If you catch yourself wishing that you could have espresso on demand without spending too much money every morning, then you need the best Nespresso machine available. And since we know that there are many models to choose from and your time is short, we’re going to make it easier with our five top picks in 2019 for just the right shot of java. We went out and purchased the top 20 Nespresso machines on the market today and tested them out in real time to find out which one was best.
During our tests, we measured critical features like water capacity, pre-programmed drink options and overall design and durability. Based on our testing, our #1 pick, is the Nespresso Citiz , a beautiful coffee maker that comes not only with espresso/lungo size options (lungo is an extra-large, shot-and-a-half option), but also a milk frother to automatically heat and froth a canister of milk for more advanced espresso beverages. It’s like have a tiny café in your kitchen, and we highly recommend it. Keep reading to learn more about the rest of our choices for the best Nespresso machine of 2019.
- 1 Top 3 Best Nespresso Machines Compared
- 1.1 #1 Nespresso CitiZ – Editor’s Choice / Best Nespresso Machine for Latte
- 1.2 #2 Mueller Espresso Machine for Nespresso – Best Cheap Nespresso Machine
- 1.3 #3 Nespresso Creatista Plus – Best Nespresso Coffee Machine
- 1.4 How we Choose the Best Nespresso Machine
- 1.5 What to Look for When Buying the Best Nespresso Machine
- 1.6 The Right “Line”
- 1.7 Preprogrammed Drink Options
- 1.8 Capacity
- 1.9 Reliable Pour
- 1.10 Elegant Design
- 1.11 Milk Frothers
- 1.12 Why You Should Buy a New Nespresso Machine
- 1.13 Mistakes to Avoid
- 1.14 What Else You Should Think About
Top 3 Best Nespresso Machines Compared
#1 Nespresso CitiZ – Editor’s Choice / Best Nespresso Machine for Latte
Heat-Up Time: 25 seconds | Milk Options: Frother container | Water Tank: 34 ounces | Used Capsule Container: 11 capsules
WHY WE LIKE IT: Need milk? The Citiz can help with that. The Citiz was an easy pick for our top spot, with a full espresso feature set that easily allows you to whip up a latte, cappuccino, or other milk-oriented coffee beverage.
This model includes a frother in the back that uses the same power source – essentially a mug for milk with a heating element at the bottom that you can use to heat up or even foam some milk. It works better for straight lattes than anything else, but with a little work you can make other drinks as well. In short, an urban espresso maker that comes with everything you need.
These useful features are combined with a 34-ounce water tank that’s easy to remove and clean, and two different programming options for espresso and lingo pour sizes. The dip tray can be folded down to expose the second drip tray for larger cups if necessary.
Note about shot sizes: now is a good time to mention that Nespresso machine shots tend to be more full than not – a full ounce on average, although it depends on how clean the system is. This model has a Lungo setting, which is a one-and-a-half ounce option for larger pours. However, ristretto or tiny shots are harder to come by, since there’s no setting for a ¾ ounce pour.
From a quick pour well under 30 seconds to a heat-saving function that shuts the Citiz off after nine minutes without use, the Citiz is one the best, most reliable Nespresso machine models we’ve seen.
#2 Mueller Espresso Machine for Nespresso – Best Cheap Nespresso Machine
Heat-Up Time: 25 seconds | Milk Options: Frother container | Water Tank: 24 ounces | Used Capsule Container: 10 capsules
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Mueller Espresso machine for Nespresso is such a great model for the apartment, home, or other area. Affordable and cute, this tiny espresso maker is a great solution for small spaces.
It’s a highly affordable model that can fit in even a tiny corner while still providing 24 ounces worth of espresso shots and up to 10 capsules used before you have to think about emptying them out.
The model also comes with 20 bar pressure, options for espresso or lungo sizes, auto power off, and other Nespresso machine features that make the machine easier. Essentially, you get all the benefits in a smaller, less expensive package.
#3 Nespresso Creatista Plus – Best Nespresso Coffee Machine
Heat-Up Time: 3 seconds | Milk Options: Steam pipe/milk froth | Water Tank: 60 ounces | Used Capsule Container: 13-20 capsules
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Creatista Plus is the solution for both coffee and espresso needs. This model can make black coffee, milk-based beverages and milk froth. Simply insert your Nespresso cup and the machine will do the rest for you.
