Best Espresso Machines of [Nov. 2018 Update] Review, Comparisons, Tests - HOMEGROUNDS

The Best Espresso Machine You Can Buy in 2018...

Espresso – If that one word makes your heart beat faster (and we’re not talking about the caffeine here!), then you’re in good company.

But paying for an espresso at the coffee shop… every day? That’s a problem. Right?

To solve it, you’ve decided that you need an espresso maker for you home (If you need a commercial machine you're in the wrong place – visit this page instead)

That’s great! But… how do you pick the best home espresso maker?

You could try going to Amazon and typing in “espresso maker”… and then sifting through literally thousands of results.

But even when you find one you think you might like, what then?

This is a big decision! You’re not buying a new toothbrush here.

Do you start Googling reviews for that particular machine? Good luck.

That’s what we’re here for. This is our master list of the top 10 best espresso machines available in 2018.

#1 Pick 2018: The Breville Barista Express (BES87XL)

Breville barista express machine

  • Amazing quality - Pulls shots that a barista would be jealous of.
  • Minimal skill required - You'll have full control yet it's easy to use.
  • Makes life easy - Grinds, cleaning alert, hot water inlet + much more.

Best Espresso Machines of 2018 [Our Top 10 Picks]

Alright, we’ve gone over the bigger elements to keep in mind. Now let’s take a look at some of the options.

Note: In general, the list tends to move from beginner options up through more advanced machines, so if you’re just starting out, pay close attention to the front end of the list.

If you’re already an experienced espresso connoisseur and are looking for a high-end option, you’ll find more cutting-edge choices further down the list.

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES
hg-table__image De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Machine
  • Inexpensive
  • Great option for beginners
  • Self-priming operation
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hg-table__image Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
  • Affordable
  • User-friendly
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hg-table__image Wacaco MiniPresso
  • Very small and light
  • Great for travel
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hg-table__image De’Longhi EC702 Espresso Maker
  • Makes both espressos and cappuccinos
  • User-friendly
  • Works with self-ground coffee
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hg-table__image De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Espresso Machine
  • Programmable options
  • Intuitive to use
  • Affordable for automatic
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hg-table__image Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
  • Easy setup
  • User-friendly
  • Has an energy-saver mode
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hg-table__image Breville BES870XL Barista Express
  • Makes professional level espresso
  • Great quality
  • Easy to use
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hg-table__image Rancilio Silvia M Espresso Machine
  • High-quality parts
  • Can make commercial-size brewing
  • Has a cup warmer
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hg-table__image Gaggia 90500 Titanium Espresso Machine
  • User-friendly
  • Easy to clean
  • Good value for the price
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hg-table__image Rocket Appartamento Espresso Machine
  • Very small footprint
  • Makes professional level espresso
  • High-quality
CHECK PRICE →

#1 - The De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso Machine - Best Budget Espresso Machine

de'longhi EC155

The De’Longhi EC155 coffee maker is an extremely affordable entry-level option. This Italian espresso machine combines accessibility and ease of use with the reputation of an established international company.

This machine is a great way to get into the espresso game with low overhead.

The De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Machine brews strong espresso quickly, in either single or double shots, while maintaining an optimal water temperature at all times.

It comes with the patented De’Longhi Cappuccino Frothing Wand for frothing your milk and a 3-in-1 filter holder that works for both self-ground coffee and espresso pods.

The black and stainless steel exterior is compact, making it a seamless fit for many modern kitchens. If you’re wondering where to buy a De’Longhi EC155, click the button to check out the price!

Best Suited For: This is a great option for a beginner. If you want to dive into the espresso world, this model is a great spot to park for a while as you learn the ropes and get your specific tastes and specifications figured out.

PROS

  • Can’t beat the price
  • Self-priming operation

CONS

  • Froth can be watery
  • Clean up can be a bit messy

#2 - The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

mr coffee barista espresso maker

Another convenient starting point is the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (wow, that’s a mouthful!).

This affordable option is extremely user-friendly, and an excellent way to “dip your toes in the water” of the espresso world.

It literally feels like a coffee maker and an espresso maker had a baby.

The convenience of brewing options, automatic frother, and even the adjustable cup height on the tray make this ideal for anyone who wants to experiment without taking the full plunge into more expensive machinery quite yet.

The milk reservoir is removable, allowing you to store unused milk for next time, and the water reservoir also pops out easily, making refilling a cinch.

The one-touch control panel also makes selecting the kind of drink as easy as pie (which would also go really well with the espresso... file that one away for later).

The “wow” factor on this one is fairly low, but at this price point it really is a best-selling option.

If you’re looking for a convenient, quick, already-prepared method to get a decent cup of espresso, cappuccino, latte, etc., this is a great choice.

