Review: Ploom Pax

Ploom’s Pax, easily the sleekest loose-leaf vaporizer on the market, is more than a little intriguing. Of course, photogenicity does not always entail functionality, so we put it through some use to get a feel for this elegant, compact vaporizer, and broke it down into categories for simplicity. Click on through to read more.

Design: A hair longer than 4 inches, Pax’s smooth anodized aluminum shell is durable and discreet, aided by the lack of any visible buttons, and sports a single, tasteful X-shaped LED indicator on one side. The oven lid sits flush with the device’s base and is secured in place thanks to two cleverly placed magnets, though it’s easily removed by pushing on one side.
Conclusion: less garage-door-opener-from-the-’80s (we’re hardly exaggerating), more premium smartphone.

Usage: Pax has 2 buttons – how’s that for easy? While neither is visible at first glance, Pax’s on switch is its mouthpiece. Press it down to pop it out and fire up the oven; press it back in to turn it off. The second button is hidden below the mouthpiece (remove it for access), and cycles through temperature settings, indicating the selected mode on the LED indicator (low/yellow = 370° F, medium/orange = 390° F, high/red = 410° F). Also worth mentioning is that setting the device down for more than 20 seconds turns it into standby mode, i.e. lower heat, and eventually, off, preserving battery life. While we’re on the topic, this vape’s internal li-ion battery is good for a handful of sessions, charges in an hour or two by placing it top-down on the included dock, and can’t be accidentally overcharged. If you must override standby, roll Pax between your hands like a tube of dough to kick it into Party mode, indicated by dazzling, rapidly changing colors on the indicator.To take you through a typical use start to finish, it all starts off by packing the oven – more for more people/duration – then clicking down the mouthpiece to turn it on. In roughly 30-60 seconds, a thick, soft cloud awaits, indicated by the LED changing to green. Once you’re done and Pax has cooled down, dump the remains, which are not ash but rather heavily toasted leaves. Obviously, packing it at home and enjoying it on the road is totally doable (and totally recommended) – though not behind the wheel, depending on what you’ve got in there. In our experience, we found that packing the oven to one-third capacity did the trick efficiency-wise, though it really comes down to preference.

Maintenance: If you’re planning to fire Pax up often, maintenance is crucial, though not particularly demanding (we’ve also scanned through their cleaning guide so you won’t have to). A thorough cleaning, recommended roughly once per dozen uses, involves pulling out the mouthpiece and oven lid, then pushing a pipe cleaner moistened with isopropyl alcohol through the stainless steel vapor tube until the oven screen pops out. Floss the pipe until it’s clean, then rub most everything else down with isopropyl (save the temperature toggle), wait until dry, and reassemble. And, if your mouthpiece action gets a little sticky, the kit includes a food-safe, water-soluble lubricant to apply (propylene glycol, if you were wondering), though we haven’t had the need.

Wrap-up: Basically, Ploom’s sleek, pocketable device is here to stay, sets the bar for portable vaporizers (hell, it sets it for other, smoking-unrelated electronic devices, too), plus is discreet enough to see some serious use in the field. Find it at Pax – $250