Magma Obsidian Review: the Volcano Bubbler

This is an in-depth review of the Magma & Obsidian water filtration accessories for the Volcano Easy Valve made by Magma Industries. I apologize for the length, but this is a detailed review of two products.

Magma Obsidian Review – Water Filtration Accessories for the Volcano Easy Valve

These are both made by Magma Industries in California and they are custom-made for the Volcano Easy Valve. The Magma is the less expensive option and made out of high-temperature polycarbonate-like plastic resin and the Obsidian is made out of lab-grade borosilicate glass.

First I’ll review the less expensive model, the Magma. The packaging is quite nice. The water filtration system is a pretty simple design but it’s custom-fit for the easy valve. You really can’t replicate this at home. It’s been precisely engineered and manufactured to really exacting standards to work as well as it does. I will say that it feels a little flimsy but that’s because it’s made out of plastic, but in speaking with the owner of Magma, that’s more of a function of the density of the material, not necessarily the quality.

It’s actually made of three pieces that are ultrasonically welded together, meaning there’s no glue or solvents in it at all. This material is the same high-temperature plastic used in the Volcano, so it’s considered safe at the temperatures you’ll be using.

All you need to do is fill it with water. The kit comes with a little syringe, which is really handy because it doesn’t require much water at all. You can use nice, fresh filtered clean water. Put just enough water in that it covers the percolation holes, which are at just at the bottom of the logo on the front. It’ll take a couple of syringes full of water, but make sure you don’t overfill it. If you put too much water in it, the water will get into your bag and that’s gross.

One way to test the amount of water is to gently pull on it and you’ll hear and feel the air percolating through the bubblers. If you fill it to the right height, you won’t get any of that water into your mouth or into the bag when you attach it to the easy valve.

I like to put as much water as possible because I feel like it works best at its maximum water capacity. Here in Colorado, with our dry air and environment, this needs to be topped off every day.

The next thing you’ll need to do is to use the included extra O-rings. They’re tiny and very thin. They fit on the easy valve into the existing groove, giving you a nice tight fit with the Magma unit. Once it’s seated, you have the rubber gasket perfectly seated inside that groove, and that really stabilizes the Magma, preventing any vapor from leaking out.

On the top of the magma, you’ll use the normal blue easy valve connection o-ring. If you’ve lost this, they do include an extra with the Magma.

Once these two pieces are put together, you can fill your easy valve as you normally would. I used about a half-gram of ground flower into the easy valve like I would normally use without the bubbler.

For comparison, I put the same amount of ground flower into the same bubbler without the Magma valve unit to see if it makes a difference or if it’s just in my head.

The Magma fits any standard easy valve bag. Put it on like you normally would and it sits right in between the chamber and the bag. I turn it on and watch the vapor percolate! The resistance of pushing the vapor through water doesn’t seem to slow the Volcano down one bit.

The one annoying thing about this is that you have to hold the Magma as you take the easy valve off. But then you have your Volcano bag that’s been water-filtered and cooled as it’s been filled.

The density of the vapor doesn’t seem to suffer from the water filtration, as you get really nice, thick, smooth bags out of this thing. This is the first bag, so it’s normally smooth and tasty, and it will have more moisture than the next bags because the herb releases moisture into the vapor. You can taste it on the first pull if you’re familiar with the Volcano that this vapor is clearly smoother, the temperature is cool, and it’s more humidified.

When comparing the same procedure but leaving out the Magma water filtration unit, you can see that the speed at which the bag fills doesn’t change. This is nice because that means I’m not concerned about it putting any more resistance on the air pump of the Volcano. When testing bag #1 from this comparison, it doesn’t taste bad but I can tell it’s just a little harsher on the throat than the water-filtered bag. It’s not a huge difference but it’s clearly noticeable.