Best Suited For: Beginners who want a convenient and affordable home device with which to begin their espresso adventures.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Extremely easy to use (think of it as the “drip coffee maker” of espresso machines)
  • Easy-to-refill water and milk reservoirs

CONS

  • Isn’t the most attractive machine on the market
  • Doesn’t give you much control over the brewing or frothing processes

#3 - The Wacaco MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker

minipresso

This nifty device by Wacaco has the potential to revolutionize how you travel.

The Wacaco MiniPresso is a portable option to have an espresso “on-the-go”.

Made of sturdy plastic, this cylindrical espresso maker comes apart into several pieces but goes back together into one piece that stores easily as a single unit.

Along with being compact, it is an affordable solution to espresso on-the-go that allows you to bring your own little coffee shop with you on anything from a business to a camping trip.

Rather than setting your alarm early enough to go wander around town for a crappy cup of coffee, you can whip out your Wacaco MiniPresso and have a delicious espresso in minutes, before you even go out the door!

Now, it should come as no surprise that this manual espresso maker requires you to find your own hot water and grind your own coffee.

However, once you have these and you’ve loaded the filter and water chamber, you’re ready to make some espresso and simultaneously get a nice little hand workout. 

The pump on the side of the cylinder pops out and after a few priming pumps, you should begin to get coffee out of the bottom.

Unfortunately, as the entire unit is manually operated, it does not keep the coffee at optimum temperature, nor does it heat up any milk.

But hey, an espresso by a campfire is better than nothing, whether it’s got warm frothed milk or not, right?

While this is obviously not the perfect answer to an easy morning espresso in your kitchen, the Wacaco Portable Mini Espresso Maker can be a perfect and affordable addition to your coffee arsenal, equipping you with a predictable cup of espresso quite literally anywhere you might find yourself.

Best Suited For: Those who travel (either for business or recreation, or both!) will find this espresso maker very useful.

PROS

  • Great for travel
  • Very small (as in the size of a thermos – talk about an espresso maker you can fit in your pocket!)

CONS

  • Espresso can be more watery
  • Doesn’t heat water or milk

#4 - The De’Longhi EC702 15 Bar Pump Espresso Maker - best medium level espresso maker

delonghi ec702

This is where we get into the more comprehensive, yet still low-end, options.

This machine is very much so still on the beginners’ side of the learning curve. It’s easy to use and delivers some delicious espresso.

The De’Longhi Espresso Machine EC702 is a fantastic device that is sleek, simple, and easy to operate.

Using a unique, patented dual filter holder, it can work with both your own ground coffee and espresso pods.

It comes equipped with two separate thermostats to govern the temperatures of both the frother and the water, is self-priming, and its user-friendly frother is great for making cappuccinos and lattes.

It claims to have a no-drip design and to be a fairly clean machine, but many reviews point out that it can require quite a bit of cleaning and maintenance nonetheless.

One powerful positive to this option is its stainless steel boiler, an upgrade from other lesser quality versions, which should keep you going for years to come.

Note: If you ever do encounter issues with one of the De’Longhi espresso makers, this is a good spot to figure out how to get your De’Longhi espresso machine repaired.

Best Suited For: This espresso maker is a great shift from the beginner basics upwards into the more advanced options. If you feel confident in your understanding of espresso and are looking for a good, slightly more complex espresso maker, you’ll want to check this one out.

PROS

  • Works with self-ground coffee and E.S.E. pods
  • Makes both espressos and cappuccinos
  • Simple to use / User friendly

CONS

  • Requires a lot of cleaning to prevent buildup, particularly on the coffee and frother nozzles
  • Espresso attachment can be difficult to put on
  • Can be louder than other machines

#5 - The De'Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300 Automatic Espresso Machine

delonghi ESAM3300

Now we come to the fully automatic De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300.

This automatic espresso machine brings the capability and aroma of an Italian cafe right into your home (... without that loud Italian barista constantly shouting over the bar).

Yeah… let’s just say it’s the quality and the charm without all the noise.

Whether you feel like having a simple espresso, a latte, or a cappuccino – this unit can deliver.

It grinds the beans for you right in its built-in burr grinder and can brew the espresso at adjustable levels of strength. It also has a single or double shot espresso option.

Be aware that it works best with medium roasts and is NOT good with oily coffee beans.

The unit comes equipped with the De’Longhi’s patented dual thermostat and frother as well.

Best Suited For: Those who want affordability, brewing convenience, and quality espresso all rolled into one.

PROS

  • Programmable options
  • Intuitive to use
  • Affordable for automatic

CONS

  • Can’t brew espresso and steam simultaneously
  • Not oily-bean friendly

#6 - The Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

gaggia brera

The Gaggia Brera Automatic Espresso Machine is the Apple product of espresso machines. High-end and compact, it just plain worksAnd not only that, it’s a workhorse.

