Searching for the best milk frothers, we investigated numerous top sellers and purchased 14 leading models for side-by-side comparison. Our team of baristas frothed hundreds of tasty beverages and mixed up powdered drinks to test the performance of every frother. In addition, we measured the aeration, texture quality, mixing capabilities, and ease of use of each device. Based on these tests, we gathered the essential information to recommend the best frother to match your needs and budget.
Thoughtful design meets quality with the Breville Milk Cafe. This easy-to-use model is the only frother in our lineup that offers specific temperature controls. With a simple twist of the dial, you can select temperatures from cold stir to extra hot (160F). Beyond adjustability, Breville offers a clever design with a lid that opens and doubles as a measuring scoop. Place your desired frothing disc for a latte or cappuccino, add milk, select your temperature, and press start. Once the milk is in motion, you can open the lid window to add cocoa, matcha, or whatever powdered mix you want. When the second disc is not in use, it stores magnetically on the back of the machine. This frother is large enough to make a few drinks at once and creates stiffer foam, making it ideal for drier textured beverages.
The Milk Cafe could benefit from more texture customization. If you're hoping to replicate cafe-quality microfoam, we had better luck overall with the Bonsen Kitchen Handheld or the Capresso Froth Pro for alternative milk. Additionally, the Milk Cafe is handwash only and is a small chore to clean, with a lid that breaks down into three pieces (lid, measuring cap, and rubber seal), the pitcher, and two discs plus the base. Still, this frother strikes a perfect balance between convenience and quality for most people. No need to heat your milk over the stove or in the microwave — you can do it all with the Milk Cafe.
The Instant Milk Frother is simple and affordable, offering a small footprint and modern aesthetic that will look great on any countertop. Beyond its stylish design, we appreciate the Instant's uncomplicated interface with two buttons: one for selecting your function and one to start or cancel frothing. With just one frothing disc, the Instant covers a lot: cold foam, heating, lattes, and cappuccinos. Furthermore, this sleek milk frother runs through its' various functions with almost no sound. It is also speedy, frothing in just 2 minutes. And with alternative milk, this frother produces microfoam worthy of pouring latte art.
Although the Instant Milk Frother has both minimum and maximum level indicators etched inside the milk pitcher, they are really hard to read. Our testers found it easy to overfill this frother, resulting in a mess all over the counter. With repeated practice, this issue is avoidable. The Instant lid and single frothing disc are dishwasher-safe, however the milk pitcher and base require careful handwashing to avoid getting electronic elements wet. The pitcher also easily shows smudge marks, but the outside is easy enough to wipe clean with a rag. Overall, we recommend this electric frother to anyone looking for an introduction to the world of frothing.
Throughout testing, we constantly reached for the Bonsen Kitchen Handheld. The learning curve with this simple device is more forgiving than many of the other handheld options we tested. We discovered that the Bonsen could texture milk nearly identically to the coveted micro-foam of specialty cafes. It is also great at mixing powdered drinks that tend to clump quickly (we're looking at you, hot chocolate). This frother's shape and weight feel great in hand, and it is easy to wield with control and accuracy.
Our biggest complaint with this milk frother is that the power button must be continually depressed during operation. Furthermore, this button is awkwardly positioned at the very end of the handle, requiring some hand acrobatics to find a comfortable way to hold the frother. Although this little gadget is not rechargeable, it is the only model in our review with batteries (AA) included. Small gripes aside, the Bonsen Kitchen is a great choice for a handheld milk frother to do it all, and it comes at an impressively low price point.
The Ninja Easy Frother is a plunger-style frother that dominated the field of its similarly styled counterparts. This frother has a unique, multi-layered screen that aerates milk quickly, leaving a thick and creamy texture — all without needing electricity. Although Ninja suggests 10-20 pumps for results, we found a quick ten got the job done. We appreciate this device's handgrip and rubber base, which make it feel stable during use. Ninja also offers convenient measuring marks on the side of the glass, making portion control easy.
Like handheld frothers, plunger models do not include a heating element, so you'll need to heat your milk beforehand. However, the glass pitcher is microwave safe, so you don't need to dirty another vessel to warm your milk. Pulling the lid and plunger out of the pitcher can be pretty messy, and the pitcher is too narrow to fit a hand, requiring a bottle brush or dishwasher to clean it effectively. Finally, the ultra-fine mesh screens and plunging action of this style of frother aren't ideal for mixing in powders. Regardless, the Easy Frother is a great choice for those seeking a simple frother that doesn't require an outlet.
