Best milk frothers are devices to create velvety milk froth principally for use in coffee recipes like lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos. Creating micro bubbles that form froth, these great devices are available in several formats: manual, electric handheld, steam wand, stand alone and electric commercial devices.
Each category has its own best milk frothers, selected on inherently important nuances such as build quality, froth quality, value for money and cleaning friendliness. There are important differences between the varying types of frother. Let’s see which frothers bubble up to the surface or flatter to deceive.
In reviewing the best milk frothers I concentrate on the main features: ease of creating a great froth. Then nuances, which hold importance to coffee lovers: product durability, quantity of froth, quality of froth, looks appeal, cleaning and storage and the old axiom, value for money.
First let’s look at the different types of milk frother for creating foamy, froth for coffee beverages. For those who want to see the best milk frothers before reading to the end see the gallery and links here…
- Best Handheld Milk Frother = Gbivbe | Amazon >
- Best Steam Wand Milk Frother = De’Longhi | Amazon >
- Best Stand Alone (Home) = Breville BMF600XL | Amazon >
- Best Commercial Frother = Hanchen | Amazon >
Table of Contents
Manual Milk Frothers
Manual, hand pump frothers can be affective devices to generate milk froth for cappuccinos, using old fashioned elbow grease. But don’t fear the best manual hand pump milk frothers are not labor intensive. They typically consist of a perforated mesh plunger, a cylinder shape steel or glass jar, and a lid.
The best hand pump frothers will come with sturdy handles for good grip. They are often micro wave proof (offering the option if you like your milk warmed first) so milk can be warmed easily.
The plunger should create a cappuccino style froth within fifty short hand movements, though the best will create a thick froth in around 30 pumps. Milk froth created by manual milk frothers is known to be lighter than foam created by a typical steam wand you’d find in cafes.
The better jugs (of best milk frothers) will make enough froth for two lattes (which use more milk) or 4 cappuccinos. Advantages include: foolproof use and they’re environmentally sounds as they don’t use electricity.
Handheld Milk Frothers
Handheld milk frothers are typically very affordable. They use a metal whisk which is spun by a battery operated shaft. Nuances to consider with handheld devices include: rechargeable or regular batteries (don’t worry regular batteries are pretty effective and should last most of the year).
Quality of materials are important. if you are paying a handful of change rather than a twenty USD and up, you probably won’t be getting rust proof stainless steel and a triple speed motor.
The froth created by handheld devices is often deliciously creamy and takes about 30-50 seconds to make a mug full. Easy to use, handheld battery milk frothers are the best selling milk frothers, they can be easily stored in a drawer.
Milk froth created by handheld frothers is fractionally lighter than foam created by a typical steam wand you’d find in a cafe. But They are a fun and affordable way of making a small supply of froth in one go.
How do I Clean a Handheld Milk Frother?
Cleaning is easy. Dip in a warm glass of soapy water and turn on, then do the same with clean water to rinse. Another advantage is handhelds don’t take up much space and can be taken on holiday without fuss. They can also beat eggs so you may have an all round good breakfast helped by your frothing tool.
Steam Wand Milk Frothers
You’ll find steam wands in the hands of more serious, coffee drinkers or in cafes, restaurants and at large events. They often come attached to espresso machines or as large commercial stand alone machines used for serving many people.
How do steam wands work?
A steam wand is a metal nozzle often attached to the side of an espresso machine. Water from a reservoir is boiled and steam is pumped through the nozzle. The pressurized steam warms milk (in a metal pitcher) and adds texture to the milk creating froth for cappuccinos or steamed milk for latte. They exist mainly on espresso machines.
Milk froth created by steam wands is fractionally heavier and more voluptuous than foam created by spinning whisks and hand pumps of home style frothers.
Stand Alone Milk Frothers
Stand alone milk frothers are electric powered devices which will create milk froth a minute after a touch of a button. Technical nuances are varied and often interesting.
Principal features they should have is the ability to heat and rapidly stir a jug full of milk. Some rely of induction heating while others have motors. The better stand alone milk frothers will have temperature settings. They rely on whisks to inject air into milk to create froth.
A new innovation is to include different attachable whisks for either latte or cappuccino. Further nuances can be quite varied from hot chocolate maker settings, see-through devices to dish washer friendly jugs. As with all milk frother categories the best stand alone milk frothers should be built to last.