Its super user-friendly design makes it possible for those who want a truly great cup of coffee to make their own without taking a course on “how to be a barista.”

The maker’s pre-infusion brew system allows the machine to get more out of the beans before it starts brewing.

It also comes with a 4-stage water filtration system (although the actual filters for the system are not included in the initial purchase), three varying strengths of espresso, and it even warns you when it needs to be cleaned. 

All in all, this is a great mid-range option for those passionate about espresso and equipped with the palate to notice minor changes in water quality and coffee flavor.

Best Suited For: Those with slightly bigger budgets, less know-how, and a rabid desire for high-end espresso!

PROS

  • Easy setup
  • Very easy to operate
  • Standby mode helps save energy

CONS

  • Water filters are not included
  • Water reservoir is on the smaller side
  • Some plastic components can wear out over time

#7 - The BES870XL Breville Espresso Machine

breville barista express

Our review of the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine came up with a fairly common theme: a ton of people love this thing!

The Breville Espresso Machine is an attractive piece of coffee-brewing equipment – one that you can proudly show off any time you have guests over.

It’s powerful, and is all around well-built.

It’s bigger than other espresso makers, especially in terms of width, and exudes espresso-making authority with a host of options and variations that gives you more control over the brewing process.

In addition to being a powerhouse that can take a beating (it’s the kind of device you can find both in serious coffee guru kitchens, as well as in smaller coffee shops) it also has the option of coming in a tasteful cranberry red, breaking the sometimes monotonous cycle of stainless steel and black options that are usually available.

Of course, the extra control over the process can be more intimidating, but if you feel ready to take the plunge into crafting the best espresso, this machine is worth a look.

This maker grinds beans fresh with an in-house burr grinder, has a 2L reservoir with water filter capability, and a stainless steel 360 degree swivel action steam wand – all tools that can allow you to make fresh, crafted coffee at a rapid rate.

The unit even comes with a dedicated hot water outlet, making it more of an all-in-one device (and making up for some of the extra countertop space it requires).

It even has a cleaning light to warn you when it’s time to clean it!

Best Suited For: Those ready to take their espresso-making prowess to the next level. This machine takes the power of a lower-quality automatic machine and places it in the user’s control. It is a perfect option for those looking to advance their espresso experience without breaking the bank.

PROS

  • Creates professional level espresso
  • Gives more barista brewing control over the espresso-making process
  • Comes in a brighter color option (cranberry red)

CONS

  • A bit larger than other machines
  • More complicated to use

#8 - The Rancilio Silvia M Espresso Machine

rancilio silvia m

Now we head to another machine that balances delicately between the raw enthusiast and the experienced barista.

The Rancilio Silvia M’s track record over the last decade has truly set it apart as a superior entry-level machine.

With an iron frame and stainless steel exterior, this sleek Italian machine is built to last.

The unit is equipped with a forged marine brass group head boiler, leading to greater stability in heat and longer-lasting pieces, as well as a large 12-oz boiler, which gives an incredible steam capacity at this level of a machine.

It has a commercial-sized portafilter and creates less mess with a 3-way solenoid valve that relieves pressure on the coffee grounds after an extraction.

It is equipped with an energy-friendly standby mode (so the environment will give you a friendly pat on the back), and it even comes with a cup warmer!

The one disappointment is the lack of a built-in coffee grinder. Many users complain of having to work fairly intensively to find a grind that works.

But seriously, if you’re going to invest in a machine as sweet as this one, learning how to grind coffee well should be a priority anyways.

Best Suited For: Those who want the capability and durability of a much more expensive machine without the cost or complexity.


PROS

  • High-quality parts
  • Can handle commercial-size brewing
  • Includes a cup warmer

CONS

  • Can be a bit complex to operate for entry-level enthusiasts
  • Does not come with a coffee grinder

#9 - The Gaggia Titanium Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

gaggia titanium

Returning to a dependable brand, this is the second Gaggia to show up on our list.

With a care for design and attention to detail, you’ve got to love those Italian coffee companies!

They aim for perfection. And with the Gaggia Titanium they really hit the mark!  

The Gaggia Titanium is a very popular automatic model – and with good reason, too.

It is quick and easy to set up and is very user-friendly, meaning everyone and their mother can use it and walk away with good espresso.

Among the unit’s countless features is a built-in burr grinder with 18 grind settings, a telescoping brew spout for different cup heights to keep the mess minimal, and a cup warmer.

You can see the unit in action here:

Best Suited For: This is a great model for easy setup, easy use, and amazing espresso. Perfect for a serious espresso fanatic who wants to be able to walk up and make an espresso.

