When you buy your favorite coffee beverage, may it be a Cappuccino, Latte or a Macchiato, all these milk based drinks are made by steaming milk using a steam wand on the espresso machine. Hot steam heats and froths the milk to create that beautiful creamy milk we’ve all come to love.
If you have a single-serve espresso machine, those usually don’t come with a steam wand (the Breville Creatista is the only exception here). So instead, to create frothy milk you use an electric milk frother that whisks the milk rapidly to create foam.
Are electric milk frothers and steamers the same thing? No, you get different results from each. A milk frother is an alternative to the steam wand, and people use it for many things and not just to foam milk for coffee. You can enjoy your frothed milk to create hot chocolate, Chai latte or just on its own.
What To Look For in an Electric Milk Frother?
To make your buying decision easier, you need to know what is it you need from your frother:
- Do you need a frother that heats milk or only froths milk? As this would be the main difference between an electric frother and a battery operate handheld frother.
- Do you need it to make cold froth as well as hot?
- What kind of milk will you froth? As dairy and non-dairy milks produce different type of foams.
- Do you want to make beverages other than coffee drinks?
- Most importantly, is customization important to you? Do you need to adjust foam level and temperature? Or do you simply want your milk frothed and nothing specific?
Breville Milk Cafe Frother – Best For Dairy Milk and Hot Chocolate
A long time favorite and a best seller for many years in a row now. Breville’s Milk Cafe is the best overall milk frother for all tasks.
- Prepare hot or cold froth.
- Variable temperature, select from cold stir, warm, optimal or hot froth.
- Adjust the level of foam by using either the latte frothing disc for smooth and silky milk or Cappuccino disc for more froth.
- Make hot chocolate by adding chocolate powder, syrup or chunks directly into the milk as it froths.
- Stainless steel jug interior.
- Uses induction heating, which means the jug is cordless and fully submergible in water and dishwasher safe.
- 3-cup capacity.
You can use the Breville Milk Cafe for any type of milk, either dairy or non-dairy. With non-dairy milk, such as Almond milk which is quite popular choice, the results are a little variable depending on the brand. Some brands have developed non dairy milks made specially for coffee that would create better froths, I would suggest looking into those.
Pros of Breville Milk Cafe:
- Large capacity
- Dishwasher-safe stainless steel jug
- Variable Temperature selection.
- Ingredients can be added to milk as it heats.
- More expensive
Nespresso Aeroccino 4 – Best Nespresso Frother For Coffee Beverages
The Aeroccino 4 is quite an improvement from older Aeroccino frothers. It allows for some adjustability without the need for different whisks.
- Choose from four programs: dense hot foam, medium hot foam, hot milk and cold foam.
- Ceramic coating.
- Stainless steel housing with plastic handle.
- Jug fully detachable from the base. Dishwasher safe.
- Capacity: 4 oz for froth, 8.2 oz for hot milk.
Aeroccino 4 is great for any type of foam you want for your coffee drinks; cappuccino, latte or iced coffee. For hot chocolate, you can create hot milk and add it to the chocolate in another cup, you can’t add ingredients directly into the jug. This is why the Breville Milk Cafe would create better hot chocolate as it stirs the ingredients with the milk. As for non-dairy milk, you can still use it with the Aeroccino, but the results are always a hit or a miss.
Pros of Aeroccino 4:
- Selection of foam density.
- Ceramic coating, which is better and safer than non-stick teflon.
- Dishwasher safe.
- For the price, it has limited customization and options.
Secura 4-in-1 Electric Milk Frother and Hot Chocolate Maker – Best Electric Milk Frother on Budget:
Secura’s milk frother offers some good features for the price. It is somewhat similar to Breville’s Milk Cafe design, albeit having less features.
- It has a stainless steel jug, inside and out.
- Creates hot or cold froth.
- Includes two whisks.
- 250ml capacity.
- Allows you to add hot chocolate ingredients at the milk heats and whisks.
