|T O P I C R E V I E W
|Posted - Mar 17 2015 : 4:08:46 PM
The owner of four different milking machines (one of them a donation to the cause, thank you Ron!), I wanted to give you as much critical commentary as possible to help you make a decision about which one will best fit your needs. The four I’m reviewing are:
NuPulse w/Washing System/electric, $2,500
Ultimate EZ Milker/electric, $550 (hand-pump-powered unit also available)
QuikMilker/foot-pedal operation, $450 (battery-powered unit also available)
Easy Hand Milker/hand-crank, $400 (Pic below includes one of the plastic lids that came with my unit that I replaced with wider metal lids that fit wider-mouthed bottles.)
The NuPulse is the only one of the four that has a pulsation mechanism. The other three use constant suction to extract milk. I haven’t noticed any difference whatsoever in teat health, whether I use pulsation or suction. Because I’m part of Idaho’s raw milk program, my inspector asked that I take the NuPulse claw mechanism apart after every use to clean any hoses, etc. that come into contact with milk. I use NuPulse specialty brushes for cleaning the tubing, claw, and extractors. My book, Milk Cow Kitchen, has step-by-step photographs as to how I clean it. The cleaning itself takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Using the NuPulse washing system took the same amount of time. Because I didn’t feel like it cleaned the parts as well, I stopped using it.
The NuPulse is designed to milk two cows at a time if a second claw is purchased. Presently, I use their 7-gallon stainless-steel bucket. The NuPulse is quite a bit louder than the electric Ultimate EZ Milker, but also faster and works best when all four teats are milked at the same time. You can take the extractors off one by one as quarters empty, but it’s not the easiest thing to finesse. Over time, I came around to leaving all four teats hooked up until my cow was no longer giving me any milk. I never had problems with teat health because of it.
The Ultimate EZ Milker uses suction and a small, quiet electric pump. Clean up on this unit is a breeze compared to my NuPulse. To milk using the EZ, I sit on an upside-down bucket with the pump placed next to me (hooked up to an extension cord) and the two plastic bottles it uses resting in a stainless-steel bowl, the extractors screwed on and ready to go. I’ve already cleaned and sanitized the teats/base of the udder and my hands are gloved. The manufacturer of this unit recommends putting a swipe of olive oil on the teats to facilitate good suction. Instead, I use a tiny bit of the cow’s milk to moisten the teats (works great).
Because I think of my time spent milking as meditative in nature, I usually only milk one teat at a time, so I leave the hose to the other bottle clamped shut (often, I don’t even have a bottle hooked up to the end of the second hose). It comes with two hoses and two bottles so you can milk two teats at a time, but they fill at different rates and overflow can damage the pump, so milking one at a time is less tense for me. I’ve never had any problems with let-down when milking only one teat at a time.
As the bottle(s) fill, they are easily unscrewed in order to be able to dump the milk into a stainless-steel transport bucket (depending on how many cows I’m milking, I use one or two 2.5-gallon buckets for this purpose, http://hambydairysupply.com/xcart/product.php?productid=2288&page=1).
I bring the milk to my kitchen, strain, and thermize it (thermizing instructions are provided in my book). To clean the EZ parts that came into contact with milk, I rinse first using water the same temperature as the milk, then I switch to hot water (if my hands are gloved—I use different gloves than the ones I use to milk with—my hands can tolerate hotter water). Using a couple of different brushes (the handle on their bottle brush likes to rust, so I dry it with a paper towel each time) and soap (I use Liquifan because it cuts dairy oils quickly while also rinsing away quickly, http://hambydairysupply.com/xcart/altered_search.php?q=liquipfan), I clean all its parts. The small plastic bottles the milk goes directly into have a small mouth so they never dry out between milkings (standing water is your enemy when it comes to bacteria), so just before I use them again the next day after they’ve rested upside-down in a dish drainer, I spritz the inside of them with a 200 ppm bleach solution (formula in my book—please don’t exceed 200 ppm!!!) using a spray bottle, swish it around, and rinse/drain before using. I also spray 200 ppm bleach down into the tubing and rinse it before use also—tubing rarely dries out overnight.
