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Best Espresso Machine Reviews – Buyer’s Guide

Best-Espresso-Machine

Coffee machine making coffee in pub, bar, restaurant

Whether you’re a long-time pro or just love a good cup, great coffee is something we all can appreciate.  And making espresso at home is one of life’s greatest small pleasures.

We are fortunate at Fourth Estate to have a few (too many) espresso machines around from our work testing, reviewing, and writing (and re-testing).  But we are always looking out for the best, testing, listening, and seeing what’s out there. Because everyone should have the best machine for their tastes, and their needs.

Below is the fruit of that work. We’ll share our personal favorites in the industry, the results of our research and rating, as well as some things to consider if you decide to do your own further research.

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Espresso Machine

I. How to Pick The Perfect Espresso Machine for You

Espresso machines are broadly divided as follows:

1. Steam-Driven Espresso Machine – Produces strong coffee instead of real espresso. Very affordable. ($40 – $60)

2. Pump-Driven Espresso Machine – Makes real crema-topped espresso. The more common variations are:

1. Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine – Needs a bit of skill to use. ($100 – $1000)

2. Super Automatic Espresso Machine – Easy to use but very expensive. ($500 – $3000)

When purchasing your first serious espresso machine, I would recommend you pick a semi automatic espresso machine or super automatic espresso machine.

To make it easy, I’ve listed my personal recommendations followed by more detailed reviews for espresso machines based on our research.

Quick Overview: Best Espresso Machine

IMAGEPRODUCT
Breville BES870XL
  • Sleek, compact design and durable
  • High water capacity
  • Easy to operate
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Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker
  • Sturdy and compact design
  • Relatively easy to clean
  • One-touch brew selection
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Delonghi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
  • Compact design
  • Versatile
  • Heats up rapidly
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De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso ESAM3300
  • Makes good tasking coffee
  • Durable and compact design
  • Cappuccino frother works well
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De’Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
  • Good-tasting brew when pump works well
  • Decent-sized water container
  • Machine heats up fast
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Gaggia Brera Black Super Automatic Espresso Machine
  • Heated cup warming surface
  • Heats up very quickly
  • Wand frother perfect for milky drinks
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Breville BES840XL
  • Volumetric programmable control
  • Great for Americanos or pre-heating your cups without leaving the machine
  • Extremely generous accessory bundle for this price point
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Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker
  • Heavy duty machine that lasts a long time
  • Can make multiple cups per day
  • can use your preferred ground coffee brand
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Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
  • Rugged stainless steel casing
  • Removable water reservoir for ease of maintenance
  • Warming surface so you can pre-heat your espresso cup
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Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker
  • Small and compact design
  • Produces excellent coffee
  • Easy to clean parts
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DeLonghi Retro Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
  • Outstanding value for money
  • Filter holder accepts pods or ground coffee
  • Self-priming so no messing around on start-up
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Piece Espresso and Cappuccino Machine Bundle Set
  • Affordable with no sacrifice of quality
  • Bundled set covers all bases
  • Up and running in less than 1 minute
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Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System
  • Make 2 shots at once with Dual-Shot Brewing
  • Removable, washable drip tray
  • Frothing arm for milky coffees
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Delonghi Eletta Digital Super Automatic Espresso Machine
  • Delivers excellent layer of crema
  • Durable steel burr grinder integrated
  • Self-maintaining machine
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II. Our Top Picks

1. Best Overall

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express is your best option if you want great café-quality espresso right in your own home. This machine is power-packed with important commercial-grade features, giving you the convenience of in-home use without compromising the quality of your brew.

The BES870XL model is the latest upgraded version of the Breville BES860XL Barista Express. And Breville is now offering it in a few colors: stainless steel, cranberry red, and black sesame. Personally, it’s great to see the higher-end in-home espresso machines start pay attention to not just making the best espresso but also looking good in your home.

It has a sleek design with easy-to-understand front panel controls.

It’s a semi-automatic machine and the only manual tasks that you need to learn to operate it are to load up the coffee beans and replace the water reservoir.

Related: Top 5 Espresso Coffee Beans

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Our #1 Recommended

The BES870XL has a built-in 15-Bar pressure brewing pump, another built-in heating system, which automatically adjusts the water’s temperature ensuring a good brew, and a conical burr grinder.

This model is perfect for a family of coffee lovers or a small office, because it stores up to 2 liters of water.

