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7 Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Dual boilers are at the top of the heap for espresso machines. Not only can you brew and steam simultaneously, but you have precise control over both processes. Serious espresso and cappuccino lovers should settle for nothing less. 

Spending a small fortune on a top-of-the-line model is possible, but it is not mandatory. With more brands offering double-boiler espresso machines, there is something for everyone. Whether you prioritize high performance, cool style, affordable price, or ease of use, one of these seven great dual-boiler espresso machines will meet your latte needs.

At A Glance:

  1. OUR TOP PICK: La Marzocco GS3 MP
  2. AMAZING VALUE: Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus
  3. EASY TO USE: Breville Dual Boiler

The 7 Best Dual-Boiler Espresso Machines in 2023

The espresso machines on this list all share a common feature: separate steam and brew boilers. But beyond that, they’re a diverse collection of espresso machines. No matter your budget or needs, we’re confident there’s a dual-boiler espresso machine with your name on it!

image product details
Best Overall Best Overall La Marzocco GS3 MP La Marzocco GS3 MP
  • 1.5 L Brew boiler
  • 3.5 L Steam boiler
  • Rotary Pump
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Runner Up Runner Up Lelit Bianca V3 Lelit Bianca V2
  • 800 mL Brew boiler
  • 1.5 L Steam boiler
  • Rotary Pump
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Budget Pick Budget Pick Lelit Elizabeth V3 Profitec Pro 300
  • 0.33 L Brew boiler
  • 0.75 L Steam boiler
  • Vibratory Pump
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Easiest to Use Easiest to Use Breville Dual Boiler Breville Dual Boiler
  • 0.3 L Brew boiler
  • 0.95 L Steam boiler
  • Vibratory Pump
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Best for Small Spaces Best for Small Spaces HSD-SILVIA-PRO-X-BL Rancilio Silvia Pro X
  • 0.3 L Brew boiler
  • 1 L Steam boiler
  • Vibratory Pump
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Great Value Great Value Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus
  • 0.8 L Brew boiler
  • 1.8 L Steam boiler
  • Rotary Pump
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Most Stylish Most Stylish Bezzera Matrix DE Bezzera Matrix DE
  • 0.44 L Brew boiler
  • 1 L Steam boiler
  • Rotary Pump
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1. La Marzocco GS3 MP – Best Overall

Specifications

  • Brew boiler size: 1.5 L

  • Steam boiler size: 3.5 L
  • Pump type: Rotary
  • Water reservoir: 3.5 L
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 35.5 x 40 x 53 cm 

The La Marzocco GS3 MP costs nearly US$8000, which puts it out of reach for most of us. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get credit as the best dual boiler of the year. Because if you can afford it, you will get your money’s worth.

The GS3 is suitable for home users or small coffee shops. This is thanks to its sizeable stainless-steel boilers, NSF rating, and world-renowned La Marzocco build-quality (1). The GS3’s beautiful, customizable design will make it the focal point of your home or business.

The defining feature of this espresso machine is the manual paddle (MP). For low-pressure pre-infusion and pressure profiling, you can manually adjust brew pressure between 0 and 9 bars. A new upgrade is the pressure gauge on the group head for instant feedback. Mexican barista Fabrizio Sención explains the value of these features (2).

It benefits how we approach and extract espresso, and helps us to ensure that all the grounds are evenly saturated with water.

Marzocco also upgraded the steam wand with a Teflon insert, which maintains a professional wand’s powerful, dry steam while keeping the exterior cool. The GS3 now has WiFi connectivity and an associated app that makes operating it easier than ever.

This impressive machine has dozens of other exciting features. So if you can stomach the price tag, read our full review of the La Marzocco GS3.

2. Lelit Bianca V2 – Runner Up

Specifications

  • Brew boiler size: 0.8 L

  • Steam boiler size: 1.5 L
  • Pump type: Rotary
  • Water reservoir: 2.5 L
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 40 x 29 x 40 cm

If you want the flow profiling capabilities of the GS3 in a more affordable package, the Lelit Bianca V2 is the machine for you. That’s why we chose it as our Runner Up; it’s the high-performance espresso maker for the rest of us.

