PAX 3 Review: Your New Favorite Portable Vaporizer

PAX Labs has once again changed the game with the PAX 3 vaporizer—fixing several of the problems that plagued the original two devices, and refining the design even more. Overall, this is great vapor quality for a conduction vaporizer, and you’ll get really nice clouds without pulling endlessly on your PAX 3. Tasty, comfortable, smooth hits, good performance, high build quality—it’s all here.

So many of us here at VV are vapers because we just don’t want to be smokers, and this is a bigger trend than us. As people look for healthier ways to consume cannabis, vaporizers like PAX 3 are gaining in popularity.

This is the third generation dry herb vaporizer from PAX Vapor. The PAX has always been among the sleekest, smallest, and highest-performing portable vapes on the market. Does the PAX 3 keep up this record?

We think it does.

The PAX 3 is very similar to V2, and in terms of shape and size, it’s identical. It’s still convenient to carry with you, easy to use, a pretty stainless steel design, and especially for a conduction vaporizer, the PAX 3 produces lots of vapor from short pulls—very consistent.

But now, the PAX 3 vaporizer heats in 30 seconds or less (usually about 15 seconds), features a bigger battery, offers four pre-set temperatures, and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth with an app. It also lets you vape both dry herb and liquids/concentrates, for a fantastic, portable 2-in-1 option.

PAX 3 Vaporizer Kit

The PAX 3 Kit is one of the most reliable portable vaporizers on the market. It works with both loose leaf and extracts making it an all-in-one vaporizer for anyone to enjoy. The full kit includes a concentrate insert, charger, maintenance kit, 3 screens, an extra mouthpiece, and more.

PAX 3 Vaporizer Kit

About PAX Labs

PAX Labs has been changing the vaping industry for well over a decade now. They changed the cannabis scene back in 2007 with the release of the original PAX vape, reflecting the expanding notions of what people wanted and expected from cannabis gear.

PAX 3: Features

You have two main choices when buying the PAX 3: the device by itself for $200 or the complete kit for $250. We got the complete PAX 3 kit with the teal device.

The kit includes many awesome features, including the concentrate insert and the half-pack oven lid. The concentrate insert is essential for anyone who wants to vape anything other than dry herb, so to us that’s a must right out of the gate. The half-pack lid allows you to pack the oven tightly with only half as much cannabis for solo vaping and reduced draw resistance.

Features:

  • 2-in-1, compatible with both dry herb and concentrates (dabs, resin, hash, wax, vape oil, shatter, budder, badder, etc., it even comes with a multi-tool for sticky stuff)
  • Fast 15 second heating time
  • No need for buttons, uses mouth recognition
  • Haptic feedback signals you with a vibration when it is ready
  • Bluetooth connectivity/smartphone app
  • Half-oven chamber means less waste, same quality

We like a lot of these features, but let’s cover them one by one. The improved smartphone app allows you to customize your device with battery optimization, pre-set temperature controls, and more at the touch of a finger. The app allows you to place the device into the mode that works for you:

Standard mode is the most balanced, and is ideal for new users or those trying to get used to the device; it raises the temperature of the oven by 5 degrees Celsius as you inhale to help maintain temperature and then drops down again until the next inhale.

Boost mode allows for an increase in vapor production by increasing the temperature of the vaporizer faster and then cooling it down more slowly. This is an ideal setting for those who want thicker clouds or who just want to get in a quick session.

Flavor mode both heats and cools quickly in order to maximize flavor, so this mode is ideal for delicious strains. The idea here is that even if you forget to draw continuously, this mode preserves flavor between draws more effectively due to the rapid cool down.

Stealth mode reduces visibility and your chances of detection by lowering the device’s LED lights and speeding up the cool-down time, helping minimize odor, so this mode is ideal for anyone hoping to remain discreet.

Efficiency mode is perfect for stretching battery life for the day, and it works by increasing oven temperature by 1 degree automatically using the Standard Mode heating algorithms over the course of your session.

How it works

Using the PAX 3 is pretty much the same as using the PAX 2—a real relief if you’re sick of learning this stuff. If you have never used either and this is your first vape pen, it’s still very intuitive.

Start by exposing the heating chamber at the bottom of the device by removing the magnet cap. Then fill the chamber with your dry herb of choice. Snap the bottom back onto the device and power it on by pressing the mouthpiece on top in the middle.

