Your coffee obsession started with a French press and a milk frother. Now you're moving up and you want an espresso machine with all the frills. But as you'll see, the best espresso machine is in the eye of the beholder. We've researched the best - from budget friendly to the simplest to operate, we've covered them all. The only decision you'll need to make is what machine fits your coffee style.
1. What is An Espresso Machine
Espresso machines force a small amount of nearly boiling water under at least 9 bars of pressure through finely ground coffee to make true espresso. This pressurized approach results in a thicker, creamier coffee with more caffeine. The first espresso machine was built and patented in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy. An espresso machine may also have a steam wand to steam and froth milk for cappuccinos and cafe lattes.
2. What Kinds of Espresso Machines Are There?
There are steam-driven and pump-driven machines. Steam-driven machines are either stovetop espresso makers or pump-less electric machines. Pump-driven machines come in the following forms:
Manual espresso machines can brew great espresso, but it takes a lot of skill. The payoff is that you become part of the brewing process.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are the most common type, featuring an electric brewing pump which is manually turned on and off by the user.
Capsule Espresso Machines
Capsule espresso machines are suited for offices, restaurants and the home. Simply insert a capsule which is pre-filled with ground coffee into the machine and press a button to produce a rich, thick authentic espresso. Most of these machines have a steam wand or milk frothing system.
Super-automatic Espresso Makers
These babies take you from bean to cup at the touch of a button. They use a built-in coffee grinder and brewing mechanisms that automatically grind the coffee, fill and tamp the filter basket, brew a pre-determined volume of espresso then dump the used coffee grounds into an internal waste container. These machines froth milk for preparing cappuccino or latte using a steam wand or automatic milk frother.
3. Should I Buy An Expensive Machine?
While the expensive machines are high quality and have features that make espresso brewing easier, it doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune to get a great machine that brews wonderful espresso. You do however want the machine to have features that will take your espresso to the next level. Make sure the machine you choose controls the water temperature. The more exact the control, the better your espresso coffee will be. A thermostat is a must.
You should assess a machine's pump pressure output to determine if it's acceptable, and also check if it is self-priming or not. Look at the type of boiler the device comes with. Is the machine easy to clean and work smoothly from start to finish?
4. Where Can You Buy Them?
You can purchase an espresso machine online or at a home goods retailer.
How We Reviewed
The products we researched were reviewed based Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty. As you'll see, some of the models are the Cadillacs of home machines. They are practically like having a barista in your kitchen. But they also have a hefty price tag. Others are budget-friendly, but they need a little more hands-on help. We even included a capsule machine to include sheer convenience for the no-fuss coffee drinker.
Overall Price Range of This Product
Prices range from just under $100 to more than $1,000. That may sound like a lot of dough, but if you spend $5 a day at a coffee shop, you are spending about $1,500 a year on premium coffee drinks already.
What We Reviewed
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
- 15 Bar Italian Pump
- Construction materials:Brushed Stainless Steel Exterior.Purge Function: Automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature
- Stainless steel conical burr grinder with 1/2 pounds sealed bean hopper
- 1600 Watt Thermo coil heating system. Voltage : 110 120 Volts
- 67 fluid Ounce (2 L) removable water tank with handle
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine has programmable options for softly pre-infusing the coffee, and has a control valve that monitors extraction pressure. If espresso is your go-to coffee, this is the best espresso machine for you. The machine comes with a stainless steel conical burr coffee grinder, a 1/2 pound sealed bean hopper, a 54mm tamper, a steaming wand for frothing your milk, and a frothing pitcher. Just buy espresso beans and milk.
The Barista Express Espresso Machine uses a 15 Bar Italian pump and a 1600W Thermocoil heating system. Since it's a semi-automatic machine, the Breville automatically adjusts water temperature after steam to extract the most flavor out of your beans. The machine has a 67 fl. oz water tank with handle for easy refilling and it comes with a water filter.
