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Firefly 2 vs. Pax 3: A Portable Vaporizer Comparison

August 2, 2017
Firefly 2 vs. Pax 3: A Portable Vaporizer Comparison(Julia Sumpter/Leafly)
When it comes to portable vaporizers, there are a lot of options available depending on your budget as well as both your discretionary and performance needs. Two heavyweights on the higher end of the price spectrum provide similar features and experiences: The Firefly 2 from Firefly and the Pax 3 from Pax Labs. Both devices claim to be the best out on the market, and since they each offer similar features, it’s only fair to put these two against each other head-to head.

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Which portable vaporizer comes out on top? I broke it down to three main operational aspects people tend to consider for portables vapes: heating performance, functionality/ease of use, and overall vaping performance.

Firefly 2 vs. Pax 3 portable vaporizer comparison

Click to enlarge. (Amy Phung/Leafly)

Heating Performance

Firefly 2 portable vaporizer with the Pax 3 in the background

The Firefly 2. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

Both the Firefly 2 and Pax 3 boast that users will be able to further customize their desired temperature settings using a phone app that’s free to download and connect with Bluetooth.

Temperature Settings

  • Firefly 2: Allows you to choose among six settings (starting with low concentrates), with an additional tuning slider that allows you to add a little extra boost of power
  • Pax 3: App provides a temperature spectrum ranging from 360°-420° that you can conveniently scroll through to select the temperature you want
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Heat Time

  • Firefly 2: Once your desired setting is chosen, the Firefly 2 heats up in a very snappy 3-5 seconds
  • Pax 3: Once your desired setting is chosen, it takes around 10-15 seconds to reach it

App Required?

  • Firefly 2: If you decide not to download the app, the Firefly 2 defaults to a medium-high heat setting
  • Pax 3: If you decide not to download the app, you can still cycle through five heat settings (starting with low concentrates) on the Pax 3 by pressing in on the mouthpiece
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Even though the Firefly 2 boasts a much quicker heat-up time, in my opinion the additional temperature selection function puts the Pax 3 over the Firefly 2, as you still have a wider range of temperature control on the Pax 3 whether or not you’re using the app. Although the apps for both devices were easy to connect to and use, the Pax 3 provides a wider range of options outside of the app by giving you the option to change settings on the device itself. Additionally, the Pax 3’s 10-15 second heat-up time isn’t much of a deal-breaker.

Winner: Pax 3

Ease of Use

Pax 3 portable vaporizer with the Firefly 2 in the background

The Pax 3. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

The Firefly 2 and Pax 3 both use clever design features that make using either device very straightforward and simple.

Loading Flower

  • Firefly 2: This process is as easy as removing the magnetic faceplate, dropping a pinch of your herb of choice into the small chamber, replacing the faceplate, and then placing either one or both of your fingers (depending on your settings in the app) on the side sensors to start the heating process before inhaling.
  • Pax 3: The chamber is cleverly located on the bottom of the vaporizer itself, requiring just a simple push on one side of the bottom to pop open the oven lid. Once you open the lid, simply load your ground herb of choice, snap the lid back on, and then press the mouthpiece to turn on the Pax and start its heat-up process. When the petals on the body of the Pax 3 all turn green, the vape is ready to use. A quick press and hold of the mouthpiece turns the Pax 3 back off.
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Loading Concentrate

  • Firefly 2: Simply place one of the three included concentrate pads into the chamber before loading your concentrate of choice, then select the concentrate heat setting in the Firefly app.
  • Pax 3: The Pax 3 requires replacing the normal herb oven lid with the concentrates insert accessory. Select the desired temperature setting, or you can also press and hold the Pax 3 mouthpiece and then press it again repeatedly to reach a higher setting without using the app.

When it comes to functionality and ease of use, the Pax 3 and Firefly 2 are virtually tied. However, I will give a slight edge to the Pax 3 because it has a slim advantage in the different ways you can use and operate it. Even though it’s incredibly easy to use, the heating sensors on the sides of the Firefly 2 pretty much restricts you to holding it hotdog-style, which doesn’t always make for the most discreet use.

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With the Pax 3, however, the unit is slightly slimmer, and its rounder frame along with its buttonless design allows you to hold it any way you like. The flat extra mouthpiece that’s included also makes for complete discretion when taking pulls. That plus the fact that you can cycle through temperature settings without having to reopen the app gives the Pax 3 the slight nod in this category.

