Two of the best selling milk frothers on Amazon but one is as cheap as chips while the other is at the other end of the scale. The Ikea milk frother costs a pound in store and only slightly more online. By contrast the Zulay Milk Boss is around £15. But does the big difference in price mean a big difference in quality? I put both frothers through their paces to find out.
At a glance – Ikea milk frother vs Zulay Milk Boss
When I look at these frothers side by side the old proverbial phrase ‘like chalk and cheese’ springs to mind.
The Milk Boss arrives in a sturdy box with usage instructions, cleaning advice and notes on battery installation. Pretty comprehensive stuff if you’re a new recruit to the wonderful world of frothing.
Also on the box is a QR code. Scan this with your mobile phone and you’ll automatically register your warranty. You also get a link to watch a video on how to use your new appliance.
By contrast the Ikea frother plain is encased in cellophane packaging. Clearly no money has been spent on packaging which is one way that Ikea manages to keep the price so low. So, no complaints about that but if you’re giving a milk frother as a gift I imagine you’d prefer the more substantial packaging of the Milk Boss.
If you’re buying for yourself the packaging won’t make much of a difference but the QR code provided by Zulay on their box is such a great touch. It makes registering for your lifetime guarantee so easy. Speaking of which.
Durability and guarantees
Handling the two appliances the differences in build are immediately apparent. The Milk Boss is around 20grams heavier and nearly 3cm longer. It just feels a more substantial device than the Ikea frother.
I’ve had a Milk Boss for a couple of years now. Or rather my daughter ‘borrowed’ the original which is still showing no signs of wear after two years of use. The device I’m reviewing here I’ve had for a couple of months and I’m certain it will give plenty of faultless service for years to come.
I don’t have the same confidence in the Ikea frother. It has the feel (and the price tag) of a more disposable product. It feels far more flimsy.
The Ikea model comes with their standard guarantee. However, be aware if you buy your frother from a reseller the Ikea warranty may not apply.
Zulay provide a ‘lifetime happiness’ guarantee with their milk frother. This means if you’re unhappy or the product breaks Zulay will give you a refund or replacement. You can’t ask for more than that – especially on a product which retails for less than £20.
What do you get?
So, when the nice delivery person from Amazon delivers your package what will you find in the box?
The first thing to say is that although both milk frothers are powered by two AA batteries neither includes the batteries with your purchase. This is pretty much standard but I do think that including batteries would be a good move.
I’m sure more than a few purchasers of both products have had the frustration of getting their product home and then discovering they don’t have any spare batteries lying around.
What you do receive is the milk frother itself. Both models are similar in that they have a hard plastic body which houses the batteries. They both have a stainless steel stem with a circular whisk head.
The on / off switches are mounted differently. The Ikea model has its switch on the top of the plastic body while on the Milk Boss the switch is housed on the end of the device.
As I’ve already mentioned, the Milk Boss is heavier and bigger than the Ikea model. The whisk head too is larger on the Milk Boss which in theory should mean it produces thicker foam faster than its rival. And in our testing that definitely proved to be the case.
An extra feature that you’ll find with the Milk Boss is a stand. Most handheld milk frothers have to be kept in a kitchen drawer or balanced on their end.
But the Milk Boss is supplied with a handy metal stand which means it can be stored on the counter top in easy reach of the coffee machine.
This is a really nice touch which set’s the Zulay device apart from most of the other frothers in its class.
Using the frothers
It’s very easy to use either of these products. And the process is very much the same:
1 – Pour your milk into a pitching jug or cup.
2 – Place the whisk head into the milk.
3 – Turn on the device to begin frothing.
4 – Position the frother at roughly a 45 degree angle and raise it slightly to always keep the whisk head in the top layer of froth. A gentle rotating action will help thicken the density of the foam.
5 – Froth for between 15 and 45 seconds depending on how thick you want the foam to be.
6 – When the desired thickness of foam has been formed, switch off the frother before removing the whisk head from the milk.
That’s it. But just to clarify steps 2 and 6. Never switch on the frother before putting the whisk head into the milk. Nor remove it from the milk while the whisk is still spinning.
If you do so the milk will splatter everywhere. And yes there’s been plenty of times when I’ve forgotten and then had to quickly clear up a milky mess.
How do they compare?
When using the frothers it’s quickly apparent the Milk Boss produces a thicker and richer froth quicker than the Ikea model does. The whisk head is larger and the Milk Boss does seem to generate more power.
Using each product for 30 seconds it’s clear the Milk Boss produces a froth that is creamier and will last longer compared to the foam produced by the Ikea device.
Construction wise the Milk Boss is a far more solid appliance. It just feels like a high-quality product whereas the Ikea is a no-frills ‘it is what it is’ product.
It’s been pretty much one way traffic so far but there are two areas in which the Ikea milk frother comes out on top against the Milk Boss. Price and usability.
One feature of the Ikea frother I really like is the on / off switch.
This may seem a trivial thing but it’s a bit of a hobby horse of mine. Many handheld frothers, including the Milk Boss, have power switches which you have to keep depressed while you’re frothing. This can make holding the device slightly unnatural.
By contrast the Ikea frother has a switch which has fixed on and off positions. Once the frother is switched on you don’t need to hold the switch. This makes the Ikea device easier to handle and use.
The other area in which the Ikea device kicks the Milk Boss’s butt is price. If you’re near an Ikea store or having a day out you can pick up the frother for a quid. Which is ridiculously cheap.
If, like most of us, you don’t have an Ikea nearby you can buy the frother online from resellers for around £3.50. By comparison the Milk Boss is around £15 for the standard black frother though the different colour versions can cost up to £10 more.
You get what you pay for
It’s an old adage but one that is very true. In this case you will pay far more for the Milk Boss but it is a much better frother. You also get the extra stand as well as that excellent guarantee.
To be fair Ikea don’t make any claims for their frother. And anyone who pays a pound for any product can’t expect longevity. It’s not a device that will stand up to heavy use but in all honesty there isn’t that much that can go wrong with it. It’s not a complicated device after all.
Ikea milk frother vs Zulay Milk Boss – The Verdict
It’s pretty obvious that the Milk Boss comes out on top in this battle of the frothers. It produces better foam faster than the Ikea product and it is a higher quality appliance. If you regularly make frothy coffee the Milk Boss is the frother for you.
Buy the Milk Boss if:
- You intend to regularly froth milk.
- You want a high-quality product.
- Product warranty is important to you.
Buy the Ikea frother if:
- You will only use the frother occasionally.
- You don’t mind cheap and cheerful.
- You’re prepared to replace the device regularly.
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