The best espresso machine will make beautiful coffee that can rival any coffee shop. In this guide we’ve got espresso machine reviews, advice on what to look for, and which espresso machine is the best.
Espresso machines are designed mainly to create small shots of coffee, so if you’re looking for something to make larger amounts of coffee, head to our guide on the best coffee makers.
The espresso machines in our guide come from brands including Nespresso, Breville, and DeLonghi, and while some work with ground coffee, others require you to purchase pods to create coffee.
When you’re looking for an espresso machine for home, consider what you need the machine to do for you. Are you looking for an espresso machine with a milk frother, or do you want something like a Nespresso where you add a pod and it makes your drink for you?
Next, the espresso brewing process is important to consider before you buy. Take note of how long each espresso machine takes to brew the coffee. Also, take a look at the size of the water reservoir, as the largest reservoirs will allow you to make more coffee in less time. As some espresso machines can be pretty pricey, it’s worth looking into how long warranties are valid for on each product for added peace of mind.
To make the best espresso without pods, you’ll need to compact the coffee so that it can brew smoothly. This process is called tampering and espresso machines will all be fitted with a tamper to aid this. Metal tampers are more sturdy and better than plastic ones, so make sure to see which type your espresso machine offers. Having a good quality tamper will also help you to create a decent crema (the light brown layer) on top of your espresso.
To find the best espresso machine for your caffeine hit, check out our round up below.
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