In this edition of the Vapor Review Blog we’ll take a look at a portable device that has been all the rave in the community. A device that likens to the next gen iPod and offers stealth unlike any vaporizer on the market. Pull up your chairs, it is time to share our thoughts on the PAX by Ploom.
Before we start allow me to thank the folks at Vape World for allowing us the opportunity to provide this unbiased review. When dealing directly with manufacturers, remaining objective can sometimes cause relationship strain. Coupled with the PAX’s mixed track record we felt it best to avoid contacting the manufacturer for this review.
- The marketing behind the PAX is money well spent by the manufacturer.
- From the sleek packaging to the added cleaning materials I was impressed by the presentation Ploom chose for the unit.
- Sliding open the box I found the PAX resting inside a white insert(patterned in similar form to the PAX Indicator Light).
- Showcasing the PAX in such manner gives it that high end feel found in today’s smart phone packaging.
- Lifting the PAX and white insert away revealed the User Guide, cleaning tools and charging stand + AC adapter.
- I was happy to see the cleaning tools, something any prospective buyer should become familiar.
- Looking at the unit, I see why there is such high regard for the portability and stealth offered.
- Easily held in your hand the device’s shape does not draw attention and could easily be mistaken for a e-cigarette.
Form and Function in delicate balance
- Using the PAX for two weeks I have grown to enjoy it for my on-the-go vaporizer needs. The unit has very little heft and easily fits inside my shirt or pants pocket with little bulge.
- Filling the oven is done through the lower end of the unit.
- Affixed to the bottom is a magnetic cover lid using two neodymium magnets. Pressing down on either end will remove the lid.
- It is recommended to use the lid for packing your herbs or tobacco (ensure all content are inside the steel oven).
- A word of caution if the unit is dropped accidentally: The magnetic cap is not impervious to shock and can easily unfasten. Take care to check that the cap has not been misplaced or it could easily become lost.
- Powering the device is done by pressing downward on the top mouthpiece. To shut off the device, again simply click downward on the mouthpiece.
- Temperature settings are adjusted by removing the mouth piece (you will see a small indent for your finger nail).
- Three temperature settings are available by pressing down the white LED light.
- Options include: Low Heat Mode, Medium Heat Mode (Default), and High Heat Mode.
- Indications on heating, readiness, stand-by and battery power are all done through an intuitive LED Indicator light found on the front of the PAX unit.
- When in use the LED light will turn from white to Purple (indicating heatup) and will display Green when it has reached the desired heating temperature.
- Charging the device is done by removing the mouth piece and inserting the PAX into the charging stand.
- Due to the way the device plugs into the charge station, users will be unable to operate until recharging is complete.
- The PAX like many vaporizers has a learning curve which requires practice. Since the device likens to the shape of an e-cigarette, you might be tempted to treat it as such and attempt continuous drawing. I found the vapor density was not ideal and I was burning my lips with continuous draws.
- With some revision in my technique, by day three I was producing vapor dense clouds on the highest setting.
- Further refinement of both packing and inhalation method has me now using the lowest and medium settings, so I can get the most flavor.
- It should be noted that under-packing the bowl can produce too much heat transfer. My initial issues with lip burning were remedied with proper packing.
- Some users have explored adding a second screen to push the herbal blends in contact with the oven. This method is great if you desire only using half the recommended oven fill.
- Over-packing the the bowl can limit the air flow. Our advice is to experiment and find a pack that suits your needs.
- One thing I would like to note about the device is initial heat-up. Many of the essential oils and flavor are lost once the device reaches stable temperature
- I find that drawing while the PAX is still heating it grants for an initial flavorful vapor hit (likes of which people often credit the Solo).
Pax heats up and is ready to enjoy in as little as 30 seconds.
- Once the device reaches a stable temp I will take short pulls from the PAX (as if I were trying to draw from a cigar).
- Long steady pulls don’t offer much benefit and risk potential lip burn.
