Today we got a big one for you, the Pax 3 has landed and we have had a chance to play around with it. From the outside it does not look like much has changed but there have been some significant changes on the inside of the unit. But is it worth the higher price tag over the Pax 2? Read our review to find out.
Review: PAX 3
If you have seen or used a Pax 2, you pretty much have an idea how to use the Pax 3. They certainly did not reinvent the wheel. For those who haven’t, you remove the magnet cap at the bottom of the device to expose the heating chamber, fill it with your favorite herbs and snap the bottom back on the unit.
You turn the device on by pressing the center of the mouthpiece on top of the unit. To select your temperature press and hold the power button while the device is on to enter the temperature “menu”, a short press on the power button will cycle through the now 5 temperature settings, the first 4 are the same as the Pax 2, but the 5th is a custom temperature which can be set through the app.
Once you have selected your desired temperature setting press and hold the power button again to set the temperature and exit the temperature select menu. The device will now begin to automatically heat up to your set temperature. Heat up time has been improved on the Pax 3 and should only take about 15 seconds to reach set temperature. Once it has reached temperature the device will vibrate, the lights will turn green and you can begin to take draws from the mouthpiece.
To use this unit with concentrates take the included concentrate container, fill it with your favorite wax or concentrate and pop it into the oven of the Pax 3. It will stick out a bit at the bottom so you can easily remove it, this is completely normal. For concentrates we recommend setting the Pax 3 to the highest heat setting (setting 4).
Pax 3 App
Not only does the Pax 3 app allow you to set a custom temperature with the app, it also offers different heating modes which will drastically change how you interact with your unit. The following modes are currently available through the app:
Standard – This is the basic setting used for the Pax 3, it will boost the ovens temperature 5 degrees Celsius as you take your draw to help maintain temperature and then drop back down until you draw again.
Flavor – This setting works similar to the Standard mode but provides more on-demand heat. What this means is once the unit has done its initial heat-up, as soon as you begin to draw, the temperature will ramp up more quickly to maintain temperature and will immediately begin to cool down after your draw. This profile does a better job at preserving flavor between draws because of the rapid cool down and will waste less herb if you forget to keep drawing from the unit.
Boost – This heating mode works by increasing the aggressiveness of the heating while drawing from the unit and decreases the cooldown time when you are not drawing. This setting is best for people who want to get in quick sessions or are a session with more dense vapor.
Efficiency Mode – This mode will slowly increase your temperature by 1 degree over the course of your session while using the Standard Mode heating algorithms.
Stealth Profile – This mode is how it sounds, it dims the light and has a more aggressive cool down between draws to help keep odor to a minimum.
The Pax 3 like the Pax 2 comes with 4 pre-set temperatures; 182C, 193C, 204C, 215C, but now also includes a 5th temperature setting which can be customized to be anywhere between 182 celsius to 215 celcius.
While I like the idea of being able to set a custom temperature, I would have liked to have been offered a couple temperatures outside of the already determined range. The DaVinci IQ goes up to 220C and the Firefly 2 can reach 235C with the power tuning option for a more full extraction. This setting is meant more for the user who would prefer to vape right at temperatures between the 4 pre-set temperatures.
The vapor quality of the Pax 3 is on par with what was offered with the Pax 2, which is to be expected as not much has changed with the heating oven and vapor path. Vapor from the Pax 3 is smooth and satisfying and can be modified slightly by selecting a different temperature and heating mode as described above.
The heating modes are definitely what set the Pax 3 apart from the Pax 2 especially when it comes to vapor quality. Those who enjoy denser vapor and quicker sessions can opt to use the boost mode for a more punchy session.
Those who like more flavor will love the aptly named “Flavor” profile, which increases cooling between draws to help maintain the flavor of your herbs.
Being able to customize how the heating modes work is really unique and something we have only seen with the Pax 3. Other units like the Firefly 2 allow you to adjust temperature profiles, but not how the unit actively heats your herbs. So we are actually kind of impressed with this type of innovation. It allows the user a bit more customization and will change how they interact with the vaporizer.
One thing you will notice right out of the gate is that the Pax 3 pretty much looks like the Pax 2. And that is a fair assessment, for the most part not much has changed when it comes to the dimensions or the heating chamber, vapor path or mouthpiece.
The only real big difference from an aesthetics standpoint is the finish of the Pax 3 which has been changed from a brushed aluminum finish to a gloss finish. To be honest, we are not big fans of this change, it may make the unit look more flashy from a distance, but up close it shows fingerprints like a crime scene on CSI. Pretty much once you remove the Pax 3 from the packaging you have ruined the pretty aesthetic forever and will be constantly reaching for a microfiber cloth to clean up your vaporizer.
