Best Espresso Machine

Today, there are as many brands and models of espresso machines as there are flavors of coffee. And like coffee, they range from the relatively simple, to the fairly complex, to the utterly exotic. We’ll review your needs, budget and options to help you determine which one is best for you!


How to Pick the Best Espresso Machine?

If you’re looking to buy an espresso machine, the first thing you need to figure out is what type of espresso machine best suits you.

Types of espresso machines

Mechanically, there are two basic types of espresso machines: steam-driven and pump-driven.

Steam-driven machines

The very first espresso machines worked on a steam-pressure basis, and they’re still in use today. With this type of machine, steam or steam pressure is used to force water through the coffee grounds and produce espresso. Some steam-driven machines can produce a measure of foam “crema.” But they can’t generate enough pressure or provide the precise temperature control necessary to produce true espresso: They simply make a very strong cup of coffee. However, they cost considerably less than pump-driven machines. Our verdict is that if you’re a true espresso lover and seeking to make a good shot at home, we recommend you steer clear of steam-driven machines. They’ll likely disappoint you.

Tip: While we don’t recommend steam-driven units, If you’re on an extremely tight budget and looking to “test the waters” with a low-cost, entry-level machine, a steam-driven model will provide a somewhat cheap imitation of espresso.

Best Steam driven espresso machine

Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine – The cheapest alternative to true espresso. Just below $50!

Pump-driven machines

Pump driven machines use an electric pump rather than steam-generated pressure to force water through the coffee grounds. This is the type of espresso machine that makes true espresso. Pump-driven machines fall into two basic categories:

  • Super-automatic espresso machines
  • Semi-automatic espresso machines

While the obvious logic for most consumers would be that anything labeled “super” is going to be the “better” version, this is a common mistake buyers make. The difference between semi-automatic and super-automatic espresso machines isn’t which one is better than the other, but rather which one is better for you.

Semi-Automatic vs Super-Automatic Espresso Machines – What is the Difference?

Before we get into the technical aspects of the two types of espresso machines, here’s what you really need to know. Semi-automatic espresso machines are going to be perfect for the espresso connoisseur. If you’re the type that really wants to get the best-quality and taste out of your espresso machine and don’t mind taking a little more time and effort out of your schedule, the semi-automatic espresso maker is going to be for you. It’s a little bit more work, but the key here is that you ultimately have more control over every subtle nuance that goes into your version of the perfect shot of espresso with a semi-automatic.

If you don’t have the time or want to build a highly customized taste for your espresso mixes and just want a great tasting cup of espresso, super-automatic espresso makers are going to be your best bet. While you do give up some of the control you have over the final product, a super-automatic espresso maker automates almost all of the process for you, meaning that you can just get a great shot of espresso without having to do any extra work. This makes it perfect for people on the go or who prefer convenience over control.

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine Features

Semi-automatic espresso machines are just that—semi-automatic. Some of the steps are automated, but many are not. This allows the user to put their personal stamp on the final product but without doing some of the tedious steps that are involved in making an espresso on the stove top. Here’s a look at some of the features that make a semi-automatic espresso machine such a great pickup for the ultimate espresso lover:

  • Water temperature and pressure are automated so you get the perfect cup of espresso every time
  • User is able to adjust the steam and water flow for preference of taste
  • The pump is also user-operated as you must manually turn it on and off at the desired times for ultimate control
  • There is no built-in grinder so you must fill the portafilter with ground coffee, and tamp the grounds as well. You can purchase coffee already ground. But if you want to make the best-tasting shot of espresso, we recommend you purchase a grinder and grind your own fresh coffee beans. Check out our coffee grinder buying guide.

Overall, the semi-automatic espresso machine is all about fine-tuning, giving you the precise taste, temperature and body that you love in your shots of espresso.

Tip: If you’re a “hands on” espresso connoisseur who doesn’t mind performing a few extra steps to ensure the highest-quality espresso shot, a semi-automatic machine is your best option.

To make it easy for you, we’ve gathered up the best espresso machines on the market, carefully weighed, and prioritized several criteria in testing and put together these targeted espresso machine reviews that are specifically meant to help you cut through all the confusion and just get the best deal on the home espresso maker that fits your style.

Recommended Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

Best value semi-automatic espresso machine
Rancilio Silvia espresso machine – Best single-boiler semi-automatic espresso machine for under $1,000 currently available on the market. Complete bang for your buck!

Click here right now to get Rancilio Silvia for
from Amazon.

Best semi-automatic espresso machine
Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler semi-automatic espresso machine – Best espresso maker on the market that can easily outperform Starbucks, costs around $1200.

Click here right now to get Dual Boiler for
from Amazon.

Best budget semi-automatic espresso machine
Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine – Best home espresso machine under $400. An entry-level espresso machine that doesn’t suck and isn’t overpriced. Good for the small family.

Click here right now to get Classic for
from Amazon.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machine Features

On the other hand, super-automatic espresso machines are all about convenience and not having to “fine-tune” anything. Almost all of the brewing steps are automated, meaning that all you really have to do is fill the hopper with coffee beans and turn it on. Here are some of the features that make the super-automatic espresso maker so easy to use:

  • Built-in coffee grinder grinds, tamps and extracts the shot of espresso automatically
  • You can connect the machine to a water line so it fills automatically as well, or if not, you can manually add the water
  • One-button touch technology allows you to simply push a button and get restaurant quality espresso in a matter of minutes
  • Higher-end models have the ability to froth and dispense milk automatically, giving you more options for caffe and lattes rather than solely espressos.

As you can see, super-automatic espresso makers are great for those who just want great-tasting espresso without the fuss and muss.

Tip: If you’re a busy, “on the go” person and convenience is your top priority, a super-automatic espresso machine is right for you.

Recommended Super-Automatic Espresso Machines

Best value super-automatic espresso machine
DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica – Best value you are going to get in a super-auto unit, only super-automatic espresso machine that goes for under $600 and has double boiler.

Click here right now to get ESAM3300 for
from Amazon.

Best super automatic espresso machine
Jura Giga 5– This is the best espresso machine on the market. But it costs(around $5600) more than the average espresso machine consumer can afford. But still, it’s simply too awesome not to check out (especially if you can afford it) – you’re going to pay for all of this awesomeness!

Click here right now to get Giga 5 for
from Amazon.

Best budget super-automatic espresso machine
Nespresso Pixie – Best for those on a tight budget and still want a super automatic.

Click here right now to get Pixie for
from Amazon.