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The Instant Milk Frother impressed our testers with the lush, long-lasting foam it produces and the versatility of its four frothing settings. Throw in the affordable and it's the first milk frother we recommend to prospective buyers. For a cheaper handheld option, check out the ElitaPro Double Whisk Milk Frother.
No matter how much we love lattes and cappuccinos, it's easy to grow tired of the daily trip to the coffee shop as well as the hefty price tag. That's where a home milk frother comes in handy. Purchasing one can save time and money in the long run by letting users make café-quality drinks in their own kitchen.
There are three main types of milk frothers: electric, handheld, and manual. We purchased and tested models in each category, and our Lab team evaluated them side-by-side, creating froth and microfoam for lattes, hot chocolate, and more, before rating each on usability, design, performance, and overall value. Every milk frother on this list achieved a high enough standard for us to confidently recommend them.
Here are the best milk frothers to buy, according to our Lab tests.
Best Overall: Instant Pot Instant Milk Frother
Smooth, silky foam
Extremely quiet frothing
Multiple frothing options
Value for money
Whisk is tricky to attach
Whether you want a rich latte or a cozy cup of hot chocolate, the Instant Milk Frother from Instant Brands can get the job done. It ranked highest in performance and overall value out of the roughly two dozen milk frothers tested. All four of the item's settings yielded smooth foam that retained its consistency for a long time. It also worked well with oat milk, making it a viable option for those who prefer milk alternatives. The performance alone makes it a worthwhile purchase, and when you factor in how affordable it is for an automatic milk frother, it’s a great deal.
The machine's four settings are: cold foam, warm thick foam, warm light foam, and hot milk. Such versatility opens up more drink options—cold foam, in particular, is excellent for several iced coffee recipes—and the ability to customize drinks to your preference. Our testers found the settings clearly labeled and easy to alternate between. The frothing is also extremely quiet, so early morning coffee won't wake up others in your household.
As far as cleaning goes, the Instant Milk Frother is on par with other automatic frothers. The lid and whisk are dishwasher safe, but the inside should be cleaned by hand.
Type: Automatic | Capacity: 10 ounces | Heating: Yes | Dimensions: 6.2 x 4.7 x 8.8 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Warranty: One year
“The Instant Milk Frother created a good froth with both oat milk and whole milk, and it even produced a very stable and silky cold foam.”
Best Budget: ElitaPro Double Whisk Handheld Milk Frother
Powerful for handheld frother
Includes egg whisk
Easy to clean
Uses batteries, not a charger
Lacks frothing versatility
There are many affordable milk frothers out there, but the ElitaPro Double Whisk Milk Frother offers the best blend of performance and price, making it our top budget pick. The simple handheld tool consistently produced thick foam throughout our testing process. Surprisingly, it frothed oat milk even better than whole milk, giving it small bubbles and a light, fluffy shape that held together well. That said, the whole milk was still really good, too.
Like most handheld frothers, it's lightweight, small enough to easily store away, and cleaning takes seconds since you only have to spin it in soapy water. We found the grip extremely comfortable, as well. One nice detail that sets the ElitaPro frother apart is that it comes with a whisk for eggs, so you can use it for more than just beverages.
Note that the item's simplicity leads to a natural drawback: It's up to the user to adjust foam consistency on their own, unlike automatic frothers that do it with the touch of a button. Again, this is a shortcoming of handheld frothers in general, not specifically the ElitaPro.
Type: Handheld | Heating: Yes | Dimensions: 2.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 5.9 ounces | Batteries: Two AA batteries | Warranty: Lifetime limited
“This did a great job with the hot chocolate—mixing it well and leaving a nice, thick foam. The double-whisk action really makes a difference.”
Best for Beginners: Rösle Stainless Steel Dual Speed Frother
Easy to use
Easy to clean
Two speed settings
Compact and lightweight
Pricey for handheld frother
Batteries drain quickly
Between perfecting espresso to smoothly blending the milk, making specialty coffee drinks at home often requires some trial and error for those just starting out. The Rösle Stainless Steel Dual Speed Frother simplifies one step of the process and can help start-up baristas stick with their coffee game.