Winner: Pax 3 (by a slim nug)

Vape Performance/Experience

The Firefly 2 portable vaporizer

The Firefly 2. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

Both the Firefly 2 and Pax 3 provide an enjoyable vaping experience when it comes to inhaling that delicious vapor.

Heat Performance

  • Firefly 2: I was consistently impressed with how quickly it heated up my bud; after just a few seconds, the light was green and I was all set to inhale. However, sometimes it seemed a bit too quick, especially in the very beginning of the session. It felt like the herbs hadn’t been heated up for long enough, but subsequent draws usually brought that nice and tasty vapor.
  • Pax 3: The Pax 3 likes to take a little more time in heating up towards your set temperature, and it can feel a little warm in your hand, too, depending on how high you have your heat set. However, the cool thing about the Pax is its lip-sensing function in the mouthpiece that causes it to either quickly boost its heating or cool down depending on if you’re beginning or ending your draw. This helps you get the most out of your bud while also keeping it from burning up too fast, as the Pax 3 can sometimes get hot on the higher settings.
Related

Product Review: The Firefly 2 Portable Vaporizer

Power Settings

  • Firefly 2: The app has a power tuning setting that allows you to give yourself an extra boost for more flavor and stronger draws—it helped me maximize the small amount of herb resting inside.
  • Pax 3: You can cycle between different power settings in the app to give yourself a more curated vape experience. Settings such as Boost, Stealth, and Efficiency made a noticeable difference in how much vapor I wanted to produce and how long my nug lasted during those vape sessions.

Vapor Production

  • Firefly 2: You aren’t going to blow any real clouds with the Firefly 2, but you will get a consistent vaping experience thanks to its small and circular heating chamber. The chamber only holds about a pinch’s worth, which can sometimes leave you with a burnt taste after a few decent pulls.
  • Pax 3: Vapor production with the Pax 3 can be substantial at times if you have your settings right, but you can also go for more flavor and adjust settings accordintly. Either way, I was always left baked and satisfied using the Pax 3.
Related

Product Review: The Pax 3 Portable Vaporizer

I found the Pax 3’s vaping experience to be more powerful and enjoyable overall than the Firefly 2, and even though my sessions weren’t as consistently flavorful as the Firefly 2’s, the Pax 3 had me feeling higher and more stoned in general. The slightly larger chamber allows for more bud and thus longer sessions, but the additional settings in the Pax 3 app gave me a ton of control over what kind of vape experience I wanted to have.

The Firefly 2 gave me a consistently tasty experience, but I was sometimes left feeling a bit unsatisfied and not as high as I wanted to be after some sessions compared to the Pax 3. I also felt that the Pax 3 was easier and more discreet to use.

Winner: Pax 3

Final Verdict: Pax 3

Pax 3 portable vaporizer

The Pax 3. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

When it comes down to it, the Pax 3 edges out the Firefly 2 as being the overall better portable vaporizer. Both devices are very similar in their function and performance, but the Pax 3 offers just a bit more at about $55 less than the Firefly 2, making it the victor in my eyes.

The Pax 3’s app design gives users more flexibility than the Firefly 2’s app in creating the best individual experience, and it also comes with some fun games to serve as high time-wasters while you’re using the unit. It’s is also better designed to be used discreetly virtually anywhere you find yourself thanks to the auto-draw function and its buttonless design, whereas the side sensors on the Firefly 2 dictate that you hold it a certain way.

Ultimately, though, you can’t go wrong with either product, as both the Firefly 2 and the Pax 3 are setting the standard in sleek portable vape technology. The original Firefly was designed to get the most out of every cannabinoid present, and the Pax 3 is an impressive improvement over its previous generation, the very solid Pax 2. If these brands mark the future of portable vaporizers, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Darren Harris's Bio Image

Darren Harris

Darren is a former data support specialist at Leafly, where he specialized in products and brands.