Things We Liked

    • Consistent brewing results over a long period of time
    • Sleek, compact design and durable
    • Can work as hot water dispenser for tea preparation
    • High water capacity
    • Easy to operate
  • Good customer service

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Minor pressure or steaming problems can occur (like almost all espresso machines) but are pretty easily solved with the assistance of Breville’s customer service representatives

Read More: Best Commercial Espresso Machine

2. Best Under $200 | Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker with Automatic Milk Frother

While more known for their drip-coffee chops, Mr. Coffee has been in the coffee-brewing business since 1970, making it among the more respected espresso machine makers in the industry.

The Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker is a semi-automatic machine, owing to the fact that you will still need to place the coffee beans manually, and then adjust the filters as necessary. Its automatic features include the milk frothing mechanism and the 15-bar pressure pump brewing system.

Despite the small manual tasks, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker is still easy to use and clean.

It has a front control panel where you can select the type of espresso you prefer. And after using, you can detach the milk tank for storage or the water reservoir for refilling.

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First-time users of this device will need to remember that the machine needs to be cleaned and primed prior to use. This is necessary, but simple. All Mr. Coffee espresso makers come with a detailed instruction manual that will show how to prime the device. It also includes free coffee recipes, measuring scoops, two shot filters, and a coffee tamper.

The Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker comes in three colors – stainless steel black, red and white.

Things We Liked

    • Sturdy and compact design
    • Adjustable drip tray to fit small to tall cups
    • Relatively easy to clean
    • One-touch brew selection
  • Doesn’t need coffee pods – you can use any preferred coffee bean brand

Things We Didn’t Like

    • The pressure mechanism may suddenly stop working
  • Automatic frothing does not produce consistent results

Read More: Top 5 Best Espresso Machine Under $200

3. Best Pump Machine For Home |

Delonghi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine

DeLonghi is a household name in the coffee industry. They are know for producing award-winning products at a reasonably good price point.

This ultra-slimline machine is finished in a sleek stainless steel. You can enjoy prime espresso without a hulking unit dominating your kitchen. It’s ideal for anyone with a smaller kitchen, or for an in-law unit or Airbnb.

Whether you want single or double shots of espresso or perhaps a frothy cappuccino, the DeLonghi has you covered.

Heating up in less than a minute and including a nifty cup warmer, making espresso couldn’t be easier. The 15-bar pressure will give you coffee-shop quality drinks without needing to leave the comfort of home.

This machine is a breeze to use and very dependable so it makes a fantastic investment if you want to avoid hitting Starbucks every day but you are not prepared to give up quality coffee. Check it out today!

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Pros

    • Compact design means it takes up very little space without sacrificing quality
    • Frothing system means you can enjoy cappuccino as well as espresso
    • Works for single and double shots so extremely versatile
    • Temperature regulation leads to the ideal espresso
  • Heats up rapidly and has large reservoir despite its small footprint so a true multi-purpose machine

Cons

  • Manual pulling option can become complicated due to altered pull times

Read More: 10 Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines

4. Best Home Machine With Grinder | De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso ESAM3300

Another great De’Longhi machine is the Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine. It is a combination product and works just like the Nespresso Pixie. However, you can use any coffee beans/grounds with this machine. You can also make both espressos and cappuccinos with it.

The De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine has its own built-in burr grinder where you can adjust the beans’ fineness to your preference.

It is classified as a super-automatic machine, but it does not have electronic displays.

You will need to use the push-button controls to turn on/off the machine or change the machine’s settings.

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Things We Liked

    • Makes good tasking coffee
    • Durable and compact design
    • Cappuccino frother works well
  • Relatively easy to clean

Things We Didn’t Like

    • Non-adjustable drip tray
  • Machine can develop leaks

Read More: Best Coffee Grinders

5. Best Under $100 | De’Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (model EC155)

Another De’Longhi creation is the 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. It is a bestseller in the field of semi-automatic espresso machines.

What sets De’Longhi’s model EC155 apart is its 15 bar pressure pump. This means optimal brewing pressure is used to make your espresso.

It comes with a small built-in tamper and a frothing wand.

This model is suitable for those who want to experiment on getting an espresso machine, but are not serious or knowledgeable enough to get a more expensive automatic machine.

Most user reviews online report that they’ve had their De’Longhi espresso makers for 5 years or more.

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However, the De’Longhi EC155 model is not free from negative feedback as the product can break down. Still, it is a worthy alternative to other high-end machines for many in the market for an espresso maker.

Things We Liked