Pax Vaporizer Review

Pax from Ploom: is it love or just an infatuation?

At the risk of damning the Ploom Pax Vaporizer with praise, this is the hipster gadget of the year.
My eyes fell on her as she emerged from her box, and g-doy-oy-ying!

The world went into slow motion, cherubs circled overhead, celestial harps tinkled, my heart pumped out of my chest like a cartoon wolf sighting a cartoon lady wolf. “Oh Pax from Ploom, you’re…you’re…beautiful,” I stammered.

Vaporizer in the box: Portable Pax review

Immediately my wary inner skeptic kicked in: was this merely superficial beauty, anodized-skin deep only? Could I dare hope her internal specs would pan out as stunningly as her looks?

Is she a keeper, finally a portable vape I would be proud to take home to meet my parents? Or a high-class hookah; svelte and chic, who knows how to treat me right but will inevitably disappoint?

In short, like the guy sang: “Is it love, is it lust, is it something else?”

Pax is undoubtedly a looker.

Vaporizer mouthpiece of the Pax PloomOK, putting analogies to one side for the moment, in case you haven’t seen the Pax from Ploom yet, it’s a real looker whether in black, cobalt blue or amethyst purple.

This is important, if you hope the vaporizer industry is going to enter the mainstream (I know, there are complex arguments for and against this eventuality), and if you want to look cool in public rather than like a furtive, bottle-sucking weirdo.

Designed in San Francisco and built (like most modern wanna-have gizmos) in China, the device, its 95 grams wrapped in a vibrant, aluminium outer shell, combines genuine pocket portability with a satisfying heft. It just feels like quality; in fact, I guarantee you’ll find yourself caressing it in a most unseemly manner.

The power and the glory

Vaporizer adapter of the PaxIt’s built-in 2600 mAh lithium ion cell charges on a base station amazingly quickly. I found 90 minutes was about average (from completely flat). This powers a hot stream of air, which heats the herb sample by convection in a proprietary – and deuced fast – technique.

The Pax has three temperature settings, changeable by removing the mouthpiece and using the white button inside the chamber to cycle through them. A cute star-shaped LED indicator on its side shows what temperature the device is at:
Yellow, or low = 370° F (188° C)
Orange, or medium = 390° F (199° C)
Red, or high = 410° F (210° C)

Piece pops out, piece pops in, piece pops out… We-hee!

This mouthpiece is housed inside the case to leave a safe and discrete profile when not in use, and emerges when pressing down on it, while the action also turns the heating element on.

Pax's internal technology of this vape

Mmmm, elegant as well as sexy.
The weed is loaded into the device’s base, where a magnetized cover is easily prized off to reveal the chamber – or oven as Ploom call it.

Heads up, fumble fingers.

A quick word of warning about this ease of removal; don’t be a butter fingers like one of our VapeBusters who fumbled with her lid, it fell, bounced and fell into the canal. An Amsterdam problem? Sure, but the message remains: careful with your lid or be prepared to piss $20 up the wall for a new one.

Same goes for dropping it in a dark concert hall. Ping! Off it goes. There’s nothing stealthy about scrambling around on your knees looking for the lid (ahem, believe me). On a more positive note:  Pax survived the fall, unlike some vapes would’ve.

Star of the silver screen.

Besides the niftyness of the magnet (its losability notwithstanding), the perforated screen through which the hot air is delivered is another unique feature.

Ploom Pax's large filling chamber and magnetic lid of the vaporizer

The makers suggest you pack the oven tightly to get the best usage; a good full pack being around 0.3 grams. Personally, I found this impeded the draw and meant tipping out the herb to churn before re-packing. Fill the oven 1/3 or half full and shaking is enough to mix things up without the need to tip it all out.

Your mileage may vary.

As with many of the variables of any vape device, much depends on the quality of your weed (expect between 15 and 30 good draws from one full-ish oven), how finely ground it is, personal drawing style and preference.

