Pax Original Review

The original Pax 1 vaporizer was a game-changing vape in the dry herb portable space. 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 1 – the good, the bad and the not so bad.  We’ll begin with the bad, which mainly involves excessive resin buildup and not so excessive vapor production.

Pax 1 Vapor Production

For us, the overarching issue relating to the Pax 1 original is its rather unimpressive vapor production compared to other small portables like the Arizer Air or the DaVinci Ascent. Does it create decent vapor? Yes. But nothing close to what you’ll get from a Crafty or the Plenty Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel. Perhaps comparing to the Plenty is unfair as it’s a much larger handheld plugin. And the Crafty, although a competing portable that produces outstanding vapor, is admittedly larger than the Pax 1. Regardless, in terms of vapor quality, these are the portable benchmarks one must use for comparison.

Pax 1 Resin Accumulation

If you can look past the somewhat moderate vapor production, there remains one other issue that cannot be ignored. This has to do with resin buildup after extensive use. At first, everything works just fine. But after a while, the Pax 1 starts to accumulate a fair amount of resin in places that inhibit mechanical functionality. While this is not an immediate problem, the Pax 1 original is not exactly an easy device to clean.

After a while, resin buildup will stop the mouthpiece from smoothly popping in and out as intended. The problem is that the mouthpiece is the ON/OFF switch. So when you push the mouthpiece in, it clicks and then pops out, turning the power on in the process. Sooner or later the mouthpiece starts to get stuck. 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.

Pax 1 Cleaning Schedule

Fortunately, the manufacturer became aware of this problem and issued a workaround. A 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 workaround is that constantly lubricating the device is a nuisance and forces you to buy and store lubricant in a handy place.

Our second issue is that the lubricant is applied inside the device, and this 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 avoid the lubricant and focus on keeping the device clean.

The best way is to regularly clean it using isopropyl alcohol and an old-school fuzzy pipe cleaning wire. So long as you keep up with the maintenance, the original Pax 1 should provide an acceptable service life.

The Good Stuff

After reading all that, you might think we’re not fans of the Pax 1, but that would not be the case. The original Pax 1 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 very easy to use. You basically load the chamber at the bottom, click the mouthpiece, wait for it to heat up, and inhale.

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. 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, simply replace the mouthpiece and proceed.

The original Pax 1 is also very aesthetically pleasing. The design is cool, which is no surprise given the background of its developers – 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 1 vaporizer.

Original Pax 1 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 a tiny, 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 Pax 1 original 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 does have 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 splendid 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 more robust we highly suggest you take a look at some of the other portable vaporizers we’ve reviewed at, like the Mighty Vaporizer by Storz & Bickel and the new IQ by DaVinci.