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  • willowplushie

    i have a pax 3 and i am on my 3rd replacement seance February of 2017 from the pax company. the first time it took over a month for customer service to reply back to my email and then a 2 weeks for me to send my faulty one and to get a replacement. the 2nd pax 3 just failed me at the beginning of July and i had to go to a smoke shoppe so i could get a number to call pax customer support. its taken a month for pax to resolve the issue and now the 3rd replacement i have received TODAY!!! and it looks like i may have to send this one back to. it wont connect to my bluetooth so i can custom set the vape settings and temp and it was sent to me scratched right out of the box i hdid not even remove the plastic condom covering the pax 3 and i could see it was already scratched!!. at this point after messing with pax seance February i love the pax 3 WHEN AND IF IT WORKS!!! NOW I JUST WANT MY MONEY BACK.

  • Sergio Farias

    Great article! I have no issues getting high with the Firefly 2. I tried the Pax 2 and wasn’t satisfied with the taste of its “vapor”. (Tasted burnt)

    It is true that the Pax has always been more portable than the Firefly, but I’m willing to sacrifice portability for efficiency & taste.

    The Pax chamber is big, but to really find out how efficient the Pax is try using the same amount of cannabis for both, overloading or putting too little can affect each session.

    The Firefly company has to reduce their price to stay competitive.

    Note: If you want to try a truly high quality affordable vaporizer try a DynaVap vaporizer. https://www.dynavap.com/dynashop/vaporizers

  • CalDub

    You failed to compare warranty and support for both of these products. Who cares if the Pax 3 is slightly better at everything except for flavor if it breaks and takes forever to get serviced? Firefly has the best support that i have ever experienced for an electronic device. I used the original Firefly almost daily for two years and had to get it replaced twice. I was able to contact them via phone to get the return setup that same day and both times they contacted me the day after they received the device to tell me that they would send me a replacement vaporizer. That makes for less than 2 weeks without the vape each time, majority of that time is just shipping there and back. The second time which they received a few days ago they offered to upgrade me to the Firefly 2 for $99 and I jumped on it without question. The new device was in the mail the next day and will be at my door in a few more days, given the weekend. They even allowed me to retain the remaining 3 years warranty that i had on the original 5-year Firefly warranty.

    Nothing else makes EVEN GREEN LEAFY TRIMMINGS TASTE LIKE PURPLE CANDY as good as the firefly and I cannot wait to get the 2nd generation device. The performance of the original was so good that it heavily outweighed whatever downsides of battery life, overheating and such that it had. Even when it broke one of the 4 heating elements it continued to work exceptionally well at 75% with an extra stir in between hits until i finally called and sent it in for repair. Im not even sure how long it took me to realize that it was “broken”

  • Marcel Smith

    I have a Pax 3 and I love it. I’m not sure why all of these people are complaining about the opinion in this article.

    I have tried both, I actually went to a retailer of both and checked them out in person before I actually purchased the Pax. I finally decided to get my own vape after playing around with a few of my friends vapes.

    The Firefly has a much heftier price tag which stunned me because it only packs a few hits a time, the battery doesn’t last that long, it has less options to customize heat, AND it’s not even that discreet. It pretty much looks like you’re hitting a pipe, one of the things I didn’t like about my Magic Flight Launch Box.

    Honestly deciding on which to get is going to come down to where and how you use it. For me, packing a few sprinkles here and there is not ideal as I’d have to carry around bud and the vape. Wherein the Pax I can pack a good amount and take it with me all in one item that is amazingly small and with a set of rubber caps for the ends, hides the smell as well. I bring my smoke everywhere I go so that’s important to me. I was able to get 5 full sessions in throghout the day and I was partway through a 6th when it died. The discretion that the Pax 3 gives is very nice as well. I can nearly cover the whole thing with my hand and with the flat mouthpiece I’m able to take a puff here and there inconspicuously.

    I’ll admit the Firefly did taste better but that’s because you’re only packing in a few hits at a time. Again this comes down to preference. I personally don’t mind the “burnt popcorn” taste that the Pax 3 gives after 6-7 hits, even though the bowl lasts 30+ hits (I smoke my bud till it’s black). To me it’s no worse tasting then smoking from a super resinated pipe, the greens taste good but once gone the bowl just tastes charred. But in any piece you smoke out of, packing a small amount is always going to taste better than a large amount.

    I love my Pax 3. I love the App, the color customization (my petals are red), the smoke customization, the high, the games like spin the Pax, the feel and handle of the device.. My mom has had the original Pax for several years now which is also what sold me. With proper maintenance and care your device should last a long while.

