PAX 3 Vaporizer Review and Rundown
The PAX 3 is the latest release in the Trilogy of high-end portable vaporizers from PAX Labs, formerly Ploom. The PAX 3 added a slew of new features to include concentrate capability, improved motion sensing and heating profile algorithms, and smartphone – app integration – all which lead to a much-enhanced vapor experience.
Opening the PAX 3
Opening up the PAX 3 you are met with a handful of new editions: The PAX multi-tool, the half-packed oven lid, and concentrate canister lid (which allows you to now enjoy concentrates and oils in the PAX). On the surface, the extras appeared kind of gimmicky, but as you will see, they were borne from customer feedback and they work really well.
The multi tool – I have found this to be incredibly useful- the stirring tool allows for an easy way to discard your vaped herb from the chamber after use, while the rubber stamp gives you a perfect fitting pack. Better yet it works for the PAX 1, 2 & 3.
The half-packed oven lid – Not packing your chambers full in any vaporizer can lead to poor sessions. Herb will flounder about while you draw and will not heat evenly. With the half-packed oven lid you can fill the chamber only halfway and get a great session without having to worry about repacking during your session.
The Concentrate Cannister lid – The third edition PAX now brings us concentrate and oil capability. This was a major downfall in the PAX 2. Most higher end herb vaporizers have been able to vape concentrates and oils for quite some time, while the PAX & PAX 2 could not.
The packaging and presentation of the PAX 3 embody the feel of a high end luxury gadget. It does look like a shinier PAX 2, however, I would say that “the look” is one aspect where the PAX 2 wins. The PAX 3 is a polished finish instead of the brushed aluminum of the PAX 2. In my opinion, I like the brushed aluminum more, but when comparing the two side by side you are really splitting hairs.
The PAX 3 is 3.87” tall and 1.2” in width coming it at 94 grams in weight. The oven on the PAX 3 is .4” in height, .73” wide, and .85” deep. Looking at the other top of the line portable vaporizers the PAX 3 is very lightweight and compact with a more than generous oven size.
I was most excited about integrating my PAX 3 with my iPhone to see what cool features were included with the app. Unfortunately, upon arrival the PAX required a quick charge to have enough juice to work in conjunction with the app.
After getting the unit charged the app offered some cool benefits, besides the basics like seeing the battery life and adjusting the temperature. The PAX 3 has preset heating profiles where you can adjust what kind of session you will have.
The Standard – This is your regular setting that is the same built-in on the PAX 2. It heats up when you draw and cools down when you do not. Other settings do the same, but this is your “standard” as the name implies
Boost – Heats up fast and will stay heated up. Auto cool not so much in play to preserve your herb here. I would use this when heading out the door and need to get a quick few puffs in
Efficiency – This is the best method to session for a full complete and long sessions. In addition to the standard heat up and cool down the temperature will slowly progress.
The efficiency setting is my favorite setting as I like to start low and get great flavor then progress through the heating profiles to get the entire benefit from my herb.
Stealth – Auto cools fast while your LED lights dim for ultimate discretion
Flavor – Boosts temp only when you draw, then cools down at a normal pace when not being drawn on.
The PAX 3 has some great new improvements with the accelerometer and algorithms. This allows for the variations of the heating profiles.
Using the PAX 3
Intuition – Another aspect which has made the PAX trilogy so successful is the ease of use. You know where to put your herb and you know where to draw from. The PAX 3 is no different from the PAX 2 in how you use it.
Packing your herb
The chamber can hold about .25 grams for a full pack and about .15 grams with the half-pack oven lid. When using alone I use the half-pack oven lid as it provides me with more than sufficient draws for personal use. If you are going to be occupied and unable to discard your already been vaped (ABV) herb or pack another chamber, or are using with a group, you should opt for the regular oven lid and pack the chamber full.
Hitting the button on the mouthpiece will turn your PAX 3 on, while pressing down another two seconds allows you to select between the temperature settings by clicking through.
- Top left green light 360F
- Top two yellow lights – 380F
- Three orange lights – 400F
- Four red lights – 420F
- Four blue lights – Custom setting
You can customize your 5th setting via a combination of the app and device. Hold your device up to your smart phone and adjust the temperatures on your PAX 3. You will notice the temps changing on your app as you move from one to another. Once you have found your desired temperature shake your PAX 3 and you will have set your custom setting.
The PAX 3 comes with a flat mouthpiece already on the unit and a raised mouthpiece which you can find in your cleaning kit. The flat mouthpiece is the favorite of the vapor community as the raised mouthpiece on the PAX 2 was known to produce vapor that was a bit too hot. They have made some changes to the raised mouthpiece on the PAX 3 but it still does produce vapor which is a bit too hot for my liking.
