Pax by Ploom Review: A

Some would say that the Pax is to vaporizers as the iPhone is to cell phones. The design is very clever and the ease-of-use is phenomenal. Long story short, this is a great vape.

What's in the box?

The box includes the vaporizer, cleaning kit, manual, and charger.

How to use the Pax?

Load the Pax by removing the magnetic oven lid and packing the heating chamber with grinded herb. Replace the oven-lid and click up to extend the mouthpiece to turn on the vape.

The warm-up time is about 30 seconds, which IMO is really quick. The LED will glow purple to tell you it is heating up. You know the temperature is good to go when the LED changes from purple to green.

Pax heating chamber

One thing to notice about the heat signature is that the design of the heating element creates hotspots. As you can see, the middle of the chamber is 315F while the hot-spot is 414F (I set the temperature setting to high). That's a 100F temperature difference over a distance of a few centimeters! The FLIR thermal image above was taken with the oven lid off, however. I imagine the temperature variation is not as drastic when the lid is on.

Pax oven

Nevertheless, I would like to see Pax create a more evenly heated chamber in future versions. One bad thing about the Pax is that you should stir your herbs once in awhile, otherwise it doesn't burn perfectly evenly.

Pax uneven temperatures

Battery life is very good

Shake the Pax while it is on, and it will flash green to tell you battery life is good---red if it is running low. I took it with me on a weekend trip and never had to worry about running out of power. Although I do have a complaint about the clunky charger. The charger is designed so that you need to have it on a hard surface so that you can set the Pax upside down onto the charger... Why not just use a micro-USB port?

Pax charger

Also, I don't like having to set the Pax upside down on its mouthpiece to charge, because that causes sticky gunk to ooze into the vapor path.

3 temperature settings: low, medium, high

There are 3 temperature settings which can be adjusted by removing the mouthpiece and pressing the button inside. The LED on the Pax will change colors to acknowledge the temperature setting changes. The instruction manual does not state the exact temperatures, but using a FLIR camera, I observed the following numbers.

Low setting: ~353F
Medium setting: ~394F
High setting: ~414F

Pax low temperature setting

Pax medium temperature setting

Pax high temperature setting

Safety & power saving feature

One thing you will notice is that if you leave the vape idle on the table, the LED will turn blue. This means that it is going into standby mode (I guess it has a motion sensor). I like this feature because it saves battery and herb. There have also been times when I fell asleep with the Pax on my couch, so I am very grateful for this safety feature.

Usage tips

  • Use a grinder! And grind until your herb is very fine, like grains of salt.
  • Stir your herbs once in a while, to promote an even burn.
  • If you are having trouble getting a good pull, wiggle the oven lid around. Wiggling the lid so that it is tilted will increase airflow.
  • There is some noticeable draw resistance, like drinking a milkshake. However, I was able to get big vapor clouds with long, slow puffs.

Cleaning kit included

Cleaning the Pax is fairly easy. Remove the mouthpiece and oven lid, and wipe the included pipe-cleaner with the included rubbing alcohol patch and run it through the vapor patch a few times. The mouthpiece can get sticky after many uses, so cleaning with soap and water and air-drying is recommended. Apply the included mouthpiece lubricant before reassembling.

Pros

  • One of the best (if not THE best) portable vapes as of March 2014.
  • Very quick ~30 second warmup time.
  • 3 temperatures that are consistent and reliable.
  • The small size, easy to use design, and fast heating time make it easy to sneak quick hits.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Safety feature automatically turns off if it is not being used. (It has some kind of motion sensor).
  • I never experienced charring or combustion of the herb. Pax is idiot-proof!
  • Limited 10-year warranty.

Cons

  • Herb doesn't burn unless if you stir it between sessions.
  • This is one of the most expensive portable vaporizers right now.
  • There is slight draw resistance. When taking a puff, it feels like you are drinking a milkshake.
  • Their proprietary charger is clunky, cheap, and annoying. Why don't they just use a micro-USB charger?
  • Would prefer that the design of the heating element in future versions creates a more uniform heating chamber.
  • Magnetic oven-lid is easy to lose and costly to replace.
  • You need to pack your herbs finely and densely to get good results.
  • Pax uses primarily conduction heating, which theoretically wastes herb because your herbs are being cooked even when you are not puffing.

Overall Rating: A

Conclusion: I like the Pax because it is pocket-sized, idiot-proof, light-weight, and fast. It does not require special puffing techniques to get a good vape cloud and I never experienced charring or combustion. The Emerald Green Pax is my personal EDC (Every Day Carry). That's how much I like it.

Reviewed by: JW on May 15, 2014

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