EZ also sells glass bottles in lieu of plastic (better for sanitation because unlike the plastic bottles, they can go into a dishwasher w/a dry cycle), but they’re heavier and when using two at a time, they can clang together and break (Janet suggested covering them with a homemade cloth sack), but the glass bottle (using only one at a time) wouldn’t stay on my little mini-Jersey very well—her teats are small and suction was lost. I haven’t tried the glass bottle on any of my bigger girls, but I’m hoping it will work fine on larger teats. The plastic bottle weighs .24# and the glass bottle weighs 1.12# so perhaps letting the pressure climb a tad above what they recommend would help keep it on.
glass left, plastic right
The QuikMilker model uses a sturdy, well-built foot pump (brilliant in every way). The milk goes into a commonly available half-gallon wide-mouth canning jar (awesome for clean up and sanitation, but requires some sort of crate for transportation or you have to dump the milk into a transport bucket as described above). The snap-on components (the gauge and the lid that goes on the jar) are equally brilliant in design.
The silicon tubing and extractors are the same size as my EZ, but more rigid. I’ve found I like the softer silicone that came with my EZ, as well as its hose clamps. The Quik comes with one standard red extractor plug for use in order to keep one extractor plugged (to maintain pressure) while putting the other extractor on.
You can also easily kink the hose with your one free hand (remember, you’re using your foot to create pressure), and then un-kink it after you have the extractor in position on the teat. The unit has a gauge, but nowhere in the directions does it talk about what pressure to shoot for (or never to exceed).
Once you’ve pumped with your foot and have the extractor suctioned on a teat, I’ve found only 5 inHg keeps the extractor on and milk flowing, so I see no reason to exceed that. (Also, keep in mind the recommended reading of 12.5 inHg on the EZ takes into account the weight of a plastic bottle hanging on the teat.)
I’ve found that once I have good suction, I only need pump my foot occasionally to maintain pressure. Again, brilliant design. But their website and customer service leaves something to be desired. I had to call and wait a day for a call back because their website wasn’t working. (They thanked me by saying I’d get a free brush with my order and gave me a code to use. No brush came.) There’s a warranty registration page on their site and a code attached to your unit, but it didn’t work for me and I still haven’t received a call back. In other words, be patient, I think they’re still getting all the kinks worked out.
The Easy Hand Milker is a more complicated unit in design, but once you get it all screwed together, it maintains pressure nicely just like the Quik (requiring only the occasional hand crank). They suggest a gauge reading of 7 inHg. The milk goes into gallon glass jars, requiring a transportation problem unless you dump the milk into a transport bucket (see above). Dumping the milk is more difficult with this unit because of the gear coming into the lid. (With the Quik, the snap-on lid is truly snap-on and very handy). Also, as you can see from the photo, there’s just one little part that requires a somewhat difficult rinse/sanitize routine. I use a cup and pour water through it directly onto the floor once I have the lid pulled away from the unit, and then I spritz it with 200 ppm bleach.
Also, lifting the bottles from their wooden transport unit (somewhat heavy and cumbersome) is sort of an unsanitary proposition, so I have extra lids (available when you buy the unit) that I screw on before I lift the bottles out.
But I love the simplicity of the extractors on this unit because I can see the teat clearly (you really can’t see the teats in the silicone models and not at all on the NuPulse). Their extractors suction on nicely (and as is always the case, the base of the udder must also be cleaned/prepped and shaved weekly). Easy Hand Milker has great customer service. Mine arrived with a broken part that was easily replaced simply by e-mailing them.
Ultimate EZ Milker
Easy Hand Milker
In summation, the best Ultimate EZ Quik Suction Milker is probably a combination of all three. I will always love my electric Ultimate EZ the very best, but I also love a combination of the Quik foot pedal with the tubing and hose clamps from the EZ and the extractors from the Easy Hand Milker.
Although, when I’m milking my bigger Jersey girls, I fire up my NuPulse. I should point out that I did put the EZ onto the biggest teats I have (I had to sort of shove them in the opening they were so wide), and they did go on and give milk, but when I’m getting serious volume from milking more than one cow, I like my NuPulse.
