Milk frothers have become hugely popular in recent years as we try to emulate the taste and appearance of our favourite coffees and hot chocolates from the high street chains. But are all milk frothers created equal? And what should you be looking for when purchasing one of these handy kitchen gadgets? This guide will help you navigate the world of milk frothers and chose the model that best meets your needs.

Different types of milk frother

There are a few different types of milk frother and you have probably come across most of them if you’ve been searching for a frother online.

Handheld frothers

These are generally battery operated and look like a miniature handheld whisk; in fact, this is essentially what they are. You’ll find these available at all manner of discount stores and in the kitchenware aisle of major supermarkets. Prices range from incredibly
low upwards, but you’ll find the quality is variable, particularly in the cheapest models.

Pros

  • These frothers are cheap and readily available. They might suit you if you don’t expect to use your frother often or if you will only ever need to froth a single drink at a time.
  • They’re easy to use and to clean.
  • Can be used on most drinks, hot or cold.

Cons

  • Batteries might not last long so you’ll need to be prepared to replace them frequently. This could become expensive if you don’t use rechargeable batteries.
  • These frothers are not always particularly effective; you’ll most likely need to pay up for a decent model.

Stove top frothers

These look like a regular jug but have a frother attached to the top. They’re convenient because they allow you to heat the milk and froth it in the same container. You pour the required amount of milk into the jug and heat it on the stove until it’s at the desired temperature. Next, you fit the lid onto the jug and use the pump to froth the milk. These are easy to use and, because you are manually pumping the froth, you can choose exactly how much froth you want on your drink.

Pros

  • Easy to use and unlikely to break or fail.
  • No electrical components, which means no batteries to replace and no need for an electrical socket.
  • Generally affordable and long-lasting.
  • Can usually be cleaned in a dishwasher for convenience.
  • Great control and customisation possibilities.

Cons

  • Can’t be left unattended while the milk is heating or it might burn.
  • Because it’s not automated, you have to complete every step of the process yourself.

Electric frothers

These are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles and at a range of price points. These usually look a little like kettles and are easy to use with minimal effort. They are capable of creating heavy foams, similar to that which you’d find on a cappuccino in your favourite coffee shop. There are lots of different models on the market, so it can be tricky to decide on one if this is the type of frother you’re looking to buy.

Pros

  • Require minimal effort; simply push a button and the frother does all the work.
  • You don’t need any skill in order to produce excellent froth and foaming.
  • Some can be dishwasher cleaned.
  • Some models can prepare a variety of hot and cold drinks, including milkshakes.
  • Will not burn the milk, ensuring perfect results every time.

Cons

  • Some models have limited settings, meaning you can’t choose the temperature of the milk.
  • Some models can only handle a small quantity of milk at a time, resulting in a lengthy process if you are preparing drinks for a larger group of people.

How to choose the best milk frother for your needs

Before you decide, there are a few things you should think about. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How often do you think you’ll use the frother?
  2. Be realistic – will you really have the time or inclination to use it every day or will it be strictly for weekends and special occasions, such as when you have guests staying?
  3. Are you prepared to manually clean the frother, or does it need to be dishwasher safe?
  4. How many drinks will you want to prepare at a time?
  5. How much do you want to spend on the frother?

Answer these questions honestly and make a list of the must-have features. If you like the idea of having frothed milk on the occasional coffee at home, a budget handheld model is probably all you’ll need. If, however, you regularly drink coffee and are confident that you’ll get a lot of use out of your frother, it might be worth purchasing an electric frother which allows you to customise the temperature of the milk and the type of froth and can even be used for a variety of other drinks too.

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