But in general Pax works best with slow draws or micro-hits (the so called cigar technique). The hit is not massive, if that’s what you’re looking for, and the potency is only above average. Playing around with the temperature settings, packing tightness and so on can bump this up with experience. And the quality of vapor and the taste are both excellent.

Stealthy vaporizer; the Pax is small and easy to use

Stealthy, discrete and tactile. Sooo tactile.

As you’ll be suspecting, this is one stealthy MF. Stealthy to carry, fill and use.

In more relaxed company though, its very good looks will draw attention but not in a bad way.

In the couple of weeks I’ve been using one, two mates have bought one as well after just one look, fondle and try out of mine.

 

 

Bonus coolness

One other cool feature: put it down for more than 20 seconds and it will go into sleep mode to save energy, and heat up in seconds when you pick it up again.

A couple of fairly neutral-but-if-you-like-that-kind-of-thing, neat features: a hidden ‘party mode’ sets the LEDs blinking in sequence, activated by shaking the Pax in a circular motion. A different shake will tell you how much battery is left (if red, you might want to think about heading home).

Oh why do you always have to be so picky?

So stepping back a little, what are the drawbacks, if any? Can I trust myself to see objectively? With a little help from user forums, yes.
For a start, if I can return to my hot chick analogy, she is a bit high maintenance, bit needy of attention. If like me you take a certain fetishistic Zen-like pleasure from hot Q-tipping and pipe-cleanering action, this is not a problem. But you’ll certainly have to spend more time cleaning than say, a WISPR or your standard desktop clunker (sorry big vapes, don’t mean to disrespect you).

Cleaning & Maintenance

It is recommendable to clean Pax after each use with a dry Q-tip and a dry pipe cleaner (supplies enclosed with the device) while the unit is still hot to prevent a build up of sticky gunk.

Sticky gunk will always be the bane of all vapes, and sticky gunk and high design/micro electronics especially don’t mix well. Ploom have done a pretty good job of dealing with this basic fact of physics by supplying the proper cleaning tools with your Pax. So I suggest you better use them.

Some users have reported the mouthpiece sticking in or not clicking back into place once residues have built up. Ploom says they’ve fixed this problem. One simple habit to develop is to ‘work’ the mouthpiece, as in pop it in and out a few times while it’s still warm. And clean all metal contacts regularly.

The main thing to take into consideration when cleaning the Pax is cleaning not only the inside of the vapor path, but the outside of the stainless steel vapor path as well. That is where the residue gets built up from the decompressed mouthpiece.

But I’m starting to feel like the photo editor of a trashy celeb magazine, poring over HD pics of a glamorous star to find the pimple or stretch mark I can blow up. A bit dirty.

Easy on that ISO

Don’t soak the oven lid in ISO (using a small amount of ISO on Q-tip or wipe is okay). A  good tip for keeping the oven screen clean: bend an ‘L’ into a paperclip and use it to scrape clean carefully. I tried it and it works a treat. Just be careful when doing this.

A new vaping benchmark

Make no mistake, this beauty is a landmark consumer device. After its launch in August 2012 Pax picked up glowing reviews from the likes of Wired, Gizmodo and even Business Insider, suggesting it may be the Trojan Gadget that breaks out vapes into mainstream consumer awareness. It has certainly set a new benchmark in portable vaping.

Is $250 too much? Maybe, but it’s pretty relative again. Not if you love to vape on the move and you have $250. And as long as you buy from an authorized reseller you have a – wait for it – 10-year guarantee. 10 years!

A hell of a generous warranty. Too generous?

Well, the Pax warranty covers “defects in materials and workmanship under normal use.” Ploom reserves the right to repair the product defect, exchange for a product that is new or is at least a functionally equivalent, or refund the purchase price. The warranty does not apply to normal performance degradation of batteries or neglecting to adhere to cleaning instructions. Keeping your Pax clean is definitely a must to keep it performing well and trust me it is worth it.

Just get one, our reviewer blurts out

These are issues for the future and like I said, I feel grubby even raising them. By all accounts Vape World have exemplary customer service so really, why beat around the bush playing objective reviewer any longer: get one, alright? Just get one.