The built-in burr grinder is adjustable with a dial on the front of the machine. Choose from a single- or double-wall filter basket. A 360-degree swivel steam wand whips up foam in no time. The machine will alert you when it needs cleaning, and it comes with a special cleaning kit.
One-year limited warranty.
Mr. Coffee Café Barista
- Semi-automatic 3-in-1 espresso, cappuccino and latte maker
- 15-bar pump system brews rich-tasting espresso coffee
- Trouble-free automatic milk frother removes the guesswork
- One-touch control panel for drink selections; Creates single and double servings
- Easy-fill, removable water and milk reservoirs; Programmed cleaning cycle
The Mr. Coffee Café Barista features an electric 15-bar pump and extracts bold, rich flavors from the espresso. One-touch controls let you choose between single or double shots and it automatically froths milk with an adjustable control knob. The removable milk reservoir can be stored in the fridge for later use. A recipe book is included.
There’s an adjustable cup tray so you can change the height to accommodate the size of your cup. A drip catcher will keep the counter clean if any spills over. The machine comes with a single and double shot filters, measuring scoop, tamper, and coffee recipes.
This machine comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Breville BES920XL Espresso Machine
- Dual stainless steel boilers and dual Italian pumps for simultaneous espresso extraction and steaming
- Over-Pressure Valve (OPV) limits extraction pressure;Flexible Shot Control
- Electronic PID temperature control for precise water temperature
- Backlit LCD displays brew temperature, shot clock or time.We recommend using cold, filtered water. We do not recommend using water with no or low mineral content
- Includes water hardness test strip, descale alert and LCD assisted descale procedure
The Breville BES920XL Espresso Machine is the Cadillac of the machines on our list. It is the best espresso machine if you want top-of-the-line and a consistently great cup of coffee. The BES920XL incorporates a dual-boiler espresso systems, the gold standard for home or commercial equipment. The machine maintains optimum temperature for simultaneously brewing espresso coffee and for creating steam.
A backlit LCD displays brew temperature, shot clock or time. The dual boiler uses digital temperature control to minimize temperature fluctuations during extraction, resulting in a consistently delicious cup of coffee. The dual boiler also produces low pressure, pre-infusion to evenly soak and expand the ground coffee. Use the steam wand to create micro-foamed milk, perfect for latte art.
The Breville BES920XL dual boiler offers commercial features and performance, in a footprint suitable for your home. At the heart of this machine is its dual stainless steel boiler heating system. There's even a descaling function for cleaning at home and a one-year limited warranty.
This machine comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker
- Rugged brushed stainless steel housing
- Commercial three-way solenoid valve
- Commercial-style 58mm chrome-plated brass portafilter and Brew Group
- Easy-to-use Turbo-Frother steam wand attachment
- Easy-to-use Turbo-Frother steam wand attachment
The Gaggia Classic has a commercial chrome-plated brass portafilter, and brew group plus intuitive controls make the machine easy to operate. Commercial and pressurized filter baskets are included as are a coffee tamper and a 7-gram measuring scoop. This is the best espresso machine if you're looking for a semi-automatic machine made from quality commercial components. The stainless-steel housing is solid, with heavy-duty rocker switches.
The portafilter is 58mm in diameter, the standard for commercial machines. The pressurized portafilter basket makes extracting a crema from just about any coffee easy. For even more control, you can use the included commercial-style basket. The Turbo-Frother steam wand attachment makes foamed milk for cappuccinos and lattes. And finally, the three-way solenoid valve keeps coffee pucks dry.
Gaggia is one of the most respected names in the espresso industry. The company gave this machine a high-power 17.5-bar pump with a high-voltage boiler for quick warm-up times, and an independent expansion valve. The machine works with coffee pods and can deliver two cups at one time. There's a hot water dispenser for tea and a cup warmer too. It has a 72-ounce removable water tank.
If you are not fully satisfied with an item, the company accepts returns within 30 days. You will be refunded the original purchase price of the item, minus shipping and handling fees. Warranty is one-year parts and labor through Gaggia USA.
