If your espresso machine doesn’t include a steaming milk attachment, you can easily heat and whip your own topping for cappuccinos and lattes with an electric milk frother. In addition, one of these devices can warm milk for a bedtime treat, or froth cold milk to cap an iced brew or chocolate milk.
To find which will create a perfect foamy topping, we chose some of the most popular automatic frothers on the Canadian market and bought a whole lot of dairy, almond, soy, and oat milk. It’s a good thing I like my coffee with milk because I downed way too many cappuccinos in search of our favorite!
Reading: Best milk steamer
Our extensive testing found the Instant Milk Frother (available at Amazon) is the best at frothing and steaming milk regardless of what kind of milk we used and whether we used a hot or cold setting. Surprisingly, it was also the most reasonably priced
These are the best milk frothers we tested, ranked in order:
- Instant Milk Frother
- Capresso Froth Plus Automatic Milk Frother
- Smeg Milk Frother
- Capresso Froth Control
- Nespresso Aeroccino3
- Capresso Froth PRO
- Bodum Bistro Electric Milk Frother
- Keurig Milk Frother
How We Tested Milk Frothers
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Hi, I’m Sharon Franke, and I’ve been testing kitchen equipment for the past 30 years and drinking coffee even longer.
In view of my love for the bean, I’ve made it a point to develop a particular expertise in making the best coffee drinks and the gadgets that go with them—from grinders to brewers to yes, frothers. I have an awful lot of experience with the technology of appliances and know what a great cup of cappuccino tastes like.
I tested 13 of the most popular electric models, evaluating each on its versatility, how easy it was to use, how quickly it took, and how well it frothed both hot and cold, whole and nonfat dairy milk. We also tried a few of our best performing frothers using alternative milks such as almond, soy, and oat milks.
If you’re a bit hesitant to purchase a frother just to treat yourself to the kind of cappuccinos you can order from your favorite coffee shops, being able to use it for other purposes like whipping up an indulgent mug of cocoa or a hot toddy may justify the splurge. That’s why we gave extra credit to ones that can be used with other beverages besides milk.
We considered the clarity and thoroughness of the manual and how easy it was to use the controls and clean the appliance.
When it came to frothing, we measured how long it took to whip whole and nonfat milk and the temperature and volume of the foamed milk. We looked for milk that was whipped to at least half its volume and mounted in peaks. On hot settings, we looked for temps that were not too low to cool off your coffee nor too high to scald the milk and ruin its flavor.
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We found a few constants: All of the products left some unthickened milk in the pitcher to pour into latte or cappuccino before adding the frothy topping. Using whole milk yielded soft clouds that we could mound on top of an espresso yet stir in smoothly. With skim milk, we got a larger volume and a stiffer foam. While soy, almond, and oat milks thickened into the consistency of very softly whipped cream rather than a foam.
A Note About Manual and Handheld Milk Frothers
There are many different types of milk frothers out there. Battery-operated handheld milk frothers, like the super popular Zulay Milk Boss Milk Frother (available at Amazon), have the advantage of being inexpensive and easy to stash in a drawer. Many, but not all, work quite well at producing a large volume of frothed milk with very little left unfrothed.
In fact, when we tested the handheld model from Aerolatte (available at Amazon), it produced the largest volume of any frother we tested and left virtually nothing unfrothed. It even did a reasonably good job with almond and soy milk.
So why would you prefer one of the automated frothers instead? For one, using a handheld frother means you have to heat your own milk, being careful to just warm it without scalding it. To get beyond the softly whipped cream stage takes up to two minutes, and you must hold the gadget the entire time. Many require that you keep your finger pressed on the switch while you’re frothing, making them particularly tedious to operate.
You can also purchase manual frothers that look like French presses, like the HIC Milk Creamer Frother (available at Amazon) or the BonJour Milk Frother (available at Amazon).
They work by pumping a frothing device up and down. In general, they’re less effective than the ones with batteries. It’s a great gadget to add to your arsenal of kitchen tools.
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Other Milk Frothers We Tested
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