Our Pax 3 review puts the legendary dry herb vaporizer to the test. It may offer a bigger battery and a quicker heat-up time than the older model, but is it worth picking up?
Is it worth picking up?
The Pax 3 vaporizer thoroughly deserves its title of “the iPhone of vaporizers.” The design is excellent, the performance is flawless and everything is simple and user-friendly enough even for a completely new vaper.
If the cut-price options don’t quite meet your standards, the Pax 3 is definitely worth the extra expense, and at just $249.99, it’s about the same price as most competing vaporizers anyway. The difference is the Pax 3 gives you something a step above most of the competition, reminding you why it’s worth paying a little more with every THC-laden, flavorful puff.
Pax 3 Vaporizer Review
The Pax is often called the “iPhone of vaporizers.” This tends to come from fairly mainstream publications trying to translate the slightly niche world of vaping into something the average non-vaper would easily understand, but there is some truth to it.
Pax Labs is hugely respected, and the namesake line of vaporizers has been a favorite since they first came on the scene, and it’s just getting better with every new device.
Pax 3 vs. Pax 2
Although the Pax 2 vaporizer was a great device for dry herb, the Pax 3 adds support for concentrates, improves the battery life and reaches vaping temperature in a third of the time of its predecessor.
Our review of the Pax 3 vaporizer puts the latest version to the test. Is it worth $249.99 for the complete kit ($199 for just the device) or can you get better vaporizers for your money?
What You Get
The Pax 3 vaporizer comes in a pretty well-stocked kit. The box opens up into two halves like a book, with the left hand side holding your device and charger, and the right side containing your accessories. Alongside the device, you also get two mouthpieces, three different oven lids (with one to reduce the volume of the oven and one for extracts), a charging cable and dock, three screens, a multi-tool and a maintenance kit which includes some pipe cleaners and a small brush.
Overall, this is a nice selection from Pax, well-presented and with plenty of useful little extras too.
Pax 3: The Design
The Pax 3’s look is classy and understated. The finish is smooth and reflective, the corners are rounded and the front face is bare apart from an x-shaped array of four LEDs. It comes in four colors, black, gold, rose gold and silver, and all of them maintain the general elegance of the Pax 3.
There are two contact points for the charger, a logo and the device’s serial number on the back, but none of it is too in-your-face and it doesn’t spoil the look at all. The top has a squat, trapezoid mouthpiece with two slits for vapor to pass through and the same “x” design as the LEDs on the front of the vaporizer. This mouthpiece also serves as the button for the vaporizer, so you press down on it to switch the device on or off, and hold it down to change temperature settings.
All put together, the Pax vaporizer looks effortlessly cool – a vaporizer for the sophisticated stoner.
Pax 3 Vaporizer Oven
The oven on the Pax 3 is at the bottom of the vaporizer, leaving a lot of space between the heat source and you when you vape. The oven door is the flat bottom of the vaporizer, with the plastic lid held in place by small magnets inset into each side. It’s nice and easy to pop out (just gently pressing down on one side is enough), and inside there is a 0.4” × 0.73” × 0.34” chamber (about 0.1 cubic inches or 1.6 cubic centimeters) .The interior of the chamber is metal, and there’s a Pax-branded screen covering the bottom and the route to the mouthpiece.
The Concentrates Attachment
The Pax 3 is mainly used for dry herb vaping, but the device comes with an attachment for vaping concentrates and oils. This attachment replaces the door to the oven, and holds a small, rectangular chamber for you to add your concentrate. The lid for the chamber comes off easily, and inside there is a big space for your concentrate with two airflow holes in the bottom. As you might expect, this couldn’t get much simpler to use – pop off the lid, add your concentrate, put the door in place and start vaping.
The Pax 3 has an effortlessly cool look and a sensible, no-nonsense design. It supports everything you’re likely to need to do without overcomplicating anything – all you do is use one button and a display screen.
Pax 3: Features
Like all good dry herb vaporizers, the Pax 3 offers you a selection of temperature settings to give you some control over your experience. The four settings included on the Pax 3 as standard are: 360, 380, 400 and 420 °F (or 182, 193, 204 and 215 °C). These are selected by simply holding down the button at the mouthpiece of the device until one or more of the four LEDs on the front of the device light up. Now each press of the button increases the temperature to the next setting – shown by the number of lights and their color – and you press and hold the button again to confirm.
These four settings cover the range most vapers are interested in, and their regular 20 °F spacing ensures you’ll be able to at least get close to the setting you want.
The Pax Vapor App and More Temperature Settings
The four temperature settings included on the Pax as standard will be enough for most vapers, but if they don’t quite hit the mark for you, you can use the Pax Vapor App. This allows you precisely control the temperature each setting represents, down to the nearest degree, up to a maximum of 420 °F (215 °C). This is a great extra feature, and the app also adds five “dynamic modes” which include options tailored for stealth, boosting your performance, maximizing flavor and efficiency. You don’t need the app to get a great vape from the device, but the extra options are definitely welcome additions.
