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For lovers of lattes and cappuccinos, it’s easy to grow tired of the daily coffee shop run, as well as the four-dollar-plus price tag. But purchasing a separate milk frother can save time and money, allowing users to make delicious coffeehouse drinks right from home.
There are three main varieties of frothers: manual, handheld, and automatic. Manual is typically the cheapest, as you have to use a little elbow grease to froth the milk yourself. Handheld frothers are small electric devices that are also affordable and easy to store in cupboards or drawers. The final category, automatic, has the largest and priciest items, but they are the easiest to use and provide the best quality milk froth.
You’ll also need an espresso machine or coffee maker that can produce rich coffee concentrate. After that, you can whip up specialty drinks any time of the day.
Here are the best milk frothers to buy.
Best Overall: POWERLIX Handheld Battery Operated Milk Frother
Saves counter space
Doesn't heat beverages
Must purchase batteries
The PowerLix Handheld Battery Operated Milk Frother earns top marks for it's slim, portable design and ability to create delicious foam (even with non-dairy milk) in a matter of seconds. After testing the product, our reviewer said the process is simple from start to finish and that it took just 15 seconds to get "a good foam going with lots of volume."
The wand is made from 18/10 stainless steel that won’t rust, tarnish, or stain, and it won’t bend or break in normal use. The motor provides 19,000 rpm's and runs quietly, so you can have your early-morning latte or late-night hot chocolate without disturbing anyone’s sleep.
The power button is conveniently located on top, and the sleek black body looks good in any kitchen. It’s lightweight, ergonomic, and cleans easily. After use, our reviewer said the best way to clean the frother is to "take the whisk end of the wand and place it into a glass of hot water and turn it on." When coffee hour is over, you can use this for mixing milkshakes or blending cocktails, as well. Two AA batteries are required; they are not included. The frother body should not be immersed in water.
"The low-cost, low-risk frother creates a good microfoam for espresso beverages but does require the extra step of heating the milk first." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Nespresso Aeroccino 4 Milk Frother
Multiple options for foam consistency
Small opening if cleaning by hand
For coffee lovers who prefer their milk foam a specific way, the top-rated Aeroccino4 Milk Frother is a truly excellent tool. This high-quality frother can make either hot or cold milk foam and can also heat milk, offering you a wide range of options for your next latte or cappuccino.
In terms of foam consistency, it’s versatile—you can choose between two levels of foam density, to make either lattes or cappuccinos. Our product tester described the cappuccino foam as "airy" and the latte foam as "velvety smooth and dense."
The Aeroccino4’s sleek design also renders it easy to use and simple to clean (it's dishwasher safe). If washing by hand, our reviewer cautions not to "submerge the carafe nor the base in water, as it can cause damage."
The gleaming stainless steel Aeroccino4 produces the richest crema imaginable, resulting in decadent and delicious coffee drinks. Reviewers write that this machine provides consistent results, and it's worth every penny because the results "taste better than Starbucks."
"Offers a variety of functions—from hot milk to cold froth and two foam consistency options—but the high price tag makes it more suitable for the seasoned coffee drinker." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Temperature Control: Breville Milk Cafe Frother
Two different foam options
Easy to use
Milk minimum can lead to waste
If you’re serious about coffee, you need a serious, high-end frother that makes tiny bubbles for the smoothest, thickest foam. This electric frother includes two separate frothing discs for different types of froth. The latte frothing disc produces a smooth, creamy milk, while the cappuccino frothing disc creates a thick, creamy froth. There’s onboard storage for the discs, so you won’t lose them in the bottom of a drawer.
Besides frothing milk, you can use this to make smooth creamy hot chocolate or other hot drinks. It’s easy to use, too. Just choose the proper disc, fill with enough milk to create one to three cups of foam, select the temperature, and start the machine. The temperature is variable from warm to hot, and machine will turn itself off when the proper temperature is reached. There is also a cold-stir option that will mix cold beverages and provide a little froth, but it won’t make a cold foam.
This uses induction heating to warm the jug and control the spinning frothing disks. Since the jug doesn’t need to have any electronic components, it means the metal jug is dishwasher safe.
"The Breville Milk Cafe Frother offers the luxuries of temperature control and several foam consistency options, but these features come at a high price." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Design: Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother
Heats and froths milk
Only one foam setting
Difficult clean-up process
Small pieces are easy to lose
If you're looking for a frother that can be displayed on your kitchen counter, this one is a great option. The carafe is made from beautiful stainless steel, which is also vacuum insulated to retain temperature.
This versatile frother can heat milk if you enjoy lattes, or it can make hot or cold milk froth for cappuccinos. It holds about one cup for heating and a half cup for frothing, since the volume doubles.
It's easy to operate, relying a single, straightforward button. It also features a detachable base for easy pouring, and a brush that you can use to clean your machine. After testing the item, our reviewer wrote that the automatic features are "the best thing about the frother" and that users have to do little more than press a button. Setup might require a bit of time, however. Our reviewer recommends cleaning all components before use and consulting the included instruction manual.
