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PAX 3 Review: How Does It Hold Up 5 Years Later?

PAX 3 Vaporizer

9.4
Design 10.0
Build Quality 10.0
Vapor Quality 9.0
Flavor 9.5
Ease of Use 8.5
Battery Life 9.5

Pros

  • Minimalist, modern design
  • Lightweight
  • Heats up in 20 seconds
  • PAX App unlocks tons of modes & features
  • 90 minutes out of a single charge
  • Isolated vapor path
  • Delivers excellent flavor and vapor quality
  • Can be used with concentrates (concentrate insert sold separately)
  • "Lip & Motion Sensing" conserves battery life & material

Cons

  • Difficult to figure out controls without reading the manual
  • Uses a proprietary charger

The PAX 3 was first released in November of 2016. Since then, it has remained one of the most popular and most effective portable dry herb vapes around. In fact, it still gets recommended to this day.

What makes the PAX 3 so good? There are many reasons, but to name a few: it heats up quickly, delivers good vapor quality, and it’s very simple to use. The 3500mAh battery also provides long usage times and this makes the PAX 3 a great device to take with you on the go. 

While Apple removed all vaporizer apps from its store back in November 2019, there is a workaround for IOS users and Android users can still use the PAX smartphone app to unlock even more potential from this already capable vaporizer.

Here we are, almost a full 5 years after its release. So, is the PAX 3 still worth purchasing, or are you better off going with another device? I’ll answer that question and more in this up-to-date review.


PAX 3 Basic VS Complete Kit

When purchasing the PAX 3 you have two options. You can buy the basic kit, or you can purchase the complete kit which comes with a few goodies.

The basic kit is $199 and gets you a bit more than just the device — but only barely. You get the PAX 3 device, a charger, a maintenance kit, and two mouthpieces (one flat and one raised).

The complete kit is $249.99 and gets you approximately $100 worth of accessories so it’s a good value buy, but you’ll get the most out of it if you also use concentrates. The complete kit gets you the PAX 3 device, a concentrate insert, charger, maintenance kit, extra screens, two mouthpieces (one flat and one raised), a multi-tool, a half-pack oven lid, and a carry pouch.

Basic Kit

  • 1 x PAX 3
  • 1 x Charger
  • 1 x Maintenance Kit
  • 2 x Mouthpiece

Complete Kit

  • 1 x PAX 3
  • 1 x Concentrate Insert
  • 1 x Charger
  • 1 x Maintenance Kit
  • 3 x Screens
  • 2 x Mouthpiece
  • 1 x Multi-Tool
  • 1 x Half Pack Oven Lid
  • 1 x Carry Pouch

Specifications

  • Aluminum Construction
  • 98mm x 31mm x 22mm
  • Weight: 93 Grams
  • Dry Herb Vaporizer
  • Can Vape Concentrates (Oven Sold Separately)
  • Isolated, Plastic-Free Vapor Path
  • Heats Up In ~20 Seconds
  • Conduction Heating
  • Temperature Range: 360°F-420°F
  • Built-In 3500mAh Battery
  • Oven Size: 0.35g
  • 90 Minute Use Time
  • 90 Minute Charge Time

OverviewPAX 3 - 10

The PAX 3 is sleek and portable — and it’s one of the best and easiest to use portable vaporizers out there. The on-device controls are simple once you get to know them, but users with an Android smartphone can unlock even more functionality with the PAX app. Even though all vaporizer apps were removed from the IOS store in November of 2019, iPhone users can still control their PAX 3 by following these instructions on the PAX website.

The sturdy, lightweight, and attractive body make this one of the best looking devices out there and the performance is equally as impressive. The PAX 3 heats up in 20 seconds or less and features a temperature range of 360°F to 420°F. The 0.35g conduction oven holds enough herb to get you 15+ nice, dense draws and, although the vapor quality isn’t as good as a pure convection vaporizer, the isolated air path still means that you get very high quality pulls.