Pax labs has included a half pack lid in the package which will allow you to use the device with less herbs which is something customers have been requesting for a long time so we are happy to see it included with the unit.
The Pax 3 also now comes with a concentrate canister for use with wax’s and concentrates. In our opinion we see this as a half-hearted attempt to make their unit seem multi-functional. The Pax 3’s oven does not get nearly hot enough to properly vaporize concentrates and we have already heard from a few other reviewers that it left a sticky mess inside their unit so we did not even want to try it. Not to mention that the wax attachment doesn’t even sit flush against the unit when inserted it sticks out slightly which is another weird choice.
There is nothing really wrong with the Pax 3 from a manufacturing standpoint besides the annoying gloss finish, it operates exactly like the Pax 2 with added Bluetooth support for further customization. We would have liked to see a least a small change to the looks of the unit besides a different coating as it makes it difficult for users who already have the Pax 2 to make the upgrade. It almost reminds us to how Apple has approached iPhone updates in recent history, you could almost call this unit the “Pax 2 S”.
One thing we were happy to see was that Pax somehow was able to increase the battery capacity without changing the size of the unit. The Pax 2 contained a 3000mah non-removable 18650 and the Pax 3 now includes a 3500mah non-removable 18650, giving you 500mah more power. While this does not seem that significant, it will definitely get you an extra session or 2 which can be a big difference if you are out for the day without a charger. We found the unit lasted roughly an hour and a half now which is pretty great for a unit this size.
The Pax 3 also charges really quickly as well, we have found we can get a full charge in about 100 minutes when it is fully depleted.
As was the case with the Pax 2, the Pax 3 is one of the most portable vaporizers currently available. It measures at a mere 3.87” tall and 1.2” wide. It can be easily slipped into a pocket and chances are you won’t even notice it is in there.
The increased battery capacity makes the unit more portable as well and won’t have you as worried about finding a place to charge your device mid-day.
The Pax 3 is fairly straight forward to use when not using it with the app. It functions exactly the same as the Pax 2 so if you are making the switch it will feel virtually seamless.
Where the learning curve kicks in is with interacting with the Bluetooth app. It will take some playing around to understand how to change all the available settings and to learn what certain modes actually do.
If you really don’t see yourself ever pulling out your phone to use your vaporizer we really suggest getting the Pax 2 instead, because without the use of the Bluetooth app this unit is just a glossy Pax 2.
We also wish Pax would have changed there screen setup in the heating chamber to promote easier cleaning, but it appears it is exactly the same as the Pax 2. Which means you really have to keep on top of cleaning or you will notice a significant reduction in performance over time. Also the longer you leave the unit without cleaning, the harder it is to clean when you want to clean it.
Because of the size Pax 3 it is a very discreet unit and can easily be concealed in your hand or slipped into a pocket if a situation arises. The Pax 3 also features a stealth mode which is meant to help keep your session on the down-low by dimming the logo light and aggressively cooling the chamber between draws to minimize smell.
If you mix this mode with a low temperature setting you should be able to get a decently discreet session in with minimal odor.
With most units nowadays geared towards putting out big clouds of vapor we are glad to see some companies still realize some customers prefer to be a bit more discreet.
The Pax 3 (or should we say the “Pax 2 S”), is a decent upgrade over its predecessor offering more bells and whistles under the same chassis. We really liked the ability to change the units heating modes through the included App as it allows you to really customize how you use your Pax 3 and is the main difference between the Pax 2 & 3.
While we liked that they added a 5th temperature option which can be custom set, we feel they missed the boat by not offering temperatures that were outside the pre-set range and ultimately would have liked to see a slightly higher max temperature.
We really did not like the new glossy finish of the Pax 3 and found it to be a fingerprint magnet that will never look as good as when you first pulled it from the box.
If you already have the Pax 2 it is really hard to recommend upgrading to the Pax 3 because the differences are not enough to justify the price and we would recommend you checking out the Firefly 2 which will offer you something a little more unique.
If you do not own or have not owned a Pax, than the Pax 3 may be worth taking a look at especially if portability if your main concern, however it does command a hefty price tag just for portability.
If you are looking for a unit that offers phenomenal vapor quality is still fairly portable and is over $100 cheaper definitely check out the Utillian 720, the world’s most affordable convection vaporizer.