Again, like an attractive girlfriend, be prepared for the envious glances; don’t let her out of your sight. And try not to get too obsessive! It is at the end of the day just a vaping device. I do realize that, despite my drooling admiration.

Where to buy Pax vaporizer

To be eligible for the 10 year warranty you’ll have to get Pax from an authorized re-seller  The best price for Pax is $249 at http://www.vapeworld.com/pax-vaporizer-by-ploom

  • anonymous reader

    Just hoping this will soon be available in the Netherlands. I’ve inquired but they told me that I *could* get one and use an voltage adapter but that may affect the warranty. Please Ploom, go global, it will be worth it!

    • DeEpChUnK

      you dont need a voltage adapter. i live in germany and bought a pax from a autorized re-seller. had no issues with customs. the charging unit works 110v-240v. all you have to get is a adapter for euro plug sockets(costs 1.50€). it works great! you can even mix your herb with tobacco as it is unfortunately usual in most parts of europe.

    • SwissTech

      Hi there. I live in Switzerland but decided to order the Pax to give it a try. The thing is amazing (much more Vapor and easier draw than my Arizer Solo). The power unit is designed for international 110V-220V thus you don’t need a transformer. I can’t imagine a plug adapter voiding a warranty since it does not alter the current going into the unit. Cheers

  • undertheshade

    The Pax is a conduction vaporizer, not convection. And the screen is solid, not perforated. The vapors are channeled around the screen, not through it. …have you actually used the Pax?

  • jaip

    Will this gadget bring us world pax or should we simply pax it over?

    • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

      LOL :)

  • funkturd

    Pax is definitely the sexiest vaporizer available. I love mine, but I wanted to give some extra comments to this review since it seems a bit biased compared to the other reviews on this site.

    Some downsides that aren’t mentioned:
    - You cannot vape while charging the Pax
    - Your fingers must touch the mouthpiece to turn Pax on or off
    - The Pax must be on while cleaning it (kind of odd)
    - Replacement parts are very expensive (pack of 3 screens is $10)
    - Website claims 1 hour charge time. Mine takes 2 hours to charge.
    - Dock is cheaply constructed and seems very flimsy
    - Unit is very lightweight and feels like it could be broken easily

    Just wanted to share my observations. Overall I think the Pax is the best vaporizer in its price range (that’s why I bought one!) and you should get one.

    • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

      Thanks for taking the time and share your personal experience with us and our readers. I really appreciate it. I hear you with the replacement parts. I ‘m also not fond of them and the prices they sell for. If your battery is not functioning like it should I’d recommend getting in touch with customer service and asking a new one that does work like it is supposed to. Thanks again for your critique. I’ll be sure to incorporate them in the review.

  • laura Scrivener

    What battery life did it start out with?

  • http://twitter.com/cooljames cooljames

    Having purchased the device based partially on this review, I’d like to give my “first 30 days” review…

    Overall, this device does everything that a lower-priced vape does. It obviously has a ton of additional features, but the basic design of the product falls short of “it just works”.

    The good:

    - Variable heat settings
    - Motion-detector to save battery
    - Rechargeable, dock included

    The bad:

    - Defective by nature. Ploom advises routine maintenance with poorly-packaged food-grade lubricant to maintain the simplest mechanism (heating up)
    - Poor mouthpiece design. The mouthpiece is the switch. It’s plastic connected to metal. The switch breaks (see aforementioned lubricant maintenance) and the mouthpiece gets very hot.

    Overall, I suspect the design team started with all the mega-features and forgot to nail the basics. Sure it’s awesome, but it’s not decent. I regret my purchase.

    • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

      Thanks for sharing your opinion and review, we really appreciate it. Sorry to hear that Pax isn’t the vape for you. We hand these vaporizers out to people who have never used one and of course our own team uses them.
      Every vaporizer has its issues or downsides and among our testers there is also some difference concerning which vaporizer is the best. Pax needs proper maintenance, but it will serve you

    • http://www.vaporexperts.com/ Shane

      Maintenance is always important for durability.. maybe this is a cause for your issues?

