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7 Best Milk Frothers of 2020, According to Kitchen Pros

Every type of frother for every type of specialty coffee.

best milk frothers
amazon

Perfectly frothed milk makes espresso-based drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos, delightful. But that's also what makes most models cost a pretty penny. Luckily, there are affordable and easy to use milk frothers you can buy for home use, including handheld ones that simply whisk air into the milk, automatic frothers that heat and froth milk with a push of a button, and steam wands that come attached to latte machines.

Frothers work by forcefully spinning the milk with a coiled whisk or by pushing steam through it creating bubbles and giving it a creamy mouthfeel. They can be used with different types of milk, like regular or any non-dairy alternatives, although some froth better than others, mostly due to fat content.

To find our favorite milk frothers, the Just Cooking Institute’s Kitchen Appliances & Technology Lab rounded up a variety of popular brands and highly-rated models on the market. We considered automatic, handheld, and steam wand frothers at various price points and with useful features.

Here are the best milk frothers you can buy in 2020:

Three types of milk frothers to consider before you buy:

You could use about any kitchen tool to froth milk, like a French press, a blender, a whisk, or even a lidded mason jar. The results may be bubbly, but it won’t have the right texture: that luscious and silky mouthfeel we love in milk-forward coffee drinks. For that, there are three types of milk frothers, each with advantages and drawbacks:

Handheld frothers are battery-operated whisks that you stick directly into your cup of milk to froth, like a mini immersion blender. The whisk spins continuously, and with the combination of a manual up and down motion, air gets whipped into the milk.

Pros:

  • It is the most compact and affordable option.
  • Convenient for other light whisking jobs like eggs, matcha, and dressings.
  • Resulting milk is light and foamy with large bubbles — perfect for cappuccinos.
  • Easy to clean.

Cons:

  • The batteries may need frequent replacing or may run out mid-frothing.
  • Milk can spatter while frothed since there is no lid.
  • Does not heat or cool the milk.
  • Less precise frothing that doesn't give milk much texture.

Automatic frothers are electric-powered jugs with an induction whisk inside that heats the milk and spins to create consistently smooth and even foam. It also has the ability to froth cold milk.

Pros:

  • Makes better quality frothed milk than handheld frothers.
  • Easy to use — just add milk and with a push of a button it will heat (or cool) and froth automatically.

Cons:

  • Takes up more space than handheld milk frothers.
  • Can froth a finite amount of milk at a time (usually up to 8 ounces).
  • More difficult to hand wash, although some models are dishwasher safe.

Steam wands are built into espresso machines and they are commonly used in coffee shops for good reason — they are the best at steaming milk and giving it texture, not just bubbles. Steam pushes through a wand into the milk, creating fine and velvety foam.

Pros:

  • Can customize your frothed milk for different types of specialty coffees.
  • Makes the best microfoam, a luscious, thick and silky frothed milk that is perfect for lattes.

Cons:

  • The most expensive option.
  • Proper technique can be difficult to learn and master.
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1
Best Overall Milk Frother
Aeroccino 4 Frother
Nespresso
Nespresso amazon.com
$129.00

We previously recommended the Aeroccino 3, a go-to for our editors and test kitchen because it is easy to use, clean, and froths non-dairy alternatives well. This updated model comes with the same features, plus the option for denser and thicker foam, perfect for lattes and latte art. Simply pour milk into the frothing jug that has a removable whisk inside and attaches to an electric base. With a push of a button, it can froth both hot and cold milk in a little over one minute and heat milk in about two.

The controls are easy to read and use – they light up when on and flash when frothing. Plus it automatically turns off when not in use. Some reviewers note that the tall and narrow jug (it’s 8.3 inches tall and seven inches in diameter) is difficult to wash by hand, but we love that all parts except the wired base are dishwasher safe. 

  • It has an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to pour.
  • It is dishwasher safe.
  • Does a good job frothing non-dairy alternatives.

  • Only comes in stainless steel with no other color options.
  • Not the fastest method to heat milk.
2
Best Value Milk Frother
Milk Pro Frother
PowerLix
PowerLix amazon.com
$13.95

This affordable and easy to use handheld frother has nearly 14,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. The whisk attachment is made of stainless steel and it requires two AA batteries to operate –  this makes it portable, but risks running out mid-frothing. It comes with a compact stand for easy and accessible storage. Reviewers love that it is quiet and very fast (it can froth milk in less than 30 seconds). One reviewer shared their secret to getting the perfect foam: "My technique is to do it in short bursts, hovering on top for no longer than one second, then pushing it down to the bottom until the milk cyclone tries to jump out of the cup!"  

