Best Espresso Machine: Top 10 Highest Rated Espresso Makers for Home
Best Espresso Machine
Did you know that the average shot of espresso uses 45 coffee beans? That's a lot of caffeine to pack into one ounce of espresso! If you are looking to create espresso in your own home, there are many factors to consider before buying the best espresso machine.
As it happens, not all espresso machines are made alike, and you need to make sure you actually know what you are buying before investing in one. That’s why we have compiled this list of the top 10 best espresso machines currently on the market.
Each of the following espresso machines are a fantastic option, but it is important to consider your budget, and the features you require before making a purchasing decision. So, sit back and check out our reviews so you can start impressing your guests with the perfect latte.
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Best Overall Pick
If you are looking for the best espresso machines that you can buy today, there is nothing better than the Breville Barista Touch Espresso Maker. Out of all of the options on our list, trust us when we say that it is the best overall pick. No need to continue on after this review, this is the one!
This home espresso machine gives you full control over the quality and final product of your espresso, and it boasts a very rare 3-second startup time thanks to its ThermoJet heating system, which is practically unheard of in the world of espresso machines. That’s great news if you are hoping to pull shots of espresso as fast as possible, or if you tend to need your pick me up as soon as possible in the mornings.
On top of that, this home espresso appliance features a built-in grinder, which means that you won’t have to go out and buy an extra expensive grinder, which would be just another expense to add onto your quest of crafting the perfect espresso or home latte!
With a gadget like the Breville Barista Touch Espresso Maker, everything comes with the machine itself, from the auto steam wand, to the internal grinder, all the way to the self regulating temperature control. This beauty is truly a work of art and is the top contender for the best automatic espresso machine.
Also, if you tend to enjoy having direct control over what is happening in your coffee brewing process, then there’s good news, as this appliance does not merely take it all out of your hands. If you want, it will, but if you want to drive, it'll let you! Just check out the information on the LCD screen at any time to fine tune the minor adjustments and settings you want enabled.
Lastly, as far as aesthetic go, the Breville is beautiful. To be honest, all Breville espresso makers are, but this one takes the cake at an affordable range. With a brushed stainless steel effect that is sure to look the part in your kitchen, you'll be getting compliments from all of your guests.
Whether you want to make a cappuccino, frappe, latte, or just an espresso, you can do it all with a semi automatic machine like this. There might be a slight learning curve to some of it, as does all espresso machinery if you are new, but overall this is the best option on the market.
Second Best Option
Trying to find the perfect espresso machine can be quite difficult. Some people like to go for the fanciest machine they can find, and end up spending too much for a tool they will never fully utilize. If you are the kind of person who would much rather have something simple and effective, with no extra frills, then the Philips 3200 series apparatus is the one for you.
Starting with the automation, it is worth noting that the Philips 3200 Series features a self cleaning button that'll help you stay on top of the cleaning process. If you have been around the espresso world long enough, you'll know that your espresso will suffer with a dirty espresso maker. Thanks to the Philips 3200 series, the cleaning will no longer be an issue.
This device is also more on the compact side, so it’s a great choice if you don't want your appliances taking up your entire kitchen. For a machine that has that special feeling of just doing everything right, you don’t need to look any further than the Philips 3200 series, seriously!
Like the previously mentioned super automatic espresso maker, this one is right up there in regards to automation. With a 12-step ceramic grinder, five coffee automatic brew options and the LatteGo milk system for that extra sweet and creamy milk foam, you'll never need a barista again.
Something that we really like about this contraption is that it doesn't rely on an LCD, it actually has individual buttons you press to achieve your desired beverage. Call us old school, but there is something satisfying about pressing a physical button opposed to an LCD screen.
In truth, this instrument offers the perfect balance between price and performance. For that reason, you should seriously consider one. It is truly a fully automatic machine, meaning you don’t have to learn the ins and out of making specialty coffees just to use it.
If you aren't on the Breville fan bus, and aren't opposed to trying something else, the Phillips 3200 series is our next recommendation for the one of the best home espresso machines. It is also heavily on sale, so you may want to check that out now if you are into saving money.
If you like Iced Coffee
The next home barista gadget on the list is the De'Longhi Dinamica. Since no list is complete without a De'Longhi, we figured we would put forward their best and most innovative model. So what makes this semi automatic espresso contraption so unique?
Starting with what makes the Dinamica stand out is that it is the only coffee maker on our list that has an iced coffee feature. If you would like an amazing espresso machine that can also make iced coffee, there is no greater option here.
