Do you find you can’t get enough espresso?
The problem is, however delicious those strong, short shots are, espresso isn’t an all-day drink.
Fortunately, using espresso as a base, you can create myriad longer and creamier coffees from latte and cappuccino to mocha and macchiato along with much, much more.
All you’ll need is a great espresso machine and, with the minimum of effort, you’ll be pouring shots like a barista.
Now, if the espresso maker you’re looking at doesn’t come with an onboard frother – and many of them don’t have this in place – you’ll need to consider picking up a separate milk frother.
Whether you opt to go the manual, battery-powered or electric route, finding the best frother can be a minefield unless you know what you’re looking for. Luckily, we do.
Today, then, we’ll be reviewing the strongest models in a crowded market. We’ll also be throwing in the usual array of buying guidance so you can find the right frother for you even if you’re not interested in any of the models on our shortlist.
We don’t think that’s going to happen, though. If you’re impatient for the main event, here’s a snapshot of our top picks along with a breakdown of their key features.
I. Our Top Picks for Milk Frothers
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
Our #1 Pick: Best Handheld Milk Frother: PowerLix Milk Frother
Runner-Up: Nestle Nespresso Aeroccino3 Milk Frother
Upgrade Pick: Best Electric Milk Frother: Breville Milk Café Milk Frother
Upgrade Pick: Zulay Original Milk Frother
Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother
Miroco Milk Frother
Bodum Latteo Manual Milk Frother
Aerolatte Milk Foamer
HIC Milk Creamer Frother
Bonsenkitchen Electric Milk Frother
Bellemain Stainless Steel Manual Milk Frother
VAVA Milk Frother Electric Liquid Heater
Ninja Coffee Bar Milk Frother
II. What Kind of Milk Frothers Are There?
Now, we’ll pause right here to outline the various types of milk frother at your disposal.
Each kind of milk frother has its own merits and drawbacks. There’s no right or wrong answer here, so you need to make it personal.
In a pinch, you can froth milk using a French press, a whisk, or even a kitchen blender. None of these makeshift methods will yield the same consistency or quality of froth as using the right piece of kit, though.
Choose from the following:
- Handheld frother
- Battery-operated or electric frother
- Steam wand
Like a battery-operated whisk that you place directly into your mug of milk, handheld frothers work like mini immersion blenders.
The whisk runs continuously. You combine this with an up-and-down manual motion so that sufficient air is whipped into the milk to create the froth you want for your longer, creamier coffees.
Handheld frothers are compact and inexpensive. They also come into their own for a range of other whisking tasks so you get great overall value and a truly multipurpose kitchen tool. The milk generated is light, foamy, and packed with large bubbles. This works wonderfully for cappuccino. As crowning glory, these frothers also couldn’t be easier to clean.
The absence of a lid means you run the risk of milk splattering around the kitchen. You can’t heat or cool the milk with these things, either. A lack of precision means there’s not too much texture to the milk. Only you know whether these drawbacks outweigh the shower of benefits above.
Battery-Operated or Electric Frother
These automated frothers are electrically-powered jugs that heat the milk then spin it to give you the even and consistently silky foam you want for lip-smacking latte.
You’ll notice an improvement in terms of the quality of the frothed milk you can turn out and you won’t struggle to use these frothers either. Push-button ease defines these machines.
On the flip-side, these units tend to be bulkier, have limited capacity (typically 8oz), and they can be a real pain to wash. Look for a model that’s dishwasher-safe.
Steam wands are baked into espresso machines and they’ll give you the best foamed and steamed milk. This will serve up both texture and bubbles in a velvety foam your local barista would be proud of.
With a great deal of latitude to customize your foam, these steam wands give you the best microfoam for lattes.
There’s a learning curve to master and these frothers are also the most expensive of the bunch.
OK, with that basic foundation in place, it’s time to push on with our milk frother reviews.
III. The 13 Best Milk Frothers
1. Our #1 Pick: Best Handheld Milk Frother: PowerLix Milk Frother
Our overall favorite milk frother is this rugged manual model from PowerLix. Many of these things feel super-fragile, but this frother has a pleasing rigidity. Where else does it stand out, then?
Running on a couple AA batteries, once you have got these in – it’s surprisingly tricky to slot them into place – you’ll get a remarkably user-friendly experience.
The motor spins the blades at a brisk 19,000 rpm so you get the rich and long-lasting froth you’re looking for to build out your espresso-based coffees.
The broad range of colors lets you avoid the usual black and silver that dominate this type of kitchenware.
Very simple to clean, too, the PowerLix should be your go-to manual milk frother.