But wait, there’s one last thing I wanted to bring up. Why do I strain my milk? Even though I brush my cows before I bring them into my milking parlor, they shed hair (this time of year, shedding hair is their new full-time job), and there’s always that moment when you’re about to suction an extractor onto a teat and a floating hair gets sucked in (remember, what you have in your hand is a tiny vacuum at that point), so I always strain my milk as part of my sanitation protocol:
I hope I haven’t confused you, but I wanted to be thorough. Let me know what you decide to buy/do—a farmers’ straw poll of sorts. Plus, don’t hesitate to weigh in with anything you’ve learned about any of the above machines (or different machines for that matter).
|25 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
|Posted - Aug 09 2015 : 6:18:18 PM
Cindy from Texas here and wanted to thank you for your GREAT product! I received mine and am happy as a little farmgirl could be. It makes cow milking an enjoyable experience for us newbies, takes away the hard physical work without creating daunting milk machine use/clean up - your milker is so simple and brilliant.
Thanks for being there for us. Best wishes.
|Posted - Aug 09 2015 : 05:05:03 AM
Yes, Thank you for such wonderful service and equipment. I love my Ultimate EZ milker, and have never had any issues with it what so ever. I ordered another machine (for an extra, for back up) and the order was here the next day. Probably never need it but… Great product, great service.
|Posted - Aug 08 2015 : 7:27:42 PM
50,000!!!!!! That's quite a few, Buck. Love that you're on here for an EZ discussion. Thanks a bunch for such awesome customer service.
|Posted - Aug 08 2015 : 5:56:51 PM
Thank you for the suggestion, and you are not the only one to bring that up. I totally agree with you and we will discuss it with the troops, and will get something done.
We may just apply them to the 8 oz bottles only and send labels along with the rest or not at all for the big bottles, or maybe just for the first time purchasers of our product?? We can make this happen!
We are very tuned in to what people have asked and are always looking for better ways to upgrade our products and listen to what customers have to say. I think thats why over 50,000 people have my cell #
The BUCK stops here!! so to speak..... that is if Paddy Cake doesn't disagree??? Thanks for the suggestion MaryJane! I will send some new ones I just took also so you can decide which to use and I will have the new Logo by then also.
|Posted - Aug 08 2015 : 2:51:54 PM
You know Buck, I do have one teeny, tiny little suggestion. Whenever I get out a new EZ plastic bottle to use for milking, I have one heck of a time taking the label off that you put on for colostrum dating. I find that over time the label gets yucky looking when not going directly into the freezer full of colostrum, so I like to remove it. I have to use a combination of water soaking and citrus solve and a sharp knife to get it off. Any chance you could just include the label (to be applied) for those who are using it for that purpose?
|Posted - Aug 08 2015 : 2:46:55 PM
Welcome Buck!!! If you haven't loaded photos of your solar system by Monday, I'll get Karina to load them. Fingers crossed for Paddy Cakes soon-to-be AI date.
|Posted - Aug 08 2015 : 2:16:26 PM
Hello Buck. Thanks for the link and welcome. Love meeting new folks and can't wait to read up on Paddy Cakes. (love the name by the way) It will be exciting to watch and read of all the developments with Paddy Cakes and MaryJane's bull results. Can't wait. Again, welcome Buck. Can't wait to try the Solar System EZ.
|Posted - Aug 08 2015 : 1:24:39 PM
Just a quick reply to some questions and statements.
We are in the process of ordering the brushes that Mary Jane suggested in an earlier post, so they will be available in about a week, thanks for the suggestion!
Our Logo will be ready this weekend for our new Ez Solar System, and you may want to catch up on our own Paddy Cakes blog about the new Solar Unit as she will have the pricing and other essentials worked out this weekend. She is becoming more demanding every week. www.udderlyez.com/blog
She doesn't know it yet but she will soon be inseminated with Mary Janes leading sire!!
Since this is my first try on this page I may have done something wrong??
Thanks, and happy milking!! Buck
|Posted - Aug 07 2015 : 08:25:56 AM
After using the Ultimate EZ milking machine, I have noticed that my goats' production has actually increased a bit and this is without me milking them out after they are done with the machine. This machine does a wonderful job of fully milking them out! I have tried to hand strip them afterwards and only get one or two squirts. I'm continually impressed with this machine and my clean up time has also decreased as I have less pails to clean.
