The PAX 3 is PAX Labs’ latest portable vaporizer and is sporting improvements in key areas that make the device all around better than the previous iteration, the PAX 2, which was already an awesome unit.
Because of these improvements, the PAX 3 is providing a better value than what was previously offered by the PAX 2.
If you’ve been interested in purchasing a PAX specifically for awhile now, I would recommend jumping on now as the PAX 3 delivers on what was great about the previous two versions, while improving in the areas that count for an ultra small discrete portable.
In this PAX 3 review, we’ll go into what exactly has been changed and give you guys a general idea of how it compares to the PAX 2.
As there’s a lot to cover with any vaporizer, we like to break down the reviews into a few different sections so we can focus and look at each part of this vaporizer separately.
So with that said, the following list is all the features and points we will cover in this PAX 3 review:
- Oven Capacity and Efficiency
- Oven Capacity and Efficiency with Full Pack Oven Lid
- Oven Capacity and Efficiency with Half Pack Oven Lid
- Oven Capacity and Efficiency with Concentrate Insert
- Vapor Path
- Vapor Quality
- Vapor Quality with Dry Herb
- Vapor Quality with Concentrates
- Temperature Control and Unit Operation
- Portability and Build Quality
- Battery Life and Charging
- Pros/Cons Breakdown
Now with all that out of the way, let’s see how the PAX 3 stacks up!
Oven Capacity and Efficiency of the PAX 3
This section covers two important questions: how much material can you load in an oven, and how long does it last? These are important questions which will be answered now!
The PAX 3 has 3 ways in which you can load the oven.
There’s the traditional full pack oven where you load the full oven (like the PAX 2,) then there’s the half pack oven where you load about half and the oven lid fills in the rest of the space, and finally we have the concentrate insert, which is a welcomed addition to the PAX 3.
An important thing to note is that there have been improvements with how the PAX 3 cools down in between long intermissions with no draws. The unit will dynamically ramp the temperature down when it hasn’t sensed lips on the mouthpiece in a while to conserve your flowers and concentrates in between draws.
Oven Capacity and Efficiency with Full Pack Oven Lid
The full pack oven lid is the best packing method for group use in my opinion. You’re able to load more material into the oven, and I found on average you get longer sessions with the full pack oven lid.
For starters, you want to naturally fill the oven entirely with this lid, which will put about .25-.3 of ground material in your PAX 3 oven.
I got the best results with the fine grind as opposed to a coarse grind. If you have a 4 piece grinder, I would recommend turning it upside down to grind your flower into a finer consistency.
By myself, I averaged a session time of about 20 minutes with about 30-60 second intermissions between hits. If you take longer and bigger draws or are vaping with other people, I found the session time came in around 15 minutes.
I can’t give a definite number of “hits” you will get per oven as that is dependent on the temperature you vape at, how you draw from the PAX, how you grind, and even the flower you put in it. But from my experience, I got satisfying results for about 20 minutes on average, after which I noticed the vapor thinning out considerably telling me most of the herb is spent.
I highly recommend stirring your oven once or twice during a session at least. I got the best results when I stirred the load. You can get away without stirring, but I found you won’t get consistent dense hits throughout the session.
I found it pretty easy to do with the PAX tool that they include in the box, which makes packing and stirring the oven very easy.
Oven Capacity and Efficiency with the Half Pack Oven Lid
I primarily vape solo, so I found the half pack oven lid to be my preferred method of using the PAX 3 with herb. This is good for one person, or two people who don’t have much of a tolerance.
For most people vaping in groups of more than one, I would recommend the full pack oven in most cases though.
I found I could get about .1-.15 of finely ground material to load the half pack oven.
With that oven, I found I get about 10-15 minutes of satisfying vapor.
While I didn’t find it necessary to stir with the half pack lid as much the standard full pack lid, it can yield you better vapor production halfway through a session if you do stir your load.
Something to note is that I did I find vapor production to not be as great throughout the session as opposed to the full pack oven lid, but that’s to be expected when you load less material. We’ll go into that more in the vapor quality section.
Oven Capacity and Efficiency with Concentrate Insert
The concentrate insert has been my most anticipated feature of the PAX 3, and it doesn’t disappoint. This has been my preferred method of using the PAX 3.
