Last Updated on June 13, 2021 by YourBestCoffeeMachine
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Both a handheld milk frother and an automatic milk frother can produce excellent quality frothed milk (or foam for the connoiseurs) for your coffee and milk beverages. In this article we set out all you need to know about the pros and cons of each type of frother so that you can choose the one that will suit you best.
Apart from frothing milk, the two types of frothers are very different when it comes to features and handling. The automatic frother will produce better microfoam than handheld frothers and will froth larger quantities of milk.
We have written a review article on the 2021 top milk frothers. Feel free to check it out.
Ease of Use – They are Both Easy to Use
You can start frothing milk for your coffee beverage as easy as submerging whisk in milk and press button to turn on frother. Move frother around slowly while frothing to allow milk to froth evenly. The minor disadvantage of the handheld frother is that you cannot leave the frother to froth the milk and do something else.
The automatic frothers do not require any user intervention or activity when frothing. It is as simple as pouring cold milk into frothing jug, cover jug, press button to froth cold or warm milk and pouring the frothed milk from jug when machine stops.
A Handheld Milk Frother is Easy to Clean
These frothers are very easy to clean. After using, simply make hot soapy water and put whisk in, do NOT submerge handle in water or let too much water get on the handle. Remove the whisk from soapy water in about a minute’s time and rinse the whisk thoroughly. You will then turn the frother on briefly to allow whisk to dry. Use a damp cloth to wipe handle of frother.
A few automatic milk frother brands have milk containers that are dishwasher safe and have a base that is easily cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth. Most brands do not have these features and cleaning the machine can be a bit tedious and time-consuming.
Frothing and Steaming Milk
Handheld milk frother will froth warm and cold milk in 15-30 seconds. The frother will not steam the milk, it has to be prepared on stove or in microwave before frothing.
The automatic frother will froth cold or warm milk for your coffee and milk beverages at the touch of a button. If you desire warm frothed milk, the milk can be warmed in the frother while being prepared.
Automatic Frothers Provides Better Quality
Handheld frothers will produce good quality froth for one or two individuals at a time. The froth will not be as textured as the automatic frother. And the quality of milk frothed with handheld frother will not be as consistent as milk frothed using an automatic frother.
The automatic frothers will create thicker and more enjoyable froth for your coffee beverages. They stretch the milk more consistently to produce a more refined texture.
Automatic Frothers Have Better Temperature Control
Handheld frothers do not have temperature control. The user will need a frothing thermometer to check the temperature of the milk prepared on a stove or microwave before frothing with the frother. This is to ensure that the milk is at ideal temperature range of 135 °F – 155 °F for coffee beverages.
Having a frothing thermometer is recommended to ensure you achieve the best temperature of the milk for better tasting coffee.
Once milk is at desired temperature when frothing, the machine will shut itself off. There are a few models that let you choose the temperature you want the milk to froth at before the machine shuts off.
Handheld Milk Frothers Win for Portability and Durability
The main fact that these milk frothers are small, lightweight and battery operated means they can be taken with you and used with no hassle. They are an excellent choice for frothing milk when going on camping, road trips, or visiting relatives, and you want to enjoy a great cup of coffee.
The stem and handle (on some models) is made of premium quality stainless steel which makes them very durable.
Not very portable as they require an electrical outlet to operate. The automatic milk frother is robust and are also made with premium quality stainless steel.
Only frothing jug is made of stainless steel on most models, handle and the base is made of plastic or rubber.
Price Comparison – Handheld Milk Frothers are MUCH Cheaper
Prices range from £5 to £35 for the handheld frothers.
Prices range from £50 to £165 for automatic frothers. The much higher priced frothers will froth more milk and has more features, for example, induction heating and temperature control.
Which Types of Milk Can I Use
Handheld frothers will froth all kinds of milk. Whole milk does give better results when you are frothing.
Automatic frothers does not froth heavier milks well, for example, rice and soy milk. The machines will not produce as great results with these types of milk as with others.
Uses little power, most models are powered by two AA batteries and others two AAA batteries. The small disadvantage of this is that you will need to have spare batteries around, which is not always the case when it comes to the average household.
Frothing milk with the automatic frother will not take long periods of time, therefore power consumption is minimal.
Noise Level – Handheld Frothers are Very Quiet
Hand held frothers are extremely quiet.
On average, most automatic frother are quiet, some are a bit noisier that the handheld frothers.
A Handheld Milk Frother is Small and Easy to Store
Small and convenient frother that can be stored anywhere in your kitchen.
A bit more cumbersome and requires more storage space than the handheld frothers. However, if you use your automatic frother very often storing will not be a huge problem as it can be kept on the kitchen counter.
Side by Side Comparison of the two types of milk Frothers
Summary – Hand Held Milk Frother or Automatic Milk Frother?
There are significant differences between the two types of frothers that sets them apart.
Both devices will perform their most important function of frothing milk, but when it comes to the outcome and quality of froth, the automatic frothers will outclass handheld frothers.
However, it will take less time to froth milk with handheld frother and they cost a lot less that automatic frothers. So if you’re short on time and not on cash, we recommend an automatic milk frother for the superior outcome and speed. However, if you prefer to keep things simple, and enjoy taking your time (or if cash is tight but you really need that foam!) – the handheld milk frother is for you!