The vaporizer market is filled with a whole slew of devices that cater to every user’s whims and needs. Some devices are simple and straightforward, some filled with bells and whistles. Amongst all these devices, the ones that truly shine are the ones that strike the right balances in design, new technology, and overall performance.
No two devices have a pull on the portable vape market as much as the Crafty+ & Mighty (review | buy). Both devices remain highly ranked on our best dry herb vaporizers list, despite being released by Storz & Bickel all the way back in 2014. Though not exactly the most pocketable vaporizers, they both boast excellent build quality and efficient hybrid heating systems that deliver excellent results. While the Crafty is definitely the smaller and cheaper of the two, these devices share more similarities than differences - which is why they’ll be treated as a singular unit for the purpose of this comparative review.
The Pax 3 (review | buy), on the other hand, sits on the opposite end of the line. It’s sleekly designed, a truly compact vaporizer that also delivers a premium vaping experience. It’s the third version of Pax Labs’ flagship device and is often touted as the “the iPhone of vaporizers”. It’s also incredibly feature-heavy, with features and controls that allow you to fully customize your vaping experience. Definitely pocketable at 3.5 inches tall, 1 inch wide, and an inch deep and has very few moving parts and a single button, making it one of the best vaporizers to take with you daily.
All of these vaporizers deliver excellent vapor quality and are definitely at the top of their tiers, but they do sit on opposite ends of the design spectrum. With Pax Labs going for the more minimalist direction and Storz & Bickel being more brutalist with its design philosophy.
Compatibility: The Crafty+, Mighty, and Pax 3 are all compatible with dry Cannabis herb and solid concentrates. I tested these devices with both CBD and THC herb - and CBD wax. Namely Banana Kush CBD from InHemp (visit store), THC herb from a local dispensary, and Terpin’ Gorilla CBD wax from Steve’s Goods (Visit Store).
Kit and Accessories
The Crafty+ and the Mighty share a similarly decked kit, stocked with all the replacements and extras you’ll need just in case. The main difference between the S&B kits is that the Mighty comes with a filling aid (view on S&B website). This filling aid is a great accessory that makes packing the oven a super convenient process. It stores the herb and funnels into the oven when needed. No more messy filling.
Pax 3 is available in either of two kits, a “device only” kit and a “complete kit”. Think of the “device only” kit as somewhat of a starter pack - with all that you need to use the Pax 3. The “complete kit” is $50 more and allows you to explore the full range of the device with the following additional accessories:
- Concentrate insert- to use with extracts
- Extra lid (half oven)- allows to pack the oven with half the amount of herbs
- Multi tool- to pack, empty, clean the oven
- 3 Replacement screens
Product development in the vaporizer space is definitely a fun balancing act to see unfold. Brands have to make choices between how powerful a device is relative to its size, the heating elements vs battery life, removable vs built-in batteries, and choosing a material that’s both heat safe and lightweight. It’s a lot to take in, and that’s why there’s such a range of device designs on the market.
Design is where the road forks for users torn between these devices. As mentioned earlier- the Pax 3 is sleek and subtle, while the Crafty + & Mighty have rugged utilitarian exteriors. Both feature-heavy devices have iconic designs that’ll have users recognizing them at first glance.
The design of the Pax remains largely unchanged since its first release. Though the Pax devices seem to be getting smaller with each release- It remains to be a sleek columnar vaporizer with its signature lights on the front. The LED indicators light up in various configurations to indicate device temperature, battery life, and whether the device is switched on. Pax has (from the first device till now) also kept its signature button-free interface.
The Pax 3’s added features are definitely worth noting. Lip-sensing technology and knows whether you take back-to-back draws or you’re spacing them out. The device then adjusts to efficiently fit your vaping style. While Haptic feedback indicates the status of your device by vibrating.
It’s definitely a futuristic little device and it’s available in a myriad of colors and two finishes. Though compact, it’s far from fragile. The anodized aluminum shell is definitely strong and feels slightly dense to the touch.
Crafty+ & Mighty
The Crafty+ and the Mighty are both tough, rugged vaporizers that put function over style. They’re also both made with a tough, medical-grade plastic called PEEK (polyether ether ketone) - a material that’s used in the medical, automotive, and aerospace industries. So, it’ll definitely survive a good amount of wear and tear. The entire device body has a unique finned design that’s signature to these devices and is great at dissipating excess heat. Ensuring that neither device will be hot in your hands, even after successive sessions.
The Mighty is a little over an inch taller than the Crafty+ and is quite wider as well. This makes the Crafty+ the more portable of the two. The Mighty will fit into a small bag, but definitely not your pocket.
While all the devices boast significantly above-average battery lives, there are small variances in their use times and charging methods.
Pax 3: Speaking of proprietary chargers, the Pax 3 is also charged with a magnetic charger that’s exclusive to the device. It simply snaps into charge just by sliding it over the charger and the LED lights will indicate that charging has begun. The 3500 mAH battery lasts about 7-9 sessions on a single charge, with each session lasting roughly 10 minutes.
