Investing in one of the best milk frothers can help you cafe-worthy drinks from the comfort of your own kitchen. Using one of these manual or electric gadgets is much easier than you think, and with a good coffee maker on your countertop, no pro barista skills are required for whipping up your go-to order. Put simply, a milk frother aerates the milk, forming tiny pockets of bubbles, which leads to delightfully frothy and foamy consistencies in your drinks.
Now, depending on your budget or expertise, there are many different types of milk frothers out there. Does a budget-friendly handheld whisk appeal to you or a manual French-press style frother? Or are you ready to invest in something electric and automatic, or a tool that's similar to what your favorite coffeehouse uses?
If shaking it in the carton has soured your latte results, don't cry over spilled milk. We'll show you which milk frother is best for your budget and needs. You don't have to be a coffee lover either as many of these can elevate your hot chocolate, chai, or matcha, too.
Meet the 4 different types of milk frothers
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- Electric: These are the most expensive and have a heating component. They most closely resemble an electric kettle, with a jug where the milk goes, a power base that heats up, a whisk, and a clear lid to see progress. Most involve just adding milk and selecting the desired setting, and it will shut off when done frothing. Electric milk frothers can heat and froth milk at the same time.
- Handheld: A budget-friendly choice, these have a handheld wand part with a small whisk at the end that is inserted into your milk. They either have batteries or are rechargeable, but they sometimes cause milk splatter.
- Manual: These resemble a coffee press and include a carafe, either glass or stainless steel, with a lid, and a plunger where you will manually pump air into the milk. They require the most effort and take the most time, but you never have to worry about an electrical component not working and you have total control over the frothiness.
- Steam wand: These are what you see in coffee shops, and are generally the most expensive and require more technique. They are built into some coffee makers and their mechanism pushes steam through a wand into the milk, creating fine and velvety foam giving it texture, not just bubbles.
The best milk frothers to buy in 2023
We researched and reviewed the best milk frothers that will truly make your at-home coffee experience one to remember. But be careful, your one-a-day coffee may soon turn into a four-a-day latte habit and the need to constantly re-stock your fridge with milk. But it's all so, so worth it.
Our favorite pick
Capacity: 1.6 lbs.
Dimensions: L6.1" x W6.4" x H10.3"
Temperature: 120°F to 160°F
+ Lid and whisk dishwasher safe
+ Magnetic onboard storage for discs
+ Auto-off setting
- No cold setting
While most milk frothers can only froth enough milk for one beverage at a time, you can make up to three cups of milk in this one. This makes it perfect for when you have guests. We thought it was super simple to use and it works with two interchangeable "discs," which you choose from depending on your desired froth setting (latte for smooth/silky or cappuccino disc for thick/creamy froth). It's made with stainless steel throughout and uses an induction heating element that creates little bubbles, so it's a top-notch pick for creating velvety hot chocolate, too.
Our second fave
Capacity: 8 oz
Dimensions: L7.1″ x W7.1″ x H8.3″
Temperature: 160°F to 170°F
+ Dishwasher-safe parts
+ Uses just one whisk
- Only one finish
- One temperature
When we think espresso, we think Nespresso, so it's only natural for this to be second on our list. Currently in review by us, the Aeroccino4 is easy to use with four buttons, plus it has convenient dishwasher-safe components. It can froth milk for hot and cold beverages, and it has a hot froth mode that's ideal for cappuccinos. It can heat up to eight ounces of milk at a time or froth up to four ounces. And its handle makes pouring super simple (and mess-free).
Best budget milk frother
Capacity: 8.1 oz
Dimensions: L6.1" x W4" x H7.2"
Temperature: Up to 150°F
+ Stainless steel body
+ Hot and cold
+ Includes cleaning brush
- Milk film is common, but doesn't affect the flavor
If you're looking to upgrade from a handheld or manual frother, — this model is great. It's easy to operate and can heat eight ounces at a time or froth up to four ounces like the Aeroccino4. If name brand isn't a top factor, you'll be lured by the under-$50 price tag. Lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolate, you want it, you've got it — in less than two minutes. Press down the power button for three seconds for cold froth, and once it's finished it will automatically turn off. It comes with two whisks — one for heating and another for frothing.
A battery-operated milk frother
Dimensions: H9.84" x W2.8" x D2.97"
+ Comes with a convenient stand
- Can be messy
- Doesn't heat
The Powerlix is an easy, intuitive tool with a one-touch operation. We think it's super easy to use and even more simple to store, plus it can also be used as a whisk for mixing milkshakes, matcha tea, protein powders, cocktails, fruit drinks, eggs, soups, dressings, and even whipped cream, talk about a versatile tool. For best results, you'll want to whip your milk in a separate container and make sure it's already at your preferred temperature.
