Pax 3 Review
(PAX Labs, Inc.)
PAX 3 REVIEW (Updated Sep. 2017)
The 2017 PAX 3 makes some nice improvements on what we saw from the PAX 2. A new matte finish, improved functionality and the ability to vape concentrates if you opt for the Complete Kit, let the almost twin looking PAX 3 step out on its own. We get a faster heat up time, haptic feedback, even smarter oven technology, plus a fantastic app to let you tweak things further.
It’s intuitive, more efficient, durable, and produces great vapor. The PAX 3's clean, all-in-one form factor makes for a perfect everyday carry, and the large herb chamber and great battery life will keep you satisfied.
Starting at $199, the PAX 3 Basic Kit offers a top-shelf experience for a mid-range price, with the option to bump up to the Complete Kit depending on how you like to vape and what accessories you'll need.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The PAX 2 was designed with the user experience front and center, and the PAX 3 doubles down on that promise. It has the same intuitive user interface, improved battery life with less waste, and an all-in-one form factor capable of producing the same dense, pure vapor the PAX vaporizers have become known for.
The PAX 3 is the exact same compact size as the PAX 2 -- Less than 4 inches tall, with an oven that can hold about 0.3 grams. You should get 15-25 draws from a fully packed oven, making it perfect for extended on-the-go sessions.
It’s pocketable and concealable. You can carry it around all day and its looks don’t scream out ‘vaporizer!’ It feels good to hold, has some weight to it, and has a polished anodized aluminum shell that distinguishes it from the brushed finish of the PAX 2.
Height 3.87 in / 9.83 cm
Width 1.21 in / 3.07 cm
Depth .085 in / 2.16 cm
Weight 3.28 oz / 93 g
Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all option, there are two PAX 3 bundles, the Basic Kit at $199 and Complete Kit at $249. The Basic Kit includes the PAX 3, a charger, cleaning kit, and the flat and raised mouthpieces. Upgrade to the Complete Kit, and you'll also get the concentrate insert, an extra set of screens, a multi-tool, the half-pack oven lid, and a tweed carrying case, which is almost $100 worth of extra accessories.
The real questions are "Do you vape concentrates?" and "Do you ever want to pack less than a full oven?". For me the answer to both of these is yes and that why I easily opted for the Complete Kit.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
|10 Year Warranty||✔||✔|
|Standard Oven Lid||✔||✔|
|Half-Pack Oven Lid||✔|
|Tweed Carrying Case||✔|
A new addition for the PAX 3, the Complete Kit includes a concentrate insert that slots right into the oven. "2 in 1" concentrate / dry herb vaporizers aren't usually my favorite, more of a "right tool for the job" kind of guy, so it pleasantly surprised me trying the PAX 3 with some nice extract. It worked quite well! If concentrates are your main source of entertainment, you may want to look at something built specifically for that, but the PAX 3 works great if you like to add a little extract to your life here and there.
The PAX 3 puts out some very dense vapor that is smooth and tasty. Our production unit reached the highest of four temperature settings in around 30 seconds. The smartphone app allows you to fine tune those settings in one-degree increments.
360° F / 180° C
380° F / 193° C
400° F / 204° C
420° F / 215° C
The first two temperatures are tasty with light vapor, and the last two will get you thicker clouds and a bit more punch. I’m a high temp vapor and like to start my sessions on setting 3, or 400° F. I usually finish my sessions on the highest temperature, and I really like not having a traditional shut-off timer so I can take my time here.
All the PAX vaporizers have the same smart design, with the oven as far away from the mouthpiece as possible, at the bottom of the unit. This distance, coupled with the isolated airpath and the flush mouthpiece, cools the vapor extremely well, giving you smooth, cool, draw.
I love the simple, intuitive controls of the PAX 3. A single, hidden button in the mouthpiece controls everything and the signature “flower petal” lights tell you all you need to know.
One button push and it’s on. Push it again, it's off. Need to change the temp? Just hold the button for a few seconds to enter temperature change mode. I really appreciate the departure from all the button clicks other manufacturers are using.
The PAX symbol on the front has four LED lights that tell you everything from battery level to current temperature, as well as letting you know when the device is heating up, and when it’s ready to go.
Don’t like pushing buttons and want to check the battery life or exit temp mode? Just shake it instead. The PAX 3 also adds haptic vibration to let you know what’s up when you aren’t looking!
This is the kind of stuff I like! Conduction vapes have always bugged me with how they sit there cooking my herbs even if we’re not drawing on it. In response, the PAX 3 uses lip sensing technology and an accelerometer to tell the unit when you’re vaping or not, dynamically adjusting the temperature to conserve your herbs and battery life.
Set the PAX 3 down and it will drop the temperature after 30 seconds. Pick it up or put it to your lips and the PAX 3 will boost the temperature to your set temperature on the fly. This feature works even better now with the stronger heater in the PAX 3 compared to the PAX 2.
The auto shut-off timer is done right. After three minutes of no movement, the PAX 3 will shut itself off. There’s no set timer, so the PAX adjusts to your session length instead of you dancing for the vape.
PAX stepped up and built a smartphone app to get to some more custom options for vaporizing. By connecting your PAX 3 to your phone, you'll unlock a wave of new features and customization options. That includes changing the temperature in one degree increments, playing games on command, locking the device, and configuring the lights and haptic feedback. It's a well-equipped app that unlocks a wide variety of features for the PAX 3.
