Volcano Vs Arizer Extreme Q: Battle of the Desktop Vaporizers
Here we’ll be talking about two vaporizers that are simultaneously very similar and very different.
The Volcano was released in the year 2000 by Storz and Bickel with instantaneous praise. It was a hit then, and it’s a hit now. It’s still hailed by many as the king of desktop vaporizers. Its combination of build quality, longevity, vapor production, and vapor quality is very hard to improve upon. The only downside is its steep price tag of $480.
A few years later, Storz and Bickel released the Volcano Digit and relabeled the previous generation as “Volcano Classic.” The Digit costs $600 and features a display that grants the user precise temperature control. These units are virtually perfect, but most people don’t have that much money to spend on a desktop vaporizer. That’s where the Arizer Extreme Q comes in.
Arizer, like Storz and Bickel, is known for their well-built, high-quality vaporizers. They’re mostly known for their Arizer Solo, which, in its time, was seen as the best portable vaporizer on the market. Since then they’ve released the Arizer Air and Arizer Solo 2, and both were met with similar recognition. Their vaporizers aren’t budget products by any means, but they’re not overpriced. They make fantastic vaporizers with a fair, if not slightly generous, price. They broke their own mold a little with the Arizer Extreme Q, because it’s undeniably a budget desktop vaporizer at only $150.
Despite the huge price difference, we’re comparing these two items in order to see just how much quality that extra $450 gets you.
These are similar vaporizers with similar specifications, so why exactly is one four times the price of the other?
Let’s find out!
For this review, we’ll be comparing the Arizer Extreme Q to Volcano’s latest model, the Digit.
One of the big differences between the Volcano and Extreme Q is versatility. The Extreme Q is both a bag-style and whip-style vaporizer, while the Volcano is just a bag-style vaporizer. In order to judge each vaporizer’s vapor production and performance, we have to look strictly at their bag-filling abilities.
The Volcano takes close to thirty seconds to fill a bag while the Extreme Q takes about 90 seconds. Neither takes a very long time, but the Volcano has a clear lead in terms of performance.
The extra time won’t make a huge difference to those on a budget, but enthusiasts with enough money to spare will prefer the Volcano’s speed.
The Winner is: Volcano
Arizer and Storz and Bickel are both known for their vapor quality. If you’re getting a vaporizer from either of these brands, you can expect there to be no compromises in terms of vapor quality.
The Extreme Q may take a little longer to get there, but at the end of the day, both of these desktop units will take you to very similar places.
The Volcano’s Build quality is second to none, although the Extreme Q is quite nice. There’s nothing “budget” about the Extreme Q in terms of build quality. It has some metal as well as some plastic, and it doesn’t feel breakable. However, the Volcano’s is simply on another level.
Volcano have a reputation for longevity, and it isn’t at all uncommon to hear a Volcano owner brag about the fact that their unit works exactly like it did 10 years ago. The quality is evident when you hold the Volcano. It’s pretty heavy for its size, and you can move and shake it without hearing any rattling or creaking. It’s an extremely solid unit that lasts, and that deserves some recognition.
In terms of both build quality and vapor quality, the Volcano takes the crown.
The winner is: Volcano
Ease of Use
Both the Extreme Q and the Volcano have pros and cons when it comes to their ease of use. The Volcano isn’t hard to use by any means. In fact, its included vapor bags have a valve system that makes the process very easy. When you attach the bag, the valve opens to let in vapor, and it closes until you pull vapor from the bag. However, there’s a required piece of the Volcano that you have to place on top before filling the bag, and it’s intended to be removed immediately after the bag has finished filling.
Considering the Volcano is only a bag-style desktop vaporizer, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to include a piece that’s constantly being removed. If there was a whip piece to switch it out with it would make more sense, but that isn’t the case. It isn’t a big deal, but there’s room for improvement. That’s why the Volcano sits at a solid 9 in terms of its ease of use.
On the other hand…
The Extreme Q doesn’t have the convenient valve system we mentioned earlier. To keep the vapor from escaping the bag the user has to place a finger over the mouthpiece. This is certainly more tedious than the Volcano’s valve system, but the Arizer Extreme Q doesn’t require the user to apply and remove any hardware between bags.
When it comes to ease of use, these two desktop vaporizers are neck-and-neck. Both are extremely easy to use, and each has a little caveat.