Look & FeelPAX 3 - 9

The PAX 3 is one of the best looking portable vaporizers out there. It has a modern and minimalist design that avoids looking plain, while still remaining sleek and discreet. The design is really spot on; it looks good, but it doesn’t scream “Look at me, I’m a weed vaporizer” to everyone around you and that’s exactly what I want from a portable dry herb vape. 

The body of the PAX 3 is made of aluminum and comes in a high-polish anodized finish. This finish both looks and feels good. As a bonus, this anodization process adds durability to the outer shell. There are 7 colors available: Amber, Burgundy, Matte Silver, Onyx, Sage, Sand, and Matte Black.

In the hand the PAX 3 feels great. The oval-shaped body is comfortable to hold and using it feels natural. The machining is spot on, with no imperfections in the body or the mouthpieces, and the entire device feels sturdy and well-built.

Size & Weight

I like the size and weight of the PAX 3 a lot. It’s 98mm tall, 31mm wide, and 22mm thick; not too big at all. It weighs in at 93 grams so while it’s not the lightest device around, it’s far from what I would call heavy. These dimensions and weight lead us into the next section…

Portability

Being as small and light as it is, it’s perfect for taking with you out of the house. You can throw it in your pocket and barely notice it’s there which is amazing considering the performance that you get out of it. You can even throw it in your backpack with all of your other stuff without needing to worry because the anodized aluminum body makes the PAX 3 ultra-durable.

Mouthpiece

Whether you purchase the Basic Kit or the Complete Kit you’ll get two mouthpieces: one flat and one raised. Although they both provide the same draw, I personally liked using the raised mouthpiece because it feels more natural. Try both and see which one you like better.

Heating ChamberPAX 3 - 8

The heating chamber on the PAX 3 is located at the bottom of the device. This means that it’s as far away from the oven as possible and that’s by design. This gives the vapor the greatest distance to travel, which allows it to effectively cool down by the time that it reaches your lips. The result is warm, smooth vapor that doesn’t burn your mouth or lips.

The PAX 3 uses a proprietary, non-ceramic tuned, thin film heater bonded to a laser-welded stainless steel oven. In simple English: it’s a stainless steel conduction oven. The oven is sealed by a magnetic cap. Pushing down on one end of the cap will pop it open. 

The PAX 3 has a 0.35g bowl size, or approximately one third of a gram, and that’s plenty for a good, lengthy session. You can get around 20 dense draws from a fully packed oven and that’s nothing to scoff at.


How to use the PAX 3PAX 3 - 5

The PAX 3 can be confusing at first, but after reading the manual you have one of those “Ohhhh” moments. Once you use it for the first time it becomes obvious and easy to use. Turning the device on is done with one quick press on the center of the mouthpiece. The PAX 3 will turn on and the logo will start breathing purple. After 20 seconds or less you’ll feel it vibrate and the light will turn to a breathing green. This means that it’s ready to go. 

The temperature is set by long-pressing on the button. From here, you can click the button to change your temperature. The PAX 3 has a temperature range of 360°F to 420°F and there are 4 pre-set temperature settings:

  • 1 Green Petal: 360° F (180° C)
  • 2 Yellow Petals: 380° F (193° C)
  • 3 Orange Petals: 400° F (204° C)
  • 4 Red Petals: 420° F (215° C)

Once you have selected your desired temperature you can either long press the button again, or shake the device to resume heating.

I liked starting off my sessions on the second temperature setting (380°F) and increasing it after 5-6 pulls to gradually extract more and more from my herb. I found this to be the best way to really get everything out of my bud. After a session like this you can expect your herbs to be evenly browned.

Unlike other vaporizers, the PAX 3 does not have a concrete shut off timer. Instead, it adjusts to your use. After being set down for 3 minutes without moving, the PAX 3 will shut down. This allows you to continue your sessions for as long as you like, without having the annoyance of it shutting down on you mid-session.

PAX 3 Concentrate Insert

The PAX 3 isn’t only for dry herbs. It can also be used for concentrates using the concentrate insert. This insert does not come included with the Basic Kit, but it does come with the Complete Kit. I will say that if you’re a concentrate user, the Complete Kit is worth picking it up.

