The PAX 2 is a portable session-vaporizer manufactured by PLOOM PAX. It’s heating mechanism is fully conduction based.
While a lot of portable vaporizers fail to be categorized as true pocket vapes, the PAX 2 is one of those real pocket vapes.
The PAX 2 is also called ‘the iPhone of vaporizers’.
- It has an extremely sleek design;
- ‘Cool’ image and,
- Let’s tell the truth: also because of its intuitive use and user-friendliness so characteristic of Apple products.
The iPhone is also known as an overpriced gadget, which can have such a high price because of the ‘cool’ and exclusive image that has been created by careful marketing.
Does this hold true for the PAX 2?
Continue below to find out
Or go straight to the pros and cons and conclusion:
Where to buy the PAX:
Cool or not…the PAX 2 is one of the most beautiful vaporizers I know:
- It’s elegant;
- It’s simple, and;
- It’s small.
It really looks like some elegant high-tech device from the future. And a large part of that is because of its beautiful anodized aluminium body.
This body just looks and feels highly premium.
Also its shape is so simple, but so elegant. Every part of the PAX 2 is just rounded off beautifully.
The materials used inside the PAX 2 are stainless steel and plastic. If you’ve read our guide on vaporizer safety, you already know from a safety standpoint stainless steel is the second best material (more about that later) and it’s very durable because of its resistance to corrosion.
Plastic on the other hand…
Doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of safety and durability.
But is this justified?
Plastic can actually be very safe and durable. We’re talking about food-safe and heat-resistant plastic types here. And the plastic parts in the PAX 2 do get advertised as such…
Can we trust PLOOM PAX on their word?
Currently we have no reason not to.
The PAX 2 looks, feels and is an extremely high quality product with an insane build quality.
Portability is where the PAX 2 truly shines…
It really is a pocket vape and scores very high on every subcategory within portability (excpet smell…).
Size & weight
We already know the PAX 2 is small…
But how small is it really?
It has very modest dimensions of 3.87 x 1.21 x 0.85 inches (9.3 x 3.1 x 2.2 cm)…
It’s also one of the most lightweight portable vaporizers…weighing only 90 grams. Even a midget could fit the PAX 2 in his/her pocket.
The best part?
There are no parts (like stems or mouthpieces) sticking out anywhere. It’s the most compact vaporizer I know.
Discreetness of design
The PAX 2 is just a rounded off block of metal.
It could literally be anything but a vaporizer (ok, maybe not a cow).
I actually haven’t encountered anyone (except or those few vaping geeks like us) that associated the PAX 2 with a vaporizer, when I pulled it out.
What makes it the MOST discreet vaporizer though…is that there’s no mouthpiece sticking out. Even if you bring it to your mouth, who knows what you might be doing…you might as well just be sucking on a piece of metal (like we all do from time to time…metal tastes so good…yam yam).
This is the only reason the PAX 2 doesn’t get a 10 in portability. The PAX is a smelly, definitely more smelly than the other high-end portable vaporizers. Anyone in a 1-3 meters space around you will smell the ganja (depending on how confined the space and how the airflow is).
The smell won’t stick though and dissipates quickly. It won’t get into your clothes. The smell is worst when it’s heating up because it seems the oven lid is just not air tight.
Tip: If smell is an issue for you when you’re inside, blow your vapor out of your window and make sure there’s enough air circulation. You could also try exhaling into socks or a blanket.
Tip: If discreetness with smell really is a top priority for you, the PAX 2 is not the best choice you can make. Although it is the most discreet portable vape (except for its smell), the Firefly 2 for example is WAY less smelly than the PAX 2.
The battery life improved over the original PAX and you now get 70 minutes of continues use. This amounts to 7/8 bowls with around 10-12 draws per bowl.
Such a great battery life for such a small device…is simply great design.
Unfortunately the battery is not swappable, but 7/8 full bowls is a lot and it is very reliable!
Heating element and air path
The PAX 2 uses a “non-ceramic tuned thin film heater bonded to the oven”. This sounds really fancy, but non-ceramic can be anything. Further research actually showed this ‘non-ceramic' is Kapton.
In the end all that matters with conduction vapes is the material of of the heating chamber (oven) and not really the material of the heater. And in the case of the PAX 2 this is surgical grade stainless steel.
The air path is also surgical grade stainless steel, except for the silicone mouthpiece.
Surgical stainless steel is stainless steel of type 316 and this type is highly resistant to corrosion and is food-safe.
Material-wise the PAX 2 is a very safe vaporizer.
Separation air path and electronics
PLOOM PAX states on its website that the vapor path is fully separated from the internal components.
Looking at the mechanics of the PAX 2, it seems the air in the bowl gets pulled in directly from the outside through the oven lid, gets channeled in the isolated vapor path (it's proven the vapor path is isolated from the electronics) and then finishes by coming out of the mouthpiece.
Also it’s a full conduction-style vaporizer, so it doesn't really have a traditional air path (click here to read the difference between the air path and the vapor path and their safety implications).
