Milk Frother vs Steamer [2024]: Which One Should You Choose?

Milk Frother vs Steamer: the battle of two essential kitchen appliances that can transform your coffee or hot beverage experience. Whether you’re a coffee aficionado or simply enjoy a creamy cappuccino, understanding the differences between milk Frothers and steamers is crucial in making the right choice for your needs.

In this article, we’ll explore these two devices and delve into their functionalities, pros, and cons, helping you make an informed decision. So, let’s dive in!

Milk Frother: Adding Richness and Texture to Your Beverages

Milk Frother vs Steamer

A milk frother, also known as a foam maker, is a handy tool designed to create velvety foam for your favorite hot beverages. Let’s take a closer look at what makes milk frothers unique:

How does a Milk Frother work?

Milk Frother vs Steamer

Milk frothers come in different types, such as handheld frothers, electric frothers, or steam wand attachments for espresso machines. However, the basic principle remains the same. Here’s how it works:

  1. Pour cold milk into the frother.
  2. Activate the frother, which agitates the milk to introduce air and create foam.
  3. Within seconds, you’ll have a luscious layer of foam ready to enhance your coffee or other hot beverages.

Pros of Milk Frothers

Using a milk frother offers several advantages:

  1. Versatility: Milk frothers can be used with various types of milk, including dairy and non-dairy alternatives like almond, soy, or oat milk.
  2. Convenience: These devices are usually compact and easy to use, offering quick and hassle-free frothing experiences.
  3. Cost-effective: Compared to purchasing specialty drinks from coffee shops, investing in a milk frother allows you to save money in the long run.
  4. Control over Texture: With a milk frother, you can adjust the foam density according to your preferences, from light and airy to dense and creamy.

Cons of Milk Frothers

While milk frothers have their merits, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

  1. Limited Heating Capability: Most milk frothers only froth the milk without heating it, requiring you to heat the milk separately before frothing.
  2. Foam Quality: The foam generated by milk frothers might not be as fine or dense compared to that created by steamers, resulting in slightly different textures and mouthfeel.
  3. Single Functionality: Milk frothers specialize in creating foam, so if you’re looking for other functionalities like heating or steaming milk for lattes or macchiatos, you may need additional equipment.

Related article:
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Steamer: Perfectly Heated Milk for Your Favorite Beverages

Milk Frother vs Steamer

Steamers, also known as milk steamers or milk heaters, are designed to heat and steam milk, offering a broader range of possibilities for coffee enthusiasts. Let’s explore the characteristics of steamers:

How does a Steamer work?

Steamers utilize steam pressure to heat and froth the milk simultaneously. They typically consist of a steam wand connected to an espresso machine or a standalone device designed specifically for milk steaming. Here’s how they operate:

  1. Fill a container with milk.
  2. Position the steam wand into the milk, turning on the steam function.
  3. As steam is released, it simultaneously heats and creates foam by introducing air into the milk.
  4. When your desired temperature and foam consistency are achieved, turn off the steam.

Pros of Steamers

Steaming milk with a dedicated steamer brings several benefits:

  1. Temperature Control: Steamers allow precise control over the milk’s temperature, ensuring your beverages are heated to perfection.
  2. Rich and Creamy Foam: The steam pressure produced by steamers creates luxurious, finely-textured foam that adds depth and indulgence to your drinks.
  3. Multifunctionality: In addition to heating and frothing milk, steamers can be used to create latte art, making them a favorite among baristas and coffee enthusiasts.

Cons of Steamers

Before deciding on a steamer, consider these potential drawbacks:

  1. Learning Curve: Operating a steamer effectively requires practice and skill. Achieving the desired results may take time, especially for beginners.
  2. Price: Steamers are generally more expensive than milk frothers, particularly if you’re considering purchasing an espresso machine with a built-in steaming wand.
  3. Space Requirements: Standalone steamers or espresso machines with steam wands may occupy more counter space compared to compact milk frothers.

Does Type Of Milk Matter?

Ultimately, the type of milk you use does make a difference when it comes to achieving ideal results with both Frothers and steamers. For the best taste and texture, opt for higher-fat milks like whole milk or high-quality alternative milks like oat and almond.

