The PAX 2 is what I would consider the best discrete portable vaporizer on the market. For such a small unit, it produces great tasting vapor and can produce a lot of potent vapor with the correct draw speed.
Arguably one of the most popular vaporizers next to the Volcano and Magic Flight Launch Box, it is immediately recognizable to most in the cannabis community in general.
The PAX 2 isn’t cheap though, and now we have the G Pen Elite which is coming in at around the same size and battery life, but overall less quality and at a cheaper price point. We’re going to break down and compare these two portable vaporizers and see how they stack up compared to each other.
The comparison will be broken down into the following sections:
- Ease of Use
- Temperature Control
- Vapor Quality and Efficiency
- Pocketability and Discreteness
- Battery Life and Charging
With all that said, let’s get into the PAX 2 vs G Pen Elite comparison!
Ease of Use
The ease of use section is going cover how simple it is overall to operate these two devices. Off the bat they are both relatively intuitive and simple designs, but they both do vary a bit.
The PAX 2’s overall design is really simple. After inspecting the unit for a few minutes even without looking at any documentation, you can kind of get an idea of how to operate this vape.
You rest your lips on your choice of two silicone mouthpieces: A flat one in which your lips rest on the edge of the unit, or a raised mouthpiece which is more like the original PAX.
Personally, I like the flat one as it felt the most natural when using the PAX 2. You can definitely tell the unit was designed around the flat mouthpiece primarily.
The mouthpiece is also how you power the unit on and off and how you adjust the temperature setting. We’ll expand upon the temperature settings later on in the temperature control section.
The PAX logo on the front will light up to different colors which will tell you if your unit is selecting a temperature, heating up, the unit’s current temperature, or that the oven is cooling down because you haven’t hit in a while.
You access the oven from the rear end of the unit. The PAX 2 utilizes a magnetic lid, which lets you easily access the oven to load it, stir it, and unload it.
Companies like New Vape offer a vented lid which increases airflow and can also allow you to load less material in the oven. It isn’t a necessity to have the aftermarket oven lid, but it is something to consider if you are not a fan of draw resistance in your vaporizers.
Controlling your draw speed is pretty crucial in my experience. Drawing too fast yields small unsatisfactory clouds from my testing. A slow to moderate draw speed is all you need to pull nice clouds off of the PAX 2.
The PAX 2 does require a little bit of maintenance. Primarily you just have to clean off the silicone mouthpieces and give the vapor path a good cleaning with a pipe cleaner and some isopropyl alcohol.
Having a dirty PAX 2 won’t absolutely destroy the experience, but the best times I’ve used the PAX 2 has been right after cleaning. A clean unit will offer less draw resistance and better flavor depending on how long you went without cleaning your unit.
G Pen Elite
The G Pen Elite, like the PAX 2, is also a pretty simple design. Unlike the PAX 2, the G Pen Elite has physical tactile buttons and a bright LCD display which will tell you your battery life and current temperature.
To power on the device, you simply tap the power button 5 times. From there the LCD screen will light up and display the ovens current temperature.
And then from there you can adjust and begin heating up the device. We will elaborate more on this later in the temperature control portion of the review.
The mouthpiece simply detaches after you pull and rock it back and forth to expose the oven. The mouthpiece itself is pretty comfortable but it does get pretty hot.
Like the PAX 2, I found keeping a slow to moderate draw speed gave me the best results.
The G Pen Elite doesn’t require much maintenance besides going over the unit with the included brush tool. The screen on the mouthpiece may need to be replaced eventually, but in the 2 months I have had mine it hasn’t been an issue.
Winner of the Ease of Use Category?
I would call it a tie for ease of use. They both are super simple designs, and they both don’t require a lot on the user’s part to operate the devices effectively.
While both of these devices are similar in size and ease of use, they do differ a fair bit in how they control and display their respective temperature settings.
The PAX 2 does not offer a fully adjustable temperature spectrum. Instead, the PAX 2 comes with 4 preset temperature settings.
Temperature 1 – 350°F
Temperature 2 – 380°F
Temperature 3 – 400°F
Temperature 4 – 420°F
These 4 presets do cover most of the general temperatures you’ll find most people go to, but I would still like to see fully adjustable temperature when possible.
