While milk frothers are probably not among the most-purchased kitchen items, they can save you bundles of money if you start making your own fancy coffee drinks at home rather than going to a pricy coffee shop. Even plain coffee can attain the wow-factor when it’s presented with a thick layer of creamy froth.
Froth isn’t just for coffee drinks, though — it’s fun for topping hot chocolate or creamy cocktails. And of course froth can be either hot or cold, depending on what you’re serving. Despite... the name, frothers aren’t just for froth, since some can also be used for other purposes.
Frothers fall into four basic types. First, hand-held frothers have a wand with a springy whisk that froths the hot milk. Since these are battery operated, they’re portable, so you don’t need to lurk near an outlet to use them. They’re also fairly small, so you can store them in a drawer when not in use. You can also use them for mixing vinaigrettes, whisking eggs, blending drinks, and smoothing lumpy gravies. The downside is that they don’t heat the milk for you.
Electric frother carafes heat the milk and froth it within the carafe, so there’s no need to hold a wand or heat milk separately. This type of frother is great if you want the process to be automatic, and they’re also useful for just heating without frother. However, unlike the hand-held wands, you won’t be using this type for whipping eggs or smoothing gravies.
Manual frothers require just a little work, pumping the plunger up and down to create the foam. These are great for travel, camping or glamping, or for folks who don’t want yet another electric appliance looking for an outlet in the kitchen. Since it doesn’t require electricity, you can make the foam at the table as you need it, too.
High-end frothers are larger and more impressive, and are engineered to make the best foam possible with the least work for the users. With that engineering comes a device that takes a bit of space, probably right next to the coffee maker.
If you're in the market for the best milk frother here are our picks:
One of the very first hand-held frothers on the market, aerolatte has continued to improve the product over the years, including versions that include stands, cappuccino art stencils or quirky decorative bodies. Meanwhile, they’ve engineered the tiny motor to operate at a speed and torque that is perfect for foaming milk and the spring coils are just as specifically produced.
This frother leaves out the extras, but does exactly what it’s supposed to — it creates frothy milk in 20 seconds or less.
This can handle almost any kind of milk, either hot or cold. The whisking head and shaft are made from 18/8 stainless steel that won’t rust, corrode or stain. The shaft is hardened and thickened to protect against bending. This operates on two AA batteries that are pre-installed and has a simple toggle switch to turn it on and off.
The body should not be immersed in water. To clean, just rinse under hot tap water or operate it in a glass of hot soapy water for a more thorough cleaning.
This is available in a variety of body colors and designs.
This frother wants to be displayed on your counter, since it comes with a stand. Of course you can tuck it into a cabinet or put it in a drawer, if you don’t use it enough to want it sitting next to your coffee maker.
It takes just about 15-20 seconds to get a cup of froth that’s ready to be spooned into your latte. The wand is made from 18/10 stainless steel that won’t rust, tarnish, or stain, and it won’t bend or break in normal use. The motor provides 19000 rpm's and runs quietly, so you can have your early-morning latte or late night hot chocolate without disturbing anyone’s sleep.
The power button is conveniently located on top, and the sleek black body looks good in any kitchen. It’s lightweight and ergonomic, and cleans easily. When coffee hour is over, you can use this for mixing milkshakes or blending cocktails, as well. Two AA batteries are required; they are not included. The frother body should not be immersed in water.
Heat your milk and froth it right in this carafe, or opt to froth the milk without heating, if you prefer. You can also use the carafe just for heating without activating the frothing function. The carafe is made from stainless steel and has vacuum insulation that helps to keep a constant temperature, either hot or cold, and it detaches from the base easily for serving without being tethered to the cord.
This holds 8 1/2 ounces if you’re just using the carafe for heating, and it holds 4 1/4 ounces if you’re frothing, since the volume will double. It has three settings: hot froth, cold froth and hot milk. Some users prefer to use the cold froth first, followed by hot froth, for the thickest, creamiest froth.
This has two buttons for choosing heating or not; frothing is controlled by using the frothing whisk or removing it for heating only. The frother should not be submerged in water.
This frother can make hot or cold froth, and holds about 1 cup for heating and 1/2 cup for frothing, since the volume doubles. The carafe is made from stainless steel with vacuum insulation that helps keep your milk hot or cold, and it has a nonstick coating for easy cleaning. The carafe detaches from the base for serving.
This has one single button for operation. Press and release immediately to turn on both the heater and frother, or press and hold the button to turn on the frother without the heater to make a cold foam. The frothing whisk can be removed to heat the milk without creating froth. The frother should not be submerged in water.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
This human-powered frother can hold up to 2 cups of foam, to make enough froth for several servings from just 1/3 cup of milk. Since it requires no power, you can make foam at the table or take the frother with you anywhere. The manufacturer says that froth made from chilled milk with no steam is lighter and the foam lasts longer, so it’s suggested that you always start with cold milk.
To make the foam, just add cold milk to the carafe, put the lid on, and pump for 10 to 20 seconds to create a thick foam. If you prefer hot foam, microwave the foam in the beaker to warm it. The beaker is made from tempered glass and has a removable rubber base for stability and to help prevent accidental bumps.
Since the carafe is clear, you can watch the foam as it forms, and stop when you’re reached your desired consistency. Recipes are included, in case you need more ideas for foam or how to use it. Hand washing is recommended.
This all-stainless steel frother creates a rich foam in a minute or less. 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. This can froth cold or warm milks.
It’s simple to use — just add warm or cold milk, place the plunger and lid on top, and pump the handle for 30-60 seconds to create the ideal foam.
This is top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Since it doesn’t require electricity, it’s very portable, and the stainless steel carafe is durable enough for travel anywhere.
If you’re serious about coffee, you need a serious, high-end frother that makes tiny bubbles for the smoothest, thickest foam. This electric frother includes two separate frothing discs for different types of froth. The latte frothing disc produces a smooth, creamy milk, while the cappuccino frothing disc creates a thick, creamy froth. There’s onboard storage for the discs, so you won’t lose them in the bottom of a drawer.
Besides frothing milk, you can use this to make smooth creamy hot chocolate or other hot drinks. It’s easy to use, too. Just choose the proper disc, fill with enough milk to create one to three cups of foam, select the temperature, and start the machine. The temperature is variable from warm to hot, and machine will turn itself off when the proper temperature is reached. There is also a cold-stir option that will mix cold beverages and provide a little froth, but it won’t make a cold foam.
This uses induction heating to warm the jug and control the spinning frothing disks. Since the jug doesn’t need to have any electronic components, it means the metal jug is dishwasher safe.
This high-end frother has an affordable price, but is still packed with features. It can create a rich, thick froth in seconds, and holds 12 ounces for heating and 8 ounces for frothing. It includes two frothing disks and one heating disk that stirs the milk so it doesn’t scald during heating.
You can choose hot, warm or cold temperatures, then just add the milk and press the button to create the foam you need for any drink. With the heating disk inserted, you can heat milk, hot chocolate or other liquids for drinking or for use in recipes. Keep milk warm for mashed potatoes, or keep a broth warm for risotto. On the cold setting, you can even froth low-fat milk and citrus juice to make a citrus “latte.”
Since the pitcher is clear plastic, you can watch the foaming process. Hand washing is recommended, but users have reported that they have washed the pitcher in the dishwasher with no ill effects.
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