The concentrate insert is a precision CNC machined aluminum oven that fits right in. Dual herb and concentrate devices are usually only good at one of the two (usually being the herb portion), but the PAX 3 is surprisingly good at both. While I don’t think that it’s as good as a dedicated concentrate device, it still delivers good enough performance that I didn’t mind using it regularly for my wax.

PAX 3 Lip & Motion SensingPAX 3 - 7

This is a very interesting feature and one that really sets the experience of using the PAX 3 apart from the competition, even 5 years later. 

The PAX 3 has something called “Lip & Motion Sensing”. What this does is automatically cool and boost the oven temperature according to if you’re drawing on it or not. While other vapes will keep the heater at whatever temperature you have it set at, the PAX 3 throttles the temperature when you’re holding it, and boosts the temperature nearly-instantly when you put your lips on the mouthpiece and draw.

This serves a dual purpose. For one, it preserves your battery life, allowing you to vape longer on a single charge. But perhaps more importantly, this cooling and boosting preserves your material when you’re not drawing from the device. 


App Control

Android users can still download the PAX app to unlock increased functionality out of the PAX 3.  IOS users can no longer download the app since Apple removed all vaporizer apps from their app store in November 2019, but this doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.

iPhone users can still control their PAX 3 by following these instructions on the PAX website. It’s a neat little work around that allows iPhone users to still get all that the PAX app has to offer.

The PAX app gives you increased control and customization over your PAX 3. You can set your temperature to the degree, add a fifth preset temperature, and more. It also unlocks 5 dynamic modes that you can pick from using the app:

Standard Mode: Default lip presence-based boosting and auto-cooling. Default motion-based standby. This is the default Dynamic Mode your device is set to out of the box. This mode balances consistent vapor production and flavor preservation.

Boost Mode: This mode has more aggressive boosting, less and slower auto-cooling, and a higher standby temperature. This mode is for users who want more vapor at their preferred temperature setting. This mode optimizes for maximum vapor production.

Efficiency Mode: This mode ramps up the oven temperature throughout your session. Default boosting and auto-cooling with lip presence. Default motion standby. This mode is for users who like to turn up their temp setting during their session to extract more from the oven as the session progresses. This mode optimizes for consistent vapor production throughout your session.

Stealth Mode: If you’re trying to be discreet, this is the mode to use. It helps you stay stealthy and save battery with fast auto-cooling, lower standby temperature, no boosting, and dimmed lights. This mode is for users who want maximum discretion and users who want the oven to cool as quickly as possible when they’re not drawing on the device. This mode optimizes for fast cooldown after draws.

Flavor Mode: This mode optimizes for flavor with fast auto-cooling and more boosting. This mode is for users who prioritize flavor throughout their session over vapor production. This mode optimizes for flavor preservation and on-demand vapor production.

The PAX app unlocks whole new potential from the PAX 3. It’s definitely worth downloading and using.


Vapor QualityPAX 3 - 6

When it comes to vapor quality, nothing affects it more than the vapor path. Thankfully, the PAX 3 has a plastic-free, fully isolated vapor path that does wonders for the flavor and vapor that you get from it.

The vapor path and oven are both constructed from surgical-grade, stainless steel and are sealed from the rest of the internal components. In other words, the oven and vapor path are completely isolated from the internals and from the rest of the device.

Now, when you combine this isolated vapor path with its “Lip & Motion Sensing” feature that cools and boosts the temperature according to your use, you get a device that delivers much better vapor quality than you would expect from a pure-conduction vaporizer. 

While the PAX 3 isn’t as good as a good pure convection device, it provides noticeably better flavor and vapor than other conduction vaporizers. 

Airflow

Whether you use the flat mouthpiece or the raised one, the draw doesn’t differ. What will affect your draw is how tightly you pack the oven. The PAX 3 provides a tight draw even with the oven nearly empty, and it gets slightly tighter with a full oven. I wouldn’t say that it is hard to pull, but it does take a little effort to get the vapor going. If you prefer a more airy and open draw, this might not be the device for you. 


