Ultimate Guide to 12 Best Espresso Machine (2021) | Exclusive Picks

Everybody loves the alluring drink known as coffee, and what’s better is that when brewed with forced, nearly boiling water, at the correct pressure results in an aromatic drink known as espresso.

Espresso machines were invented and patented circa 1884 and back then was known as a device for forcing steam and water through the coffee. Back then the machines brewed in bulk, unlike today’s machines which produce a single serving of espresso.

If you constantly go to the coffee shop and order latte’s or cappuccino’s, then you should know that these drinks are made from the best espresso machine that leads to quality.

So what if you want to make barista grade espresso at home? Well, the good news is you don’t need to fork out 10’s of thousands of dollars on a commercial-grade espresso machine. You can actually make really good espresso with a home espresso machine.

A Quick Overview of Our Picks

  1. Best Budget Espresso Machine: De' Longhi EC155 Bar Pump Espresso Machine
  2. For the Espresso Aficionado: Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL
  3. Best Espresso Machine for Small Office: De'Longhi ESAM330 Superautomatic Espresso Machine

This article is the ultimate guide to finding the best espresso machine for your home, a dorm room, or even a small office.

We’ll cover off everything you need to know about finding a good espresso machine, some common terms, and much more. Once you’re done, you’ll be the best barista that your friends and family have come across!

Different Types of Espresso Machines

There are various types of espresso machines, each with its own special functions, bells, and whistles. Despite that, they all produce espresso coffee in roughly the same way, which is to force water through coffee grounds.

Don’t let the various types of machines throw you off from loving this brew method even more! Let’s take a look at the various types of espresso machines so that you can understand a little further, what it is that you want and what it can do for you.

After all, when looking for the best espresso machine, you want to be thoroughly clued up so that you make the right choice when buying a brand new espresso machine.

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

Semi-automatic espresso machines are developed for the hands home barista, who wants to have the full experience of making espresso. This includes, tamping the freshly ground beans in the portafilter, with just the right amount of density. 

The ground size can be adjusted at the user’s freedom, meaning you can have a very fine ground which makes for the perfect espresso, or a coarse grind if you want to use the grounds for something like a french press coffee. Your final steps are to simply lock in the portafilter to the boiler head, and pushing the brew button.

Semi-automatic is the most common home espresso machine that doesn’t cost a fortune and delivers outstanding high-quality espresso each and every time.

The caffeinated face office actually upgraded our older, basic, pump-driven espresso machine with a semi-automatic espresso machine and we love it.

We’ll mainly be talking about semi-automatic espresso machines within this article, but some of our recommendations will be pod or super automatic espresso machines.

best semi automatic espresso machine

Fully Automatic Espresso Machines

Fully automatic or also known as super-automatic machines, tend to cost slightly more than semi-automatic espresso machines.

This is because the machines offer a one-touch system, from its pre-programmed drink list, to produce the drink of your choice. This can be espresso, single or double shot, latte’s, cappuccinos, or even Americano’s.

We’ve used super-automatic espresso machines in the past and generally, they lack a little precision compared to semi-automatic machines.

Most of them don’t allow you to control the coffee ground size, the temperature of the milk, or the froth film in your steamed milk. With saying that, what it lacks in usability it makes up in time.

These machines are perfect for small to medium offices that can take the hassle away from having your staff spend too much time making espresso coffees.

super automatic espresso machine (1)

Portable Espresso Makers

These unique little espresso makers are small and convenient, and it’s been developed for those that want espresso but can’t take the entire machine on their hike, jog ,or cycle.

You will definitely need to use re-usable capsules, with your own ground coffee, or some can even use Nespresso pods which can be beneficial.

Pod Espresso Machines

If you haven’t heard of Nespresso, Keurig, or even Dolce Gusto coffee machines by now, then you’ve been living under a rock! These machines are pod machines, and each brand has its own design to fit with the respective machine.

Pod espresso machines can generally make espresso, black coffee, or even milk drinks. Our honest opinion is, they’re good for the money but they can’t make good tasting espresso like a semi-automatic espresso machine.

These machines require you to purchase a range of pods, from espresso, Americano, and even some flavored coffee pods.

However, they do make up for their lack of quality in espresso by their size. Yes, the machine size is not as big as semi-automatic espresso machines. Nespresso machines generally are superior to the other brands, but it does come at a price.

nespresso pod machine

Commercial Espresso machines

We didn’t want to include this type of espresso machine, since we are talking about the best espresso machine mainly for at-home use. However, commercial espresso machines are just what they are called, a type of machine developed specifically for coffee shops.

These are 10’s of thousands of dollars and of super quality, not just in espresso-making capability but also the parts within them.

This is because these machines are designed with volume in mind! So next time you grab an espresso from your coffee shop, keep an eye out for these ones.

best espresso machine (2)

Stove Top Espresso Makers

One of our staff members who traveled through Europe, particularly Italy, discovered this for the first time.

They’re also known as a Moka pot and are quite cool. They can make espresso but they don’t produce the equivalent pressure like any espresso machine.

