You know those articles telling you how you can save hundreds of dollars a year by making your coffee at home instead of picking up a cup at your favorite shop? “But,” you may think, “what about that beautiful latte foam?” Well, we’ll let you in on a little secret: you can make fancy foam at home. All you need is a good milk frother and any sort of milk (yes, even dairy-free).
Once you’ve had this revelation, though, and you’re all-in on at-home frothing, you’ll have to choose a tool. Are you more of an analog type who would prefer to use your own strength? Or a set-it-and-forget-it person? Either way, there is a milk frother that is perfect for you, whether it’s a sleek stainless steel version or a stylish portable model. Read on for seven of the best milk frothers for the home cook.
Features to Keep in Mind
Types of Milk Frothers
“There are handheld and standalone milk frothers,” explains Kimi Sawanobori, an electronics buyer at Williams Sonoma. “The handhelds are small, easy to store, and typically battery-operated. The standalones are usually electric and are more widely used to create hot chocolate or to make more true latte foam using heat.” In addition, there are also fully manual standalone models, where you pump air into the milk to create foam.
While some will froth and only froth, others have a few extra bells and whistles. Features to look out for include “different temperature settings for hot or cold froth, dishwasher-safe components, and color choices,” says Sawanobori.
“For me, a frother that has a way to control the micro-foam thickness and a vessel that can make enough for two drinks is always a no-brainer,” says Jai Lott, head of experience at Blank Street. "But the ultimate frother would also be waterproof and dishwasher-safe. That would be a truly elite model.”
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Nespresso Aeroccino4
Nespresso might be better known for their pod coffee than their machines, but their frother is best in class. Not only is its chrome exterior super stylish, it can froth milk quickly and efficiently at different temperatures and with different foam styles. “I love that it makes hot and cold foam, plus it’s so easy to clean,” says Sanne Vloet, co-founder of Nekohama matcha. The Aeroccino can make two types of hot foam, cold foam, and warm milk up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in under two minutes, all with the push of a button on the machine’s base. It’s also waterproof, dishwasher-safe, and quiet compared to other standalone models.
Best Value: Powerlix Milk Frother PRO
A good milk frother doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars to be your favorite kitchen tool; it just needs to froth milk quickly and well. And while some handhelds lack a powerful enough motor to create satisfying foam, Powerlix’s model is both affordable and efficient. Aside from creating fluffy froth in under 30 seconds, we also love that it comes in a rainbow of colors, its stainless steel whisk won’t rust over time, and there’s a handy stand for upright storage.
Best Travel: Golde Superwhisk
Maybe it’s never occurred to you to travel with a frother, but after one spin with Golde’s super-cute model, we’re pretty sure you’ll change your mind. This portable whisk, though small, packs a punch: it has two modes (fast and “superfast”) and recharges using a USB cord—meaning you’ll never be scrambling for batteries. And when you’re finished, it packs up neatly into its carrying case until its frothing powers are needed for your next on-the-go latte.
Best Multi-Purpose: Breville The Milk Cafe Electric Frother
If you’re looking to get more creative and precise with your beverages, the Breville machine is for you. First, let’s talk foam: this model has a dial that allows you to set both temperature and foam quality (including a cold stir to make cold foam). There are also disc attachments to make latte and cappuccino, and a removable lid so you can add mix-ins. We also love this machine for making hot chocolate: the induction heating system heats up the milk in a flash and makes quick work of incorporating shaved chocolate or cocoa powder.
Best Manual: Bodum Latteo Manual Milk Frother
There is something very satisfying about creating airy peaks using your own muscle, whether it’s for meringue or latte foam. The best manual milk frother, however, will save your arm from the exertion required for something like whipped cream. We love Bodum’s model for many reasons: its glass carafe that makes it easy to see when your foam is ready, a comfortable plunger handle, a sturdy plastic cap that doesn’t leak, and dishwasher-safe parts. To use, simply push the plunger up and down around 60 times (about 30 seconds), or until you see the glass filled with foam.
Best Handheld: Aerolatte Milk Frother
If you prefer more control over your foam size, a small, battery-powered handheld frother is for you. Our favorite is from Aerolatte—it is both powerful and made of durable stainless steel and plastic parts. Using it is as simple as submerging it into your glass of milk; turning it on, and running it for no more than 60 seconds. Clean-up is also easy: a little soapy water and a quick rinse is all you need.
Best Splurge: SMEG Milk Frother
You’ve probably seen SMEG products in the pages of your favorite glossy design magazine, but this retro-chic brand is more than just a pretty face. This frother is for someone committed to making professional-style coffee drinks at home. Their model is worth the price for a few reasons. It comes with two different whisks, six built-in programs to create your ideal foam and temperature, and an induction heating system that heats cold liquids super-fast. Plus, it comes in an array of pastel colors that are far too pretty to stay in a cupboard.
Ask the Experts
What’s the difference between steamed and frothed milk?
"Technically, steamed milk is just hot milk without any foam,” says Lott. “Frothed milk is steamed or cold milk that has had air folded into it to create small or large bubbles.”
What type of milks can I froth with my milk frother?
“All types of milk can be frothed, even vegan options like oat or soy,” says Joshua Dittmer, general manager of % Arabica DUMBO. “Whole milk is generally best due to its higher fat content.”