Pax by Ploom
What we like: stylish, discreet, ergonomic design; adjustable temperature settings; colorful LED status indicator; easy to use, pure vaporizer (no hint of combustion) that provides nice pulls; 10 year limited warranty
The Pax by Ploom bills itself as the “world’s best vaporizer” and we must agree that its many unique features prove it to be cut above the rest. While it isn’t cheap, it is definitely a top-of-the-line personal, portable device.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Pax is its impeccable design. It’s smooth and sleek anodized aluminum, with the kind of sophistication that people look for in electronic gadgets, and it comes in five colors, including black, white, and three lovely jewel tones. Discreet and portable, the self-contained unit is small enough to stow away but big enough that you won’t easily lose it. A sturdy, solid vaporizer, it has a nice weight to it but isn’t uncomfortably heavy; it stands on its own but seems as if it would survive a tumble or two. The mouthpiece pops up out of the chamber when you press it to turn it on, and you can tuck it back in to close it up flush and power off. If you look closely, you’ll see the company name and logo in tiny font on the back; on the front, the logo is an LED light status indicator.
The Pax feels great in your hand; the device is beautifully curved, with no corners or rough edges, and it never gets too hot to touch. Its mouthpiece is intended to fit comfortably between your lips and to allow for relaxed draws, without forcing you to purse your lips or pull too strongly.
Ploom makes sure you have everything you need to enjoy your Pax. Out of the box, you’ll find the vaporizer, including three removable components – the mouthpiece, the oven screen, and the magnetically sealed oven lid on the bottom – a charging dock, charging cord, five cleaning towels, five wipes, two lubricant packages, and the user manual. The manufacturer assures customers that the vapor path is made from medical grade materials and that any plastics are food-safe and the highest quality available, which we like, because plastic weirds us out.
The Pax utilizes a lithium-ion battery and incorporates features and functions you might not find on another vaporizer. If you’re someone who likes puzzles, you can use it without doing the research and then entertain yourself as you attempt to figure out what that LED-lit Pax logo is indicating with its changing colors. It’s got a lot to communicate.
A summary for those who are easily frustrated by colored light:
First, you can consult the light to determine at which temperature level it’s vaping. Yellow means 370 degrees F, orange is 390 degrees, and red is 410 degrees, and you can adjust to your own preference. We love this feature, as we’ve continually disdained the lack of specific temperature information characteristic of many personal vaporizers. We like quantitative data, and we like having the option to adjust the temperature. You do this by removing the mouthpiece (there’s a notch on the side, so you just have to use a thumbnail to pry it off) and locating the button for the LED light. When you press it, the light will turn yellow, orange, or red, and you can continue to press it to scroll through and find your ideal setting. Then just put the mouthpiece back on and you should be ready to go. Orange/medium is the default setting.
The lit-up logo also shows when the device is heating up and when it’s ready by turning from a pulsing purple color to a steady green. It should then remain green as you pull on it, until you set it down. With motion sensor technology, the Pax detects when you haven’t handled it in half a minute or so and enters standby mode. The green light will turn blue, indicating that it’s powering down. It will then turn itself off to save power and flower.
Finally, the LED light can also indicate how much battery is left. Shake the Pax gently while it’s turned on to reveal battery power: green is a full battery, yellow is partially charged, red is nearly drained. It takes close to three hours to fully charge a drained Pax, and the charge lasts quite awhile, through at least several oven packs.
You load the Pax at the bottom, which is covered with a lid with magnetized sides. If you press down on one end, the other will pop up like a seesaw, revealing the screen and oven within. Place your ground flower here. We’ve heard that you can pack it with as little as you like or much as will fit in there, but we had trouble when we didn’t completely fill the oven, using almost a half-gram of herb. An oven pack can provide a nice session for two people or plenty to vape for one. We did find it a bit tricky to pack (and especially to empty) without using a tool.
When you turn on the Pax by lightly depressing the mouthpiece until it pops up, it takes less than a minute to heat before the green light means it’s ready to go. Occasionally when you’re taking the first draw, the light will change to a yellowish or orange color. We don’t actually know what this is about; usually we put it down for a moment and try again. Maybe it’s just reminding us what setting it’s on? In any case, it happens rarely and is not a major impediment to enjoyment.
The different temperature settings each provide a slightly different experience, and this seems to come down to personal preference. Even at its hottest, it’s not combusting the flower, and it will provide you with the heaviest hit. We recommend experimenting to see what you like. The Pax allows for long pulls that aren’t huge pulls; there’s a fair amount of resistance (which some people like and some don’t), so it hits pretty slowly.
If you prefer vaporizing to smoking your flower, the Pax is a must-buy. The major downside is its price: at $250, it’s not terribly affordable and certainly out of range for many. But it comes with a ten-year limited warranty, so we’d hope the $250 is a one-time expense. If you do decide to invest in a Pax, you won’t be disappointed. Its advanced features enhance the vaping experience, and it’s so nice to hold and so easy to use that we find ourselves reaching for it again and again.