Why Storz & Bickel makes some of the best vaporizers in the world and why you might want one too.
By: Herbert M. Green
There’s a good chance that the first vaporizer you ever came across was a Volcano by Storz & Bickel. Hardly surprising really, seeing as the Volcano ‘Classic’ is indeed that: a classic. This iconic cone-shaped desktop vaporizer single-handily propelled dry herb vaping into the mainstream and set the standard both in performance and technical prowess.
Sure, the Volcano Classic and all its descendants, like the most recent Volcano Hybrid, come with a hefty price tag, but what do you expect from what some have dubbed ‘the Rolls-Royce of the vaping industry’?
So, what makes S&B’s desktop and hand-held vaporizers so special? And why you might want to consider getting one for yourself? Let’s dive in and find out.
20 years of high-tech vaporizer design
Above : The first prototype of the original VOLCANO, circa. 1996
The story behind Storz & Bickel starts in 1996 when Graphic Designer, Markus Storz, begins developing his concept for a herbal vaporizer from his basement workshop. Four years of R&D later, right in time to celebrate the turn of the century (timing is everything, right?), Markus introduces his technological innovation; the world’s first Volcano vaporizer. Little did he know that his creation would set the industry-standard as well as spark the imagination of thousands of potential vaping enthusiasts.
Above : In 2000 Markus assembled the first 100 VOLCANOs in his basement. At that time, these were sold under the brand name VAPOTEC Inhalatoren.
Two years later, as the demand for his ‘best alternative to smoking’ grew, so did his company. To make sure this growth would be stirred in the right direction, Markus asked his friend Jürgen Bickel to take the helm on the business end of things. This partnership sparked the beginning of what is now the legendary vaporizer company: Storz & Bickel GmbH & Co. KG.
Above : A schematic of the second version of the original VOLCANO with a heating element, air pump and bimetallic regulator, 1998.
The best desktop vaporizer in the world
Twenty years ago, the first Volcano was the pinnacle of vaporizer innovation, being the first vaporizer in the world to incorporate ‘full-convection’ technology. Even though many new companies and vaping innovations have hit the scene since, the technological superiority of S&B still holds true to this day with the introduction of their latest model: the Volcano Hybrid.
Where its predecessor, the Volcano Classic, sported an impressive heat-up time through a convection-heating method, the new Volcano Hybrid doubles down on heating power. Not only does it heat-up twice as fast, with the help of the new ‘Double Helix heat exchanger’, but it now combines conduction and convection heating.
Above : The new Double Helix in the Volcano Hybrid combines convection with conduction heat for the best vaping experience
In layman’s terms, this means that your dry cannabis flowers or concentrates (or both!) will be ready for vaping in 30 seconds flat. The use of conduction and convection heating in conjunction makes for an efficient vape session. You get the most out of all those lush terpenes and cannabinoids. You also never have to worry about burning your herb, even if you leave the Hybrid idle for a while.
Besides the now-iconic Volcano balloon, the added option to vape through a tube makes the Volcano Hybrid the ultimate party vaporizer. Just put the Hybrid on the table, next to all the other party favours, fill it up with your best herb, connect the tube, switch it on and let everybody take a hit whenever they want*.
* post-corona of course! And even then you want to make sure you clean the mouthpiece of the tube or balloon with an isopropyl alcohol wipe before passing!
From desktop vaporizers to portable powerhouse
So far I have mostly mentioned S&B’s flagship desktop vaporizer. But, S&B revolutionised the portable vaporizer market as well. 14 years after the release of the Volcano Classic and Volcano Hybrid, the vaping world was rocked to its foundations by the release of the most powerful, hand-held conduction vaporizers to date: The Mighty and the Crafty+.
By that time, there were already several portable vaporizers on the market, but none of them came even close to the level of German engineering that went into the design of the Mighty or Crafty. Both devices have maintained their positions as the most powerful battery-operated herbal vaporizers on the market.
A true testament to quality: Medically certified vaporizers
That S&B set the industry standard through high-end engineering and technical quality is one thing but did you know that S&B is the only vaporizer manufacturer in the world that was granted an ISO 13485 certification for the Volcano Medic and Mighty Medic vaporizers? Which means the Volcano and Mighty are the only vaporizers to be used in medical research programs and hospitals around the world.
It may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but if you knew how many quality checks and hoops a company has to jump through to even be considered for such a certificate, you’d know that this fact might be the truest testament to the level of quality S&B has to offer.
My mind was blown the first time I heard that! And it made me appreciate the work S&B has done over the last twenty years even more.
What makes S&B’s vaporizers so special?
I hope that it’s clear by now that S&B isn’t just synonymous with the highest quality in vaping but that the company also set major milestones in general vaping history. Markus, Jürgen, I salute you!
Not only was their product the first of its kind in a fledgeling industry, but it also remains at the peak of technological engineering and powerful performance.
Yes, there’s still one big, vaporous elephant in the room; it’s expensive. At least twice as expensive as most other vaporizers. But, consider this: what you buy for that large sum of money is peace of mind that you’re vaping at the highest, most efficient level.
Couple that with the fact that, if you treat and maintain your S&B product properly, you can keep vaping with them for years and years, without fail. Mark my words.
Am I wrong? Can you point out a better device when it comes to reliability and performance? Have you ever tried a Volcano, Mighty or Crafty+? What was your experience? Which is your favourite Storz & Bickel vaporizer? Let me know in the comments or on Dispensr’s social media channels.
Peace out & vape on!
Herb M. Green