Everything you need to know about the PAX 3
Back in 2012, when the adult-use cannabis market was in its infancy, a San Francisco-based startup called Pax Labs (actually, Ploom at the time) released a portable loose-leaf vaporizer that would end up shaping the future of weed consumption.
At the time most vaporizers were bulky, stationary devices like the iconic Volcano. PAX 1 was unique in its portability and ability to operate discreetly. JJ O’Brien, PAX’s Vice President of Strategy told Weedmaps News that it was the first vaporizer “that didn’t look like a huge piece of cannabis paraphernalia.”
In 2015, the PAX 2 debuted with a sleek redesign, along with an improved battery lifespan and heating charge. Then, in November 2016, Pax Labs released PAX 3, the most technologically advanced device in the company’s arsenal of loose-leaf vaporizers.
At a glance, the PAX 3 may look similar to its predecessor, but a more in-depth look reveals an advanced vaporizer that provides more user control than ever before. With newly implemented features, knowing the ins and outs about everything the PAX 3 has to offer will help optimize the overall experience.
What is the PAX 3?
The PAX 3 is a handheld vaporizer that offers a convenient and tech-savvy way to consume cannabis flower and concentrate.
Equipped with a dual-use chamber that allows for both flower and concentrate vaporization and Bluetooth connectivity to a highly versatile mobile app, the PAX 3 gives users full control over the temperature.
The device alone costs $199.99. The Complete Kit comes with the PAX 3, concentrate inset, half pack oven lid, multi-tool, and three replacement oven screens and retails for $249.99. There are four matte finishes available: black, rose gold, silver, teal, onyx, sand, sage and burgundy.
Inside of the box, you’ll find a concentrate adapter that can be inserted into the oven chamber and used to vaporize cannabis extracts. PAX has also included a half-pack oven lid with the device, allowing users to pack smaller bowls for individual use. Compared with the standard oven size, which has the capacity for about 20 hits, this additional oven lid reduces the chamber size by half. According to the manufacturer, a fully charged PAX 3 will last somewhere between eight to ten sessions.
An integral part of the experience is the PAX Mobile App, which connects to the PAX 3 via Bluetooth and provides control over the device temperature, manage vapor and flavor output, lock the device, and also automatically update the firmware. While the previous iteration came with four predetermined temperature settings that could be selected by pressing down on the top of the device, the latest also allows users to fine-tune the temperature to precise levels using the mobile app.
One intriguing feature on the app is called Dynamic Modes, which consists of five heating profiles that can quickly changes the priority of the vape sesh. These heat settings include:
- Standard: Temperature controlled by user
- Stealth: Emphasizes discretion, reducing the amount of vapor
- Boost: Higher temperatures to produce heavier draws
- Flavor: Vapor quality optimized for best taste
- Efficiency: Prevents packed cannabis from being wasted
The app also includes a security feature that enables the user to lock the PAX 3, effectively keeping children and other unwanted users from using the device.
As convenient and accessible as the PAX 3 is, O’Brien explained that users may not always get everything correct. This includes finely grinding the flower and packing it tightly into the oven chamber or finding their optimal vaping temperature.
“The least amount of air in there possible, the best experience you’re going to have and you’re going to conserve flower too,” he said.
The PAX 3 can vaporize flower as well as concentrates with an adapter. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)
The optimal temperature setting depends on the user. By using the fine-tune temperature control, users can find their desired temperature and save it as a custom preset in the app.
“I always tell people, especially with the PAX 3 and the app, you need to play around with the temperature and find which one you like the best,” O’Brien said. “Depending on what kind of flower you’re smoking, depending on the terpenes, you may want [temperatures] slightly higher or slightly lower.”
How do you use the PAX 3?
Here’s a quick primer on how to setup and use the PAX 3.
- Make sure the device is fully charged.
- To charge the PAX 3, connect the USB cord into the charging dock and plug it into the USB port on your computer or charging device.
- Carefully mount the PAX 3 onto the cradle.
- The four petals on the front of the device show the battery level of the device. Once all four petal stop pulsating and turn solid white, the device is fully charged and ready for use.
After the device is unboxed and fully charged, the following step will depend on whether you plan to vaporize flower or concentrate.
Here’s how to prepare the PAX 3 for bud:
- Grind the flower to a medium or coarse consistency.
- Remove the magnetic oven lid and pack the flower into the chamber. Use the keychain tool to pack the chamber as tightly as possible.
- Depending on the amount of flower packed inside of the chamber, place the standard or half-pack lid over the oven.
- Quickly press down on the center of the mouthpiece to activate the device. It will vibrate when to show that it’s powered on.