  • Compact and easy to store.
  • Froths milk quickly.

  • Requires batteries that may run out mid-frothing.
  • Does not heat the milk.
3
Best Handheld Milk Frother
Milk Frother
Aerolatte
aerolatte amazon.com
$19.95

Aerolatte created the very first handheld frother and they continue to be very popular. Perfect for people with small kitchens — or even to take with you on-the-go when traveling (it comes with a storage case) — this handheld model is lightweight and simple to use. It even comes with two AA batteries. If you are a frequent frother, keep it on this stand that is sold separately. We like that the stainless steel whisk attachment is easy to clean: run the frother in a cup of hot soapy water, rinse, and dry. It comes with a two-year warranty, the longest of all the milk frothers we evaluated. It comes in five designs, including this amusing cow print.

  • Compact and easy to store.
  • Comes with a generous two-year warranty.

  • Requires batteries that may run out mid-frothing.
  • Does not heat the milk.
4
Most Versatile Milk Frother
The Milk Cafe
Breville
Breville amazon.com
$129.95

If your family or office needs options, this Breville milk frother has lots. Keep in mind that it is relatively large (about six inches in diameter and 10 inches tall), but it can froth more than one serving at a time — in fact, there are clear measurement lines for frothing one or two cups of milk, and a three-cup line for heating milk. The two frothing discs for lattes or cappuccinos can be stored in a compartment behind the electric base. It features a dial to select your ideal temperature from cold to 180ºF. The lid also doubles as a measuring cap for adding ingredients while the milk swirls in the frother. We love that it is dishwasher safe and the machine will automatically shut off if the jug gets too hot.

  • Can froth more than one serving at a time.
  • The milk jug is dishwasher safe.
  • Desired temperature can be set.

  • It is expensive.
  • It takes up more space than other milk frothers we evaluated.
5
Best Manual Milk Frother
Latteo Manual Milk Frother
Bodum
Bodum amazon.com
$16.99

This manual frother boasts design features that are similar to our favorite French press — both made by Bodum. Add up to eight ounces of milk into the microwavable borosilicate glass jar, heat it up, and pump the mesh plunger up and down to create foam. It’s also clear, so you see the milk frothing without having to remove the lid. Reviewers note that the handle on the plunger is easy to grip and it doesn’t take much force to pump. Best of all, each part is dishwasher safe. Note that this milk frother can’t be used as a French press: The mesh filter doesn’t fit tightly into the jar, which makes it easy to push and pull but not great for filtering coffee grains. 

  • Manual use (no need for batteries or charging).

  • Glass jar can shatter if knocked with force.
6
Best Steam Wand Milk Frother
Bambino Plus Espresso Maker
Breville
Breville amazon.com
$484.95

Our team of experts love the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Maker – most recently, we recommended it for making espressos and for crafting lattes at home. Built into an espresso maker, the wand pushes steam into milk to heat it and create foam, producing remarkable microfoam just like a barista would. It allows you to select the temperature and amount of foam. Plus, the steam wand automatically purges the inside with clean hot water after every use. 

  • Can achieve the best microfoam.
  • Can pick your ideal temperature and amount of foam created.

  • It is expensive.
  • There is a learning curve to properly use a steam wand.
7
Best Smart Milk Frother
Barista Recipe Maker
Nespresso
Nespresso nespresso.com
$169.00

This smart milk frother pairs to your phone through the Nespresso app. It lets you pick your favorite milk-based coffee recipes to add to the frother’s control panel. There are a total of 13 recipes to choose from, including latte, cappuccino, mocha, and even textured milk specifically for latte art. The app will guide you through how much milk to add into the jug and will automatically froth the milk to the perfect consistency. Don’t have your phone handy? The touch-screen controls on the frother are easy to use. We love that it can froth as little as 3.4 ounces up to 8.45 ounces. Also, all parts except the power base are dishwasher safe. It turns off automatically when not in use. In our tests, this smart frother heated evenly and made perfectly uniform foam. Worth noting: It doesn't foam almond and soy milk as well as regular milk.

  • Provides 13 guided recipes to choose from and add to the control panel.
  • Heats milk evenly and creates consistent foam.

  • It is expensive.
  • Not the best as frothing non-dairy milks.
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