Best Espresso Machines | Reviews & Buyer's Guide

Coffee Buying Guides

Finding the right espresso machine can seriously enhance the way you enjoy making and drinking your coffee. Our review includes fantastic espresso machines for everyone, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert when it comes to coffee.

Our list includes super-automatic, semi-automatic, and manual espresso makers, as well as easily portable options. By the end of our review, you’ll be left feeling more confident about what the best espresso machines have to offer and how to go about choosing the one that’s right for you.

Top Pick: Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine

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Highlights:

  • Conical burr grinder
  • Steam wand included

The Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine is an excellent choice if you were after a coffee maker under $1000.

We were impressed with how it comes with a conical burr grinder as it lets you grind your coffee beans finely. A grind size dial is available that lets you have total control over how fine you want your coffee beans to be ground. 

The coffee grounds are then sent straight to the portafilter to be brewed with the PID (precise espresso extraction) technology. 

The PID system produces water at the best temperature to allow for the most optimal extraction from your coffee. As a result, you’re able to experience richer flavors. Users also like how they can use the steam wand to add frothy milk to their coffee. It adds a wonderful texture and flavor. 

You can choose between single and double shots of espresso so that you can enjoy your coffee the way you like it.

Pros 👍
✔ High-quality conical burr grinder
✔ Precise espresso extraction technology
✔ Steam wand included

Cons 👎
✘ Some notice the pressure gauge display isn’t so durable

View Breville the Barista Express on Amazon

Nespresso by DeLonghi Espresso Machine

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Highlights:

  • High-quality flavor extraction feature
  • Electrical milk frother included

If you were after an espresso machine under $300, this Nespresso by DeLonghi may be worth considering if you’re on a budget. It comes with patented technology that lets you extract lots of flavors from your coffee. 

It’s also a very affordable and simple option as it’s a pod espresso machine. Therefore, all you need to do is insert your favorite compatible coffee pod and add the water. 

The machine then takes care of the brewing process depending on the type of coffee that you’ve inserted. This provides you with a more automated process that’s simple. You can use the small pods for espresso and the larger pods for coffee. 

We liked how the capsule container has a capacity for 17 pods. This makes it convenient to make your coffee and only have to throw out the pods every once in a while. Furthermore, the machine comes with Aerocon 3.

This is excellent for providing you with frothy milk that has a smooth texture and adds flavor.

Pros 👍
✔ Patented coffee extraction feature
✔ Milk frother available
✔ Easy to use

Cons 👎
✘ Some would prefer if the coffee brewed at higher temperatures

View Nespresso by DeLonghi on Amazon

SOWTECH Espresso Coffee Machine

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Highlights:

  • Compact design
  • Temperature control technology

For under 100, we were impressed with how SOWTECH’s Espresso Coffee Machine has an indicator light and a knob with a single switch to make it incredibly easy to use. There’s also a button for steam and to turn the machine on and off.

We liked how precise temperature control technology is available with this cheap option as it lets you brew your coffee at the most optimal temperatures for better-tasting coffee. 

People with smaller spaces have been appreciating the compact design of this coffee maker. It’s lightweight and small so that you can keep it in the kitchen without taking up a lot of space. Stainless steel materials have also been used which are durable and look fantastic. 

There’s 3.5 bar pressure available due to it being an inexpensive espresso maker. It also has a capacity of between 1 and 4 cups which makes it good for regular-sized families. 

People have been liking how there are markings available on the carafe. This lets you see the amount of coffee you’re making, whether it be for yourself or multiple people.

Pros 👍
✔ Simple to use
✔ Compact design
✔ 3.5 bar pressure for smooth coffee

Cons 👎
✘ Some notice there’s a burning smell when brewing coffee

View SOWTECH Espresso on Amazon

DeLonghi ESAM3300 Automatic Espresso Machine

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Highlights:

  • Programmable features
  • Steam & milk frother included

For under 500, this Delonghi ESAM3300 Automatic Espresso Machine has a lot of value to offer. It comes with a cappuccino system that’s patented and enables milk and steam to be combined for a frothy textured addition to your coffee. 

Using the machine is also easy due to the simple layout of the control panel. You’re able to use the programmable settings to set your coffee to be made at specific times, which is convenient for people rushing around in the morning.

The coffee bean container has a capacity of 8.8 ounces which allows for plenty of coffee to be ground. You’re able to grind your coffee beans finely and have lots of flavors extracted.