Manual milk frother
Capacity: 5 oz
Dimensions: L3" x W3" x H8"
+ Works with hot or cold milk
+ No power source required
- Requires the most effort
- Doesn't heat
The Ninja Easy Frother's glass container allows you to see your progress, plus you can preheat your milk in the microwave in the same vessel — just be sure to remove any metal parts. After 10–20 pumps, you'll be left with thick frothed milk, plus reviewers say the glass is thicker and sturdier than the frother that comes with Ninja's Coffee Bar System. Just don't pump too much as it could overflow, and make sure the top is completely sealed around the pouring spout.
Our fave small coffee maker with a steam wand
Dimensions (in): H10.07” x W6.05" x D12.75”
Temperature: 140°F to 165°F
+ Cafe-quality microfoam
+ Fully-equipped espresso machine with grinder
- Takes practice to achieve good results
If you also need a new coffee maker and milk frother, then this is the ultimate 2-in-1 buy. For those serious about their lattes and flat whites — this is the real deal. It's an investment in your life, not just a spur-of-the-moment buy. But, if you've tried your hand at handhelds, and even upgraded to electric, the steam wand is the next level. Note, the steam wand requires the most maintenance and must be cleaned promptly.
See why we gave the Nespresso Lattissima One five stars in our review.
How does a milk frother work?
A milk frother aerates the milk by quickly stirring it. This action brings in air to the mixture, which in turn causes the milk to form a lather on top. This can be light or dense depending on the type of frothing device used.
The frothed milk will complement your coffee's flavor while also making it creamier.
How can I do latte art?
Milk frothing is truly an art, and can make or break your coffee experience. You've heard of latte art, and the first step towards it is achieving the right foam consistency. If you're interested in making latte art, you'll want to choose a milk frother with a spout for easy and controlled pouring. And you'll want to look for videos to help you nail it, as it's harder than it looks.
What's the best kind of milk to use in a milk frother?
The hard truth: real milk froths best, the fresher the better. Nespresso also notes that protein content should be high as this leads to better frothing. Low-fat milk creates dry, stiff foam while high-fat or whole milk creates wet, silky foam. Milk that has previously been frozen will not froth.
Many reviewers across the models have noted that oat milk has worked and led to frothy results, but milk alternatives like almond, coconut, or soy milk often have a harder time yielding consistent results. A lot of it comes down to experimentation, unfortunately. We will note, that over the years more companies have released alternative "milks" that are getting closer to the real deal in terms of texture and what we'd call frothability.
What is the best milk frother?
We think the best milk frother you can buy is the Breville BMF600XL Milk Cafe Milk Frother (opens in new tab). However, if you're after a handheld, we think the PowerLix Milk Frother Handheld Battery Operated Electric Foam Maker (opens in new tab) is a good, budget-friendly choice.
Real Homes milk frother review process
We strive to test everything that we recommend at Real Homes, but in some cases, it's just not possible. And where this applies, we will only recommend products that are highly rated by reviewers.
In the case of these milk frothers, we're working our way through this list with some of them already in our kitchens and others on their way there. We've tested (and we love) two out of this guide, and two more reviews are in the works.
Meet our milk frother testers:
Christina is our ecommerce editor at Real Homes and she reviews a range of small kitchen appliances, from our top-rated air fryers to small coffee machines and everything in between. She reviewed (and loved!) the Nespresso Lattissima One machine because of how easy it is to use, and how stylish it is on a countertop. She also thoroughly enjoyed using it to froth milk for her latte.
Annie is our head ecommerce editor and has been reviewing products for Real Homes since 2018. Whether it's a robot vacuum cleaner, an air fryer, or a milk frother, she knows what she's talking about. She's currently reviewing the Nespresso Aeroccino4 after her previous Nespresso milk frother stopped working after a couple of years of continuous use. She'll be sure to update this guide with her verdict.
Jaclyn loves to elevate her cold brew coffee by frothing milk with the PowerLix Handheld Battery Operated Electric Foam Maker in a separate glass to watch it quickly foam up. Or if she's feeling short on time and doesn't want to take out another cup, she'll whip it straight with the coffee to blend her milk and coffee.
It's super easy to clean with just a rinse under the tap. It also makes for a rewarding gift. It's one of those things you may not think to buy for yourself, unless you're reading this article, of course! Plus, it comes in so many colors and has a long-lasting battery that hasn't run out on her just yet.
Jaclyn was previously our ecommerce editor, but she now writes for our sister site Homes & Gardens.