The reason many people don’t get an espresso machine is because they already need/have a coffeemaker, and don’t really see the point in having both. The Creatista Plus is designed to help solve that problem, and this is one of the best products born from it.
The heat-up time for coffee is super short at only 3 seconds, the 60-ounce water tank particular large for meeting coffee needs, and overall this hybrid model is everything you need for juggling both coffee and espresso. However, make sure you have enough Nespresso machine capsules for both options, or someone might feel left out.
How we Choose the Best Nespresso Machine
How do we compare Nespresso machine models? At first glance, Nespressos may look like they all do the same thing – turn capsules into espresso shots. But beyond this are a number of additional features that we used to pick the best rated Nespresso machine.
Of key importance to us was the quality of the coffee pour by the time the cup is served. How does it taste? If you’re looking at this list, you no doubt want a well-poured shot that’s not burnt, not watered down, and consistent in flavor whether you’re drinking your first cup of the day or your fifth. It’s important to note in this department that while Nespresso machine capsules may not deliver a perfect café-like experience (the capsules tend to favor a bit of burning by nature), they still come close, especially in newer models like the Citiz.
We also took a look at customization options: Nespressos are designed to be ultra-simple, but some models do include options for coffee pours or double shots, which we liked. After all, why not tailor use to individual preferences?
The capsule tanks are also important, because they’re a handy indication of how frequently a Nespresso machine is supposed to be used. Models that only have capacity for around 11 capsules may not be well-suited to an office, for example.
Nespresso prides itself on speedy espresso shots, and one of the big benefits of purchasing one of these machines is the time you save waiting in line or at the counter. So we made sure that the machines could stand by their speed claims. Nespresso machine models usually keep heating time down below 30 seconds for espresso shots, while a regular cup of Joe may only take 15 seconds – in the same ballpark where Keurig-style coffeemakers play.
Of course, Nespressos aren’t just about making espresso, they’re also about maintenance. So we looked at cleaning steps, disassembly required, ease of cleaning, and more. Unlike models such as the Coffeeboxx, the Nespresso machine is largely meant to stay at home, but they still need attention. We preferred models that run clean after just a couple straight water pours, and are easy to take apart if necessary.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Nespresso Machine
The Right “Line”
While there are many different Nespresso machine models, there are two general lines to follow – Vertuo and Original. Know which line fits your lifestyle.
The Vertuo line is designed primarily for households that want both espresso and coffee options, but don’t care as much about the adding milk or froth for the fancier drinks (although that may still be a possibility). The Original line is more for those who want a cappuccino, americano, etc. and would like attachments for storing, heating and frothing milk.
Please note that not all accessories work with both lines, including espresso capsules. Some are only compatible with one of the lines or vice versa, so shop carefully when picking your first model.
Preprogrammed Drink Options
We’re not saying you have to have preprogrammed options, but it’s still something you should think about. One type of buyer typically wants a traditional espresso shot to work with, and nothing more, while another type of buyer may want options for programming delayed pours, larger lungo shots, and more.
Consider what type of buyer and coffee drinker you are before deciding on your next purchase.
How many capsules can the model hold? The Pixie, for example, can hold 9-11 used capsules – a common limit for most Nespressos. If you want more for a particularly active family or more strenuous use, look for larger models that can handle more.
This capacity lets you know how long you can go without emptying the machine and arranging for refills. Note that Nespresso makes it easy for you to recycle capsules with large recycling bags that you can male in.
Capacity can also refer to water tank size. The 34 ounce tank of our top pick is an ideal, not-too-large and not-too-small option. But for a coffee hybrid, like our 40-ounce third pick, a larger tank is necessary.
Essentially, each pour should be relatively like the other – the same size of shot, the same temperature, the same straining, etc. This is why baristas get trained, and it’s what you look for in an espresso model of any kind.
However, it’s hard to tell without experimenting with each model yourself – which is why we review products like this! Look for reviews that indicate consistency and quality pours.