When drawing from the PAX 3 ensure the device is showing a solid green light demonstrating the device has reached the set temp. A slow 3-4 second draw is recommended to get a good pull of vapor.
With a fully packed oven, you can expect to get 25 good draws from your PAX 3 ( starting at a medium temperature and ending high). This is where I recommend using the half-pack oven lid if you don’t want to pack the chamber 100% full.
The half-packed oven lid is a great feature to enhance the vapor quality and preserve your herb for personal sessions. It allows you to maintain a tight pack throughout draws using a much smaller amount than what would otherwise be required. With the half-pack oven lid I can get 10 or so good quality draws around 400 degrees.
The PAX 3 provides a good flavor. Although it is not top three flavor, the early hits provide tasty, pine like vapor.
As the session continues is where the PAX 3 turns a corner with the flavor of the vapor. Your last few hits the vapor will begin to taste like burned popcorn, while the taste may go a little south towards the end you are still getting functional vapor.
This is to do with the PAX 3 being a conduction vaporizer where the portables boasting the best flavor (Mighty & Firefly 2) are convection vaporizers. Conduction – With your plant exposed to the heating element directly- flavor integrity degrades at a more rapid rate in comparison to convection.
Much like the flavor, the PAX 3 also provides a good texture of vapor. The first three to four hits are silky smooth with the texture going south on a half-packed oven lid around hit 8 or 9 and getting a bit hot on my throat.
The ability to use your PAX 3 with concentrates is a huge selling point and improvement over the PAX 2. While this is a nice addition. The concentrate capabilities of the PAX 3 don’t live up to its loose-leaf ability.
Using the concentrate cartridge at lower temps made for a much better flavor, however this required longer pulls which resulted in not a whole lot of vapor. Boosting the temps to what is required for concentrates gave a harsher texture.
I was able to get the best results from the PAX 3 concentrate capability when I added loose leaf into the cartridge along with my shatter. A small number of concentrates more than did the trick. I recommend cleaning the chamber immediately after use.
The concentrating chamber is easily removed and when soaked in some 99% Isopropyl, can be cleaned rather fast with a small q tip or toothpick. Also, the concentrate lid does protrude a little. There is nothing wrong with your PAX 3 lid, it’s just how it is designed.
Duration / Battery Life
The PAX 3 is easily charged on a magnetic cradle, like it’s predecessors, there is no need to remove batteries or fidget with complicated adapters. It reaches a full (dead to full) charge in around an hour and a half of charging.
The PAX 3 kicked it up a notch with the battery which was upgraded from a 3000 MaH on the PAX 2 to a 3500 MaH on the PAX 3. This makes the device heat up much more quickly and also gives you near 100 minutes of continuous, on the go, use.
The PAX 3 has a battery life in its own class for a vaporizer of this nature and packing such a powerful energy source into this compact and lightweight vaporizer really is an added benefit of the PAX 3.
Drawbacks of the PAX 3
The new battery does pack quite a punch leading to a bit of heat up over time. This is controlled via the improved algorithms the PAX 3 offers, but that being said the long continuous use which is greatly beneficial makes the vaporizer get hot to the touch and draw if left powered on for some time.
Despite the slight redesign of the raised mouthpiece I still find the vapor to be a bit too hot and harsh.
Lastly, the additional accessories gave me a lot of items to misplace. The top of the concentrate cartridge was the first item to go missing in action. And keeping track of the ½ packed oven lid and regular oven lid has proven difficult. However, I shouldn’t complain about misplacing the extras that are provided with the PAX 3. This is more my fault and having these added accessories enhanced my experience tremendously.
Conclusion – The Best for on the Go
The PAX is the go-to portable for when you really need a quality portable. The durability, size, power, and vapor quality make it the number one portable vaporizer. The improvements of the faster heat up time, longer battery life, and heating profiles allow you to get a quick puff in or session with your friends around the fire.
One great thing about the PAX 3 is you don’t NEED the smartphone app. You can change the temperature without the smartphone integration and this is absolutely a fine way to use. This makes for an easier on the go experience not having to worry about two devices when you’re on the slopes or camping for the weekend.
Overall the PAX 3 is the leader of the pack in terms of new edge vaporizer technology, much like the PAX and PAX 2 when they were released, the PAX 3 encompasses all of what one desires in a high-end vaporizer. While it may not be the best at every single aspect it is the well-rounded leader of the pack jack of all trades.
We did leave out the ability to play games with the PAX 3. I am still experimenting around with this and didn’t want to give a bad review of the games when I am still learning and figuring these out.
If you are looking to try the PAX 3 To the Cloud Vapor Store offers both new and used inventory, both which come with a 60 day trial period and lifetime exchanges for store credit.