Are you looking for a device primarily for mixing? The ElitaPro Double Whisk crushed its competition in our mixing tests. This is the only frother in our lineup with a double coil and a second whisk attachment. The double coil tip does an excellent job blending powders like chai, matcha, or cocoa into your milk. The whisk is suggested for beating eggs, but our crew found it also does a great job blending powders. This little handheld gadget is powerful enough to whip up some tasty Dalgona coffee or whipped cream in no time. Clean-up is easy, with removable tips to help prevent milk from crusting up the inside of the frother. Finally, the provided stand is great for drying and storing your frother and attachments after use.
The same power that makes the Double Whisk a high-performance frother for mixing also makes it a bit unruly. It takes practice to harness the power of this frother in your milk while simultaneously avoiding spraying your drink everywhere. This handheld device is speedy, but our team discovered when the tip hits the sidewalls of a glass or pitcher, it will cut power. In contrast, a rounded bottom cup or mixing bowl eliminates this issue. The power button placement at the end of the handle is also a bit awkward. Finally, the Double Whisk lacks a heating element, so you'll have to do that separately before enjoying hot beverages. Overall, this frother is an excellent choice for anyone looking to do a lot of mixing and whipping, and with a little concentration, it works great for milk texturing too.
Why You Should Trust Us
Before our testing process starts, we spend weeks collecting research and reading verified customer reports to seek out leading contenders to test. Once making our final selection, we purchase the entire lineup, determine our testing metrics, and then begin side-by-side comparisons. To create a test plan for evaluating milk frothers, we considered what specific qualities or abilities matter most to a wide variety of consumers. We then weighed these attributes based on overall importance and assigned scores based on four distinct metrics:
Aeration (30% of overall score weighting)
Texture (30% weighting)
Mixing (20% weighting)
Ease of Use (20% weighting)
To gain insight into each frother's strengths and weaknesses, we frothed everything from organic non-fat and whole milk to oat milk. We measured the increase in milk volume and the amount each device could accommodate. Then we did our best to replicate microfoam and pour latte art. We also considered mixing abilities, adding protein powders, matcha, and cocoa. Finally, we looked at approachability, handling, and cleaning guidelines to account for every frother's overall ease of use.
Leading our review is coffee professional Liz Nelson. With over a decade of specialty coffee experience, Liz offers a skilled understanding of milk texturizing. As an experienced barista and roaster, she is passionate about seeking out the best cafes worldwide. As a result, she understands the many styles in which cafe drinks are prepared and enjoyed. Liz's keen eye for equipment and user experience makes her an ideal lead for this review.
We frothed, foamed, sipped, and slurped our way through many tasty beverages.
Analysis and Test Results
Espresso machines use moisture, heat, and pressure to steam milk-based beverages. A barista can control the speed of their steam wand and move the milk pitcher to create a vortex to steam microfoam, or lower the pitcher with the wand tip closer to the surface to produce texturized dry foam.
A good frother can help you make a wide variety of fun drinks.
Steaming milk is a sensory experience, and perfecting the art takes time. That said, we have found that a milk frother can be a fantastic tool to recreate the decadency of cafe drinks. Iced drinks topped with foam are also very popular, and it is common to find matcha or chai in powder form. So whether you want to stir a powder into cold milk or steam and froth a hot beverage, there is a product that can get the job done. To break down exactly what makes a good milk frother, we evaluated each device based on four distinct metrics, each involving a battery of individual tests.
We define value as the relationship between price and performance, and when it comes to price, the Bonsen Kitchen Handheld is top dog. With a comfortable oval shaped-handle and finger grips along the side, this small but mighty frother whips up silky microfoam or dry foam in seconds. Keep in mind that this frother, along with all the handhelds in our review, cannot produce heat.
If you are looking for a one-stop shop for frothing and heating, the Instant Milk Frother is second to none. This electric device offers outstanding performance and can produce cold foam, microfoam, cappuccino foam, or heating for a fraction of the price of the other electric models.
Our barista testers measured aeration by noting the increase in volume from flat milk to froth. The automatic milk frothers in our lineup all come with hot/cold functions, the handheld ones do not, and the plunger-style can go either way.
For consistency in testing, we used cold milk at 37°F with each frother. We aimed to replicate the silky-smooth texture of microfoam from a specialty cafe and more texturized foam for a dry cappuccino, Dalgona, or whipped cream. Finally, we considered the stability of the foam, noting the resting volume of quickly deflating froth.
The Breville Milk Cafe takes the cake in this metric with a rare perfect score. It produced significantly more volume than the other models in our lineup, almost doubling the volume of milk we put in. The Milk Cafe also excels at frothing alternative milk, making it an excellent choice for anyone steering clear of dairy. In addition, this milk frother is the only one in our review to measure the same volume increase with oat milk as it did with dairy milk.
