By Janelle Lassalle
Many consumers report that vaporizing cannabis is one of the best ways to consume it. Since the act of vaporization doesn’t rely on combustion, the vapour you inhale is free of the harmful byproducts that can be produced during combustion. This is consistent with research that suggests that vaporizers reduce the risk of pulmonary symptoms. Patients also frequently report less respiratory irritation while vaporizing and find it to be a more accessible, discreet method of consumption overall. The act of vaporizing also preserves volatile compounds like terpenes, meaning you get the best flavour (and most therapeutic effect) for your buck.
One of the most popular and beloved vaporizers on the market is the PAX series. Manufactured by the Bay Area's PAX Labs (formerly Ploom), the PAX series of vaporizers first hit the market in 2012.
Two modern PAX vaporizers—the PAX 2 and PAX 3—are currently often thought of as the industry standard when it comes to vaping. This is due to PAX’s devotion to innovation, a philosophy that inspires the brand to continually provide the most user-friendly vaporizers available today.
So which PAX vaporizer is right for you? We’ve provided a detailed breakdown of the two most popular PAX models to help you weigh the pros and cons of each below.
At a glance
The first few differences you’ll spot between the two are cosmetic. The PAX 2 model is a dry herb vaporizer, meaning it’s intended only for the use of dried cannabis. The PAX 3, on the other hand, is designed for flower and concentrate use. As such each PAX’s parts vary slightly depending on its designated use case.
The PAX 2 model has a rough metallic finish and is available in two colours: Charcoal (Black) and Platinum (Silver) that comes with a USB charger. The oven component of the PAX 2 (where you put your dry herb) can hold up to 0.3 g of dried flower. Cost is $149.99 per unit.
The PAX 3 model, on the other hand, has a nice matte finish to it. There are more options available for finishes, with four different colours (matte black, matte rose gold, matte silver, matte teal) available. The dry herb chamber holds the same amount (0.3g). Both devices are the same size, with dimensions of 4”h X 1”w X 1”d. The PAX 3 model also comes with the nice benefit of being Bluetooth compatible at up to 10 feet. It’s available as a standalone model ($199.99) or as a kit that comes with additional accessories ($249.99). The kit includes items like a Concentrate Insert for concentrate use.
The PAX 2 has a simple one button interface, with a green LED light to indicate the device is ready for use. The flower design on the front also indicates how much battery is left in the device. When all four “petals” are lit, the device is fully charged. It also uses a 2600 mAH battery and has a 45 second heat up time. Charging time is listed as 120+ minutes and averages 6-8 sessions per charge.
As you can imagine the PAX 3 boasts improvements in all categories. The heat up time is touted as “best in class” at 20-22 seconds, less than half the time of the PAX 2, making it easier to get in a few more tokes on the go. Battery power is 3500 mAH, with a reduced 90 minute charge time that’s good for 8-10 sessions per charge. The PAX 3 can also be integrated with the PAX app for additional features and customization options.
Let’s face it: this is a no-brainer. While the PAX 2 comes with a two year warranty the PAX 3 comes with a whopping 10-year warranty.
The PAX 2 is limited to a one button interface and does not have additional functionality through connecting to the PAX app.
The PAX 3, on the other hand, utilizes haptic feedback (vibration notifications) to guide your vaping sessions. This means the device will shake or vibrate to alert the user that the device is fully heated up. PAX lists several vibration patterns you can expect on their FAQ page:
During normal use, you'll feel these vibration patterns:
- Long pulse - device turned on
- Short double pulse - device is ready to vape
- Short pulse - device is entering motion standby
- Click - device turned off
When using the app or game mode on the device you'll also feel:
- Long pulse - bluetooth connected, game mode entry
- Long double pulse - dynamic mode change”
Temperature range on the PAX 2 is 360 - 420 F, with four different temperature settings available. You can adjust the temperature setting by holding down the mouthpiece button for an extended press while the device is on. The LED petals will change colours from green to yellow, orange to red as the temperature increases. You can exit temperature mode by shaking the device or holding down the mouthpiece button for an extended press.
The PAX 3 enjoys 5 different temperature settings you can customize within the app. These include Standard, Stealth, Boost, Flavour and Efficiency. Each one is designed to produce a distinct effect/vaping experience. Stealth, for instance, cools the PAX as you use it, reducing any cannabis odour.
As mentioned previously the PAX 3 is Bluetooth LE compatible at up to 10 feet, allowing it to seamlessly connect to your smartphone.
The PAX 3 can also be used in conjunction with the PAX mobile app. You can customize temperature within the app and set it to one of the five dynamic temperature modes listed earlier. Other fun options include the ability to control vapour output and locking your PAX from within the app. You can also play select PAX games on the PAX 3 device itself.
The PAX 2’s chamber can hold up to 0.3g of dried flower. This can be a minor inconvenience for users who don’t always want to use this much flower per session.
In response the PAX 3 presents a neat solution to the problem by introducing a half pack oven lid. This led allows you to pack much smaller amounts of dried flower—as little as 0.15 g of herb for a session, helping maximize your flower’s efficiency.
The PAX 3 kit also comes with a concentrate insert for—you guessed it—concentrate use.
The PAX 2 model is available as a stand alone unit that comes with a USB charger. You can purchase complementary accessories separately. These include a flat or raised mouthpiece, screens and a maintenance kit (oven screens, pipe cleaner, brush).
The PAX 3 model is also available as a stand alone option, though for an additional $50 you can get the complete accessory kit with it. This kit includes the concentrate insert, half pack oven lid, a multi-tool and 3 screens.
The PAX 2 and PAX 3 are some of the most beloved vaporizer models available today. While the PAX 2 is intended for dry herb use the PAX 3 can be modified for concentrate use as well. The PAX 3 also boasts Bluetooth functionality and can be connected to the PAX app for additional customization options.