With that in mind, the aroma and tasting notes are often very dull because the extraction is slightly different than an espresso machine.

moka pot for espresso

Summary of the Best Espresso Machine's

Product Image

Product Name

Summary


DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Black

DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Black

  • Use Pods or Ground Coffee
  • Makes Espresso, Lattes & Cappuccino's
  • 15 Bar Pump

Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker | Café Barista , Silver

Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker | Café Barista , Silver

  • Makes Espresso, Lattes and Cappuccino's
  • 15 Bar Pump system
  • One touch control panel

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel

  • Electronic PID Control
  • Makes Espresso, Lattes & Cappuccino's
  • Built in grinder and Bean Hopper

Breville BES920BSXL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Black Sesame

Breville BES920BSXL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Black Sesame

  • Electronic PID Control
  • Backlit LCD for shot clock, time or brew temp.
  • Dual Boiler
  • Makes Espresso's, Cappuccino's and Lattes

De'Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso Maker, EC702, Metal

De'Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso Maker, EC702, Metal

  • Use Pods or ground coffee
  • 15 Bar Pump driven
  • Makes Espresso's, Cappuccino's and Lattes

De'Longhi ECP3220R 15 Bar Espresso Machine with Advanced Cappuccino System, 11.4 x 9.5 x 14.2 inches, Red

De'Longhi ECP3220R 15 Bar Espresso Machine with Advanced Cappuccino System, 11.4 x 9.5 x 14.2 inches, Red

  • 15 Bar pump driven
  • Makes Espresso's, Cappuccino's and Lattes
  • Space saving design

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine, Genio 2, Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte Pod Machine

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine, Genio 2, Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte Pod Machine

  • Pod Espresso Machine
  • Makes Espresso's, Cappuccino's and Lattes
  • 15 Bar pressure
  • Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi, Piano Black

    Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi, Piano Black

    • Pod Espresso Machine
    • Makes Espresso's, Cappuccino's and Lattes
    • Large built in water tank

    Nespresso EN80B Original Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 12.6 x 4.7 x 9 inches, Black

    Nespresso EN80B Original Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 12.6 x 4.7 x 9 inches, Black

    • Pod Espresso Machine
    • Makes only espresso
    • small versatile design

    De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso & Coffee Machine, Silver

    De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso & Coffee Machine, Silver

    • Built in bean grinder
    • Makes Espresso's, Cappuccino's and Lattes
    • One touch system

    Breville Barista Touch Semi-Automatic Touchscreen Espresso Machine Bundle w/Extra ClaroSwiss Filter Included - BES880

    Breville Barista Touch Semi-Automatic Touchscreen Espresso Machine Bundle w/Extra ClaroSwiss Filter Included - BES880

    • Semi-Automatic machine
    • Makes Espresso's, Cappuccino's and Lattes, Americano's
    • Electronic PID Control

    Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel

    Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel

    • Semi-Automatic Machine
    • Makes Espresso's, Cappuccino's and Lattes
    • 15 Bar pressure

    How to Pick an Espresso Machine for Your Home

    There are a lot of different types of espresso machines on the market, however, we want to keep this simple and help you pick an espresso machine for your home.

    With that said, we’ll only cover off semi-automatic espresso machines, because these will give you the best feeling at having a home espresso bar.

    Let’s discuss some terminology to look out for when purchasing the best home espresso machine.

    Consider a Built-in Grinder

    Espresso machines can have built-in grinders, and it would be beneficial if you get a machine that has one. This is because producing fresh coffee grounds on the fly, generally leads to better aromatic espresso in which you can taste the hidden flavors of the beans.

    Now, when you get an espresso machine with a built-in bean grinder, the grinders are typically burr grinders. These types of grinders are shaped conically, and when crushing coffee beans it leads to a uniform ground that doesn’t contain irregular ground shapes.

    If you do get an espresso machine without a grinder, don’t worry, you can use an external blade and burr grinders to grind your coffee beans.

    Blade grinders lead to an irregular ground shape and inconsistent ground overall, which can affect the quality of the espresso.

    Can you use pre-ground coffee for espresso? Yes, you can, nothing is stopping you, however, make sure you get an espresso ground. Our only take away with pre-ground store-bought coffee is that it has been grounded on the packaging process. 

    This can lead to those tasting notes not being distinct enough as when you ground the coffee on demand.

    What about the Lattes?

    Most espresso machines are also some of the best latte machines, right out of the box. 

    They have a built-in steam wand, so can steam and froth milk when you need to make a good latte or cappuccino!

    Having a built-in steam wand with your espresso machine means you have options to make different types of drinks, not only espresso. Which will make your home espresso machine all the more worthwhile.

    So, when getting an espresso machine consider having a built-in steam wand for added functionality.

    best espresso maker with latte machine

    Plumbed or Removable Water Tank

    Having an espresso machine plumbed usually only applies to commercial espresso machines. The top 12 best espresso machines we’ll be discussing typically all have removable water tanks.

    This requires you to physically detach the water tank and take it to a nearby sink, to fill it with cold water.

    Water tanks can also have built-in water filters, which can lead to your tap or store purchased mineral water getting an extra mineral removal during the brewing process.

    It’s a small touch, that we like to think improves the espresso quality overall.

