The Pax is a portable vaporizer developed by Ploom. This review spanned the few weeks since I got my own and made my first impressions while using someone else’s. This review is a culmination of thoughts and testing done by myself and everyone I could convince to put it in their mouth and
If you just want the tldr; version of the post — scroll down.
Always willing to accept the challenge, I want to thank everyone who helped try this device and my friends for introducing me to it…
I was instructed that the green light meant ready to go.. I put my lips to the mouthpiece and inhaled as if sipping a hot drink for a few seconds. The full taste of the flowers came through, and a big Ploom of vapor poured out on the exhale.
All my preconceived notions of portable vaporizers disappeared with the vapor… and so I had to obtain my own Pax Ploom, for science.
As utterly simplistic as it looks, there are a few nuances one should anticipate for both new and existing users to get the best value from the Pax.
Right out of the box you are stunned by this thing’s beauty. It’s a 4-inch aluminum tube with the oven on one side and the mouth piece on the other. It feels sturdy. All moving parts lock into place; overall the device is extremely well thought out. The bottom lid locks into place with strong magnets, and the mouth piece has a nail hinge which makes it easy to pluck out while locking into place flawlessly. With the Pax mouth piece extended, the device is still shorter than the length of an iPhone, half one iPhone width, and double that in depth. If you seek discretion and portability, most people just won’t know what the Pax Ploom is. I got my Pax in the most discreet color, black. It sure looks like a device that would be used by James Bond or a high-tech weed-smoking ninja, but most people don’t know that of course so you’re now in on the secret.
There are no external batteries with the Pax. A charge from 0% battery to full (signaled by green light glow) charge took slightly over an hour. A single charge lasted well over a day’s worth of 6 smoke sessions with another person. To check
the battery you shake the device and check the light color: green being full, yellow medium, and red low. Since the device is motion-activated, it even has a sleep mode that turns off the oven in the very likely event you set the device down and forget about it.
The process of loading the plant matter into the oven is simple. On the flat side of the device the oven lid is secured by a magnet in the center. Push down on either of the sides and then you are able to lift the lid. The oven is relatively small so you can conserve a decent amount of plant matter. The way the oven works is it heats up all the stainless steel surfaces (the entire walling and even bottom lid are stainless steel).
This is probably best observed after kicking out plant matter from the highest heat – you will notice the edges are quite burnt while the center’s not so charred. To conserve more and get more vapor-filled pulls, it’s best to open the oven lid after every few pulls and give the side a tap so that the plant matter in the center can be exposed to the stainless steel oven that heats the flowers along the side. If it’s green in the center and darkened only along the edges, you can still get more pulls on the current temperature. After you stop getting vapor on one temperature and you’ve shuffled the plant matter, then its time to up the heat setting.
Lifting the mouth piece on the top using the nail hinge will reveal a button (illuminated with a white light). By pressing this button, you are able to change the vaporizing temperatures. (Yellow being the lowest temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit; Orange being the default Medium setting of 390 degrees Fahrenheit; Red as the Highest temperature Pax reaches at 410 degrees Fahrenheit.) Simply put, the Pax heats the plant matter from the bottom and as you pull through the mouthpiece vapor is created. Occasionally your lips can feel a warm sensation if they block the mouth piece or if you don’t put enough flowers into the oven. If you pull on the mouthpiece too quickly, then you don’t allow the oven to heat to the right temperature and you risk wasting your precious flowers. It’s best to pull slowly as if you are filling your lungs with a hot beverage that you want to savor. The first few hits on the lowest temperature gives you the MOST flavor (some prefer to take their first hit on medium). If you take a lonnnnnngggg pull, you can get vapor with the most aroma and this is called the “Cannaseur” hit. The first hit with a fresh oven with the Pax will always provide you with the Cannaseur hit as long as you’re not running low on battery.
My friend who is a runner said that the high setting will really hurt your lungs if you do it a lot so we took his advice and only did a little. We found the highest temperature setting was a little too much for some of us, while others of us were able to handle it. After a while it let off a burnt apple (could be flower specific as others complained of popcorn flavor) taste.
The main difference between this and say, the vapor you’d get out of a Volcano vaporizer, is that you must pull the vapor through the device yourself as opposed to the vapor being pre-made for you. By failing to allow the device to heat up fully or by pulling too hard, you will not get a solid vapor build up. It’s important to know how the device works so you can get a good grasp on how well it’s working and when it’s actually due for a cleaning. Because, if you use the device a lot, you will need to clean it to keep it in the best working condition.