I typically like to vaporize concentrates on the go since they smell less and I need much less to get myself to the level I want to be at.
The concentrate insert will hold a small amount of concentrate; I found it best to load a dab about the size of a grain of rice. I don’t have an accurate scale to weigh that small an amount of concentrate, but I would guess it’s about .05 grams. Loading too much is unnecessary, and I found small amounts vaporized better with the PAX 3.
Now here’s the cool thing – you’ll get a little session out of a small amount of concentrate. Unlike herb, I did get a pretty average number of hits per dab. I typically get 5 satisfying vapor hits from a small dab, which is fantastic.
Personally, I wouldn’t buy the PAX 3 just for concentrates, but it is a great addition to the overall package especially for someone who only dabbles in concentrates occasionally. This is an easy way to vaporize a small amount of concentrate without overdosing yourself if you aren’t a regular concentrate user.
If you only vape flower, vaping concentrates will pack more considerable punch.
Vapor Path on the PAX 3
The vapor path of the PAX 3, for the most part, remains unchanged from the PAX 2.
Most of the vapor path in the PAX 3 is made of stainless steel, which is a safe and a suitable material for the vapor path.
The vapor path is also longer than other vaporizers that come in around this size. The PAX 3 has its oven at the bottom of the unit, which gives the vapor time to cool off before reaching your mouth.
Most of the budget options for small and discrete portables have the oven at the top of the device, giving the vapor no time to cool down.
The PAX 3 is leaps and bounds better in my opinion when compared to the other discrete conduction options on the market like the G Pen Elite or the Exxus Mini.
I also haven’t noticed the raised mouthpiece getting hot with the PAX 3, which was a notorious problem with the PAX 2, so that’s a nice improvement as well.
I found the raised mouthpiece with the old PAX 2 would get pretty hot with extended use and burn your lips. However, it seems PAX Labs has remedied this issue as the raised mouthpiece has now become my preferred mouthpiece.
The flat mouthpiece is still the standard, and I like that one too, but I feel the raised mouthpiece is easier to use especially when introducing the vape to new people. It’s hard to explain sometimes to people that you have to put your mouth on the edge of the vape.
The raised mouthpiece just seems to be more natural for people to use right off the bat from my experience, and the difference between the two mouthpieces is entirely subjective as to what you like more.
Vapor Quality With the PAX 3
This section covers the vapor quality of the PAX 3 as you can see, but what do we exactly mean by “vapor quality”?
Well, when we look at vapor quality we’re looking at 3 different factors that together give you an idea of how the vape actually performs:
For starters, we look at the vapor production, which is the amount of vapor the unit produces.
Then we look at the flavor, which is how well the vapor tastes over a session.
And finally, we look at the smoothness of the vapor, which is how easy the vapor goes down and if it’s prone to making you cough really bad or anything like that.
Now given that the PAX 3 does flowers and concentrates, we’ll be looking at the vapor quality of flowers and concentrates separately.
Vapor Quality with Dry Herb
I found the vapor quality to be excellent, even though the PAX 3 is a conduction vaporizer.
I personally prefer convection heating when possible, but I can see that being an issue with the PAX’s small and discrete form factor, so it’s understandable why this vape is conduction.
Vapor production with dry herb is fantastic, especially on temperature settings 3 and above.
Temperature settings 1 and 2 both produce a good amount of vapor, but not anything too crazy.
Overall, you get a good amount of vapor throughout the session, and I found the vapor production to be pretty consistent. I got the best results with a long and slow draw; drawing too fast and aggressive yielded little vapor production.
Also, using the full pack oven lid I found produced more vapor and better clouds.
The half pack oven lid still produces a good amount of vapor, but a full oven in the PAX 3 produces noticeably thicker and more potent vapor from my experience.
Flavorwise, this is the best conduction unit on the market in my opinion. The vapor doesn’t start tasting noticeably worse until at least half way through the session.
I found the best results for flavor are to start from the first temperature setting and work your way up the settings. Starting the session on say temperature 2-3 produced the roasted flavor that’s expected with conduction units much faster than slowly working your way up.