    Usability

    Espresso machines are very simple to use, in-fact all of them will come with a user manual to discuss the different parts and how often you need to maintain your machine.

    Do you like a lot of control, with several buttons and bobs or will this just confuse you? Usability is often an aspect that is overlooked.

    If you do get a higher-end espresso machine, these actually have programmable settings that tell you when to de-scale the espresso machine, change the water filter, or even clean the steam wand.

    We like to think these small features help us maintain the machine over the long run, which can lead to the machine lasting over 5 years or more.

    In saying all of that, once you make your first espresso at home it’s safe to say that you will

    Different Espresso Machine Brands

    Branding with espresso machines is no different than sneakers! There a plenty of them, some with good and bad reputations and some with mediocre ones that are not even heard of.

    If the brand you’re thinking of is not within our list below, you’ll need to do a bit of research to review the viability of the espresso machine you’re wishing to purchase.

    The brand list below is some of the world’s most leading, trusted, and respected espresso machines. So do consider one of the following.

    Breville

    Believe it or not Breville is actually an Australian brand founded in Sydney, way back in 1932. At first they developed radios and mine detectors, but soon brand into home appliances, particularly coffee makers.

    Breville in our opinion is one of the most renowned brands when it comes to having the best espresso machine that delivers some of the best espresso you have ever tasted.

    When it comes to their espresso machines they use brilliant innovation to cater to a broad home audience that want to transform their kitchens to having the best coffee bars.

    Most Breville espresso machines have a 1 year limited product warranty, however some of their more expensive espresso machines have a 2 year repair warranty, which we think is needed.

    De’Longhi

    De’longhi is another one of our favorite brands, and also a really decent household favorite. Besides espresso machines, they also develop milk frothers, coffee makers and even Moka Pots and many other kitchen appliances

    They also offer the same warranty on their cheaper espresso machines, such as the manual ones, but on their automatic espresso machines they offer a two year warranty.

    It is more of an established brand compared to breville, started by a family in 1902 in Treviso, Italy.

    Their selection of espresso machines is comparable to Breville, however we believe they do offer more affordable espresso machines than Breville.

    The company definitely takes pride in catering for a larger household audience in mind. If you love De'Longhi, then continue reading to find out which one is the best or check out or article dedicated to the best delonghi espresso machine here.

    Nespresso

    Nespresso is a subsidiary of the Nestle corporation, and was founded in 1986 so is not as established as the former coffee brands.

    Their coffee machines include a broad range of Pod coffee makers that can also brew espresso, but is purely dependent on the pods you use.

    Their are many pod espresso makers on the market, but we think that Nespresso is probably the industry leader and definitely try to maintain quality tasting espresso while keeping the espresso machine cost low.

    These machines are very compact and usually have innovative designs, which blend seemingly well into high end kitchens. Besides that, they are definitely a must have for any one who loves pod coffee.

    nespresso pods

    Mr. Coffee

    Founded in Cleaveland, Ohio back in 1970, Mr Coffee specialises in espresso machines, coffee makers and iced tea makers.

    Although a much younger company than our top two, Mr coffee actually also produces good quality espresso machines for a fraction of the cost. However their designs are not particularly pretty like Breville and Delonghi.

    If that doesn’t phase you then we highly recommend checking out their selection of mr coffee espresso machines.

    The Different Espresso Terms you Need to Know

    Now that we have covered off a lot of basics about the best espresso machine, you may have seen a few terms within our ultimate guide that may be a bit new to you.

    Nevertheless, our quick terminology guide below will bring you up to speed with the different terms that espresso machines have.

    We have broken these terms into very simple to understand terms, but if you feel it’s still complicated, then just reach out to us.

    P.I.D

    Proportional-Integral-Derivative, or better known as PID control. This is all about control and stability of the temperature during the brewing process.

    If the machine doesn’t have a PID control, then it uses an internal thermostat to determine the target temperature during brew.

    The problem with this is there is no maintaining of the optimal brew temperature, which can be a minor shortfall to experiencing a really good tasting espresso.

    Portafilter

    In the simplest possible way of explaining this, a portafilter is the little scoop that locks into the head of the espresso machine.

    They typically hold the filter basket, which your espresso grounds will be added into. Once you’re ready to brew you insert the portafilter, with densely packed coffee grounds, into the head of the espresso machine and begin to brew espresso.

    ‘Single Espresso Shot’ or ‘Double Shot’

    When you purchase an espresso machine, you’ll usually get a single or double shot espresso basket.

    There are two differences between the two;

    1. The difference between a double and single shot, is the volume of the grounds used.
    2. A double shot basket has a lot of smaller perforations, throughout it, allowing more water to pass through the coffee grounds.

    The end result is the volume of espresso produced.

    Filter Basket

    These are the little stainless steel baskets that hold your coffee grounds, they are usually locked into the portafilter by clip action.

    Filter baskets come in two sizes, single and double shot of espresso and sometimes you can get up to 4 filter baskets with your machine.

    Two sizes (double and single shot) for freshly ground espresso beans and another two sizes for pre-ground store bourght coffee.

