Skip to main content

Best espresso machine

Best espresso machine 2020
(Image credit: Getty)

There’s nothing like a coffee from one of the best espresso machines to jump-start your mornings. With many people now spending more of their days at home, it’s the perfect time to invest. The best espresso machines can create barista-style brews with ease, and save you big money in the process. This is because you can buy coffee beans or coffee grounds and create double or single shots of espresso without having to pay those coffee shop prices. What’s more, you get to enjoy your coffee from the comfort of your couch. 

Best overall

Breville Barista Express BES870BSXL

(Image credit: Breville)

Breville Barista Express BES870BSXL

Makes smooth espresso

Brilliant for making smooth and tasty espresso, the Breville Barista Express features a milk frother that performed well in our testing. This machine creates a decent crema on top and because it is semi-automatic, this model is easier to use than a manual espresso machine. The Breville espresso machine comes with a tamper for compacting coffee grounds before brewing. 

Pros:

  • Built-in coffee grinder
  • Stylish design
  • Milk frother

Cons:

  • Bit of a learning curve
  • Quiet noisy

This espresso maker has a built-in coffee grinder that will create fresh grounds right before brewing for the best tasting espresso. It also works with pods. Most of the controls are digital, plus the machine is smart enough to control the water drip to ensure the best flavors through the cup. The Breville Barista Express comes with all the attachments and accessories to make lattes and cappuccinos, too. This model is a little noisy, so it's not the best to have running during important conversations. It also takes a bit to learn how to use it, even with the included instructions. But after a while, you'll master it and feel like a pro.

Best pod espresso machine

Nespresso CitiZ&milk C122

(Image credit: Nespresso )

Nespresso Citiz Coffee and Espresso Machine

Heats up quickly

The Nespresso heats up fast, so there is very little waiting for the perfect espresso, or coffee since this maker does both. This machine comes with a built-in milk frother that produces a beautiful crema on top of the espresso. It's able to make two different sizes of drink and dispenses the brew straight into a cup or insulated thermos.

Pros:

  • Milk frother
  • Quick heat up
  • Auto shut-off

Cons:

  • Coffee pods are expensive
  • Not very eco-friendly

It is easy to get the perfect brew with the Nespresso pre-measured pods, which is the only type of grounds this machine takes. While purchasing the premade pods can be expensive, and they are not the most eco-friendly option, they are very good at creating delicious drinks with very little effort or mess.  The Nespresso has an automatic shut-off feature that turns off the machine once it's done brewing.

Most versatile

Cuisinart Programmable 15-Bar Espresso Maker

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

Cuisinart Programmable 15-Bar Espresso Maker

Use with ground coffee or pods

The Cuisinart espresso machine uses a bar pump to create a delicious espresso that is smoother than you’d get with a steam pump. This model offers programmable and manual controls to create the exact coffee you want. Other features include a switch that keeps the filter in place so that you can get rid of your coffee grounds without losing the filter and compatibility with both coffee grounds and pods. 

Pros:

  • Use coffee grounds or pods
  • Includes a milk jug and frother
  • Creates a good crema

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Noisy
  • Not the best tamper

The milk jug that comes with the Cruisinart espresso machine has a good spout so that you can create pretty coffee art on top of your drink. It's also a handy way to create smooth and creamy crema using the built-in milk frother. This machine is a bit noisy as it's running, and it is also pretty heavy. The tamper that comes with this espresso machine isn't the best. We found that there were too many small holes left behind, even when we used all our strength to compact the grounds before brewing.

Best value

De'Longhi Espresso EC680M

(Image credit: De'Longhi)

De'Longhi Espresso EC680M

The best frother

The DeLonghi EC680M espresso machine has a sleek design and is fairly compact, meaning it won’t take up too much space on your countertop. This makes it a great choice for dormitories or small apartments. It's easy to use and its milk frother is the best of all we've tested creating near coffee shop standard crema.

  • Great milk frother
  • Easy to sue
  • Stylish design

  • Doesn't come with a milk jug

The auto shut-off on this model is helpful and adds to the safety features of this machine. It also has a beautiful design that compliments just about every kitchen décor. The De'Longhi espresso machine comes with a good tamper to compact coffee grinds before brewing, though it is also compatible with coffee pods.  The only real drawback is that it doesn't come with a milk jog, which means you need to find something else that will work with the frother.

Know before you buy 

Our demands for a quality brew are much higher today than ever before when it comes to the quality of our brew. Just look at how coffee shops have flourished in recent years to see the proof. Still, many of us want to be able to get barista-quality coffee without actually having to go to a café and overpaying. That's where home espresso machines come in.

Top Ten Reviews has been reviewing espresso machines for seven years. Since then, we've spent hundreds of hours researching and testing to understand what it takes to make a perfect espresso at home. We've also consulted with baristas and coffee experts to get their valuable insight.

We’ve found the best espresso machines come with functions like a milk frother to make the best tasting brew. And while it does take a bit of practice, it won't be long until you're using your espresso machine to also make cappuccinos and lattes. 

Pod espresso machines offer a fail-safe method of achieving quality coffee without any barista skills whatsoever, but because coffee pods will usually cost more than coffee beans, they will cost you more in the long run. They also produce more waste, which isn't the most eco-friendly option.

Why trust us

At Top Ten Reviews we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.

Sophie Bird

Sophie is Home Editor at Top Ten Reviews. Starting off her career in print journalism, Sophie then moved to digital and now specializes in lifestyle, home interiors and social media. While she has scooped awards for her journalism, Sophie likes to whip up a storm in the kitchen when she's not writing.