Pax 3 Review
The original Pax was released in 2012 by two friends, James Monsees and Adam Bowen, that we’re looking for a high-tech way to consume tobacco. Since then, PAX was crowned by many to be “the iPhone of vaporizers”, setting up a high brand reputation.
Pax is a US-based company, and many engineers at Pax Labs came from companies in the Tech industry, like IBM and Foxconn (that manufacture some of Apple devices).
Since the original Pax, two more iterations have been released, keeping the same general form and significantly improving its functionality in each release.
The latest iteration, PAX 3, was released in 2016, and since then has been a dominant player in the industry. It introduced “never-before” features, such as Smartphone app, Haptic feedback, and a “half-packed” oven. All while keeping a very small and sleek package.
Pax also raised the value as the prices went down significantly over the years – while PAX 2 was sold for $280, the PAX 3 can be found today for less than $200 (for the basic kit).
Kit & Accessories:
Pax 3 is available as a “Device Only” or a “Complete Kit”
The device only ($199 from Pax Vapor) includes everything that you need in order to vape dry herb:
- Pax 3 vaporizer
- Oven lid (full oven)
- Two mouthpieces, flat and raised
- Maintenance/cleaning kit
- Magnetic charging dock
And the Compete kit ($249 from Pax Vapor) adds:
- Concentrate insert- to use with extracts
- Extra lid (half oven)- allows to pack the oven with half the amount of herbs
- Multi tool- to pack, empty, clean the oven
- 3 Replacement screens
Compatibility: The Pax 3 is compatible with dry herbs, as well as with extracts using the Concentrate Insert.
Pax 3 mouthpiece options:
The kit comes with two mouthpieces- Flat and Raised.
- The flat mouthpiece sits flush with the top of the device and preserves the sleek and simple shape of the Pax 3. But I found that it feels a little awkward to use. Your lip is around the mouthpiece and the side of the device, which sometimes gets dirty or warm.
- The raised one feels a little better, as your lips only touch the silicone mouthpiece. But in general, I’m not a big fan of this style of mouthpieces. I prefer the straw style mouthpieces (such as the Mighty’s or Solo 2), they are easier to use and tend to result in a cooler vapor.
Pax 3 comes with 2 Dry Herb oven lids: full-oven and half-oven.
- With the full-oven lid, you can fit around .35 gram of dry herb in the oven
- The half-oven lid reduces that by half, so between .15-.20g. I really like having the half oven option, If I just want to take a couple of hits and not use a lot of herbs. With most vaporizers (Pax included), you can NOT split an oven into multiple sessions. Once you start vaping, the herb in the oven is no longer reusable. So having an option for a full or half oven is very convenient and efficient.
The full kit also comes with a Concentrate lid, which can be used with extract. Although I found that the pax 3 does not do well with extracts, and gets dirty and sticky. Using extracts means more maintenance and cleaning. I highly recommend buying a vape pen for your extracts and separating them from your main dry herb vape.
Magnetic charging dock:
The Pax 3 snaps into charge just by sliding it over the charger. This is a very convenient feature but it has one drawback: if you lose/ forget the charger somewhere, you have no way of charging your Pax. I personally prefer micro USB chargers over propietery chargers such as Pax’s. It makes finding a charger easier, as they are available everywhere.
Design & Features:
Pax 3 Design:
Simple but stylish is the best way to describe the Pax 3. It’s just under four inches tall and shaped like a rounded rectangle. It feels good in the hand and slips easily into a pocket, purse or backpack.
There are no buttons on its surface to interfere with the minimalist design. All you see in its sleek appearance are the iconic and informative petal lights on the front, and the magnetic connections on the back.
Build Quality: The Pax 3 is made from anodized aluminum that’s feels solid and dense. It comes in two styles: Glossy and Matte. The drawback of the glossy finish is that it is a fingerprint magnet. The newly introduced line of matte solves that problem.
Other Notable Features:
- Lip sensing technology: Pax 3 knows whether you take back-to-back draws or if you take a long time between draws. The vaporizer will make real-time adjustments to work most efficiently with your vaping style.
- Haptic feedback: The vaporizer will indicate your status by vibrating. For example, when it’s reached temperature and is ready to vape (or you stare at the petal lights to find out when it’s time).
How to use:
- Grind your herbs and fill the chamber
- Turn the device on by pressing down once in the center of the mouthpiece.
- Select a temperature (see below).
- Wait for the device to reach desired temperature, indicated by the LED interface and a vibration. Slowly inhale through the mouthpiece.
Temperature options: With the smartphone app, Pax 3 can adjust to any temperature between 360F and 420F.
Without the app, you can press the mouthpiece for two-seconds to enter temperature settings mode, and click it once to cycle through 4 levels indicated by the LED. Exit temp mode by pressing down the mouthpiece (or by shaking the device).
- Empty and clean the oven at the end of every session. It’ll make cleaning easier and keep your Pax 3 in good shape.
- Check out our Pax 3 Tips & Tricks.