Backed by a lifetime warranty, you can buy this frother in total confidence knowing that the manufacturer has your back.
2. Runner-Up: Nestle Nespresso Aeroccino3 Milk Frother
Nestle’s Nespresso line of coffee machines is a heavyweight in the single-serve coffee space. As you’d expect, this milk frother delivers fully even if you need to dig deeper for the privilege.
Using this frother couldn’t be easier even if you’re a complete beginner. All you need to do is push the button you need and you can froth hot or cold milk with confidence.
When you’re done, the auto shut-off function is welcome and means you can go about your business without worrying about a thing.
The compact footprint of this frother makes it the ideal travel companion. Sick of those limp drip coffees you get in some hotel rooms? Jazz them up by frothing some milk and building a far more appetizing morning pick-me-up.
Froth capacity is 4oz while you can whip up double that amount of hot milk.
The non-stick surface means you won’t need to mess around with any tasky clean-up when you’re done.
3. Upgrade Pick: Best Electric Milk Frother: Breville Milk Café Milk Frother
Breville has a hard-won reputation for producing outstanding kitchenware, and their venture into the coffee vertical has seen the same attention to detail and quality benefit you, the caffeine lover. How does this frother stand out, then?
Well, if you’re looking for a cheap electric frother, this is not the model for you. If you don’t mind paying out for the ease of use and versatility this Breville delivers, read on…
The latte frothing disc is designed to return the smooth and silky milk you need to create a first-class latte. There’s also a cappuccino disc so you can get the froth right there, too. Throw in hot chocolate powder or flakes to the milk as it warms and you can even use this frother to rustle up a quick cup of cocoa.
This versatile frother can cope with all types of milk so you can enjoy a wide variety of drinks without ever needing to leave home.
The induction heating system is highly efficient and you won’t be standing on ceremony while your milk and froth is created for you in the background.
4. Best Budget: Zulay Original Milk Frother
Anyone hunting for an inexpensive milk frother is walking a tightrope. There are plenty of cheap frothers out there, but most of them are useless. The Zulay Original, on the other hand, shouldn’t let you down as long as you don’t start throwing it around the kitchen.
The versatility of this manual milk frother lets you create all types of espresso-based coffee that need milk or foam as well as hot chocolate, matcha, and a range of other beverages. There’s not much you can’t do with this frother.
In a sea of similar black and silver frothers, the striking array of colors gives you maximum choice.
Battery-operated, you won’t be tethered to a power outlet and you can take this frother when you head away on vacation meaning you’ll never need to lose out on your favorite coffee again.
5. Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother
Secura make some great equipment for coffee lovers, and this automatic electric milk frother continues that winning tradition.
Made from stainless steel, you won’t need to worry about this frother breaking down and you won’t need to worry about the milk cooling down too quickly either thanks to the vacuum insulation baked in.
Note that this frother runs only on 110 volts so think twice if you live outside of North America. For 220 volts, you’ll need to use a transformer, so you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Ideal for both hot and cold milk, you’ll even get a cleaning brush thrown in so you can blitz this frother quickly after use.
The detachable base gives you extra freedom when you’re pouring and you can move around the kitchen with ease.
Use a different combination of button presses for cold or hot milk so you can get the creation you want with the very minimum of fanfare.
6. Miroco Milk Frother
Are you looking for an electric milk frother you don’t need tech-skills to operate? The Miroco is a sleek jug finished in stainless steel that’s built to stay the distance even if you put it through sustained and heavy use.
All you need to do is punch a button and you’ll get the rich and long-lasting froth you want for a selection of milk-based coffees from latte and cappuccino to macchiato and flat whites.
The non-stick coating means there’s no unsightly mess smeared and stuck all over when you’re done. This typically messy clean-up is what puts many people off buying a frother so Miroco puts an end to that.
The only real drawback of this frother is the fact the temperature of the milk might be too tepid for some.
7. Bodum Latteo Manual Milk Frother
Bodum is a household name in the coffee space and this manual milk frother shows exactly why. You get impressive build quality, ease of use, and durability in one powerful package, so what’s not to love?
At first glance, it’s easy to confuse this frother with a French press It essentially operates on the same principle minus the filter. Plunge down between 60 and 90 times depending on the type of froth you want, and you’ll get silky and smooth results every time with no need for electricity or batteries. If you travel frequently and you don’t want to sacrifice your lattes on the road, this frother makes a smart investment.
The body is made of glass while the lid is silk plastic free of BPA and all known contaminants. The last thing you want is to worry about your health when all you want is a super-milky coffee. Bodum ensures you don’t need to.