    One Touch

    A feature typically integrated into super automatic espresso machines is this ability to just push one button and an espresso, latte or cappuccino is produced.

    However, there are also some semi-automatic espresso machines that have a one touch feature but can only produce espresso with the click of a button.

    This means that the machine is pre-programmed for the right temperature, ground amount and brew time to produce the right hit of espresso.

    If you did want to make a milk drink, such as a latte you’d need to froth the milk separately.

    Drip Tray and Steam Wand

    A drip tray is the part of an espresso machine that catches grounds that have fallen during the grinding process, or any drips from the boiler head.

    The steam wand is the little long cylindrical nozzle to the side of the machine, it is used for steaming or frothing milk so that you can have lattes or cappuccinos.

    Some espresso machines have an automatic purge function on the steam wand, which allows the steam wand to purge hot water through it, cleaning out any residual milk residue.

    Water Reservoir

    The water reservoir is typically located to the rear of the machine, most of these are also referred to as a water tank.

    As the name suggests, it’s pure responsibility is to hold water for making espresso’s with your machine.

    Alot of them are removable, so that you can detach them and take to a sink. Eliminating the need of using a separate water jug to transfer water from a tap to the machine.

    We recommend getting a removable water tank, so that you can remove it in the event of transferring the machine without water (which can be quite heavy).

    Espresso Accessories that liven up your Home Coffee Bar

    We already wrote a post on some amazing coffee bar accessories you can include when you get your home espresso machine.

    However, besides just having a large selection of coffee accessories that are nice, you’ll definitely need the ones below if your machine does not already include them.

    An Espresso Tamper

    Espresso tampers are used to pack espresso grounds within your filter basket. All espresso machines generally have them, but if you did misplace your’s then this is something to replace as soon as possible.

    Having a good espresso tamper and densely packing your espresso grounds will lead to high quality espresso.

    Espresso Knock Boxes

    A knock box is something that does not typically come with a brand new espresso machine, so we highly recommend you get one.

    This one here will do just fine: Budget Espresso Knock Box

    These crafty little boxes allow you to knock your used espresso grounds in them, collect them and then you could use them as a fertilizer for your garden.

    espresso knock box

    The Best 12 Espresso Machines for Home Use!

    Finally, the part you’ve been waiting for the most! The best espresso machines reviewed, and our honest opinion.

    Starting from the most recommended to the least, here are our top picks for the best espresso machine.

    We reviewed these machines by either trying them or with staff, family or friends trying them and telling us what they think.

    We’ve collated our thoughts and opinions with a brief espresso machine review followed by the pro’s and con’s of each.

    #1 - De’ Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso Machine

    Sale
    DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Black
    11,235 Reviews
    DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Black
    • EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING: 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable controls allow you to make modifications for your personal taste preferences.
    • BREW LIKE A PRO: Whatever your preference – single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte – the machine brews authentic barista-quality beverages just like you enjoy at your favorite coffeehouse.
    • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks – just the way you like them.
    • ONE ESPRESSO SHOT OR TWO. The three-in-one filter holder, included with the unit, has filters for one espresso shot, two shots, and one for an easy-serve espresso pod – whatever your preference.

    The De'Longhi EC155 is one of the most inexpensive machines that will make decent espresso quite easily! Unlike a Keurig or Nespresso machine, where you put a pod in and hit "go", you have to ensure you have the right settings.

    A water tank is neatly situated within the rear of the machine and holds about 33 ounces of water and is removable for easy cleaning.

    It's definitely a good espresso machine that is well worth it for the cost, but it does lack a built in grinder. So that means you'll either have to get a decent burr grinder or just purchase ground coffee.

    Besides making espresso, it can also make cappuccino and lattes as it does have a built in steam wand, for steaming milk.

    What we loved about this machine was that it had the ability to use convenient pods within the portafilter, which doubled as a dual function filter. Meaning it could produce two espresso's at one go, saving you time.

    What we disliked about this machine was it has an extremely small/short space to place a coffee cup, and really it is only meant for espresso cups. So do keep this in mind if you're wanting to make latte's or cappuccino's. 

    Pros

    • Best Budget Espresso Machine
    • Uses ground coffee or convenient pods
    • Built in milk frother for latte's or cappuccino's
    • Best espresso machine under $100

    Cons

    • Small space for a coffee cup, only fits espresso cups
    • No built in bean grinder

    #2 -  Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Machine

    Sale
    Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker | Café Barista , Silver
    9,489 Reviews
    Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker | Café Barista , Silver
    • Semi automatic 3 in 1 espresso maker, cappuccino maker, and latte maker
    • 15 Bar Pump System Brews Rich Tasting Espresso Coffee
    • Trouble Free Automatic Milk Frother Removes the Guesswork. Do not wash the water reservoir in the dishwasher
    • One touch control panel for drink selections

    The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso machine is our next top pick , purely because of the price and it's outstanding features.

    It is a 3 in 1 machine, making really good espresso, cappuccino and even lattes which is really good if you're wanting a machine that can do it all, while keeping the cost low.

    There is also a built in milk frother, that is removable and will hold milk in it. What I really liked about this is, if you have left over milk, you can simply remove it from the machine and store it into a fridge.

