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+ (review | buy) & Mighty+ (review | buy) The Mighty+ (Plus) features a ceramic-lined filling chamber, fast USB-C charging, 60-second heat-up time, a new preset: the superbooster, and is the first-ever portable to be certified for medical use. Just like its predecessor, the Mighty+ retains its large LED screen, precise temperature control, swiveling mouthpiece, and of course – S&B Hybrid Heating.
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.
Compatibility: Mighty+ (plus) and the Pax 3 are all compatible with dry Cannabis herb and solid concentrates. I tested these devices with both CBD wax and THC herb from my local dispensary.
Why are they Worth Comparing?
Both the Pax and Mighty+ (plus) 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.
Kit and Accessories
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 the Pax 3 extracts and other solid concentrates
- Extra lid (half oven)- This allows you pack the oven with half the amount of herbs for shorter sessions or microdosing
- Multi-tool- This handy tool is for packing, emptying, and cleaning the oven
As far as accessories are concerned, S&B (visit store)has the upper hand in this category. They’ve created an ecosystem wherein all accessories are compatible with all their portables. All of these accessories are available to purchase individually or packaged as part of a kit. Notable kits are the
- The Side Kit is a set of accessories and spares that are compatible with the classic Mighty, Crafty, Crafty+ (Plus), and the Mighty+ (Plus). It retails for $20 and contains spares, cleaning tools, a filling aid (an S&B must-have), capsule caddy, and herb mill.
- Wear and Tear kit which are all the spare pieces to refresh the cooling unit. It retails for $35 and it includes a spare cooling unit, mouthpieces, filling chamber, and other spares and cleaning tools.
Design and Notable Features
Design is where the road forks for users torn between these devices. As mentioned earlier- the Pax 3 is sleek and subtle. Which is definitely opposite to S&B’s entire product line (including accessories) - designed with rugged and utilitarian looks. Usually sporting the brand’s signature black/monochromatic color scheme, accented by a bit of orange here and there. Both the Pax 3 and the Mighty+ are feature-heavy devices that have iconic designs that’ll have users recognizing them at first glance.
Sleek & Slim VS. Rugged and Ulitlitarian
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’s 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.
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.
The Mighty+ (plus) on the other hand - it’s on the larger end for a portable and is defined in looks by the ingenious finned design that keeps the entire device very cool to the touch. The Mighty +and its little brother, the Crafty +, are both made from a medical-grade, advanced biomaterial called PEEK.
The cooling unit and swiveling mouthpiece are at the top of the device, and this sits right above three (3) columns: two batteries on either side and the hybrid heating chamber in the center. The bottom half of the device houses the larger-than-usual LED screen and two tactile triangular temperature buttons. The Mighty+ isn’t one to fit in any pocket, but it might fit a small or medium-sized bag.
One of the first things anyone will notice about the Mighty+ is its large LED screen alongside its two control buttons and all the controls and information are displayed upfront. The only button that’s separate from the rest is the small orange power button on the side - although the Mighty+ (plus) also shuts off automatically after two minutes of inactivity.
Buttonless Interface and Lip Sensor
The Pax 3’s tech 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.
One of the most interesting features of the Mighty+ is the Cooling Unit. A product of great engineering, the cooling unit is essentially a lengthy vapor path within a small space. Hot air travels up from the chamber and is directed through the maze-like path in the unit before it goes through the mouthpiece – resulting in perfectly cooled, excellent tasting vapor.
Replaceable Cooling Unit: The entire cooling unit and the mouthpiece on both the Mighty+ (Plus) and the Crafty+ (Plus) are replaceable. You can opt to purchase it separately for $20 on the Storz & Bickel website or if you have a Mighty, you can get the “Wear and Tear Kit” (visit store).
Pax 3 vs Crafty+
Since the Pax 3 is a handy device, it definitely makes a lot of sense to also pit it against the Mighty+ (Plus)’s smaller brother - the Crafty+ (plus). They both have an accompanying smartphone app and of course, are extremely portable.
The Crafty+ has a smaller battery at 2800mAh (the Pax 3 has a 3500mAh battery) and just like the Pax 3, it doesn’t have a display or onboard controls.
One major similarity between these two is that 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
Performance and Vapor Quality
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 & Mighty+ are both known for delivering great vapor quality - with the Mighty+ considered to be the industry’s standard-setter in vapor quality. It’s worth noting that there’s a big difference between their heating systems. The Mighty has a hybrid heating system, while the Pax 3 has a conduction heating system.
The Pax 3 performs astoundingly well for its small size and heats up in roughly 15-20 seconds, although you’ll have to wait around the 30-second mark for good quality vapor. Further, into 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.
The first draw on the Mighty+ (Plus) results in a light yet very flavorful vapor, while subsequent draws are denser and more visible. One of the Mighty+ (Plus) best qualities is its consistency- each session is just as good as the last. Making it one of the most reliable devices on the market.
Which one should you get?
Product development in the vaporizer space is definitely a balancing act. 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.
The Mighty+ is definitely the more powerful device and delivers the most consistently exceptional vapor of any device on the market, but it clearly lacks the extreme portability of the Pax 3. The lack of onboard controls might also put you off from the Pax 3, but once it’s hooked up to its app - you’ve definitely got all the customizations you need.
The Pax 3 and the Mighty+ could not be further apart in class and customer and anyone would be hard-pressed to find “the best device” since they all answer to different priorities and requirements. So between these two, it all comes down to what you need and want out of your dry herb vaporizer - if you value portability and stealth- the Pax 3 is definitely the winner. If you’re the type to place flavor and vapor quality above all else and also have the $$$ to spare, then the Mighty+ (Plus) is definitely worth it.