PAX 3 review | The Best Portable Vaporizer is Now Better

Dave Kriegel
December 1, 2016

PAX 3 Intro

For years, people have wanted a device that would allow them to vaporize weed discretely, and can fit comfortably in their pocket. The original PAX was the answer to the portable herbal vaporizer, and it took the cannabis world by storm nearly ten years ago in 2007.

PAX Labs, formerly known as Ploom and creator of the PAX, recently released a second version of the original PAX vaporizer which boasted a bigger battery life in a smaller overall package. It was met with much praise, and today we are testing out the third vaporizer in this epic trilogy: the PAX 3.

What can we expect from the PAX 3? Obviously it’s gonna be better, but how much better can it be from the second version?

It should be arriving at my doorstep any minute now so we are about to find out….

PAX 3 Specs and Features

Kit Content

  • 1x Pax 3 Vaporizer
  • 1x Concentrates Insert
  • 1x Charging Cable + Dock
  • 1x Maintenance Kit
  • 1x Multi-Tool
  • 2x Mouthpieces
  • 2x Oven Lids (Full and Half Pack)
  • 3x Replacement Screens
  • 1x Replacement o-ring (for concentrates insert)

Specifications

  • Compatible with flower and concentrates
  • Haptic feedback
  • High-polished anodized aluminum shell
  • 15-second heat up (30 seconds faster than PAX 2)
  • 4 temperature settings
  • Full-color LED interface indicating battery life/temperature and more
  • Internal accelerometer saves energy and material
  • 3500 mAh battery (16% larger than PAX 2)
  • Double the oven power of PAX 2
  • Bluetooth enabled; compatible with PAX Vapor app
  • Dimensions: 98.5 (H) x 30.6 (W) x 21.4 (D) mm
  • 10-year warranty
  • 4 colors available (Black Gold Silver and limited edition Rose Gold)

Notable Remarks

Price

pax-3-colors

$274.99

The PAX 3 will be available in black, gold, rose gold and silver. I received the black one and it is ultra shiny. It makes the PAX 2 look more like a matte finish. The price of the PAX 2 has also been reduced to $200, but I highly recommend reading this full review before buying anything.

Thoughts

pax-3-limited-edition-rose-gold

It’s here! The PAX 3.

After opening the pristine Apple-esque box, the first thing I notice is how shiny the new PAX 3 is. Although it looks nearly identical to the PAX 2, the PAX 3 comes with a bunch of added goodies. One of them is the ability to vape concentrates, I can’t wait to put this new feature to the test.

There is an app for everything, so why would you be surprised when I tell you there is an app for your PAX 3? Well, there is. The PAX Vapor app gives you the ability to now customize the exact temperature you are vaping at by using your smartphone. Ok, now we are officially in the future.

There are also new games on the PAX 3 that are now easy to access through the app, but you didn’t come here to play games. You came here to find out how this thing vapes, didn’t you? Well you are in the right place because we are about to take the new PAX 3 for a vape!

Half baked

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One thing that I noticed about the PAX 2 was that it won’t give you a satisfying session unless you pack a sufficient amount of herb. With the PAX 3, you get a half-pack oven, which reduces the chamber size, allowing it to work just as effectively, with only half the material. Finally!

This was the missing link that I needed for the longest time. When going solo, a full pack on the PAX is more than enough for one person. The half-pack oven gives us the option to ride solo without crashing and burning out. (Sorry, pun intended.) Let’s see how it affects the vape quality.

The half-pack oven is available separately on the PAX website for $12.99 and is also compatible with the PAX 2.

PAX 3 with dry herb

pax-3-front-plus-grinder-cannabis

So I am using the PAX 3 with the half-pack chamber and it is performing much like the PAX 2, but with less material. This is a big deal for me, the PAX 2 only accepted a bowl’s worth, but sometimes a whole bowl is too much for one person, due to the efficiency of these portable herbal vaporizers. And trust me, I am not exactly what you would call a lightweight — though I do know my “limits”.

Much like the PAX 2, the flavor is fantastic. I can’t say it is much better than the 2, but it is on point. You can totally taste your flowers’ terpene profiles, giving each strain its own palatable experience. I found that once you get used to tasting flowers this way, you’ll never want to go back to burning leaves.

I recommend waiting 5-10 seconds after it turns green to get the vapor flowing. It only takes about 30 seconds from the time you pack it up until your very first puff off the PAX 3.

One more thing I should mention is how I’ve been using the PAX 3: I start on the second lowest heat setting and go from there. If the session is long enough, I stir my herbs and crank it up to the third or next highest setting. I know when the session is over because the flavor starts dropping off. But with the PAX (in any version), a loss of flavor only means it’s time to kick it up a notch!

When using the PAX 3 with dry herb, the performance is nearly identical to the PAX 2, except that you have more control over the temperature and the ability to pack less material. Other than that, they pretty much vape herb the same, both providing a smooth and steady stream of vapor.

PAX 3 with concentrates

pax-3-hero-black

Warning: The PAX 3 concentrates chamber will get EXTREMELY HOT after being used! Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before touching, looking at, or even thinking about it. Trust me.

