About whipping syphons
There are a small number of companies who make whipping syphons, but iSi appears to produce the more universally available ones. iSi is based in Vienna and they offer a choice of five types of whipper as follows:
Easy Whip - this can only whip cream and therefore not suitable if you wish to experiment with the techniques used in molecular gastronomy. It works in a similar way to the aerosols of cream you can buy in supermarkets, so can be useful to whip cream without the added chemicals that come in the aerosols.
Cream Profi Whip Plus - again, not suitable for molecular gastronomy, but is a fancier version of the Easy Whip. It comes with two types of nozzle and you can also add syrups to the cream to vary the flavours. It comes in sizes of 500 ml and 1 litre.
Gourmet Whip Plus - this is suitable for molecular gastronomy and can be used for hot and cold espumas, dips, sauces, creamy soups, as well as whipped cream and other desserts. See syphon whipping for more information about what it can do. Food can be kept warm by placing the whipper, with its contents, in a water bath at up to 75°C. It comes in three sizes: 250 ml, 500 ml and 1 litre, the most popular being the 500 ml size. Most recipes are written with the latter size in mind, but if you have the smallest one, just half the quantity of ingredients and double up if you have the large one.
Thermo Whipper Plus - a cross between the Gourmet Whip Plus and a thermos flask, as it keeps food cold for up to 8 hours and warm for up to 3 hours. It holds 500 ml of ingredients.
Thermo Xpress - very similar to the Thermo Whipper Plus except that it holds 1 litre of ingredients and comes with a non-slip drip tray.
The last three whippers have a range of optional accessories such as injector and additional decorating tips, funnel and sieve, silicone heat protector and a rapid infusion set. The latter is currently a recalled product, because it did not work properly with the Thermo Whipper Plus (although it was fine with the Gourmet Whip Plus). A replacement should be available at the end of 2014 or early 2015.
Mosa is based in Taiwan and offers less expensive alternatives to the iSi whippers. There are four types:
Professional Stainless Steel Whipper and the Stainless Steel Whipper - it is not clear what the difference is between the two except for price and possibly build quality. The latter whipper is used in Gordon Ramsay's kitchens apparently. They both make whipped cream, hot and cold espumas, dips, sauces, creamy soups and desserts and come as 500ml and 1 litre options.
Aluminium Cream Whipper - it does the same as the above but is obviously made from aluminium as opposed to stainless steel. The inside is coated with enamel so there should be no ill effects from storing ingredients in it in the fridge.
Plastic Cream Whipper - similar to the above, but only suitable for cold preparations. In addition you have a choice of three colours (red, white and blue) and a 250ml version is also available.
Where to buy
Cream Supplies (UK)
BestWhip Inc (USA)