De'Longhi Magnifica ESAM3300
- Patented "Cappuccino System" frother that mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth
- Easy-to-use rotary and push button control panel with programmable menu settings and beans container capacity is 8.8 ounces.Coffee grounds container- 14 cups or after 72 hours from first use. Maximum cup height- 4.25 inches. Input power - 1350 watts
- Grinds beans instantly with the patented, compact and easy-to-clean "Direct-to-Brew" system. Use your favorite coffee beans to create your perfect espresso. Beans with less visible oil, usually a medium roast, are recommended for best grinder performance
- MAINTENANCE: De’Longhi machines require half the cleaning time of other brands, unlike competitor machines, which require chemical cleaning tablets monthly. The machine does not deliver coffee, but only water is caused due to ground coffee may be blocked in the funnel. Remove the ground coffee inside the funnel, using a plastic knife. Then clean the infuser and the inside of the machine. If machine is noisy refer manual; Energy Saving: With 3 hour automatic shut off
- Utilize De'Longhi's specialized call center for help in setting up and maintaining your machine at 866-528-8323 (LatteBest). Warranties may not apply to purchases from an unauthorized retailer
If you have multiple coffee fanatics in one household, the De'Longhi Magnifica ESAM3300 is the best espresso machine for appeasing everyone. It can be easily adjusted and customized. Choose between regular, specialty and decaf. Grind fresh beans or load pre-ground coffee into a second chamber. You can change roast settings and cup sizes with a push of a button.
It's a powerful espresso maker. It has an automatic milk frother and an integrated conical burr grinder. It will self-adjust depending on your programmed settings. This is also a compact machine.
The warranty runs two years from purchase date.
Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe System
- 10-cup (50-oz.) glass carafe
- Built-In frother to brew, froth and drink—all in your favorite mug
- 20-recipe inspiration guide. Capacity : 60 oz. / 12 Cup,Stainless Steel Mesh Filter,ABS Housing
- Ninja Smart Scoop.After brewing the first cup, the Ninja Coffee Bar is pre-warmed. This enables any following brews to be slightly hotter. For a hotter first cup, after plugging in and powering on your brewer, allow 3 minutes for your brewer to pre-heat
- Permanent reusable filter.This brewer is designed to brew coffee grounds only. Do not insert pods or K-Cups
The Ninja Coffee Bar is just that, a coffee bar in your kitchen. It can brew a single cup, a travel mug, or a full carafe of coffee. Use any brand of coffee to make a pod-free single cup just the way you like it. The 10-cup glass carafe and the intelligent warming system will keep coffee at the ideal drinking temperature.
Turn hot or cold milk into silky-smooth froth in seconds with a built-in frother - just press a button. The frother is dishwasher safe and removable. The Coffee Bar produces a full-bodied cup of coffee. Specialty Brew produces a rich concentrate that can be combined with frothed milk to create coffee house style drinks. This is the best espresso machine for people who love drip brew with an occasional need for a coffeehouse treat.
This machine comes with a one-year limited warranty.
De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso Maker
- Use convenient pods or ground coffee with the patented dual function filter holder. It makes espresso preparation simple and fast
- Easily prepares latte and cappuccino with the swivel jet frother, for perfect drinks every time.Rated voltage/Frequency (V~Hz) 120~60
- Eliminate annoying start up preparation with the self priming operation. On/off switch
- Always brew espresso at the perfect temperature with two separate thermostats, which allow for water and steam pressure to be controlled separately
- Enjoy delicious espresso for years to come with the durable, high quality stainless steel boiler and 15 bar pump pressure. NOTE: Refer user manual before use. MAXIMUM CUP HEIGHT (in): 66
Use pods or ground coffee with the patented dual function filter holder. Preparing your favorite espresso can be easy and fast. This machine has a swivel jet frother for lattes and cappuccinos, and two separate thermostats, once for water and one for steam.
You can make authentic espressos, lattes and cappuccinos to suit your taste, in the comfort of your kitchen. A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks - just the way you like them. Don't worry, this machine is simple to clean because of a removable 35-ounce water tank. EC155's self-priming operation finishes your coffee faster.