  • Lami

    Very disappointed. I got my pax few days ago but sadly I was only impressed with the design. Everytime I fill up the oven I can get only one drag, absolutely nothing after that. I’ve changed temperature, I packed in different ways, I smoked slow drags and long ones and nothing comes out. I’ve cleaned, even though is brand new vapor, and last night i had it, I burned my lip inside where the heat was coming from, btw heat not smoke. For $250.00 I expected a lot more, I hope I can still return mine.

    • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

      Hi Lami,
      Sorry to hear that you have a Pax that is apparently not doing anything besides looking pretty. That is not the way it should be. You have to be able to get either a new one or return on your money.. Where did you purchase it if I may ask?

    • Guest

      Ditto.

    • SwissTech

      One drag??? I get 45 drags from a full 0.2g load.

      This is my process to achieve 45 drags.

      1) Let your material dry (dry material seems to vape better IMO)
      2) Grind your material as fine as possible (almost powdery)
      3) Fill the oven to the top (This is critical for efficiency)
      4) This give you 20 drags (15 yummy ones and 5 OK ones)
      5) Open up the oven and lightly swirl the material (I use my mailbox key)
      6) This gives you another 10 drags
      7) Repeat step 5
      8) This gives you another 10 drags
      9) Repeat step 5
      10) This gives you another 5 drags

      You now should have 45 drags from 0.2g of material thus much more efficient than any other delivery system (including actual rolled joints).

      For the first time you can do this in front of a lamp so you can see the full vapor thus providing mental feedback that you are being served appropriately!

      Cheers

      • http://twitter.com/MixedGirlNYC 100% MixedGirl

        @SwissTech:disqus I am in love with you for this! THANK YOU!

      • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

        Awesome comment!! Thanks so much :)

      • joho

        What the shit is a functional drag. This seems outrageous since the BEST you can get is about 5 or 6 drags out of one oven. I don’t know if it’s just me but I use premium product and am still fine tuning my pax. I’m sure you can throw all kinds of cap product into filling the ovens for a few hits but when your using premium stuff, you feel like it’s being a bit wasted. Don’t get me wrong…. I love the thing and would buy another, it’s new and I’m working on the best way to burn my stuff with it….that’s all anyone has to do the get what they want out of their PAX. In Canada our stuff is expensive, but its the best.

  • phuckballs

    How much smell does this leak?

    • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

      If you don’t clean it good enough it will start to smell due to the resin build up. This is true for any vaporizer but cleaning is important with Pax for optimal performance…

      But in our testing “the smell” is minimal or hardly noticeable while closed and in use. The extra benefit of Pax is that you push the mouthpiece in and it closes the air path so it stays in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.gonzalez.10 Craig Gonzalez

    Arizer SOLO the best

    • SwissTech

      I own both units. The Pax gives you much more Vapor and allows for double the load .25g vs .1g. I also like that the Pax is pocket portable. The only thing that is annoying is that the Pax needs more maintenance than my Solo but so far it hasn’t hindered me from using it. Cheers

  • SwissTech

    ……………………….How to reach cruising altitude with Pax………………………….

    Here is how I acquire 40 drags from a fully loaded (0.2 grams) Pax. If you follow this correctly Mary Jane will satisfy you like a snickers bar : )

    PREPARATION

    1) Let your material dry (dry material seems to vape better IMO)
    2) Grind your material into a finer consistency (no chunks)
    3) Set the Pax on medium setting (Orange LED)
    4) Fill the oven to the top (This is critical for conduction efficiency)

    GRATIFICATION

    5) Round 1 provides 20 drags (10 delicious drags + 10 functional drags)
    6) Open up the oven and lightly swirl the material (I use my mailbox key)
    7) Round 2 provides another 10 drags (3 delicious drags + 7 functional drags)
    8) Repeat step 6
    9) Round 3 provides another 5 drags (5 functional drags)
    10) Repeat step 6
    11) Round 4 provides another 5 drags (5 functional drags)

    By now you should have reached cruising altitude (and possibly the munchies!)