    Get whichever fits your needs the best, but don’t let commenters scare you away from the Pax 3, it’s awesome! If you’re not a taste snob. Lol

  • Justin Rosicki

    This author was either paid by Pax (happens a lot in cannabis journalism) or he is literally so uninformed that he failed to mention the most important difference between Firefly2 and Pax. The Firefly2 (and the Firefly1) use convection heating technology and the Pax uses conduction heat. Literally EVERY OTHER REVIEW of these devices focuses on this difference and ranks the Firefly2 as the best portable vaporizer on the market. Pax usually isn’t in the top three. The difference between convection and conduction is EVERYTHING. Pax is cheaper because it’s like a Chevy Malibu. Whereas the Firefly2 is like a Bentley or Tesla.

    Convection heat (like a convection oven) heats something by surrounding it with hot air. Conduction heat is only able to heat something by heating up a surface that the thing (cannabis flowers) is touching. The biggest problem with conduction heat in vaporizers is that they are forced to overheat the layer of flowers that are touching the heating plate. In 99% of conduction heat vaporizers (Pax included) this ends up actually causing that layer of flowers to combust. So with conduction vaporizers, they’re not actually getting full vapor, but are giving small amounts of smoke as well. There are a handful of convection heat vaporizers on the market, but Firefly2 is the only one that can achieve this technologically in a portable vaporizer. Additionally they use what is called Dynamic Convection which is even an improvement on regular convection. Look it up. This author didn’t have the user’s best interest in mind.

    I bought the first Firefly1 device when it came out in 2014. It’s still working perfectly, but I bought Firefly2 devices for my entire friends and family who use cannabis last year for Christmas. I bought a total of 7 devices. Out of our 8 collective devices, we’ve never had any vaporizers have any performance issues. One friend cracked his lid from dropping it and had a very smooth and easy return and repair process with the Firefly team. I would urge any reader to look at other reviews on websites like Gizmodo or any of the others that did reviews. It’s the healthiest, most efficient, best tasting and highest quality vaporizer on the market.

  • Nunya Bizz

    Another HUGE PLUS for the Firefly 2 vs the Pax 3 is battery life which the author in this article doesn’t mention and the comparison chart is misleading and inaccurate.
    The Firefly 2 comes with 2 removable batteries which in essence doubles its battery life compared to the pax 3 while it only takes 45 minutes to fully charge each FF2 battery (1.5 hour total) compared to the 2-3 hour charge time for the 1 non-removable battery of the pax 3. The chart after the second paragraph of the article also mentions a spare battery for the pax 3 which is wrong and impossible since the pax 3 battery is built-in and not removable.
    Also, because pax 3 uses conduction to heat the herb (meaning the herb chamber directly heats the herb it touches) you get best and most efficient results grinding herb to a fine consistency and packing it down tighter which is not always convenient or possible if you don’t have a fine grinder handy. The convection heating of the Firefly 2 uses hot air passing through the herb creating superior flavor and smoother vapor quality. Due to this type of heating, the herb should be rougher and packed less tight to allow the flow of hot air to pass through better.
    I don’t have either vape but I’m about to purchase the Firefly 2 due to these attributes although I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed with the pax 3 by any means.

  • Filip Halgaš

    Hello, I’d just like to tell you that Firefly 2 is able to change temperature or check battery % without the app (you can check that on original site, holding device with window up, put one finger on right button, and tap left button 3 times, device will blink 1-7 times to show you on what profile it is, then with finger still on right button, tap number of times for profile you want 1-7, and wait till it blinks red number of times u tapped to confirm profile, and for battery % check, simply tap right button 3 times and it will blink blue 1-4) I wanted Firefly 2 over Pax, but wrong reviews kinda make me think between those two, in the end I went for Firefly 2 and found out it’s awesome! I never tried Pax 3, but I’m very happy with Ff2!

    It can get you what u want, you just have to get used to device and learn to unleash it’s full potentia. Temperature does matter for what u want!

    More info can be found on this link if it won’t be deleted, idk what are the rules 😛 I’ll just add space in link so fix it yourself before visiting

    https://www.marijuana break.com/best-vape-temperature-for-weed

    Hopefully somebody will benefit from this information and decide easier!