Ok this is the moment we have all been waiting for. How does the PAX 3 do with concentrates? I will be loading up a tiny dab of wax into the concentrates chamber.

One thing I noticed is the wax chamber doesn’t sit flush inside the device like the herb ones do. It pops out on the bottom, but oh well. I’m sure there’s a method to their madness.

So I took a tiny piece of concentrate and placed it right in the center of the wax chamber. PAX Labs recommends using it on the highest setting for wax so I’m cranking it up all the way. I’m already starting to smell something happening, let’s take a puff and see what’s cooking.

Hmmm… The PAX 3 is actually vaporizing this concentrate much like it would dry herb. I am not getting massive cloudy rips off this thing like I would from a Kandypen or any wax vape pen with coils.

It is slowly baking the dabs, creating a tasty and satisfying hit that is kicking my ass without actually kicking my ass . There is none of that burning in my throat (which I sometimes get from a few of my favorite wax vape pens). The PAX 3 also isn’t giving me any of those baby hits or ghost hits.

pax-3-handcheck

So far, the PAX 3 feels like it’s best if you care to enjoy the flavor profile of the concentrates — with a more manageable effect. Hey, that terp-dense aroma is coming out of that silicon container. Why not vape it to taste it?!

Also, I find that I am not getting choked up like I do with wax vape pens. Stays smooth.

I am impressed with the wax feature in part because my expectations are in line with the available temperature.

The PAX 3 creates a virtually identical experience whether you load it up with wax or dry herb. It amazes me that they were able to design it to not only work equally as well, but in a very similar manner. Vaping with the PAX 3 is almost the very same experience, no matter what you use.

With a small piece of wax that would give me 3-4 hits in a vape pen, I’m getting an entire 15 minute session. I could see myself using this to make a small amount of concentrates last a long time. However, after a long session on such a high setting, the PAX 3 tends to get hot.

Cleaning the wax chamber looks like it would be pretty simply, despite how sticky and messy it can get. I would just remove the chamber from the rubber base, soak in alcohol and rinse. My advice would be to vape as much of the wax in your chamber before attempting to clean it.

Red light, green light, one two three

pax-3-lifestyle

Many people have loved the PAX for its ability to do stop-and-go sessions. Although not ideal for flavor, it is possible to load your PAX with herb, start vaping, put it down, and then an hour or two later, stir your herbs and continue the session like nothing ever happened. Well, sort of….

The only drawback to this was that your herb can get very sticky while it’s sitting in the herb chamber, waiting to be vaped. However using the wax chamber is ideal for this method of vaping. I have been able to get multiple stop-and-go sessions with a tiny dab of concentrate!

PAX Vapor app

pax-3-app

The PAX 3 connects to the Vapor app via bluetooth. All you have to do is pair your phone with the device once, and the app takes care of the rest. It even allows you to name your PAX, very reminiscent of Apple products. I can see why many people are calling it the “iPod of vaporizers”.

The Vapor app allows the user to not only dial in the exact vaping temperature, but it has a few modes that can come in handy for different scenarios like boost, flavor, stealth and efficiency mode….

Boost – Auto-cooling is reduced. (It can get quite hot after a while on this setting.)

Stealth – Lights dim and cooling increased, for the vape ninjas.

Efficiency – Temperature gradually increases over time.

Flavor – On-demand heating, providing maximum flavor.

The PAX 3 also vibrates when it is ready to be puffed on. This feature, called “Haptics” can be turned off or set to medium and high using the PAX Vapor app. The app also has a few other settings that we will expand upon in the near future, once it has been officially released.

PAX 3 vs PAX 2

pax-3-vs-pax-2

One thing I did notice was that the PAX 3 heats up a little bit quicker than the PAX 2. I also feel like they may have increased the volume of the airpath because I am getting a slightly looser draw. That aside, the vapor production and flavor are pretty much on par with the PAX 2.

The PAX 3 has an even more fulfilling draw due to the improved airflow, in my opinion. When removing the dry herb at the end of my session I was amazed by how evenly vaped the material was. It came out perfectly golden brown, like it just came out the oven. Well, technically it did.

When put side by side, both the PAX 2 and 3 are nearly identical in height and width. The PAX 3 is supposed to have increased battery life but I am not so sure I have noticed a huge difference. Another improvement is the oven which is twice as powerful, but can cause it to get rather hot.

Good news: the half-pack and concentrates ovens are backwards compatible with the PAX 2! The bluetooth app will not be however, but concentrates can be vaped on the PAX 2 by simply using the highest heat setting.

Likes

  • Great battery life
  • Half-pack option
  • Vaporizes dry herb and waxy concentrates
  • Ultra-portable and discrete
  • 10-year warranty
  • Bluetooth app
  • Multiple modes
  • Easy to maintain/clean
  • Compatible with PAX 2 charger

Dislikes

  • Still no pass-thru charging function
  • Concentrates chamber doesn’t sit flush in device (not a huge deal, but needs to be addressed)
  • Concentrates chamber contains tiny parts and gets extremely hot after extended use
  • Device gets hot on highest setting after extended use
  • Fingerprint magnet finish
  • Pricey (But props to PAX Labs for slightly lowering their price point)

Verdict

If you already dropped close to $300 on a PAX 2 less than a year ago, should you buy a PAX 3? If you got it to spend, then hell yeah! Get one. But if you don’t have that bread to spend right now, and you already have a PAX, you should not feel you like you are missing out.