Customers have been mentioning how easy the machine is to clean and maintain. One of the reasons for this is because of how the coffee is sent directly to the chamber for brewing. This design makes it easier for you to clean the inside of the machine.

Pros 👍
✔ Programmable features
✔ Steam & milk combination for great textures
✔ Easy to clean

Cons 👎
✘ Makes more noise than some were expecting

View DeLonghi ESAM3300 Espresso Machine on Amazon

STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine

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Highlights:

  • Easily portable
  • Great manual pumping system

Those of you interested in an espresso machine that you can use while on the move would be interested in the STARESSO espresso maker. It weighs just 0.97 lbs and measures in at 8 x 2.7”. 

Therefore, it’s super lightweight and compact, meaning that you can pack it up to use while you’re on the move. 

It’s compatible with Nespresso pods and ground coffee. The pods may be more convenient to use when you’re traveling but the ground coffee can be worth keeping for using the machine at home. 

There’s a manual pumping system that has been patented and works to produce up to 20 bar pressure for smooth coffee. This also lets you make coffee without needing an electrical source. 

User reviews mention how the espresso machine is easy to disassemble as it makes the cleaning process very easy.

Pros 👍
✔ Easily portable
✔ Patented manual pumping system
✔ Easy to clean

Cons 👎
✘ Can be cumbersome to reassemble after cleaning

View STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine on Amazon

EspressoWorks Espresso Machine

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Highlights:

  • Electric coffee grinder available
  • Quick Thermoblock heat system

Those of you looking to make your espresso coffee quickly in the morning will be impressed with how this machine can start brewing your coffee within a minute. The Thermoblock heating system sends warm water to your coffee grounds quickly for faster brewing times.

The water tank is clear to let you fill it up enough for the amount of coffee you want to make. It’s also easily removable for simpler refills and cleaning.

With 15 bar pump pressure available, you’re able to make coffee that tastes rich and feels smooth. This is especially the case if you use the steam wand that’s included to froth your milk. 

You can also choose between single or double shots of espresso to drink your coffee the way you prefer. We liked how an electrical coffee grinder is also available as it lets you ground your favorite beans for the freshest coffee.

Pros 👍
✔ Fast Thermoblock heating system
✔ 15 bar pump pressure for smooth coffee
✔ Electric coffee grinder included

Cons 👎
✘ Some find the machine leaks over time
✘ Plastic filter holder hand could be stronger

View EspressoWorks Espresso Machine on Amazon

Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker

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Highlights:

  • 19 bar pressure
  • Adjustable cup tray

The 19 bar pump pressure available lets you extract tons of flavor from your coffee while also ensuring that it has a smooth texture. To enhance the textures, you can use the steam wand to froth your milk to add it on top of your coffee.

We liked how the control panel is simple to use. There’s a one-button system that lets the espresso machine takeover so that you don’t have to do anything. You can press one button to choose between double or single shots of espresso too. 

Furthermore, a thermocouple heating system is included which ensures your water is heated evenly. This allows for better extraction of flavors and coffee that can be enjoyed at the best temperatures.

You can adjust the cup tray to fit the size of the cup that you’re using. This can prevent coffee from being sprayed due to cups being too low. It’s a great feature for a small business with people who are using different sized cups.

Pros 👍
✔ 19 bar pump pressure for smooth coffee
✔ Thermocouple heating system
✔ Milk frother available
✔ Adjustable cup tray

Cons 👎
✘ Lattes are smaller than some were hoping for

View Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker on Amazon

Gaggia Espresso Machine

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Highlights:

  • Durable design
  • Dual heating system

The stainless steel materials used to construct this espresso machine provides it with plenty of durability to last you for a long time. Users have also been liking how easy the machine is to use.

The portafilter has been made with a commercial-style and includes chrome plated materials that are strong. Moreover, the solenoid valve has a three-way system that’s also durable and takes the pressure off the coffee grounds to make it easier to use. 

3 switches let you control turning the machine on and off, as well as when to brew your coffee, and use the steaming wand. Users like using the steaming wand to froth their milk that they can add on top of their coffee.

They’ve implemented dual heating elements to the machine which enables you to brew your coffee within 5 minutes. You can also have the steam wand ready to froth milk within 30 seconds.

Pros 👍
✔ Durable construction
✔ Milk frother available
✔ Dual heating features

Cons 👎
✘ Some were hoping the machine would be more powerful

View Gaggia Espresso Machine on Amazon

DeLonghi ECO310BK Espresso Machine

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Highlights:

  • 15 bar pressure
  • Simple control panel

The DeLonghi ECO310BK comes with a dual filter holder which is a patented design that lets you make your coffee quickly and easily. 

