This article is from the Beer and Other Brewing FAQ, by Kurt Swanson firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
The following was graciously submitted by Paul Chisholm regarding a recent
discussion on bottle fillers in this newsgroup... Thanks, Paul...
Some people Worry (for shame!-) that a bottle filler causes more
oxidation (because of spraying through the smaller opening, rather than
through the whole opening at the end of the siphon tube, I guess). The
solution is to tilt the bottle at the beginning, and stick the end of
the bottling wand into the bottom "corner" of the bottle. The wand's
end is soon covered with beer, and no amount of spraying will cause any
extra air to be mixed in with the beer. Also, if the end of the wand
(or siphon tube, or whatever) isn't much lower than the end of the
siphon tube in the priming carboy (or whatever), the beer will be
siphoned slowly, at low pressure, reducing spraying. (This works for
any bottle filling procedure.)
Another problem is the bottle filler has beer in it. When you lift the
filler from the bottle, that beer doesn't go into the bottle, and the
headspace is greatly increased. Even if you fill the bottle almost
full, the resulting headspace is larger than some people consider
optimal. You can fill the bottle, move the filler to the top of the
bottle, and press the tip of the filler to drizzle enough beer down the
side of the bottle to reduce the head space.
There are two kinds of fillers. One kind has a spring. The other has
a stopper that's held down by the weight of the beer. The latter is
slower. Does that mean oxidation is less of a problem? I expect it's
easier to finish filling (using the side-of-the-bottle trick) with a
(There's also something called Phil's Philler, which has a hole at the
top as well as at the bottom. You can remove the filler without
removing the beer in it, thus eliminating the headspace problem.)
My take on all this is that there are ways to use a bottle filler to
reduce problems (and reduce Worry). I didn't find enough evidence of
problems to bottle my beer without a bottle filler.