This is a tie
This is where things are going to be not-so-close. In terms of design, the Volcano is a great vaporizer. It’s well-built, beautiful, and made from quality materials. That doesn’t change the fact that it only does one thing, and in 2018 that just doesn’t cut it. Budget desktop vaporizers can often vaporize multiple materials as the Volcano does, but they usually deliver that vapor in a few ways. Having a whip and a bag is pretty much the bare minimum in 2018, and some desktop vaporizers go above and beyond that by offering a glass stem and bubbler attachments. The fact that the updated Volcano was released seven years after the original makes the lack of a whip hard to forgive.
Over the span of seven years, you’d think they’d be able to come up with more than just “slap a screen on it.” The fact that the addition of a screen costs over $100 more without any extra accessories (like a whip) is ridiculous. It would’ve been inexpensive and easy for a company like Storz and Bickel to add a whip and an adapter if necessary, especially when you consider the fact that the unit’s bag attachment piece already comes off. All it needs to work with a whip is an adapter and a whip. The Volcano is a great desktop vaporizer, but they dropped the ball in terms of the updated design. Even now, a whip sold separately would be very nice for those that don’t like balloon-style vaporizers.
The Extreme Q is not perfect, but…
In terms of design, it manages to do a better job than the Volcano. It doesn’t vaporize wax like many modern desktop vaporizers do, but it is both a bag-style and whip-style vaporizer. If it vaporized wax, it would be sitting at a perfect 10.
It is possible to vaporizers wax with the Extreme Q via unconventional methods, but it wasn’t designed to do so.
The Extreme Q can vaporizer two materials, and it delivers the vapor in two ways. That can’t be said for the Volcano. The Extreme Q doesn’t have it all, but it meets modern desktop vaporizer expectations. The Volcano just barely falls short, and that’s a real shame considering how expensive this unit is.
This is a tricky one. The Volcano and Extreme Q are both thoughtfully designed vaporizers, but they excel in different areas. While the Extreme Q lacks the ability to “officially” vaporize wax, the Volcano only supports balloon-style vaping.
So, by points…
The winner is: Extreme Q
Neither the Volcano nor the Extreme Q are difficult to maintain, but they’re maintained quite differently. When vaping, there’s usually some kind of second-hand residue that builds up. What matters is where it builds up.
The Volcano relies on bag replacements for maintaining vapor quality. The valves will get gunked up after several months of use, and at that point, you’re forced to buy more bags if you want to use your $600 unit. If only that $600 unit included a whip. I won’t harp on the whip much more, but it’s a shame in terms of design and maintenance.
A Volcano without a bag is basically useless. Storz and Bickel ensures that they’ll continue to receive money by making the only accessory a temporary one.
Maintaining the Arizer Extreme Q won’t cost you a dime unless you decide to splurge on some isopropyl alcohol. The herb is contained within the whip attachment or the bag attachment depending on which you decide to use. The only maintenance involved with the Extreme Q is as easy as flushing these attachments out with some water. It really doesn’t get any easier than that. The Volcano is, physically, just as easy to maintain. It isn’t, however, as easy on the wallet.
That kind of maintenance is going to be harder for most people to afford. Sure, bag replacements for the Extreme Q aren’t free, but at least running out of bags doesn’t cripple its functionality. Furthermore, you can’t even clean the Volcano’s bags, so you’re stuck with steadily declining vapor quality until you spend more on new bags. It isn’t the end of the world, but this problem would have been so easy to avoid.
At the end of the day, spending $10 on a new bag every couple of months and waiting for it to arrive is far more difficult and time-consuming than rinsing out the Extreme Q’s attachments. $10 isn’t a lot to complain about, and this a minor gripe. Still, it’s a problem that could’ve been solved with a relatively cheap accessory that Storz and Bickel failed to include.
The winner is: Extreme Q
In terms of value, the Extreme Q has the edge. This might be controversial given the Volcano’s reputation, but it really shouldn’t be. Think about it like this. The Volcano originally released in 2000, a time when desktop vaporizers were few and far between. Back then, this was one of the only quality desktop vaporizers. It was an enthusiast product, and it had a steep price tag as most enthusiast products do. Over the years, the market and competition have thickened, but the Volcano’s price has barely dropped. Their updated unit is close to the same price that their original unit sold for, and the only addition is precise temperature control.
Despite the Volcano’s quality materials and design, there are desktop vaporizers that do far more for half the price. The Volcano is a unit that only vaporizes dry herb, and it only delivers that vapor via a bag. The Extreme Q makes it evident that it’s possible to provide far more functionality than that at a low price. So why are people so willing to drop so much more cash on a Volcano? The answer is simple: brand recognition. It’s the same reason people pay more for an iPhone when they could get an Android with better internal specifications at a lower price. Powerful brands are powerful because they make their customers feel like a purchase with them is safer. Storz and Bickel is a long-running brand with a history of well-made products and customer satisfaction, so people are willing to spend extra for their products. That’s probably why they haven’t bothered to drop their prices more than they have. Just to remind you, their newest desktop vaporizer is over a decade old, and it costs $600.