I found the vapor all around to be smooth, but I thought temperature 4 to be a little too uncomfortable for an extended amount of time with dry herb. The vapor at this heat level just got a little hot and scratchy on the throat for my enjoyment, so I tend to stick to the first 3 settings for dry herb.
Vapor Quality with Concentrates
The new concentrate insert is my favorite addition to the package. I primarily consume BHO, so I’ve put the PAX 3 through its paces with concentrates, and I’m happy to say I’ve been very satisfied.
First of all, vapor production is great when you use concentrates. However, I found when I load too much, it seems to perform less than stellar.
The PAX 3 slowly boils off the concentrate; it isn’t instant sublimation like you would get off a nail or red hot atomizer from a vape pen.
In general, I found the vapor production with concentrates to be on par or slightly greater than the PAX 3’s flower vapor production on the highest heat setting.
I’ve been enjoying the flavor produced by the PAX 3 a lot; this has been what I’ve been reaching for the most for concentrate vaporization on the on go since I’ve gotten this vape. The flavor is outstanding when compared to other means of vaporizing concentrates on the go.
Likewise, I find the concentrate vapor to be smooth given you put quality concentrates in it. I try to only vaporize dewaxed BHO, and I haven’t noticed any scratchiness or harshness produced from the unit itself.
The highest heat setting provides an excellent vapor experience for concentrates and doesn’t burn or combust the oil like other means of portable concentrate vaporization.
Temperature Control and Unit Operation
This is an area of the PAX 3 that has seen a lot of improvement. An increased heat up time, haptic feedback, and fully adjustable temperature control via the 100% optional smartphone app available for both iOS and Android.
We’ll leave the smartphone app for last, for now, let’s focus on the control that’s available on the PAX 3 itself.
For starters, powering up the PAX 3 is simple enough – just press the middle of the mouthpiece, and you’ll see the unit’s 4 front petals begin to glow white. The unit will also vibrate letting you know it’s changed its state of power from off to on.
The mouthpiece does a lot of things and serves as the only “button” on the unit or means of control on the unit itself.
From there, you can press and hold in the middle of the mouthpiece which will bring up the temperature control mode. To adjust the temperature, just press the middle of the mouthpiece without holding it to begin cycling through the 5 temperature settings.
The new 5th temperature setting is a custom one in which you can set from the smartphone app.
Once you’ve decided on your heat setting, you can press and hold the mouthpiece again, and the unit will begin heating up to your chosen temperature.
The temperature settings are as follows:
- Temperature 1 ~ 360F (1 Green Petal)
- Temperature 2 ~ 380F (2 Yellow Petals)
- Temperature 3 ~ 400F (3 Orange Petals)
- Temperature 4 ~ 420F (4 Red Petals)
- Temperature 5 ~ Custom (4 Blue Petals)
The haptic feedback is really cool and a welcomed addition over the PAX 2. It’s a little thing, but I love my vape notifying me when my oven’s fully heated up – not like you’re waiting long for it to heat up though, which brings me to my next point.
The PAX 3’s heat up time is much faster than the PAX 2 in my experience.
I did a little experiment to see how long the PAX 3 takes to heat up from cold to each desired heat setting. For reference and clarification, I allowed the PAX 3 to cool down in between heat ups, so each time is from an absolute cold start.
From my testing, the heat up time is as follows for each temperature setting.
Temperature 1: 15 seconds
Temperature 2: 17 seconds
Temperature 3: 18 seconds
Temperature 4: 20 seconds
Portability and Build Quality
From the portability and build quality standpoint, this is the same PAX that you know and love. Not much has changed on the exterior of the unit or build quality wise.
The most noticeable thing on the exterior is the new finish, which is definitely my favorite finish that I’ve seen on a PAX unit.
The high polished finish of the PAX 3 is gorgeous and very aesthetically pleasing.
The unit itself is solid and doesn’t rattle or anything when you shake the vape, which is good as I’ve seen other vapes around the same price with build quality issues such as rattling components.
The PAX 3 feels like a quality unit in the hand, and you can see why PAX Labs stands behind each PAX for 10 years.