    What we loved about this machine was how simple it was to make a drink of your choice. Simply hit single or double shot, espresso, cappuccino or latte and the machine will brew away.

    The only downside I have with this machine is that, it does not have a built in grinder, so you will need to get a really good one to make decent espresso.

    Pros

    • Best Espresso Machine Under $200
    • Very easy to use
    • Makes espresso, latte's and cappucino's

    Cons

    • No Built in Bean Grinder
    • Poor milk froth (needs a bit of skill)

    #3 - Brevivlle Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL

    Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
    14,637 Reviews
    Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
    • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
    • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
    • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
    • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction

    The best coffee maker with espresso and one of our favorite Breville machines, and also my first! It comes with a built in bean grinder that grinds whole fresh coffee beans to acute fines. 

    There is a small control knob, that allows you to adjust the bean grind size making it either really fine or a bit coarse.

    This feature will really help you improve the quality of your espresso shots, making them really good for the perfect latte or other milk based drink.

    It has an incredibly large water tank, at 67 ounces, which is one of the features that makes this machine less prone to constant water refilling.

    This is a semi-automatic coffee machine which means it has a boiler, portafilter and a switch to activate/deactivate the pump which performs the extraction.

    Our biggest like about this machine was that, although there is a lot of bits and bobs it was quite easy to use. It produces amazing quality espresso every time and it's highly recommended by our team.

    What we disliked about this machine was that the price can be a turnoff for some, but let me reassure you that something like this will help you save a lot of money on coffee, by making really good coffee at home

    Pros

    • Makes Espresso, Latte's and Cappuccino's
    • PID Temperature Control
    • Built in Bean hopper with Bean Grinder
    • Adjustable Bean Size Grinder

    Cons

    • A Little bit expensive

    #4 - Breville BES920BSXL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

    Breville BES920BSXL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Black Sesame
    373 Reviews
    Breville BES920BSXL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Black Sesame
    • The Breville Dual Boiler with commercial features delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula; It has a professional Dual Boiler construction that delivers unparalleled temperature control and simultaneous extraction and steaming
    • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 58mm porta-filter with 19-22 grams is the key for full flavor and third wave specialty coffee
    • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: The Over Pressure Valve limits the maximum pump pressure throughout extraction, helping prevent bitter flavors; Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction
    • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Dual stainless steel boilers and heated group head controlled by digital temperature control (PID) brings water to precisely the right temperature (+/- 2⁰F) to extract maximum flavor potential every time

    This Breville BES920BSXL Dual Boiler espresso machine is a top of the line, semi-automatic coffee machine! It has a dual stainless steel boiler and dual Italian pumps for simultaneous espresso extraction.

    Although it doesn't have a preprogrammed button for making a latte instantly, it does have the technology to produce the perfect espresso shot that will go really well with the right frothed milk.

    The biggest feature is being able to control and adjust the temperature of the steam boiler to 265 - 285 F and also comes with a water hardness test that you enter into the machine, and the machine will let you know when to descale it.

    It also has pre-programmable presets for shot volume for single or double shot or if you want to go manual you can. This machine is the ultimate machine for a coffee connoisseur who wants the ultimate precision when making their lattes.

    What we loved about this machine was that it had a dual boiler, meaning you can brew espresso and steam milk at the same time. It is a great machine for the price, makes great espresso and is very simple to use.

    For the price we really expected this kind of machine to have a built in burr grinder, which is our only dislike. 

    Pros

    • Cafe Quality Microfoam
    • Dual Boiler
    • Makes really good espresso

    Cons

    • No Built in Burr Grinder with Bean Hopper
    • A Little bit expensive

    #5 - De’ Longhi EC702 Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker

    Sale
    De'Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso Maker, EC702, Metal
    4,147 Reviews
    De'Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso Maker, EC702, Metal
    • Pump driven and 15 bars
    • Automatically self-primes; Water level indicator: Yes
    • Use pods or ground coffee with the convenient patented filter holder. On/Off switch- Yes
    • Craft cappuccinos or lattes with the patented easy to use frothier

    A best espresso machine for any home has to be the De'Longhi EC702 Semi-Automatic Espresso makers. It automatically self-primes and also includes a water indicator level, meaning you'll know what it is time to refill the 44 ounces water resovior tank.

    It comes with a descaler, a presurised portafilter with a double and single filter basket. The machine isn't that tall and also very light, meaning it's perfect for the counter top.

    The water resovior has a float, which acts as a visual aid, to help you see when the water tank is running low. Helping you reduce the risk of running the boiler dry and damaging it.

    By having a pressurized portafilter you have the option of using pre-ground coffee, a pod or using freshly grinded coffee beans. However our only dislike is that it does not come with a bean grinder.

    The machine does have a built in tamper, but unlike some of the Breville machines, the tamper cannot be removed making it really hard to level off and tamp your ground coffee.

