It’s an ugly truth, but if a vaporizer is popular there are bound to be counterfeits and cheap imitations out there to trick unsuspecting consumers. The Ploom Pax is one of the most counterfeited vaporizers around, and fake Pax are often extremely convincing and hard to tell apart from the real thing.
Fake Pax Vaporizers Are Not Safe
Avoiding a fake Pax isn’t just about getting what you pay for; it’s also about safety. Counterfeit vaporizers are often made in China from cheap materials that haven’t been proven safe to use at high heat. If you use a cheap fake, you’ll never know what toxins may be leaching into your vapour and entering your lungs. In their efforts to stop the production and sale of fake Pax units, Ploom released a statement warning against the potential health risks of fake units, saying:
“It has recently come to light that certain counterfeit
Pax contain plastic materials which are not stable at operating temperature. Ploom
suggests that any consumers who have purchased counterfeit Pax discontinue their use
immediately.” – source
It’s unsettling to think that there are businesses willing to deceive consumers into buying illegitimate merchandise to make a quick buck, without considering the potential dangers that people are exposed to when inhaling from cheap materials.
So how can you weed out the scam artists when shopping for a Pax? There are a few things you can look for to determine whether a unit you see advertised is likely to be genuine or a total rip-off.
5 Ways to Identify a Fake Pax:
Just like the Volcano and the Firefly, the Pax is distributed by legitimate retailers at a price set by the manufacturer. As all Volcano vaporizers are sold for the same price across the board, so too is the Pax. Look at legitimate vape stores in the US and Canada, and you’ll likely see that they all sell the Pax for around the same price.
There are fake Pax units advertised all over the Internet for ridiculously cheap prices, especially on eBay. If you see a brand new Pax advertised for less than Ploom’s current asking price, there’s a chance it’s not authentic. Don’t be enticed by attractive pricing; a fake Pax is not only deceptive, but it will not work as expected, the parts will be cheaply made, and you won’t be covered under warranty when your unit inevitably breaks. Being stuck with a useless vaporizer just isn’t worth it, no matter how cheap it was.
Both the original Pax and the Pax 2 are covered under a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty. This covers all heating and electronic malfunctions, and we will honour this warranty period according to Pax’s own warranty terms and conditions.
Be sure to ask about the warranty period for any vaporizer you buy, but especially when buying a Pax off eBay or other similar websites. If the seller will not offer a warranty, avoids the question or offers different warranty terms, this could be a red flag that the product is not genuine.
3. The Seller
Look closely at the store or eBay seller advertising the Pax. Where are they located? Are they an established business with a good reputation? Do they specialise in vaporizers and have a catalogue of quality products, or do they sell lots of different, unrelated items? Are they easy to contact? Do they allow user reviews on their site?
Some fake Pax suppliers are very obvious:
Other suppliers will be much more subtle and will try to appear as authentic as possible. Some may just be naive, since the hard-to-pick quality of some fake Pax will easily deceive someone who doesn’t have extensive experience with vaporizers and doesn’t know what to look for.
This is why it’s ideal to buy from a store that not only specialises in vaporizers, but has been in the game for a while and will have the knowledge and expertise to know a fake Pax when they see one. A reputable business not only knows what they’re selling, but they will be easy to contact with questions and will provide information when asked. If you have a gut feeling that something just isn’t right about a store or eBay seller, that’s a pretty good indication that you should shop somewhere else.
Here’s where we get into the really gritty details. If you have already bought a Pax unit and want to know whether it’s genuine, there are some differences in the appearance of the unit that will be a dead give-away if your unit is not legit. Fake Pax units can be very convincing but they are never exact. There are some reliable tell-tale signs in the appearance of a fake Pax that will instantly discredit its authenticity.
Not all fake Pax units are as easy to spot as this one:
This is why it’s a good idea to read up on all the much more subtle differences you may find between an authentic Pax and a cheap replica.
The Box: Before you even open the box, you should be able to tell that your Pax is genuine just by looking at the pictures on the front and back. The images on a genuine Pax box will be crystal clear, while the pictures on counterfeit boxes are often blurred and even pixelated. Take a very close look at the picture on the box, if the image seems blurry and pixellated around the edges, it’s a fake. A genuine Pax box also opens like a drawer, with a pull tab to slide the contents out.
Instruction manual: The instruction manual provided in the genuine Pax box has a matte finish. Counterfeit Pax instruction manuals often have a glossy finish and are, ironically, more informative than the genuine Ploom Pax instruction manual.
