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10 Best Milk Frothers And Milk Steamers – Buyer’s Guide

10 Best Milk Frothers And Milk Steamers - Buyer Guide

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Sasha Pavlovich

08/26/2021 · 7 min reading

Do you want to make café-style drinks at home but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy espresso machine? Then a simple milk frother or steamer might be your best solution.

A key to the sweet smoothness of many coffee drinks lies in heating and infusing air into the milk. Most coffee shops do this via steam from an attachment on the espresso machine. But that’s not the only want to get frothy milk with fluffy foam.

In this article, we’ll talk about the ten best milk steamers and frothers. We’ll also review them to help you determine the best milk frother for you.

Electric Milk Frothers and Steamers

Immersion Frothers

Manual Frothers

Milk Frother vs Milk Steamer

When we talk about a frother, here we’re referring to a device that only whips the milk. It does not change the temperature. You can either froth cold milk or warm the milk and then use the frother.

When we talk about milk steamers, we are not talking about a milk steamer wand that you find on espresso machines. Instead, we’re talking about a countertop device that can warm the milk. These devices can infuse micro air bubbles into the milk to give a creamy texture, but they don’t use steam to do it.

Even if you already have an espresso machine with a milk steamer wand, you might still want a stand-alone coffee frother or steamer. These devices have one advantage over the steamer on the espresso machine. Infusing actual steam into the milk can sometimes water down the milk. After all, steam is just water vapor.

So, let’s get on with exploring how you can make cafe-quality coffee drinks at home without investing in an espresso machine.

What to Know Before Buying a Steamer or Frother

You’ll find several different types of devices to make frothed milk at home. This video demonstrates several methods.

You’ll find three different types of frothers on the market: automatic electric steamer, motorized whisk, and a hand pump. These machines can vary in price from under $20 to over $100.

The automatic electric steamer is usually the most expensive of these options. They do all the work for you. You just pour in the milk, adjust the settings, and the machine takes it from there. These devices can heat up the milk, infuse microbubbles into it, and create foam.

The next option is the motorized whisk. These are similar to handheld immersion blenders. You can adjust the amount and texture of the foam by positioning the whisk at the top or closer to the bottom of the milk jug.

The third option is the hand pump. These look very much like a French press coffee maker. By moving the plunger up and down, you infuse air bubbles into the milk and create froth and foam.

When making your selection, decide if you want the device to heat the milk for you. If you want it to heat the milk, then you’ll want one of the automatic electric machines.

If you plan on primarily making cold drinks or are fine with separately heating your milk, then you have two choices. There are advantages either way.

With the handheld coffee frother, you can froth the milk in whatever serving vessel you like. You don’t have an extra pitcher to wash. It’s easy because you let the battery-operated whisk to the work. The disadvantage is that you’ll always have to pour the coffee into the milk.

For some, it’s a totally different drink if you pour milk into coffee or coffee into milk. With the pump-type frother, you froth or foam the milk then pour it into the coffee.

Many of the French press-like manual pumps can hold around 8 ounces. That’s handy if you’re making more than one beverage. Just keep in mind that you have to manually pump the plunger up and down. For some types of milk, you may need to do that 50 times or more. That can be a deal-breaker for some.

Do I Need a Frother or Steamer?

Having a coffee frother or steamer can allow you to make coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos at home.

The secret of that extra smoothness and creaminess is in frothing the milk. Merely heating the milk will not produce the same effect.

It is the combination of agitation and the introduction of air bubbles that creates the creaminess.

So, do you really need a frother? If you want to produce a café-quality coffee drink at home, the answer is yes. Otherwise, you’re just making coffee with milk. If you’re reading this, then you probably have a more refined coffee palate. You will feel and taste the difference.

Review of 10 Frothers and Steamers

Here we’ve gathered ten frothers and steamers that can increase your coffee enjoyment at home. We’ve laid out key features and pros and cons of each to help you decide which one will work best for your situation.

1 Miroco Automatic Steamer

Miroco Automatic Steamer
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This steamer offers four different settings. You can have hot and fluffy foam, hot frothed milk, heated milk, or cold froth. Its simple operation uses a single button. The LED indicator ensures that you have selected the correct setting.

This steamer also has a streamlined look. It is designed to fit comfortable in your hand for pouring. But, because there is no handle, some might find it uncomfortable to hold and pour.

Key Features

  • Strix temperature control
  • Can warm 8 ounces of milk or froth 4 ounces
  • Auto off
  • Available in white or black
  • Heats to 149 degrees

Pros:

  • Ergonomic grip
  • Simple operation
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • No handle
  • No temperature control

2 Breville BMF600XL Milk Cafe

Breville BMF600XL Milk Cafe
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This is an automatic, electric milk steamer and frother. More than anything, this device offers great flexibility. It works via heat induction rather than a motor. That helps create the fine bubbles you want in your milk.

To control the amount and density of the foam, this device comes with two frothing discs. One is better for lattes or mochas which need frothy milk without foam. The other is good for cappuccinos which require a more plentiful layer of foam. This machine has on-board storage for the discs.