    Pros

    • Easy to Use and Clean
    • Best Affordable Espresso Machine
    • Espresso made is of ok quality

    Cons

    • Comes with Glass Carafe instead of Thermo

    #6 - De’ Longhi ECP3220 Bar Pump Espresso Machine

    Sale
    De'Longhi ECP3220R 15 Bar Espresso Machine with Advanced Cappuccino System, 11.4 x 9.5 x 14.2 inches, Red
    746 Reviews
    De'Longhi ECP3220R 15 Bar Espresso Machine with Advanced Cappuccino System, 11.4 x 9.5 x 14.2 inches, Red
    • Every cup to your liking: 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable controls allow you to make modifications for your personal taste preferences.
    • Brew like a Pro: whatever your preference – single or double Espresso, cappuccino or latte – the machine brews authentic barista-quality beverages just like you enjoy at your favorite coffeehouse.
    • Your foam, your way: a manual frothier mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks – just the way you like them.
    • One Espresso shot or two: The three-in-one filter holder, included with the unit, has a holder for one Espresso shot, a holder for two shots, and one for an easy-serve Espresso Pod – whatever your preference.

    De' Longhi have developed a really affordable budget espresso machine which is the ECP3220R 15 Bar Espresso Machine.

    Capable of making double and single shot's of espresso, this machine doesn't fail on quality and size! One of the main things we loved about this machine was that it could accommodate taller espresso cups, which was a little more beneficial than our top pick.

    The portafilter is also designed in such a way that it can produce two individual espresso shots, using the double shot filter basket. Saving you time and effort when making espresso.

    Our only dislike was that the frothed milk needed a little bit more experience to get just the right layer of froth, meaning a lot of beginner barista's will need time to develop the perfect froth. Not bad for an affordable budget espresso machine.

    Pros

    • Can accomodate taller cups
    • Makes espresso, cappucino and lattes
    • Built in milk frother
    • Good for beginners

    Cons

    • No built in bean grinder
    • Milk frothing requires a bit of skill to get just right

    #7 -Nescafe’ Dolce Gusto Espresso Pod Machine

    NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine, Genio 2, Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte Pod Machine
    1,867 Reviews
    NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine, Genio 2, Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte Pod Machine
    • The Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio 2 is an automatic capsule coffee machine, designed to perfectly fit your single cup, black and specialty coffee brewing needs with a small footprint
    • COFFEE HOUSE INSPIRED DRINKS - Explore the wide variety of decadent flavors and coffee house inspired drinks offered by the Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsule-based coffee machine. With 15 flavor varieties, choose from authentic Espresso, Americano, Cappuccino, Latte, and more.
    • EASY INTERFACE - Use the toggle-stick to adjust the LED display controlling the size and intensity of your coffee, Match the LED bars to the bars on your Dolce Gusto capsule, position the toggle stick to either hot or cold, and brew.
    • PRESSURE BASED SYSTEM – The Genio 2’s 15 bars of pressure allows high level extraction for optimal flavor, aroma, and body delivered consistently in every cup

    Very easy to operate the Dolce Gusto cappuccino and latte pod machine simply takes coffee pods from a variety of different pod flavors.

    This brand has specialty coffee pods by Nescafe and to make a latte you'll simply need to purchase dolce gusto vanilla latte mochhiato pods for example and load them into the machine. You'll have two pods, a milk pod and a coffee pod, and the two will be used to make one standard drink.

    We had several of these machines for years, but wasn't really a fan of the specialty coffee that included the powdered milk capsule. Because the milk will taste different than making a latte with chilled soy, fresh, almond milk!

    Other than that, they make really good starter machines and are perfect for anyone on a budget.

    Pros

    • Makes Espresso, Cappuccino, Lattes and More
    • Affordable Pod Espresso Maker
    • One touch to create drink

    Cons

    • Only works with Dolce Gusto Pods

    #8-  Nespresso Vertuo Espresso Maker

    Sale
    Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi, Piano Black
    7,467 Reviews
    Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi, Piano Black
    • AUTOMATIC COFFEE/ESPRESSO MACHINE: Create barista grade brewed single serve coffee or espresso cups at the touch of a single button. Designed for use with Nespresso Vertuo capsules only
    • VERSATILE COFFEE MAKER: Brew 5 different cup sizes at the touch of a button - Espresso (1.35 oz), Double Espresso (2.7 oz), Gran Lungo (5 oz) and Coffee (7.7 oz). Pour over ice to create your favorite iced coffee and latte drinks
    • SMART COFFEE MAKER: Brew the perfect single serve coffee or espresso drink time after time, thanks to Nespresso's Centrifusion technology using barcodes to deliver the best in-cup results including the perfect crema for large coffee cup sizes
    • FEATURES: Extra-large 54 oz water tank and a very large 17 count used capsule container; This machine also has a fast heat up time of only 15 seconds; There is an energy saving automatic shutoff at 9 minutes of inactivity.

    Nespresso is a good brand, actually much better than Dolce Gusto machines! They can cost a bit more, but generally deliver much better tasting espresso, less watery than its competitor.

    This machine can brew different single serve coffee cup sizes at the touch of a button and depending on your espresso needs.

    If you don't know, Nespresso is a leading brand in Pod coffee and I only discovered that when working at our previous place of employment. The coffee it produced was unbelievable for a pod machine.

