You can make top-notch lattes and cappuccinos at home with the best handheld milk frothers, but wading through the options can make the simplicity of adding foamed milk to your coffee feel like a chore. So here’s a breakdown of what you need to know.
First things first: you'll be choosing between manual milk frothers and automatic milk frothers. A manual handheld milk frother — which looks a lot like a French press — uses a hand-operated pump to aerate the milk. It takes some effort on your part, but you have greater control over the thickness of the foam. Manual frothers can also be used when heating your milk. If you prefer the convenience of a microwave, you'll want to go for a frother with a glass pitcher, but if you don't mind using the stove, a stainless steel version is a great option.
Automatic handheld frothers use a motorized whisk to aerate milk. You don't have as much control over the results, but the process is less effort on your part, since the whisk does most of the work; all you have to do is move it up and down a bit. Automatic frothers can be battery-operated or USB-rechargeable, and when it comes down to it — it's essentially a matter of whether you're better at remembering to recharge items or whether you're better at having spare batteries on hand.
For both options, you'll want to consider storage space and whether or not it's dishwasher-safe. (Hint: manual frothers tend to take up more space but are dishwasher safe; automatic frothers are smaller, but are usually not dishwasher-safe.)
Read on for our picks for best handheld milk frothers.