The Bianca has smaller boilers and a more compact design than the GS3, making it better suited for home use. A neat touch is the moveable external water reservoir that can sit on the back or side of the machine, making it easier to find a spot in your kitchen.

The E61 group head is capped with a flow control paddle for pre-infusion and manual flow profiling.

Dual PID temperature controls let you set a specific steaming and brewing temperature, quickly done with the vibrant digital display. You also have the option to deactivate the steam boiler, which will improve efficiency when brewing only.

The La Marzocco GS3 is the superior machine on paper, but for most serious home espresso enthusiasts, the Lelit Bianca has everything you need.

3. Profitec Pro 300 – Budget Pick

Specifications

  • Brew boiler size: 0.33 L

  • Steam boiler size: 0.75 L
  • Pump type: Vibration
  • Water reservoir: 3 L
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 38.5 x 25.5 x 41.5 cm

If you want the brewing and steaming functionality of a dual-boiler espresso machine without breaking the bank, it’s hard to go past German brand Profitec. Their espresso machines are known for being both well-built and well-priced, and the Profitec Pro 300 is their cheapest option.

The brew boiler is PID controlled, with the current temperature displayed on the panel next to the portafilter. Once you start pulling a shot, the display will automatically switch to a shot timer. On the other side of the portafilter, there’s a pressure gauge. If you don’t plan on steaming milk, you can switch the steam boiler off and use this as a single boiler for a more efficient start up.

The payoff for the good price is the small steam boiler size, which at just 750 ml is smaller than any other on this list. It only presents an issue if you want to make a lot of milk based drinks in succession, and the plus side is that it’s quicker to heat up – it’s ready to go in just 10 minutes.

4. Breville Dual Boiler – Easiest to Use

Specifications

  • Brew boiler size: 0.3 L

  • Steam boiler size: 0.95 L
  • Pump type: Vibration
  • Water reservoir: 2.5 L
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 37.7 x 40.8 x 37.8 cm

The Breville Dual Boiler (BDB) is unique among espresso machines, and it has a bit of a cult following for that reason. It combines the features of a prosumer model – two boilers, PID temperature control, programmable pre-infusion, and a 58 mm basket – with the user-friendly feel Breville home espresso machines are known for. And it does it at a very reasonable price!

The BDB is an automatic espresso machine that allows you to program single and double-shot doses by volume or time – or you can operate it like a semi-automatic espresso machine if you want to be more hands-on. It has automated cleaning and descaling cycles and heats up in a fraction of the time of most double boiler machines, and these features make it a joy to use and own.

The trade-off is it lacks the build quality of a prosumer model. While the casing is a solid brushed stainless steel, the interior components aren’t commercial grade, and this is purely a home machine.

5. Rancilio Silvia Pro X – Best for Small Spaces

Specifications

  • Brew boiler size: 0.3 L

  • Steam boiler size: 1 L
  • Pump type: Vibration
  • Water reservoir: 2 L
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 39 x 25 x 42 cm 

The Rancilio Silvia Pro X is the narrowest dual boiler espresso machine we’ve encountered, less than 10″ wide. If you have limited counter space but don’t want to make any sacrifices regarding your morning coffee, this is the machine for you.

The original Rancilio Silvia single-boiler espresso machine has been around for decades and has always been among the most popular prosumer espresso machines. So there was much excitement in 2020 when Rancilio launched the Silvia Pro, which adds a second boiler and a few other long-awaited updates. Though the brew boiler measures only 0.3 L, Andrew Bettis of Rancilio Group claims its performance is above average (3).

It produces temperature consistency that is right up there with the best available. It can basically take as much espresso volume as you can throw at it.

Upgrades to the Silvia Pro X include a PID temperature controller that doubles as a shot timer, a pressure gauge, an adjustable soft-infusion stage, and a professional stainless steel portafilter. The Silvia Pro X has also been given a much-needed aesthetic improvement. It’s available in traditional stainless steel, matte black, white, or pink.

6. Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus – Great Value

Specifications

  • Brew boiler size: 0.8 L

  • Steam boiler size: 1.8 L
  • Pump type: Rotary
  • Water reservoir: 2.3 L
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 41.9 x 33 x 44.5 cm

The Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus might be the most underrated dual boiler espresso machine on the market. It’s almost like it’s being neglected because of its reasonable price. But don’t be fooled; this is an impressive double boiler machine that should probably cost more. Scoop one up before anyone catches on! 

The Alex Duetto has two large copper boilers, dual PID temperature control, two pressure gauges for monitoring brew and steam pressure, a rotary vane pump, and a classic E61 group head (4). The group head has been raised in the latest edition, making this one of the best machines for accommodating larger mugs, with up to 6 inches of clearance between the group and drip tray.

The build quality is top-of-the-line. The front panel has been reinforced to better support the hefty E61 group. The back and sides are double-walled for improved heat insulation. This offers the double benefit of keeping your kitchen from heating up while improving the machine’s energy efficiency.

7. Bezzera Matrix DE – Most Stylish

Specifications

  • Brew boiler size: 0.44 L

  • Steam boiler size: 1 L
  • Pump type: Rotary
  • Water reservoir: 4 L
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 41.9 x 31 x 47 cm

Many prosumer espresso machines share a common aesthetic, often described as the “chrome box look.” To please customers looking for something out of the ordinary or better matched to their decor, manufacturers sometimes add powder-coated finishes or coloured accents. But Bezzera has gone above and beyond with the Matrix DE. 

The Matrix DE features colourful light-up glass side panels and beautiful rosewood accents. A full-colour touchscreen display provides access to its many features, including changing the colour of the panels to suit any whim.

We could just as quickly award this dual-boiler espresso machine for its brewing chops.

It has not two but three PIDs to control the temperature in the brew and steam boilers and at the electrically heated group head.

The result is remarkable temperature stability and accuracy (5). It also offers programmable volumetric controls for four different shot volumes, an automatic pre-infusion, automated backflushing, and the ability to program a start-up time. 

This is an advanced, high-performance automatic espresso machine with a futuristic look to match!

How to Choose the Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

There are a few important factors to consider when choosing the right dual boiler machine for your home or business. These include how much espresso you brew daily, how much space you have, and whether you plan to plumb it directly to a water line – among other things. This buyer’s guide will walk you through the decision.

Why are Boiler Size and Material important?

The size and material of the dual boilers in your espresso machine will impact the user experience. There is no right or wrong choice, but one is likely more suited for your needs.

Brew Boiler Size

The size of the brew boiler dictates how many shots you can pull back-to-back. Smaller brew boilers can only heat enough water for a few shots before they need time to refill and recover. This is a disadvantage in high-volume situations, so they aren’t the best choice for commercial machines or busy households of espresso lovers. On the other hand, a smaller brew boiler heats up faster, gives the machine a smaller footprint, and lowers costs. It’s a better choice for lighter users.

Steam Boiler Size

The steam boiler’s size also influences capacity. Bigger steam boilers can steam for longer without needing time to reheat. They also produce higher steam pressure, allowing for faster milk steaming. Again, they make sense in high-volume situations – for example, you must prepare four large milk-based drinks quickly.

The flip side is that larger steam boilers lead to massive espresso machines that cost a lot and take a long time to heat up. A 1 to 2 L boiler is plenty for the average user, and the boiler temperature and steam wand tip can also influence steam pressure from a smaller boiler.

Copper, Stainless Steel, or Brass?

Many metals can be used for boilers, but stainless steel and copper are the most common at the prosumer espresso machine level. You may also see brass in the lower-cost options.