LED Display System
The lack of a display screen on the Pax 3 might seem like it’d hold the device back, but the ingenious use of the four LEDs completely avoids potential downsides. When you first switch the device on, the LEDs turn purple to indicate that the device is heating up, and they go green when it’s up to the intended temperature. When you hold the button down to set the temperature, the number of LEDs lighting up (and their color – using a traffic light-like system) shows you which setting you’re currently on. If you shake the device, some of the LEDs will light up white to display your remaining battery level.
These features are both an ingenious way to avoid having to use a display screen and so simple that they scarcely need to be explained. The system works perfectly, and all of these tasks quickly become second nature.
Although the LED color does the same job, the Pax 3 actually vibrates to let you know when the device has reached your preset temperature. This is a handy little extra because if you’re holding the Pax 3 waiting for it to heat up, you’ll know when it’s ready even if you aren’t looking at the LEDs.
Battery Life and Recharging
The 3,500 mAh battery on the Pax 3 is enough for between eight and ten sessions per charge, according to Pax, and this is in line with my testing. Using higher settings and having fairly long sessions, I got 8 sessions per charge, so with lower settings or shorter sessions, you could easily get 10 in for a single charge. You can easily check the remaining battery too, so you’ll always have a good idea of how much vaping you can do before you need to recharge.
Charging is a simple process, although it’s a little different from many other devices. There’s a little charging pack you have to attach to the contact points on the back of the Pax, and it stays in place magnetically. You then plug the micro USB cable into this pack, and the device charges as you’d expect. This looks kinda funny – like the Pax 3 is wearing an oversized backpack for its first day of school – but it is really user-friendly and works efficiently. Your Pax 3 will recharge in just over an hour and a half.
Pax 3 – In Use
Filling Up and Starting to Vape
Filling the chamber on the Pax 3 is pretty simple, and you won’t have any issues if you’ve used a dry herb vaporizer before. After finely grinding your material and removing the door to the oven chamber, you simply fill it up as much as you want to (for a full pack, fill it just above the level of the metal in the oven) and pack it down. There is a tool included you can use to pack your material down, but you can do the job with a finger even if you don’t have it with you.
When you replace the oven door – whether with the standard option or the fatter one designed for a reduced chamber volume – all you have to do is press the main button to start vaping. The LEDs oscillate with purple light during heating, and then turn green when you’re ready to vape. This usually takes under 20 seconds. To change the setting, hold down the button for two seconds, then press it to cycle through the available options, holding the button down again when it’s on your desired setting.
Flavor and Vapor from the Pax 3
You get a really high quality vape with the Pax 3. Like most portable vaporizers, you aren’t really going to get particularly thick vapor with the Pax, but there is a visible plume with each puff and you get a satisfying throat hit towards the end of your draw. For flavor, the Pax 3 is hard to beat – the vapor isn’t impacted by the device or the path up to the mouthpiece at all, so all you get is the pure, clean flavor from your herb. Everything vaporizes evenly too, and despite the conduction heating, you don’t need to mix your material around part way through a session to get an even vape.
Overall, it does a great job when it comes to performance, and while you may get a harder-hitting vape from desktop units, it’s easily up there with the best portable devices.
Vaping with the concentrates attachment is just as flavorful and satisfying as using the Pax 3 with dry herb. All you have to do is remove the top of the concentrates attachment for the oven and add your wax or oil before replacing the top and inserting it into the oven. The device then works just as it ordinarily would, in terms of ease of use as well as performance. If you’re only going to be vaping concentrates, it might be worth considering a vape pen or another more affordable concentrates-only vaporizer, but as a bonus the attachment for the Pax 3 works excellently.
Cleaning and Maintenance
If you want consistent performance from any vaporizer, you need to keep it clean. The Pax 3 comes with pipe cleaners and a brush so you can keep it in good condition. You don’t need to clean too often, but when you do, it’s quite a simple process. Simply remove the oven door and clean the interior of the oven using the brush, and you can use the pipe cleaners to get right up into the vapor path to keep the entire thing free from debris. There are three small metallic screens included with the vaporizer, and these can be cleaned several times but eventually you’ll need to replace them. Overall cleaning and maintenance are simple with the Pax 3, so you’ll have no problem keeping the vaporizer in working order.
Portability and Comfort
The Pax 3’s design ensures that it’s both comfortable to hold and easy to take out of the house with you. The rounded edges and soft mouthpiece make it comfortable to hold and vape from, and the fact that the oven is at the bottom means you can keep your hands and mouth a comfortable distance from the heat source. For portability, the slim and compact design makes it hard to beat: you can easily slip it in a pocket or store it in a handbag.
The Pax 3 vaporizer is an absolute champ in use. It’s simple and works well with both dry herb and concentrates, it’s comfortable to use and it’s small enough to take out of the house. If a desktop vaporizer isn’t an option, the Pax 3 offers some of the best performance you’ll be able to find in a loose leaf vaporizer.
The people at Pax Vapor care about quality, and this is evident in every aspect of the Pax 3’s design and construction. It has a polished anodized aluminum body, beautiful machining throughout and parts that fit snugly while not being too difficult to remove or replace. There is nothing to complain about at all here: it’s built with longevity in mind and to the highest quality. It comes with a 10-year warranty too, which shows how confident Pax are in what they provide.