When I buy something expensive, I'm always a bit worried. I don't know if I'd pay the same price after having the experience using it. For Volcano the answer is YES.
After trying the Verdamper and the Volcano, I decided to buy the Volcano because it's way harder to break and is a better session vape as you can pass the balloon(s) around easier. It fits quite an amount of weed (.3-.5g) but thanks to it being a convection vape you can pause between your balloons as long as you need without wasting any cannabinoids. I've put stickers on the temperature dial with the according temperatures, so now it reminds me a lot of an oven - set the temperature, if the lamp goes out it has reached its temperature. The classic version feels a little sturdier than the digital so I hope it will last me many years, so it basically pays for itself fairly quick. It's very low maintenance and simple to clean.
Most home vaporizers are quite expensive; I'd tried the Volcano once and was very satisfied and I thought, 'If I'm going to spend €250,- or more on a vape, might as well get one which I know will work for me' I want to give you a bit more elaborate review to make it easier for you to judge what kind of vaporizer you should buy (baloons vs. straight inhalation, more 'clinical' looking or a nice glass design). Judging by the reviews, glass vaporizers like the Verdamper or the Herborizer work really great. The drawback that I see with those is that they will probably not keep looking great and they will be a hassle to clean compared to the Volcano or any other, more clinical looking device. If you've ever used a clear glass bong you know exactly what I'm talking about; they get dirty. With vapors it's not nearly as bad as with smoke, but there will definitely be dirt buildup over time in a glass vaporizer; especially in the compartment with the herbs this will be very obvious. If you don't mind cleaning glasswares, or you don't mind dirty glass so much, then this is of course no drawback :) The Volcano has very few parts to clean; the compartment for the herbs and its cover. I think this is a lot easier than cleaning a glass vaporizer. I find it works best and fastest to do this with an iron wire sponge/pot scrubber that you can get in the supermarket. Storz & Bickel recommend using alcohol or the dishwasher but I find the pot scrubber works a lot better/quicker. Some people see the balloons as a drawback. I agree that they look un-sexy, and it's a drawback that when the balloon is empty, you have to re-inflate it. The benefits of using balloons are, in my opinion, that they are portable; if you want to use a vaporizer like the Verdamper with a group of friends, you will have to keep in mind that the Verdamper needs to be used near a power-outlet. This means that in my living room, I would not be able to put it on my coffee table around which everybody is sitting, without using an extension cord.. Not super handy. With the Volcano it is easy to put the device on the kitchen table or a side table, inflate a balloon and pass that around the house. Nobody needs to get up and walk to the vaporizer and I don't need to use an extension chord. If this doesn't matter to you because your living room is more conveniently set up than mine, or because you don't mind extension cords or because you don't have friends, then, again, this will not be relevant for your choice. A second benefit to using the balloons is that the amount of air to inflate a balloon, and the temperature of that air, is very constant from one use to the next with the Volcano. This means that the effect of a single baloon is quite constant, and this makes it fairly easy to keep track of your use and dose as you see fit. The warranty on the Volcano is three years, which is very nice, and all the parts that might break can be ordered from Storz and Bickel. Most of them are cheap, but the balloons are expensive; I've never even replaced a balloon in two years time (I use the Volcano a couple of times per week, but the balloon doesn't get dirty quickly), and the starter kit comes with a few replacements. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if you can find discounted balloons from other manufacturers. I personally don't find it 'fiddly as fuck' to re-load the Volcano at all! Because the compartment is self contained I find it is actually very easy to handle! The glass vaporizers seem a lot more difficult to load to me, because the filling chambers are cumbersome to handle or don't detach.. The absence of water filtering is, I think, no problem. I saw a video demonstrations of the Verdamper where people were coughing after using it; that would NEVER happen with a Volcano. Even my friends who never smoke have used the Volcano without any coughing or irritation. I see no reason for using water as a filter or coolant in a properly working vaporizer. So, is it worth the money? That depends on your preferences. I'm not sorry for spending the money, it's simply a really nice and reliable vaporizer that works perfectly for me.
The pros first - this is a really good vape - bullet proof build quality, adjustable temperature, good results and very reliable. Now to the down side.... it's is as fiddly as fc*k to re-load, AND it's humongously expensive. Finally it doesn't pass your vapour through water first like the Verdamper and for me it seems that makes a big difference to how smooth the inhale is. Why spend a fortune on one of these when the same money will buy you a Verdamper?
I'm using my Volcano for 4 months now on a daily basis and I am very happy with it. If you are not satisfied with the results, try this: Set the Volcano to 6.5, let it heat up, then put the filling chamber on top and switch on the fan. Don't connect the balloon until you can see dense vapor (looks like smoke) coming out of the chamber, this could take 15 seconds or more. After seeing smoke, connect the balloon, let it fill up, then enjoy. Before filling the balloon for a second round, use a screwdriver and stir the herb a bit, then put it on top of the Volcano. This time it will take less time until you see dense vapor. Inhale and repeat the procedure in order to fill up the balloon for a third round. My experience is that the bag needs to be filled with white vapor in order to have a good effect. If it's more or less clear, then the herb was packed too tightly or the balloon was connected to the filling chamber before the chamber reached the required temperature. Usually I get three balloons filled up from a single chamber.
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