  • Copper has excellent thermal properties; it is good at conducting and retaining heat and is also naturally antimicrobial. However, copper is expensive and less resistant to corrosion and the build-up of scale.
  • Stainless steel has a lower thermal conductivity than copper. It is widely used because it is corrosion-resistant and more affordable.
  • Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and it is less conductive than copper alone but also less expensive and easier to work with. They use it in cheaper machines with small brew boilers.

Rotary Pump vs. Vibration Pump

Dual boiler machines rely on either a rotary or a vibration pump to achieve the extraction pressure required unless it’s a manual machine. Both are equally capable of achieving the high pressures needed, but there are differences between them that influence user experience.

Espresso machines with rotary pump can be plumbed directly to a water line. This is convenient because you don’t need to worry about filling the water tank, and it allows for accurate, line-pressure pre-infusion. The downside to rotary pumps is that they are larger and more expensive.

Vibration pumps are smaller and less expensive. But as you might guess from the name, they vibrate. So espresso machines with vibration pumps are usually louder. That said, advances in sound-dampening technology have improved this in recent years.

Do you have enough space for a dual-boiler machine?

Dual-boiler espresso machines are inevitably large. The dual boiler design guarantees it. But they still come in a wide range of sizes. 

Think about where you plan to house your espresso machine before making a purchase. Options like the Breville Dual Boiler are wider and shorter, making them more practical for fitting under upper cupboards. Others, like the Silvia Pro X, are very narrow and more suitable for limited counter space. Then there are massive machines like the La Marzocco GS3 that demand a dedicated espresso bar.

The Verdict

If you take espresso and milk-based drinks seriously, there is no substitute for a double-boiler espresso machine. It is the only way to achieve the precise temperature control needed to get the best from your specialty coffee. 

The La Marzocco GS3 MP is our top pick if money is no object. With manual flow profiling, huge stainless steel boilers, a new-and-improved steam wand, and that iconic La Marzocco build quality and design, there is little this machine can’t do. If you can’t justify spending your kid’s college fund on a coffee machine, our Runner Up, the Lelit Bianca, packs many of the same features into a far more affordable package.

La Marzocco GS3 MP

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FAQs

A heat exchanger espresso machine is another way to brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously without needing two boilers. Instead, a single boiler is designed to have a lower-temperature region for brewing water and a higher-temperature region for steam. They are less expensive than double boilers but offer poorer temperature stability and control.

PID temperature control digitally controls brew and steam temperature using a continuous feedback loop (6). This modern development offers better temperature stability than older pressure stat designs and lasts longer. However, it is more expensive.

The best 2-group espresso machine depends on the needs of your cafe. At Home Grounds, we especially love the iconic La Marzocco Strada or the modern Slayer Steam commercial espresso machine. Both have the necessary features to produce an incredible espresso shot and are beautiful focal points for a coffee shop.

  1. Brown, N. (2014, December 18). La Marzocco Banking on High-End Home Brewing Growth with New Home Division. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2014/11/18/la-marzocco-banking-on-high-end-home-brewing-growth-with-new-home-division/
  2. Grant, T. (2020, July 29). How Flow Profiling Affects Espresso Extraction. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/07/how-flow-profiling-impacts-espresso-coffee-extraction/
  3. Bryman, H. (2021, December 2). Rancilio Adds Silvia Pro X to Homeline, New Grinders for Cafes. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2021/12/02/rancilio-adds-silvia-pro-x-to-homeline-new-grinders-for-cafes/
  4. Burton, G. (2011, January 11). The E61 Group Head: An Oldie but a Goodie. Retrieved from https://fivesenses.com.au/blogs/news/the-e61-group-head-an-oldie-but-a-goodie
  5. Stanley, Z. (2022, June 20). How does temperature stability affect espresso extraction? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2022/06/how-does-temperature-stability-affect-espresso/
  6. La Marzocco Home. (2015, October 15). A Brief History of the PID. Retrieved from https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/history-of-the-pid/
Julia Bobak
I love trail running, rock climbing, coffee, food, and my tiny dog — and writing about all of them. I start every morning with a fresh Americano from my home espresso machine, or I don’t start it at all.

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