If you’re a fan of smooth and frothy lattes or cappuccinos and want one first thing in the morning or don’t want to spend the money at your local coffee shop, making them at home is not as hard as it would appear. You don’t need an expensive space guzzling espresso machine that also steams and froths milk. Instead you can use your regular espresso maker/french press/drip coffee maker, microwave/stovetop or a small inexpensive tool like an electric frother wand. We’ll show you why the last tool is excellent for the job and help you find what is the best handheld milk frother for coffee and other frothy drinks.
With a little bit of practice you can make a great head of foam for your lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolates, milkshakes and matcha teas from your own favorite ingredients. You can even make bulletproof coffee if that’s your preferred beverage, whip eggs and much more.
While there are other tools that you can use to create milk foam, the automatic handheld frother is probably the least expensive but most convenient, whether you’re at home or traveling because they’re small, easy to clean, and don’t require muscle power to use. Manual plunger-type frothers require quite a bit of effort to use, while electric jug frothers take up counter or shelf space and are not easy to clean. So what is the best handheld milk frother to use at home? We’ll give you the best options ahead for you to select from.
How Does a Handheld Milk Frother Work and Does it Heat the Milk?
Handheld milk frothers don’t heat up the milk as it froths, unlike the steamer wand attached to an espresso machine or an electric jug-type frother. Therefore, you can either pre-warm the milk and use the foam as is or heat the foam i the microwave a little more after frothing. You should not heat the milk too much before frothing because it’s easier to make foam out of just warm milk.
This type of electric milk frother is either battery powered or USB rechargeable. While you don’t have to remember to keep the frother charged for the former, you will need to keep spare batteries handy. The latter type comes with a USB charging cable but you’ll have to leave it out for charging when the inbuilt battery is low.
To froth milk, the milk frother whisk’s head is dipped into a mug of milk before turning it on. The rotating head creates a whirlpool around it while pulling in air to create bubbles and you’ll have nice frothy mix that’s ready to use in less than 30 seconds.
Best Handheld Battery Operated Milk Frother
This is the most popular type of electric handheld frother and is easy to travel with, as it is cordless and all you need to take along with the frother are the batteries. No need to worry about compatible power points if you’re in a foreign country. However, you should keep in mind that the batteries will need to be replaced from time to time.
PowerLix Milk Frother Handheld Battery Operated Electric Foam Maker For Coffee
The most popular portable milk frother is the PowerLix battery operated milk frother. It is powerful with 19000 rotations per minute of its dual spring spiral whisk, making it the best handheld milk frother for bulletproof coffee. The shaft and whisk head is made of high quality stainless steel so that it doesn’t break or rust.
Its power means that you should fill your mug no more than halfway to ensure the milk doesn’t spill over. You have to press and hold the power button on the top of the soft touch handle while frothing and you should have perfectly foamy milk in about 20 seconds. The best way to hold the frother is with four fingers wrapped around the handle and the thumb pressing on the button.
The total length is 9″ but the length of the shaft is 3.5″, which means it’s not ideal for taller mugs and beakers. However, it is one of the less noisy frothers on the market.
This frother needs 2 AA batteries and they’re not included. What is included is a stand for countertop storage of the frother. This gadget is available in black, silver and red and is compact enough for travel without the stand.
You can do more than just froth milk with this model. It works great for almond and coconut milks too, along with matcha tea, protein shakes and milkshakes.
One area of concern with the Powerlix is that the power button starts to fail after a few months and you have to press it in a certain way to get it to run. However, the Powerlix frother comes with a lifetime warranty and will be replaced if this happens.
Zulay Original Milk Frother Handheld Foam Maker by Milk Boss
The Zulay Original Milk Frother Handheld Foam Maker by Milk Boss is very similar to the Powerlix but is available in 17 different colors, so if you have a color themed kitchen, you can buy one of these to place on your counter to match. It also comes with a sturdy stainless steel stand.
This frother also has the power button at the top of the handle and by pressing it just enough you can limit the speed to 13500 rpm for a long lasting motor or depress it fully for 18500 rpm and an ultra-high power motor. However, most users find it difficult to press the button for the lower speed and just use it at the higher speed.
If it stops working after a few months, the lifetime warranty will get you a free replacement. It works on 2 AA batteries that are not included.
The shaft is 3.5″ long so is not ideal for use in a tall pitcher with more than a small quantity of milk or other liquids.
Elementi Milk Frother with Stainless Steel Whisk & Stand
The Elementi Milk Frother is our budget pick for handheld frothers. Its design is similar to the above two frothers but this one comes with a two year warranty.
The button is touch responsive and depending on how much pressure you apply on it, it will run at either 15000 or 19000 rpm, although the lower speed is not as easy to achieve. However, the high speed is great for making bulletproof coffee and frothing any liquid super fast.
The length of the shaft is 4″ and you’ll need to buy 2 AA batteries to run it.