    The only downside in our opinion is the milk frother it comes with, it is a magnetic frother instead of a steam wand. The froth or steam it induces into the milk often doesn't taste the same compared to a machine with a built in steam wand.

    That can lead to having some different tasting lattes or cappuccino's that you're most likely use to. Nevertheless, they make great espressos perfect for your home kitchen.

    Pros

    • Makes really good tasting espresso
    • Makes Espresso, Lattes, Cappucino's and More
    • Accomodates taller cups
    • Best Nespresso Espresso Machine Under $500

    Cons

    • Uses Vertuo Pods only

    #9 - Nespresso En808 Original Espresso Machine

    Sale
    Nespresso EN80B Original Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 12.6 x 4.7 x 9 inches, Black
    4,506 Reviews
    Nespresso EN80B Original Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, 12.6 x 4.7 x 9 inches, Black
    • Barista grade: Espresso Inissia by De'Longhi offers an impeccable single-serve coffee or Espresso cup every time, thanks to its automatic operation and Patented extraction system which delivers up to 19 bars of pressure. The Inissia is the perfect Coffee machine that Fits perfectly into any interior design.
    • Speed: in just one touch, Ideal water temperature is reached in 25 seconds and you are ready to make 9 single-serve cups of Coffee without having to refill the 24 oz. tank. This automatic Coffee machine gets your perfect cup of Coffee or Espresso to you fast.
    • Versatile and smart Coffee machine: adjustable cup size with 2 programmable Espresso and Lungo buttons. A folding drip tray accommodates larger single-serve cup sizes and recipes. Rated voltage/Frequency (V~Hz) : 110-120 V / 50-60 Hz
    • Energy efficient Coffee machine: brew 2 different cup sizes; Espresso (1. 35 oz. ) and Lungo (5 oz. ), with just the touch of a button. Pour over ice to create your favorite Iced Coffee drinks. With the smart energy saving mode automatically switches off our Coffee maker after 9 only minutes

    The Inissa Nespresso machine is a more cost effective option if you're just looking for a pod machine that only makes espresso's.

    It is quite a versatile and smart coffee and espresso machine, that has two programmable settings for making espresso or lungo coffee.

    There is a built in water tank that can reaches the ideal drinking temperature in only 25 seconds, making espresso's a little faster than the former machine.

    For a pod espresso maker, it really isn't a bad one because you'll be using it everyday and I highly recommend it.

    Pros

    • Best Nespresso Espresso Machine Under $200
    • One touch espresso machine
    • Compact in Size

    Cons

    • Fits only small espresso cups

    #10 -De’ Longhi ESAM330- SuperAutomatic Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker

    De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso & Coffee Machine, Silver
    3,129 Reviews
    De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso & Coffee Machine, Silver
    • FRESH ESPRESSO FOR EVERY CUP: The professional burr grinder with 13 adjustable settings grinds fresh beans every time to ensure maximum freshness. You can also use pre-ground in the second chamber. Your choice of regular, specialty or decaf.
    • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks – just the way you like them.
    • CONSISTENT BREWING EVERY TIME: Each cup is automatically brewed to the perfect temperature, richness and density. And you can customize the settings to ensure its always just the way you like it.
    • EASY TO CLEAN AND HANDLE: The compact, extractable brew unit is not only easy to clean, it self-adjusts for one or two shots of espresso.

    The De'Longhi ESAM3300 is a really good alternative espresso and coffee machine compared to the Breville machine.  Fresh whole beans can be added to the machine as it has a built in stainless steel burr grinder. Which will grind your beans for your espresso.

    What I really liked about this machine is that it also had an option to add pre-ground coffee into the machine, which is good because you can have decaffeinated coffee in one holder and a bean of your choice in the other.

    Unfornately, the biggest downfall of this machine was that it didn't have a built in steam wand but it did have a milk frother which was a bonus.

    It can make espresso, cappuccino, lattes, also pour hot water and make americano's as well. Since the machine holds the grounds, and doesn't use a portafilter, the extraction process is slightly different.

    We have heard of friends that say if you're trying to enjoy different specialty beans, the flavors are not well extracted. I guess that is the downside of a machine doing everything for you.

    Pros

    • Makes Espresso, Lattes & Cappuccino's
    • Bean Grinder Built In
    • Can Brew two shots at the same time
    • Affordable Super Automatic Espresso Maker

    Cons

    • Small water reservior, which needs constant filling

    #11 - Breville Barista Touch Semi-Automatic Touchscreen Espresso Machine

    Breville Barista Touch Semi-Automatic Touchscreen Espresso Machine Bundle w/Extra ClaroSwiss Filter Included - BES880
    19 Reviews
    Breville Barista Touch Semi-Automatic Touchscreen Espresso Machine Bundle w/Extra ClaroSwiss Filter Included - BES880
    • CLEVER. AUTOMATIC. CUSTOMIZE. Intuitive touch screen display simplifies how to make your favorite café coffee in 3 easy steps - Grind, Brew and Milk. You can easily adjust the coffee strength, milk texture and temperature to suit your taste. Then save the setting with your own unique name. Create and save up to 8 personalized coffees.
    • AUTOMATIC MICRO-FOAM MILK TEXTURING Auto steam wand, allows you to adjust the milk temperature and texture to suit your taste. Delivering barista quality micro-foam that enhances the flavor of the coffee and is essential for creating latté art.
    • FASTER HEAT UP TIME Innovative ThermoJet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds. Ready to make your best coffee without the wait.
    • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION Digital Temperature Control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction.

