SMEG, powerlix, and miroco milk brothers
Credit: Verishop / Amazon / Taotronics

The 7 Best Milk Frothers to Use at Home

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The best lattes and cappuccinos are only as good as their signature foamy tops. Even with a premium espresso machine or drip coffee maker, that frothy milk is an essential element to both the taste and art of coffee. That's why a milk frother is a necessary piece of equipment for serious coffee drinkers as well as hot chocolate fans. 

We research dozens of popular milk frothers of all varieties, including a few favorites we use regularly at home. After examining a wide array of features, volumes, and froth types, we determined that the best overall milk frother is The Milk Café from Breville. Read on for all the details on the best milk frothers to buy in every category. 

Our Top Picks

Breville milk cafe frother
Credit: Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Best Overall: Breville Milk Café Electric Frother

View at Williams Sonoma ($150)

Pros: This frother has the most precise and versatile temperature setting options, and it's easy to clean.
Cons: It does require some storage space and makes more foam than one person might need.

For households that want user-friendly precision for lattes and cappuccinos, The Milk Café by Breville is the ultimate tool. It has several features that set it apart from the rest, the first being the variable settings knob. The dial can fine-tune the froth from 120 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as cold stir or warm milk without frothing. That means your latte or cappuccino foam can be exactly as hot or ready-to-sip as you need it to be (it's great for moderating the temperature for hot chocolate for kids as well). This frother can whip up hot chocolate in minutes by just adding powder, flakes, or syrup into the heating milk. The settings are also fully automatic, so you can set it and let it run until the auto-shutoff kicks in at the perfect temperature and consistency.

Another big asset for Breville's frother is the stainless steel container's volume—it can make up to three cups of frothed milk at once. The measurements in the interior note exactly how much volume is required to heat or froth, and the removable cap insert also has measurements for adding the correct amount of cocoa for hot chocolate. Since it works by induction the jug itself is dishwasher-safe, and detaches from the base for easy pouring from the spout.

There are two froth disc options: latte or cappuccino. They both attach magnetically inside the container and offer either smooth, silky foam or thicker, cloudlike foam. A notch on the back of the frother easily stores whichever disc isn't being used. Both discs are also dishwasher-friendly. The base also contains a built-in cord wrap, which makes for cleaner storage as well.

The Milk Café is not as quiet as smaller models while it operates, but the sound is no more aggressive than the coffee grinder you're probably using anyway. For smaller households it might require more milk and produce more froth than necessary. With all factors considered, overall the high-quality operation, variable settings, and ease of cleanup and maintenance make this our favorite pick for a milk frother at home.

  • Capacity: 25 ounces
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 6 x 10.25 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Accessories: 2 frothing discs; measuring cap 
  • Price at time of publish: $150
Miroco Milk Frother
Credit: Courtesy of Taotronics

Best Value: Miroco Milk Frother

View at TaoTronics ($41)

Pros: Low-fuss and easy-to-use, this frother both heats and froths well.
Cons: There's a minimal range for coffee drinkers seeking a very specific temperature or microfoam.

For a quality tool at a more approachable price, Miroco's milk frothers are an excellent choice. The MI-MF001 version (which includes a handle) has all the features your standard coffee drinks will require. It runs on batteries which means no fussing with cords for storage or portability. It has a decent volume at 8 ounces heated and 4 ounces frothed, and although it isn't dishwasher-safe, the nonstick interior wipes clean easily.

The Miroco frother has two settings and two whisks types (with an extra set as a backup) that allow for heating milk, frothing cold milk, or frothing hot milk. It's much quieter while operating than some of the bigger competitors and also features an auto-shut off so nothing will overheat or send the froth out of control. The spout and handle make it simple to pour, and the interior also has marks to indicate where to fill for heating or frothing milk. It's a handy, affordable tool that'll make most daily coffee drinkers happy.