It is super simple to adjust temperatures – simply press and hold the middle of the PAX 2’s mouthpiece, and from there the front LED will change.
Next, tap the middle of the mouthpiece without holding it down to begin cycling through the 4 preset temperature settings. When you get to your desired temperature, simply press and hold the middle of the mouthpiece again to begin heating up the device.
G Pen Elite
Unlike the PAX 2, the G Pen Elite does offer a fully adjustable temperature spectrum.
With a maximum temperature of 428°F, the G Pen Elite covers pretty much any temperature you would want to vape at while using a portable vaporizer.
The temperature can be adjusted by using the tactile buttons on the right side of the unit. The top button will raise the temperature and the bottom one will lower it, respectively.
When you have selected your temperature, you can hold the power button to begin heating up the unit. When the unit is heating up you can see the temperature quickly climb up on the beautiful LCD screen on the side.
Winner of the Temp Control Category?
Without a doubt, the winner is the G Pen Elite. It offers a full temperature spectrum and offers an LED display to let you know what temperature you are vaporizing at.
Vapor Quality and Efficiency
The vapor quality and efficiency section will break down how flavorful, smooth, and potent the vapor is. Also how efficiently each device uses your material.
The PAX 2 has pretty good vapor quality for being such a small conduction vaporizer. Unlike the G Pen Elite, the oven in the PAX 2 is on the bottom of the unit, away from the mouthpiece. This gives the vapor time to cool off before it gets to you, giving you smoother draws as compared to the G Pen Elite.
The PAX 2 is sporting an oven that holds roughly .3 of ground material.
A fine grind will help you achieve maximum vapor production if you are having bad results with the PAX 2. Fully loading the oven with finely ground flower will make the PAX 2 perform at optimal efficiency.
Likewise, a quick stir and packing down the material after you’re done stirring will prolong the session giving more material contact with the heater.
When the PAX 2 is packed correctly, it will produce pretty good clouds, and the flavor is good as well. What sets the PAX 2 apart from the G Pen Elite is the fact that the oven will automatically lower the temperature of the oven when you are not taking draws from it. This extends the life of your herb and helps conserve flavor.
Temperatures 1-3 are great, but I find temperature 4 very uncomfortable, and the mouthpiece gets very, very hot at this temperature.
As for efficiency, unless you have something like the New Vape pax pusher, I found the PAX 2 to severely underperform. The device is very inefficient unless you load a full oven of finely ground material.
G Pen Elite
The G Pen Elite, unlike the PAX 2, has a super short vapor path. Essentially you have the oven, and then the mouthpiece. There isn’t much time or space for the vapor to cool down before getting to you. This creates some pretty hot and harsh vapor at the higher temperature spectrum.
A fine grind like the PAX 2 is very beneficial to achieving maximum vapor production. It’s not 100% necessary to do so, but you do get better vapor production with a fine grind. Stirring the oven halfway through a session and repacking it down also helps tremendously in extending a session.
I found unlike the PAX 2, the G Pen Elite does in fact work with smaller amounts of material even though it has a fairly large oven that holds give or take .5 of ground material depending how fine or coarse you grind.
If you pack down the smaller amounts of herb, the unit has no issue vaporizing them. I’ve gotten away with packing about .2 with good success. I prefer to pack the unit full, but you can get away with less when using the G Pen Elite.
I found everything under 380°F to be really enjoyable vapor. Anything higher and I found it really harsh on the throat.
Winner of the Vapor Quality and Efficiency Category?
I would hand it to the PAX 2. While the PAX 2 out of the box doesn’t like small loads, it isn’t that big of a deal.
The vapor quality overall is a lot better with the PAX 2, and the fact that the oven will tone down the temperature when you are not hitting prolongs the flavor of your material as you carry on through your session.
Pocketability and Discreteness
The pocketability and discreteness category will cover how easy the unit is transport on the go, and how stealth it is for public use.
The PAX 2 is coming in at a super small form factor. Smaller than most vaporizers on the market, this design is very pocketable and manageable for anyone to bring along with their travels.
This vape will slip into any pocket or bag with no issues whatsoever.
The simple and sleek design helps in keeping this device inconspicuous. With the flat and flush mouthpiece at a distance with this unit palmed, I would be hard pressed to be able to identify what the person is holding or doing.
