Storz & Bickel is the OG maker of cannabis vapes, and the company just revealed its first all-new product since 2014. Called the Venty, the dry-herb vape builds on the runaway success of the Mighty and offers significant new features, including the best airflow of any portable vaporizer.
Like the Mighty before it, the Venty is a large, portable dry-herb vaporizer. It’s not a discrete device. The bottom half of the unit contains the battery and temperature controls. An all-new convection and conduction heating unit sits in the middle, and the vapor flows through an adjustable airflow chamber at the top of the device. S&B says this affair gives users more precise customization than past units. The heat-up time is said to be the fastest of any S&B device, too, able to hit 190°C in 20 seconds.
The Venty addresses some of the longtime criticism of the Mighty. The new model has a flat bottom, allowing it to stand upright, which should make filling the device much more manageable. The narrow but tall design makes it appear more pocketable than the Mighty. Some downsides still exist, including the lack of a removable battery and the all-plastic airway.
I asked S&B co-founder and Managing Director Jürgen Bickel what first-time Venty users would find surprising.
“Ah, I would say the heating time,” he said. “You don’t expect it. You’re waiting and waiting, and then you see it’s already [at temp]. The other feedback is that people like to play around with the airflow. [When you first use the device], users think they always want the full airflow, but sometimes, when [the herb] gets a little dry or a little higher temperature or a little harsh, you can reduce the airflow. It’s nice to play around.”
The new design allows the device to have twice the amount of airflow as S&B’s Crafty and Mighty. The two older devices can pass 10 liters per minute, whereas the Venty’s design allows for 20 l/min. S&B’s massive desktop vaporizer, the Volcano, features an airflow of 30 l/min.
Considering the high airflow rate, the Venty’s adjustable airflow mechanism is a welcomed feature.
The airflow is what sets S&B devices apart. Using other vapes feels like sucking a thick milkshake through a straw. I own and use a Mighty and a Volcano nearly daily. They both offer best-in-class airflow and in practice, that means sometimes there’s too much vapor. Or, if you’re sharing a session with a friend, they might want a different experience, and the Venty offers a dial for quick adjustments.
Bickel tells me that the battery life is comparable to a Mighty, but users might experience a shorter life depending on usage. “Because of the fast heat-up time, you heat it up more often,” he said. “You can do shorter sessions than with the Mighty. You can heat up [a Venty] two or three times in a session, and this could be where the battery could maybe be reduced.”
Two 18650 Li-In batteries power the device and can handle a draw of up to 16 amps — which is how the device heats up so quickly.
The Venty now sits atop Storz & Bickel’s portable lineup, costing $448 USD. It’s not replacing the Mighty, which is still available at $398.
The company started in 2002 and sold to Canopy Growth in 2018, during the early build-up of Canadian cannabis companies. Since then, Storz & Bickel released modest updates to existing products by adding USB-C charging to its portable line and different colorways to the Volcano. But essentially, S&B rested on its laurels and took time to develop its next product as no other dry-herb vaporizer company offered a product better than the Mighty (trust me, I tried all of them).
Jürgen Bickel spoke to me about the slow product development, pointing to Canopy Growth and nearly thanking S&B’s parent company, saying it was good to have enough time to develop the product. Product development started in 2016, though the bulk of the work came from S&B’s 10-member engineering department within the last three years.
Bickel conceded that the device may be larger and more expensive than initially intended. Yet he says the Venty shows the company stays true to its core values.
“This is what we do, and this is what we’re good at,” Bickel said, adding, “If you look around at the market, no one else is tooling in Germany. No one else in the world is only doing vaporization and taking the time of seven years of development until we say, ‘Okay, now it’s ready for customers. Now we can go to the market.’”
The Venty conforms to the UL 8139 certification, a stringent standard that sets guidelines around the electrical systems of electronic cigarettes. This follows the Mighty+ certification in 2021 when it became the first dry-herb vaporizer to earn the UL approval rating. To S&B, the UL certification is significant. The company has long differentiated itself from its competitors with a certification from TUV certifying two of its vapes, the Mighty and Volcano, as medical devices. The UL nod certifies that the device’s components comply with the testing agency’s safety standards covering the electrical, heating, battery and charging systems.
He seems taken aback at the lack of dry-herb vaporizers that conform to the UL 8139 certification. “It would be good if consumers ask, ‘Hey, what’s you’re safety standard, or what have you done?’ On the one hand, we’re almost the only one who follows it, and it would be nice if others take their devices to the same level so the whole industry can offer the same safety to the customers, and then the devices will get a little bit more comparable.”