- I also find mixing or stirring the bowl midway is desirable for an even vaporization.
- Where the portion closest to the heating element will darken sooner than the material nearest to the magnetic cap.
- Battery Type – Lithium-Ion Battery (2600 mAh capacity)
- Usage time is approximately 2 hours+ or typically 5 sessions.
- Charging – Take approximately 1hr & 15min to charge full from a fully depleted battery (typically listed at 1hr I found it takes slightly longer).
- Standby Mode – The PAX has comes with an accelerometer built inside. The device does into standby mode after approximately 1 minutes of no movement. The LED indicator will turn blue and a lower heat setting around 302F(150C) will be automatically be set.
- Battery Level Indications – With the device powered on simply shake:
- Green – Full Battery
- Yellow – Partially Charged
- Red – Low Battery
- Amethyst (Purple)
- Cobalt (Blue)
- Emerald (Green)
- Onyx (Black)
- The PAX exterior is made from anodized aluminum which helps spread excess heat.
- The plastic components are made of food-safe engineering plastic.
- The vapor path is constructed entirely from medical grade components.
Size and Weight:
- Length: 4 1/8 ”
- Width: 1 1/4″
- Depth: 7/8″
- Vapor chamber is approximately 10mm (3/8″) deep.
- 3.3 ounces Or 93.3 grams
- .3 grams of finely chopped herbs light packing.
- .4 grams of finely chopped herbs tight packing.
- Advanced: .15 grams of finely chopped herbs using a second screen to press them against the oven.
- Low = 370F (187.778 C)
- Medium = 390F (198.889 C)
- High = 410F (210 C)
Pax uses a proprietary, non-ceramic tuned thin film heater bonded to the laser-welded stainless steel oven, separate from the air path.
What’s in the Box?
- 1 Pax Unit with 1 Screen
- 1 Mouthpiece
- 1 Magnetic Lid
- 1 AC Wall Charger + Dock
- 1 Small Cleaning Kit
- 5 Pipe Cleaners
- 5 Cleaning Wipes
- 2 packets of Mouthpiece Lubricant
- 1 Pax Instruction Manual
Cost and Availability?
- Single unit MSRP starts at $250.00
- Pax is currently only available for purchase in the US and Canada; Pax is not currently available in the UK / Europe.
Ploom’s new generation tobacco products will be marketed and sold in select countries outside the United States by JTI, a leading international tobacco manufacturer that Ploom has formed a strategic partnership with.
To purchase a unit, we recommend our friends at Vape World who offer to the United States and Canada.
The Final Verdict
For the price tag you are certainly paying for more than just the PAX unit. The precedent Ploom has set with a 10 year warranty says a great deal about Customer Service and their commitment behind the product. We have read stories of issues resulting from user fault, but in each case the manufacturer has honored the warranty. This kind of assurance and product support earns the PAX high marks in our regards especially when making a sizable investment. This PAX is certainly the stealthiest botanical vaporizer on the market and this factor for many outweighs flavor temperature range limitations. If you are meticulous with your cleaning the PAX unit should serve you well in all your portable (out of the home) vaporizer needs.
- Self contained unit. Pick it up and go, no worry of forgetting a critical component.
- Perfect for the on-the-go individual: Bicycle Riding, Running, Hiking, etc
- Small size makes it a excellent choice for discrete vaporizing.
- Design and shape does not draw attention from others.
- Light weight makes is easy for storing in a pocket.
- Once mastered the PAX offers users thick vapor clouds.
- Heating the oven is silent and the device does not emit noise.
- 10 Year manufacturer warranty.
- Learning Curve: Friends will require some usage before being able to produce thick vapor clouds.
- Conduction heating method.
- Decent sized bowl easily able to handle .3 grams.
- Three Temperature Settings
- Bottom of the oven conducts heat, but not enough to burn your skin.