  • Capacity: 8.1 ounces for heating, 2.5 ounces for frothing
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.10 x 7.28 x 4.25 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Accessories: 2 heating whisks, 2 frothing whisks
  • Price at time of publish: $41
Bellman Stovetop Steamer
Credit: Courtesy of Prima Coffee

Best Barista-Style: Bellman Stovetop Steamer

View at Prime Coffee Equipment ($109)

Pros: Thanks to the classic steam method typically used for latte art, it creates the best microfoam.
Cons: Some patience and technique is required.

For anyone who wishes they owned a full-service espresso machine setup with all the bells and whistles but lacks the counter space (or thousands of dollars), this quality stovetop steamer is the answer for heating and frothing milk all at once. Treat it like a tea kettle—fill it with up to 30 ounces of water (stopping short of the safety valve), screw the knob on so no pressure can escape, and set it on an electric or gas stove to heat for three to five minutes. You'll hear and see steam once it's fully pressurized. The two-hole steam tip works to create superior "microfoam" from a constant stream of steam into the mug of milk, creating a vortex for that signature latte art consistency. 

The Bellman is portable and works well even for camping. Make sure to purge the steamer after use to prevent any leftover condensation in the steam arm (or milk remnants at the tip), and be mindful of the body of the tool, which will get scorching hot. It's easy to clean with soap and water and doesn't require batteries or electricity for an ideally consistent, heated milk froth.

  • Capacity: 30 ounces
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 8.5 x 8 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Price at time of publish: $109
Fino HIC Frother
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Manual: Fino HIC Frother

View at Amazon ($23)

Pros: No batteries, electricity, or special technique are required to froth milk with this tool.
Cons: You'll need to heat the milk first before pouring it in the cup to froth.

Sometimes with kitchen tools it's nice to rely on something more simple, and a manual milk frother is just that. Easy to operate and easy to clean, Fino Kitchen's milk frother can froth hot or cold beverages in 60 seconds using a plunger much like a French press. The double mesh aerator makes for acceptably fluffy foam, and the 14-ounce capacity leaves plenty for a couple of cups. 

This pick is also the best option for non-dairy milks, since it won't scorch or curdle goat, hemp, oat or almond varieties. The manual operation makes it easy to decide exactly the froth consistency you require, and the small pitcher stores easily alongside the mugs in your cabinet. It's also top-rack safe for the dishwasher—an easy option for a low-maintenance frother.

  • Capacity: 14 ounces
  • Weight: 9.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.5 x 6.2 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Price at time of publish: $23

Related: 9 Top-Rated Coffee Makers 2020, According to Reviews

milk frother
Credit: Amazon

Best Handheld: PowerLix

View at Amazon ($25)

Pros: Portable, storable, and undeniably easy to use for precise frothing at home.
Cons: The wand can't heat milk and won't work as well for more than one cup at a time.

The PowerLix milk frother has a powerful motor in a compact, handy wand. The obvious benefit is that it stores away easily in a utensil drawer, but it does compete with most mid-range frothers despite its handheld size. The 18/10 stainless steel is easy to clean and resists rusting. It comes with a handy stainless steel milk pitcher, a stand, and coffee art stencils, if you're moved to make latte art.

The wand froths hot or cold milk in under 60 seconds, and works best on whole milk (as is the case for most frothers). It takes two AA batteries to kick into gear, and they're not included. Despite the 19,000 RPMs the frother is also very quiet, which is handy for households with sleeping children or spouses working from home in the next room. Overall, this frother is a quality choice at an extremely reasonable price.

  • Capacity: Up to 12 ounces
  • Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: 9.7 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Accessories: Stand, milk pitcher, and coffee art stencils
  • Price at time of publish: $25
smeg milk brother
Credit: Verishop

Best Splurge: Smeg Milk Frother

View at Verishop ($230)

Pros: The retro aesthetic is attractive, the large capacity is great for families, and two discs allow for more precise froth styles.
Cons: It takes up a lot of counter space if you aren't storing it in a cabinet.

This milk frother is the ultimate indulgence. It can heat a full 20 ounces of milk or froth over 8 ounces at a time, and the jug is removable, washable stainless steel. It does all styles of froth and makes exceptional hot chocolate—all with the signature Smeg retro look. The Tritan lid won't crack or discolor, and it includes a measuring cup. It does require some counter space and storage space, so if those are at a premium, you might opt for a different tool.