Cleaning Kit: You can also inspect your Pax cleaning kit to discern a genuine from a fake. Some fake Pax units have been known to not include pipe cleaners inside the cleaning kit and also may use different packaging.
A genuine Pax unit should come with a small cleaning kit that contains five pipe cleaners and five sterilising wipes. This cleaning kit should be packaged inside a small, silver ziplock bag with a clear front. The package should open horizontally and have a Pax sticker in the top left-hand corner that folds over the top of the package. An authentic Pax cleaning kit is sealed across the top and will have to be ripped open on the first use.
Mouthpiece Lubricant: Many fake Pax units also do not include mouthpiece lubricant. An authentic Pax comes with two packets.
The unit itself:
Anodised Shell: The first thing you see when you look at a Pax is the anodised aluminium exterior. Genuine Pax units have a smooth anodised surface that shines in the light but is not too glossy, while the texture of the metal is slightly textured. Some fake Pax units may have an overly glossy shine with a streaky paint texture. This test doesn’t always ring true, but if your Pax does have this tell-tale brushed finish, there’s a chance it’s not genuine.
Another example of the difference in surface texture on a fake Pax.
In contrast, a genuine Pax has a much smoother texture and deeper colouring. No streaks to be seen.
The back screw: Here’s a difference that’s very easy to spot – all Pax units will have a small screw in the back that is HEX SHAPED. Many fake Pax units will use a different screw, such as a Phillip’s head or something else. The easiest way to tell a fake from an authentic unit based on appearance is by examining this screw.
These two Pax units are nearly identical, but the fake is quickly identified by it’s different screw type.
The green fake has a Phillip’s head screw, whereas the authentic black Pax has a Hex shaped screw.
The Oven Screen: A genuine Pax screen is made of high quality spring metal and is sturdy and difficult to bend out of shape. It also features the distinctive Pax “X” pattern. Non-authentic Pax units often use lower quality replicas of the Pax screen that are thin and flimsy, will easily bend out of shape, and have a slightly different pattern.
The LED display: All Pax units have an “X” pattern on the front that lights up and flashes different colours to indicate different temperatures and functions. On an authentic Pax, the edges of this “X” shape are rounded and perfectly aligned, as if all sides would join up if you pushed them together. On a counterfeit Pax, the edges of this “X” shape are often squared off and are not always properly aligned.
Compare the LED displays on these two Pax units. The authentic black one has rounded edges and all sides of the “X” line up. The fake green has squared edges and the sides of the “X” do not line up perfectly.
As well as subtle differences in packaging and appearance, fake Pax units are also known to have discrepancies in their operation. Users have reported differences in LED indicator colours as well as the charging process and mouthpiece operation.
LED indicator lights: Fake Pax units will often use completely different colours to indicate their heating stages than a genuine Pax. If your Pax is genuine, the indicator light should flash as follows:
- Low Heat Mode: Yellow
- Medium Heat Mode: Orange
- High Heat Mode: Red
- Battery level: Green flash = full battery, Yellow flash = partially charged, Red flash = low battery
- Charging: Pax will shine Orange while charging and shine Green when fully charged
- Warming Up: The LED will flash Purple while Pax warms up, and shine Green when your oven has reached temperature
- Standby: a Blue LED light means your Pax is in standby mode after 30 seconds not being used
Fake Pax units have been known to use completely different colours not seen on authentic Pax units, such as Pink, or use the same colours to indicate different functions. A fake unit may also have a different flash/shine sequence.
Charging: An authentic Pax is able to be charged with the mouthpiece still in. Fake Pax units usually require you to remove the mouthpiece to charge. This is also true when shaking your Pax to check the battery level. An authentic Pax will allow you to do this with the mouthpiece in, while a fake will only show the battery level with the mouthpiece removed.
The following video shows an authentic and a counterfeit Pax side-by-side. It’s a very good comparison.
All of these tips can be helpful in determining whether your Pax, or a Pax you’re thinking of buying, is an authentic model. It still pays to be cynical and very wary of any supplier you haven’t bought from before and do not trust. Counterfeiters get sneakier by the day, and fake Pax are getting harder and harder to tell apart from the real thing, to the point when even suppliers may be fooled if they aren’t experienced and don’t know what to look for.
At the end of the day, the best way to ensure you buy an authentic model is to only shop with legitimate retailers you trust. The best way to protect yourself from being ripped off is to choose wisely where to spend your money.