    Enjoy!

    • xhawk5

      I believe it to be utterly IMPOSSIBLE to get 40 drags from .2 gms of finely ground weed. Are you packing it tightly or leaving it loose. I can fit .35 gms into the oven, packed not too tight, but not loose at all either. Fills it to the top of the metal in the oven. On med heat I get 5-6 good vapes and then it’s done. Forget a second session, by now the contents are brown like unsmoked cigarette tobacco. Not dark-brown.
      After stirring and packing down the contents left-over for a second session…, nothing! Even when I go on high temp setting. frustrated, seeing some ppl claiming over 10 drags on a filled oven is just unattainable to me.
      Hmmm. Am I doing it wrong? I get very medicated with the 5-6 drags, but I was hoping to conserve, not run-through it like rolling J’s.
      ALTHOUGH… I will tell you, it’s the longest-lasting, smoothest elevation you can get. Smoking is now just a waste of good medicine.

      • Paxman

        I found that folding up a screen and placing it on top of your herb and then putting the cover back on gives you the best performance. This makes the screen fill any extra space between the herb and the metal cover. Also the screen will heat up giving you more heat surrounding the herb. This method plus the original posters technique should provide strong hits. I find that one oven pack lasts me a few hits before work, a few at lunch, and I usually finish it off at night with a few sessions while watching a movie. So .3 grams a day on a work day. On a saturday I might go through 3 bowls sharing with friends

  • Stuart G

    I have the Pax for a few weeks and I’m having lots of problems with the mouthpiece. So is my neighbor, who bought around the same time. At the moment, it’s completely stuck. Previously, I had problems with it sticking. I’m waiting for the company to let me know how to get the mouthpiece to work properly,

    • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

      Hi Stuart, Sorry to hear you are having problems. May I ask if you kept it clean after use and such? Pax needs proper cleaning. If something else is the issue I hope Ploom can resolve it quickly for you and your neighbor Please keep us updated on how it goes, ok?

    • tmama

      Did Ploom solve the problem with the mouthpiece? I bought mine 2 weeks ago, have kept it clean, but the mouthpiece keeps sticking. It was just everyone once in a while but it is now stuck in the on position. I just emailed Ploom but would like to hear your experience. Thanks.

    • toohottohandle

      If you bought it anywhere else Pax will claim it is counterfeit and will not honor the warranty. They count on people having to buy mouthpieces and screens.

  • Bridgette

    I’ve had my Pax for two weeks now, and like everyone else… It was love at first sight, so sleek, so inconspicuous, and you only need one hand, one action!
    But… It took me until just last night to really get to know how to use it to it utmost potential. As a single user, not passing it, I would put it down after the first draw session. It’s fast to shut off, and my blend wasn’t getting continuous, maximum heat, therefore, the blend was slower to release the vapor. Optimizing the vapor works best on a looser pack with continuous heat… so just do not set your Pax down. The Pax oven will stay on as long as it is in your hand, and it will then get nice and toasty! It is a matter of learning how to use it because at first I tried to resolve my problem with packing it tighter… more blend (which will need more heat) but I still was putting it down between draws DO NOT DO THIS UNTIL THE BLEND IS COMPLETELY SPENT. Otherwise, the unit never reaches it’s hottest potential. It never get’s too hot. Some might be alarmed at how warm it truly does get, but once you’re used to it, the maximum setting is tolerable by all means. It need’s to get hot to work. The smaller amounts of blend work better because it allows room in the oven for heat to really penetrate the center of the herb. Learn to excrete the most that you can with a lesser amount and you will find the Pax is not just totally fucking cool, but very cost effective!
    Less is more when the heat stays on.