Here's what I mean:
No hot air needs to be channeled from the heating element to your herb (like with convection-style vaporizers)…your bowl is what's heating your herb.
Obviously there needs to be some air channeled into the bowl to transport your vapor, but if built right…this air should always come directly from outside with a full conduction-style vaporizer.
With the vapor path it's still very important to check if it's fully isolated from the electronics…
But as mentioned before:
This is the case with the PAX 2.
Vapor Potency (7)
The PAX 2 actually has the potential to produce some big and dense clouds…
But there’s a catch:
It only produces these clouds when you have a fully packed chamber, which with finely ground herb is between 0.3 and 0.4 grams.
With a fully packed chamber the PAX 2 hits hard and medicates really well. But anything less and the vapor production basically will suck.
It’s all or nothing with the PAX 2.
It gets better:
With the screen method (you can read about in the tips and tricks), you can produce decent clouds with half a bowl (0.2 grams).
The brutality of these clouds is less than with a fully packed and compressed bowl…but it’s alright. You’ll definitely see and feel the vapor and it will medicate properly.
Vapor Flavor (7.5)
While the original PAX had really atrocious flavor production…
The PAX 2 hugely improved in this area.
The flavor is really good on the 2 lower heat settings. I feel it does deteriorate on the 2 higher, especially the highest heat-setting. But on the lower heat-settings it is extremely consistent.
Consistency of flavor was also the main issue with the original PAX. So PLOOM PAX decided to design the PAX 2 with a heating algorithm which dynamically adjusts the temperature based on if and how you’re drawing.
On the highest heat-setting the vapor does tend to be on the harsh side. So I would get a nice water adapter (male or female, depending on your bubbler's opening but most bubblers have a female opening) and a bubbler if you like to vape at those really high temperatures (usually for medical reasons or a stronger body effect).
Being a 100% conduction vaporizer with a large oven (0.3-0.4g) that needs to be filled at least half full (with the screen method)…
The PAX 2 is not an efficient vaporizer, by its core design.
Let me explain:
Conduction heating, especially combined with a session-vape (like the PAX 2), is bad news for session-efficiency. Your herb essentially will get cooked all the time…whether you’re using your unit or not.
It gets better:
The PAX does have a 20 second cooling down mechanism. If you’re not drawing or don’t move your PAX 2 for 20 seconds, your oven will start to cool down.
This definitely does help to conserve some herb and especially helps with flavor retention.
A large bowl is bad news for threshold-efficiency. This means the minimum amount of herb that’s needed to produce satisfying hits is larger with a large bowl.
And with the PAX 2 it’s even worse, because the minimum amount that’s needed is half a bowl…
…IF you use the screen method or have a half pack oven lid.
A half-packed bowl amounts to 0.15-0.2 grams. So this is the minimum amount of herb you’ll need to produce satisfying hits.
If you don’t want to use the screen method or get the half pack oven lid…you’ll need to fully fill your PAX 2 to produce satisfying hits.
This amounts to 0.3-0.4 grams of finely ground herb.
Ease of Use (8)
The PAX 2 is really, really easy to use.
Aside from the general tips on how to use a vaporizer, there is no learning curve.
And of these general tips these 3 are the most important:
- Make sure you grind your herb really fine;
- Make sure your oven (bowl) is fully packed, or half packed with the screen method / half pack oven lid, and;
- Make sure you pack your oven tightly, really compress your herb (don’t overdo this though).
Once you made sure your herb is finely ground and your bowl is packed properly, all that’s left is:
- Turn your PAX 2 on by pressing the button in the centre of the mouthpiece;
- Choose 1 of the 4 temperature settings by pressing the same button for an extended time while the unit is on. Click once on the button to go to a higher setting (you’ll see the LED color change);
- Exit the temp set mode with an extended press of the mouthpiece button OR by shaking the device;
- Wait till it’s heated up. The LED light will stop pulsating once it’s ready to be used;
- Fly off.
Some cool features to make your life even easier are:
- The automatic cooling of your oven if the PAX 2 doesn’t move or senses your lips for 20 seconds, and;
- The 3 minute automatic shut-off timer.
Both these features work really well in streamlining your vaping experience.
3 minutes is perfect as a shut-off timer. The 1 minute timer of the CRAFTY and MIGHTY are annoyingly short. And the 10 minute timer of the Arizer Air and Solo are too long.
On a sidenote:
Although it’s easy to use, I do find the grinding process cumbersome. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like conduction vapes. I just like to finger-grind my material and not pull out a superfine grinder every time I decide to vape it up.
If you prepare yourself and just have your weed ground beforehand, this is not an issue. But I suck at preparing.
Stirring is one thing you’ll have to do with any conduction vape. So stir your material every couple of draws to get the most out of your herb.
There’s definitely some draw resistance with the PAX 2. It’s a little worse than the Arizer Air or Arizer Solo.
The best way to draw is to draw slowly and controlled for at least 10 seconds.
Maintenance / cleaning downtime
One of the complaints with the original PAX was that maintaining it SUCKED:
- It took a lot of time;
- And you had to clean it after every session to keep it performing well.