With this coffee maker, you also get fresh ground coffee with it's internal burr grinder. Additionally, with a simple one touch screen, you can create five custom espresso drinks and coffee beverages thanks to the including milk frother. Lastly, the De'Longhi is not only well known for it's performance, but also for it's easy to clean solution!
Below Average Heat up Process for the price and contains some plastic elements.
If you are after a fully automatic appliance for your home, and would like for something that is super automatic and easy to use, the De'Longhi Dinamica is a great option. However, if making iced coffee is not something that appeals to you, or perhaps you prefer cold brew, stick with the first two options on the list.
The next espresso appliance on our list is a no nonsense, straight down to business kind of gadget, and it is therefore, suitable for someone who approaches coffee in that way. Say hello to the Rancilio Silvia!
With this, you get the professional touch at home, with a modern designed machine and a hugely reliable internal structure. Particularly of note is its special boiler wrapped in a foam thermal insulator, which offers a uniquely high level of heat absorption, which means less energy use. If you want to feel as though you are a true barista in your own home, getting your hands on this much lauded appliance is going to be an important first step towards realizing that dream.
As for the other internal and external specs, it features a professional tamper, tactile brewing buttons which are fun to press, an efficient group head for the best espresso, stainless steel design and a steam wand to craft your own lattes.
The biggest downfalls of this contraption are that it does not contain an internal grinder, nor will it make different specialty drinks. Granted, if you have the skills, tools and knowhow to do so, then there really is no need. However, if you want a super automatic approach to your morning espresso, then this may not be the one for you.
At face value, it’s fairly simple and stripped back, and while some other machines have more features overall, this is actually a big part of what gives the Rancilio its unique charm. Overall, the Rancilio Silvia is one of the best espresso machines on our list in regards to it's ability to pull a shot of espresso, the overall aesthetics and the simplicity of it.
However, if you require a grinder, more brewing options and a more robust espresso appliance, then you may want to consider our top choice, the Breville Barista Touch.
Best High-end Option
Out of all of the espresso machines on our list, the Breville Oracle is the best in terms of it's performance. If you have the budget for it, this is the best home and small business espresso machine that money can buy. In fact, most smaller cafes, restaurants and offices could get by with it's performance.
So, with such a steep cost compared to the rest, what features does it come with? Well, a whole slew of them actually and here they are.
Starting off with the automation, this Breville Oracle has a simple LCD screen you can navigate through to find your favorite espresso drink. With a press of a button, nearly every possible specialty drink (flat white, espresso, Americano, latte, long black, cappuccino, etc.) could be delivered to your cup in seconds.
From the moment you press the start button, the internal conical burr grinder will activate and know just how many coffee beans to grind up. This leaves you with the freshest ground coffee possible and you'll find comfort in knowing that they were ground moments before the extraction.
Depending on the specialty coffee selection you chose, you may require the steam wand to give you that desired sweat creamy foam finish. The Breville Oracle brings you the perfect steam wand and frother with it's automated café quality steam pressure system.
The Breville Oracle uses a triple heating system that'll prepare the optimal and precise brewing temp of the water, which is needed for the various drink options, bean origins and roast degree. Also, the water temp may be a user preference which you can manually adjust if need be.
Whether you need a single or a double espresso shot, the Breville Oracle has you covered. Also, like the previous Breville machinery we have mentioned, this one is similar to the others as it boasts a stunning stainless steel coating with high quality internal components that were built to last. Even though these machines come with a two year warranty, you'll feel at ease once you experience the craftsmanship and detail that was put into producing it.
As long as you have the counter space to fit it, and don't mind pulling a better quality espresso shot, the Oracle is the top product and model on our list. If you are looking for a crema rich latte, with full automation, you will get the best of the best. So, the choice is yours. Do you want to pay a little extra for the best? Or do you want to settle for less with the other models we recommended above?
6. Gaggia Anima
Great Discounted Option
The next machine on our list is the Gaggia Anima, a true workhorse at a discounted price. If you are looking for better espresso, would like to avoid the lines and to become your own barista, then you may want to consider this manufacturer. Although Gaggia doesn't have the same brand recognition in America as that of Breville, don't overlook them!
Starting with it's interface, the Gaggia functions similar to most semi automatic machines. With six LCD buttons to select from, you'll be able to make that perfect cup of coffee. Whether you prefer a straight espresso shot, or a latte so you can practice your latte art, the Gaggia can do it all.
Like many of the others on our list, the Gaggia features a built in burr grinder, which will help to improve the quality and taste of your morning espresso drinks. Having a coffee bean grinder that is already built in will help save a lot of time and money. If you are the type that typically buys pre ground coffee, stop! Using the built in grinder will make your coffee that much better.