8. Aerolatte Milk Foamer
Aerolatte delivers a stainless steel frother that should stand up heavy and regular use. All plastic in place is BPA-free, and the frother is a snap to clean. How else does it stand out?
You’ll get no lead or cadmium in this foamer, and no phthalates or BPA either.
Aerolatte appreciates that people drink more than just whole milk or skim milk. Whether you prefer almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, or any other variation on dairy, you’re in safe hands with this frother.
All you need to power this foamer is a pair of AA batteries, and you get some bundled so you can get started right out the box.
The only issue some users express about this foamer concerns lifespan. It’s tough to evaluate those claims, though, without knowing how the frother was handled and cared for.
Super-simple to clean, if you keep your expectations reasonable, this foamer deserves a place on any roundup of the best milk frothers.
9. HIC Milk Creamer Frother
Next up in our milk frother reviews comes this subtle yet striking manual frother from HIC. You get the benefit of 18/10 stainless steel along with nylon free of any known contaminants just like all the best milk frothers.
You have multiple variants of this foamer available for both regular coffee and Turkish coffee. There are also a wide variety of sizes from 6oz right through to a 24oz beast. This mid-range 14-ouncer should give you ample capacity to take care of all the family.
Whether you want milk frothed up for hot or cold drinks, this manual creamer gives you a huge amount of freedom.
You don’t need any electricity and you don’t need batteries either so there’s pretty much nowhere you won’t be able to press this frother into commission.
Aside from a tendency for the base of this foamer to darken over time, there’s not much else to complain about.
10. Bonsenkitchen Electric Milk Frother
As we edge to the end of our milk frother reviews, here’s a neat and design-driven model from Bonsenkitchen that rates a mention.
The choice of colors is a nice way to inject a dose of brightness into your kitchen.
If you’ve resisted frothing the milk for your coffee at home because you think it will take too much time, all you’ll need here is 20 seconds to get barista-grade foam for your latte, macchiato, or any other specialty coffee.
From bulletproof coffee to matcha to hot chocolate, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to milk-based drinks. You can also achieve all this without breaking a sweat or doing anything beyond holding the whisk.
11. Bellemain Stainless Steel Manual Milk Frother
Looking mean in stainless steel, the Bellemain is another strong contender for best manual milk frother. If you’re looking for a method of heating and frothing milk that doesn’t call for too much expertise, this is a superb beginner-friendly option.
Since you’ll need no batteries and no electricity, this compact frother is a nifty travel companion if you spend a lot of time away from home and away from all your coffee equipment. Don’t go without those lattes and cappuccinos on the road and don’t pay a fortune constantly visiting coffee shops either. Throw this frother in your luggage and you won’t need to leave the hotel.
You can slide this whole frother in the dishwasher after use so you won’t be faced with the uphill struggle of washing it by hand.
The stainless steel build gives you a frother that won’t give up the ghost or break down even if you use it for years.
Aside from poor performance with coconut milk, you can pop in just about any other type of milk to great effect.
12. VAVA Milk Frother Electric Liquid Heater
Our penultimate frother today comes from VAVA but is this electric model worth the money?
Unlike much of the opposition, you can get hot, cold, or warm milk along with the freedom to make just about any type of coffee that takes your fancy using a single compact appliance. The Strix temperature controls help you to achieve this with consistency and precision.
Despite serving up the foam and froth you need in a hurry, this unit runs almost whisper-quiet. This is great news if you live in a small apartment or in close proximity to others you might disturb.
The non-stick treatment means you won’t need to worry about blitzing this frother when you’re done.
While this is great value for an electric frother, we should point out that a few dissatisfied readers have complained about disappointing lifespan from this appliance. Buyer, beware.
13. Ninja Coffee Bar Milk Frother
To tail off today, we’ve got a frother from industry legend Ninja. As you’d expect from this company, you get enviable build quality and attention to detail throughout at a more than reasonable price point.
This a nifty manual press that gives you everything you need to create hot or cold milk for your favorite drinks without needing to hustle to the coffee shop or meet that stiff weekly Starbucks bill!
Once you’re done, you can put this frother in the dishwasher and sidestep any awkward and time-consuming clean-up. I bet you wish you could do that with your French press! As an added kicker, this press is also safe to place in the microwave.
Right then, with our reviews put to bed, you should take a moment next to focus on the most important elements when you’re on the buying trail.
IV. Things You Should Consider
Buying a milk frother might appear like the easiest buying decision. In many ways, it is.
