Pax Original Review

The original Pax vaporizer is an extremely popular portable, but has it withstood the test of time and new model enhancements? In this review, we’re going to summarize what’s really going on with the original Pax – the good, the bad and the not so bad.  We’ll begin with the bad, which mainly revolves around excessive resin buildup and not so excessive vapor production.

Vapor Production

For us, the overarching disappointment about the original Pax is that it doesn’t produce as much vapor as other portables like the Arizer Solo or the DaVinci Ascent. Does it create decent vapor? Yes, but not the thick clouds you might expect. Nothing close to what you will get from a handheld like the Plenty Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel, but that’s hardly a fair comparison given that the Plenty is a plugin, not a portable.

Mechanical Mouthpiece Functionality

If you can look past the rather moderate vapor production, there remains one other issue that cannot be ignored. This issue has to do with what happens after extensive use. At first, it works just fine. But after a while it starts to accumulate a fair amount of resin and other “gunk.” While this might not seem like an immediate problem, the original Pax is not an easy device to clean. So the gunk builds up and after a while the mouthpiece stops popping out smoothly as intended.

The real problem is that the mouthpiece is basically the ON switch for the device. So when you push in the mouthpiece it clicks and then pops out, turning the power on in the process. Sooner or later the mouthpiece starts to get stuck and you begin having trouble. If you never clean it, eventually it will stop popping out altogether. And that’s when you have to drop everything and do a thorough soak and brush cleanup.

Cleaning Schedule

Fortunately, the manufacturer became aware of this problem and issued a work-around of sorts. Resolution came in the form of a lubricant to keep the mouthpiece sliding in and out smoothly as intended. This keeps the vape working, but we’re not overly impressed with this method for two reasons.

Our first issue with this work-around is that the need to constantly lubricate the device is a nuisance. Furthermore, it forces you to keep buying more lubricant over time. Less than ideal if you ask us, but it does work.

Our second issue is that you’re placing this lubricant inside the device which is possibly unhealthful. Why? Because it’s a vaporizer and so it’s going to heat up and vaporize whatever you put inside. For this reason alone we prefer to stay away from the lubricant and instead focus on keeping the device clean. The best way to do this is to clean it thoroughly every so often using isopropyl alcohol and an old school fuzzy pipe cleaning wire. So long as you keep up with the maintenance the original Pax should continue to serve you well.

The Good Stuff

After reading all that, you might think we’re not fans of the Pax, but the truth is we are. The original Pax does have its good points. For starters, it’s extremely compact and shapely. The size and shape make it easy to carry and when it comes to portable vapes this key. Maintenance and cleaning aside, it’s also really easy to use. You basically load the chamber at the bottom, click the mouthpiece, wait for it to heat up, and you’re ready to vape.

The “OG” Pax offers three temperature settings – low, medium, and high. The low setting is 370°F, the medium setting is 390°F, and the high setting is 410°F. This correlates with 188°C, 199°C and 210°C. In order to adjust the temperature you simply remove the mouthpiece, which comes right out when you pull on it.  Inside you’ll notice a little button. Clicking the button cycles through the temperature settings. When you click it, you’ll notice that the star-shaped LED on the body of the Pax will change color. Yellow is low, orange is medium and red is high. Once you’ve selected your preferred vaping temp, you simply replace the mouthpiece and proceed as usual.

It’s also very aesthetically pleasing. The design is really cool, which isn’t surprising given the background of the guys who developed it – a couple of Stanford Design Program graduates. But looks aren’t everything, so with all things considered, here’s what we really think about the original Pax vaporizer.

Original Pax Vaporizer Bottom Line

When Pax Labs, previously known as Ploom, introduced the original Pax in 2012 its impact on the dry herb vaping scene was comparable to that of the electronic cigarette when it arrived for tobacco smokers. They designed an ultra cool looking portable vape for a reasonable price that was nothing short of revolutionary. But since its introduction a number of worthy competitors have entered the market and the original Pax is no longer one of the best portables we’ve reviewed. Fortunately, it was only the first in a series, as the company has since released not one, but two successors.

So while we do enjoy the original Pax, and find it to be decent value for money, it has a couple of somewhat annoying issues.  If you have the additional funds we recommend checking out the company’s two subsequent models the Pax 2 and Pax 3 before making a decision.  The Pax 2 is basically an upgraded and slightly smaller version of the original and the Pax 3 adds a new feature to the mix – the ability to vape waxes and oils.

If you want to check out the original Pax we recommend doing so at this store, but if you’re looking for something better, we highly suggest you take a look at some of the other portable vaporizers we’ve reviewed at VapeGuide.com, like the Mighty Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel and the new IQ by DaVinci.