This machine has a one-year limited warranty.
The Rancilio HSD-Silvia has a large capacity, holding 12 oz. in its boiler and 62 oz. in its water reservoir, it's one of the largest espresso machines in its price range. A steaming knob helps you adjust the pressure in incremental degrees. This machine is sturdy, durable and is built to last.
The Rancilio HSD-Silvia is the best espresso machine if you want low maintenance. It needs cleaning, but that's pretty straightforward. Built with Rancilio's commercial-grade group head, it provides heat stability and extraction quality. It comes with a patented ergonomic 58mm portafilter - the same filter used on Rancilio's commercial machines. This Silvia comes with a 7-gram coffee scoop, a plastic tamper and single or double filter baskets. This is the most current version of the Silvia available direct from the factory.
The warranty covers parts and labor required to repair the machine and covers any mechanical or electrical components (including, but not limited to, control boards, pumps, boilers, wiring, brew groups, hoses or motors) from defect or failure under normal use conditions. The warranty includes free return shipping to any location within the continental US.
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine by De'Longhi with Aeroccino
- Powerful Coffee maker: Espresso Pixie Espresso maker has a 19 bar high pressure pump that allows for a barista style result, unlocking the delicate flavor of each coffee capsule
- Efficient and energy saving Espresso maker: system heats up to ideal temperature in just 25 seconds and automatically turns off after 9 minutes, consuming less Energy
- Ease of use: The Pixie is a programmable Espresso maker with two one touch buttons to create your favorite Coffee and espresso recipes into the desired size; Espresso (1.35 ounces ), or Lungo (2.75 ounces ); Pour over ice to create your favorite Iced Coffee drinks
- Smart Espresso maker: the red backlights light up to let you know when the 24 ounces; Water tank needs to be refilled; The folding drip tray accommodates larger single serve cups and recipes such as lattes or cappuccinos; The Pixie is also easy to clean, the spent capsules are neatly ejected into an internal receptacle
- Bundle: the Aeroccino 3 milk frothed is included to create the perfect finish to your single serve coffee beverages such as cappuccino or latte.Input power (W): 1260
Nespresso Pixie, a capsule espresso machine, has a 19 bar high-pressure pump allowing barista-style results. The system heats in just 25 seconds and automatically turns off after nine minutes. Pixie is the best espresso make for people who love Nespresso Capsules.
A red light indicates when to refill the 24 oz. water tank. A folding drip tray allows for larger single serve coffee cups. Each espresso machine includes the smart Aeroccino 3 milk frother and 16 Nespresso Original capsules. As you can guess, the pixie is small - just 4.33 inches wide and it weighs just eight pounds. The one-touch buttons with two capacities (espresso and lungo) can be reprogrammed to custom volumes.
This machine has a one-year warranty.
- Easy to operate and very compact 4-bar steam espresso machine
- 3 way switch knob and convenient steam nozzle to froth milk easily
- Removable drip tray for easy cleaning
- Safety valve in cap
- 4-cup glass carafe; measuring spoon included; 750 watts; 2-year worlwide warranty
The KRUPS XP1000 is the best espresso machine for small spaces. It's only 12 x 9.8 x 14.1 inches and weighs 4.4 pounds so you don't need much counter space and it's portable.
This machine can make all of your favorite espresso drinks. It's a semi-automatic machine, so you'll have to prepare the grounds, load the filter and have the milk in a frothing pitcher or other container. It has an adjustable knob and steam nozzle so that you can create the right blend of flavor and froth. This machine is easy to clean too.
This machine comes with a one-year warranty.
So many excellent choices; but everything boils down to what your budget can absorb, how important that great cup of espresso is, and just how badly you want wonderful coffeehouse taste in your home. For us, both Breville models seem like the best investment. They are all automatic, meaning you go from bean to brew and there's no measuring or tamping. The machines are also sleek, easy to use and will keep you tastefully caffeinated for years to come.