Three best espresso machines

Kailey Fralick

For the best-tasting espresso, use filtered water in your machine.

Many people believe that in order to get a good latte or espresso they have to travel to the nearest cafe and spend $4 or $5. But you can achieve the same results in your own home for far less if you invest in a good espresso machine. Here's a brief overview of what you need to know in order to choose the machine that will give you a perfect espresso every time.

Considerations when choosing espresso machines

Espresso machines run the gamut from manual devices that require a lot of labor on your part to super-automatic machines that do all of the work, including grinding the coffee beans, as well as semi- and fully automatic machines that fall somewhere in between. You have to turn the pump on and off in a semi-automatic machine, while a fully automatic unit will do this work for you.

If you're new to making espresso, you might be better off buying a machine that does most of the work for you. However, the more tasks your machine can perform, the more you'll probably pay for it.


Here are some important things to pay attention to when choosing an espresso machine:

Tank size: The size of the water tank will dictate how much espresso you can make at one time. If you don't want to refill the tank every time you make a cup, look for a machine that has a larger water tank.

Type of coffee: Most espresso makers are designed to be used with ground coffee, but some use coffee pods. Top-of-the-line models might come with a built-in coffee grinder, which is great if you prefer to grind the coffee beans yourself.

Heating time: A good espresso machine should get up to temperature in ten minutes or less, but some lower-quality models might take longer. Heating time will impact how long it takes to make your espresso.

Pressure settings: Adjustable pressure settings enable you to manipulate the strength of your espresso.

Drip tray: A removable drip tray makes cleanup much easier. You can slide out the tray and wash it in the sink.

Construction: Machines made of a durable metal like stainless steel will hold up better over time. You might also want to look for a unit that has handles that are cool to the touch, so you don't risk burning yourself when making your espresso.


Q. How do I maintain my espresso machine?

A. Run water through it after every use to prevent sediment from building up inside. You should also perform a deeper clean periodically, which involves backflushing water through the unit. See your user manual for specific instructions on how and how often to clean your unit.

Q. Which type of espresso maker is right for me?

A. If you're new to espresso machines, you're better off going with something that's at least semi-automatic. More experienced users might prefer the extra control they have over a manual device, but some still prefer automated units.

Espresso machines we recommend

Best of the best: Breville The Barista Express Coffee Machine

Our take: This espresso machine is costly, but it will give you delicious, made-to-order espresso for years to come.

What we like: This espresso machine is made of durable stainless steel and built to last. It comes with several useful features, including a built-in grinder, cleaning indicator light, and precise volume and temperature controls.

What we dislike: It's a little on the expensive side, but for many people the quality is worth the price.

Best bang for your buck: De'Longhi Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Our take: Go with this model if you're looking for a quality espresso maker at a price that won't break the bank.

What we like: This is a good starter espresso maker that works with ground coffee or coffee pods. It's simple to use, and the price should fit comfortably into most budgets.

What we dislike: A good basic machine, but it's missing a lot of the bells and whistles found on our top pick.

Choice 3: La Pavoni Europicola Lever-Style Espresso Machine

Our take: This manual espresso machine costs a lot, but if you're willing to learn how to use it properly, you'll be impressed with the results.

What we like: This top-of-the-line lever-style espresso machine is made of durable stainless steel and comes with a one-year warranty. Also included are an automatic milk foamer, measuring spoon, and two stainless-steel filter baskets, plus a removable drip tray for easy cleanup.

What we dislike: This model is pricey, and it has a bit of a learning curve to it, so it's not a good fit for those who only want to make the occasional cup of espresso.

Kailey is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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