We were impressed with how they’ve fitted 2 thermostats inside this machine. They work to brew your coffee at the best temperatures. The steam and water pressure can be controlled separately for more precise temperatures.

Users love how they can also use the machine to make both espressos and cappuccinos. This is a result of the Cappuccino System that’s patented and lets you enjoy a frothy cappuccino. 

The 15 available bar pressure enables you to make smooth coffee and to a professional standard. Furthermore, there’s a drip tray that has been made with steel materials. It catches any excess coffee that drips out and remains durable for years. 

People also have an easy time using the control panel as it comes with light indicators that let you know when the machine is on, as well as when the coffee is ready to pour and when the steam wand can be used. Therefore, it could be a great choice for entry-level coffee makers.

Pros 👍
✔ Easy to use control panel
✔ Dual filter holder for quick coffee making
✔ 15 bar pressure for smooth espressos & cappuccinos

Cons 👎
✘ Makes more noise than some would prefer

View DeLonghi ECO310BK Espresso Machine on Amazon

bonVIVO Stovetop Espresso Maker

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Highlights:

  • Heat resistant handle
  • Easy to pour coffee out

This stovetop coffee maker involves filling the bottom section with water before filling the funnel with ground coffee and placing it on top. You then screw on the top section and put the espresso maker on the stove for it to boil.

The stainless steel materials provide the espresso maker with a fantastic design while also keeping it durable for longer. It can be used to make up to 4 cups of coffee, which is great for regular-sized families.

The coffee-making process is also pretty quick. You can have coffee made for everyone within a matter of minutes. To ensure that it’s easy to pour coffee out into cups, the spout has a U-shape to prevent spillages.

We also liked how the handle is heat resistant. Therefore, you can take it straight off the stove and pour hot coffee without burning your hand. 

You can also purchase it in a copper color which provides you with options and the ability to choose the style that suits your kitchen best.

Pros 👍
✔ Easy to use
✔ 4-cup capacity
✔ Heat resistant handle

Cons 👎
✘ Some have issues with the lid

View bonVIVO Stovetop Espresso Maker on Amazon

Which Espresso Machine is Best Choice?

Our top choice is the Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine. It has an advanced heating system, a high-grade conical burr grinder, and produces rich-tasting coffee in either single or double shots of espresso.

However, we recommend that you also consider the other excellent espresso machines of 2020 in our review. Some of the features of the other machines may stick out and benefit you more.

Features to Consider When Buying an Espresso Machine

Double or Single Espresso Shot

Some machines will come with either single or double shots of espresso, whereas others will provide you with a choice. Double shots have more caffeine compared to single shots, so you’ll want to consider your caffeine intake for the day when deciding. 

Portafilter & Filter Basket

The portafilter is the section that keeps the filter basket in place. It’s the part that you usually put into place before pouring your espresso. They’re available in different sizes that are usually between 40 and 60 mm. 

Filter baskets are held inside portafilters and they’re the part that you put your coffee grounds into. Often, espresso machines will come with filter baskets in different sizes to let you choose the one with the amount of coffee you want to use. 

Heating Features

Heating systems in espresso machines are impacted by the number of watts it can produce. The more power there is, the faster the water can warm up and start brewing your coffee. 

Some machines have dual heating systems that work to heat the water to optimal temperatures for the best tasting coffee. 

Steam Wand

If you were interested in adding frothy milk to your espresso, you’d want to consider a machine that has a steam wand. 

Some steam wands work by turning a knob to control the amount of steam that comes through the steamer and into your cup of milk. Others have a more simple one-button system for frothing your milk. 

Once the milk is frothed, you can pour it on top of your coffee for silkier textures and flavors. 

Water Reservoir

Water reservoirs with espresso makers that come with steam wands are what produce the steam. The size of the water reservoir is important to consider. 

You’ll want to ensure that you pick one that’s large enough to make coffee for your family as it will save you having to refill and start the heating process over again. 

Drip Tray

Many users prefer adjustable drip trays. This is because it lets you pour coffee out in cups that are different sizes. Drip trays are effective at catching any additional drops of coffee that come out after you’ve poured your cup. Most of them can be removed to make cleaning easier.

Different Kinds of Espresso Makers

Electric

Electric espresso machines allow for consistent cups of coffee that are smooth and taste rich. Whatever the bar pressure is, you can be sure that this is the exact pressure that will be used every time you make a cup of coffee.