The handle comes in 4 different colors.
Bonsenkitchen Electric Milk Frother
For another budget option, the Bonsenkitchen Electric Milk Frother doesn’t come with a stand but does come with two AA batteries.
This model is also a one touch activation frother but the button is not right at the top but on the side and near the top. Some users find this placement awkward for continuously holding down.
The stainless steel shaft and whisk are together 4 inches long and this frother comes with either a silver or black handle.
This frother runs at a very high speed and handles blending bulletproof coffee perfectly.
Cafe Casa Frothy Hand Mixer and Milk Frother
This is a handheld frother that’s designed a bit differently. The Cafe Casa Frothy Hand Mixer and Milk Frother is a good one for those who don’t like to keep a power button pressed the whole time while frothing.
There are three switch positions on the side of the handle of this frother – off, low and high. The two speeds available are 13000 and 15000 rpms. You insert the shaft and whisk head into your milk while it’s off then turn it on by selecting one of two speeds. To reduce the risk of the milk splashing out of the mug, start it at the slower speed. You can then move it to the higher one if you need more power for your frothing job like making bulletproof coffee. Switching speeds or turning it on or off has to happen while the whisk is immersed in the liquid so this might feel a bit finicky until you get used to doing it.
This frother doesn’t come with a stand because it doesn’t need one. It stands on its own on the base of the handle where the battery cover is. Unlike the above frothers, this entire gadget is made of stainless steel, so its body is solid and sturdy while standing on its base.
The shaft is 5″ long so it can be used in a taller mug or pitcher.
Best Rechargeable Milk Frother
If you’re environmentally conscious and don’t like replacing batteries every now and then, you can get a rechargeable handheld milk frother that uses a USB cable to charge it while not in use. This type is best used for the home or when traveling with a USB charger or laptop unless you’re certain that wherever you’re staying has USB charging points.
FoodVille MF02 Rechargeable Milk Frother Handheld Foam Maker with Stainless Whisk
You’ll pay a little bit more but you get more bang for your buck with the FoodVille MF02 Rechargeable Milk Frother Handheld Foam Maker with Stainless Whisk. What you get is the FoodVille MF02 Frother Wand, a frother whisk head, a balloon whisk head, a USB charging cable and a user manual. While the frother whisk can be used to froth drinks, the balloon whisk is better for blending more viscous or stubborn ingredients with a larger surface area, like eggs and batters.
There is no stand but it stands on its own turned upside down on the flat base.
The frother whisk is a double layered spiral head to make your frothing job much faster. In addition, it features 3 speed levels-19000 rpm, 21000 rpm and 23000 rpm. Each is selected by just a single power button placed on the side of the wand near the top. Each level is spaced with a stop so when you want to stop frothing, a single press is enough. An LED light track that runs just below the button shows you which speed it’s currently on.
A 4th LED light turns on when the frother is charging via its built-in rechargeable 2000 mAh capacity battery. Once fully charged you’ll get up to 4 hrs of run time. Since the frothing will take less than 20 seconds, that’s a long time!
You can switch out the frother with the balloon whisk whenever needed, as the shafts of both connect to the wand via a spring-like connection. This means that you can wash the heads in the dishwasher but it is also easy to just run them is a mug of soapy water.
The newer model eliminates complaints that it is difficult to interchange between the frother and blender without breaking it as the connection design is now better.
This gadget comes with a 3 year warranty.
Best Handheld Milk Frother for Latte Art – with batteries or rechargeable
Making latte art the traditional way takes a lot of practice but if you want pretty patterns on top of your cup of coffee without the hassle, then you could cheat and use stencils to make a pattern over a normal layer of foam. It is the inverse of what baristas do. If you want to try your hand at both kinds of art, then get the XIMU USB rechargeable frother reviewed below because it comes with stencils and a coffee art pen that will get you the barista latte art in an easier way. The rest of the handheld frothers below come with a set of stencils for only the inverse art.
XIMU Handheld USB Rechargeable Milk Frother
The XIMU Handheld USB Rechargeable Milk Frother is an option if you don’t want to use disposable batteries. This set not only comes with a detachable milk frother whisk with double spiral head, balloon whisk and USB charging cable, but you also get a stand, a set of 16 coffee stencils and a coffee art pen.
You get 3 speeds with this frother so you can start frothing your drink at a low speed to prevent splashing and then move up to high to finish the job fast. Each press of the power button changes its speed. To turn it off, just press and hold the button for 2-3 seconds.
Once fully charged you can get about one hour total running time on high speed or 1.5 hours on medium/low speed. To switch between whisks you just pull.
This handheld frother is great for latte art and you can do both kinds of latte art with this set – the proper barista kind and the inverse kind. For barista art, you pour the foam over your brewed coffee in as best a pattern as you can, then use the coffee pin to add detail to it by teasing the foam out into points and curves. For the inverse kind, pour the foam on top of your coffee uniformly and use any of the included stencils to sprinkle some coffee or cocoa powder into the cut outs.
