Looking for the best espresso machine but not sure where to start? We’ve got all the information you’ll need in this guide along with espresso machine reviews and some of the biggest brands including Breville, Nespresso, and DeLonghi.
If you can’t get through the day without a cup of coffee, you’re in the right place as we run through the best espresso machines that work with both pods and ground coffee.
First up, what do you need to consider before buying a new espresso machine?
It may sound strange, but consider what you need your espresso machine to do for you. Do you need something that will grind up the coffee beans, a milk frother, or simply a pod espresso machine where you add a capsule, press a button, and your brew is ready in seconds?
Next, take a look into the brewing process and how long it takes each machine to make an espresso. Large water reservoirs are also another feature to look out for if you want your espresso machine to make multiple drinks quickly. Some of these machines can be pretty expensive, so take note of how long the warranty lasts.
The best espresso machine should create a coffee with a decent crema on top (that light brown bit on the top of an espresso), so look out for an espresso maker that creates smooth espresso. Another thing to look out for is the coffee tamper on an espresso machine. The tamper is the round part that presses ground coffee to make it compact. Metal tampers are much better than plastic ones, so be sure to look for one of those in your new machine.
If it’s something simple you need, then check out our round up of the best coffee makers, or to find the best espresso machine for you, just keep reading.
1. Breville Infuser BES840XL: Best overall espresso machine
Brilliant for making smooth and tasty espresso, the Breville Infuser BES840X also features a milk frother that performed well in our testing. This machine created a decent crema on top and due it being semi-automatic, this model is easier to use than a manual espresso machine.
This was also the only model that had a metal tamper for compacting the ground coffee so that it’s ready to brew. Better for performance, the metal tamper makes this model a great choice for the smoothest espresso around.
Ideal for making lattes and cappuccinos, the Breville Infuser BES840X also comes with a metal milk jug. The machine is also compatible with both ground coffee and pods, making it very versatile. The model is a little noisy and can take a while to get used to, but once you’ve mastered it you’ll be feeling like a pro barista in no time at all.
- Read our Breville Infuser BES840X review
2. Nespresso CitiZ&milk C122: Best pod espresso machine
Renowned for its stylish machines, Nespresso models including the Nespresso CitiZ&milk C122 only use pods. While these pods can be expensive, they are very good at creating delicious drinks with very little effort or mess.
The Nespresso CitiZ&milk C122 comes with a built-in milk frother and produces a beautiful crema on top of the espresso. This model really does stand out for its usability and how little effort you need to put in to make a great quality drink. If you don’t mind the added expense of buying the pods regularly, you can’t go far wrong with this espresso machine.
- Read our Nespresso CitiZ&milk C122 review
3. DeLonghi EC-685: Best espresso machine milk frother
The DeLonghi EC-685 espresso machine has a sleek design and is fairly compact, meaning it won’t take up too much space on your countertop.
It’s very easy to use and makes a tasty cup of espresso, but what really sets this machine apart from others is its great milk frother. Creating frothed milk near to a coffee shop’s standard, this machine doesn’t come with a milk jug, however, so you will need to buy one.
The auto shut-off on this model is also very helpful and adds to its safety aspects. The warranty is shorter than most machines we reviewed though.
- Read our DeLonghi EC-685 review
4. Cuisinart EM-200: Most versatile espresso machine
The Cuisinart EM-200 uses a bar pump to create a delicious espresso that is smoother than you’d get with a steam pump. This model also offers programmable and manual controls so that you create the exact coffee you want.
Other features on this model have been well thought out too. For example, a switch allows you to keep the filter in place so that you can get rid of your coffee grounds without losing the filter and making a mess.
Even the milk jug that comes with this machine has a good spout so that you can create pretty coffee art on top of your drink. It has to be said that this machine is a little noisy when you’re using it and it’s also pretty heavy too.
- Read our Cuisinart EM-200 review
5. Espressione Café Minuetto: Best large capacity espresso machine
The steam arm milk frother on the Espressione Café Minuetto works well and is ideal for lattes, it does, however, get very hot so you have to watch you don’t burn yourself. What really stands out about this model though is its large water tank, meaning you can create lots of drinks with ease.
Suitable for both ground coffee and pods, this machine also has a cup warmer which is really handy and not something the other machines we reviewed had. Due to the manual controls, this model does take a bit of getting used to before you can master the perfect drink, but it is a great option.
- Read our Espressione Café Minuetto review