On the other hand, we have a newer vaporizer with more features at a fraction of the cost. Yes, the Volcano is a better vaporizer in terms of power. It fills a bag a minute faster, but is a minute worth $450? I’d say no, it’s worth nowhere near that much. However, worth is determined in the eyes of the buyer. If you’re an enthusiast that wants a product from one of the best paraphernalia companies in the world, you’ll likely be fine with spending a little extra.
In terms of value, the Extreme Q wins hands down. It offers more functionality per dollar than the Volcano does. However, the Volcano offers more overall quality.
This is a tie
Each of these vaporizers are especially good at something. They have very similar yet very different designs, and those designs lend themselves well to different things. First, let’s talk about the Volcano. It’s simply one of the best bag-filling vaporizers on the market. The precise temperature control is great, but if you want to save some cash, go for the Volcano classic. When it comes to balloon-style vaporizers, precise temperature control doesn’t make a huge difference. It’ll usually be cranked up to the medium-high / high temperatures in order to fill the bag quickly. Whether that high setting is in the form of a digital “400 degrees” or the 9th notch on a nob, the vapor quality will be largely the same.
Fine temperature tuning is more helpful when it comes to portable vaporizers because it affects the feel and taste of the hit, but desktop units are already ridiculously smooth due to the addition of the balloon. Sitting in a balloon gives the vapor the time and space it needs to come closer to room temperature. There might be some subtle flavor differences, but in terms of smoothness you’ll notice little to no difference. In addition, the Volcano’s ability to vaporize wax far outweighs the Extreme Q’s.
On the other hand, we have the Extreme Q. The Extreme Q really specializes in being a versatile, budget desktop vaporizer. It offers the most it can for the least it can. It’s only $150, but it’s a desktop vaporizer with precise temperature control. It can technically vaporize wax ,which is cool, but it doesn’t do so as well as the Volcano. It does, however, include a whip: something all desktop vaporizers in 2018 should have.
Both are great vaporizers with a mixed bag of pros and cons.
Conclusion – Volcano Wins
Which vaporizer is better? Well, obviously, the Volcano Digit is the superior machine. Although it lacks accessories we’ve come to expect, the Volcano is built like a tank. Additionally, even though it was released years ago, it holds up to modern expectations in terms of performance. Filling a bag in 30 seconds was extremely impressive back then, and even now it keeps pace with the majority of desktop vaporizers. The Extreme Q offers more value, but the Volcano is the better desktop vaporizer hands down. Not to mention the fact that the Volcano comes with a lifetime warranty. The price is steep, but it helps to know that you’ll probably never have to buy a desktop vaporizer again. Do you own either of these vaporizers? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments down below.
These are only two of the best vaporizer on the market. If you’re interested in seeing a broader variety of options, take a look at our list of the best desktop vaporizers. Otherwise, carry on reading for a few more desktop vaporizers that could serve as good alternatives to the Extreme Q and Volcano Digit.
If you’re looking for something with specs even more impressive than that of the Volcano, check out the Herbalizer. It was designed by engineers from NASA, and it uses a high-tech halogen bulb that takes five seconds to heat up. You might assume that this kind of tech costs thousands of dollars, but funnily enough, it’s price is exactly the same as that of the Volcano Digit. The Volcano’s build quality is superior by far, but if you’re mostly worried about what comes under the hood, check out the Herbalizer.
For something unique and high-quality, give the FlowerPot by NewVape a look. It’s basically a glass water pipe with an electric e-nail designed to produce voluminous amount of pure vapor. We’ve seen e-nails before, but the FlowerPot’s engineering makes it highly unique. In includes an extra bowl for wax that fits perfectly on top of the flower bowl. When both are in place, you’re vaporizing wax and flower at the same time. Many will prefer the FlowerPot because of its classy, almost rustic design, but the functionality it provides is crazy. It’s definitely worth looking into.
If you’re looking for something even more budget-friendly than the Extreme Q, you’ll be glad to learn of the V-Tower. The V-Tower by Arizer is $40 less than their Extreme Q, but it isn’t compatible with bags. It also seems to take a few seconds longer to heat up. If a few extra seconds don’t matter that much to you and if you prefer a whip over a balloon, you should get a V-Tower and save $40.