Choose your temperature by pressing and holding the power button to enter the temperature “menu.” Cycle through the five temperature settings by short pressing on the power button—the four PAX 3 logo petals turn colors that correspond with the heat settings. The first four settings are the same as the ones from the PAX 2, but the fifth is a custom temperature you set using the app.

Once you choose your temperature, press and hold the power button again to exit the temperature menu. This prompts the device to start heating to your set temperature automatically. The PAX 3 heat up time has been improved and it only takes about 15 seconds now. As you’re heating up the petals are purple, and once it’s ready, the petals turn a nice green and the device will vibrate.

Quickly shake the unit to check your battery levels, and the logo’s petals light up to show you how much power is left. One petal is 25 percent, two petals means you’ve still got half power, et cetera.

If you don’t like the flat, open-slit mouthpiece that the PAX 3 unit comes with, there is also a raised mouthpiece you can try. It’s a great option if you feel like the mouthpiece gets hot as it’s slightly cooler and improves air flow, although the standard low profile, flat mouthpiece is more discreet.

Use the separate concentrate container only if you want to vape anything other than dry herb. It does stick to the oven, so be ready, and do NOT overfill this thing or you’ll regret that mess.

Flexible temperature

Like the PAX 2, the PAX 3 comes with four pre-set temperatures: 182 C, 193 C, 204 C, and 215 C. However there is also a fifth temperature setting now allows the user to customize a setting using the app to any temperature between 182 and 215 degrees C. We loved this custom setting a lot—but we also would love a few higher temperatures, say up to 230 C.

Vapor quality

PAX 3 vapor quality is about on par with what you get from the PAX 2, which is to say this device delivers excellent results for a conduction style vaporizer. Use dry your herbs for the best results, and experiment with the heating modes to get better outcomes.

The down side is that the PAX 3 does still use conduction heating, which, to us, cannot truly compete with convection devices when it comes to flavor. That said, the flavor profile, which helps maintain the flavor of your herbs by increasing cooling between draws, does help this issue. In fact, careful attention to the PAX 3 heating modes is definitely what gives you the better, more satisfying sessions and denser vapor.

The PAX 3 is pretty unique in terms of how much control it offers over heating. Some units allow you to customize temperature profiles, but they don’t let you change how the device actually heats or cools your cannabis, except with PAX 3.

Build quality

If you’re familiar with PAX 2 you’ll recognize PAX 3 right away—especially since they undid the unfortunate change to glossy chrome finish that the first round of PAX 3s came with. Now it’s back to matte and bye-bye fingerprints for days.

PAX 3 still feels solid and heavy in hand and looks like a cross between a smart device and something you would find in a purse someone paid too much for or in a makeup store you should really avoid. But don’t let that put you off; it’s like everything else, following the trend of Apple and MAC cosmetics in bright, high-key store environments. People like it, if it’s a good product, and this is.

The PAX 3 concentrate oven: it’s not its best feature. Yes, it works, but if you vape concentrates all day long, this is probably not going to be your best portable vaporizer device for wax, or whatever.

The PAX 3’s oven does not get as hot as you’d want to vaporize all of the concentrates you might want, and cleaning it is no fun—even if you don’t overload it. Still, if you love your flower and want a 2-in-1 option, the concentrate oven does work and gives you that functionality.

The build itself is quality, with a durable, strong anodized aluminum body and a nice range of brushed finishes. It’s certainly portable, and we loved carrying it around. It took a few knocks by accident, too, and still came out looking beautiful and working just as well.

Oh—and there’s a 10 year warranty, too, so you can feel secure about making the purchase.

Style

Pax 3

Are you the person who still buys an iPhone? You will probably love the PAX 3.

The PAX 3 is sleek and stylish—we chose the teal color just to be difficult, trendy, and girly all at once. It’s a gorgeous matte finish and it instantly stands out on our shelf, which was really what we were after.

The original PAX 3 vape was, in our opinion, flawed by its highly glossy finish that was basically a fingerprint and scratch magnet. PAX Labs listened to the people and brought back the matte options, plus the magnetic fittings that are so easy to handle. It really is user-friendly and intuitive, and this is just the kind of device that’s dragging cannabis culture into the now.

I mean if you’re going to shell out the money, you want an awesome daily driver device you’re proud to use. The PAX 3 is definitely that, for casual vapers and serious aficionados alike.

Cleaning

PAX vaporizers have always been fairly easy to clean, and PAX 3 is no exception. The concentrate oven is, of course, more difficult—but that’s expected. Remember to keep the unit clean to avoid ramping up the draw resistance and causing the performance to decline.