Note that if you fill your own capsules, a lot will depend on how you fill the capsule, the quality of the grounds, and other factors that are, well, up to you. However, capsules are filled very precisely, and if you want to try a refill, you risk damaging the Nespresso and voiding any warranties as well.
While not important to everyone, design is certainly important to Nespresso. While they may not be a car engine/espresso hybrid, the Nespresso machine models feature modern takes that range from industrial to minimalistic, with textures from sweeping, smooth steel to plastic grates and even jean-like exteriors.
If you want something to match your kitchen – or, alternatively, an espresso maker that really stands out – take a look at the design and see if it fits.
Not everyone wants to froth, but if you need your morning coffee with flair, then the option to froth cold or warm milk is necessary. If your coffee tastes tend more toward lattes and their ilk, look for a Nespresso machine model that comes with a built-in frother, like the Citiz.
Why You Should Buy a New Nespresso Machine
Because you can make espresso at home! Don’t take this for granted: like Keurig, Nespresso machines have introduced a new, effective way to make espressos at home. Sure, there are other instant espresso machines out there, but Nespressos are among the most affordable and user-friendly. A Nespresso machine can save you time waiting in line in the morning, and possibly money too (depending on the type of drinks that you favor). It can also help settle disagreements about coffee if you prefer espresso but someone else wants traditional coffee – see our Evoluo pick for a solution!
Finally, Nespresso models come with access to the heavily promoted Nespresso Club and buying options for getting refills. Those refills span a number of different beans and flavor profiles for you to experiment with, and we suggest you do. You may well find a new flavor that makes espresso taste better than ever. Plus, getting Nespresso machine capsules from anywhere but official channels can void your warranty of simply lead to wasted money, so brand loyalty is required here.
Mistakes to Avoid
Picking milk features when you don’t need milk
Sure, the option to make lattes is great, but if you prefer straight coffee and simple shots without any fancy additions you probably won’t need the milk features. If you like your caffeine dark, or just pour in milk straight from the carton, then why spend extra money on frothers or milk containers?
Forgetting about storage
How much water do you need? If you have a coffeemaker, take a look at its size and how well it fits your needs, then compare that with the Nespresso machine. Our picks range from 24 to 40oz for water storage. The smaller, espresso-focused models have smaller tanks.
Leaving cleaning until it’s too late
Nespresso machine models will need more maintenance than coffeemakers – please remember that. Not cleaning a frothier or another milk attachment can quickly create glued-on grime and make you sick. Not cleaning the injection system will lead to blockages and possibly permanent damage. Espresso machines are delicate bits of equipment that need attention, and Nespressos are no exception: hard water, which creates layers of scale, is a danger here just like in Keurigs, so use soft water or try to avoid tap water to help keep the espresso machine clean.
Not branching out into different flavors
Capsules come with a variety of different flavor profiles, and most models provide you with a starter pack of different flavors. We encourage you to try different capsules rather than just sticking to one kind – otherwise, you’re missing out on all the drinks your Nespresso maker can make!
Choosing a Nespresso purely for work
Obviously, where you use your Nespresso is your own business. But these machines are not really designed for commercial use, or lunch room antics. They need proper use, cleanup, and maintenance: that rarely happens in a workplace. The best Nespresso machine models for office use are those that combine espresso with traditional coffeemaking, avoid any milk additions, and come with strictly enforced guidelines for use and maintenance. If that sounds like too much work, then keep your Nespresso at home.
What Else You Should Think About
As we briefly mentioned, when buying the best Nespresso machine, it’s important to match the right capsules with the right machine, so check twice before ordering more refills. Additionally, it’s not a good idea to refill capsules on your own, since it immediately voids the warranty and doesn’t guarantee a proper (or safe) pour.
If you’re wondering how to descale a Nespresso machine or how to find coffee pods to fit Nespresso machines (without using knockoff brands), then we encourage you to check out the latest in our coffee news section, where we’ll be looking at the best capsules to try, how to clean models, and more.
Finally, don’t sweat your decision too much. One of the best things about Nespressos is that their best qualities are shared across every model, so no matter what model you land one, it’s probably going to be a good pick for you!