When you become your own barista, you'll soon learn that having a steam wand for frothing milk is an essential. Luckily for you, the Gaggia Anima does come with a Pannarello Steam Wand, which will help create steam and a foamy milk to top off your flat white.
For those of you that are concerned with running up your electricity bill, you'll be at ease knowing that this fully automatic espresso maker features a low energy mode, which will cut down on electrical costs. Making espresso isn't suppose to that taxing, but it is comforting to know that Gaggia considered this in the engineering process.
Plastic and lower quality feel.
The Gaggia Anima may seem like an entry level espresso appliance, but don't sleep on it's ability to produce great shots of espresso. In our opinion, if you don't mind the plastic and cheaper quality feel, then it is still a great option. However, for just a few more dollars you can upgrade and get a much better Breville model, but the choice is yours!
Great Middle Option
Well, we’ve looked at the automatic style of espresso machine, but what if you want something a little more hands on? Next up, we welcome you the Breville Barista Express! Our middle ground recommendation between the best budget option and the best overall pick.
The Barista Express allows you to have a truly hands on experience when you are making coffee. It has a fully inclusive coffee making process, with built in dosing and grinding, which means not only is it an easier process, but you can grind the coffee beans just before extraction. No longer will you need a separate espresso grinder as the Barista Express will do it for you!
For those that want the hands on approach, you'll be excited to know that this device features an analog gauge. With this gauge, you can control the pressure of the brewing process, and therefore, the final aroma of the coffee itself is in your hands. Between adjusting the burr grinder, controlling the steam wand and using the pressure gauge, you may as well include in your resume that you are an experienced Barista.
Although there aren't any cons, we expect a little more for the price. With other competitors out there, we feel as though this machine should have a few additional brew options to help automate a few specialty drink items. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but we can't help feeling something is missing.
The Barista Express is a great option for this price range and we highly recommend it. After all, this is an incredibly affordable machine for what it provides you with. Soon enough you will feel that buying coffee in the shops and cafes is no longer worth it, as you just have something so much better at home.
Best Budget Option
Next on our list is the Calphalon Temp iQ which also happens to be our best budget option. Although it is not the cheapest option on our espresso machine buying guide, it truly is the perfect choice when you consider the features you get and for the price you pay.
This compact little stainless steel workhorse is equipped with everything you'd ever need to deliver great espresso or coffee at home. Starting with the grinder, you'll be able to get freshly ground coffee that'll transfer to the best quality shots of espresso.
Next, the Calphalon comes with a one and two cup single or double walled filters. This will allow for you to make larger servings of your favorite specialty drinks. Additionally, the Calphalon Temp iQ comes with a unique warming tray to help keep your morning coffee or double shot of espresso nice and warm.
From it's sleek design, to it's efficient operations, this 15 bar pump delivers some of the best shots of espresso you'd hope for with a semi automatic piece of hardware. Espresso Makers aren't easy to choose, but if money is a struggle for you, the Calphalon is the best budget pick for sure!
Low steam pressure if you need to froth milk and there aren't automatic drink options aside from one or two shots of espresso.
Do we think there are better options on our list, you bet we do! Do we think this is a reliable machine that is the best option for this price range, yup! At such an affordable price, the Calphalon Temp iQ is a no brainer. A built in burr grinder, a setup for frothing milk, high power and efficient espresso shots, what else do you need?
By now, you know that if you are getting an espresso machine, certain brands are particularly trusted, and Breville is one of them. Their espresso machines are routinely at the top of their game, and with the Infuser, things are no different.
The first pro we see within the Infuser is that it is an example of excellent espresso machine design, with its ultra modern stainless steel finish and those sleek knobs. It’s a strong item in the visual sense, yes, but also in terms of being sturdy, and you can expect this machine to be amongst the best.
The reliability alone should help you feel more confident but that’s not all that you can expect from this machine. With Breville's patented extraction process and heating system, single and dual wall filter baskets, and a steam element for perfecting the perfect home espresso, what more do you need?
Well, a lot actually, let's get to the cons of this piece of hardware and decide whether or not it should be considered as one of the best espresso machines.
For starters, with such a low cost item, it comes without surprise that there are a few missing features. The first of great notice is the lack of an espresso grinder. Without a grinder, you'll need to either buy one separately, or you will need to buy fine ground coffee which we do not recommend. Luckily for you, we have compiled a list already of some of the best coffee grinders you can buy that'll let you grind specifically for espresso.