What sets the PAX 3 apart from other portables I feel is its ease of use and portability. It’s a simple device to pick up and use, and it is very pocketable and easily concealable in the hand especially if you don’t have the largest hands in the world.
While you should mind yourself that the unit itself will smell a bit when heated, I find the unit is easy enough to hide in your hand if you’re just walking around, riding a bike, or anything like that.
Battery Life and Charging
This is another area of the PAX 3 that I am happy to see improvements were made.
The PAX 3 is sporting a slightly larger 3500mAh battery compared to the PAX 2’s 3000mAh battery. It hasn’t been a night and day difference, but the bigger battery does lend itself well to lasting a bit longer and also giving you a little more headroom when factoring in battery degradation in the long term, which is something that comes into play with any electronic device you use for years at a time.
I found I got anywhere from 5 to 8 sessions per battery depending on how you vape exactly.
The PAX 3 from my experience takes a little under 2 hours to fully recharge from a dead battery.
The PAX 3 charges via a magnetic charger, which I’m not a big fan of. If the magnet were stronger to where it would securely attach itself to the vape, I would be much happier. Or if we got some kind of dock like the Firefly 2 has, that would be preferable as well.
The magnetic charger gets the job done no doubt, but I feel it could’ve been executed better when the whole device itself is very well designed and thought out.
Replaceable batteries are always a welcomed addition in the future, but I don’t see this happening given its small form factor.
Accessories With the PAX 3
Compared to previous PAX releases, you are getting a much better value now when looking at the accessories that are now included for a slightly lower MSRP than what the PAX 2 was at launch.
Each PAX 3 includes the following in the box:
- Concentrate insert
- Half Pack Oven Lid
- Full Pack Oven Lid
- Flat Mouthpiece(Pre-installed)
- Raised Mouthpiece
- Maintenance Kit
- Pipe Cleaners
- Bristle Brush
- O-Rings(For concentrate insert)
- 3 Oven Screens
- PAX Multi-Tool/Keychain
- Charger and Micro USB cable
Overall I’m really happy with this area of the PAX 3; it’s good to see that you get more function and value with your unit.
The PAX 3 has a 10 year warranty that covers your unit from top to bottom, not counting cosmetic or accidental damage.
It is important to note that the warranty is only eligible if you purchase the PAX 3 through an authorized retailer.
To summarize this PAX 3 review, we’re going to list the standout pros and cons of the unit so we can bring everything together.
- Fast heat up time
- Long battery life
- Small and discrete design
- Improved optional functionality from smartphone app
- Backward compatibility with most, if not all PAX 2 accessories
- New concentrate addition
- Get’s noticeably warm in the hand with extended use
- Weak magnet charger
Where to Buy the PAX 3?
As we mentioned earlier, you absolutely must make sure you buy your PAX 3 from an authorized retailer, or else you may not get the full warranty. There are also Chinese companies who make knockoff PAX units, so you definitely don’t want to end up with one of those.
Before I got my hands on the PAX 3, I was really happy with my PAX 2. But the PAX 3 brings in some welcomed improvements that make the whole experience overall much better.
Would I recommend you toss your PAX 2 in the drawer and upgrade to a PAX 3 right this minute? Not necessarily. You still have a capable device that by the looks of it isn’t exactly being phased out anytime soon.
On the other hand, I think this would be a great purchase if you’ve been on the fence for awhile about buying a PAX unit, but couldn’t quite pull the trigger for one reason or the other.
You’re getting a lot more bang for your buck for the same price that the PAX 2 was previously launched at. More accessories, better heat up time, app functionality, haptic feedback, and increased battery life. Overall, a much better packaged than what was previously offered.
If you’re not aware, the PAX 2 also dropped in price recently to $149.99. If you don’t care about the new stuff and just want a reliable flower vape with a great warranty, the PAX 2 has you covered.
At the same time, you can get the PAX 3 which is an improved device with a better accessory suite and concentrate functionality for only $249.99.
And that about brings this PAX 3 review to a close; we hope this helped you guys out!
We’ve been working very hard recently to get you guys this review in a timely manner, and it’s always a pleasure to provide everyone who reads our content with quality and thoughtful feedback on every product we review.
Have any questions for us? Hit us up in the comments and we will be happy to help out!