- The light-emitting diode (LED) petals on the front of the device will pulse purple light to indicate that it’s heating up.
- Wait 15 seconds for the PAX 3 to finish heating up before taking a draw.
- When the device vibrates again and the petals turn green, take a gentle draw from the mouthpiece.
The PAX 3 is designed to give a satisfying vape experience for both novices and experienced tokers. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)
Here’s how to use and remove the concentrate adapter:
- Load the chamber of the insert with a small amount of concentrate material. The manufacturer suggests using 10 to 20 milligrams per bowl (about the size of a lentil).
- Place the insert into the oven. The insert will not sit flush with the bottom of the device, but keep in mind that this is by design.
- Pax Labs recommends setting the device to a medium or high temperature and wait 10 to 15 seconds before drawing.
- Before removing the insert to repack the chamber, check to make sure the oven is powered off. The metal chamber will likely remain hot after use, so don’t touch it.
- Once the PAX 3 is completely shut down, turn it back on and warm it up for three seconds, then wiggle the insert out of the device.
- Clean the concentrate insert before using it again.
Here’s how to control the temperature using the vaporizer and its app:
- Push down on the mouthpiece and hold it down for about two seconds.
- The LED lights will reflect the current temperature of the device, signaling that it’s in “temp set mode.”
- Quickly pressing on the mouthpiece will allow you to cycle through the different preset temperatures.
- Once you’ve settled on a temperature, you can exit “temp set mode” by holding down the mouthpiece for two seconds or by shaking the device.
- To fine-tune the degrees or set a custom temperature, use the settings available in the PAX Vapor App.
Here are the different preset temperatures:
- Low: One Petal (Green)
- Medium: Two Petals (Yellow)
- Medium/High: Three Petals (Orange)
- High: Four Petals (Red)
Keeping your PAX 3 clean
PAX recommends giving the PAX 3 device a good wipe down after every few uses. For the concentrate insert, the manufacturer suggests a quick clean after every single use.
How to clean the PAX 3 device
- Make sure the device is off.
- Start by removing the mouthpiece and oven lid from the device.
- Insert a pipe cleaner or wire brush into the pathway and pop out the oven screen.
- Move the cleaning tool back and forth to clean out the narrow area.
- Clean the oven screen and mouthpiece by dipping them into isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
- Do not submerge the oven lid in isopropyl alcohol or water, use a cotton swab instead.
- Check to make sure the screen and mouthpiece are completely dry before reinserting them into the device. First, situate the screen so that it rests slightly bowed at the bottom of the oven chamber and carefully push it down to secure it. Fit the mouthpiece into place and enjoy.
How to clean the concentrate attachment
- When cleaning the concentrate attachment, you can submerge the insert chamber into isopropyl alcohol, but not the entire lid.
- While it’s in the isopropyl alcohol, use a cotton swab to scrape the sticky resin material from the insert chamber.
Modding the PAX 3
Part of the fun of having a portable vaporizer is personalizing it to fit your style. According to O’Brien, PAX sometimes holds events offering laser engraving for its devices which are shared on PAX’s on social media.
Boulder, Colorado-based visionary artist Phil Lewis also does laser engravings, offering a selection of incredibly heady designs and patterns. Simply send in the PAX 3 along with $40, or purchase a new, custom-engraved device directly from the artist’s website.
You can also purchase “skins” to personalize your PAX 3. Also known as warps, these are sticker decals that are specifically shaped to fit around the exterior of the PAX 3. Whether you want to show love for ’90s culture or conjure up some psychedelic spirit, chances are there’s a skin out there that can help reflect your personality. You can find a vast array of awe-inducing designs to wrap around your vaporizer from online retailers such as Etsy and Amazon.
What’s the appeal?
The PAX 3’s unique features make it one of the most popular vaporizer brands on the market, but how exactly does the manufacturer continue to appeal to consumers despite throngs of competitors — not to mention to the rising popularity of vape pens?
Aside from brand recognition, which Pax Labs has certainly built with the PAX product line, customers also seem to be drawn to the PAX 3 for its versatility. Now that cannabis consumers can vaporize flower and concentrates with the PAX 3, the manufacturer has been able to reach a broader audience that includes entry-level consumers and cannabis connoisseurs.
Another aspect that appeals to both ends of the cannabis experience spectrum is the mobile app. Not only does the app allows weed novices to easily monitor and control the PAX 3, it also gives more seasoned stoners the much-desired ability to dial in specified vaporization temperatures.
Interestingly enough, while many PAX 3 owners will emphasize the mobile app and compatibility with concentrates as the key feature, the device remains primarily targeted toward those looking for a more flavorful and fulfilling experience while vaporizing flower.
