Being the name to beat in any gear category comes with a heavy burden. That remains as true for weed vaporizers as anything else, too. And lately, folks had been wondering if Pax was going to remain at the top of the heap, as the Pax 3 — which came out all the way back in 2016 — was getting a bit long in the tooth and, with so many new names in the weed vape industry popping up over the last few years, competition has been growing ever fiercer.
Rather than resting on their laurels, however, the folks at Pax were actually hard at work crafting some new offerings, including both a new portable vape called the Pax Mini, and (perhaps more importantly) a successor to the Pax 3 — called, simply, the Pax Plus.
A couple of months ago, right around the time of its release, I laid my hands on one of the new devices, and have been testing it regularly to see if it stands up to its predecessor and reestablishes the brand's dominance in the ever-expanding cannabis industry. Here's what I discovered.
What's Good About the Pax Plus:
Even Easier and More Convenient to Use
Compared to the Pax 3, GP's former pick for best overall weed vape, the Pax Plus is even more streamlined in a number of ways, making the experience even easier and more user-friendly than before.
For starters, Pax has done away with the need for an accompanying app in favor of offering the Pax Plus with four built-in modes: Stealth (minimized vapor and dimmed LEDs), Efficiency (conserves material while optimizing vapor production), Flavor (on-demand vapor that highlights flavor) and Boost (maximum vapor delivery, best with concentrates). All of them are immediately accessible at the push of a button (in Pax's case, the button is the mouthpiece) and are represented on the device with a unique LED light combination.
The LED lights on the exterior are also clearer and brighter, making it easier to tell what mode you're selecting. And the mouthpieces (both flat and raised ones are included) are now color-matched — which is not so much a convenience upgrade as an upgrade to the overall styling. It's worth noting, however, that, while the heating speed is still a quick ~20 seconds and the battery (which can be plugged into a USB with the included charger) lasts for up to 2.5 hours (which works out to around 8-10 sessions, according to the brand), these are both features present in the previous model, the Pax 3. While not improved upon, at least they're not worse this generation.
Finally (and take this with a grain of salt, because I can't actually prove it), I feel like the Pax Plus is more efficient overall when it comes to getting use out of my cannabis. That is to say, I get more puffs out of my Pax Plus than I could out of my Pax 3 with the same amount in each. This could be a placebo effect, however, or it could just be that my Pax 3 is older and therefore has lost some of its oomph. But I feel like I should at least mention that I feel like I'm getting more bang for my buck with the new Plus.
This is not new per se, in that the Pax 3 already had a bevy of swappable modules to accommodate things like what type of smoker you are (flower vs. concentrate), the style of mouthpiece you prefer (flat vs. raised), etc. And while all of these are still included with the Pax Plus, there are a few additions that make a big difference: new 3D oven screens, a redesigned multi-tool and a wire brush.
I know — it's hard to get excited about something so seemingly small. But bear with me: the screens (my Pax Plus came with four), new tool and wire brush make cleaning the oven between uses a hell of a lot easier than with the Pax 3, especially when using sticky, gooey concentrates. That alone is noteworthy enough to make mention of it, and it was one of my bigger issues with the previous generation.
Meet the Infused Flower Pucks
While I was not able to test it (there are laws against shipping actual cannabis across the country), I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention another product that goes hand-in-hand with Pax's new vape releases. Called Infused Flower, these are hybrid flower-concentrate THC pucks designed specifically to fit inside the Pax Plus and Pax Mini (and the brand's other, older devices). In essence, they're like ready-made single servings that slot perfectly into your vape of choice. You don't have to grind, mix or whatever else; you just drop one in and go.
While I can't speak to their overall quality, as I haven't had the opportunity to try them, there's a lot to be said for this release in conjunction with the new vapes. Namely, Pax is well on its way to making your THC habit as streamlined as possible — and I'll be looking forward to seeing the Infused Flower pucks at my local dispensary.
What's Not Ideal About the Pax Plus
It's Still Expensive
Unfortunately, the price of the Pax Plus is the same as the Pax 3 was for a long time: $250. While not quite the pinnacle of portable weed vape pricing (the Storz & Bickel Mighty Portable is almost $100 more than that), it's still a lot higher than many others, including plenty that made our best weed vapes guide like the Davinci Miqro-C and the ultra-budget-friendly G-Pen Dash.
While there's an argument to be made about paying for the quality, design and more, it's still a hell of an investment, especially if you consider Pax's return policy (only unused devices may be returned or exchanged, barring manufacturing defects). It is worth noting, however, that the price of the Pax 3 only dropped by $50 with the release of the Plus. That means, if you're a new user or need a replacement, you're still probably better off shelling out that little bit extra for the brand-spanking-new model.
They're Minor Upgrades Versus the Pax 3
There are a lot of great benefits to the Pax Plus when compared to the Pax 3. That being said, they're hardly revolutionary and could perhaps be categorized more as quality-of-life updates (as opposed to significant upgrades). Yes, the device is even more user-friendly and efficient, easier to clean and offers other advantages over its predecessor...but perhaps not an overwhelming amount. If you currently have a Pax 3 and were thinking about swapping for a Plus, you may want to consider that you won't be able to tell that much of a difference between them.
I'd still rather spring for the new Plus if I had to buy a new vape — the improvements are enough to back it over even the discounted 3 — but I'd probably caution against buying it just an upgrade unless it was absolutely necessary. It also needs to be said that any upgrade to the Pax 3 is positive, as it was already the best weed vape you could buy — so take the criticism with a grain of salt.
If you really like what Pax has to offer, but you just can't reasonably swing the $250 price, it behooves me to mention that another vaporizer was released alongside it that's smaller and even more budget-friendly (albeit not as feature-rich). Called the Pax Mini, it's priced at $100 less ($150) and boasts the same styling and single-button operation. It even touts the same heating speed and battery life. It does not have the same robust selection of modular attachments and only works with flower (not concentrates), however, so take heed of that before making your choice.
Of course, Pax is hardly the only brand making worthwhile weed vaporizers nowadays. Along with the examples mentioned earlier, users might want to consider our pick for the easiest-to-use vape, the Arizer Solo II, or perhaps the Zeus Arc, our favorite compact option, as comparable alternatives with lesser monetary investments.
The Pax Plus: The Verdict
In spite of the fact that the Pax Plus may seem to some like only a minor upgrade over its predecessor, I found that the quality-of-life updates and tweaks were enough to induce into an overall sense of satisfaction, improving on a number of nagging issues with the vape's predecessor. While Pax 3 users might be underwhelmed and may be better off sticking with their existing vaporizer, new users and experienced vapers alike will likely find the Pax Plus to be pleasing, easy to use, convenient, efficient and just all-around great.
If it wasn't obvious before, it should be abundantly clear now why Pax sits at the top of the weed vape industry. And the Plus is another in a long line of exceptional devices that make partaking in cannabis even better than ever before. If this is the future of THC, we're all in good hands — and I can't wait to see what comes next.