was dissatisfied with the herbal vaporizers he had tried and wanted a consistent, high quality herbal vape that gave a suitable alternative to smoking.
The detachable balloon that is so popular was patented in 1998 and emerged with the Volcano in 2000, to the delight of vaporizer fans. It was a major innovation: now it was easy to create, store and share high quality vapours. The sensation of using the bag was also highly pleasurable and it quickly gained popularity. The units flew off the shelves, and in 2002 Jurgen Bickel joined Storz, together founding Storz and Bickel GmbH & Co. A version that would work with American plug sockets and power supplies gained enormous popularity in the States and cemented Storz and Bickel as the premium vaporizer producers. The forced air flow and detachable balloon chamber were unparalleled.
Designed and built in Germany in the heartland of the medical supplier cluster, Tuttlingen, Storz and Bickel have insisted from day one that the materials and construction quality be as high as possible. This is why there have been numerous upgrades and improvements over the years. It is also the reason there are so many Volcanos around from the early 2000’s still working perfectly. They are built to be durable and long lasting, they have definitely lived up to that ambition.
Not just for cannabis users, the Volcano Medic sees extensive use in medicine due to its extremely consistent and reliable, not to mention pure, vapour. The bag system separates the vaporizer unit from the user, allowing for the gentlest and coolest vapours to be inhaled by those who need them. This has been seized upon by disabled and injured patients around the world as the most convenient way to get vaporized herbs or extracts into their bodies.
The massive rise of vaping in recent years has a lot to thank the Volcano for, it having set the gold standard for vaping technology. The research that went into the heating and cooling units, the durability and reliable power supplies prepared the ground for the next generation of battery powered vaporizers. Storz and Bickel have been at the forefront of the portable vaping industry as well, producing the ever-popular Mighty and Crafty to the same exacting high standards as the Volcano. As an alternative to smoking, vaporizing is much safer and just as enjoyable. Other innovations have included a convection/conduction heating unit, the first of its kind, and the first certified medical vaporizers.
In 2003 Storz and Bickel were awarded the Dr. Rudolf Eberle Prize for “outstanding technical innovation”. This was going beyond the niche and being recognized as an extremely well designed and produced product. The high standards and awards have been rolling in ever since.
Volcano Digit Review - The Volcano Digit
The Volcano Digital came to market in 2007 and was immediately hailed as the best vaporizer on the market and another forward step from Storz and Bickel. Utilising the successful technologies of the original Volcano but adding a level of control that had until then been only attempted, the Volcano Digit incorporated a digital display, temperature control of a single degree and an improved Easy Fit nozzle.
Volcano Digit Review - Design and Features
The Storz and Bickel Volcano Digit is a distinctive conical stainless steel shell with a black cylindrical base, a black triangular screen on the front and a green and a red light. It has the looks of a medical device and would not be out of place in a hospital or laboratory. This clinical yet friendly look is both reassuring to users and an accurate indication of the quality contained within.
The Storz and Bickel Volcano Digit weighs a solid 1.8 kilograms and feels very expensive in the way that only highly engineered objects can. This is not a delicate expensive feel, it is one of durable quality. All the buttons work very nicely and do not feel sticky, even after years of heavy use. The attachment whips and balloons all secure with great ease with the Easy Valve system and ooze quality artisanship.
Volcano Digit Review - First Use
For those unfamiliar with the Volcano Digit, the operation is extremely simple. The red light on the front indicates that it is turned off or actively heating, it is also the power switch. The green light controls whether the unit is pushing air through it or not. The orange light indicates whether the unit is up to temperature, turning on when the desired temperature is reached.
Set the desired temperature by pressing the up or down controls to either side of the display. The desired temperature is indicated by the green LED, the actual temperature is indicated by the red LED.
Add the dried herbs to the removable herb chamber at the top of the volcano, attach either an Easy Fit whip or balloon, plug in the desired temperature setting, wait for it to reach the correct temperature, press the air button and either pull on the whip or watch the Volcano fill the balloon. Remove and add a mouthpiece to the Easy Valve and take a hit of the delicious, creamy and cool vapour, and chill.
