Best Manual Milk Frother - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

If you believe that doing things by hand means that quality is guaranteed, then your espresso drinks will benefit from the best manual milk frother.

The reason why many people use the automatic milk frothers is because of their convenience but the truth is these are the weakest devices on the espresso machine and are often prone to fail. Having a manual milk frother guarantees you will have something that may even outlast the espresso machine while providing the perfect complement to any espresso drink. Of course, doing the milk frothing by hand is not nearly as easy as using the wand, but it is more rewarding, and you deserve those ephemeral types of rewards.

Not all manual milk frothers are created equal, so we have made a list of the best and ranked them based on our experience with them. Check out the table below for our top picks.

Why You Should Froth your Milk?

When it comes to having a fantastic cappuccino, macchiato, latte, or even an espresso drink, having frothed milk adds a layer of texture to the drink that it would otherwise lack. Because the coffee itself has more of a bold taste, the milk, or cream, acts as a balancing note to bring out the rich notes of the bold flavor.

The other great benefit of frothing your milk is that you can have incredible presentation. Instead of the bland looking cup of coffee, foamed milk allows you to personalize your drink in a new and exciting way. This is the perfect thing for dinner parties – at the end of the night with coffee and dessert, any one of the drinks above is a perfect way to end the evening, but with the right amount of foamed milk, it adds a touch of elegance that would otherwise be missing.

#1 HIC Milk Frother

Let us be honest with each other – you are probably not buying a milk frother because you like how it looks – let alone a manual milk frother because not only would that be a silly way to spend roughly twenty dollars, but because if you do that you are failing to acknowledge the other, more important parts of the milk frothing experience. Fortunately, the HIC milk frother combines form and function in a way that does not leave you feeling guilty for saying, “Hey, that looks pretty nice, I’ll buy it!”

The first reason you will enjoy the HIC milk frother is because the frother itself holds 14 ounces of milk. You may be wondering how this is applicable to your needs, but when you are brewing cappuccinos or lattes, 14 ounces becomes quite generous and allows you to hone not only your frothing skills but also creating those awesome patterns that you see in the drinks professional baristas make.

Again, simplicity reigns supreme here, and once you put the warm or chilled milk in the frother, all you do is use the plunger to get the desired aeration into the milk. It literally could not be easier. After you finish that task, all you need to do is add the milk to your espresso drink and voila – you have now elevated your home barista game for less money than it takes to buy a new hardcover book at Barnes & Noble.

Now you may think there is no way this particular milk frother could have issues, but the reality is that it does and unfortunately they must be addressed. The first is milk has been known to escape through the lid and spray everywhere. Not sure if this is a user error or a functional problem, but it has happened enough times that it ought not to be discounted. The other problem – it does not come with instructions, so unless you know what you are doing you could be completely lost and have issues with the milk escaping through the lid, perhaps.

Ultimately, the HIC is a fantastic option for the home barista and it proves that doing something by hand is reasonable and easy.

Pros

  • Fantastic stainless steel design provides elegance along with function
  • The plunger is really easy to use so it does not take a rocket scientist to get it done
  • Works equally well with warm or chilled milk

Cons

  • Unit does not come with instructions so you are left to your own devices to figure it out
  • There are some issues with the lid spewing milk as the plunger is being used

#2 Zell French Press and Milk Frother Set

Just because something exists at a discount does not make it a poor product – in fact discounted items are often where you can find incredible value, so when Zell decided that having a French press along with its milk frother would be a good idea, coffee enthusiasts appropriately reacted with joy because now two of the great joys of coffee will be there for you – the French press and the milk frother.

In our review, however, we are going to focus on the milk frother. There are plenty of other French press reviews to peruse. The first thing to notice is the borosilicate glass. This is an extremely strong glass that makes it resistant to breaking and any other issues that my plague the home barista. Furthermore, the class makes it incredibly safe for the dishwater, and you don’t have to worry about burning your hand on a metal canister. It’s good not to get burned, right?

With a 13 ounce size, the milk frother allows you to have a great amount of milk for your drink. Other milk frothers might have less size, but if you can’t make do with 13 ounces, then the problem is not with the milk frother. The stainless steel plunger is the perfect way to accompany this great design. It allows you to get the most out of each plunge – your arm won’t be aching when you have foamy milk.

There are some drawbacks, specifically what if you don’t need the French press – it may be a little extraneous. However, there are more important issues – there are way too many reports of this particular unit being shipped with cracks. In some cases, the cracks are small and not noticeable until using the milk frother. Also, the knob and plunger have been known to break if applying too much force.

When you have a great buy one get one sale, the value is apparent, and in the case of the Zell, there are many reasons to purchase this particular set, especially if you enjoy the French press.

Pros

  • Great bonus with the inclusion of the French press in the packaging
  • The glass is of a particularly tough blend, so you can rest assured it will never crack if you receive it in tact
  • Stainless steel plunger does all the work so you don’t have to exhaust yourself for frothy milk

Cons

  • Lots of shipping issues where the glass has been broken; thoroughly inspect before using
  • Plunger attachments have been known to be flimsy, aside from the stainless steel attachments be aware

#3 Norpro Glass Milk Frother

The Norpro Glass Milk Frother stands defiantly against the idea that frothing milk with steam is the best way to get that wonderful milk foam. In fact, the company’s literature pretty much indicates they are willing to give the side eye to those that use the milk wand on espresso makers instead of doing it the way it should be done – by hand.