In second place is the Capresso Froth Max. This milk frother delivered the same volume increase with both whole and skimmed milk, from 1/2 to 3/4 cup with the latte disc and 1/2 to 1 cup using the cappuccino disc. However, the Froth Max had underwhelming results with alternative milk. For example, there was no rise with the latte disc using full-fat oat milk and a shorter climb from 1/2 to 3/4 cup with the cappuccino disc.
For dry cappuccino devotees, look no further than the Nespresso Aeroccino3. This machine can texture just enough milk for a small latte or cappuccino, creating a drier foam that is still thick and creamy. Following in the footsteps of the Breville Milk Cafe, this frother offers the same volume increase across the board. Whether using the latte or cappuccino disc with whole, skim, or oat milk, the Aeroccino delivered consistent results with a 1/4 to 1/2 cup rise. This model is another excellent option for anyone using alternative dairy. The single-button interface is easy to understand, with four settings depending on your desired temperature and texture. The Aeroccino is also nearly silent during operation. And with a sleek and compact design, it won't crowd the countertop.
Texture is the result of the aeration and foaming process. While testing for this, we focused on each frother's ability to create silky microfoam and dry cappuccino foam.
Some milk frothers offer multiple features and interchangeable discs to differentiate between latte and cappuccino textures, while others do not. Even so, we conducted numerous rounds testing each frother's ability to produce microfoam and dry foam, putting in the time to perfect each technique.
The electric countertop milk frothers easily lead the pack for texture. The Capresso Froth Pro produced some of the highest quality milk textures of all the heating models. While not quite fine enough to pour latte art, the Froth Pro still textured milk that held up well over time, with a luxurious and creamy mouthfeel. We also found that the Froth Pro did an excellent job frothing alternative milk with impressive microfoam for lattes and cappuccinos.
Excelling more in wet foam texture than dry is the Capresso Froth Max. Like the Froth Pro, the Froth Max comes with two discs, one optimized for lattes and one for cappuccinos. However, we found the dry foam function with oat milk created something resembling more of just a steamed milk texture. Using regular milk, the consistency of the dry foam is heavier-bodied. That said, this frother stands out because the quality of microfoam is fantastic — regardless of the setting that delivers it. The nanobubbles produced from the cappuccino setting create an almost perfect microfoam.
Equally as impressive is the Instant Milk Frother. This model comes with only one frothing attachment and still achieves great microfoam and dry foam. When frothing with dairy, the Instant produces microfoam with virtually no bubbles — the milk is as smooth as silk. Similar to the Capresso Froth Pro, our baristas discovered this device works even better with oat milk and makes microfoam just shy of latte art quality.
One of the best uses we found for handheld frothers is mixing. Stubborn powdered creamers and superfood mixes are no match for a quick spin from any handheld model.
The ElitaPro Double Whisk and Elementi Frother are the best performers in this metric. The same power that can make these frothers more challenging to control enables them to pulverize almost anything mixed into your beverage within seconds. We even used these to quickly whip up single portions of whipped cream, hot chocolate, and silky smooth Dalgona coffees.
The heating models also did a great job mixing our favorite clumpy things into various types of milk. However, because these models' mixing action is less aggressive, they often need help incorporating powders into cold milk. With that in mind, the Breville Milk Cafe came darn close and mixed an entire packet of hot cocoa into cold milk on its cold froth setting with almost no clumps left over. Plunger models were the least effective for mixing, and we would not recommend them to someone also seeking mixing abilities from their milk frother.
Ease of Use
Last but not least, we meticulously evaluated the ease of use of each frother. Some have an incredibly steep learning curve, while others are about as convenient as an appliance could be.
In this regard, the Breville Milk Cafe blew everything else out of the water — or milk. With a simple dial to select your preferred temperature, a single start/stop button, and easily accessible magnetic storage for the other frothing disc in the back, this frother seamlessly fits any beverage routine.
A close runner-up is the Capresso Froth Max. In just 3 minutes, this milk frother delivers quality foam, and clean-up is a breeze with dishwasher-safe components. Although we recommend following the min/max level markings on the milk pitcher, we found the clear see-through pitcher to be extra helpful in avoiding overflows and fun for watching the mixing and frothing in action.
The Ninja Easy Frother is the easiest plunger-style frother to use, with convenient grips on the body and base, helpful marks on the glass for filling and pumping, and a unique plunger design that textured our milk in record time. We also appreciate that the Ninja can be popped in the microwave, thus eliminating the need for a separate container to heat your beverage.
Our coffee professionals pitted a slew of milk frothers against one another to find the best tool for the job. Stopping at your local cafe for a matcha or an espresso drink is both timely and expensive. So, we understand the desire to make these decadent drinks from the convenience of your home, van, or wherever you prepare beverages. Whether mixing a protein shake, warming milk for a little one, or frothing milk for a latte, our extensive testing and analysis will equip you with the necessary information to help you find the best milk frother to make your beverage dreams come true.
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.