As the item name indicates, the two speed settings set this device apart from many handheld milk frothers by giving it a smidge more versatility. It fared well with both whole and oat milk when we tested and even made light and creamy cold foam. There were large bubbles in the whole milk that popped and deflated quicker than the small bubbles in the oat milk, but the whole milk was sufficient for a latte or cappuccino nonetheless. Once you're done frothing, simply spin the whisk in soapy water and dry.
While the Rösle frother drifts toward the pricier end for a handheld model, it's still a fairly low financial investment, making it further suitable for beginners. Just make sure to keep extra AAA batteries handy, as they will often need to be replaced.
Type: Handheld | Heating: No | Dimensions: 2.4 x 1.5 x 10.5 inches | Weight: 3.6 ounces | Batteries: Two AAA batteries | Warranty: Lifetime
“It made a nice foam with whole milk, but performed better with oat milk, producing a tighter consistency that held up. Cold foam was smooth and pourable.”
Best Design: Secura Detachable Milk Frother
Convenient and easy to use
Excellent foam with whole milk
Milk jug is dishwasher safe
Takes a long time to heat up
Loud when frothing
Hot chocolate function is subpar
The standout detail of Secura's Detachable Milk Frother is, naturally, the stainless steel milk jug that can be removed for easy pouring. Our testers found it convenient not only when making drinks, but also for cleaning up after, as the jug is dishwasher safe.
This is not the only detachable milk frother on the market, so why does it stand out enough for us to recommend it ahead of the others? One reason is its frothing power. It created such fine foam with whole milk that we could scoop it with a spoon and still retain its shape. Another advantage is that it has four frothing modes, all accessed by the touch of a button. There's a setting for hot milk foam, cold foam, and hot chocolate, and a separate whisk attachment for plain hot milk.
Unfortunately, the hot chocolate and cold foam functions aren't as effective as general frothing. The cold foam was suitable, but didn't hold its shape as long as those made by other devices. Our testing team also noted that the hot chocolate powder didn't fully mix. Overall, this is a reliable and reasonably priced milk frother that's worth purchasing; it just comes with a couple caveats.
Type: Automatic | Capacity: 8.5 ounces for frothing; 17 ounces for heating | Heating: Yes | Dimensions: 6.6 x 5 x 7.4 inches | Weight: 2.79 pounds | Warranty: Two-year limited
“It created a very viscous foam with tight small bubbles when using whole milk and large-bubbled foam when using oat milk, though the oat milk didn’t hold as well as the whole milk.”
Best for Advanced Baristas: Nespresso Aeroccino 4 Milk Frother
Versatile and has multiple settings
Quiet when frothing
Effective with dairy and non-dairy milk
Small opening if cleaning by hand
For coffee lovers who prefer their milk foam a specific way, the Nespresso Aeroccino4 Milk Frother is an excellent choice. This top-rated device offers a wide range of options for your next latte, cappuccino, and more. It has settings for cold foam, hot milk, hot medium foam, and hot dense foam. We tested each setting and were impressed all around. The foam was rich and had small bubbles that held up for several minutes—longer than the majority of milk frothers tested.
The main downside to the Aeroccino4 is its hefty price tag. It's one of the most expensive that we tested. That said, the performance justifies the price in the end. There are some convenient touches that make it a worthwhile purchase, too, starting with the fact that the jug is dishwasher safe. The grip is ergonomic and sturdy, and the spout pours smoothly. It's also quiet when frothing.
Type: Automatic | Capacity: 8 ounces if heating and 4 ounces if frothing | Heating: Yes | Dimensions: 7.1 x 7.1 x 8.3 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Warranty: Two years
“This passed all of our tests with ease, but take note: User error is easy with hot chocolate as it will burn on the second heat setting.”
Best Countertop: Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother
Froths non-dairy milk well
Jug is dishwasher safe
Louder when frothing
The Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother is compact at roughly 4 inches in diameter and simple thanks to the lone power button. But don't let that fool you: The device is sturdy enough to withstand daily use for the coffee lover who makes multiple drinks a day, which is why it earns a spot as our favorite countertop frother.
