Whether you’re a pro-level coffee artist or just want to imitate the nectar of the Gods your barista manages to pull off, you might want to learn how to use a milk frother. Great for cafe au lait, lattes, or making your morning cup feel a little fancier, frothed, foamy milk tastes sweeter and better than plain milk. Plus, an electric milk frother quickly pays for itself compared to dropping three bucks or more a day on fancy coffee shops. You have two great options, besides a full-on espresso machine: handheld wand-style milk frothers (reviewed further below) or freestanding automatic milk frothers, which you can find right here.
Automatic milk frothers are robust and convenient, quickly heating the milk as well as aerating it. They also produce smaller bubbles for an extra-velvety consistency. People who often scald milk when trying to heat in the microwave will appreciate an automatic milk frother.
Here's the deal: Our research has shown that there are no high-quality and reliable off-brand automatic milk frothers. To make sure we can still confidently recommend you a great and cheap frother, our budget pick is the excellent and low-priced Nespresso Aeroccino Plus. Yes, it's a brand, but it does everything the bestselling Breville does and still goes easy on your wallet. To be fair, there's lots to like about both products and different people will prefer either the bestseller or the budget pick. So get your coffee ready and let's see how they compare!
The Breville automatic frother is stainless steel, with a motor-free magnetic method of moving a disc to create foam and froth without scalding. It comes with two discs: one for creamy milk and one for foamy milk. Some people may like this setup, other may find it slightly cumbersome. The Breville’s milk jug is dishwasher safe, and the whole thing uses induction heating to create yummy beverages. It has slightly more features than the Aeroccino’s automatic frother (see below) but also has a hefty price tag.
The Aeroccino Plus automatic frother can turn plain cold milk into hot milk froth in less than 70 seconds and has a removable base unit. It performs the same functions as the Breville just as quickly and is also comes with an affordable price tag. Its milk jug is waterproof but needs to be hand-washed. The Aeroccino Plus a great option for coffee lovers who want the convenience of just pushing a button and getting what they want. It’s simple, and it works great. For a basic hands-free milk frother, the Aeroccino Plus will work just fine and won’t break the bank.
The Breville can make two types of froth with its two included discs (creamy milk and thick froth). You can store the disc you aren’t using in a pocket compartment on the frother. Or stick it to the fridge, since it’s magnetic. You can fill the included jug with a max of 16 fluid ounces (500mL) of liquid for foaming. It can froth both hot and cold milk.
The Nespresso has two attachments for different types of foam: a wire whipping device for stiffer, foamy milk, and a paddle device for creamy milk. It has a maximum capacity for foaming of 4.4 fluid ounces (130mL), so it’s best for single servings or a small number of drinks. It can froth hot or cold milk, too, just like the Breville.
The Breville makes hot milk with or without frothing. Just adjust the dial to your preferred temperature, and the machine will heat the milk and shut off automatically.
The Nespresso also makes hot milk with a simple push of a button, no temperature dialing required. It heats the milk and shuts off automatically, with or without frothing.
The Breville can handle up to 500mL of milk for frothing, or about 3 cups. That’s… a lot of froth. It’s great for handling crowds of coffee zombies, impressing friends and family, and amusing yourself with a foam party. The minimum and maximum fill levels are handily marked inside the jug. Fill to the minimum level to make just one lonely cappuccino, or to the max to make 2-3 at once.
The Nespresso has a 130mL capacity for frothing milk and a 250mL capacity for heating milk. This makes it ideal for one or two cups to share or for the coffee-making bachelor or bachelorette. In any case, simply use the minimum and maximum fill levels marked inside the jug to guide your pouring.
The Breville frother is made of shiny stainless steel with a nice design so you can feel extra fancy while it does its thing.
The Nespresso milk frother is made of stainless steel and white plastic. It looks great and feels very robust.
You can remove the milk jug from the power base of the Breville milk frother for easy, fumble-free pouring. This one is a tie with the Nespresso.
