Pax 3 Review– Pax a punch!
The Pax is one of the more popular dry herb vaporizers on the market, and for good reason! Thanks to its tiny size and admirable aesthetics, the Pax fills a role in the ultraportable dry herb vaporizer market. With impressive battery life, smartphone app control and petite form factor, it looks to be a healthy competitor. Check out how it stacks up to the rest of the competition and if it’s worth the hefty price tag.
The Pax 3 uses a standard conduction heater to warm up your material. The stainless steel bowl warms up in an impressive 15-25 seconds, depending on the temperature you set. This alone is definitely better than average and makes taking a quick session a breeze!
You’re given four temperature presets – 182/193/204/215°C, or 360/380/400/419°F. To add to that, there’s a 5th temperature setting that can be adjusted to anywhere in between with the use of their Bluetooth app. This is a pretty decent temperature range, but I’d like to see it be able to go higher for better concentrates use, and lower for better use with other herbs.
On the app you also have 5 ‘Dynamic Modes’, each optimized for different settings. These include: Standard, Stealth, Boost, Flavor, and Efficiency modes. Each person has a preference, but for me I really enjoy the efficiency and flavor modes the most, depending on which mood I’m in! Each setting has different perks associated with it, changing the experience slightly.
As far as vapor quality goes though, it’s not really quite top shelf. Conduction heating gives you plenty of ‘Oomph’ with your draws, at the expense of flavor and efficiency. The trademark ‘roasted popcorn’ flavor of conduction vaporizers comes on quite early as well. The Pax holds quite a bit of material in the chamber, though it’s not the most economical with the bud you use.
Cloud production is satisfying, though nothing to write home about either. The vapor smoothness isn’t too terrible, though isn’t quite as smooth as other top tier picks like the Mighty or Firefly 2. It doesn’t really do very well with concentrates either, and doesn’t really run hot enough to efficiently vaporize any waxes or resins.
Though the Pax isn’t bad by any stretch, it’s not quite up to par with similarly or even lesser priced units in terms of performance. I give it a generous 6/10 in this regard.
The Pax is very well made and feels terrific in the hands! The aluminum body feels sturdy and the finish is well done. You’re also given a healthy 10 year warranty, cleaning kit, flat and raised mouthpiece, charger, and normal oven lid with the basic kit.
The Complete Kit will cost you $50 more, but will net you a half pack oven lid, concentrates insert, extra screens, multi-tool and carrying case as well. Each of the bits and pieces are well machined and feel great, but that’s to be expected at this price point. Though with the Pax not really doing so well with concentrates anyways, $50 seems a bit steep for just some screens, half pack oven lid and mediocre carrying case.
The amount of features (Bluetooth app, haptic feedback, battery life) packed into this tiny little device though is seriously impressive, and the Pax earns a healthy 9 in the quality department.
Ease of use 9/10
The Pax 3 is very user friendly and excellent for a beginner who doesn’t want any complicated steps. Removing the magnetic cap at the bottom reveals the chamber where you’d the load your material. Pressing down on the mouthpiece then turns on the device itself. Changing your temperature setting is done with the same mouthpiece button, this time holding it down to enter temperature mode, and each press cycling through the settings.
After setting the temperature, holding the button again leaves temperature set mode and begins to heat up the device. It’ll automatically vibrate once it reaches the desired temperature and the lights will then turn green. At this point, just inhale and have fun!
It’s overall quite straightforward to use, and a complete beginner could pick it up and get good hits without much problem. No special draw technique is needed, and passing it around to friends doesn’t require complicated instructions to go along with it either. After the initial learning of how to use the app and button presses, there’s really not much else to do!
Design – 9/10
Commonly referred to as the ‘iPhone of vapes’, Pax Labs certainly puts a large emphasis onto the form and style of the vaporizer itself. That effort doesn’t go to waste as I absolutely love being able to take draws discreetly in public, while being able to completely conceal it in my hand.
From the unique and minimalist design to the strong build quality, it’s really hard not to like the form factor as a whole. Especially for first timers, some may be more tempted to enter the vaporizer scene after using this somewhat ‘magical’ device.
Another huge thing to mention is the battery life. You’d figure a small device like this would only get a few sessions per charge, right? This couldn’t be much further from the truth. The Pax 3 has a hefty 3500mAh battery crammed inside. Though the battery isn’t swappable and uses a proprietary charger, the long run time can easily net you over 90 minutes of on-time. Some people have even reported getting up to two hours on a single charge!
That alone is huge, especially for conveniences sake! Easily, the Pax is one of the better designed vaporizers for sale today. For a casual cannasumer, the Pax works great as a ‘toss it in your bag before you go out’ type of vaporizer. If you forget to charge it after a few sessions, you’ll still be good to go.
Maintenance – 6/10
The Pax falls a little short in the maintenance department. With such a small unit, build-up and resin accumulates quickly, impacting performance after just a few sessions. After each outing I’d recommend thoroughly cleaning the bowl, mouthpiece, and small air path out.
Even while not using it the Pax emits quite a noticeable odor, and isn’t as scent stealthy as other vaporizers on the market. This gets more intense the longer it is before cleaning. The air path is the real hard part to get to. The including cleaning tool works reasonably well, but it still takes some time and poking around to really get it squeaky clean.
Considering how often and somewhat tedious it is to keep the Pax working optimally, it won’t be ranking as high as something with a glass bowl/stem like many of Arizers products, and thus it earns itself a 6.
Value – 7/10
In the ultraportable department, few vaporizers can even compete with the Pax. It’s the ultimate slip into your pocket vape, only perhaps matched by the Grasshopper and Vapcap M. In the vapor quality department, it’s a different story, and surpassed heavily by larger units like the Boundless CFX or Storz & Bickel Crafty.
For me, the price is a touch too heavy regarding the vapor quality. It’s still really not bad at all though a without a doubt does the trick. The extremely good design and form factor swing things in the other direction. It really comes down to personal preference – are you willing to sacrifice a bit of vapor quality for terrific form?
Final rating: 46/60 – 77%
Personally, I’m a strong stickler over vapor quality. In that regard, the Pax doesn’t really impress, and I find cheaper units to be better performing in that aspect. At the same time, I do value portability and discretion, and the Pax certainly excels at that. I find myself reaching more for something like the Arizer Go, Grasshopper or Haze Square as they’re all wickedly portable with much better vapor quality.
The Pax hits some strong points though with customizable temperature control, impressive battery life, fantastic design and healthy build quality. I hope perhaps a possible Pax 4 would use some sort of convection/conduction hybrid heating instead, as the vapor quality is really the only place the Pax 3 lags behind in. Still, the Pax certainly does the job and you’ll get quite lifted off a chamber or two while on the go!