If you just want the concentrates chamber, then you might just want to hold off since it is cross-compatible with the PAX 2, and may be available as an accessory someday like the half-pack oven. However, if you can’t wait to mess with this new PAX Vapor app, then you’re gonna need to buy a PAX 3.

Finally, if you do not already own a PAX and want the best, then it is a great time to be you. The PAX 3 is not cheap, but it is widely viewed as one of the best portable vaporizers right now that money can buy.

PAX Labs has also lowered the price of the PAX 2, so you can grab yourself one of those for $200 and you can even purchase a half-pack oven on the PAX website for $12.99.

I am not sure how much the concentrates oven will cost or if it will even be available separately but it seems like it makes more sense to buy the 3. PAX Labs took a play right out of the ol’ Mac Book.

How to Use the PAX Vapor App With the PAX 3

The PAX Vapor app allows you to fine tune your experience. For the record, it’s not the first vaporizer to utilize Bluetooth technology, but we just may see more “canna-apps” like these in the near future. Since the PAX 3 doesn’t have an LCD display, some people will prefer using the app instead. It’s time to get high… tech.

Choose your mode

The PAX Vapor app features five different modes, which includes the standard one that came with the original PAX vaporizers. These four new modes include: boost, efficiency, stealth and flavor mode. Each one is suited for different vapers in various situations. The modes can be adjusted by clicking in the upper right hand corner of the app.

Standard mode

This is the default mode, which will be very familiar to those who own the original PAX or the PAX 2. In this mode, the oven heats up 5-10° when you start puffing on it. Using the PAX Vapor App, we now get to see the exact temperature of the device, in real time, which is pretty neat.

By swiping the temperature horizontally, you can also adjust the PAX in 5° intervals, or vertically, which will allow you to use 1° intervals. This applies to each and every one of the modes too.

Flavor mode

Flavor mode is very much like the standard mode, only it cools down and heats up quicker and stronger to deliver the maximum flavor possible on each puff. This is a perfect option for people who want to taste the individual terpene profile of each strain, aka flavor chasers.

Boost mode

Boost mode will reduce the cooling functions significantly and stay hotter for longer periods of time. This function is great for shorter sessions. Sometimes all you just need is that extra boost. Never mind being stealthy, if you want a harder-hitting PAX 3, try out this mode and get boosted. This is going to be the least discrete mode, you are going to be getting denser vapor and less odor reduction. Essentially this setting is for when you want to “blast off”.

Efficiency mode

Efficiency mode is for people concerned with getting the most out of their dry herb material. It will gradually increase in temperature by a few degrees throughout your session, based on how hard you puff. It will keep going up to 430°, so be careful. This mode is great for conserving bud.

Stealth mode

In Stealth mode, the LED lights on the PAX 3 will be disabled, and the cooling function works to reduce odors. Of course, there is still going to be some degree of smell involved, in fact the PAX has a very specific odor. One time my friend came over, smelled it and asked if I was “PAXing”. When it comes to minimizing odor, it’s still your best bet.

Bonus games

The PAX has a hidden feature that allows you to play PAX Run, in which one of the LED pedals will light up green, and the other red. You have to turn the PAX in the direction of the green pedal, avoiding the red one. The other game is PAX Spin, which can be perfect for playing “Spin the PAX” at those wild parties…

You might be thinking that these games are juvenile, or too easy to play. However, after a nice session of baking out with the PAX, you might find yourself getting hooked. Spin the PAX is also handy when it comes to deciding who has to make that munchie run.

Additional features

  • The PAX Vapor app also has the option of locking the device, changing the colors to one of three different themes and adjusting haptic feedback
  • By clicking on the upper left hand corner, you can access the official PAX Labs website and locate an official PAX retailer.
  • The app displays your remaining battery life on screen in real time
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dave has always had a passion for helping people quit smoking. As a former smoker himself, he knew how hard it could be. As soon as he learned about vaping, he instantly became obsessed with it and helped many people stop smoking. Vaping360 has given Dave a platform to do this on a much larger scale, by educating the public about the wonders of vaping. When Dave is not writing he is either listening to music, performing it, or cruising around on his Penny board.

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Matt

great review, thank you

Cody
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Cody

Amazing review. Thanks for your time and effort!

Sasha Dianat
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Sasha Dianat

As the slogan goes all over the net that “the iphone of the vaporizers”, I’ve got to say, wait a moment please…. I bought my Pax 2 a year ago, and now the rubber part over the power button is eroded so the tar oozes into the switch and does not let the device to turn on. This means ALL I need is a rubber covering with an utmost price of 10$. However when I consulted the PAX Labs customer service, what I received was an alibi that, even though your device is genuine BUT we can not offer any… Read more »

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