Best Hand-Held: Aerolatte Electric Milk Frother
Lightweight and portable
Froths non-dairy milk well
Must purchase batteries
Doesn't heat milk
Whisk can't be removed
One of the very first hand-held frothers on the market, aerolatte has continued to improve the product over the years, including versions that feature stands, cappuccino art stencils, and quirky decorative bodies. Meanwhile, they’ve engineered the tiny motor to operate at a speed and torque that is ideal for foaming milk, and the spring coils are just as specifically produced. It's one of the handiest coffee tools you can have in your kitchen.
This frother leaves out the extras, but does exactly what it’s supposed to—it creates frothy milk in 20 seconds or less. This can handle almost any kind of milk, either hot or cold. All you need is a reliable espresso machine and you can whip up lattes and cappuccinos right from the comfort of home.
The whisking head and shaft are made from 18/8 stainless steel that won’t rust, corrode or stain. The shaft is hardened and thickened to protect against bending. This operates on two AA batteries that are pre-installed and has a simple toggle switch to turn it on and off.
The body should not be immersed in water. To clean, just rinse under hot tap water or operate it in a glass of hot soapy water for a more thorough cleaning. This handheld frother is available in a variety of different colors and designs.
Best Value: Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother
Froths non-dairy milk well
Auto shutoff doesn't turn switch off
There are plenty of budget milk frothers out there, but the Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother is our best-value pick because of its performance, one-touch convenience, and of course the affordable price. While the majority of frothers in this price range are manual or hand-held, this one is electric and froths milk in roughly one minute. All you have to do is plug it in and toggle the only switch that's on the sleek and simple matte black device. The milk heats up as it froths, so users can seamlessly pour over espresso for delicious lattes and cappuccinos. The frother holds a maximum of 13.5 ounces, but 8 ounces is recommended for best results; there are clear markings inside to indicate proper fill levels.
While the majority of reviews are five stars, some note durability concerns, as a number of customers say performance declined after several months. The item also isn't equipped with different settings like higher-tier options, so those interested in more versatility should consider pricier alternatives.
Best Manual: HIC Harold Import Co. Milk Creamer Frother
Top-rack dishwasher safe
Easy to use
Not the sturdiest material
Doesn't heat milk
Even though it's manual, it still creates a rich foam in a minute or less. The lid has a built-in double mesh aerator that easily creates foam, and the carafe has an easy grip handle. It holds up to 14 ounces. This can froth cold or warm milks. To use, just add warm or cold milk, place the plunger and lid on top, and pump the handle for 30-60 seconds to create the ideal foam. In a pinch, a similar trick can be performed with a French press plunger, though not as effectively.
This is top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Since it doesn’t require electricity, it’s very portable, and the stainless steel carafe is durable enough for travel anywhere.
Best Splurge: Smeg Milk Frother
Seven different settings
Stylish design, multiple colorways
Two whisk attachments
Lightweight plastic base
Takes up counter space
The Italian manufacturer Smeg is widely beloved for making high-quality appliances with a signature 1950's-style aesthetic. Items are often high-priced, this milk frother included, but the craftsmanship means they will stick around for years to come.
This milk frother is equipped with several useful features to ensure café-quality drinks. To start, there are seven different settings from which to choose, all controlled with a simple dial. Options cover everything from temperature control to milk consistency. Customers especially love the preset function for hot chocolate.
On top of that, the item comes with two different whisk attachments: a notched whisk for frothing and a flat whisk for when you simply want to heat up milk without frothing. The stainless steel jug can froth up to 8.5 ounces of milk at once or heat up to 20 ounces. It's also dishwasher safe, which makes clean-up that much easier after you enjoy your delicious latte, cappuccino, or hot chocolate.
Our picks for Best Overall and Runner-Up, Best Overall illustrate the two very different paths in choosing a milk frother. The PowerLix Handheld Frother is affordable, easy to use, and saves counter space, but it's manual and lacks versatility. The Aeroccino4, on the other hand, is expensive but offers multiple settings and the convenience of automatic frothing. Both are excellent options, but the final decision comes down to individual frothing needs.
What to Look for in a Milk Frother
There are several types of milk frothers. Some are electric and require a power supply, while others run on batteries. Certain models are manual, running on nothing more than human power. Think about how much frothing you expect to do—if it's a lot, an automatic model might work better.
Some milk frothers can heat milk for even more java options. Others can customize the type of froth you like, as well as the temperature. More features generally means a higher price tag, so consider your budget—and how you like your coffee—when shopping.
If you’re planning to store your frother in a cupboard or drawer, its style may not matter so much to you. However, if you plan to display your coffee gear on a counter or in another noticeable place, consider its look as well. Some frothers are sleek and sophisticated while others have more of an old-school or functional feel.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a freelance food writer who specializes in product reviews and recipes. Her work has appeared on Serious Eats, Fine Cooking, and her own recipe blog, Cookistry.com. She's also the author of Make Ahead Bread, a cookbook meant to simplify the bread-baking process.
This piece was edited by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He uses the Bialetti Moka Express at home, complementing it with a separate Keurig milk frother to make lattes and cappuccinos.