Storz & Bickel Volcano Hybrid vs. Classic: A side-by-side comparison review
When the Volcano Classic came out in 2000, it revolutionised the world of desktop vaporizers. Many b...
The Mighty and Ghost MV1 are both high-end vaporizers, offering desktop-quality vapour in a portable device. With a similar price-tag, they continue to be benchmark devices in terms of vapour smoothness, flavour, potency and quantity. Both devices are rather bulky and could rightly be dubbed ‘cordless home vaporizers’: easily transportable but not necessarily easy to have on you at all times. That being said, the Mighty and Ghost MV1 couldn’t be more different in terms of functionality and overall design philosophy. If you’re looking for a herb vaporizer that mimics the performance of a desktop vape, neither devices will let you down. When picking the one that most closely suits your needs, you’ll need a whole lot more information than just this sweeping statement. That’s where we come in.
Both the Mighty and Ghost MV1 portable vaporizers are based on a convection heating system. Cool air is drawn in, passes along a heated coil and enters the herb chamber before being cooled down again in the heat sink. The Mighty is actually a hybrid conduction/convection vape in that the sides of the oven are heated as well. This means that your herbs will continue to be heated somewhat even though you are not drawing any vapour. The Ghost MV1, by contrast, is a pure convection, on-demand system, only delivering heat when you need it. On-demand convection heating remains superior in that it evenly heats your herbs, doesn’t require a mid-session stir and delivers a highly nuanced flavour profile.
Both devices are absolute flavour masters. Despite its partially (food-grade) plastic air-path and mouthpiece, the vapour produced by the Mighty has a pristine taste and is definitely on par with the vapour running along the Ghost MV1’s steel-ceramic-glass air path. Furthermore, the spacious oven chamber and full temperature control of the Mighty allows for an easily fine-tuned session while the Ghost requires an app to achieve the same smooth temperature buildup. Even though the Mighty is partially conduction-heated, which could lead to uneven heating and therefore a uniform taste throughout the session, the flavour is simply stellar.
At higher temperatures, the hybrid convection/conduction solution, low draw-resistance and large oven of the Mighty produces deeply satisfying columns of smoke. The convection-only approach of the Ghost keeps your herbs from withering during those longer, drawn-out sessions. Getting lungfuls of vapour through the Mighty is somewhat limited by the inevitable drop in temperature and the sweet spot is something you’ll have to work out for yourself. The more electronically advanced Ghost MV1 produces haptic feedback letting you know you’re outpacing the device’s heating capacity. The ‘cooling unit’ in the Mighty is nothing more than an elongated airpath with plastic fins and works absolutely fine. The more refined Ghost is equipped with a highly effective ceramic heat sink and an extendable mouthpiece, the latter’s position offering either cooler vapour or larger hits. Taking large, satisfying hits from the Ghost is what the device excels at and you shouldn’t be afraid to push the Ghost to maximum temperatures. Both devices are capable of producing highly dense vapour that will extract all the goodness from your herbs in virtually no time whatsoever.
The Mighty sports dual 18650 integrated batteries that fully charge in little more than two hours with a wall charger (no USB-charging possible with the Mighty). These dual batteries will last you for about 90 minutes (the 2018 edition of the Mighty offers 20% more battery life) on medium to high temperatures. As the Ghost MV1 is convection-heated only, battery life can only be measured in draws: gradually building up temperature levels will yield about 50 to 60 draws, spread out over multiple sessions. That is not bad at all. A big plus for the Ghost MV1 is its removable, custom designed battery pack which can be charged using a fast charger in under two hours (instead of the whopping eight hours of charging inside the device via USB-cable). Keeping spare battery packs handy or replacing a pack when it’s been through too many cycles is easily done. Other than that, the Mighty allows for full pass-through charging and this is where the Ghost is found at fault: no simultaneous charging and vaping here.
There’s no area where the Mighty and Ghost contrast more sharply. The Mighty is pitch-black, plastic, rugged and ugly-in-a-beautiful way. The Ghost sports a beautiful look, a shiny metal alloy body available in several colours, and is ergonomically shaped. Then again, there’s no accounting for taste.
In spite of their radically different use of materials, both devices have a reassuring weight to them. The all-plastic casing of the Mighty hides the fact that the device is actually very well put together and can probably take a bit of a beating. The Ghost has more removable parts but each of them seems to be machine-tooled with absolute precision. The device’s delicate electronics are probably not able to survive even light collision accidents so it needs to be handled with the utmost care.