    If you're looking for the best espresso machine that is more mid tier and in somewhat has similiar features to that of a super automatic machine, but still requires a bit of handling. Then you need to get the Breville Barista touch.

    This machine is what the team at caffeinated face upgraded to about a year or so ago, and it's considered actually quite a good espresso machine that produces high quality espresso.

    It has a built in burr grinder, with bean hopper that is capable of holding 8 oz of beans at a given time, which is quite handy. Besides making espresso, it has the ability to make Americano's, Latte's and Cappuccino's and also hot water when needed.

    What we liked about this machine was that it had already pre-programmed settings for single or double shot of espresso, meaning it was quite easy to make a really good aromatic cup of espresso.

    Our biggest dislike on this machine is that, when grinding beans, the portafilter can sometimes get a mountain of grounds which tend to fall into the drip tray. Although making a mess, it can be easily wiped away with a damp cloth.

    Pros

    • Built in Burr Bean Grinder & Bean Hopper
    • Pre-programmed drink settings 
    • Makes Americano, Espresso, Lattes & more
    • Built in Milk Frother

    Cons

    • Coffee grounds fall and can make a mess on the drip tray.

    #12 - Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro

    Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
    1,420 Reviews
    Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
    • The Breville Duo Temp Pro lets you create third wave specialty coffee at home; This espresso machine ensures balanced flavors from even extraction using low pressure pre-fusion, managing sweetness, acidity and bitterness for the perfect cup every time
    • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Low pressure pre-infusion helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
    • WATER TEMPERATURE: The 1600W Thermocoil–Integrated stainless steel water path accurately controls water temperature
    • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: A high power 1600W element delivers sufficient steam to create microfoam that enhances flavor and enables you to produce latte art at home

    If you're looking for an espresso machine that makes good coffee, but you're on a bit of a budget compared to our last espresso machine review, then settle for the Breville Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine.

    This machine is another good entry machine that will transform your espresso's into barista grade quality. 

    What we liked about this machine is that, it came with a lot of accessories within the box to start your home coffee shop. It came with double and single filter baskets, a magnetic tamper that sits within the machine, a milk pitcher, water filter and descaling kit right out of the box. These are all essential and most machines require you to purchase this separately.

    Our biggest dislike on the machine was that it did not have a built in bean grinder and hopper, however this was easily solved by using a good external burr grinder.

    Pros

    • Great entry espresso machine
    • Makes Espresso, Lattes & Cappucinos
    • Lots of Espresso Accessories included
    • Removable magnetic tamper

    Cons

    • Does not have built in bean grinder

    Best Espresso Machine F.A.Q’s

    Wow, we’ve finally come to the end of our ultimate guide for the top espresso machine on the market, but you probably have a few more questions after reading this.

    Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions that a lot of home barista’s have on their mind’s before buying a top notch espresso machine. 

    Which is the best espresso machine for home use?

    This is very much user dependent and boils down to your needs. So if you want to deliver barista grade espresso machines, we tend to pick ones that have built in burr grinders, PID control and a built in steam wand.

    Other features can include, a steam wand that self purges which takes the hassle out of manually cleaning the wand after use.

    So with that aside, our best espresso machine that can do all this is the Barista Touch BES880. This is the ultimate espresso machine, that is in the middle tier as it has a lot of features that the top models do, except a dual boiler and some manual dials.

    Are home espresso machines worth it?

    If you want to make your own barista grade espresso, lattes or cappuccino’s then yes home espresso machines are worth it.

    Besides delivering café quality espresso every time, you’ll be essentially removing your nasty coffee expense by having seriously good home coffee each and every time.

    How many bars of espresso is good?

    Typically an espresso machine that is capable of delivering 9 bars of pressure, which is considered optimal, leads to the best tasting espresso.

    This is considered the good spot when your machine is a pump driven machine where water is forced through the coffee grounds.

    Is 15 Bar enough for espresso?

    9 Bars of pressure is typically more than enough for pump driven machines, and also considered the standard in producing a good tasting espresso.

    However, you can often find machines that claim to deliver up to 15 bars of espresso but it does not necessarily increase the quality of the espresso.

    So you don’t necessarily need a 15 bar pressure espresso machine to get good tasting espresso.

    Final Thoughts

    This has to be our most in depth article about the best espresso machine for just about any purpose, whether it is for home, a small office or a college.

    Our top pick is the De’Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino maker, based on quality of espresso it produces. Although it lacks having a built in burr grinder, you can simply purchase a separate one so that you can enjoy freshly ground beans in your brew.

    It has to be one the most compact and budget espresso machine that is of good quality.

    Until next time, happy caffeinating.


    References

    1. National Coffee Association. Retrieved from https://ncausa.org/about-coffee/how-to-store-coffee
    2. Wikipedia. History of Mr Coffee. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Coffee#History