All you have to do for quick and easy milk foam is hit the power button and you're good to go. The milk heats up as it froths, so users can seamlessly pour it over espresso for delicious lattes and cappuccinos. The frother holds a maximum of 13.5 ounces, but 8 ounces is recommended for best results; there are clear markings inside to indicate proper fill levels
It performed well with both dairy and non-dairy milk, and our testers also said it made excellent cold foam and hot chocolate. When you're done, just pop the top part of the frother in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. One of the only criticisms we have is that it's louder than many other electric frothers that we tested.
Type: Automatic | Capacity: 13.5 ounces | Heating: Yes | Dimensions: 4.21 x 8.46 inches | Weight: 1.8 pounds | Warranty: One-year limited
"Very tight foam was produced when using whole milk—small bubbles that held together well after the initial pour. It conformed to the shape of the glass and maintained its shape.”
Best Manual: HIC Fino Milk Frother
Top-rack dishwasher safe
Easy to use
Not the sturdiest material
Even though manual milk frothers take a little more effort than electric alternatives, the HIC Fino Milk Frother plunged smoothly and created rich, long-lasting foam for our testers in just under 60 seconds. It's also cheaper than most electric counterparts (although, there are many electric handheld frothers at a similar or lower price). And since it's lightweight and doesn't require electricity, it's portable enough to take with you when traveling or camping.
The pitcher has a 14-ounce capacity, which is fairly large, although you shouldn't fill it up all the way or it will overflow when frothing. The lid has a built-in double mesh aerator that easily creates foam, and the carafe has an easy-grip handle. It holds up to 14 ounces. It's also top-rack dishwasher safe.
The stainless steel parts make it fairly loud, though not terrible. Another small downside to consider before purchasing is that you can't see the milk while frothing it, so you may have to stop and peek to get the foam to your preference.
Type: Manual | Capacity: 14 ounces | Heating: No | Dimensions: 5.25 x 3.625 x 4.25 inches | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Warranty: One year
”It’s perfect for cold foam and milk frothing with a barista-like prowess.”
Best Travel: Golde Superwhisk
Compact and durable
Easy to clean
Uses charger, not batteries
Two speed options
Not sold at many retailers
Golde is perhaps best known for its line of superfood mixes and matcha powders, but the Brooklyn-born brand also makes a top-of-the-line milk frother. The Superwhisk is stylish with a matte white design and extremely sturdy, which is why we recommend it as a travel option that you can reliably store in a bag or suitcase.
Despite being heavier than most handheld frothers—a detail that indicates its durability—it's comfortable to hold. Luckily, you won't have to hold it for long anyway because the dual-speed device creates frothy milk in seconds. Our testers found that oat milk keeps its frothiness slightly longer than dairy milk with the Superwhisk, though you can't go wrong with either option. Hot cocoa mix also blended quickly and thoroughly into milk, so keep this option in mind as a gift option around the holidays.
Golde also saves customers the hassle of hunting for batteries, as the Superwhisk uses a convenient USB charger to stay juiced. All you have to do to clean the whisk is spin it in soapy water for a few seconds and then let it dry.
Type: Handheld | Heating: No | Dimensions: 1.25 x 10 inches | Weight: 6.2 ounces | Warranty: 2 years
“Cold foam featured stiff peaks within about 15 seconds and did a great job with hot chocolate, completely incorporating the mix and leaving a full 1.5 inches of foam.”
Our favorite milk frother for general use is the Instant Milk Frother from Instant Brands. It's powerful, versatile, and clocks in at an affordable price. We also recommend the ElitaPro Double Whisk Milk Frother, which is an extremely cheap and straightforward option for those who don't want any frills.
Other Options We Tested
- Bellman Stovetop Steamer: The Bellman Stovetop Steamer is more difficult to use than most automatic or handheld frothers we tested, which already put it in lower consideration than other options that appeared on this list. On top of that, the milk foam was thin and lacked the quality needed for a tasty latte.
- Capresso Froth Max Milk Frother: This milk frother has some positives—namely it makes solid cold foam and works well with oat milk—but there are a few too many drawbacks for us to confidently recommend it. It’s loud when in use, and our testers found that whole milk foam was too lose and didn’t retain its body when mixing with coffee.