Another solution to water filtering your Volcano is to get a bong and put a vapor-whip attachment on it. This really does make a simple solution that’s accessible and inexpensive, especially if you already have a bong. Just take a bag of the unfiltered Volcano vapor and plug it into the attachment and then pull through the bong. This is definitely an improvement to hitting it straight from the bag, but through the bong still isn’t the same as percolating at the time of vaporization. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a viable solution, but the thing I don’t like about this is it’s kind of awkward and I have to hold the bag onto the bong. Plus, there’s the resistance of the draw.

I’m not a scientist and I’m not sure why, but it’s simply superior. It takes the Volcano to the next level.

I think if you’ve already invested in a Volcano, the Magma water filtration unit is a no-brainer. Yes it’s $60, but it has a lifetime warranty and it’s specifically engineered to fit the Volcano.

At first I was worried about water getting in my Volcano, but in practice, the way this is designed, the physics of it would only allow the water to go backwards if you were to squeeze the bag and push backwards through it. Even at that point, it would saturate the herb, which would act like a sponge.

The folks at Magma wanted to take this to the next level, though, so they took this design concept and created a borosilicate glass version that they call the Obsidian.

One thing you’ll notice about the Obsidian is that it has a pre-chamber before the filtration chamber. In my mind, this gives it an extra cooling step. The other thing I notice is that a lot of wax and resin collects in this first pre-chamber, so that’s stuff that isn’t getting stuck to the inside of the bag or your lungs. In my experience, this filtration might even be a step above the Magma, justifying the additional cost. I really like the fact that I can pour some rubbing alcohol in it, wash it out with hot water, and know that it’s a clean and sterile surface.

I’m still on the fence behind plastic. I trust the science that it’s a high-temperature plastic, but I’m not sure I’d want to run any rubbing alcohol through it. I’d probably just want to use hot water.

The Obsidian doesn’t come with a fancy box at this time. Because it’s made out of glass, where there are different tolerances of manufacturing, the Obsidian is going to come with an o-ring kit that’s different from the Magma. You won’t need the additional black plastic gasket in the groove.

What you will want to do though is remove the standard blue o-ring that comes with the easy valve and replace it with one of the three different o-ring that’s provided with the Obsidian. They come in three different sizes because evey one is slightly unique due to being handmade. Just place it right where the blue o-ring sat, take your finger and dip it into some water, and then wet the o-ring. When you attach the Obsidian, you’ll be able to see that it’s sealed because it will create a thin line of moisture where the glass touches the wet o-ring.

Once it’s seated, you can pick the valve up and it won’t drop out. Just like the Magma, you’ll want to fill the Obsidian over the percolation holes but not so high that it’ll come out of the tube. The Obsidian also comes with one of the syringes like the Magma.

Similar to the Magma, I like to draw through the bubbler to make sure it’s filled at the right height so I don’t get any water in my bag. When it’s filled correctly, the percolation holes will be halfway between the bottom of the chamber and the water level vertically. Now it’s ready to go and you can place it on top of the Volcano.

Attach your bag as normal and turn it on.

For me, bag #2 through the Obsidian is even better.

I did a side-by-side comparison with the Magma and bag #2 to see how it compares. It was very nice, as the Magma does a great job of taking the temperature down and raising the humidity. However, the Obsidian provides a bit more temperature reduction via the added chamber.

Both units provide a clear enhancement over the default Volcano vapor, though.

It’s also really helpful if you want to get every last drop of active ingredient out of your dry herb and into your vaporizer because this will enable you to continue to increase the heat and go to bag 3, 4, 5, and maybe even to 10 without really hurting your throat. I think being able to cool the vapor will allow you to get more vapor out of your material if you’re not interested in making edibles with your already-vaped bud.

I think I’m spoiled for life and I don’t think I’ll ever use my Volcano again without one of these devices. It just doesn’t make sense. Two thumbs up to the folks at Magma Industries! I was provided these items for review for free, but I’d buy them again in a heartbeat if they broke. This is the Volcano accessory of my dreams. Go get yourself one of these and take your Volcano to the next level!

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