Advantages of stand alone milk frothers are they’re electric powered and conveniently can automatically make enough froth or steamed milk for at least a few people.
Velvety, milk froth of a dense texture can be achieved with the best milk frothers, including stand alone milk frothers. Aficionados will say the froth isn’t quite as heavy as Steam wand milk froth. However, in my opinion the difference is marginal and results can create a superb cappuccino or latte.
I particularly like that the best of these types of milk frother can make steamed milk for latte and more froth for cappuccino at the touch of a button.
Commercial Milk Frothers
Commercial milk frothers are tall professional steamers that have large capacity water wells. Holding up to 3.2 gallons (12L) the best machines come with automatic pressure settings to prevent excessive pressure build up. Often they can be attached to a main supply of water and serve around 40 cups with one tank full.
Best milk frothers, using rapid steam, commercial milk frothers work like steam wands on espresso machines. They can heat the milk quickly making dense and heavy, professional milk froth.
They are effective working aside jugs of filtered coffee at events or in coffee shops. Useful nuances to look out for when finding the best commercial milk frothers are: added drip trays, cup warming plates and user friendly digital displays. Notwithstanding that, a stainless steel high quality build which will last.
Far more expensive than handheld milk frothers, they are used to serve many people. Unless you have a very large family of cappuccino or latte lovers, these milk frothers are too big for the home.
Best Milk Frothers [Buyers Guide]
The best milk frothers must create a velvety, thick milk froth, offer great usability. Some frothers will offer noticeable add-ons, i.e., latte art stencils, cleaning brushes and travel cases. More serious frothers will excel with nuances such as simpler settings on digital screens, i.e., steam milk, cold milk, warm froth and offer dishwasher safe designs. An important nuance for some coffee lovers that best milk frothers also look great in a modern kitchen.
Best Handheld Milk Frothers
- Gbivbe Rechargeable Milk Frother and Egg Whisk – Rechargeable
- PowerLix Milk Frother Handheld, AA Battery Operated Electric Whisk
With 3 speeds and a double whisk head for whipping up dense milk froth, the versatile Gbivbe ticks a smorgasbord of boxes. Good looking, durably clad in stainless steel, the Gbive is one of the most versatile milk frothers for its ability to also mix multiple food items as well as frothed milk.
Coming with 3 whisk heads, enjoy preparing a wide variety of soft items from jams and cake icing to scrambled eggs. I digress as a machine for creating velvety milk froth for cappuccinos ot lattes the Gbivbe offers 3 engine speeds: Lower motor speed will result in a more subtle froth.
Powered by rechargeable batteries, people will or will not like this feature. The upside is your milk frother won’t need a new battery for a few years while the downside is if it is a downside, there are cables and plugs to consider and perhaps its not as convenient for excursions like camping as AA powered frothers.
How do I clean the Gbivbe?
- Simply turn on in a glass of warm water and detergent for best results and then rinse.
- In addition, this handy little frother comes with a cafe art stencil kit for creating beautiful latte art.
Best Steam Wand Milk Frothers (Which Feature on Espresso machines)
You will find best steam wand milk frothers on either an espresso/frother combo or on a stand alone commercial machine (see below). The best steam wand will be made of rust proof steel. It will be partnered with a very capable espresso machine with a bean grinder.
There will be a large and transparent, removable water tank so you can see how much water is left. Automatic steam pressure will include safety mechanisms to prevent over heating, producing industry standard, wonderful, heavy froth.
- De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine – separate heating system for steaming milk
- Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine – baristas style (unpressurized filter)
The De’Longhi is a professional style espresso machine for the home. The dual heating system allows for rapid readiness of hot water for producing steam which is ejected into a milk pitcher, to warm the milk and create micro bubbles for cappuccinos and lattes.
The De’Longhi has one foot firmly stamped in the 21st century while leaving the other in a traditional Italian era of coffee making, with its metallic, shiny design, evocative of Italian bistros. Jealous glances are guaranteed from visitors. However, please note, this machine uses a pressurized portafilter system which doesn’t offer thicker crema like the Breville Barista Express. The milk frother is fool proof with buttons for steamed milk and froth rather than judging it all for yourself.
Despite having many parts as the best espresso machines with milk frothers should have, the De’Longhi is user friendly with handy metal buttons for ‘grind’ and ‘brew’ and smart tech to brew a wonderful espresso and top it off with thick milk froth.
The transparent bean container on the top allows you to see how many beans you have left while smart tech means it automatically measures how many beans are added for each espresso.
