The best milk frothers for coffees & milkshakes

If your milkshake doesn’t bring all the boys and girls to the yard…then perhaps it’s time to invest in a milk frother. It can help you add a layer of foamy (and delicious) milk froth to your favourite drinks and homemade coffees. So, what’s a milk frother, and do you need one? What’s the best milk frother to buy? We cover everything you need to know below.

What’s a milk frother?

As the name suggests, a milk frother is a nifty gadget used to froth milk, typically to add to coffees and speciality drinks like frappés and even cocktails! It works by aerating milk and creates tiny bubbles in the milk to turn it into a thick and velvety foam (similar to whipped cream). Most coffee machines typically come with a milk frother attachment, but you can also buy standalone models (see below) if you don’t want to splurge on a fully-fledged coffee maker.

types of milk frothers

What are the different types of milk frothers?

There are three main types of standalone milk frothers, including:

  • Manual: A non-electric, manual milk frother is the simplest and cheapest design of the bunch. It typically consists of a jug/container and a coffee plunger with a mesh at one end. It’s fairly easy to use, just add the milk into your jug and insert the plunger with the mesh facing downwards to froth. Keep in mind you’ll need to heat your milk beforehand for hot drinks.
  • Handheld: Hand-operated milk frothers are fairly compact and designed with battery-operated propeller-style whisks at the end of a wand that you insert directly into your cup/glass of milk to froth. They work similarly to a handstick blender.
  • Automatic: Electric, coffee-style milk frothers are the largest and most expensive design but are the easiest to use and provide the best quality foamed milk. These small machines allow you to heat and froth milk at the touch of a button.

The best milk frothers to buy (top picks)

Here are some of the best milk frothers to buy, based on specs and price:

  • Electric Milk Frother: $24.95 RRP*
  • Kmart Milk Frother (Black): $30 RRP*
  • Sunbeam Cafè Creamy Automatic Milk Frother: $85 RRP*
  • Breville Milk Cafè Frother: $150 RRP*
  • Smeg 50s Retro-Style Milk Frother: $269 RRP*

Electric Milk Frother − $24.95

Electric Milk Frother Catch

This very affordable, battery-powered handheld milk frother available on features an easy on/off switch, a sturdy stainless steel whisk that’s easy to clean, an ergonomic handle, and a self-stand for space management. AA batteries are not included.

Kmart Milk Frother (Black) − $30

Kmart milk frother

Another cheap and cheerful option is this electric Kmart milk frother. It comes with a one-touch on/off button, a double wall jug and non-stick coating inside for easy cleaning. This model can froth both cold and hot milk and can also heat milk to approximately 65°C. Hello, frothy cappuccino!

Sunbeam Cafè Creamy Automatic Milk Frother − $85

Sunbeam milk frother

This Sunbeam automatic milk frother (EM0180) boasts a larger capacity and can froth enough milk to make two coffees at once, perfect for couples on the go. It comes with two attachments for frothing and mixing both hot and cold milk. This appliance has you covered whether you like iced lattes or hot choc! You can also store all attachments in the base to save cupboard space.

Breville Milk Cafè Frother − $150

Breville Milk Cafè Frother

This seriously high-end automatic milk frother from Breville (BMF600BSS) features variable temperature controls with an ‘Optimum Milk Temperature’ range to make selection easy and induction heating for even heat distribution to help you nail all your hot drinks. It also has a ‘Cold Stir’ setting to froth cold milk without heating, and two frothing discs to help you get your preferred foamy texture. It can make up to three cups of foamed milk.

Smeg 50s Retro-Style Milk Frother − $269

Smeg 50s Retro Style Milk Frother

This retro-style Smeg automatic milk frother (MFF01PBAU) is designed to make your days and drinks a lot smoother, thanks to its induction heating system and auto switch-off function. It features six automatic programs, including one for hot chocolate and some for cold drinks, and comes with two whisks to allow you to alternate between dense froth and light froth. There’s also a manual function for those who trust their steady hands. This frother can also make tea, herbal infusions, and pretty much any soluble hot drink.

What to consider when buying a milk frother

If you’re in the market for a milk frother, there are a few things to consider, including:

  • Heating function: Some milk frothers don’t have a heating function meaning, you’ll need to heat your milk separately first either in the microwave or on the stovetop before you froth. If you’re serious about making quality coffee at home, make sure to choose a model with variable temperature controls to heat your milk depending on your preference.
  • Capacity: How many coffee drinkers are there in your household? If you need to make a couple of coffees each morning, be sure to get a larger capacity milk frother or you’ll need to froth your milk multiple times if you buy a smaller model. It’s worth noting that most frothers list both a heating and frothing capacity.
  • Size: If you’re short on kitchen space, be sure to buy a compact model that can be easily stored away in a cupboard if needed. For that, a small handheld milk frother or manual frother is ideal. Automatic milk frothers can be bulky.
  • Easy to use & clean: That said, automatic milk frothers are the easiest to use by far and generally come with a one-touch button and automatic controls to take the guesswork out of frothing milk. However, if you’re looking for something that’s easy to clean, you can’t beat handheld milk frothers which are super easy to disassemble. Manual frothers are also relatively easy to clean and have no electronic components to contend with.

Are milk frothers worth it?

If you enjoy traditionally-made coffees, then buying a milk frother is definitely worth it. Lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos are typically topped with foamed milk, as opposed to steamed milk. You can also use milk frothers to make milkshakes, cocktails, and specialty drinks like hot chocolate, frappés, and even tea! It’s an appliance the whole family can use and there are models available for every budget, so it’s a no-brainer.

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*Prices taken from respective retailers, correct as of October 2021.

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