Once you’ve decided on the most appropriate type of frother for your needs – see above – double down on these areas to get the right frother the easy way:
- Type of Milk You’ll Be Using
- Ease of Cleaning
- Intended Use
Type of Milk You’ll Be Using
All milk frothers will perform strongly with whole milk, half-and-half, or skim milk.
If you branch out into using coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, or any other variety, bear in mind that they will have varying fat contents and different consistencies. While it’s still possible to froth these kinds of milk, you’ll need to put in a bit more effort.
Ease of Cleaning
Not only should any milk frother you’re considering be easy to use, it should also be easy to clean. Nothing puts you off using any kind of appliance or gadget more than the thought of a messy, involved clean-up.
Either look for a frother that’s easy to clean by hand, or make certain you find a model you can pop safely in the dishwasher.
Fail on this front and you’re likely to stop using your frother out of frustration.
You should now stop and ask yourself some simple questions about your intended use…
- How often will you use your milk frother?
- Is noise likely to be an issue when you’re frothing?
- Do you mind putting in a little effort, or do you want a hands-free frothing experience?
The more you plan to use your frother, the more focus you should place on build quality and expected lifespan.
Get all these factors nailed and you’ll find the right milk frother for your needs without too much time or trouble.
To round out, we’ve curated the answers to the most frequently asked questions about frothing milk for coffee.
1) What does a milk frother do?
A milk frother lets you create the foam and frothed milk you need for longer, creamy coffees like latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and more. These frothers come in manual, battery-operated, and electric variants. Some espresso machines feature an integrated steam wand to help you get the job done.
2) Is frothing milk the same as steaming milk?
No. Steaming milk is pretty quick and easy. Frothing, on the other hand, takes a bit more effort. When you froth milk, air is forced into the milk so you get ripples along the surface and little bubbles, too. The foam created is ideal for cappuccino.
3) What’s the difference between whole fat and skim milk when it comes to foam?
You’ll get a very supple, smooth foam from whole fat milk. This will easily flow over the surface of your coffee. With 2% fat, you’ll enjoy foam ideal for embellishing with latte art. Skim milk will still yield loads of foam, it just won’t be quite so supple. Both foams should be stable enough that they won’t disappear too quickly. As with all aspects of making coffee, there is no boilerplate answer so stick with what works for you and the type of coffee you prefer.
4) Why does some milk seem impossible to froth?
If there are too many free fatty acids and other compounds like monoglycerides in the milk, you could have an uphill struggle getting the froth you need.
5) What kind of foam will I get from almond milk?
If you’re partial to using almond milk, this will produce a surprisingly abundant foam and makes a neat workaround for anyone intolerant to dairy but unwilling to sacrifice great latte and macchiato.
6) Does soy milk work in a milk frother?
Although in general you’ll get a firm enough foam with soy milk, stability differs from brand to brand. Packing up to 7g of protein per cup, try some out and see if your preferred soy milk works well in your new frother, or whether you might want to widen your options.
7) Are all electric milk frothers really noisy?
No, they’re not. You can find many of these automated frothers that make relatively little noise in operation. Some are almost whisper-quiet. If you need to consider the noise factor, we’d recommend rolling with a manual frother so you can avoid worrying about it at all.
8) How much effort will I need to put in with a manual milk frother?
If you have no issues like arthritis, and you don’t have any other problems with your hands, you should find the level of effort absolutely manageable. Anyone likely to struggle using a plunger or whisk should simply buy an electric frother. It’s not worth breaking a sweat if you don’t need to. For most people, manual frothers are minimum effort for maximum reward, though.
9) How can I make hot chocolate with a milk frother?
If you have an electric frother that heats the milk, slip in some hot chocolate powder of flakes with the milk and enjoy a decadent cup of cocoa at bedtime at the push of a button.
10) Can some of these frothers perform other jobs?
Yes. Many frothers serve double-duty as whisks so you’ll get more for your money than a way of building long, creamy coffees at home.
Well, if we’ve done our job properly today, you should be an expert on milk frothing now, and you should also have a clear idea about what type of frother would make the best fit for you.
When you’re making any espresso-based coffee, use fresh filtered water and always grind your beans directly before you brew up.
Once you’ve mastering how to make an espresso, you should then find frothing your milk a relative breeze. Whether you have a steaming wand on your espresso machine or you need to invest in a dedicated milk frother, get this right and you’ll soon be racking up latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and a host of other creamy confections without spending a fortune in the coffee shop or needing to leave the warmth of home.
Now, before you leave today, take a second to bookmark LaMano. We have a very busy content calendar in the run-up to Christmas so buckle in for a caffeinated Christmas season. We’ll see you soon!