Milk Boss Zulay Milk Frother Complete Set
One of the highest rated frothers paired with a milk pitcher and stencil set is a great gift idea for coffee lovers! The Zulay Milk Frother Complete Set is very useful if you want to froth milk for 1 or 2 cappuccinos.
In addition to the Zulay frother that’s described above you also get a stand for the frother, a 12 ounce frothing pitcher and a set of 4 cute latte art stencils. All these accessories are made of quality stainless steel. Although you can technically heat your milk directly in the pitcher on an induction stove because it is made of stainless steel, it’s best to preheat your milk and pour it into the pitcher for frothing. The spout allows you to pour foam over your coffee in nice patterns if you want to practice latte art like a barista instead of using the stencils.
PowerLix Milk Frother Complete Set
Another best rated rated handheld milk frother reviewed above that you can buy with accessories is the PowerLix Milk Frother Complete Set. This one comes with a stand, a 12 oz pitcher and a single strip of 3 stencils. All these accessories are made of stainless steel.
The milk pitcher provided can be used on a gas or electric stovetop but not on induction. It can’t be used in the microwave.
The frother runs at 19000 rpms and will need two AA batteries.
Silver Fork High Powered Milk Frother Complete Set
Another frother that comes with stencils is the Silver Fork High Powered Milk Frother Set. This is also a battery operated handheld frother with a one touch power button on the side of the handle. It is powerful at 19000 rpms and can be used to make bulletproof coffee or foam all types of milk, mix protein shakes, hot chocolate and matcha tea. You’ll need to use your own pair of AA batteries, as they are not included.
The accessories you get in this set are a stainless steel stand, 4 stainless steel stencils and a stainless steel shaker with mesh top for cocoa powder or powdered coffee or cinnamon to get perfectly done latte art over the milk foam in your cup of coffee.
How to Use a Handheld Milk Frother
Before you learn how to use a milk frother wand you should know that you won’t get the same froth results for every type of milk. Dairy milk contains protein that helps hold bubbles for a longer time and the fat in whole milk makes frothing easier and faster compared to skim milk. However, whipping heavy cream will take a really long time as it is quite viscous.
Even the best milk frother for almond milk may not give you the same results if it’s used for dairy milk. This is because almond milk is basically finely crushed almonds with water and no protein or soluble fat so you may not get a creamy microfoam but instead get a lighter and airier froth. With a bit of technique, you can disperse the larger bubbles that tend to form with non-dairy and skim milk.
You should also know that room temperature or warm milk is easier to froth than hot. This may not be ideal if you want to make a latte or cappuccino but you can heat your milk a little in the microwave or on the stovetop after you finish frothing it and it won’t lose any foam.
So with that in mind, fill your tall mug or beaker with cold or slightly warmed milk not more than 1/2 of the way up, as the foam that forms will raise the level. If you’re making a latte, the proportion of milk to foam should be around 3:1 and if you’re making a cappuccino it should be around 1:1.
Dip the frother head completely into the milk and turn it on so as to not make a mess. Now while it’s on, slowly bring the head up towards the surface. Keep it just under the surface and at an angle so that a small part of the spinning coil just skims the surface. Slowly move it around the surface and dip it under so that the bubbles formed are pulled in. Don’t worry if you see a lots of large bubbles forming at this stage because the idea here is to get as much air in as possible.
Once it looks like you have enough of a foam to milk ratio, fully submerge the frother head while it’s still running and slowly move it around near the middle and bottom. This will pull the larger bubbles under to make smaller bubbles and will turn the foam into a creamy microfoam mixture.
Once you’re happy with the volume and look of the foam, turn off the frother and remove. Gently tap the bottom of the beaker or mug on the kitchen counter to disperse any stubborn large bubbles. You can now use the milk and foam mixture as is or heat mug in the microwave or on very low heat on the stovetop for a few seconds before adding it to your brewed espresso.
If you want to get creative, you can even try making latte art. We show you how below.
How to Clean a Handheld Milk Frother
Automatic handheld frothers can’t be cleaned in the dishwasher but there’s a very easy alternative. If just rinsing under the tap is not enough because of milk skin that may stick, just take a glass with a drop or two of dishwashing liquid soap and warm water, dip the frother head in and run it for a few seconds. To rinse, just hold the head under running water for a few seconds.
How to Make Latte Art with a Milk Frother
There are two ways to make cappuccino or latte art. The professional baristas practice a lot and pour foamed milk in a pattern over the cup of coffee. You can take the easier route and pour the foam as usual in a layer on top of the coffee and then use a stencil to “draw” a pattern over the foam using coffee or cocoa powder. If you want to become an expert and wow your guests with the traditional way, take a look at the below tutorial.