The Smeg has a built-in cord wrap for storage and rubber non-slip feet so it won't slip on the countertop. There are two whisks, a notched whisk for hot/cold froth and hot chocolate and a flat whisk meant for hot milk. Both the hot and cold frothing options can have thick or light froth. It comes in six eye-catching classic colors fit for a Vespa, and at 500 watts it could probably power one. The style and capabilities come at a cost, but if you're into a statement piece for your coffee station or planning on giving a generous gift, this is the frother to buy.

  • Capacity: 20 ounces for heating, 8.5 ounces for frothing
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 9.2 x 13 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Accessories: Notched whisk and flat whisk
  • Price at time of publish: $230
Nespresso Aeroccino 4 Milk Frother
Credit: Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Best Automatic: Nespresso Aeroccino 4

View at Williams Sonoma ($120)

Pros: The buttons are easy to use, and it works extremely quickly, at higher heat than less expensive competitors.
Cons: The price isn't far off from models with more advanced and precise setting options.

You might not adhere to the pod life when it comes to coffee, but Nespresso's milk frother is as efficient as its famous coffee makers. It's quiet, user-friendly, and completely dishwasher-safe. It can heat the milk up to 160 to 170 degrees (higher than less expensive competitors). It froths up to 4.4 ounces of cold milk in just 60 seconds and heats 8 ounces of milk in under two minutes. 

The frother is relatively simple with two foam consistencies and four direct buttons for cold foam, heating, dense hot froth, and airy hot froth. The features make it a good buy for anyone picky about their latte foam. If you love your home coffee bar, this is a great accessory.

  • Capacity: 8.2 ounces hot milk, 4 ounces froth
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7 x 8.25 inches
  • Materials: Chrome
  • Accessories: One whisk for all functions
  • Price at time of publish: $120

Conclusion

The best milk frother for you depends on your drink preferences and your household. All things considered, the best option with precise frothing and versatile features is The Milk Café by Breville (view at Williams Sonoma). For a more portable and budget-friendly option, the PowerLix Handheld Frother is the next best choice overall.

Factors to Consider

Types of Milk Frothers

Frothers these days are not dissimilar to blenders in terms of portability and ability. The handheld frother is like the immersion blender: nifty and quick, but it can't heat your soup for you like the powerful Vitamix, or in milk frothers' case, a Breville or a Smeg. Short on kitchen outlets? You'll want a frother powered by batteries or a manual style. Need foam for the whole family? A larger, automatic frother is a great idea. No storage space for another piece of equipment? A handheld frother can fit easily in a utensil drawer.

The handheld milk frother wand is a low-maintenance, zippy tool that runs on batteries and works best when foaming pre-heated milk. Manual frothers work much like a French press and won't require too much storage space. The automatic tools are great to set and let them run to the optimal temperature and froth consistency. It all depends on your budget and how hands-on you want your frothing system to be.

Preferred Drinks

Your favorite coffee shop will always employ a tool that heats and froths the milk, making the ideal foam and consistency those classic drinks require. You'll need to decide if lattes are more your speed than cappuccinos, if you'll need the ability to make hot chocolate, or if you want a wide variety of drinks. Extra features play a role here, too, since frothers will have different types of heating technology and frothing attachments depending on which drink you're creating.

Cleaning

Like any useful kitchen appliance, you want your milk frother to be easy to clean, or even dishwasher-safe where applicable. Some of the larger automatic frothers have detachable containers that are dishwasher-friendly. Other mid-size tools will require hand-washing but won't be quite as expensive. The easiest tool to clean is arguably the handheld frothing wand since it can simply be whisked in soapy water.

Our Expertise

Our team researches the top tools on the market today to develop a comprehensive list across all categories. The piece was updated by Megan Soll, the Senior Commerce Editor for Food & Wine. She has been writing, editing, and developing kitchen product reviews and content for four years. She is something of a coffee obsessive (she owns more mugs than she probably should) and is always on the lookout for what's new with coffee accessories and gadgets.