- Keurig Standalone Frother: Keurig is one of the most popular and trusted names for coffee consumers, but the brand’s Standalone Frother falls a little short. Users can make thick foam with whole milk, but it doesn’t last long enough to enjoy throughout your beverage. It also has issues creating a suitable foam with milk alternatives.
How We Tested
We purchased and tested more than 20 milk frothers—nine handheld, four manual, and nine electric—to see what ones we recommend and which we would pass on. All of the frothers were evaluated together in our Lab, which allowed us to compare their performances and provide better analysis. Testers made microfoam for lattes using both whole and oat milks; cold foam from skim milk and simple syrup; and hot chocolate with whole milk. Our testing team listed pros and cons for each item and rated each one on usability, design, performance, and overall value.
Testing Milk Frothers for Durability, Settings, and Size
What to Look for in a Milk Frother
There are several types of milk frothers. Some are electric and require a power supply, while others run on batteries. Certain models are manual, running on nothing more than human power. Think about how much frothing you expect to do—if it's a lot, an automatic model might work better.
Some milk frothers can heat milk for even more java options. Others can customize the type of froth you like, as well as the temperature. More features generally means a higher price tag, so consider your budget—and how you like your coffee—when shopping.
If you’re planning to store your frother in a cupboard or drawer, its style may not matter so much to you. However, if you plan to display your coffee gear on a counter or in another noticeable place, consider its look as well. Some frothers are sleek and sophisticated while others have more of an old-school or functional feel.
What drinks can I make with a milk frother?
There’s no shortage of drinks that can be made by combining milk and espresso or milk and coffee concentrate, many of which you’ll recognize from coffeehouse menus. We’ll briefly touch on a few of the most popular here. First, we have the cappuccino. The rich Italian specialty is made with three equal parts, which, going from the bottom of the cup to the top, are espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. Next is the latte, which is similar to a cappuccino, but instead made of one part espresso, two parts steamed milk, and a thin layer of milk foam on top. A macchiato, simple yet delicious, is comprised of an espresso shot and a thin layer of milk foam. And the drinks don’t end there. Other options include mochas, latte macchiatos, cortados, café au lait, and more.
"Microfoam is basically thousands or millions of very small bubbles that form through the steaming process. It looks like velvety wet paint. You actually can't even see the bubbles. If you're trying to make microfoam at home, be sure to heat up the milk first, then run the milk frother. It won’t work if it’s not heated up." — Paulo Asi, Director of Training at the Seattle Barista Academy
What’s the difference between frothed and steamed milk?
"Frothing is when you fold in or incorporate air into your milk to create an airier texture," said Paulo Asi, Director of Training at the Seattle Barista Academy. "Steaming milk can mean you froth it too, but it usually means heating it up, basically like you’re microwaving the milk."
Due to the injection of air, frothed milk typically has larger bubbles, greater volume, and a lighter mouthfeel. Steamed milk, on the other hand, has smaller air bubbles and a creamier texture.
What kind of milk can I use with my frother?
Unless otherwise specified, you should be able to use any kind of milk in your frother whether dairy or non-dairy. That said, there are differences in texture and taste between milk types, and some are better suited for frothing than others. Asi recommends whole milk above all, but adds that reduced fat milk is a good option too.
"You want three things to intermingle if you're looking for the best foam and to produce the best latte art," he says. "Sugar, proteins, and fats." Regarding non-dairy options, Asi prefers oat milk. He suggests looking for milk alternatives that say barista blend, barista friendly, or barista edition on them to know that they are suitable for coffee drinks.
Other options such as coconut milk, cashew milk, and almond milk aren't ideal for lattes and cappuccinos, largely due to their lower fat and protein content, but they are still worth a shot if any are your preferred milk alternative.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He has used the Smeg Milk Frother, which appears on this list, and recommends it not only for its performance but eye-catching design.
Paulo Asi, the Director of Training at the Seattle Barista Academy, was interviewed for this piece. He has worked in the coffee industry for more than 12 years. Founded in 2013, the Seattle Barista Academy is a multi-dimensional program that trains baristas who are committed to the professional preparation of espresso drinks.