The Mighty lasts for a very impressive two and a half hours and charges in as quickly as 90 minutes. However, it does so with the use of a proprietary charger. Proprietary chargers can be somewhat of a hassle since once your device is out of juice and you’re nowhere near your charger- there’s really no way to get your device going again.
The Crafty+ charges in 90 minutes and runs for the same amount of time- which translates to around 6-7 sessions. It charges via the widely available micro-USB wire and also features pass-through charging - meaning you can use the device while it’s plugged in.
The Crafty+ & Mighty share the same long, swivel mouthpiece. The length of the mouthpiece allows the vapor to cool down a little bit more before it reaches your lips. It’s also incredibly easy to tuck away when not in use.
The Pax 3 on the other hand, comes with both a flat and raised mouthpiece. The flat mouthpiece sits flush with the top of the device and helps maintain the sleek and simple shape of the Pax 3- although it does feel a little awkward at first use since your lip is technically resting on the side of the device, which does get hot after successive use. Between the two mouthpieces, the raised one seems to have the best mouthfeel and is simpler to use since your lips only touch the silicone material and not the device body itself.
Ease of Use
The best devices are the ones that don’t come with learning curves. They’re supposed to be simple enough for anyone to use and get the most out of. Between the devices, it is the S&B products may look slightly intimidating if you’re new to them. But the Mighty is clearly the easiest to use of them all.
The Mighty features a well-sized display that makes it easy to see everything that’s going on in the device, from the battery level to the current heating temperature. Next to the screen is two tactile buttons that control the variable temperature. No extras required, everything you need to control is on the device itself- ready for you to start vaping right out of the box.
The Crafty+ and Pax 3 share similar functionality, they both require their respective smartphone apps for a more sophisticated level of control.
Crafty+: The Crafty+ has a basic app here that is mainly used to control the temperature. There aren’t any additional heating modes like there are on the Pax 3, but its simplicity means that the app is easy to use and easy to navigate- so not too many extra features are required.
On the device itself, however, you may opt to press the power button twice (boost) or three times (super-boost) during a session. These modes increase the temperature by 10 to 15 °F and the super-boost will increase to the maximum temperature (410 °F).
Pax 3: Since the Pax 3 is buttonless- you’ll find yourself incredibly reliant on the smartphone app. On the app, you can control the following dynamic modes.
- Standard Mode – a balanced mode for first-time vapers.
- Boost Mode – the temperature rises quickly and comes down just as fast, this is for quick and easy sessions.
- Flavor Mode – quick to heat and quick to cool to better preserve flavor.
- Stealth Mode- made for low profile vaping and speeds up cool down time, and dims the LED lights.
- Efficiency Mode – the oven temperature increases by 1° over the length of each session. Great for saving battery life.
Note: Apple has currently banned all vaping-related applications on the App Store. If you’re an iPhone user and want to use your devices, please see the full set of instructions on connecting your Pax 3 to the Pax web application and your Crafty + to the Storz & Bickel web app.
No matter how flashy or how expensive - the key takeaway is always about how well a device performs and how good and balanced the resulting vapor is. The Pax 3, Crafty+ & Mighty are all renowned for delivering great vapor quality - and are even considered to be the standard setters of the industry.
The Pax 3 performs astoundingly well for its small size and heats up in roughly 15-20 seconds, but good quality vapor only came out after the 30-second mark. Towards the session, the Pax succumbs to its size and does get quite warm to the touch. The resulting vapor is smooth, dense, and flavorful - but only for the first couple of hits. After which, the quality begins to degrade towards the average end becoming less flavorful and increasingly warm.
Crafty+ & Mighty
The Crafty+ & Mighty both heat to temperature at an average time of 1 min, and both of them use a hybrid conduction/convection combination to heat the herb and that combination produces some of the best-tasting vapor. The herb gets heated more thoroughly and efficiently, resulting in richer denser, and more potent hits (when compared to the standard conduction oven).
While all devices are compatible with solid concentrates/dab and come with the necessary concentrate pads and inserts. The resulting vapor on either device is a bit subpar. It’s alright for when you’re in a pinch and want to use this material. If you regularly use concentrates I’d recommend that it’s best to get a dedicated wax pen for this purpose and keep your dry herb vaporizer separate.
Amongst the three devices, any user would be hard-pressed to find “the best one” since they all answer to different priorities and requirements. The Crafty + & Mighty deliver the most consistently exceptional vapor of any device on the market, but they do lack the extreme portability of the Pax 3. They’re also completely varied in design.
The lack of onboard controls on both the Crafty+ and the Pax may be a drawback for some users, but once these devices are linked to their respective applications, then it becomes pretty easy to be the master of your sessions.
With such a long list of variances and similarities, it all comes down to what you want out of your device- if you value portability and stealth- the Pax 3 is definitely the winner. As long as you space out your sessions to allow the device to cool between uses. If you’re the type to place flavor and vapor quality above all else, then the Crafty + & the Mighty are definitely worth checking out.