Around 8 to 10 bowls of dry herb, the draw resistance kicks up and the screen begins to clog. That’s typically when a cleaning is in order. Using the concentrate insert will mean more frequent cleaning of both the underside of the lid and the vapor path.

Sometimes you will need a full cleaning. Use the pipe cleaners supplied and some isopropyl alcohol to clean out the oven, wipe out the vapor path, and wipe down the mouthpiece. Even that full cleaning only really takes about five minutes.

Battery life

One great feature of the PAX 3 is that even though it’s the same size, the battery capacity is greater. The PAX 2 contained a non-removable, 3000mah 18650, while the PAX 3 brings that to 3500mah. This means at least an extra session or few—an hour or two—which is very nice.

The complete charging time of the PAX 3 is also quick, with a full charge from depletion in about 100 minutes. It comes with a micro USB cable, so there’s no need for a full charging dock or anything else that’s proprietary or a PITA.

Portability

The PAX 3 is among the most portable vaporizers on the market. It is not too much larger than a stick of lipstick, only 3.87” tall and 1.2” wide. It fits simply into a pocket or purse and it’s easy to forget it’s there. In fact: don’t sit on it.

The PAX 3 is even more portable thanks to increased battery capacity that frees you from worrying about bring a charger or charging your device midday.

Ease of use

The PAX 3 is really straightforward and easy to use, especially if you’re not using it with the app. If you already know how to use the PAX 2, you won’t even notice the difference, except that it works better.

It’s a little more work getting used to the Bluetooth app and what the settings and modes actually do. If you’re not that person who uses your phone with a device, the PAX 2 might be better for you—unless you’re really into the concentrate option.

One down side in using the PAX 3 is pretty much consistent across all the PAX devices: cleaning is a bit of a bummer, especially if you fall behind. Since they were upping the ante with the app, it would have been nice if they had changed the heating chamber screen setup to promote easier cleaning.

Discretion

PAX 3 is a perfect size, really, and it is very discreet. It can easily be concealed in a purse, pocket, or even your hand. It is pretty enough to be—well, something else. And the PAX 3 stealth mode allows you to keep things on the QT by minimize the smell and dimming the logo light. This is a nice counterpoint to the cloud chasing settings we all know and love—I mean we can’t always let our freaky vape flag fly.

Overall experience

The PAX 3 is a meaningful upgrade over the PAX 2, especially for those who love concentrates and smartphones. It offers more features with the same sexy chassis, and we really loved changing the heating modes with the app. We did love the custom temperature, but were a little disappointed by the pre-set range.

The PAX 3 actually vapes or heats the weed in a truly outstanding way, producing a nice clean vapor and retaining lots of flavor. Especially if you’re like some of us and too lazy to endlessly roll joints, you’ll love using flower in the PAX 3.

Sold as a premium vaporizer, the PAX 3 basically lives up to most of that hype. We got lots of consistent, clean vapor and flavor and we did feel the multiple heat settings helped us get more bang from our bag.

Now, if you’re a serious cloud chaser and mighty clouds of vapor are all you care about, you may be disappointed with the PAX 3. Any one hit doesn’t typically deliver a huge amount of vapor. But on the other hand, the PAX 3 was reliable, and each pull was solid.

We also loved being able to port PAX 3 anywhere, pull it out of a purse or pocket, wait just about 15 seconds, and then blast off. With the auto shutoff there was nothing to worry about—just pure enjoyment. The PAX 3 concentrate experience was less consistent, but it was still a good, dual-use portable vaporizer option.

Pax 3 vaporizer review: Final thoughts

Overall, the PAX 3 is a very high-quality, stylish, easy-to-use, discreet, high-performance vape for either dry herb or concentrates. Its functions and app are intuitive and deliver consistent flavor and hits. This is not that huge hitting desktop monster, but as a daily driver you’ll get reliable performance from the PAX 3 that is hard to beat.

The durability and quality of the PAX 3 to us makes it worth the investment, as long as you do use both dry flower and concentrates. If you find it getting too hot, try the higher profile mouthpiece.

While some people say that the PAX 3 allows you to vape in a totally “odorless” way, this isn’t right. It does produce a smell—all cannabis does—although it’s far less on the low settings.

True flavor junkies that demand only ceramic ovens or convection vapes won’t be a fan—but for most users, this isn’t as much of a thing. PAX 3 should be great for anyone, especially casual vapers, who wants something cool and portable in a stylish, compact device.

We hope you got what you needed from our PAX 3 review! Let us know what you think of PAX 3 in the comments.

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