Handheld vs Automatic: What Is The Right Milk Frother For You?

 We all know how bitter coffee can get. To balance that bitterness and enhance the overall flavor for the coffee, we have the foamy, delicious layer of frothed milk on top. And who does not love the catching great latte art? This can be done easily with the help of a milk frother. In getting yourself the best milk frother, a decision you need to make is which type to choose. Here is a comparison of the two most popular types of milk frother: handheld and electric milk frother.

Froth Quality

This is the number one concern for people who wish to enjoy delicious homemade coffee.

The electric milk frother is the clear winner in this case because it can produce froth of excellent quality and refined texture. With this device, you do not have to worry about overly high milk temperature: you can choose the setting you want and the device will automatically shut itself down once it reaches your preset temperature.

The handheld milk frother does not have that temperature control function so you need the help of an thermometer to make sure the milk will not be scalded. With the right technique, you can produce froth of good quality, though it tends to be less consistent and thinner than what create with the electric counterpart.

Types of Milk For Frothing

The handheld milk frother has a slight edge in this category. It can froth any type of milk so if you need soy milk, you can use it. Before using, you need to steam the cold milk first (take note that the input milk should be as cold as possible and is taken out straight from the refrigerator).

On the other hand, electric milk frother does not handle heavy milk well. As a result, you should not use soy milk and rice milk. Whole milk is recommended for best froth quality. The device comes with the heating feature so that you can skip the step of heating milk in the oven or sauce pan.

Output Quantity

If you tend to make coffee for yourself only, you will have no problem with the limited quantity of milk that the handheld milk frother can handle. But when you have group of guest to serve, you will surely prefer the electric thanks to its ability to work with larger milk input quantity.


How portable the device is depends on whether it is powered by electricity or battery. A handheld milk frother is very easy to store and bring with you when you travel because it is very compact and lightweight. You need to have spare battery around always, though.

In case of an electric milk frother, you need access to electricity to use the device; therefore it is less convenient to bring along: you cannot use it in case of blackout. Plus, it is bigger and takes up a little more counter space. However, it does not consume a lot of energy  and requires only a little time for produce frothed milk.


Both devices are highly durable and have parts that are dishwasher-safe. Some plastic/rubber parts in an electric milk frother do not last as long as components made of quality stainless steel


The ease of cleaning is almost the same for both types.


Your budget can be a big factor in deciding with type of milk frother to choose.  An electric milk frother is obviously more expensive but it has more advanced features to make up for the price. The handheld type is much more affordable but generally requires more equipment with it: a separate jug, a thermometer and also some sort of heating device to heat up the cold milk before frothing.

Between the two types, the electric milk frother is a more advanced and costly option while the handheld one is more portable. It is hard to say which one is better so you need to consider your priority before making your purchase. Do you love to make your own coffee when you travel? How many people do you normally make coffee for? Are you very demanding about froth quality? How much are you willing to spend? By answering these questions, you will know exactly which type you are looking for.