Vaporizing herbs can really be a drag. If you’re not dealing with a huge box at home, you’re often stuck with a bulky portable vaporizer that runs on batteries and looks like a walkie talkie from the 80s. Function clearly plays a part over design in the production of most modern vaporizers.
That’s where the Pax comes in.
The Pax is a portable vaporizer designed by Ploom and can be described just as advertised, “smart, beautiful, and magical.” The Pax itself is a sleek, rectangular box. A mouthpiece on top pops out and activates the device, while a chamber on the bottom contains your herbs. Everything you need is one, easy to use uni-body design. No flimsy glass or acrylic pieces to attach. It heats up dry herb (no oils!) to three pre-set temperature settings: low (Yellow – 370° F / 188° C), medium (Orange – 390° F / 193° C), and high (Red – 410° F / 210° C.).
Upon initially opening the box, the inspiration from Apple becomes very evident. The packaging is very minimalistic, containing only the Pax, a user guide, cleaning materials, and a charger with charging dock. The Pax comes pre-assembled and even pre-charged. Simply pack the bottom with herb, click the mouthpiece, and you’re ready to go!
From your first puff, you’re tongue is taken on a journey through flavour country. The pure taste of the herb comes through very clearly, even on a medium setting, without any significant taste of ‘factory plastic’. Light settings are preferable for smokers with more sensitive lungs (or looking for the most discreet/flavourful vapor tokes). Medium is perfect for most use, as it creates vapor and a small bit of smoke as well – combusting most of the herb. High is an excellent option for finishing off herb or ensuring a good burn. The temperature settings are changed by removing the mouthpiece, and clicking a small button on the inside of the Pax. This is a little annoying, but it’s rare you’re constantly switching between temperatures.
The internal battery boasts a life of 2-hours of continuous use after an hour of charging. The great battery life became very evident within the first week of use. I was able to use the Pax 3-4 days out of the week, once or twice a day, all on a single charge. As a more conservative user, you could expect possibly even double that battery life. The only problem with the battery, is that like most Apple products, once the Pax battery is dead it can’t be easily replaced. Pax is currently working on a battery exchange program, but the only way to currently get a new battery is to buy a completely new Pax.
And lets talk maintenance. It’s recommended by Ploom that you clean the Pax after every charge. The task is very simple…if you have the necessary components. When you initially buy the Pax, you receive a small cleaning kit comprised of 5 pipe cleaners and 2 sterilizing wipes. The wipes are used to wipe down the mouthpiece and herb chamber lid. The pipe cleaners are used to clean the interior of the Pax. And a q-tip with alcohol should be used to clean the herb chamber. Once the Pax is cleaned, it also should be lubricated. If not lubricated, the Pax may not recognize the mouthpiece, and won’t work at all. Lubrication for the Pax can be bought from your local headshop or online, and a small amount is applied to the metal portion of the mouthpiece.
Compared to the Magic Flight Launch Box, the Pax wins in nearly every department. The taste and quality of the hits are better, it’s much easier to use, the battery isn’t a hassle, and it’s incredibly more discreet. However, the MFLB does win in some regards. The warranty is unbeatable, and it’s cheaper. It depends on what kind of experience you want, and what kind of cash you’re willing to throw down.
Now for all the fantasy good times, there are a few cons for the device. It gets very hot near the herb chamber, so you have to hold it a bit higher to seek refuge from seared skin. And for as hot as it feels, there are a lot of times the Pax doesn’t actually vaporize anything. After smoking the same packed chamber for 10 minutes, I can no longer get any vapor or smoke. You can shuffle the herb around, restart the Pax on the highest temperature, and no matter what you do – the herb won’t vaporize any further. It happens randomly, even with a charged battery. It also tends to slip into standby mode fairly quickly, making time between tokes even longer. So as a conservationist, I almost feel like I’m wasting herb with the Pax.
TLDR: Looking for a sexy, stealthy, portable vaporizer? Look no further. If you love tasting the true flavour of your herbs, smoking in public discreetly, or AVB – this is your perfect vaporizer.
Here are some tips for new users:
- Grind your herb. The more finely ground the herb, the easier it is to get an even burn.
- Take small hits. If the mouthpiece is burning your lips, you’re sucking too hard! Smaller hits allow the Pax to stay hot, heating up your herb faster.
- You can check your battery life by shaking the Pax lightly. The light on the front will glow Green (full), Yellow (medium), or red (low).
- To avoid the standby state, you can activate party mode by moving the Pax in a circular motion in front of you (like stirring a bowl). See an example here.
- Only clean the Pax as recommended by Ploom. Make sure to apply lubricant after cleaning. An improper cleaning can lead to a malfunctioning device.
And here are some helpful sites: