11 Best Espresso Machines 2020: Manual and Automatic
An espresso machine is one of the most prized possessions for coffee aficionados and enthusiasts as it is what makes it possible to get that fresh cup of coffee every morning.
Espresso machines will come in all shapes and sizes, and you can get one for as little as $50 or as much as $10,000 or even more. And they are also available in various types from manual to super-automatic models, and so finding the best espresso machine requires you to understand what they are all about.
Besides the typical single or double espresso shots, most of these machines will also make many other beverages such as cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos. But, the versatility and capability vary from one model to the other, and so you need to choose keenly.
This piece is all about helping you find an espresso machine that will work well for you. We do this by highlighting important things to consider when shopping and with reviews of 11 top-rated espresso machines.
11 Best Espresso Machines – Reviews
1. Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini (Best Budget Espresso Machine)
2. DeLonghi Nespresso Pixie (Best Espresso Machine for Nespresso)
3. DeLonghi Nespresso Essenza Mini (Best Espresso Machine under $200)
4. Breville BES870XL (Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine)
5. DeLonghi ESAM3300 (Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine)
6. Breville BES810BSS (Best Espresso Machine under $500)
7. La Pavoni PPG-16 (Best Manual Espresso Machine)
8. Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Ii (Best Commercial Espresso Machine)
9. Wacaco MPGR100 (Best Portable Espresso Machine)
10. Mr.Coffee Café Barista (Best Espresso Machine for Home Use)
11. Krups XP100050 (Best Small Capacity Espresso Machine)
1. Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini
(Best Budget Espresso Machine)
2. DeLonghi Nespresso Pixie
(Best Espresso Machine for Nespresso)
3. DeLonghi Nespresso Essenza Mini
(Best Espresso Machine under $200)
4. Breville BES870XL
(Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine)
5. DeLonghi ESAM3300
(Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine)
6. Breville BES810BSS
(Best Espresso Machine under $500)
7. La Pavoni PPG-16
(Best Manual Espresso Machine)
8. Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Ii
(Best Commercial Espresso Machine)
9. Wacaco MPGR100 (Best Portable Espresso Machine)
10. Mr.Coffee Café Barista
(Best Espresso Machine for Home Use)
11. Krups XP100050
(Best Small Capacity Espresso Machine)
1. Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini – Best Budget Espresso Machine
- Water Tank: 20.29 fluid ounces
- Material: Plastic
Because space is always limited in most homes, Breville makes their Essenza Mini with this in mind as it is a compact and space-saving machine that will take up little of your space.
This effortlessly portable espresso machine also comes in a sleek and modern design that will complement any space regardless of the theme.
When it comes to the actual performance, its fast heat up system is one of the key elements that will impress many users as it means the machine will be ready to brew in just 25 seconds. And it also has a high-pressure 19-bar pump to ensure you always get barista-quality results.
Using this top-rated espresso machine is also made easy by its simple one-touch operation. You can also be sure that it will save you a lot of energy as it has low energy consumption mode and an auto shut off function after 9 minutes of idling.
Although the capsules can be a little pricey as it only uses the OriginLine ones, this should be a small price to pay for great tasting coffee.
2. DeLonghi Nespresso Pixie – Best Espresso Machine for Nespresso
- Water Tank: 24 fluid ounces
- Material: Plastic
For the true Nespresso fans, the Pixie by DeLonghi will be the best home espresso machine for you as it is not only space-saving but also highly efficient and makes some great tasting coffee.
The compact espresso machine is designed to unlock all the delicate flavors from the coffee capsules using its 19-bar high-pressure pump. And so you can always be sure of getting a flavorful shot of espresso every time.
Also, the system heats up in just 25 seconds to ensure you do not wait for ages to get your cup of coffee, and it will also shut off after 9 minutes to conserve energy.
The 24-ounce water tank is not the largest but you can still make several cups before you need to refill it, and there is also a handy empty tank alert.
You can program this coffee maker with the easy to use one-touch buttons to make your favorite recipes and in the desired size as it has two cup size options.
Despite this being a surprisingly loud machine, noise should be the least of your worries as it will probably have already finished brewing before you realize how loud it is.
3. DeLonghi Nespresso Essenza Mini – Best Espresso Machine under $200
- Water Tank: 20.3 fluid ounces
- Material: Plastic
If you are not ready to spend more than $200 on your coffee maker, the Essenza Mini is one of the best budget espresso machines for you out there.
This ultra-light and compact machine is perfect for busy counters as it will take up little space, and it comes with some intuitive and easy to use controls.
The espresso machine should be ready to use in as little as 25 seconds, and it also uses a 19-bar pressure pump to ensure excellent extraction so that you always get the best flavor.
With the sleek finish of this espresso machine, you can be sure that it will complement your kitchen. And it is also designed to use little energy as it has an Eco-mode that kicks in after 3 minutes and an auto shut off function after 9 minutes.
The drip tray will only leave enough clearance for an espresso cup, but this should not be a deal breaker as it is removable to accommodate larger cups and to make clean up easy.
4. Breville BES870XL – Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
- Water Tank: 67 fluid ounces
- Material: Stainless steel
Breville BES870XL is designed for a coffee lover that wants more control over the espresso making process and also for those that prefer bean-to-cup coffee making.
The semi-automatic espresso machine has a built-in conical burr grinder that allows you to choose both the dosing and grind size so that your espresso will always be how you like it. And there is also a larger capacity bean hopper that is sealed to keep the coffee beans fresh.
The 67-ounce water tank is one of the largest among our espresso machine reviews, and it will help to reduce the refill frequency. Also, this machine comes with a manual steam wand that will be highly useful when making milk-based coffee brews like lattes and cappuccinos.
With the digital temperature control technology, Breville ensures that this coffee maker will always provide the optimal extraction temperature every time for rich and bold flavors.
When compared to other models in our list, this is a relatively pricier machine but its features and performance make it worth it.
5. DeLonghi ESAM3300 – Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
- Water Tank: 60 fluid ounces
- Material: Plastic
DeLonghi’s model ESAM3300 is a super automatic espresso machine designed to take the hassle out of coffee making. All you need to do is to fill up the water reservoir and bean hopper and you can get a fresh espresso cup at the push of a button.
Both the water reservoir and bean hopper are removable which makes cleanup and refilling quick and easy. Also, the double boiler that is responsible for the consistent temperatures is removable for easy cleanup.
Operating this espresso machine is easy and intuitive thanks to the rotary control panel that does not have a lot of buttons. And with the instant reheating of the machine, you can make cup after cup with no waiting in between.
There is also an adjustable manual cappuccino system that will provide thick and long-lasting foam for your cappuccinos, flat whites, and lattes.
The bean hopper seems to be made with a thinner gauge plastic, but given that this is a product by a top brand like DeLonghi, you can be sure it will last long enough.
6. Breville BES810BSS – Best Espresso Machine under $500
- Water Tank: 61 fluid ounces
- Material: Stainless steel
Given its built quality and features, the Breville BES810BSS is one of the best espresso machines out there that you can get for under $500, and so you can be sure of getting great value for your bucks.
The best element about this coffee maker is that it gives you more control over the brewing process, and it also has a manual shot volume control which many users will love.
Also, given its feature-rich construction and capacity, it has a relatively smaller footprint which means it will not take up a lot of your limited counter space.
For those that love lattes and other milk-based coffee types, this will also be a great coffee maker for you as it has a manual steam wand to help you get thick and long-lasting foam.
The automatic purge is also a great feature as it will ensure that each espresso shot is always extracted at the right temperature. And with the handy maintenance indicators, you can easily tell when to empty the drip tray or clean the machine.
Cup warmer will not get as hot as some users might like, but it does enough to ensure you never have to drink from a cold cup.
7. La Pavoni PPG-16 – Best Manual Espresso Machine
- Water Tank: 38 fluid ounce
- Material: Brass
The level of control over the brewing process that you get with the La Pavoni PPG-16 makes coffee making fun and more satisfying.
This manual espresso machine has a larger 38-ounce brass boiler that is designed to provide faster heat up time than what you get with most others out there.
Also, this machine has a mounted pressure gauge and an internal thermostat that make pressure monitoring and control easier.
With the dual frothing system that allows you to choose between an automatic frothing adapter and manual wand, you can easily make lattes or cappuccinos.
Making espressos is also much quieter with this machine, and you can also choose whether to make one or two cups at a go. And the relatively small footprint also helps to cement its position as one of the best manual espresso makers out there.
When compared to other espresso machines on our list, this is quite pricey. But, for a top quality manual espresso maker, it is still reasonably priced and worth the extra investment.
8. Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Ii – Best Commercial Espresso Machine
- Water Tank: 744 fluid ounces
- Material: Stainless steel/ABS
Your café or small restaurant deserves to have a top-notch commercial espresso machine like this 4-group digital model by Nuova Simonelli.
The commercial coffee maker has a 744-ounce capacity which is not only the largest on our list but also larger than what many other similar ones out there can offer.
It is a well-built coffee machine with a mostly stainless steel construction but with ABS inserts, and it uses some soft touch buttons and with an LCD display to make it simple to operate.
With its soft infusion system, you can also be sure of maximum extraction and excellent flavor as there will be maximum contact between coffee and water.
There is also a handy reverse mirror to make it possible to watch the filter output without having to bend. And with an automatic cleaning system for each group, cleanup should be much easier.
This is quite a huge and expensive espresso machine, but for a commercial model, it is still perfect.
9. Wacaco MPGR100 – Best Portable Espresso Machine
- Water Tank: 2.35 fluid ounces
- Material: Plastic
You can still enjoy your regular dose of espresso no matter where you might be because all you need is a compact and portable espresso machine like the Minipresso GR.
It is the smallest espresso machine in our list and probably also in the market as it is hard to find anything smaller than it. And it is also a highly affordable coffee maker.
The lightweight appliance ensures that making espresso is a quick and easy process while also giving you more control over the process. Also, you can try out different flavors as it can use any bean type and roast.
Besides being highly portable, the innovative design of this machine, semi-automatic piston, and powerful extraction pressure will ensure that you always get rich and bold espressos.
This is a small capacity machine as you can only pull one shot at a time, and because the nozzle does not disassemble completely, cleaning might not be thorough enough. However, these are almost insignificant shortcomings as they do not affect its performance.
10. Mr.Coffee Cafe Barista – Best Espresso Machine for Home Use
- Water Tank: 17 fluid ounces
- Material: Plastic
You do not need the know-how of a professional barista to make some rich and bold espressos because this Mr. Coffee machine will do most of the work for you.
It has a 15-bar pump that will provide more than enough pressure for excellent extraction so that you always end up with bold and rich-tasting espressos every time.
The hassle-free automatic frother is another reason why this is one of the best home espresso machines as it will ensure you will never have to struggle frothing milk for your lattes and cappuccinos.
With the one-touch control panel on this semi-automatic coffee maker, you can make your favorite brews without breaking a sweat. And there is also a programmed cleaning cycle to ensure cleanup after use will also not take a lot of effort.
Both the water and milk reservoirs are removable to make them easy to refill and clean or store any leftover milk in the fridge.
Pulling a shot is not as fast as what you get with high end super automatic models, but provided you give the machine enough time to heat up, it should be fast enough for most coffee lovers.
11. Krups XP100050 – Best Small Capacity Espresso Machine
- Water Tank: 14 fluid ounces
- Material: Plastic
Sometimes a small capacity espresso machine like the Krups XP100050 is all you need, and this is more so if you live alone or with a few other coffee drinkers.
It is an easy-to-operate coffee machine with straightforward controls and it also comes in a compact, space-saving design.
This compact machine has a 4-bar pump which should be enough for its size and capacity, and it also has a convenient steam nozzle that will allow you to froth milk for lattes and cappuccinos.
There is also a removable drip tray on the machine to make cleaning easier and allow you to brew into taller mugs, but you will probably not need to as it comes with a 4-cup glass carafe.
The 14-ounce water tank is relatively smaller given what others in our list have to offer, but for a machine meant for an individual or small family, it should be more than enough.
How to Buy the Best Espresso Machines
A freshly brewed shot of espresso or two is always the best way to start a day for many people, and for others, it provides a nice energy boost in the middle of a boring day.
But, to enjoy your rich, flavorful and refreshing espresso, you need to choose a good machine from the many options out there. However, this should be easy if you keep the following things in mind when shopping.
1. Manual or Automatic Espresso Machine
Before you even start shopping for the best espresso maker, you will need to decide on the type that you want for your home use or commercial establishment.
Although there are various types in the market, you will generally need to choose between the manual and automatic espresso machines.
Manual Espresso Machine
The manual espresso machines are designed for the coffee lovers that prefer a more hands-on approach to coffee making.
As their name suggests, these machines will require some elbow grease to pull a shot. However, the extra work has its rewards because these machines will give you more control over every part of espresso making.
With a manual espresso machine, you will also get some high-quality, rich and great tasting coffee once you master the process.
Also, these are sleek and elegant appliances that will look fantastic in your kitchen, and most have a reputation of being well built and long-lasting.
However, there is a steep learning curve for beginners, and so these are often better left to professional baristas as you can easily ruin your espresso if you do not know what you are doing.
Automatic Espresso Machines
The term automatic can be used to describe the fully automatic, semi-automatic or super automatic espresso machines. However, in most instances, the fully automatic espresso machines are what many people will refer to as an automatic espresso machine.
These machines are designed to make espresso brewing a less tedious task for you as the machine does most of the work for you at the press of a button. Automatic espresso makers will have an electronic pump and automatic water delivery system.
The automatic espresso machines are easier to use than the manual ones as they rely on electronics to make coffee and not elbow grease. And the automation also makes them faster and more consistent.
There are also relatively affordable automatic espresso machines that cost a fraction of what you would pay for a good manual model.
The presence of more electronics makes these machines more prone to break down, and you also have less control over the flavor and taste.
For the true coffee aficionados, connoisseurs and baristas that want more control over the brewing process and some rich and flavorful espressos, the manual machines are the best choice.
Automatic espresso machines, on the other hand, are your best choice if you want something easier to use that also makes coffee faster and more consistently. Also, they will be a better pick for those looking for the best affordable espresso machines as some models can be quite cheap.
2. What Coffee to Use
You need to think about the coffee you prefer to use when making espressos as different machines are made to use different ones.
Do you prefer the convenience and speed of brewing with pods/capsules or are you looking for the authentic taste of a bean-to-cup espresso machine?
Some machines are designed to use both capsules and grinds while others have a built-in grinder to allow you to use coffee beans or pre-ground coffee. Your preferences or the coffee type you prefer to use should help you pick the right model for you.
3. Quality Boiler
The boiler is an essential part of the espresso machine as it will affect its performance and the quality of brew that you get in many ways.
Besides checking the overall quality of the boiler and the material used to make it, the other even more important factor to consider is whether the machine uses a single or double boiler.
Single boiler machines use one boiler for the production of both the water for making the espresso and steam for frothing milk. The dual boiler machines, on the other hand, will have separate boilers for steam and espresso.
Dual boiler machines are the best as they offer great temperature control, but they are also the pricier of the two.
4. Size and Design
If you live in a small house or apartment, counter space will always be at a premium, and so you do not want an espresso machine that takes up a lot of it.
A compact and space-saving espresso machine that comes in a nice shape that does not take up a lot of space but still has some nice features and makes great coffee works best for most people.
The design is also a vital element to consider because you do not want to end up with an appliance that looks awkward in your space. A good espresso machine should have a sleek, elegant and modern design that enhances the kitchen décor.
You should never overlook the brand when it comes to choosing any home appliance, and an espresso machine is not an exception.
There are some companies that have been making these machines for many years now and they know what works for different users and will also stand by their products to ensure you get value for your money.
Some of the brands that you can trust to have top quality espresso machines are Breville, DeLonghi, Keurig, Gaggia, and Capresso.
But, it is important to note that different brands are known for different things. For example, Keurig is more famous for making single-serve espresso machines.
6. Ease of Use
The best home espresso machine for you is one that is easy and convenient to use as you might not always have a lot of time to spare for coffee making.
Automatic espresso machines are the easiest to use as a simple push of a button is all it takes to make your morning shot of espresso.
Also, the capsule-based models are easier to use as you will not need to grind beans before you make espresso.
An espresso maker with some simple to understand and use controls and other features like programmability will be super easy to use and highly convenient.
If you love coffee and value your daily shot of espresso, an espresso machine is one of the best investments that you can make as it will make it possible to enjoy fresh espresso when you want it.
But, like with any other appliance, you need to get the best espresso machine to ensure you have an easier time brewing and to get some tasty brews.
Once you figure out what you want out of your espresso and decide on the type of machine to help you achieve it, finding the best machine will only require you to consider factors like boiler quality, size and design, brand and the ease of use.
Also, with our detailed espresso machine reviews above, you should have a clear idea on some of the best models and top brands to buy.