Additionally, this espresso machine is lacking the 3 second heat up process which even it's little brother has. With little to pick from in regards to automatic espresso beverages, creating specialty drinks will need to be entirely manual which at that point, you may as well buy a manual espresso maker. No, really. We would suggest a manual espresso maker if you are going to go the cheap route.
The Infuser is suitable in both home and office environments, and because it’s a semi automatic machine, you will have that wonderfully perfect balance between control and ease. Best of all, this model is extremely affordable. In fact, it is the cheapest item on our list. If you are tight on money, rest assured that this budget option will serve you well.
Good Budget Option
Perhaps you have a personal vendetta against Calphalon, and couldn't decide on a Breville model that fit your needs. Well, the De'Longhi is actually a great budget option as well and they have become a trusted manufacturer within the espresso making industry. So, what makes it so great?
To be considered one of the best espresso machines, there needs to be a balance between price and performance. With this De'Longhi model you certainly receive both as it comes at a very affordable price point, but it also has many of the bells and whistles you'd typically have to pay and arm and a leg for.
From a built in grinder for fresh coffee, to a consistent brewing process, the De'Longhi is able to produce fresh, rich and bold shots of espresso with ease. More importantly, it comes with all of the milk frothing equipment needed to produce your own customized beverage. Whether you fancy a latte or a cappuccino, the De'Longhi has you covered!
With a great budget choice, most consumers are left wanting more. Whether it is better automation, easier cleaning, better quality components, more brew options, or just something proprietary that you can brag about, the De'Longhi makes you feel like you are missing something.
At this point, if you haven't been sold on any of the other models we have covered then you may as well go with the De'Longhi option. For such a great price point, and with many additional features you'd expect from a quality espresso contraption, this model has you covered.
How To Use An Espresso Machine
No matter which machine you end up with, or even if you use one and then move on to another after a couple of years, you are first going to need to know how to actually use an espresso machine. This is one of those skills that can seem very complex at first, but once you start looking into it and trying it for yourself you soon come to realize that it is much simpler than you expected, and what’s more, it’s a process that is generally very enjoyable.
So, how do you use an espresso machine?
1. Fill Water Reservoir or Connect Water Line
Generally, you first need to set it up in the right spot and plug it in, and then you need to fill your water reservoir with water. The water reservoir is typically built into the machine, often at the back or the side, so you will need to locate that. For some machines, you have to connect it to a water source directly, something worth being aware of when buying one.
2. Heating Up
Then it’s time to switch the machine on. Once you have done that, all you need to do is to wait for it to heat the water. This doesn’t generally take too long, and some machines, as we have seen, can do this extremely quick (in a matter of seconds). Of course, some will take a little longer.
3. Grind Coffee Beans
Next, it’s grinding time. Place your coffee beans, as fresh as possible that you can source, into the machine where directed, and fill up the collector through grinding. Make sure the coffee is ground enough to your liking and for the kind of coffee you are planning on making. You can always carefully check it with your fingers if necessary.
4. Level and Tamper
After, you need to level and tamper the ground coffee, as the more compact it is, the more pressure is required for water to filter through it. As a result, the stronger and more flavorful the resulting coffee will be.
5. Press The Button
Finally, press the button to brew as required, and make sure to remember to turn the machine off after you have finished.
How To Clean An Espresso Machine
Once you know how to use your espresso machine, one of the next things you should learn is how to clean it properly. Cleaning your espresso appliance is hugely important, as it ensures that you are keeping the engine in the best possible condition and that will help it to last much longer. It will also mean that you are going to have a much better tasting coffee every time, whereas if you fail to clean it properly, your coffee might taste too bitter or have too much sediment in it. Neither of which are indicative of good coffee or espresso making.
So, what does it take to properly clean an espresso machine after use?
1. Daily and Deep Cleaning
You need to ensure you are cleaning your machine every day, but also doing a deep clean every now and then, ideally every week or at least every month. Using vinegar can help to break down the oil that is secreted from coffee beans, but make sure to mix it with water to avoid corroding the parts of your machine.
2. Back Flushing
The most important step in cleaning your machine is back flushing, which is where you push water with great pressure into the depths of the machine which you will do with detergent too. This is vital in removing the build-up of bacteria that coffee machines can develop over time.
3. Filter Basket and Frothing Wand
It’s also a good idea to regularly brush the basket which captures the unfiltered coffee grounds. At the same time, give the steam wand a good rinse, just to make sure the whole machine is cleaned properly. Although it can take time, proper cleaning of your espresso machine is a very important thing to do.
