We’ve curated a list of eight of the best home espresso machines across a range of price-points.
Even today, it’s difficult to find a decent espresso machine for use at home. At some point, it became fashionable for most kitchen appliance manufacturers to give it a good old fashioned go, but were they successful? Well, let’s just say that some of those machines are to coffee making the same as what a Merry-Go-Round is to horse-racing.
Not to say that there are no great performers out there, but for you, as an average Joe Shmoe Esquire, would have fewer headaches if you were to stick to companies that specialize in coffee makers and accessories.
If you still don’t know where to start…
To make your life easier, we’ve curated a list of eight of the best home espresso machines across a range of price-points.
The Best Home Espresso Machines Of 2020
Let’s get started!
De’Longhi EC680M Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
De’Longhi always had a reason to boast about their coffee makers – even Nespresso chose to partner with them numerous times to create their machines.
Dedica doesn’t disappoint. It’s a machine for proper addicts and lovers of espresso, who want to get that shop flavor and richness at home.
Outside of looking a bit squished, this machine comes with everything you’ll need to make velvety smooth brews at home. There’s the portafilter with three separate filters – single and double shot espresso, and E.S.E. pods. And not to forget the milk frother which is a particular fan favorite – a lot of users found that it was so powerful and would extract so much natural sweetness from milk, that they did not need to add sugar to their lattes.
- The slimming club – The width of 6 inches is something that usually happens on pod coffee makers, and never on regular espresso machines.
- Fantastic steam frother – Probably one of the best that you will find on a domesticated machine.
- Tall cups are a go – Save on washing up by extracting espresso directly into frothed milk for a perfect cappuccino.
- On/off button doesn’t always comply – You have to press it just right so you don’t turn on and then straight away turn off the machine.
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee And Espresso Machine
It could be easy to argue that Nespresso is the number one name in capsule coffee. The Vertuo shows a couple of reasons why.
Exhibit A – the unique patented Centrifusion technology. Before the extraction, the capsule spins inside the machine up to 7,000 rotations per minute, blending the water and the grounds. This results in incredibly rich crema, even when you’re brewing an 8-ounce serving.
- Art Deco – There’s no way you would want to hide this guy in a dark corner somewhere.
- Five serving sizes – As opposed to regular two that you’ll get with similar machines. Next to the single and double espresso, there’s lungo at 5 ounces, coffee at 8oz, ad alto coffee at 14 ounces.
- Mr. Smartypants – The machine can read barcodes that are at the from of each capsule, and then automatically adjusts settings for a perfect extraction.
- Special rounded pods – Other Nespresso machines at least pretend like they like to play with other children. Luckily, if you don’t like the flavors they have on offer, there is an aluminum reusable pod you could get your hands on.
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
The Bambino is the baby of the Breville’s espresso family. It’s compact with simple and straightforward features.
But if you think that means you’re getting an inferior machine, don’t fool yourself. This little guy can run circles around most of the home espresso makers on the market. It’s calibrated to hit every vital point of a perfectly brewed espresso.
On top of that, there are features that you would rarely see on other coffee makers – like the 3-second heat-up time, a full-size 54mm portafilter, or the low-pressure pre-infusion.
- It’s a Breville – The company has earned the right to have its name associated with quality and innovation.
- Brushed stainless steel – Stainless steel should be sued for false advertising. I don’t know what witchcraft must happen for it to look clean for more than 30 seconds. Brushed stainless steel on the other hand… we like.
- The Razor Dosing Tool – A little silly piece of metal that you get with all but one Breville machine. If you get confused and get rid of it, you’ll make a huge mistake – this tool alone turns the most incompetent and clumsy people into amazing baristas.
- Auto purge – A feature that is usually reserved for commercial appliances. It gets rid of excess heat, so you can make a cup after cup after cup, and each at a perfect temperature.
- Price – it’s 2-3 times more expensive than the majority of other models on this list. Heck, it’s 2-3 times over budget of most amateur baristas. The funny thing? It’s still the second most affordable machine in the whole Breville espresso maker lineup.
Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
At first sight, Essenza Mini might resemble a toy, but there’s nothing toylike about it. It’s an espresso maker that easily outperforms multiple machines made for home use, no matter the price point.
The second offering from Nespresso is also very easy to use – just add the pod and press the button for the desired serving size. Even though there’s quite a bit of plastic going on, it’s quite robust and well built. There are even customers who have reported using this machine 5+ times a day for years and are yet to find a reason to complain.
- 19 bars of pressure – A staple of Nespresso machines that translates into an amazing, full-bodied flavor.
- Tiny dynamo – The Essenza Mini is one of the smallest espresso machines on the market. It can fit everywhere – an RV, an office cubicle, a New York City kitchen, etc.
- Price – All that awesomeness for next to nothing.
- No trespassing, Nespresso pods only – Well, others will work as well, but the results won’t be as life-altering.
- Not gonna “feed” the army – Though it can survive quite a bit of abuse, the Essenza Mini would prefer for you to forget everything you’ve learned watching Sesame Street and stop sharing.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker
Ah, Mr. Coffee is all grown up. It makes espresso and everything – Father is so proud.