- Not getting enough vapor? Here are 7 dry herb vaping tips to up your game and get more from your dry weed.
- Wondering how to know when to replace herb in the oven? This article will explain everything you need to know.
Pax 3 smartphone app
The app allows you to name your Pax 3, customize its user interface, & lock it to prevent anyone else from using it. Plus, it also has video tutorials, live temperature display, and control over the dynamic modes.
The dynamic modes provide different temperature options:
- Standard Mode – a balanced mode for first time vapers.
- Boost Mode – temperature increases faster and cools down more slowly. Great for quickie sessions.
- Flavor Mode – faster temp increase and faster cooldown increases flavor preservation.
- Stealth Mode – great for low profile vapers because it produces less vapor and odor, speeds up cooldown times, and dims the LED lights.
- Efficiency Mode – the oven temperature increases by 1° over the length of each session. Great for saving battery life.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Cleaning the Pax 3 can be an involved process compared to other vapes. Here is why-
You need to clean the three main parts- the mouthpiece, oven, and vapor path. The process will include alcohol wipes, pipe cleaners (which Pax includes in the kit) and other accessories. Now, sure, you don’t need to do that after every use, but every 10-15 uses, you’ll want to give it a good clean.
Vapes such as the Crafty, Mighty, or Solo 2 have a much “maintenance free” design. The mouthpiece is the vapor path. And with Solo 2 it’s also the oven. You can read the individual reviews for more info, but basically they are much easier to clean/maintain.
Performance & Vapor Quality:
Pax 3 performs great for it’s size. The heat up time was around 15-20 seconds, but good vapor only started coming 30 seconds later. Towards the end of the session the vape usually gets a little warm, which is typical in smaller vapes.
The Pax 3 is known as one of the standard-setters of the vaping industry, and in some respects, it lives up to that reputation. The first couple of hits are usually amazing, and then the flavor and vapor quality slowly degrade. Towards the end of the session, the vapor becomes a little warm. Overall it produces good tasting vapor, but not as good as the vapes such as Mighty. But hey, Pax is a fifth the Mighty’s size.
3500mAh (up from 3000mAh in the Pax 2). In my tests, I got about 7-9 sessions on each battery, each session lasting around 10 minutes. This is a total of around 80-90 minutes of use which is very impressive considering the size of the Pax. The battery life is better than I expected.
PAX 3 maintains the brand tradition and offers a great value that can now be found for less than $200. The full-oven / half-oven feature is a cool characteristic we would love to see in more devices as well.
PAX 3 shares the same common issue as other small devices; the heat has nowhere to disperse, and at the end of sessions the unit and the mouthpiece get warm. There are a bunch of silicone sleeves on Amazon that help isolate your fingers as the device gets warm.
The raised mouthpiece is my favorite, because it is doing a better job isolating your mouth from the device, and the flat one felt a little awkward since you need to put your lips on the vape itself.
If size & portability aren’t big factors for you I would recommend going for larger units like the Arizer Air 2 (Review | Buy) or the Crafty+ / Mighty (Review | Buy). But if you are vaping out-of-the-house, in restaurants, concerts, or wherever outside, the PAX 3 is by far one of the best options out there.
Are we expected to see a PAX 4 soon?
PAX 4 is definitely due, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been released already. I wish we’d see it soon with improved features like wireless Qi charging, improved mouthpiece, obviously a longer-lasting battery and faster heat up time. Until then, PAX 3 is still one of our favorites, still staring in 2020 best-sellers and best portable vaporizers lists.
I've been using my Pax 3 for over a couple of years now and decided to come back and update the review. Do I still think it's a legend?
PAX 3 Review: Smarter, Faster, and Sleeker than Ever
The PAX 3 is every bit as good as the PAX 2, with a new look and improved functionality.
**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.**
The PAX 3, despite being on the market for several years, is still one of the safer portable vaporizer purchases you can make. It has been refined with a matte finish, improved functionality, and can vape concentrates if you opt for the Complete Kit. The Pax 3 has a fast heat up time, haptic feedback, smart oven technology, and a fantastic app for tweaking things further.
It’s intuitive, 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 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
- Better, Faster, Stronger
- Size Specs
- Complete Kit vs Device Only
- What’s in the box
- Vape concentrates!
- Great vapor quality
- Temperature settings
- Simple to use
- Smarts that save herb
- Awesome app
- Impressive battery life
- Isolated airpath
- 10 Year Warranty
- For best results
- Easy to clean
- PAX 3 vs PAX 2
- Who’s the PAX 3 for
- Who’s the PAX 3 not for
- Final thoughts
Better, faster, stronger
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 previous PAX vaporizers have become known for.
The PAX 3 is less than four inches tall, with an oven that can hold about one-third of a gram. 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, an aluminum shell with a matte finish, and four colors to choose from.
Complete kit VS Basic kit
Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all option, there are two PAX 3 bundles, the Basic Kit at $199 and the Complete Kit at $249. The Basic Kit includes the PAX 3, charger, cleaning kit, and both 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, and the half-pack oven lid, 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 us, the answer to both of these is yes, which is why we easily opted for the Complete Kit.