The app also lets you choose one of four heating profiles: boost, efficiency, stealth, and flavor. Boost mode limits auto cooling for longer, stronger sessions. Efficiency mode automatically increases the temp during the session like you were temp stepping. Stealth mode stays at lower temps with quicker cooling so your exhales aren’t so obvious. Flavor mode also stays at low temps, but only heats up when you are drawing on it for maximum flavor. These profiles let you tune the experiences to your preferences. Personally, I like the flavor mode for slow, laid-back sessions.
I got on average 90 minutes of vaping time from a full charge while testing the PAX 3. With no set timer and the oven turning on and off as necessary for efficiency, it’s hard to compare the battery life in the PAX 3 with other vapes.
I like to relax and some of my sessions can get up to ten minutes long, but I still got three evenings worth of use before it needed to be docked for a charge. The PAX 3 takes about 90 minutes to charge with the included USB dock. It’s hard to quantify with this vape, but I feel like it has some of the best battery life available. I don’t find myself worried about running out of juice.
Staying true to form, the PAX 3 has a stainless steel oven and vapor tube leading to a silicone mouthpiece located at the opposite end of the unit. All materials are medical-grade and considered safe to vaporize with. The heating element is a “non-ceramic tuned thin film heater” bonded to the oven and outside of the vapor path, according to PAX.
The draw resistance will depend on how tightly you pack it, and it likes a tight pack. I was actually a little bit surprised at how good it felt with really tamped down materials. Some vapes come to an air flow stand still when faced with a tight oven, but the PAX 3 liked it.
The PAX 3 is a durable little vape with no moving parts or glass to break. The outer shell is anodized aluminum, so it’s tough and I don’t worry about tossing it in a bag or in my pocket with my keys or phone, making it great for on-the-go sessions and outdoor activities.
It briefly featured a polished finish but is now draped in a matte finish. This should do a much better job hiding any dents or scratches that might accumulate.
The PAX 3 has one of the best warranty in the vaporizer industry. They cover manufacturer defects for 10 years and have a great track record of taking care of customers. We also back this one under our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. No worries here!
Even though this is the smartest portable vape around, there are still some best practices when it comes to the PAX 3.
Grind your material as fine as possible. Consider a Magic Flight Finishing Grinder or flip your grinder upside down and grind longer than usual.
- Pack your load tightly, tamp it down. Go with the Half-Pack Oven Lid if you want to use less material. This again is where you make that choice between the Basic Kit or the Complete Kit the latter of which comes with the Half-Pack lid included.
- Use a short puff to start and gentle-draw from there.
- Draw a few times after turning the unit off to clear any remaining vapor and reduce the smell.
The original PAX was a pain to clean, but they fixed that with the PAX 3 leaving you three things to take care of: the oven, the mouthpiece, and the vapor path tube. The PAX 3 comes with Isopropyl alcohol (ISO) and some pipe cleaners. Pick up some Q-Tips and maybe some cotton swabs and you have everything you need to get the job done.
Other than the polished instead of brushed finish, the PAX 3 looks identical to the PAX 2. The PAX 3 has a stronger battery that heats up quicker and lasts just a little bit longer than the PAX 2. The PAX 3 Complete Kit comes with a concentrate insert that really works well and this ability to vape concentrates is the biggest difference between the two vapes in my opinion. Looking at the PAX 3 Basic Kit and the PAX 2 the gap gets a bit narrower, but so does the price difference.
Looking at the PAX 3 Basic Kit and the PAX 2 the gap gets a bit narrower, but so does the price difference.
Concentrates (Complete Kit)
15% More Battery Life
Faster Heat Up Time
A Touch More Power and Heating Efficiency
Smartphone App for More Customization
Half-Pack Lid (Complete Kit)
Matte vs. Brushed Finish
The PAX 3 is a great all-around vape that travels well and can be used every day. But it’s also good for at home when you don’t want to be tied down to a wall with something that plugs in. It’s durable, discreet and has a great battery life that should satisfy most. The concentrate insert work surprisingly well..well enough for me to consider the PAX 3 one of the best dual-purpose vapes available.
In addition to it being a complete vape with lots of features, I think it is a great vape for beginners. It’s simple to pack, easy to use, and we rarely get complaints about PAX vapes not working or being hard to use right.
For the truly casual vaper, more than $200 is a big ask, and the PAX 3 is a premium offering. I think it’s a good value at the price point, but there are some solid options available for less.
I’ve always preferred convection vaporizers for flavor and efficiency. The PAX 3 has a lot of tech to make conduction more efficient, but if you’re looking for convection the PAX 3 isn’t for you.
Although it works great with concentrates, it’s not on par with a vape pen hit. So if you need something like that or stronger you still need to look elsewhere.
The PAX 3 is a good vaporizer for $250 and I'm happy with it. Is it worth $50 more than the PAX 2? Well, both units use efficient heating technology, make great vapor, have a 10-year warranty, and have the same small, all-in-one design that’s pretty hard to beat.
The PAX 3 adds haptic feedback, which is almost a standard these days, slightly faster heat up time with a stronger battery, the half-pack lid that was previously sold separately, the concentrate insert that currently only comes with the PAX 3, and the smartphone app as a cherry on top.
With extra accessories, better heating, and concentrate support, the $50 upgrade to the PAX 3 from the PAX 2 makes a lot of sense, and the Complete Kit is immediately cost effective if you plan on buying the concentrate insert.