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Perfectly frothed milk makes espresso-based drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos, delightful. But that's also what makes most models cost a pretty penny. Luckily, there are affordable and easy to use milk frothers you can buy for home use, including handheld ones that simply whisk air into the milk, automatic frothers that heat and froth milk with a push of a button, and steam wands that come attached to latte machines.
Frothers work by forcefully spinning the milk with a coiled whisk or by pushing steam through it creating bubbles and giving it a creamy mouthfeel. They can be used with different types of milk, like regular or any non-dairy alternatives, although some froth better than others, mostly due to fat content.
To find our favorite milk frothers, the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Kitchen Appliances & Technology Lab rounded up a variety of popular brands and highly-rated models on the market. We considered automatic, handheld, and steam wand frothers at various price points and with useful features.
Here are the best milk frothers you can buy in 2020:
You could use about any kitchen tool to froth milk, like a French press, a blender, a whisk, or even a lidded mason jar. The results may be bubbly, but it won’t have the right texture: that luscious and silky mouthfeel we love in milk-forward coffee drinks. For that, there are three types of milk frothers, each with advantages and drawbacks:
Handheld frothers are battery-operated whisks that you stick directly into your cup of milk to froth, like a mini immersion blender. The whisk spins continuously, and with the combination of a manual up and down motion, air gets whipped into the milk.
Automatic frothers are electric-powered jugs with an induction whisk inside that heats the milk and spins to create consistently smooth and even foam. It also has the ability to froth cold milk.
Steam wands are built into espresso machines and they are commonly used in coffee shops for good reason — they are the best at steaming milk and giving it texture, not just bubbles. Steam pushes through a wand into the milk, creating fine and velvety foam.