Norpro decided to put their gambit out there and created a milk frother that costs roughly $10. Included are instructions and recipes along with the device itself – a glass canister with a lid and plunger that effectively and efficiently froths your milk. There are no frills here, and the singular purpose of this machine is making the best frothed milk. No more, no less.

There are a couple issues, however. The first is the glass is very thin. This is a problem because thin glass is prone to chipping, cracking, and in the worst case scenario, breaking. The other issue people seem to have is an inability to clean the frother properly. Again, the thin glass and small parts of the plunger can be problematic, but hopefully Norpro will address this with revised instructions.

If you are looking for a no-frills just froth milk frother, the Norpro is a worthy addition to your kitchen.

Pros

  • Simple, no frills frother gives you exactly what you need
  • The price for this milk frother can’t be beat, so it’s worth taking a shot on it
  • Instructions make it so that you know how to use it without problems

Cons

  • Glass is very thin and it breaks a bit too easily
  • This machine is a bit hard to clean

#4 Bialetti Glass Milk Frother

When you want something that stands out the for all the right reasons, price is rarely a consideration, but how wonderful is it if you can get that stand out item while not having to pay through the nose to get it?

With the Bialetti, you get a sharp looking milk frother that takes form and function to a whole new level. Yes, milk frothing is straight forward but the Bialetti has a couple features that would be very intriguing to the home barista.

The first is the double frothing pump action. Most manual milk frothers have a single pump but with the double pump you are guaranteed to get more air into the milk and therefore you will create a better foam for your coffee drinks.

The other great feature is the microwave safe ability of this particular milk frother. Instead of having to heat the milk and then put it in the frother, just simply pour the milk in the microwave, take it out, froth it to the desired foaminess, and there you go – perfectly frothed milk in half the time. That’s a hard bargain to turn down.

As for the problems with the Bialetti, even though it has the double pump screens, the screens don’t go all the way down, so you will need to fill the frother with about a half of a cup of milk for it to work. The other issue is the handle does not work for everyone and can be slippery. You don’t need to be the person dealing with broken glass, so be careful.

Overall, this is an ambitious milk frother that is easy to use and will provide the right amount of foam.

Pros

  • Uniquely designed milk frother that looks great and performs its job fairly well
  • Double pump action allows you to get even more air into your milk and therefore create a better foam
  • Microwave safe so you can heat your milk quickly and froth it instead of having to wait around

Cons

  • Pump screens don’t go all the way to the bottom making you have to use a ½ cup of milk every time you use it
  • The handle is not very well designed and several people have reported that it can be quite slippery

#5 BlinkOne Milk Frother

You know how idioms can be essentially meaningless word salads? In the case of the idiom, “big things come in small packages”, the idea is to manage your expectations. And just like you should never judge a book by its cover, you should never judge the effectiveness of a milk frother based solely on the compact size of the device.

With the BlinkOne – and weirdly it sees appropriately named given its size – you get a compact milk frother that provides a great deal of quality. This particular milk frother advertises how well it works with the different types of milk including soy milk and almond milk. Besides with the different milks available, you can use the milk frother easily thanks to an amazingly ergonomic handle. It is also far enough removed from the unit that you won’t get burned by brushing up against a warm frother.

The other great benefit is that this milk frother is dishwasher safe. Thanks to being dishwasher safe, you can clean this particular frother with ease.

There are some issues to deal with regarding the BlinkOne, however. The pump does not seem fit entirely in the unit, so it can rattle around and not do as good a job as other milk frothers. The other consideration that you should be aware of is the knob on the plunger has a tendency to break off after a few uses. Again, you get what you pay for and when you have devices that are smaller than others, the miniaturization can be an issue.

Overall, the BlinkOne is a good milk frother for the price and the size is unobtrusively brilliant.

Pros

  • Small, compact design means this particular milk frother is exceptionally easy to store
  • Handle is incredibly well designed and far enough away that you can hold the frother with confidence even if there is hot milk inside it
  • Dishwasher safe design means you do not have to worry about making sure this milk frother is clean

Cons

  • The pump seems a little small for the milk frother so you may not have the easiest time frothing your milk
  • The knob on the plunger has a tendency to fall off without being used all that often

Manual Versus Electric Frothers

The reason why you may prefer a manual milk frother to an electric milk frother is because you have a great amount of control over the manual device. Generally, the electric milk frothers tend to be wands and if not used right milk will spray everywhere – and if that milk is warmed now you have a whole different issue with possible scalding. No one wants that.

Manual milk frothers allow customization and individualization for you and your guests. Simply use the plunger just like you would the French press, and getting that foamed milk is easier than ever. For milk frothers that are microwave safe, you can heat up milk very quickly and have the perfect accompaniment to that espresso drink. Overall, the manual milk frother makes sense because not everything should be automated.

Conclusion

Manual milk frothers are a cheap, easy way to take your home barista game to the next level. Instead of relying on all different types of electrical gadgets, a few pumps of the plunger guarantees you will have exceptionally frothed milk without the hassle of cleaning an electrical machine or having to fish out new batteries.

Jill Scott
 

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