The Mighty’s uncomplicated look betrays its basic but highly reliable functionality. A power button and temperature control buttons that allow for incremental, 1°C changes. Load it, turn it on, check temperature and battery life on the LED-screen and then simply draw at will. The Ghost, by contrast, has a bit of a learning curve as only one button controls on/off, temperature presets and battery life indication while a series of 6 coloured leds provide all the information. This device definitely takes some getting used to.
The Mighty offers full temperature control in a range between 40°C to 210°C at the touch of a button. The Ghost has three factory temperature herb presets of 170°C, 185°C and 200°C, a concentrate setting and two herb settings that are customizable with an app. Switching between these sittings takes only a few seconds.This app also offers full temperature control. A slight drawback of the Mighty is that it relies on small temperature drops - indicating that you are actually vaping - in order to remain powered on. This feedback system doesn’t always work perfectly which causes the Mighty to turn off unexpectedly from time to time.
The Mighty comes with a grinder and a handy, funnel-like loading tool that can be attached to the device. Loading the Mighty is therefore a breeze. The Ghost’s smaller and detachable, ceramic crucibles comes with a metal lid and can sometimes be a bit tricky to put back into the device.
Cleaning both devices is relatively hassle-free and mainly involves disassembling the cooling unit/heat sink on both devices and soaking them in isopropyl alcohol. The Mighty’s O-rings are quite durable and will only occasionally warrant replacing (spares are included in the box). The Ghost comes with a spare crucible and a spare crucible lid. Both the Ghost and the Mighty come with a 2-year manufacturer's warranty.
The Mighty could definitely do with a stand as it’s incapable of standing upright on its own (a minor oversight of legendary manufacturer Storz & Bickel). The Ghost requires the fast charger and extra battery pack if you’re planning a vape night with friends. Liquid pads are available for both devices. The Mighty comes with a brush to clean out its fixed oven chamber, a plastic grinder, a dosing capsule and a funnel-like loading tool. The device can be outfitted with a water pipe adaptor and can be supplemented by a filling set with dosing capsules and a plunger. For the Ghost MV1 you can buy a crucible dispenser that comes with 5 ceramic crucibles.
- Sturdy and rugged look, excellent build quality
- Pristine flavour, cool and smooth vapour
- A regular smokestack at higher temperatures
- Hybrid conduction/convection heating
- Full temperature control
- Pass-through charging
- Requires a stand
- No USB charging.
- Batteries are built into the device
- A true gem, excellent build quality
- On-demand convection heating
- Pristine flavour, highly nuanced flavour profile, cool and smooth vapour
- Massive hits on higher temperature settings
- Haptic feedback signals draw duration
- Removable battery pack
- Needs to be handled with the utmost care
- App integration required for full temperature control
- Batteries take a long time to charge unless you buy the fast charger
Both devices are meant for users who are looking for a portable vaporizer that offers a desktop-like experience. The Mighty and the Ghost MV1 have both succeeded masterfully in mimicking desktop vaping and this couldn’t have been achieved without compromising on size. Both devices are seriously portable but in no way meant to be carried with you at all times. Bring them to a party, on road-trips, to work (we’re not actually advocating this, check with your employer first) but don’t expect to have one of these devices dangle in your trouser pocket. The out-of-the-box devices face serious challenges in terms of battery life, with the Ghost MV1 requiring the fast charger for prolonged use and not allowing pass-through charging while the Mighty is limited in terms of its integrated twin batteries and wall-plug only charging. That being said, flavouristas and cloud chasers alike will simply be over the moon with the performance of both vaporizers.
Choosing between these two beasts is no easy feat. Even though the Ghost and the Mighty are both high-end, ‘cordless home vaporizers’ that sell at about the same price, they have different strengths and weaknesses. In terms of vapour quality and flavour profile, the Ghost and Mighty are both overachievers and comparing them would amount to splitting hairs. With its replaceable and externally rechargeable battery, the Ghost outperforms the Mighty when it is equipped with the fast charger. The Ghost has a learning curve, requires app integration for full temperature control and depends heavily on delicate electronics and programming. By contrast, the Mighty has a straightforward interface and will probably survive exposure to most hazardous environmental conditions. Simply put: if you like rugged, simple, and reliable vaporizer, get a Mighty. If you like luxurious, delicate, highly advanced device, go for a Ghost. Even simpler: if you like dogs, go for a Mighty, if you like cats, buy a Ghost. Are we pushing this thing too far?
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