Volcano Digit Review – Capacity
The herb chamber can fit 0.4 grams of ground herbs at one time, providing the capacity for a large shared session or several bags of vapour. Generally, the finer the grind, the more intense the flavour but the shorter the session. A coarse grind makes for a tasty but long lasting session.
When filling the herb chamber, stir the contents well to ensure they are evenly distributed and the best vaping will be ensured. When the chamber is filled, give it a minute at high temperature before pulling through or pressing the air button to make sure it is all at the correct temperature.
Volcano Digit Review - Vapour Quality
The Storz and Bickel Volcano would never have achieved such longevity or such a good reputation without the incredible vapour that it produces. The Digit is the next step: the digital volcano vaporizer that actually improves on the already mighty Classic. This does seem unlikely, given that the Classic is widely regarded as the best vaporizer, but the added temperature control and accuracy (within 1.5°C against 5°C or 2.7°F against 9°F) means that with a little familiarization, the Digit can be made to produce the most consistently excellent vapour on the planet.
With an air temperature range of between 40°C and 230°C (266°F to 446°C), there is little that cannot be vaped in this. Some other vapes have a higher range but there is little need. Dry herbs and aromatics all vape beautifully in this machine, with a higher temperature producing more kick to the thicker vapour and a lower temperature providing better taste but thinner vape. At any temperature the quality is very high and gives the opportunity for the user to properly develop their preferences and tastes.
The advanced air filtration system ensures that there are never bits in the vapour even with the forced air on and a hefty pull from the user. Hits from the bag are never anything but cool and delicious. There is almost no pull from the Volcano, making it one of the most leisurely tokes in the universe. This is a result of the forced air flow.
Volcano Digit Review - Balloons
The one of the major innovations of the Volcano was the balloon system, which allowed for extremely easy vaping. This was then improved by the Easy Valve system, which made the occasionally fiddly task of putting a balloon on the Volcano much easier. While the user can produce their own bags (the ones from Storz and Bickel can be quite expensive), the reusable ones that come with the Volcano are supremely easy to use and will last about 3 or 4 months with heavy use. They just fit over the end of the herb chamber and form a tight seal.
The Solid Valve chamber kit is available for those who want to make their own. Attach whatever bag desired to the end of the Solid Valve and plug in just like the Easy Valve. This versatility is welcome and is another hallmark of the incredible engineering that went into the Volcano series.
Volcano Digit Review – Whips
Again using the Easy Valve system, the whips available for the Digit make vaping a real pleasure. The vape is not just any vape, it is the smoothest and creamiest available anywhere. The interchangeable whips push on or pull off with ease, while remaining solidly and tightly in place during use.
Volcano Digit Review – Cleaning
Cleaning the Digit is very easily accomplished because it does not have to be taken apart. The hot air is blown up through the herb chamber, not taken inside the device. This means that any residue that does result is either found in the chamber, the Easy Valve, the whip or the bag. Usually a periodic brush with a steel brush will keep the residue from building up too much, and if it has built up, a quick scrub with a mild detergent or solvent will quickly work. Do not put any part in the dishwasher.
Volcano Digit Review – Heating Time
The portable vaporizer market is competing heavily on having the quickest heat up times, while the Digit takes it easy. It will get to the right temperature in about 5 minutes, giving time to prepare herbs and attachments and get everything right for an incredible session with the Digit. This extended time could be seen as a downside, but it is the consequence of having such a high quality heating source. Such things are better when time is taken over them.
Volcano Digit Review – Cost
The price tag of the Digit is not small, costing over $600. There are other $500+ vaporizers available but none have the comparative quality. It can seem like a lot of money but it works out to be extremely high value as this machine will last through many years of heavy use where others might fail. This durability is one of the reasons the Digit is so expensive: it is made to the same exacting standards that medical technology is made to. If vaporizing was a life or death situation, this would be the one that saved the day.
Volcano Digit Review – What is in the Box?
The standard Volcano Digit comes with an Easy Valve and a power supply.
Volcano Digit Review – Accessories
Storz and Bickel have been making these for 18 years now so there are a number of excellent accessories available on the internet and in head shops that can compliment a Digit perfectly. A choice of whips and bags can be found made by Storz and Bickel themselves or other companies. Generally, the Digit is a simple device that needs no accessorizing or gadgetry, it gets it right first time.