They’re simple to use as all you need to do is fill the reservoir up with water and add your coffee grounds. 

Manual 

The manual espresso machines provide you with a more hands-on coffee making approach. These involve filling the filter basket with coffee grounds and twisting it into place.

There are also manual ones that involve you physically pressing down the pump. They require more effort but can feel more rewarding. They also let you have more control over making your coffee and creating frothy milk using the steam wand. 

Semi-Automatic 

Semi-automatic espresso machines can give you hands-on experience while also being able to make your coffee faster. You add your coffee grounds to the basket and press buttons to start and stop the brewing process. 

Super-Automatic

Fully automatic espresso machines are the most convenient ones to use. You can use the control panel to press various buttons and specify how you want your coffee to be made. 

Portable 

If you travel a lot and would still like to enjoy great cups of espresso coffee, a portable option may be worth considering. They can be packed in your bag and remain durable as they’re usually made with strong plastic materials.

They’re also compact and very lightweight. You can add water, coffee grounds/pods, and use the manual pump to make your own espresso drinks while on the road. There’s no electricity required either!

Stovetop

Stovetop espresso machines involve filling the bottom up with water and adding the coffee grounds container on top. You can place the espresso maker on a stovetop for it to heat the water. Remove it from the stove once the water has boiled and you’re ready to pour out your coffee.

Our Favorite Espresso Machine (by Brands)

Breville

Breville was founded in Australia in 1932 and they’ve become known for their home appliances that include kettles, toasters, microwaves, blenders, and of course, coffee machines. 

Nespresso

Nespresso is one of the leaders in the coffee industry that has been around since 1986. People turn to Nespresso as a trusted brand when looking for great tasting coffee and high-quality coffee machines. 

SOWTECH

SOWTECH has been around since 2015 and has been making electronic and computer items. They’ve also dabbled into making coffee machines that are simple to use and come with advanced technology. 

STARESSO 

STARESSO specializes in making devices for making tea and coffee that you can use while on the move. Therefore, their products focus on designs that are compact, lightweight, and convenient to use, no matter where you are. 

EspressoWorks

EspressoWorks makes coffee machines that are automatic and easy to use. Their coffee machines often come with accessories that make the coffee making and drinking experience more pleasurable. 

Mr. Coffee

Mr. Coffee is a trademark that’s registered with Newell Brands. They make automatic coffee machines and have been in the industry since the 1970s. 

Gaggia

Gaggia is an Italian brand that specializes in making coffee machines that include cappuccino and espresso machines. They’ve also delved into making other small appliances for kitchens too. 

DeLonghi

DeLonghi has been around since 1902 and they started out making small industrial parts. They’ve now expanded the products they manufacture to almost every kind of home appliances, including coffee makers, heaters, air conditioners, and more. 

bonVIVO

bonVIVO makes a selection of kitchen products and appliances for home use that are all made with an excellent sense of style. 

They pride themselves on manufacturing products that have a distinguishable look that’s modern and classy. Their products are also useful and made with high-quality materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best temperature for making espresso coffee?

The recommended temperature to brewing your coffee should be anywhere between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures within this range should be maintained throughout the brewing process to ensure you extract the most amount of flavor possible from your coffee.

What’s the best pressure for espresso machines?

The best pressure for an espresso maker is 9 or above. But you can still enjoy drinking coffee with bar pressure that’s less than 9.

This pressure is measured by using a barometer that works out the amount of air pressure that’s required to force hot water through to extract the most flavors from your coffee grounds.

Can coffee beans be used with espresso machines?

We’ve included espresso machines that come with grinders either built-in or separate. These are the options that enable you to use coffee beans as you can grind them up to become fine grounds.

However, other espresso machines will only work with pre-grounded coffee or specified pods.

Tips On Using Espresso Machines

  • Ideally, you’ll want your coffee grounds to be very fine when using an espresso machine. This improves the taste as the hot water coming through can extract better flavors from the finer coffee grounds. 
  • Using darker roasted coffee beans can also enhance the flavors. This is because stronger flavors can be extracted quickly. 
  • Be sure to check your espresso machine’s manual for cleaning and maintaining it. They will require some kind of descaling or internal cleaning to ensure that they continue running smoothly. 
  • You may want to consider using filtered water when making your coffee. This gets rid of any toxins that can have an effect on the taste of your coffee. Water with chemicals can also cause the inside of espresso machines to become corroded over time.
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