The adjustable temperature setting goes from warm up to about 160 degrees. The dial shows the optimal temperature for milk frothing. The warm setting is convenient for heating up formula or breast milk. The high temperature allows you to froth plant-based milk like coconut milk.

Another feature that adds to the flexibility of this steamer is the ability to add ingredients while the liquid is heating. The measuring cap allows you to add just the right amount of chocolate, tea leaves, or whatever else you desire.

Key Features

  • Auto-off
  • Warms 25 ounces of milk or water
  • Measuring cap

Pros:

  • Milk jug is dishwasher safe
  • Adjustable temperature setting
  • Extra-large capacity

Cons:

  • High price

3 Nespresso Aeroccino3 Milk Frother

Nespresso Aeroccino3 Milk Frother
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The biggest selling point for this machine is its compact size. Another advantage is its fast heating and frothing time.

The Nespresso Aeroccino3 offers a sleek design without a handle. Some may find this awkward to handle. It has just a single button, making it very user friendly.

Key Features

  • Heats to between 160 and 170 degrees
  • LED light indicates hot or cold preparation
  • Can warm 8 ounces of milk or froth 4 ounces
  • Heats to between 150 and 160 degrees
  • Two color options (red and black)

Pros:

  • Compact size
  • Good for plant-based milks
  • Quiet operation

Cons:

  • Extra-high heat may scorch some milks
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Temperature not adjustable
  • Higher price than other steamers with similar features
  • No temperature control

4 HadinEEon Automatic Electric Milk Steamer

HadinEEon Automatic Electric Milk Steamer
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This heavy-duty steamer and frother features a one-touch operation with LED indicators. The jug detaches from the base for easy pouring.

This item includes two whisks. One is for frothing and one for heating only. The heat-only operation is great for things like making hot chocolate.

Key Features

  • Heats to 140 degrees
  • Holds up to 10 ounces for heating only
  • Holds up to 4.4 ounces for frothing
  • Auto shut-off

Pros:

  • Can froth cold milk
  • Drip-free spout
  • Safety features

Cons:

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Won’t froth some plant-based milk, such as coconut milk

5 Miroco Milk Frother

Miroco Milk Frother
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This is a solid automatic electric steamer. It offers three modes to heat milk, heat and froth milk, or froth cold milk. It heats milk in under ten seconds. That means it takes about as long as heating in the microwave.

The milk container lifts off the base which can make pouring easier. It also has an angled spout which can prevent drips on your countertop.

Key Features

  • Strix temperature control
  • Angled spout
  • Can warm 8 ounces of milk or froth 4 ounces

Pros:

  • Auto shut-off

Cons:

  • No temperature control
  • Min and max fill lines hard to see

6 Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Warmer

Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Warmer
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This model in a 3-in-1 frother. It operates with a single button. A red or blue indicator lights up depending if you have the machine set to warm the milk or just froth cold milk.

This milk pitcher on this item has a handle. It lifts off the base for easier pouring and cleaning.

This electric steamer only heats the milk to 110 degrees. That is well below the optimal temperature of 150 degrees for animal milk. Nut milks have a lower optimal temperature, so may froth well. But other plant-based milks, such as coconut milk, have a higher optimal temperature and may not produce a stable foam.

Key Features

  • Can warm 8.5 ounces of milk or froth 4.25 ounces
  • Heats to 110 degrees

Pros:

  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Lower than optimum temperature
  • No temperature control

7 Aerolatte HIC Professional Milk Frother

Aerolatte HIC Professional Milk Frother
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This is a battery-operated, handheld immersion frother. It produces a thick foam in less than 20 seconds. This device has a sliding On/Off button that stays on until you shut it off.

This model is more powerful than most handheld frothers. With its solid construction and sturdy steel whisk, it can be used to make milkshakes and frappes.

This Aerolatte comes with a striking chrome stand. It makes a statement on any countertop while it protects the whisk head.

Key Features

  • Includes chrome stand
  • Whisk head made of 18/8 stainless steel
  • Sliding On/Off switch
  • Uses two AA batteries

Pros:

  • Powerful frother
  • Froths all types of milk

Cons:

  • Does not heat milk

8 PowerLix Milk Frother

PowerLix Milk Frother
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This is another powerful handheld frother. It can froth the milk for all your coffee drinks.

There is one notable drawback. You have to hold the power button the whole time. Most handheld frothers power on until you turn it off. This can make it awkward as you have to get the angle and depth correct while holding down the button.

Key Features

  • Whisk head made of 18/10 stainless steel
  • Push button On
  • Uses two AA batteries

Pros:

  • Powerful frother
  • Froths all types of milk

Cons:

  • Have to hold the power button
  • Does not heat milk

9 Bodum Glass Manual Milk Frother

Bodum Glass Manual Milk Frother
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This wide-bodies manual frother can give you milk foam in less than a minute. The inside of the pitcher is four inches wide. This is wider than other manual frothers. Because of the width, it may be harder to froth milk for a single cappuccino.