But seriously, a brand that was unofficially a synonym for mediocrity has stepped up their game in recent years. Still, their target audience is regular people who just want to have a cup of good coffee, not become baristas.
This barista is designed to make you a good shot of espresso, and then follow it up with perfectly steamed milk. No timers, no thermometers, nothing.
Also, a lot of users report that with a few extra steps (ie running a clear water shot before brewing), you can get even better results than you would on other machines in the price range.
- Milk dispenser – Automatically gets your milk where it has to be so your drink is perfect every time.
- All the trimmings of a far more expensive machine – You don’t have to sell a kidney for a machine that automatically figures out how to make a perfect latte or a cappuccino.
- Auto and manual settings – You disagree with the company on what your drink should look like? Then do it yourself.
- Milk dispenser – Just like in the fully automated espresso machines that have the same feature, this is the most annoying part to clean.
- A lot of bells and whistles – Very attractive at a glance, but will need more care down the road.
De’Longhi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Though Dedica is a true powerhouse that will make the snobbiest of coffee snobs very happy, this guy is no slouch either.
The ECP3240 is a fantastic entry-level espresso maker. It’s very simple and easy to use and produces a darn good cuppa.
The setup might appear very standard, but it has two distinct bits if the clever design that set it apart from the other models in the same price range. Though almost all machines will come with a removable drip tray to accommodate taller glasses and mugs, none of them have a second tray built-in to prevent the drips from falling on your counter. The ECP3420 does.
The other feature is the water reservoir that doesn’t snap to the back of the espresso maker but sits inside of it.
- Price – It’s quite a bit more affordable than similar machines that start at $200.
- Proven longevity – Even though it has quite a bit of plastic, a lot of consumers report multiple hassle-free years of use.
- Fron water level view – Greatly appreciated for an appliance that will probably be parked in front of a wall.
- One turning knob to rule them all – On, off, coffee, steam – it’s all done with one knob. Learning how to operate this machine is embarrassingly easy.
- A lot of plastic – A huge annoyance with machines that are meant for home use.
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker
As you might have noticed, Nespresso has left quite a mark on the coffee maker market.
The Pixie might not come out of a fairy tale, but that doesn’t mean it’s not HEA compatible. You may even go and say that it’s a dream come true for anyone who wants great espresso at home, with no effort at all.
Unlike it’s bigger cousins, you can choose from only two serving sizes – espresso and lungo. However, the very first taste will confirm why this machine is worth it – each cup has a smooth and rich flavor with a cream that is silkier than anything that comes out of domestic appliances.
- 19 bars of pressure – Holy performance, Batman!
- Great espresso without any training – And not only because of the pod technology. To brew your coffee, just press the button with the desired serving size.
- Disability-friendly – The lever for opening the pod chamber is very accessible, and the pods slip in and out with ease.
- Super tiny – And ready to go anywhere with you.
- Designed to work best with Nespresso pods – You could use other brands’ pods – to quote my humble self, “It’s not like it will scoff and throw them back at you.” Just prepare for the brew not to be as magnificent.
Cuisinart EM-100 Manual Espresso Maker
Cuisinart is one of those brands that constantly gets high marks for quality and performance, and they are certainly not slacking off with their coffee program.
The EM-100 is a very straightforward espresso maker that can brew single or double shots of espresso, or E.S.E pods as well. It doesn’t even clear 15 inches in height but comes with all accessories its commercial-use cousins have – like the warming tray or the milk frother.
It may come off as a bit weird at first, but once you learn how to communicate there’s nothing but smooth sailin’ in your future.
- Smart design details – The little fence for the cups is totes adorbs, but also heaven-sent for terminally clumsy people. The same people might also appreciate the handle on the reservoir. And a huge red power button? Someone understands the intellectual capabilities of an average human right after they wake up.
- Commercial quality in a small package – 15 bars of pressure and a commercial steam wand.
- Knobs instead buttons – Diminishes the chance of the controls breaking.
- The water tank wand connector is plastic – It will wear out at some point, and will hate to be replaced.
Best Home Espresso Machines – Extra Tip!
We hope by now you have narrowed down your shortlist with the help of our reviews of the best home espresso machines in 2020.
If you’re still confused and don’t know how to choose, take a step back and reconsider what you need your coffee maker to be.
Sticking to your budget is important, but how often can you afford to make a purchase this big? Sometimes, spending that little bit extra can translate into the lower cost per use.
Where will you park the machine? You’ll begin to hate it if it becomes cumbersome to both operate and clean it because it’s in a cramped corner of your counter, under very low hanging cabinets. Pick a machine that works with the design and size of your kitchen, or wherever your coffee station is supposed to be.
How easy it will be for you to clean it regularly? Both mineral deposits and coffee stains will meddle with the taste and the quality of your brew.
How intuitive the controls are? You will be glad for paying attention to this when you’re still half asleep on Monday morning.
And finally, what does the machine look like? It might sound shallow, but humans are shallow creatures. If you like the looks of your espresso maker, you will be less likely to think about replacing it for the unforeseeable future.
Apart from that, I hope you enjoyed our list of the best home espresso machines…
If you want to read a few individual home espresso machine reviews on our blog, please check the links below!