Battery Life & ChargingPAX 3 - Charging

The battery life that you get from a single charge is impressive. The PAX 3 has a 3500 mAh built-in battery that I managed to get 8-10 sessions out of per charge. That works out to around 90 minutes of use! This type of usage time makes the PAX 3 the perfect on-the-go unit. You can take it out with you for a full day trip without having to worry if it will last you until you get home.

For the amount of use you get from a single charge, charging time is not bad. It takes around 90 minutes to charge the PAX 3 to full using the included proprietary charger. This charger attaches magnetically to the PAX 3. This is one of my least favorite features about the device and I think it would have been better off with micro-USB charging (considering this came out in 2016, before Type-C became popular). If you forget your charger, you’re pretty much stuck. Who is going to have one of these chargers just lying around? Nobody.


Cleaning & Maintenance

Don’t skimp on the cleaning. Cleaning your PAX 3 frequently is the best way to ensure that it will last you for years of vaping to come. As long as you clean the mouthpieces, oven, and vapor pathway, you won’t have any issues with clogging. The PAX 3 comes with a maintenance kit that includes pipe cleaners and a small brush. Get yourself some isopropyl alcohol and you’re set up for quick and easy cleaning.


How to get the most out of your PAX 3

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of using the PAX 3

    • Use finely ground herb. The PAX 3 works the best with finely ground material so spend a little extra time grinding to ensure that you get the best experience.
    • Pack the oven tightly. This is where the half pack oven comes in clutch if you don’t want to fully pack the oven (it’s included with the Complete Kit and does not come in the Basic Kit). Again, this will get you the best experience from the PAX 3.
    • Clean frequently. Clean out your oven, mouthpiece, and vapor pathway every 3-4 sessions if you use it often, or more frequently if you go for days between sessions.
  • Empty out the oven after each session. This is a good habit to get into and will make your oven easier to clean. If you dump your material after each session it will come out easier due to being hot. Just be careful not to burn yourself!

PAX 3 VS PAX 2

There are a few changes from the PAX 2 to the PAX 3, but nothing that is radically different. When it comes to the design, the finish is different but otherwise the two devices look identical. 

The real changes are in the specs. The PAX 3 has a larger battery at 3500mAh vs 2600mAh on the PAX 2 and gets you more than double the amount of sessions per charge. The PAX 3 also charges more quickly and heats up in almost half the time. 

One of the biggest advantages the PAX 3 has over the PAX 2 is app control. The PAX App completely changes how you can use the device and opens up many more modes and features that you don’t have on the PAX 2. One last change is that the PAX 3 has haptic feedback.


Is the PAX 3 good for beginners?

The PAX 3 is a great device for beginners once you learn the controls. All you have to do is read this review (specifically the ‘How to use the PAX 3’ section) to learn all you need to know about using the PAX 3. You can also read the manual that comes included in the box. Once you get the hang of it, the PAX 3 is a breeze to work and vape with and it makes a great beginners device.


Is the PAX 3 Worth It?

In my opinion, the PAX 3 is worth picking up — even if you already have the PAX 2. The upgrades to the specs and battery make it leaps and bounds better already. Add App Control on to that and you have a device that is truly worth upgrading for.

At $199 for the Basic Kit and $249 for the Complete Kit, the value is there. If you want the option of packing half ovens or using concentrates then I highly recommend picking up the Complete Kit. It’s only $50 more and gets you the half-pack oven, the concentrate insert, as well as some really useful accessories.

Regardless of which kit you choose, the PAX 3 is a great vaporizer for the money. While there are cheaper vaporizers out there, none of the cheaper options are nearly as well-thought out , as well designed, or provide as incredible heating performance, even 5 years after the PAX 3’s release.

Even going against newer devices in 2021, the PAX 3 still holds its own. It’s not as good as a pure convection vaporizer, but its on-demand conduction heating comes darn close.

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Robert B.

For both health and financial reasons, I knew I had to quit smoking cigarettes. At a certain point I felt as if I had tried everything and it was too difficult to quit cold-turkey. That's when I found vaping and I've been off the stinkies ever since! I love testing and reviewing the latest vaping gadgets, marathoning television series and playing with my awesome dog Lupa.

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