“It’s really targeted toward someone who appreciates the flower experience,” O’Brien explained.
“Someone who wants something discreet that fits with their daily habits, that has those types of pro features, like temperature control, that can really give you the most out of the device.”
One facet that has always been coveted throughout the lineage of PAX vaporizers is the simple, buttonless design approach. By adding the app into the mix, Pax Labs was able to keep the minimalistic aesthetic of the hardware while advancing the capability of the technology.
Lastly, the PAX 3 comes with a 10-year limited warranty, a safeguard that many other vaporizers don’t provide. At $249.99 for the kit, the PAX 3 is certainly a considerable investment compared to other portable vaporizers, but could be worthwhile for those looking for a convenient way to enjoy the full flavor and effects of cannabis.
Feature image courtesy of PAX Labs.
The PAX 3 is a handheld vaporizer that offers a convenient and tech-savvy way to consume cannabis flower and concentrate.
PAX 3 Concentrate Insert Guide
How to get the most out of your Pax 3 concentrate insert .
**The PAX 3 vaporizer has some features only accessible via a smartphone app. On November 15th, 2019, Apple removed all vaporizer apps from its store. Apps that were downloaded before removal will still work. Android users are not affected. Please read our blog post to learn more about the app removal, and how it affects specific vaporizers.**
How to get the most out of your PAX 3 concentrate insert
When PAX included a concentrate insert with the PAX 3, it was stepping into dangerous territory. More specialized portable vaporizers already had a corner on the concentrate market, and some devices that tried to do both herbal and concentrates sometimes didn’t do either well.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with the PAX 3, and the concentrate insert works surprisingly well, with a few caveats. Our tips should help improve your efficiency with the PAX 3’s concentrate insert, and have you enjoying all the flavors and potent production in a few simple steps.
Related: PAX 3 Tips & Tricks
Keep it clean
As any PAX owner knows, a regular cleaning pays off in a number of ways. A few minutes with a pipe cleaner can noticeably improve vapor production and taste. That goes double for concentrates, which can gum up the works, so to speak. The included brush can help clear out the vapor path when the device has cooled down, although a pipe cleaner will do the trick if you already keep it clean.
The concentrate insert itself benefits from a proper cleaning before each use. Vaporizing what little is left at a high temperature is an option, but a dot of isopropyl alcohol and the end of a pipe cleaner should remove any gunk, just be sure to clean and dry the insert fully after. As it turns out, if you keep the PAX upright, cleaning becomes less of an issue.
Keep it upright
If you’ve ever tried to take your PAX into a hammock, you may have noticed it doesn’t work quite as efficiently. That’s because the PAX is designed to work best when turned upright, and that’s more important with concentrates for a couple of reasons. For one, heat causes the concentrates to soften, and leaving the Pax sitting in the wrong orientation could cause them to clog the air holes on the concentrate insert, or seep out into the oven.
There’s also the issue of proper air intake. The concentrate should melt a bit as you vaporize it, and gather around the intake pipes at the bottom of the insert. As you draw air through the bottom, it will pull over the concentrate and out through the exhaust in the center of the bowl. If the PAX is sitting upside down, or at an angle, the concentrate won’t sit in the right place in the oven, and the air path may not pass over it as efficiently.
Keep it hot
While herbal mixes produce the best vapor at the third temperature setting, concentrates require a lot more heat to vaporize properly. The PAX 3 vaporizes concentrate well at the highest temperature setting, and has an extra trick up its sleeve.
With the connected smartphone app, you can bump the temperature even higher than the built-in settings. While we wouldn’t recommend taking it much higher, that extra few degrees can really hone in the vapor production, with the slight cost of a drop in flavor. The PAX 3 has much better insulation than the PAX 2, so you don’t need to worry about burning your hands in the process.
Keep it lightly loaded
Finally, the concentrate insert in the PAX 3 isn’t very large, and unlike herbal mixes, which should be firmly packed, air is your friend with stickier substances. A tiny drop of concentrate, about the size of a small pea, will ensure proper airflow and plenty of room to produce great vapor. You’ll have to load it more often, but that also means plenty of chances to clean up.
As long as you draw slowly, keep the insert clean, and turn the heat way up, you’ll find the PAX 3 keeps up with dedicated, portable concentrate vaporizers. Of course, the real reason to buy a PAX 3 is for the herbal vaporizing potency, but the concentrate insert is a nice touch that adds a lot of value to an already impressive offering.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out our PAX 3 Review .
Learn how the Pax 3 Concentrate Insert can improve your session. We discuss this product enhancement in our detailed guide.