- The Pax is designed as a botanical vaporizer. Therefore oils & extracts are not compatible.
- Smell is somewhat prevalent from this device. Indoors users of this device should take note that subtle traces of aroma exist.
- Price Tag is a large barrier, especially with recent advances we are seeing in the portable market.
- The mouthpiece has been known to get stuck, proper cleaning is required.
- The manufacturer recommends using a lubricant on the mouthpiece to prevent this occurrence.
- The air chamber is as wide as a coffee mixing straw, unless its kept clean air flow can easily be impacted.
- A routine of cleaning is required to keep this device operational.
- The mouthpiece can get very hot(lip burn) if you draw air in long and steady.
- The flavor quality is sacrificed due to the limited temperate settings.
What would we like to see in the next generation PAX?
- More temperature settings or precise temperature control.
- Automatically cycle through temperature settings at designated time intervals.
- Better airflow, wider tube connecting the oven.
- More secured oven lid that can withstand a fall.
- Improved design to prevent mouthpiece “sticking.”
- Reconfigure oven to also work(optimally) on a smaller pack(.15 grams).
- There have already been reports of knock-offs coming to market on popular exporting websites.
- The fact the PAX was assembled in China leaves reason to speculate. It has been theorized the same company who manufacturers the PAX may also sell unbranded versions with the same components.
- A small contingent of users have purchased various sample units and can confirm they do function.
- Some users did report heating up issues and others claimed Party Mode was not functional.
- We recommend you only purchase a Ploom branded PAX due to their quality control, medical grade components, and 10 Year Warranty for repairs.
- Still, given the fact these knock-offs cost a fraction of the $250 price tag on the PAX. These unbranded models are definitely a threat to the Ploom business model.
Tips and Trick for using your PAX:
- Avoid lipburn by properly packing your PAX unit.
- Avoid operating the unit upside down. Allowing resin to travel toward the mouthpiece can result in a jammed mechanism.
- If you are operating alone and require a smaller pack, read up on the two screen method.
- Finely chopped botanical material is best for the PAX. We recommend using a grinder to achieve proper consistency.
- Carry a toothpick to stir your oven contents. I found the bottom cooks slower and a quick mix midway ensures even vaporizing. Be sure you turn off the device before mixing.
- Keep a routine of cleanliness.
- Purchase pipe cleaners with cotton bristles. Avoid cheap plastic bristled cleaners, which could fall apart and melt inside the device.
- Use Iso 99% or 91% on the pipe cleaners bristles. This will help speed up the cleaning, just be sure to let it dry before operating.
- Be careful if you place the unit in a backpack/purse. The mouthpiece if pushed down could accidentally activate the PAX and vaporize anything inside the oven.
- If you drop your PAX, check the magnetic oven cover to ensure it was not lost.
- With the mouthpiece removed you can see the metal tube where vapor is drawn. When opening and closing use a half click motion where this tube is located for greater ease.
- Clean inside the mouthpiece with a pipe cleaner using ISO. The mouthpiece may also be fully submerged in ISO.
- Take care to lubricate the mouth piece with the propylene glycol provided by Ploom, order online or from your local authorized dealer.
- If your PAX unit begins to flash GREEN when placed on the charging unit, follow this tip:
- Clean the metal conductors on both the PAX and the Charging Station. Any grime or dirt may cause a break in the circuit.
- If your PAX doesn’t properly heat up when the mouthpiece is released (showing instead the heat temperature), follow this tip:
- The mouthpiece requires lubricant, likely the unit has been without propylene glycol for too many sessions.
- Also included is a neat little Easter Egg called ‘Party Mode.’
- Simply rolling the device left or right will activate the LED light to pulse.
- This keep the oven active while passing among friends.
- Put a rubber band around it so it is not so slippery when in use. Use the same rubber band to secure the mouthpiece and bottom cover while traveling. Finally, the rubber band can be used while charging in a car or somewhere the unit may be knocked over.
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