Key Features

  • Glass pitcher and handle
  • 4 x 5 x 7.13 inches

Pros:

  • Holds 8 ounces
  • Pitcher is microwave safe
  • All parts dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Glass handle can break
  • Does not heat milk

10 Ninja Milk Frother

Ninja Milk Frother
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This manual milk frother is tall and narrow. This allows you to effectively froth even a small amount of milk.

Key Features

  • Clear plastic pitcher
  • 3 x 3 x 8 inches

Pros:

  • Pitcher is microwave safe
  • All parts dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Does not heat milk
  • Plastic pitcher

The Frothing Process

First, we need to understand the difference between froth and foam. You create both froth and foam by introducing air bubbles into the liquid. Frothy milk means that there are tiny air bubbles in the milk. That’s what gives it texture. Foam is the larger, lighter substance that sits on top of the coffee and milk. We categorize different coffee drinks by their ratios of coffee, frothed milk, and foam.

The best way to get your technique down is to practice. With a frothing wand, you get different results by having the whisk near the surface vs. having it at the bottom of the pitcher or cup. It’s often recommended to have the frother at an angle to the milk’s surface.

How to Froth Milk at Home?

Most of this article has been about this very topic. But there are a few areas that we have not discussed.

If you’re using a fully electric steamer, just follow the instruction that came with the machine. For a handheld frother wand or frothing pitcher, a little bit of technique is involved. Follow the directions that came with the frother.

Here are some things to keep in mind when frothing milk at home.

First, if you’re not buying a steamer, what’s the best way to heat the milk? Most people will simply warm the milk in the microwave. If you’re against microwaves, then you can gently warm the milk on the stove. Just be careful to not scorch the milk. Burnt milk tastes bad and does not hold the froth.

Some videos on the internet suggest frothing the milk first, then heating. Others recommend the opposite. Personally, I prefer to heat the milk first.

Next, you’ll want to get the freshest milk possible. While most folks can’t just head to the local dairy farm, you can be careful to use milk well before the best by date.

The quality and stability of the foam also depend on the protein and fat content of the milk. Proteins stabilize the foam, while fat destabilizes the foam. But the fat adds flavor.

Plant-based milks like rice and coconut milk usually have zero protein. While they will foam, you won’t get a stable froth incorporated in the milk. Almond milk has a higher protein content, but it’s typically only about 2 grams. Soy milk has around 7 grams of protein. That’s very close to cow milk, which has about 8 grams per 8-ounce serving.

The last issue we’ll talk about is pouring too much milk. Remember that frothing milk expands the volume. If you are aiming for foam, that raises the volume even higher. In general, aim for filling your container about a third of the way with cold milk.

FAQ

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions.

  • Why Steam Milk?

    Steaming the milk is what makes a latte a latte. Besides warming the milk, the process incorporates air bubbles into the milk and creates a froth. The froth is a critical component, especially for lattes and mochas. Froth and foam are used for cappuccinos and macchiatos.

  • What Type of Milk Should I Use?

    Lower fat milk produces a better foam than higher fat milk. But the fat in milk is what gives that taste and silky mouthfeel. Many coffee houses use 2% milk to balance the properties. Some coffee houses use whole milk. Of course, you can also use and plant-based milk.

  • How Hot Should Steamed Milk Be?

    The answer depends on what kind of milk you are using. The ideal steaming temperature for animal milk is 150 degrees. For soy milk, it's 140 degrees, and for almond milk, it's 130 degrees. On the other end of the spectrum, the optimal temperature for coconut milk is 160 degrees.

  • Can you froth cold milk?

    You can, but it may have a different consistency and stability. Milk warmed to about 140 degrees produces the best foam.

  • What else can I Use a Milk Frother For?

    Automatic electric steamers are great for making hot chocolate. Some models also allow you to make hot tea. The handheld whisk models give you almost limitless possibilities. Some uses include whisking protein powder, eggs, and whipping sweet cream.

Stir It Up!

If money is no object, then the clear winner is the Breville BMF600XL Milk Café. The main reason is its flexibility. It has both a latte frothing disc to get the smooth texture in the milk and a cappuccino disc that makes a lot of the lighter foam. You can also choose to simply warm the milk, which is great for hot chocolate or tea.

Another feature that separates this from the rest is that it uses induction heat. You also have precise temperature control. This enables you to go beyond using animal milk.

If you want to use your machine for multiple purposes, then your best milk frother is probably the Aerolatte Professional Milk Frother. The main selling point over the PowerLix is not having to hold down the power button.

This versatile frother can whip cream, eggs, protein drinks, and even frappes and milkshakes. At the same time, it can deliver perfect froth for your coffee drinks. The powerful motor will create foam in about 20 seconds.

The bottom line is that frothing milk for coffee drinks will change the overall experience. Whichever way you like your coffee, enjoy getting your caffeine buzz on!

10 Best Milk Frothers And Milk Steamers - Buyer Guide

Sasha Pavlovich

Hi, I'm Sasha, and this blog is about coffee!

I'm myself an experienced barista with a high passion for coffee. Love brewing, cupping, and talking coffee non-stop. I hope you enjoy my blog and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

View all posts by Sasha Pavlovich

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