Nespresso is a household name in the world of pod coffee. Their goal when creating a Nespresso machine was to allow users to make coffee-shop quality espresso at home, which they’ve more than achieved. Then, the company turned to barista-style drinks and introduced their own milk frother for making frothed milk and heating milk.
Nespresso has two milk frothers: Aeroccino 3 and 4. Aeroccino 3 can make both hot and cold milk foam. Meanwhile, the Aeroccino 4 has more milk options to froth milk, including hot milk, cappuccino, macchiato, and cold foam. The design is upgraded too for a modest premium.
Personally, I choose the Aeroccino 4 for the macchiato foam and easier pour. I’ll include all the details on these milk frothers, so you can choose the best Aeroccino milk frother for your lattes and cappuccinos.
What Is An Aeroccino?
Aeroccino is a milk frother series by Nespresso. These milk frothers were made to accompany their capsule espresso machines since most Nespresso machines don’t have integrated milk frothing. The series consists of Aeroccino Plus (discontinued), Aeroccino 3, and Aeroccino 4.
Each Aeroccino has three parts: base, frother, and whisk. The frother sits on the base, which plugs into the wall and delivers electricity to the frother. The small whisk is magnetic and connects to a small prong inside the frother.
When you turn on the Aeroccino, the base delivers induction heat to the frother and spins the magnetic whisk rapidly. The whisk has a metal spring around it that whips air into the milk. That rapid whipping creates the milk frothing temperature and makes the milk nice and dense with lots of small air bubbles (aka a perfect microfoam). The Aeroccino forths until the milk reaches 150-155 F, which takes 60-90 seconds.
Essentially, just as Nespresso machines produce coffee with a push of a button, Aeroccinos froth milk the same way. Pour the milk, press a button, and Aeroccino will do all the work.
Feature Comparison Between Nespresso Aeroccino 3 vs. 4
Design-wise, Nespresso Aeroccino 3 and 4 looks quite different. Nespresso Aeroccino 3 has a black plastic exterior and a cylindrical design. It doesn’t look like a milk frother. I even had friends over who asked what’s the black robot-like thing on my kitchen counter.
On the other hand, no one wonders what Aeroccino 4 is because it looks like a milk jug. It has a chrome finish which makes it look retro and premium.
Aeroccino 4 also has a handle and distinct spout, which makes it more comfortable and easier to use. On the other hand, it’s heavier and bigger than Aericcino 3:
- Aeroccino 3: 1.9 pounds and 6.7 x 3.5 inches
- Aeroccino 4: 2.2 pounds and 8.3 x 7 inches (including the base)
Overall, Nespresso Aeroccino 3 has a simpler and more futuristic design. The pitcher is made of stainless steel, but the plastic housing makes it feel less durable. The base is flush with the cylinder and mostly invisible. The frother has a single button that you press to create hot or cold milk froth (it glows red for hot milk and blue for cold milk froth). Also, I had to be more careful when pouring because there was no spout.
Aeroccino 4 feels more premium and durable because it has stainless steel housing, and the handle and spout make the pouring easier. The heating base is larger than the one on Aeroccino 3 because it has four buttons. I like that the buttons have coffee cup illustrations on them. This made the use extra easy.
Both bases have non-slip rubber pads underneath, which is a great touch by Nespresso. That added friction is nice when you’re trying to fit a full frother on a slick or wet countertop.
Milk Frothing Options
The biggest difference between Nespresso Aerroccino 3 and 4 is their milk frothing options. Nespresso Aeroccino 3 lets you prepare hot and cold milk froth, and you can froth density with milk volume (more milk = light foam, and less milk = dense foam). The dense froth is good for cappuccinos and the light one for lattes. You can also use the light froth for hot chocolate. However, you can’t determine the amount of foam as on Aeroccino 4.
Both options have a simple operation: press the button for one second for hot milk. The button will turn red, and the whisk will start spinning as the inner material heats the milk. The Aeroccino whisk will spin and froth until the milk reaches around 150-155 F, and turn off. To make cold froth, press the button for two seconds. The button will turn blue and turn off once the milk is done.
Meanwhile, the Aeroccino 4 has four options:
- Cold milk foam
- Hot milk froth
- Latte macchiato
Each button on the Aeroccino 4 base corresponds to one style of froth. This makes Aeroccino 4 more versatile, and you can prepare a wider range of milk-based coffee drinks.
Another difference is that Aeroccino 3 whisk comes with two springs: one for dense foam and one for hot milk. You have to modify the whisk depending on the type of milk froth you want. You don’t need to mess around with the spring on Aeroccino 4, as it functions without any whisk changes. The different buttons change the whisk speed to get different foam rather than modifying the whisk itself.