Milk Frother Vs Steamer – Differences Between Them

Now that we’ve learned more about milk Frothers and steamers, let’s briefly discuss the differences between them:

  • Functionality: Milk Frothers specialize in creating foam while steamers heat and steam milk.
  • Cost: Milk Frothers are usually less expensive than steamers.
  • Foam Quality: The foam created by a steamer tends to be denser, finer, and more luxurious compared to that of a Frother.
  • Temperature: Milk Frothers are unable to heat the milk while steamers offer precise temperature control.
  • Versatility: Milk Frothers can work with various types of milk, while steamers are usually limited to dairy options.

Making the Right Choice for Your Needs

In the battle of milk Frothers vs steamers, each device has its own set of pros and cons that may make it a better choice for certain needs. Ultimately, the right appliance for you depends on your specific preferences and budget. If you’re looking to save money or you don’t need any additional features outside frothing, then a milk Frother is an excellent option.

If you’re looking for precise temperature control and a higher-quality foam, then a steamer is worth considering. Whatever appliance you choose, have fun experimenting with it to bring your favorite drinks to the next level!

Why Do We Steam Or Froth Milk?

Steaming and frothing milk adds body, texture, and flavor to your favorite hot beverages. It also helps to create appealing latte art designs on the surface of drinks like cappuccinos or lattes. Moreover, adding foam enhances the mouthfeel of drinks by creating a velvety smoothness that balances out the bitterness of espresso.

So whether you’re looking for a delicious beverage to enjoy at home or a work of art to impress your friends, steaming or frothing milk is the key to achieving it.

By investing in either a milk Frother or a steamer, you can easily create creative and tasty coffee drinks from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Milk Frother vs Steamer: Which One Should You Choose?

The choice between a milk Frother and a steamer depends on your needs and budget. Milk Frothers are usually more affordable, compact, and easy to use, making them an ideal option for those who don’t require additional features beyond creating creamy foam.

Steamers offer more capabilities such as precise temperature control and higher-quality foam, making them the preferred choice for serious coffee enthusiasts. Ultimately, the right tool for you depends on your preferences and budget. Either way, you can look forward to delicious drinks and stunning latte art creations.


Q: Is a steamer better than a Frother?

A: Both devices have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, so the right one for you depends on your needs. Generally speaking, steamers offer more control over temperature and produce higher-quality foam compared to Frothers. Milk Frothers are usually cheaper, easier to use, and don’t take up much space.

Q: Is steamed milk healthier than regular milk?

A: All types of milk provide the same nutrients and health benefits, so there is no difference in terms of nutrition between steamed milk and regular milk.

Q: Can you use a steamer for other drinks besides coffee?

A: Yes! Steamers can be used to create other drinks such as hot chocolate or chai latte. Simply use the steamer to heat up your beverage of choice and add in any additional ingredients, like syrups or spices.

Q: How often should I clean my milk Frother or steamer?

A: It’s important to clean your Frother or steamer after each use to prevent the buildup of milk residue and bacteria. Depending on the type of device, you may need to clean it more frequently if you’re using it often. It’s best to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for detailed cleaning instructions.

Q: Does type of milk matter when frothing or steaming?

A: Yes, the type of milk you use does make a difference in terms of taste and texture. For optimal results, opt for higher-fat milks such as whole milk or high-quality alternative milks like oat and almond.


When it comes to choosing between a milk Frother and a steamer, it ultimately depends on your preferences and requirements. If you primarily enjoy foam-based beverages and desire versatility, convenience, and cost-effectiveness, a milk Frother might be the ideal choice for you.

On the other hand, if you seek full control over temperature, crave creamy and rich foam, and are willing to invest in a more advanced coffee setup, a steamer could be the perfect addition to your kitchen.


I’m Kara Chavez, and I love coffee. I like to create some of the best coffees around – espressos, lattes, macchiatos – you name it. I strive for perfection in my coffee-making skills, and I take great pride in providing a delicious cup of joe to my customers.

I’ve been working in the coffee industry for years now, and I know everything there is to know about making a perfect cup of coffee. My passion for coffee shines through in every cup that I make, and I hope that you’ll stop by soon so that I can share my love of coffee with you!

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