No matter how small or large your hand is, no one should have an issue concealing this unit in their palm.
G Pen Elite
Like the PAX 2, the G Pen Elite is also coming in with a really small design. About the same size as the PAX 2, this device is also very pocketable and easy to transport for anyone.
While the design isn’t as inconspicuous as the PAX 2, it definitely won’t stick out like a sore thumb when you are using it in public. The unit will look very obscure while being palmed in the hand, which like the PAX 2 everyone should have no issue getting their hands to conceal this unit enough.
Winner of the Pocketability/Discreteness Category?
I would say the units are tied in this category. Both units are very small, portable and discrete. In my opinion, they are 1 to 1 when it comes to how pocketable the designs are and how discrete they are for public use.
Battery Life and Charging
The Battery Life category goes over how long the battery lasts and the overall charging system.
The Pax 2 has outstanding battery life. I primarily use temperatures 1-2 and I find myself getting about 2 hours of battery life.
From a dead battery, I find the unit takes about 2 hours to fully recharge.
The PAX 2 uses a magnetic charger for its charging interface, and honestly I am not a fan. I prefer simple plug and charge solutions as I have found the magnetic charger to be unreliable.
The magnet isn’t the strongest and it wasn’t uncommon for me to come back to the vape and realize it wasn’t charging the past few hours. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, just a pet peeve of mine.
G Pen Elite
The G Pen Elite has given me around 1 hour or 1 and half hours depending what temperature you primarily vape at. Like the PAX 2, the unit takes about 2 hours to fully recharge.
This device also uses a Micro-USB to cable, and I much prefer this solution to the magnetic charger. When I plug in the charger I am always confident it is charging and I know when I come back to it that it will be fully charged.
Winner of the Battery Category?
While I like charger in the G Pen Elite more, I did get slightly better battery life off of my PAX 2. The magnetic charger aggravates me sometimes but it really isn’t a deal breaker when the device overall is executed so well.
This section will briefly go over the warranties and how long you are covered.
The PAX 2
The Pax 2 offers their standard 10 year warranty on defects and faulty units. They will stand behind their warranty so long as you purchase through authorized retailers, and I have never heard of anyone having a bad experience with their customer service.
G Pen Elite
The electronic components are covered under a 1 year warranty after you register your device. 1 year is pretty much the industry standard warranty, but obviously I like to see companies stand behind their products for a bit longer than 1 year.
Winner of the Warranty Category?
Hands down, the winner is the PAX 2. 10 years is an awesome warranty and I wish more companies would stand behind their products like this.
This is where the two units differ a bit and this is ultimately the reason why I would pick the G Pen Elite over the PAX 2 or vice versa.
The PAX 2 is currently retailing for $279.99, while the G Pen Elite is retailing for $169.95.
If money is no issue, I would definitely spring for the PAX 2. However, if you are on a budget and looking for a device with similar portability and discreteness as the PAX 2 but don’t mind sacrificing some vapor quality and other features, the G pen Elite is a great option.
Conclusion – Which Vape is Right for You, the PAX 2 or the G Pen Elite?
Ultimately, the PAX 2 is the superior vaporizer. However, that is not to say it blows the G Pen Elite completely out of the water. For being about $100 cheaper than the PAX 2, the G Pen Elite holds its own against it.
The G Pen Elite’s small discrete form factor, large oven, and battery life makes this vaporizer very competitive with its more expensive rival. With that said, the G Pen Elite’s vapor quality is what ultimately holds it back from being an all around good vaporizer like the PAX 2.
The PAX 2 offers great discrete public use, and home use as well. I typically wouldn’t recommend the G Pen Elite to someone who would be using their vape primarily at home as I find the vapor quality lacking compared to similarly priced vaporizers.
The G Pen Elite would excel with someone who is going to be using this vaporizer on the go while staying on a budget. If you are simply looking for a cheap option for vaping on the go in a discrete manner, the G Pen Elite has what you want.
If you are not looking for a vape for public discrete use, be sure to take a look at our 2016 Portable Vaporizer Buyer’s Guide and our 2016 Desktop Vaporizer Buyer’s Guide.
The PAX 2 and G Pen Elite are great stealth units for bringing out in public, but if you stumbled across this comparison looking for something primarily for use at home, take a look at those guides and see if there’s anything else that fits you better!