Both Nespresso Aeroccino milk frothers have two max indicator lines. The first line marks 4 oz and is for drinks that need dense foam, such as macchiatos and cappuccinos. The second indicator line marks 8 oz and is for drinks that need hot milk with light foam. Be careful how much you froth at the high level because the milk frother can overflow!
Cleaning and Maintenance
Aeroccino 4 wins in terms of ease of cleaning and maintenance. Nespresso Aeroccino 3 isn’t dishwasher safe, but Aeroccino 4 is. Aeroccino 3 has a plastic housing, and the heat from the dishwasher can release harmful chemicals. You have to handwash the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 every time you use it.
Admittedly, you can get by rinsing it out the frother after each use. But, if you’re like me, cleaning up after drinking my morning dose of caffeine is the last thing you want to do, and dishwasher compatibility takes this away.
Nespresso Aeroccino 4 is made of stainless steel, which makes it dishwasher safe — everything apart from the base. However, remember that Nespresso suggests the highest temperature of 158 F when using the dishwasher.
Interior Material and Durability
Both Nespresso Aeroccino 3 and 4 heat milk using induction through their base materials, which are different for each. Nespresso Aeroccino 3 has a non-stick Teflon surface that’s easy to clean up. However, it wears down over time. You’ll notice it starts to peel off, like what happens to the non-stick Teflon coating on pots and pans.
Nespresso Aeroccino 4 interior coating is a ceramic non-stick coating that is more resilient and won’t tear over time. It won’t peel off and is more durable compared to Teflon.
Both Nespresso Aeroccino 3 and 4 provide good value for money if you like to drink milk-based coffee beverages. You’ll get the convenience of frothing milk with a press of a button for around $100, which comes in handy if you’re busy in the mornings.
My vote for the best value goes to Aeroccino 4. You get a dishwasher-safe milk frother that can create various levels of milk froth for not much more than Aeroccino 3. I love the macchiato setting, which produces the best texture of milk. Plus, the spout makes it easier to work on your latte art skills. Moreover, the Aeroccino 4 milk frother is more durable thanks to the stainless steel exterior and ceramic interior, and it’s easier to maintain because it’s dishwasher safe.
How Does Aeroccino Milk Frother Compare To A Traditional Steam Wand?
The Nespresso Aeroccino 3 and 4 are much easier to use than a traditional steam wand. Just pour in the milk and push a button. Plus, the steam wand adds water to the milk, which doesn’t happen with a frother.
However, the Aeroccinos don’t provide the same level of control and customization as a traditional wand. Using a steam wand is a learning curve, but you can deliver the perfect aeration and stretch the milk exactly to your liking. That matters as different milk (dairy, oat, etc) froth differently, and a solid heating element can produce some excellent steam for microfoam.
You’ll get a good consistency on a milk frother, but it’s limited to the device settings. I also noticed that the milk comes out very hot on the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 — about 150-160 F, while you want 140-150 F max for steamed milk.
Overall, you have much less control over the Aeroccino than a traditional wand. You can’t determine the milk texture or the quality of the foam.
On the other hand, you have a higher level of control with a steam wand, which means a higher chance of achieving microfoam perfection. However, this has a learning curve, and you’ll probably spend months perfecting your latte art.
Recommendation and Which Aeroccino Is For You
Nespresso Aeroccino 3 milk frother is a good option if you’re on a budget and the ease of use is your main concern. This is a good choice if you don’t plan to clean the milk frother in the dishwasher and you have no desire to create latte art. It’s also a good buy if you don’t mind swapping out the two whisks.
Nespresso Aeroccino 3 highlights:
- Budget Friendly
- Ease of Use
- Single Button
Nespresso Aeroccino 4 milk frother is my pick. It’s a good option if you have slightly more room in your budget and want a more durable option. This is also a better choice if you don’t want to clean the milk frother by hand and want more options for froth milk — both cold and hot froth and dense and light foam.
Nespresso Aeroccino 4 highlights:
- Dishwasher safe
- More options for froth milk
Nespresso Aeroccino 3 vs. 4 Milk Frother: Final Thoughts
Nespresso Aeroccino milk frother is a great choice if you like to drink milk-based coffee drinks. Nespresso Aeroccino 3 is a good option if you want just frothed milk and don’t plan to create latte art. Nespresso Aeroccino 4 is a good option if you want to froth milk for lattes and to work on some basic latte art skills.
If you’re looking for a new Nespresso machine, check out our Nespresso Pixie vs. Essenza Mini comparison as our top pick in OriginalLine, or Nespresso Vertuo Next vs. Plus as the best VertuoLine devices.