Definitely a great product that is ACTUALLY a great product, like Cindy said.
|Posted - Aug 05 2015 : 5:45:52 PM
this soooo excited me Charlene, don't you love it when your plans work out as expected? a great product that is actually a great product.
i still haven't unpacked mine as (1) still away from the farm, and (2) about the only thing i could attach it too would be ellie mae the pug and don't think she would appreciate that ;>
happy milking to you!
|Posted - Aug 05 2015 : 11:09:32 AM
Just have to say ... I milked using my brand new Ultimate EZ milking machine and I absolutely love it!! I used it with my goats as Clover isn't milking ... yet. This is incredibly easy and I used the hand milker last night with my goats and the entire machine this morning. Loved using both of them ... of course, the hand milker is a bit more work but no electricity necessary.
I am very much looking forward to using it on Clover! And, this way I will be familiar with the machine ... one less new thing for me once Clover calves.
|Posted - Aug 02 2015 : 2:05:44 PM
Thank you for the bottle brush link MaryJane. I've been using a brush that I bought when making wine a few years back, but I will order a couple of these and have them on hand. I ordered another Ultimate EZ milker today so I will have a spare if I should need it. Already have extra tubing and bottles etc. So should be ready to go when the girls calve and freshen again.
|Posted - Aug 02 2015 : 12:45:21 PM
I found a bottle brush I like better than the metal one (it wants to rust) that comes with the Ultimate EZ Milker.
The online review said the top of the brush tends to break off so I handle mine gently and ordered a couple of replacements. I love the way it cleans my EZ bottles.
|Posted - Jul 28 2015 : 11:21:26 AM
Just an add-on for the Ultimate EZ milker... yesterday I placed an order on-line. This morning, Buck Wheeler, the owner called me to talk to me personally! Great customer service for sure!! And my unit is being shipped today. His solar unit is being delivered this week and they will price it next week ... and current customers will be able to order it with free shipping through the end of the year. Sounds like a smart extension. He also explained how a person can milk more than one cow at a time ... or in my case, a couple of goats or a goat and a cow (but Clover is not with my goats so that wouldn't happen). At this point, I will keep to milking one animal at a time ... I want to take that time to love and spoil my girls.
Anyway, I'm pleased with the customer service thus far! Mr. Wheeler was polite, helpful, and just a down-to-earth nice guy to chat with.
|Posted - Jul 28 2015 : 08:23:38 AM
I will probably spend more than an hour to familiarize myself with the parts as it will feel more like a treat than an obligation! And, I did not get the 4 teat milking add-on ... I'm with you, not ready to take on all four teats at one time! It certainly did not take MJ long to milk her cows using just the 2 teat option. I don't mind sitting there a smidge longer ... at the moment milking my goats is my quiet time so adding a bit more quiet time to my day with Clover's milking does not bother me a bit.
And, I agree wholeheartedly with you Cindy, pay as you go is the most excellent way to do it.
|Posted - Jul 27 2015 : 5:58:52 PM
charlene, i would think it would be soooo easy for you since you are an experienced milker. i was trying to figure out the cow cleaning, milking and machine all at once... so you can totally do this. easy peasy.
just take an hour to familiarize yourself with the parts (could take just 15 minutes - its that easy). and the first milking just take your time to really understand what it is doing. you could do one teat at a time that first milking (making sure the clip is closed on the second line). the videos online are really great.
did he tell you he also has the FOUR teat milking add-on? its just an attachment that lets the blue main air cord take 4 lines/bottles instead of 2. really cheap. i just wasn't ready to commit to milking all 4 teats at once yet but maybe after several months. but i don't feel the need to rush my milking, i want to take the time to really spoil sally and enjoy myself every day.
|Posted - Jul 27 2015 : 1:42:27 PM
Well, I done and did it! I ordered an Ultimate Ez Milker! Yippee!
(Can I just add a whole row of exclamation points to show my excitement?)
I ordered the replacement parts recommended by MaryJane and Cindy. Thank you to both of you!
|Posted - Jul 27 2015 : 12:21:33 PM
congrats on the coop selling - fantastic! nothing better than a plan coming together. and honestly, since we went "pay as you go" years ago it got to be so much more rewarding to buy something as you work so hard to earn the cash by either working or selling something else... super rewarding.
here's my quick list, and then i'll send keith a copy of my email invoice so you can see what exactly it all cost.
