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Not many people know this, but one of the best ways you can start saving some cash every month is by grabbing one of the best home espresso machines and letting your inner budding barista flourish. Buying your own espresso machine can be quite the task, though, so we took the espresso-making into our own hands. We purchased the top 20 espresso machines and made a bunch of coffee to find the best product on the market today. With this list, you’ll have the best espresso machine for your home in no time. Compared to the best Nespresso machine that produces a little less flavorful and intense shot, the espresso machine produces a more full-flavored and full-bodied shot.
When we looked for the best home espresso machine, we considered features like what kind of pump system the machine used, how many bars of pressure it could maintain, whether it was semi-automatic or full, and whether or not it carried its own internal grinder. After drinking way too much coffee (we’ll probably be awake for the next few months), we found that the Breville BES870BSXL Barista Express is the best home espresso machine. With its 15-bar Italian pressure pump and 1600W Thermo-coil heater, this espresso machine will get you coffee’d up in no time. Keep reading to learn about the other espresso machines on our list so you can find the best unit for your needs.
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To narrow down which home espresso machines we thought deserved to be called “the best” among the rest, we laid out a specific set of features that we wanted to see on every candidate we considered during our research.
Several of the more important add-ons included the relative ease of use in super-automatic machines, as well as the number of temp/pressure gauges present on semi-automatics. Other factors that helped these five choices stand out from the crowd were the addition of a separate steamer wand to help you steam your milk while the espresso pulls, as well as the warranty on each machine (whether it only covers parts, or labor as well).
Espresso machines can be prone to breakage due to overuse, so build quality was of the utmost concern, as well as the size of the water tank/whether the system can be hooked up to a separate water line. We researched the top picks from around a dozen other sites with expert reviews, as well as those models which received high scores with Amazon reviewers who had owned their machines for a number of years and could report back they were still functional way past their original purchase date.
While the upfront cost of some of these espresso makers may seem on the high side, one only has to go through their annual bank statements and search the word “Starbucks” to see how quickly drinking coffee at cafes can add up.
The same way you don’t eat every one of your meals out at a restaurant like Chipotle, you shouldn’t be paying so much for coffee that you could just as easily make at home for a fraction of the price. A new espresso maker not only saves you cash in the long run, but it’s also a great way to start learning about the craft, everything from how to select your beans to how to get the perfect grind for a delicious cup every time.
A new espresso maker lets you open up your creative side with coffee and encourages you to slow down a bit and take the time to understand just what good espresso really tastes like. And perhaps even more importantly, about the kind of love that can go into crafting the perfect cappuccino with just the right amount of foam on top. If you don’t want to spend time learning about the art of coffee brewing, you could simply use the best nespresso capsules.
Price: $599.95 | Features: 15-bar Italian pressure pump, 1600W Thermo-coil heater, dual-wall filters
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Breville BES870XL is the premium choice for mid-range espresso machine buyers.
Although that sticker price may come as a bit of a shock; as far as home espresso machines go the Breville BES870BSXL semi-automatic espresso machine holds on tightly to the top spot thanks to its superior build quality and a long list of premium features.
The semi-automatic BES870BSXL comes with its own internal fine-burr coffee grinder, saving you from the mess of transferring grounds from one place to another while ensuring that you never overfill your tamping cask to the brim. This also gives you the ultimate fresh espresso, due to the on-demand option to only grind the exact amount of coffee beans you need for any size espresso, one cup at a time.
Other notable add-ons include an intuitive, clean interface that gives you precise control over the shot volumes, filter size, and extraction pressure, as well as a 360-degree steaming wand and its very own internal water filter.
The Breville BES870BSXL is one of the best espresso machines and guarantees you the best cup of coffee you’ll taste from a machine under $1,000, thanks in large part to its combination of mid-tier pricing and top-tier features. The next level up is the Breville Oracle, but what if you’re only looking to get started in the world of espresso, rather than dominate it straight out of the gate?
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Price: $154.00 | Features: Automatic milk steamer, one-touch control panel, separate milk reservoir
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: If you want the ultimate super-automatic one-touch experience, go with the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista.
Of all the brands listed here, Mr. Coffee (and Mr. Radar) is undoubtedly the most well-known of the bunch. Mr. Coffee has been making coffee machines for decades, a pedigree of quality and excellence that stretches back to a time before many of us were even born.
When it comes to the debate of super-automatic vs. semi-automatic, the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista system is about as “super” as they come. Nearly every single part of the process on this machine is automated, save for actually pushing the “Start” button yourself and choosing whether you want your milk steamed or not. This espresso machine’s best super-automatic model has an automatic milk frother so you do not have to worry about messing up as you make espresso.