The Nespresso also has a removable base, but it can also pour very easily even with the base attached. Both ways of handling it work great, so this is a tie with Breville.
The Breville milk frother is about 10 inches tall and 6 x 6 inches around. It’s a regular size for a countertop milk frother.
The Nespresso milk frother is 6.7 inches tall and about 4 x 4 inches around, so it’s a little more petite. Personally, we like saving space!
The Breville milk frother weighs 3.6 pounds. Since you likely won’t carry it around daily, that weight is alright.
The Nespresso milk frother weighs 2.7 pounds. Nice and light, perfect for those of us with permanent caffeine jitters.
If you're looking to buy a milk frother you have two great options: ultra-affordable handheld wand-style milk frothers or freestanding fully automatic milk frothers (see our buying guide above). Handheld wand milk frothers are battery-powered, multi-tasking (you can use them for mixing and incorporating air into things like protein shakes, sauces, and omelets), and easy to clean. In short, they're amazing.
One of the bestselling handheld frothers is the excellent MOKA Milk Frother. We set out to find a cheap alternative that still offers pro-level features. The result is the lesser known but fantastic Elementi Original Premier. It's a feature-rich and very affordable wand frother that will make your dairy beverages smile. Let's take a closer look and see how the two contenders compare!
The MOKA two speed handheld milk frother from Chuck Supply is crafted from stainless steel and vows to produce thick, rich foam for luxurious beverages. It fulfills that promise by producing fantastic and easy milk froth on demand. We also found it to be well-made, sturdy, and quite powerful. It’s a great product with the downside of coming at a pretty high price.
The Elementi Moderni milk frother is similar to the Moka milk froth maker, but with a sleeker build and a soft, rubberized ergonomic hand grip. We liked that it is durable and very powerful, similar to the MOKA milk frother. Best of all, it’s available at a fantastic price. The higher RPM of the Elementi also makes it better able to handle other mixing tasks, like incorporating powder into shakes.
The Moka’s top speed is 15,000RPM, which is about average for most frothers and enough to quickly create milk foam even at medium temperatures. Moka has two included speeds: a high speed of 15,000RPM and a gentler speed of 13,000RPM for fine-tuned aerating. Some people in our tests found the two speeds useful for mixing different consistencies (of liquids besides coffee and milk). It’s nice to be able to slow down to the lower speed when you’ve almost reached the amount of froth you want, to prevent sloshing over.
The Elementi has a superb top speed of 19,000RPM to foam your milk into submission rapidly. A higher speed creates foam more quickly and can also better handle thicker liquids. The Elementi only has one speed. It will foam milk until it cries for mercy. This beast can froth in under 45 seconds, which is amazing. Think of all the time you’ll save! You might find the learning curve a little steeper than the Moka’s as far as figuring out the best amount of milk and how to submerge the frother, but it’s so worth it.
The stainless steel design of the Moka frother does not come with a non-slip handle. For the clumsier aspiring home baristas, this might be an issue.
The Elementi has a useful rubberized ergonomic hand grip over its stainless steel frame for better control of your frothing adventures. Elementi wins here.
The Moka runs on two AA batteries, which are included with the frother. It’s a standard setup which makes the forther easy to use anywhere.
The Elementi also runs on two AA batteries (not included). You can always pop the batteries out of the TV remote if you’re short on AAs and crave some aerated dairy.
The Moka frother does not come with a stand. We found that it could be set on the end of its handle to store upright, but some people might prefer a stand for their kitchen counter.
The Elementi comes with a sleek frother stand so it can be stored right-side-up with the whisk suspended in the air to keep it clean between uses. Plus, it looks très professional.
The Moka frother is 10.5 inches tall. That’s a standard size and long enough for deep glasses.
The Elementi is 11 inches tall. If size matters (think tall glasses), the Elementi wins by just a little bit.
The Moka weighs 7.5 ounces. That’s pretty common for frothers, nothing to report here.
The Elementi weighs a featherlight 3.7 ounces. The light weight feels great in your hand.