If your goal is to make beautiful, cafe-quality espresso drinks at home with Instagram-worthy latte art, then you need a quality milk frother. But which one do you choose? If you’ve got a Nespresso machine (or, heck, even if you don’t), you’ll want to consider the Aeroccino 3 or 4, and with some careful comparison, decide which one fits best into your lifestyle and morning coffee routine.
What is an Aeroccino?
The Nespresso Aeroccino milk frother series is a lineup of electric milk frothers designed by Nespresso to accompany their capsule espresso machines. They consist of the Nespresso Aeroccino Plus (now discontinued), the Aeroccino 3, and the newest addition, the Aeroccino 4.
They froth milk to create the perfect milk foam for the variety of espresso drinks you can make with Nespresso machines. However, keep in mind that these are frothers, no steamers, and they don’t have steaming functions.
What’s the difference between steaming and frothing?
Steaming milk involves heating milk with a steam wand. Steamed milk may have a bit of foam on top, but it’s not nearly as much of a dense froth as frothed milk.
Frothed milk has an entirely different texture because the frothing process adds air to the milk, causing tiny microbubbles to form and creating a dense, foamy texture in the milk. This foam is what you’re looking for when you want to create latte art or add it to your latte or cappuccino.
A few features are available on both models that make them worth a look. Both machines have hot and cold frothing abilities, which means that you can create hot foam for your espresso drink or hot chocolate and cold milk froth for your iced coffee.
While cow milk is recommended for best results, reduced fat and whole milk will give different textures (plant-based and alternative milk aren’t recommended for either frother).
In terms of speed, you can get a decent froth as quickly as 70-80 seconds from both machines, and the best part is that they’re both hands-frees! When the foam is complete, they both have auto shut-off features, so you simply press the button to get the froth started.
Aesthetically, the two don’t look very similar. While the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 has a primarily black plastic exterior and a more cylindrical design, the Aeroccino 4 has a sleek chrome finish, which feels more premium while still showing off a bit of retro charm.
But design-wise, the main differences between the Aeroccino 3 and 4 mainly comprise the added features of the Aeroccino 4.
For example, Aeroccino 4 has two hot frothing options so that you can have more control over the texture of your desired froth. If you’re big into latte art or are on the hunt for that perfect espresso drink, this is a huge plus!
But the most significant difference between the two machines that will be the main deciding factor for many users is that the Aeroccino 4 is dishwasher-safe, while the Aeroccino 3, well, isn’t.
That can be a huge deal to some coffee lovers who want the convenience of simply throwing their machine into the dishwasher after making their cup of coffee. But, some may not care or may not have a dishwasher, so this feature may not be worth the extra cost.
Nespresso Aeroccino 3 vs. 4: A Side-By-Side Comparison
Nespresso Aeroccino 3
The Nespresso Aeroccino 3 is the older model of the two, and it shows in its simplicity. Of the two options, it’s the no-frills, streamlined version. While its plastic housing may feel less high-quality than the Aeroccino 4, the Aeroccino 3 makes up for its faults with dependability and overall sound design.
Things We Like:
- In its own right, the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 is an excellent milk frother for creating countless milk-based coffee recipes.
- The airy froth is created in a matter of minutes (usually just over 70 seconds) and, combined with the speed of a Nespresso capsule espresso machine, you’ll be enjoying your espresso drink in record time.
- The single-button design is easy to use and intuitive, perfect for users who don’t want any complicated gadgets to learn.
- Considering that the Aeroccino 3 and the Aeroccino 4 create premium, cafe-quality foam, the Aeroccino 3 is more affordable and still an excellent value.
Things We Don’t Like:
- The biggest disappointment with this model is that it’s not dishwasher safe, which is a bit of a let-down considering the two models. You will have to hand wash this frother after every use.
- This frother doesn’t have a pour spout, which can make pouring out your foam a bit more clumsy, and that’s kind of a let-down for latte art lovers.
The Bottom Line
While it’s a more basic machine than the Nespresso Aeroccino 4, there’s no denying that the Aeroccino 3 is a quality frother that will get the job done right, consistently. While there are a few differences, if you’re willing to sacrifice a few nice design elements, you’ll still get yourself a great little machine at a more affordable price.
Nespresso Aeroccino 4
There are a ton of added features and design elements that make this model a step up from the Aeroccino 3, but only if you think they’re worth the higher price tag in the long run. When choosing your ideal milk frother, decide if you’re willing to pay extra for convenient features like more hot milk froth settings, a pour spout, and a dishwasher-safe design.
Things We Like:
- The addition of a pour spout is a huge game-changer over the Aeroccino 3 since it gives you more control over your pour for added safety (and better latte art!)
- The Aeroccino 4 has more froth options than the Aeroccino 3, giving you more control over the finished product if that’s your thing.
- It has a ceramic coating just like the Aeroccino 3, but it doesn’t tend to wear out at the same rate, meaning your machine will last longer.
- It’s dishwasher safe, which is a huge convenience for daily users who don’t want to handwash their frother after every use.
Things We Don’t Like:
- The Aeroccino 4 has a higher price tag than the Aeroccino 3. While understandable given its extra features, it may feel prohibitively expensive to some users.
The Bottom Line
In many ways, the Nespresso Aeroccino 4 is a considerable upgrade from the Aeroccino 3. In terms of the overall design, added features and options, and the dishwasher-safe aspect, it’s hard not to recommend the Nespresso Aeroccino 4 to most users.
With the sleek chrome stainless steel housing, the pour spout, and the improved ceramic coating, this is a well-designed frother that will be great for any heavy coffee drinker who’s willing to fork over the extra cash for a premium machine.
Control and Features: How Much do You Want?
With both models, you’re going to get a quality milk frother that does what it says on the tin: heating and frothing your milk or coffee creamer for espresso drinks.
But when it comes to additional features and settings (for instance, additional hot froth settings), there’s no competition. The Nespresso Aeroccino 4 blows the Aeroccino 3 out of the water.
But some users may not want all the extra settings and are simply looking for a no-fuss milk frother that will give them the frothy milk foam they want without all the extra steps or effort. The Aeroccino 3 is the better option for those users, and even more so at a lower price point.
Dishwasher Safe: Is It A Must?
For many users, having a milk frother that is easy to clean and maintain is non-negotiable. So at first glance, the obvious choice must be the Nespresso Aeroccino 4, right?
Since it’s dishwasher safe and the Aeroccino 3 isn’t, the choice is easy for many users who don’t want to bother with handwashing their frother every time they use it.
But if you don’t have a dishwasher or prefer not to use one, this isn’t a problem. Some users may prefer washing their frother by hand to make sure that they get it properly clean, and in that case, the choice may just come down to personal preference.
In many ways, the Nespresso Aeroccino 4 is a step up from the previous model, but only if those additional features are worth it to you. Being dishwasher-safe is a must for many users, and features like the added hot foam settings and quality chrome finish make this model feel much more premium than the Aeroccino 3.
However, some users may still prefer the more affordable and simply designed Nespresso Aeroccino 3, with its streamlined, one-button system and no-frills operation. For some, the extra features might not be worth it, and if that’s the case, you’re better off saving your money for more coffee!
Whichever you choose, you’ll be sure to have a quality frother that will take your espresso drinks to the next level!