How To Make Espresso Without A Machine
If you have been wondering whether it is possible to make espresso without a machine, the answer is yes. It is perfectly doable to create your own espresso at home without the use of one of these fancy machines. However, as you might imagine, it is nowhere near as easy or simple, and generally using a machine is going to make the process so much easier for you. But if you are keen to know how to make espresso without using a machine, here is the way to do it.
1. Buy an Espresso Maker
Yes, you can make a gimmick espresso with other tools, but the quality won't be anywhere near that of a true espresso shot. So, do yourself a favor, scroll to the top of the page and buy one of the options listed.
2. Moka Pot or Aeropress
You can use a Moka Pot or an Aeropress to get the desired pressure needed for a hybrid espresso shot, but it is a lot of work and the crema you get will be pretty non existent. If you can't afford a true espresso machine, then the Moka Pot or Aeropress should be able to satisfy your desire to make an entry level shot of espresso.
Are Espresso Machines Worth It
If you are someone that drinks espresso based beverages, we highly suggest that you look into owning one for yourself. Not only will you save tons of money making a double shot at home with your super automatic espresso machine, you'll also be the hype of the neighborhood. People will come over in droves asking you for your home barista skills.
In all seriousness, owning one of these espresso machines is a great financial investment that will also serve as a time hack since you won't need to drive somewhere and wait in a life for your morning latte. Not only that, but you can also be your own home barista, experimenting and testing your skills at producing great espresso shots.
Espresso Machine Brands
With so many espresso machine brands, it can be quite overwhelming to decide on which one to pick. Some of these brands are know for producing top notch equipment, while others can be hit or miss depending on your needs and budget.
Additionally, some brands are more geared towards home use while others focus on the commercial industry. For the sake of this article, we focused on home espresso machines which is why we will stick to that approach here. For more of the commercial options, be sure to check out our guide on the best commercial espresso machines.
When it comes to home espresso appliances, there are a couple well known brands that most people tend to stick with. The first one that comes to mind is Breville (1), as you can see from our top 10 list from above. However, don't sleep on some of the others that aren't quite as popular, like the Rancilio, Philips, De'Longhi and Gaggia as you will be equally satisfied!
Best Espresso Machine For Home Use
The best espresso machine for home use is the Breville Barista Touch Espresso Maker that took number one on our list. Although there are higher end models, and cheaper budget friendly models, we feel that this is the best home espresso machine. Without spending an arm and a leg, and without missing out on too many key features, the Breville Barista Touch walks a perfect line between cost and performance.
If you find that these models are a bit too pricey, then you may want to look into getting the best latte machine that doesn't come with all of the bells and whistles. We also did a review of the best espresso machine under 200 if you are really on a budget!
How Much Is An Espresso Machine
When it comes to shopping for an espresso machine, figuring out how much money to spend can be quite overwhelming. On one hand, if you are already spending a good chunk of money, you want to be sure that you aren't missing out on a few valuable upgrades if you spent just a little more. However, you also want to make sure you aren't spending too much extra when a cheaper model will give you the same end result.
Figuring out how much to spend on an espresso appliance comes down to two main factors, features and aesthetics. Starting with the most important, there are a few key features you will want in a good espresso machine. These features can make an automatic espresso machine range in price from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars.
Unless you drink your espresso shots straight up, you'll want one of the machines that has a built in steam wand. This will allow for you to make different specialty coffee variations such as lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, etc. Also, if you don't have a grinder that can grind fine enough for espresso shots, you'll want a semi automatic machine that can grind for you, ideally one that has a burr grinder. This will take away the pain point of needing to find the best coffee grinder.
Now that we have covered the features you will need to consider investing in, let's get to the less important factor, aesthetics! For those that plan on hosting events or if you are someone that needs your kitchen to look a certain way, then you'll want to consider the aesthetics and engineering of the espresso maker that you buy. Whether it be a shiny stainless steel shell, or a soft matte black finish, these designs will play a part in the price.
Conclusion: What Are The Best Espresso Machines?
Making coffee is a fascinating art. If you want to produce the best quality espresso in your own home or your office, you are going to want an espresso machine that does the job. You can go for one that provides you with many features and options, or one that is a little bit more simple.
You can also choose one with many manual control, or you can go down the automatic route instead. Additionally, you might want a huge, state of the art appliances, or one of the small and compact home espresso makers. It’s really up to you, but it’s good to know that you have so many options to choose between.
Throughout all of this, the important thing is to make sure you find the one appliance that suits your needs. Then it’s all about sourcing the best coffee beans you can afford, making sure you treat them right, and putting as much love as you possibly can into each and every cup of coffee or espresso. Thanks for reading, we hope you loved our review a whole latte!
Sources: (1) Breville Main Site