  • Dom

    I’m loving my Pax so far, I m just not satisfied with the amount of hits I’m getting. I usually use it with 2-3 other people. When I pack it, I pack it to the brim with finely ground herb and we generally only get 1-2 good hits, if that. sometimes i barely feel like getting anything at all. And when i finally do get a hit i feel like it makes it taste burnt, or atleast a taste im not used too. (This is the first vape I’ve ever owned so I’m Pretty new to this.) I’ve gone over the steps a million times and i just cant figure out where im going wrong. ive messed around with the temperature settings and cleaned it out as well. Does anyone have any advice for me? Much appreciated :)

    • BestBudsBud

      You probably just have shitty weed, I get high off 1 hit on this 95% THC masterpiece.

  • http://www.vapeworld.com/volcano-vaporizer nateeey

    Pax vaporizer is still the best for me though.

  • April

    I am brand new to vapes and just got the Pax. I love everything about it except the taste. It’s awful. Is this typical and does it eventually go away?

    • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

      Hi April, What does it taste like? The taste of vape should be nice and mellow.

      • Turn Off Alarm

        I used it for the first time and it tasted like I was breaking in the plastic. Could barely even taste anything else. Heated plastic. Like I said, everything else worked fine but the taste was so bad! I’m assuming this is just what happens in the beginning when one starts using it, but I thought I’d check in with others to see what their experience was.

      • Turn Off Alarm

        I should add that it’s not totally burnt plastic. That’s partly it. But there is something funky in its taste that does not taste natural.

        • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

          If it isn’t burnt plastic then it should be good, though I would be careful and keep an eye on so to speak. Perhaps give it some more time.. Try and change the amount of herb you put in and stir the herbs also during sessions. Maybe try a different herb and see if there is a difference or ask someone who also has a vaporizer that you know to try it.

  • SimpleSmoke

    While I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with vaporizers, I have used a few and found the Pax to be hands down better than the others. I think what many people are having trouble with is easily solved. It is crucial to keep your vaporizer clean, and do what one of the guests said. It is important to fill the oven, use dry material, make sure all material is very small, with no chunks, and set it to medium. I find when I do all of these things, I can get much more out of a fill. While the screens are quite pricey, they appear to work better than others I have tried so it is worth it to me. Overall. I love the looks and functionality of the Pax and wouldn’t want to trade it for any other vaporizer! I am certain there are better ones somewhere in existence, but much of vaping is subjective anyway. Some people absolutely love the thing, some think it’s just ok, and others hate it. It sometimes just comes down to what is right for you, and that is why there are so many of them on the market. Unfortunately, finding the right one can be quite time consuming and costly, so hopefully you get the one you want quickly.

    I discovered that it does indeed take two hours to charge my Pax, but it’s really not a big deal. I mean, I can use it for about an hour straight if I want, so that is more than enough time. I think if you need to use it longer than an hour at a time, you might have a problem, lol. I can understand how it might become an issue if you are sharing though. The bottom line is, if you take good care of your Pax, it will usually do the same for you. If it is a technical issue that you are having, like a battery not holding a charge, then getting in touch with Ploom is probably the best course of action. I am quite certain they will bend over backwards to help their customers in any way they can without going broke. Best of luck to all of you!

    • http://www.vaporizerblog.com/ Janet Fox

      Thanks for the great tips!! Very much appreciated by us and all our visitors I’m sure..

  • karma

    Where can you get it in continental Europe? The only resellers I’ve found online ship out of the US, and not to where I live (Switzerland)

  • FIRKIN X

    sweet review

  • Anton Benidado

    I own most of the most popular vapes. The pax , by far, is the worst.

  • toohottohandle

    They do not honor the warranty, the screens cost a fortune, the mouthpiece has to be replaced regularly. Avoid this thing.

  • Jordan

    Don’t get anything from Ploom ever! They have the worst warranty policy every. They pretend like its great, but they have all these rules and regulations in order to even qualify, so it’s a bunch of BS. You’re device will die in 6 months and then they will give you some excuse to why they wont honor the warranty. Do yourself a favor and go with any other brand.

  • HawaiiCoffeeMan

    Kudos to the industrial design guys on the Pax. I love the visual simplicity and elegance of my new unit (I got the purple). Very well done. Ease of use scores 10.0