Vindication is a glorious and complicated thing. When the original Pax vaporizer hit the market a few years ago, it promised to change how the world smoked. But with its finicky mouthpiece and penchant for clogging, that promise smoldered. Now, there’s the Pax 2—and holy shit is it a transformation.
The Pax 2 is a compact, rechargeable vaporizer with a couple neat tricks up its sleeve. This vaporizer is specifically built for loose plant matter, so you can pack it with tobacco, weed, or arugula, if that’s your style. (Don’t vape arugula, please.) The Pax 2 features a deeper oven than the original, as well as a larger battery that the company says gives you 30 percent more use time on a charge. It costs $280.
Smoking is bad for you. Whether you’re sparking cigarettes or blazing joints, inhaling noxious fumes has serious health effects. Vaporizers promise a cleaner experience, but traditionally, they’ve either been bulky or temperamental—often both. The first generation Pax arrived with the hope that excellent engineering and Silicon Valley smarts would finally give the world the portable vaporizer that could change the paradigm. It had problems, but the Pax 2 is here to solve them.
This is a very pretty and surprisingly small vape. Like the original, the Pax 2 features a handsome brushed anodized aluminum shell that comes in four colors (black, aqua, red, and silver). It also comes with an LED indicator that shows the vaporizer’s status, and an accelerometer that activates the heating element when you pick it up. The Pax 2 is noticeably smaller and lighter than the Pax 1, but that’s not the most exciting innovation.
The real improvement involves the most important part of the vaporizer: its mouthpiece. The original Pax featured a protruding mouthpiece that you needed to push in to activate the vaporizer and suck out the good stuff. Many users complained that the mouthpiece got stuck, rendering the device unusable. The Pax 2 fixes this problem gracefully with a mouthpiece that’s flush with the shell and features a small slit for the vapor to pass through. It comes with a optional protruding mouthpiece, as well, if you like a little lip. Either way, you just press a small button built into the mouthpiece—the only button on the device—and suck out that sweet vapor.
If you’ve never tried a vaporizer that handles loose plant matter, you’re missing out. The experience feels cleaner and healthier than smoking, because you’re heating up the leaves just enough to release the chemicals you want to be ingesting. The rest of the crap gets left behind. If you’re smoking weed with your vaporizer, you’ll also notice that it’s a slightly different high—kind of like how smoking a joint feels different than eating a space cake. All that said, the loose plant matter approach also means you don’t have to mess around with weird liquids or waxes. Instead, it’s just you, the plant you love, and this badass piece of future.
The Pax 2 is pretty. The original Pax was also pretty, but the sleeker, cleaner design of the update means it fits in your pocket better and feels better when you use it. Along those lines, the new flush mouthpiece works wonderfully well. The instructions tell you to take long pulls, like a cigar, and it actually feels surprisingly similar to a stogie—except for the fact that it’s made of metal. Personally, I prefer the old fashioned nozzle-style mouthpiece. It works equally as well.
Meanwhile, the LED and accelerometer features seem slightly overdesigned at first. That would remain true if the functionality weren’t so simple. I found myself transfixed by the flower-shaped glow of the lights and thrilled by easy motion-activated vaping.
If you’ve ever used a robust vaporizer like the Volcano, you’re probably used to thick, milky vapor that fills the room. It’s hard to get that kind of experience with the Pax 2, though fiddling with the four different heat settings provides some versatility. Even though you can’t always see clouds of vapor when you exhale, the Pax 2 still gets you buzzed or baked. The only other slight annoyance is keeping the mouthpiece clean. The rubber on the business end of the Pax 2 is a little stickier than it should be, so some gross build up can occur.
Do you want to stop smoking and start vaping? Do you want to keep smoking and start vaping? (Raises hand sheepishly) If so, then yes, you should buy the Pax 2. Vaping is not necessarily a great way to quit smoking cigarettes. Actually, loose tobacco tastes a little weird when you vape it. But the Pax 2 is a great way to transition yourself into a habit that doesn’t involve setting plants on fire. Plus, it feels pretty damn cool to pull one of these silver future sticks out at a bar and take your night to the next level.