Volcano Digit Review - Manual
The manual is barely needed as the machine is so simple, but the instructions are very simple, well thought through and not garbled messages badly translated from German.
Volcano Digit Review - Origin
The Volcano is designed and made in Germany in the town of Tuttlingen, the site of hundreds of medical supply companies. Their newly made factory is based here and churns out ever higher quality vaporizers.
Volcano Digit Review – Repairs
Storz and Bickel will repair units for a reasonable price if ever they should fail.
Time for a comparison vaporizer review:
Classic Vs. Volcano
The Classic has a range of between 130°C and 230°C, or 226°F and 446°F, whereas the Digit has a temperature range of 40° to 230°C, or 104°F and 446°C.
The Digit can change between Fahrenheit and Celsius whereas the Classic cannot.
Accuracy of Temperature
The temperatures of the Digit are all within 1.5°C (2.7°F), the temperatures on the Classic can vary by as much as 5°C (9°F), making it a much less precise (though still excellent) instrument.
Both have a heat and air switch on the front with an orange light to show the desired temperature has been hit, but the Classic has a rotary dial that, while very high quality and precise, cannot match the twin LED display showing the target temperature and current temperature. The controls on the Digit are plus and minus buttons, allowing the selection of temperatures with a precision of 1 degree Celsius.
Auto Shut Off
The Digit shuts off automatically after 30 minutes without input, whereas the Classic will stay on for as long as it is left turned on. It is still a very safe device and poses little fire risk, but in the interests of safety, environmentalism and cost savings, the auto shut off is very useful.
Both the Classic and the Digit have a three year manufacturer’s warranty as standard, though as they are both such well-made machines it is unlikely the warranty will be used. These machines have lasted well over a decade with heavy use and no faults.
Both machines are quiet in use and have a built in silencer for the reduction of fan noise. They are both barely audibly noticeable when in use.
The Classic weighs in at 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds) and the Digit 200 grams more at 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds).
Steel coated ceramic heating elements are in both of these machines.
The elements in both of these vaporizers puts out 100 Watts of power very consistently.
A Classic will set the user back about $500 and a Digit will cost around $600.
Any accessory that fits the Classic will fit the Digit and vies versa.
Pros and Cons of the Volcano Digit
Volcano Digit Review - Conclusion
Overall, the Volcano Digit is an enormous improvement on an already very high quality vaporizer. It has been around since 2007 almost unchanged due to its excellent design. Testimony for the Volcano Digit is overwhelmingly positive: it is extremely difficult to find negative reviews or reports of them breaking. Most of the reviews this author found have been relating to the extraordinarily high quality vapour, precise controls and the extreme durability.
In comparison with other vaporizers in the price range, the Volcano Digit holds its own in terms of vapour density, taste and quality. While others might produce more, or have things like remote controls, nothing else on the market has the consistency and precision that make the Volcano the Godfather of all vapes.
Intuitive and easy to use, vapers of any age or background will find it a breeze to operate, clean and maintain. While it is an expensive device, it will pay itself off time and again with the highest quality vapour and low maintenance.
As a party piece, the Volcano Digit is unparalleled. Sharing a filled balloon of the best vapour in the world is an incredibly sociable thing to do, as well as being much more hygienic than a whip. The whips are also excellent for parties, being passed around like a shisha pipe but without the health risks. When everybody is spaced out and enjoying themselves, the Volcano will quietly turn itself off.
A bit limited in the ability to vape extracts, or dabs, the Volcano Digit can still be used with wax or oil with the right mesh fittings. The vapour from these is of course excellent.
The Digit presents a true alternative to smoking for those attempting to quit or cut down. The vapour has a quality to it that is similar to fine tobacco smoke but is nowhere near as dangerous. After a few days of using the Digit with dried herbs, oils or waxes, it is very difficult to go back to anything else. The risks associated with vaping do exist but are much reduced compared to smoking, so if the choice comes up for 120 packs of cigarettes (roughly $600), choose the Storz and Bickel Volcano Digit instead.