Related: PAX 3 Complete Kit vs Device Only
What’s in the box
A new addition for the PAX 3, the Complete Kit includes a concentrate insert that slots right into the oven. “Two-in-one” concentrate / dry herb vaporizers aren’t usually my favorite. I’m more of a “right tool for the job” kind of guy, so I was pleasantly surprised when testing some nice extract for this PAX 3 review. It worked quite well! If you mainly vaporize concentrates, 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.
Great vapor quality
The PAX 3 puts out some very dense vapor that is smooth and tasty. The production unit we tested for our PAX 3 review reached the highest of four temperature settings in around 30 seconds. You can fine tune the temperature settings in one-degree increments with the smartphone app.
The first two temperatures are tasty with light vapor, and the last two deliver thicker clouds with a bit more punch. We like high temperature vapor, and like to start our sessions on setting three, or 400° F. We usually finish sessions on the highest temperature, and love the flexible, hassle-free shut-off timer. We can settle into sessions at our own pace, instead of a predetermined five minutes.
All 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, for a smooth, cool draw.
Simple to use
We love the simple, intuitive controls of the PAX 3. A single, hidden button on 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. We really appreciate the departure from all the button clicks other manufacturers use.
The PAX symbol on the front has four LED lights that tell you everything, from battery level to current temperature, as well as 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 vibrates when it’s ready, so you know what’s up when you aren’t looking!
Smarts that save herb
This is the kind of stuff we like! Conduction vapes cook our herbs, even when we aren’t drawing on them (except the Magic Flight Launch Box). In response, the PAX 3 uses lip sensing technology and an accelerometer to tell the unit when you’re vaping and 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 with the stronger heater in the PAX 3, compared to the PAX 2.
The auto shut-off timer is done right. After three minutes without moving, the PAX 3 will shut itself off. There’s no set timer, so the PAX adjusts to your session length, instead of dictating your pace.
**On November 15th, 2019, Apple removed all vaporizing apps from its store, including this PAX 3 app. It might not be permanent, but we are planning on an extended absence. The PAX 3 works fine on its own, but can’t be customized with the app on an iPhone, unless it was downloaded before November 15th. Android users still have access to the app.**
PAX stepped up and built a smartphone app for more vaporizing options. By connecting your PAX 3 to your phone, you’ll unlock a wave of new features and customizations. You can change the temperature in one degree increments, play games on command, lock the device, and configure 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 over the length of the session. Stealth mode stays at lower temps, with quicker cooling, so your exhales aren’t as obvious. Flavor mode also stays at low temps, but only heats up when you are drawing, for maximum flavor. These profiles let you tune the experiences to your preferences. Personally, I like the flavor mode for slower, laid-back sessions.
Check out PAX’s new Web App!
**On November 15th, 2019, Apple removed all vaporizing apps from its store, including this PAX app. It might not be permanent, but we are planning on an extended absence. The PAX 3 works fine on its own, but can’t be customized with the app on an iPhone, unless it was downloaded before November 15th. Android users still have access to the app.
Impressive battery life
We got on average 90 minutes of vaping time from a full charge while testing for this PAX 3 review. With no set timer, and the oven turning on and off as necessary for efficiency, it’s hard to compare the PAX 3’s battery life with other vapes.
We like to relax when vaporizing, and some of our sessions can get up to ten minutes long, but we still got three evenings worth of use before the PAX 3 needed to be docked for a charge. It takes about 90 minutes to charge with the included USB dock. It’s hard to quantify with this vape, but we feel like it has some of the best battery life available. We’re never worried about running out of juice.
Isolated air path
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 the PAX 3, which likes a tight pack. We were a little bit surprised at how good it felt with a tightly packed oven. 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. It’s tough, and we don’t worry about tossing it in a bag, or in a pocket with keys or a phone. It’s great for on-the-go sessions, and outdoor activities.
It briefly featured a polished finish, but is now draped in a matte finish, which should better hide any minor dents or scratches that might accumulate.
10 year warranty
The PAX 3 has one of the best warranties in the vaporizer industry. Pax covers manufacturer defects for 10 years, and has a great track record of taking care of its customers. We also back this one under our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee . No worries here!
For best results
Even though this is one of the smartest portable vapes around, there are still some best practices when it comes to the PAX 3.
Grind your material as fine as possible, by flipping 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 which comes with the Half-Pack lid included.
- Use a short puff to start and use gentle draws from there.
- Draw a few times after turning the unit off to clear any remaining vapor and reduce the smell.
Related: PAX 3 Tips & Tricks
Easy to clean
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.
PAX 3 Vs. PAX 2
Other than the matte 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 is the biggest difference between the two vapes, in our opinion. The Pax 3 adds haptic feedback and the smartphone app. Looking at the PAX 3 Basic Kit and the PAX 2, the gap narrows, but so does the price difference.
With a new look and improved functionality, the PAX 3 vaporizer improves on the PAX 2's already impressive form factor and performance.