Things have gotten much better with the PAX 2. The only 2 parts that really needs cleaning every few sessions, are:
- The screen in the bottom of your oven;
- And the vapor path.
The cleaning got easier, but the frequency is still higher than other high-end vaporizers.
To clean the screen soak it in ISO alcohol. And to clean the vapor path soak one of the included pipe cleaners in ISO alcohol and just stick it through your vapor path while rubbing it.
If you want to clean the mouthpiece and the oven, just use a Q-Tip Cotton Swab dipped in ISO alcohol. Brush your parts with it.
Note: NEVER soak anything else than the screen in ISO alcohol. It’s ok to rub the other parts with tools that are dipped in it though.
Temperature Control (7.5)
The PAX 2 has an interval-based temp control system.
There are 4 settings and according to PLOOM PAX they range from 360°F -420°F (182°C-215°C). With this range of temp settings, unfortunately you won’t have full control over the effects of your weed.
It’s really missing the lower temperatures that start around 338°F / 170°C. But also if you want to go for a heavy session it’s nice to be able to go well above 410°F / 210°C for those heavy sedating effects.
If you want to dive deeper into temperature control and how it affects the medical effects of your weed, check out our advanced guide on the best temperature to vape weed.
One great thing with the temp control of the PAX 2 though:
The temperature control of the PAX 2 should be more accurate with the new heating algorithm. This heating algorithm supposedly dynamically adjusts the temperature based on if and how you’re drawing.
I haven't tested the accuracy but I think it works well because the PAX 2 is way more consistent in vapor quality than the original PAX.
Reputation and Reliability (9.5)
PLOOM PAX has a great reputation. Like most pure portable vaporizer manufacturers, they’re quite young.
The original PAX came out in 2012 and was a very modern and really portable, portable vaporizer. Nothing revolutionary though.
They did have a good marketing team and it actually became one of the most popular portable vaporizers at that time.
I feel a lot had to do with the image of the PAX…I personally didn’t like the original PAX that much. And most of it had to do with the fact that I’m a flavor-Nazi and I think the flavor sucked.
Here's the truth though:
The original PAX was a very reliable vaporizer. And they offer a 10 year warranty on their vaporizers. Which is rare and a very long time in the vaporizer industry.
They also acquired a really good reputation with their customer service. Generally, their customer service has great reviews all over.
But what about the reliability of the PAX 2?
Drop it, and it will keep functioning the same.
Drop something on it, and it will keep functioning the same.
Warm or cold envrionments and it will keep functioning the same.
This vaporizer won't fail you, unless you really try hard to destroy it.
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The PAX 2 is the most beautiful little vaporizer I know.
Not only is it beautiful, it’s extremely:
- Portable, and;
Its build quality is really high.
Aside from the general tips on how to use a conduction vaporizer, there really is no learning curve and cleaning it has gotten way easier than the original PAX. Although the cleaning frequency required is still on the high side (every few sessions).
Also the customer service and warranty of PLOOM PAX are among the best in the industry.
BUT…there are definitely downsides to the PAX 2:
It is a 100% conduction vape and the vapor quality does reflect that.
The vapor flavor especially is not high-end. You can get quite big clouds with the PAX 2, but I do feel they are much less potent than the big clouds from a (partially) convection vaporizer like the MIGHTY or CRAFTY.
Also it does need quite a lot of herb to get you medicated properly…it’s not very efficient.
What’s the bottom line?
The PAX 2 is a good vaporizer.
It’s not my favorite portable vaporizer, considering the vapor quality it produces. For me, safety, vapor potency and vapor flavor are the most important metrics when choosing a vaporizer.
And unfortunately the PAX 2 has a high-end price tag but is not on par with other high-end portable vaporizers in these areas.
It IS the King of Portability so if design, portability (size, weight, battery life, sturdiness), reliability and sick customer care are top priorities for you…
The PAX 2 is GREAT!
Where to buy the PAX:
PAX 2 Tips and Tricks
How to grind your herb:
- Use an extremely fine grind. This is essential with conduction vaporizers.
How to pack your bowl:
You have 2 options:
- Fully pack your oven, and then some. And compress It well (don’t overdo this though);
- Pack your oven half-full, compress it and use the screen method OR use the half-pack oven lid.
Pax 2 screen method / half-pack oven lid
With this method you can half-pack the bowl of your PAX 2 and still get the same results as if you would’ve fully packed it.
There are 4 different ways you can do this. But in every method what you do is essentially the same:
- You half-pack your oven, and;
- You compress your herb with one of the 4 tools.
The 4 tools:
- Regular 20 mm pipe screens;
- The original PAX 2 screens;
- water adapter;
- The half-pack oven lid from PLOOM PAX.
All of these methods work. I haven’t personally tried the PAX Pusher. But if you have to believe the internet, this is the easiest way to apply the screen method.
How to draw:
- Draw slowly and controlled for at least 10 seconds
Stir your bowl:
- If you’re not using the screen method, stir your bowl every couple of draws