Milk Frother vs. Milk Steamer (Which’s the Best & Why)

If you’re a coffee lover you must have come across lots of materials used to make a perfect coffee. But making coffee isn’t all about espresso machines and a professional barista! You can brew your favorite cup of coffee at home with ease.

But wait! Before you get ready to make your first cup of coffee. You might get a little confused by all the equipment and instructions. We all have experienced that before! A major concern here is that most coffee makers get lost when it comes to producing foams in their coffee.

Here’s the thing. There are two distinctive devices, a milk frother, and a steamer, that help you produce foams on your cappuccino and espresso shots. But what’s so different about them?

Milk Frother vs. Milk Steamer

The main difference between a milk frother and vs milk steamer is the texture and foam of the milk. A milk frother froths the milk while heating it, making it light, airy, and full of foam. While a Milk steamer heats up the milk and gives it a texture but it does not create a full-fledged foam/froth in it.

We’re going to tell you what exactly these two miraculous machines do for getting a foamy coffee, and whether you have to use one of them or a tool that can do both?

Why is foamed milk introduced into coffee?

Typically, foamy milk is added to a variety of coffee drinks such as cappuccino, espresso, lattes, and others. This foamy texture is introduced with a slight difference in method and texture. Also, you may need a frothy-cold coffee to start your day. All these temperatures and textures of beverages are pulled off by separate tools.

What is the function of a Milk frother? It is used for frothing milk to make it fully foamy. The frother renders the milk airy and light by expanding the milk 2 to 3 times.

The frother is considered best for making foams in cappuccino and other foam coffees. You can find various types of milk frother including handheld milk frother that works with a battery, and automatic frothers for commercial use. You can learn the ways to operate the milk frother and at the same time read a guide to clean it.

Although the manual, handheld frothers, and automatic all are uncomplicated to use. But, the automatic is more expensive and consumes less time. On the other hand, manuals are less expensive but consume more time.

How to froth milk using milk frother:

The frothy milk is produced by aerating milk by spinning action.  The bubbles initiated during the frothing process add up the volume of the milk and make it lighter and foamy. The electric frother allows you to froth and heats the milk simultaneously. You can sprinkle your preferred toppings as well.

What is the function of a Milk steamer: For creating forms of latte and espresso coffee, a milk steamer is used. This machine first heats up the milk to a certain temperature to form micro-foams. This stream wand is used for making steamed milk. It is usually available in espresso machines.

The milk expands while you provide the right temperature so the stream milk gives

How to use a steam wand:

For producing steamed milk with the steam wand, ensure that the cup is not fully filled with milk as milk is going to expand. Dive the stream wand into your cup and switch on the streaming option. Bring the milk pitcher near the steam wand allowing it to contact the surface for seconds.

Furthermore, make sure the milk pitcher is not too far as milk may splatter. This aerating causes bubbles formation which in turn creates microform. You can tilt the pitcher for better churning of the milk resulting in thicker foam.

The significant difference between a milk frother and a milk steamer is that in the frothing of milk the air introduced expands the milk. As a result, frother gives your cup of coffee a light, airy, and foamed milk texture.

Whereas, streamed milk is best for those who prefer heated textured milk but not quite foamy milk. Moreover, the frothers are separate small devices used for frothing milk. On the other hand, a stream wand is inbuilt in most espresso machines for introducing steam.

Also, the handheld frother does not require an electrical supply to work, but the espresso machine does require plugging for a steam wand to work. Similarly, frother allows you to produce cold foams which is not the case in stream wand. It only allows warm foam creation.

The streamer elevates the temperature of milk that causing the breakdown of the fats. This happens as a result of the breaking and heating of lactic sugars present in milk. The proteins are responsible for air bubbles and lactose for enhancing the sweet flavor of the milk.

Features to look for while choosing milk frother and steamer:

Coffee making can become easy if you have the right tool and machine with you. But having a perfect machine doesn’t mean it comes with all the features you need. So before choosing the right tool you must consider the below few features:

  •  Ease of use: it is necessary to choose between the automatic or manual device according to your need. Automatic machines are easier and provide faster results as compared to manuals. While handhelds are also easy to use but cause more time consumption.
  • Price range: keeping your expense in mind, choose the budget-friendly device that may ensure the best quality and thick foams.
  • Maintenance: The cleanliness of the device is compulsory as it also allows you to work without worrying about your health. Cleaning also helps you get the right foam on your coffee.
  • Speedy functioning: Quick foam production is important for getting your coffee on time.
  • Space requirement: Getting a machine that fits your counter space is essential. Most coffee machines are lighter in weight and compact.

Our suggested steam wands and frother for you:

If you are impatient to start making your own cappuccino and espresso cups, we would like to recommend a few of the best steam wands and frothers for you. Not only that, but the all-in-one espresso machines also have the capability of frothing milk.

Best handheld frother; powerlix milk frother: This frother works with a battery. Powerex milk frother is compact-sized and easy to carry for making your favorite cup of cappuccino wherever you go. This cost-effective frother is a good option for travelers rather than having a big coffee machine.

Best for home coffee Breville BMF600XL Milk Cafe Milk Frother: This coffee machine is best for frothing milk at home. It provides you with maintenance capabilities as well. Also, it allows you to set your preferred temperature for frothing the milk.

Best all-in-one coffee machine AEVO Milk Frothing Machine: If you don’t want to have a separate frothing and steaming machine, then an all-in-one Aevo milk frothing machine is ideal for you. You can adjust the settings for either steamed milk or frothed milk.

Best steam wand espresso machine: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine: This espresso machine is one of the Barista series that provide precisely grinding coffee. Also, the steamer makes thick and creamy foam with enhanced flavors and allows you to design latte art.

Best espresso machine with a reliable steam wand: Jura E8 Automatic Coffee Machines 15271: If you prefer light foamy coffee then choosing the Jura E8 automatic is perfect. This automatic machine allows you easy steaming with the inbuilt steam wand. Also, it features an auto-filtering water system.


In the end, the decision of choosing between a milk steamer and a milk frother is up to your preference. If you are used to drinking a light foam espresso then a steam wand will aid you in making one yourself.

However, if you prefer seeing more foams on the top of your coffee then a milk frother is the one for you. Also, you can easily change the type and flavors of your beverage by simultaneously using a frother and a steamer.

Any respectable coffee shop and cafe might serve you good quality steamed and frothed coffee and now you know how to make it yourself!

Frequently asked questions:

Is there a specific milk type used for making a foamy coffee?

Generally, whole milk with more fat produces a thicker, creamier foam. Whereas, skinny and low-fat milk gives larger bubbles and great foam.

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