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Great espresso machines deliver fast, strong espresso shots without having to learn too many new buttons or configurations. Our top pick is easily the friendly – and versatile – De’Longhi EC155. We found that this powerful espresso and cappuccino maker can switch between capsules or ground beans effortlessly, and makes a great choice for any home (or office).
We really like the automation features of the De’Longhi EC155, which allow for swift results without too many choices. However, we also have options for those who like to control everything, along with machines that give a more cafe-like experience. Take a look at the full list and find out why we love these models to make your own pick! These machines are the perfect wine and bar accessories for entertaining.
De’Longi’s espresso machine is remarkable – and not just because of the delicious espresso it creates. This model can easily handle capsules or ground beans with a simple switch, and has two separate thermostats for its water and steam functions, assuring that you can get ideal steam for milk frothing and cappuccinos, while also making sure your espresso doesn’t burn. Options are available for different cup sizes and the 15-bar pressure pump makes sure the espresso is authentic.
It’s also surprisingly affordable and compact for its capabilities, excellent for those looking for quality espresso pours on a budget. The efficient heating system allows you to pour multiple cups in a row, and the design makes it much easier to clean than many rivals. Bottom line: It combines usability with delicious results, and you won’t find another machine like it.
Few other espresso machines have the combination of features that this Mr. Coffee model does. High on the list is the excellent 15 bar pump pressure for espresso cups that are as close to cafe-quality as is possible at home. The water and milk reservoirs are spacious and hold enough liquid for plenty of lattes and cappuccinos, both of which can be programmed with the simple set of one-touch button controls.
The machine also allows you to choose between single and double shot sizes when making drinks, and will automatically froth milk into the drink when necessary. There’s nothing like this model when it comes to ease of use. However, note that you will need to grind and scoop your own coffee grounds. Compare this to the best coffee maker list.
Breville’s masterful machine does it all. You can control grinding, texture in micro foam milk with the attached frother, choose between single and double shots (as well as filter size), and tamp like you’re a professional barista. The indicator lights are also especially helpful, showing you when to clean and when steam options are available.
Related: See also our guide to the best milk frother.
While this is easily one of the best automated espresso machines we’ve seen, keep in mind that so many different features – grinder, espresso, frother, etc. – do take a lot of maintenance to keep clean and working properly. Fortunately, Breville includes a kit with both varying filter options and cleaning tools to help tend to things. If you are debating between an Espresso machine and a pod machine, read our best Keurig coffee maker list.
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Both compact and affordable, this machine is ideal for those short on space, looking for a minimalistic espresso maker for their perfect cup. Despite the small size, this unit manages to fit a frother for milk – and can make up to 4 cups of espresso at one time. The carafe can be used to pour water as well as make a small pot of coffee when necessary.
Controls are also pleasantly simple. One large knob at the top controls everything, from frothing to processing end/pause to making coffee. At 3.5 bars of pressure, it’s not really comparable to the larger machines, but it’s an incredibly good option for small-time and occasional latte needs. Some people will prefer this over the best single serve coffee maker.
Related: For decaf lovers, our guide to the best decaf coffee is worth checking out.
If you enjoy tinkering with settings, you’ll love the 13 different grinder settings on this machine (pre-ground is also an option). Other settings include coffee strength, cup size, and even temperature adjustment to create the exact cup that you want. The adjustable system can also be quickly adjusted to the right steam levels depending on just how frothy you want your milk. Like our top pick, it also has very powerful 15-bar pressure, and backs this up with a double-boiler system that can be ready extra-fast.
That makes this model a dream come true for espresso lovers who want to customize their exactly perfect drink and don’t mind experimenting along the way. It also has more automation than any other machine on our list. However, some may find it a little too complicated for their tastes. If that is you, you may want to look at the best whole bean coffee and the best coffee maker with grinder.
There are a lot of espresso machine brands out there, but Nespresso is one of the best for capsules – these are like Keurig cups, but specifically designed for espresso machines, and extra fast ease of use. In addition to a water tank that can heat up in around 25 seconds, the Nespresso model can exert an amazing 19 bars of pressure while working.
You can adjust between single or double cups, and an energy mode will make sure the model is powered down after use to save electricity. There are very few extra features here, but it’s the best compact model for delivering fast results. Speaking of compact, you can also check out the best drip coffee maker.
Looking for a Nespresso model that does a bit more? Here’s the machine for you. In addition to the speedy-capsule based performance, this machine includes a milk frother accessory and the ability to make coffee as well as espresso. It also has a large 54-ounce water tank that makes it one of the better choices for frequent use. The water can heat up in only around 15 seconds, wait times are extra short.
This model also contains the ability to automatically identify what a capsule is intended for, so all you have to do is choose the cup size without worrying about changing between coffee and espresso settings. It is as easy to use as the best blender, maybe easier.
Settings are incredibly important for the best espresso machines: They define how easy the machine is to use, what size it can pour, if you can control the temperature, and generally how much time you have to spend at the machine.
We chose machines that offered excellent settings – preferably strength options and at least two different size options, along with coffee/latte settings if possible. Even the simplest machines on our list are surprisingly flexible, able to switch between different tasks as needed. Bar pressure – how much pressure the machine can exert on the water to get maximum flavor out of the beans at speed – is also very important, so we favored machines that had 15 bar pressure or more. You can compare it with the best Hamilton Beach coffee maker.
Also important is ease of use. Some espresso lovers don’t have a lot of time, and some just aren’t interested in learning about a bunch of different buttons on their quest for a perfect cup. We also awarded points for simpler machines that used capsules for quick brewing but still offered stellar quality, as well as especially compact models that could be used in any kitchen space. Burr grinders were an added plus since they can save even more time and deliver excellent grounds. For those who don’t want to mess with tamping down grounds to the right density (something that can take some practice), machines that do this for you are also great.
Milk frothing options are also very important: Many espresso machine buyers base their decisions on this! So we also favored models that had some kind of milk/frothing setup that allows people to create lattes, cappuccinos, and similar drinks. This can variety a lot (more on this below) but we liked to see some kind of option even on more compact espresso makers.
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