- Jug is fully detachable, cordless and dishwasher safe.
Although the Secura milk frother does a good job and has some cool features, some customers have reported that the attachments wear out easily, and it can be hard to get replacement parts. The overall quality of the products isn’t the best.
Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother – Best For Hot Froth or Warm Milk Only:
Bodum’s Bistro electric milk frother is as simple as they come. It only prepares one kind of froth, a single cup at a time (300 ml). If you want warm milk only, remove the frothing whisk and it will heat your milk. Priced very reasonably for what it does, and it makes a cheaper alternative to the Aeroccino 3.
This frother has non-stick coating and plastic exterior. It is Not dishwasher safe.
Aeroccino 3 vs. Aeroccino 4 – What’s the Difference?
Aeroccino 3 is the model that’s usually included with Nespresso machines as a bundle. It can be purchased separately, too. How is it different than the Aeroccino 4 and which is better?
- Aeroccino 3 has nonstick coating inside, which is known to peel and chip after a while of use.
- It is NOT dishwasher safe.
- You can either hot or cold froth. If you want less dense foam, you can remove the disc so the machine stirs the milk only.
- It has plastic exterior and no handle.
The Aeroccino 4 is definitely a better choice than the Aeroccino 3. Even if you don’t care much about milk textures, it has a better design and coating.
Breville Milk Cafe vs. Aeroccino:
Whether we’re talking about Aeroccino 4 or 3, none of them work as well as the Breville Milk cafe.
- To start, Milk Cafe has variable temperature settings and it allows you to add ingredients to your milk as it whisks. Which you cant do with either Aeroccino frothers.
- Breville’s Milk Cafe has stainless steel interior, which performs better than nonstick teflon and ceramic coating.
- Capacity on the Breville Milk Cafe is larger, up to three cups. While the Aeroccino mostly does a single cup.
- Milk Cafe and Aeroccino 4 are dishwasher safe, Aeroccino 3 is not.
Breville Milk Cafe vs. Secura 4 in 1 Milk Frother:
As mentioned earlier, the Secura frother can make a cheaper alternative to the Breville Milk Cafe as both have a few similar features:
- Stainless steel jugs, both dishwasher safe.
- Induction heating.
- The ability to add ingredients to milk as it heats.
- Two froth discs.
- What’s different is:
- Capacity: Breville milk cafe has larger capacity (about 700ml), while the Secura has 250ml capacity.
- Temperature Selection: Although the Secura can do both hot and cold froth, you can’t select specific temperature degrees like you can with the Breville Milk Cafe.
There’s also clear quality differences between the two frothers. Breville Milk Cafe has a better build and design that the Secura.
If you would prefer a handheld battery operated milk frother, there are so many to pick from. And to be honest, there’s not much difference between brands.
Most available handheld frothers are quite generic and there’s nothing special about them. So when picking one, I’d advise you to go with the best price you can find. Here are some recommendations:
A manual milk frother is a non-electric device that creates froth from hot milk mostly. They’re similar in design to a french press pot.
There are two type of manual milk frothers:
- Glass pitcher, or
- Stainless steel pitcher.
Stainless steel would make a better choice as it’s more durable, easier to clean and retains the temperature of the milk better than glass.
Top Picks for Manual Milk Frothers:
Can I Use a French Press To Froth Milk Instead?
As manual milk frothers and french press pots share a similar design and mechanism, can’t you just use a french press to froth milk?
Practically speaking, yes you absolutely can. And you’ll get the same results. However, there’s one important difference between the design of a press pot’s mesh filter and that on a manual frother.
The mesh filter on the the manual milk frother has soft edges that will not scratch or weaken the glass or stainless steel pitcher as you pump it to produce the froth.
On the other hand, the mesh filter on the french press has coils and exposed mesh. It’s not designed to be constantly pumped like the mesh on the manual milk frother.
So, while a french press pot can give you the same result, it will weaken your pot and shorten its lifespan.