That said, for the price, the super-automatic espresso machine still brews a heck of a good cup of coffee. It’s not going to have the full flavor profile you’d get from the Breville, but will reliably pump out lattes and mochas that are on par (if not slightly better) than what you’d get at a Starbucks. For $154, this is a solid entry-level pick for the budget espresso lover who isn’t sure they want to commit to a bigger system just yet.
Price: $459.00 | Features: Flat ceramic burr grinder, rapid steam technology, Pannarello steam wand
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Gaggia Brera 59101 emulates a classic look with a modern twist, and it offers modern features to match it.
The Gaggia Brera offers a more modern look over the Gaggia 14101, and it looks good on your marble countertops with sleek fancy accents and a digital display. However, this coffee gear still cares greatly about making a great espresso. The 59101 is a stellar super-automatic espresso machine that is incredibly easy to use.
With its ultra-simple operation and compact footprint, the Gaggia Brera takes a no-frills approach to the art of espresso with its simple digital display and rapid steam technology. If you want a machine that’s reliable and will last you long into the future with little chance of breaking down along the way, this is the model to get. To compare this model to others on the market, take a look at the best espresso machine too.
Price: $518.38 | Features: Built-in burr grinder, dual thermo block system, adjustable group head height
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: It doesn’t get better than the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica for espresso hounds on the go.
From a machine that was literally designed in the ’90s to one that looks like it’s straight out of the future, the super-automatic DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica is another great home espresso machine that’s made for the super-automatic lovers in all of us.
The De Longhi Magnifica really takes a classic approach to its design with rotary knobs while still maintaining a chic and modern look. One of the best features of this super-automatic espresso machine is the dual thermal blocks, which allow you to switch from steaming to brewing – and back again – with a simple touch of a button.
You also get DeLonghi’s patented Cappuccino System, which creates the right proportion of milk and hot water/steam for you so you get that perfect creamy froth while brewing espresso. If you’re looking for barista-quality espresso, this is the machine for you.
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Price: $1,220.00 | Features: OPV pressure-limiting valves, PID temperature control, stainless steel dual-boilers
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: With its dual-boiler system, the BES920XL creates a perfectly crafted cup every single time.
Last up, this wouldn’t be a “best of” list if we didn’t include the absolute best home espresso maker out there, regardless of the initial investment needed to own it.
The BES920XL is the gold standard in home espresso makers, with every bell and whistle you could imagine strapped to its chromed-out $1220 chassis. Thanks to its dual-boiler feature (a requirement in any professional-level machine), the BES920XL heats the water for your steam and espresso independently of one another, at the same time. This means you can pump out the perfect espresso and fluffy milk simultaneously and have your cappuccino poured out to perfection in just a matter of minutes. Other standout features include the dual-shot spout capable of producing four shots of espresso at a time, as well as a PID display that tracks your temperature and pressure in real-time.
Using the Breville BES920XL will have no problem creating coffee at a quality level that’s higher than what you’d see a major chain of roasters, and with enough practice and determination, will get you pulling espressos better than any professional barista on the street.
Type of Espresso Machine
Semi-automatic vs. Super-automatic
Number of Drip Spouts
Don’t buy a super-automatic to learn espresso: If you’re investing in an espresso machine and want to actually learn how to make a good cup of the stuff, semi-automatic is the way to go. Super-automatic machines don’t have any “manual” mode you can turn on with the flip of a switch, but some semi-automatics can go super-auto if you set them upright. For the budding barista, only a semi-automatic coffee maker will do.
Don’t skimp on a coffee grinder: Of all the different ways you can make coffee and the different grind levels your beans need for a proper brew, espresso is easily the most finicky of all. For good espresso, you need an incredibly fine, even grind of beans, which means that only a true espresso grinder will do. Personally, we like the Krups GX5000, which is priced fairly enough to give you breathing room on your espresso machine, but still puts out a professional-level grind every single time.
In the war of which best home espresso will be the best fit for you, it all comes down to how much you love coffee and the amount of time you have to devote to it every day.
If you have dreams of being an all-star barista one day, the only way to train is on semi-automatic machines like the Beville BES870BSXL, or if you really have some extra coin to spend, the BES920XL. If you’re on a more conservative budget but still want a quality cup, the Gaggia 14101 is a reliable choice, while super-automatics like the Nespresso Pixie and Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista round things out for someone who just wants their caffeine fast with as little hassle as possible.
For every type of coffee lover, there’s a machine that’s right for you. Making espresso at home instead of dropping $5 a pop at the local cafe is a great investment, not only for your finances but also for any craftsmen (or women) who need a new hobby and want to learn what it takes to make a truly great cup o’ Joe. So choose wisely, and we’ll see you on the other side of flavor town!