Ultimate EZ Milker
Replacement hand pump
Replacement air line kit (hoses)
Replacement inflations (small)
Extra bottle set (2 bottles)
|Posted - Jul 26 2015 : 6:50:27 PM
I am ordering an EZ milker tomorrow as one of our chicken coops sold! Hurray!
Cindy, can you list everything you ordered for your EZ milker? The extra parts that you decided to keep on hand, too.
Great info regarding the hand pump device ... as far as I am concerned that could easily take the place of the solar panel in case of emergencies. But down the road, I'm very interested in the solar unit.
MJ advised to order extra lines, bottles, spare inflations (what size did you get?), extra cleaning brush, and an overflow canister. Did you get anything more?
Thanks in advance!
|Posted - Jul 24 2015 : 1:30:08 PM
Want everyone to know how GREAT the customer service is at the EZ Milker office. buck himself answered the phone, took about twenty minutes to explain everything to me, and then instead of just telling me to order it on the web he took the order himself and processed it right then so he could ship it out today. do i need it shipped out today? no... but its just the great attitude and courtesy that is refreshing in this day and age.
he also said they just got their first solar units in, mary jane has mentioned them before, but they aren't on the website yet. they are about $250 more than just the milker ($795 for solar and milking machine complete kit), but the basic milker is the same so he is going to have an "add-on" special for anyone with the milking machine to just purchase the solar/cart. it also comes with a car cigarette adapter for mobile use. sounds like he thought of everything. i think mj said it can milk 80 times or so before recharging.. pretty amazing.
finally, as i mentioned before i wanted to get the little hand pump device in case our electrical is out or i need to milk outside the parlor in an emergency. instead of buying both the machine and hand kits, for $99 you can add on the hand pump part to the machine kit order as it uses all the same exact equipment as the machine does... so just one extra piece.
|Posted - Jul 22 2015 : 5:46:31 PM
And you should feel great about all of this, Cindy! You've done such a great job preparing for all of it ... and are getting some star cows in September.
We are selling a chicken coop and our older milking machine ... as soon as one of them sells, I'm purchasing the EZ milker. I cannot wait!
|Posted - Jul 22 2015 : 5:30:39 PM
glad to help charlene! you will have clover in milk before miss sally comes home to texas so i look forward to hearing your experiences.
as you might have guessed i have been quite excited the past few months looking forward to miss sally, but this milking machine now eases my mind about getting the daily job done ;> there is nothing i am anxious over now, mary jane was so generous with her training and information that i am feeling really great about this.
|Posted - Jul 22 2015 : 11:09:00 AM
Thank you, thank you, Cindy for your thoughts! Some of your beginning concerns were exactly what mine are/were. We are selling our hoegger milking system and will be ordering an EZ milking machine. One of my biggest issues with the Hoegger is that I cannot see the milk and have no idea when the pail is full. You also reassured me regarding the plastic bottles or should we say you pushed me over the edge as I was already impressed with the bottles when MJ let me watch her milk and I was able to feel the bottles. These are no flimsy plastic bottles, but rather sturdy ones, easily cleaned.
|Posted - Jul 22 2015 : 04:11:42 AM
This is all great information. I haven't used the Quik Milker, only read others experiences with it. I have the Ultimated EZ milker and it's just that. EZ. I've never had any problems with it, always milks out the teats, and clean up is easy also. The actual milking after pre-cleaning teats/udder is only about 10 minutes. So I will be purchasing another Ultimate EZ just to have on hand if the one I'm using should develop a problem. I've strengthened my arms and hands for hand milking too, so in a snap I could hand milk but it takes much longer. Thank you all for your informative feedback. Much appreciated.
|Posted - Jul 21 2015 : 7:55:41 PM
I like the Quik Milker, but I wouldn't encourage anyone to buy it. I've tried twice to get in contact with the manufacturers to ask questions and twice I got no response. I tried a third time last week because it wasn't holding suction at all, and I actually did get a call back including a cell phone number to contact them. After much troubleshooting on our part the machine is magically working again, but I don't know for how long. I haven't called to talk to them yet, but I will and will also post the results here. I will say that since I bought it their warranty has gone from one year to three months. I'm not even sure my machine is under warranty since I couldn't get to the site to register it. That was the first contact I made with them. We'll see what they say.