PROS

  • Quick setup
  • Easy to both use and clean
  • Excellent value for the price

CONS

  • Has some low-quality, plastic parts
  • Electronics can act up

#10 - The Rocket Appartamento Espresso Machine

This final suggestion is also the most high-end espresso maker on our list, and it’s the closest thing to bringing the coffee shop right into your house.

The Rocket Appartamento Espresso Machine is the perfect (though pricey) long-term solution to all of your espresso needs.

If you’re into steampunk, this device was designed just for you. It has that shiny, complex, gear-driven yet fancy, sophisticated look written all over it.

Handmade in Italy, this machine is quite a small device that can easily fit on most countertops.

Its stainless steel polish shines from a mile off, and its large, rounded feet keep it stable while in use.

But the exterior is really just an accent to the main event: what it can make.

While boasting nearly all of the primary features of most of the machines we’ve reviewed (except a grinder) it comes with automatic pre-infusion, a two hole steam tip, a removable plastic cup guard, a very large 2.25L reservoir, two separate portafilters for single or double shots, along with a myriad of other, high-quality features.

Once again, to get the full effect we need to show you this beauty in action.

Best Suited For: This one is for full-on espresso fanatics. Those who either are, or want to become, professional in their barista-like endeavors.

PROS

  • Very small footprint (10.5x17’!)
  • Extremely high-quality, long-lasting machine
  • Makes professional level espresso

CONS

  • Complex, not for beginners
  • No grinder

Your Essential Home Espresso Machine Buying Guide (2018)

Starting the journey of selecting a home espresso maker can be daunting.

But there are some easy things to go over that can help to narrow the search parameters.

First off, buying a home espresso maker is not the only way to make espresso at home.

For example, here are three ways to make espresso without an actual espresso maker, including something as simple as how to make espresso with a French press!

But if you’ve seen and/or tried those methods and decided, “No, I need the real deal,” that’s completely understandable.

After all, coffee from something like a Moka pot is really just Moka coffee.

It’s not espresso.

Okay, so you’re still reading, you want espresso, what else do we need to know before we look at the makers themselves? How about a simple question:

Are you ready to make espresso yourself?

Learning how to use a home espresso machine isn’t rocket science (although sometimes it can feel like it), but it is certainly a process that requires mastery.

Here’s a video that goes over the basics of making an espresso at home.

The challenge here is to get enough power and quality to make a good espresso without breaking the bank or wasting your money on something you can’t capitalize on.

What do we mean by “capitalize on?”

Well, espresso is a finicky thing to make. It can defy even the most avid enthusiasts and guzzle hundreds and thousands of dollars on makers, grinders, and beans trying to figure out “the magic.”

So don’t go investing in something upfront that is so spectacular you’ll never be able to properly use it (like that grandmother who can barely see trying to use an iPhone X).

Look for a machine based on your skill and willingness to learn, and work your way up from there.

Manual Espresso Machines vs Automatic Espresso Machines

Another important difference to consider here is manual vs. automatic.

If you’ve looked into any manual espresso machine reviews and then compared them to super-automatic espresso machines or any other automatic espresso machine consumer reviews before, you might have found that there is a bit of a difference between the two, how they operate, and how easy it is to use them.

Manual machines are usually void of most or all electronic components, making them much more versatile to use in different places.

But they do more than that.

They also give you more control over the pressure being applied while making the espresso, which can be both a blessing and a curse with such a temperamental drink.

Automatic models, on the other hand, control the process much more rigidly and give you less room for adjustment.

However, they can also be the best way to get a steady, dependable cup of coffee morning, noon, and night. 

What Coffee to Use

You might be wondering what the best coffee brand for espresso is – and while there are endless lists of good coffee brands out there, each superior for one reason or another, you can use quite a wide variety of beans in the espresso-making process.

Many of the options will be dictated by the kind of machine you choose.

Generally speaking, however, medium roasts and less oily beans tend to work better overall.

Here’s an article we pulled together with the best coffee beans, highlighting the ones that are good for espresso.


THE VERDICT: Our Espresso Machine Reviews Choose THIS as the winner...

And there we have it, our top ten home espresso makers for 2018.

Our personal pick for the winner of the roundup and our favorite home espresso maker of 2018, is the Breville Barista Express BES870XL Programmable Espresso Machine!

breville barista express

A perfect blend between professionalism and home use, this machine breaks the mold, allowing you to turn your kitchen into a virtual coffee house every time you make an espresso.

What’s your choice?

Leave a comment and tell us what espresso maker you’re thinking of using, or your favorite espresso maker you’ve ever used.

Heck, tell us which one you’ll buy that metaphorical day you win the lottery and can take your pick!

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