Update: The successor the the Pax 2 is out and it’s the Pax 3 (who would have guessed). Check out my Pax 3 review for the full scoop.
The Pax 2 is the successor to the incredibly popular Pax vaporizer from PAX Labs (formerly Ploom). It’s an overall improvement on the original Pax in every facet. Smaller, lighter, easier to clean, and more efficient.
The body of the Pax 2 is a solid piece of aluminum with small openings for the LED X in the front and the charging contacts in the back. The brushed finish on the aluminum is eye-catching. The LED X on the front of the Pax 2 serves as the indicator for:
- Heating Status
- Playing Games (hidden features)
- Battery Status
- Charging Status
Of course it doesn’t show you all of these at once. The large pool of colors that the Pax 2 can make on its little X is impressive. These lights are responsive, and have a playful feel to them.
The Pax 2 gets a good grade for conduction vapor quality. With most conduction vaporizers, the heat needs a bit of time to built up to properly get good hits. The Pax 2 addresses this with its “lip sensing technology” which runs the heater at full tilt when you’re taking a draw. For 80% of users this is the right touch, and gives a better cloud experience than the original Pax.
For the 20% (I’m making these numbers up) that rip the vaporizer like they’re running out of air, it’ll do its best to keep up. The first few seconds of the hit are thick and creamy, but you’ll soon dial it down to a wisp of vapor if you don’t stop drawing and let the oven heat up again.
This is no replacement for your desktop vaporizer.
Just like the original Pax, the Pax 2 excels in it’s ability to blend in with technological gadgets. The new flat mouthpiece adds an additional layer of obscurity. In the context of blending in: I don’t think the original Pax would hold up well against being inspected or scrutinized, the Pax 2 has me feeling a lot more confident. Glancing at the device would never reveal that the top is actually a mouthpiece.
Battery life on the Pax 2 is satisfyingly good. The 30% claimed improvement is from a combination of larger battery and heater optimization. I get about an hour and a half of solid runtime from the Pax 2. That includes fiddling with the “lip sensor” with my fingers, or drawing frequently.
Since charging dock is required to charge the Pax 2, the extended battery life is a welcome bit of security.
The temperature range on the Pax 2 has expanded in both directions. The low temperature starting at 370°F and the high topping off at 410°F. There are also now four temperature presets, up from three.
I choose the lowest temperature setting when I want to enjoy the taste of my herbs. I don’t get very much vapor at this point. When I want to start feeling the hits, and not just the taste, I bump the temperature up.
The second and third temperature settings is where I spend most of my time. I sometimes go up to the fourth temperature setting, but the taste is dry and toasty. If I stay on the fourth temperature setting too long I forget how good herbs can taste in the Pax 2.
Adjusting the temperature on the Pax 2 is done using the (one and only) button under the mouthpiece. A long press on the button will bring you into the temperature selection mode. Click the button to cycle through the four temperature settings and long press again to exit the temperature selection.
Unlike the original Pax, the Pax 2 doesn’t require you to remove the mouthpiece to access the button. The button can be clicked through the mouthpiece. We should celebrate this day as a holiday.
The new deeper oven is an improvement over the original design. The heat is more even through the center of the herb chamber. The oven lid is attached magnetically, like the original Pax.
The “screen” at the bottom of the oven is the same stamped metal as the original Pax screen. The design has been updated with deeper ridges around the outside. The screen is a bit longer than the length of the oven. When in the oven it sits up a bit against the wall. The raised edge is supposed to be over the air path, to let vapor through without too much restriction.
I’m disappointed to see the screen hasn’t been improved. The deeper ridges on the side tend to hold onto little bits of herb that can’t be swept out without removing the screen. I look forward to seeing what 3rd party solutions become available to replace this screen.
I’m glad to see the oven lid has been improved over the original Pax. The grooves around the outside of the oven lid are gone, and replaced with a flat (partially) sloped surface.
When running the Pax 2 at max temp, the magnets on the side of the oven lid can get pretty hot. I’ve grabbed them a few times when removing the lid. Ouch.
The outside rim of the oven still catches herbs while you’re loading the Pax 2. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but I would have liked to see it updated with a downward slope to make loading easier.
The updated charging dock is a huge improvement over the original. When you place the Pax 2 on the dock, the built-in magnets line up the connectors with the charging contacts on the back of the vaporizer. No need to aim. You can even stand the Pax 2 up while its charging and the magnets will keep the dock in place.
PAX Labs saved space in the Pax 2 by putting the charging “brains” in the dock itself. Between the internals of the dock and the two chunky little magnets that hold onto the Pax 2, the dock has satisfying heft to it. It doesn’t feel light and hollow.
You can charge the Pax 2 via micro USB or the AC adapter that is supplied with the original Pax (can be purchased separately). A micro USB cord is supplied with the Pax 2, but no power brick. This wasn’t an issue for me, but can be for some.
Charging via USB takes a bit longer than charging with the AC adapter. All times below assume USB charging source rated at least 1 amp. Like a cell phone charging brick.
Charging time estimates from PAX Labs:
- 80% Charge – 1 Hour
- 100% Charge – 2 Hours
- 80% Charge – 2 Hours
- 100% Charge – 3 Hours
Maintenance is a SNAP! Easy peasy lemon squeezy. One pipe cleaner with some isopropyl alcohol down the airpath, scrub a dub dub, you’re done.
In the Box
Speaking of pipe cleaners. Everything you need to start maintaining your Pax 2 is included in the box. Along with the Pax 2 you get a second mouthpiece, charging dock, flat USB cable, isopropyl alcohol, and pipe cleaners.
Two mouthpieces come with the Pax 2. One flat, one raised. These mouthpieces are solid pieces of silicone that require no maintenance. Huzzah!
For those not familiar, the original Pax mouthpiece connection required continuous maintenance or it could stick in the off position.
The raised mouthpiece doesn’t cool the vapor as well as the flat mouthpiece. Only one of the two holes in the mouthpiece is connected to the vapor path and that side of the mouthpiece gets very warm, then hot, during extended draws.
The flat mouthpiece cools the vapor and provides the right amount of draw resistance to get a good hit from the Pax 2. The center of the mouthpiece bows in to show where to press the button.
The Pax 2 looks like a slimmed down version of the original Pax. I had originally noted that the size difference is noticeable, but it doesn’t look like a heck of a lot, not in the photos.
Holding the Pax 2 is a completely different experience. The smaller size is instantly noticeable and feels substantial. It’s also a welcome change for crowded pockets.
Considering that the capacity of the battery went up, and the vaporizer has more “brain power” to perfect it’s heating algorithm, I’m very impressed that they managed to shrink the entire thing down. The updated size and mouthpiece alone make the Pax 2 the new king of discreet.
Price & Where to Buy
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The Pax 2 sells for an MSRP of $149.