Battery — Charged once a day, this thing will last you for personal use. In a group setting we found it lasted us about 4-6 refills with 4+ people. (Going from low to high setting and obtaining ~20(+/- 5) pulls per refill.) We only wish it had an external battery (although some resourceful redditor has created a portable Pax Ploom re-charger).
Stealth — With the exception of the LED light this thing is ninja status. I asked people what they thought it was at first and I got answers like “flash light” and “mini deodorant.” While the device is heating up with a fresh batch of flowers inside, it may put off a burning cannabis smell. So if you must vape stealthily in closer quarters this could blow up your spot. While its easy to “ghost” most vapor, the smell during heating up is what we deducted only a small number of points for.
Quality – – Precision quality, spot on, works exactly as described. The Pax Ploom is the iPhone of portable vaporizers. When properly cleaned it creates voluptuous clouds of vapor. Did I mention a 10-year warranty?
Ease of Use — I don’t think they make them ANY easier. However I didn’t deduct points for the somewhat misleading manual, that in my opinion did not give good advice on packing the oven fully or how fine to grind the herb for most vapor. Just figure that there is a learning curve involved in getting the hang of it and by that time, you will need to clean the device. Also noted, no easy way to stir the oven around in between pulls once the flowers burnt. I burned myself a number of times digging my finger in there to get some of the green from the center to the outsides, because tapping on the outside wasn’t working.
Pros: Stealthy, good craftsmanship, huge vapor production, big hits, 3 temperature zones.
Cons: Learning curve especially if you’ve never used a portable vaporizer before. Needs cleaning somewhat frequently with daily use of resinous or wet buds.
Pro tips for using the Pax Ploom:
1. Finely ground dry plant matter works best, hands down every time all the time. Using your hands to break up the bud will give you the least amount of vapor… If you break it up with your hands, you can still dry it up enough so that you can crush the flower with your fingers. When grinding the plant matter in a grinder, turn it upside and continue to grind it in order to achieve an almost-powder grind. Finely ground plant matter vaporizes best. If you don’t have a grinder, the free plastic grinder VapeWorld sends will suffice, but for $5 on amazon you can have a nice stainless steel or aluminum grinder that your flowers won’t get stuck inside.
2. Don’t expect to get a lot of hits out of the lowest temperature setting. They might be some of the best tasting pure hits BUT if you really want to get ripped, start on the medium setting. To get more hits: Start on the lowest setting, take a few hits then kick it out, grind it up more using your fingers and then put it back in the oven evenly distributed.
3. A few owners have reported having to clean their Pax less by allowing it to cool in an upright position as opposed to leaving it on its side.
“I have gone from cleaning daily, to cleaning about every 3rd day or so just by this tip. Wait til it has cooled down before you lay it down, or put it on the charger. What happens when its hot and upside down, the resin will drain down to where the mouthpiece connects, thus giving you the “mouthpiece not registering” problem.”
4. To activate the Pax Ploom Party Mode (an easter egg by the creative minds at Ploom) – Simply swirl the Pax in a circular motion for a few seconds right after turning the device on. It serves no practical purpose aside from shuffling through all the LED colors in the center X.
5. The most frequent of Pax Ploom problems people find they have is that their lips burn or tingle during use. This usually means you have your lips blocking the mouthpiece and/or you didn’t pack enough in the oven compartment and only regular hot air is coming through.
Also check out this awesome sub-reddit community of Pax Ploom users as a good place to ask questions and find cool tips.
PS. Don’t forget to store your vaporized bud!! You can cook with it, see our article here.
In terms of Cleaning, check the link to Pax Ploom’s video at the bottom of their official webpage here.
If you’re looking for a reliable website that ships vaporizer’s discreetly, we at 421 Flavors HIGHly recommend VapeWorld for buying your Pax Ploom online
If you have a Pax Ploom please drop a comment and let us know what you think of yours and any pro tips you think we’ve missed.
tldr; Good stealthy vape, made from sturdy aluminum the Pax Ploom packs quite the wallop in vapor production while maintaining a lasting battery. First thing we said when we we picked this up was that this was the iPhone of portable vaporizers.. 9 out of 10