A dual cup design means you can serve your partner an espresso at the same time, better than waiting and serving one hot and another luke warm. Made from stainless steel, the frothing wand will stand the rigors of steaming for many years: a worthy choice on best milk frothers.
- With up to 3 years warranty (if you register) , the De’Longhi represents value for money despite its comparatively high price.
- The milk steamer is fool proof to use.
How do I clean the De’Longhi espresso machine with milk frother?
A descale solution and handy cleaning brush comes as standard with the De’Longhi. It’s important to keep both tanks clean; the frothing wand, and bean container are easily detached for regular cleaning. After every use the wand should be purged to prevent old milk build up.
The bean grinding process I found to be more self contained on the De’Longhi and automatically starts whirring away when the portafilter is locked in place where as, the Breville’s system was all together messier.
Stand Alone Milk Frothers
Stand alone frothers play an important role in making coffee beverages all around the world. Considerably cheaper than commercial machines, yet tasked with creating creamy froth, best milk frothers will look stylish in a kitchen at home yet still provide enough froth for a few cappuccinos at least.
Designed to be easy to operate, best milk frothers in this category will be easy to clean, quiet and manage steamed milk for lattes as well as whip up sufficient milk froth for cappuccinos.
The Breville and Hola Rico boast a valuable benefit over most other home, stand alone frothers, namely they are large (for home frothers) with the Breville holding up to 16 ounces of milk while the Hola Rico can make 20 ounces/600ml hot milk, or 300ml milk froth in one sitting.
The BMF600XL comes from the reputed Breville company who’s stellar reputation for building kitchen devices is well known and well earned. They’ve thought of about everything with their home, stand alone frother.
Made from durable stainless steel, the frother looks stylish on any kitchen counter, without dominating (the device is 6.1 x 6.4 x 10.3 inches). It’s nice to see temperature settings on a home frother. Set the dial as high as 160 F. 150 Fahrenheit (65.5 C) is the recommended temperature for silky milk froth.
Let’s not forget the simple features that often get overlooked by manufacturers such as visible markers for milk levels, a hot chocolate function and a whisk, disk for lattes prep or creating more froth for cappuccinos. The only very slight downside, is that you can’t see the froth being made as the contents are encased in the steel jug.
Commercial Milk Frothers
Dominated by brand, Hanchen, best commercial milk frothers are needed to make gallon loads of milk frother quickly and safely. The best of these will be able to be connected to an external water source for convenience. Reliable temperature settings will help provide hot water for tea or milk froth for coffee beverages. Made of stainless steel, frothing wands won’t become extremely hot, and they’ll be built to last.
- Hanchen Milk Steamer Commercial Milk Frother– Bubble Machine
- Hanchen Commercial Multipurpose Milk Frother – Large Amounts of Froth
The Hanchen milk steamer is a perfect fit for large functions, such as weddings or for serving many customers in restaurants or cafes. Made of stainless steel the Hanchen is built to last. Within just over 2 minutes, the water is hot enough.
A digital screen allows you to conveniently check the temperature. A professional feature is the auto shut off which prevents over heating and saves electricity. Plus a 4 bar pump provides a consistency of high pressure steam.
Ideally used in making tea or milk froth for cappuccinos or lattes, the Hanchen would assist any restaurant where hot drinks are served. A one year warranty provides peace of mind if you opt for this great commercial milk frother. The Hanchen is a worthy frother on the list of best milk frothers.
Best Milk Frothers – Last Words
It would be churlish of me to choose the one best milk frother as there are a handful of very different categories with very different requirements. However, their main task is to produce creamy, milk froth for coffee beverages.
The Breville, Gbivbe, De’Longhi and Hanchen excel at the task in their own way. With coffee aficionados saying a steaming wand creates the best and heaviest milk froth, the quality between the blade, whisk and steam injection methods is fractional and even the handheld that costs the equivalent of a few cups of bistro coffee can produce a tasty cappuccino froth in the right hands.
Judging the espresso machine itself to provide excellent crema is complex task. Where as the De’Longhi has created a simple frothing wand than the Breville, many coffee lovers prefer the old ‘feely touchy’ method of creating milk froth. While the De’Longhi is beautiful and the Breville is not far behind and produces more authentic crema with its use of a non-pressurised portafilter system. Both are higher end espresso machines suitable for an ambitious kitchen owner.
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