For those who love coffee, Espresso Machines are the holy grail. Investing in one of these multi-functional machines might be overwhelming considering their price tag. However, if you’re heading off to Starbucks every morning, one of these machines can quickly pay for itself in the money it saves you.
We reviewed dozens of products to identify the best of the best. We considered each espresso machine’s durability, price, extra features, ease of use, quality of the espresso, variety of settings, and accessories included when rating each device.
After looking at dozens of machines, the Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine quickly rose to the top of our list as the best espresso machine money can buy. This system comes with tons of extra features and creates a micro-foam texture every time. Plus, it comes with dozens of accessories, so you’ll have everything you need for a fantastic cup of coffee.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Espresso Machines
|Best Overall||Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine||4.7|
|Best Stovetop||Bialetti 06799 Moka Express StoveTop Coffee Maker||4.4|
|Best Budget Buy||Yabano Espresso Machine||4.3|
|Best Single Serve||Breville BNV420IBL1BUC1||4.6|
|Best Portable||AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker||4.7|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Espresso Machine Overall: Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine
For a smooth cup of espresso every time, you have to pick the Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine. This machine allows you to select the perfect amount of freshly ground coffee to go onto the portafilter, creating the perfect cup to your preferences every time. It also comes with digital temperature control, which delivers water of the ideal temperature to ensure optimal extraction. Its steam wand lets you hand texture the micro-foam for the perfect texture. This specially made steam wand enhances the flavor of the whole cup and allows you to create latte art.
Because of the innovative grinder cradle design, you can grind directly onto the port filter. This feature allows the whole operation to be hands-free. Furthermore, this espresso machine also comes with many different functions, including the ability to do single or double shots, adjustable grind amount, and manual override for most features. It includes all the accessories you need to get started, including filter baskets, coffee scoops, stainless steel milk jug, various cleaning tools, and a water filter.
This machine contains all the bells and whistles, which means that it is quite expensive and requires quite a bit of space. It needs about 34-inches of counter space and is one of the more expensive models we reviewed. However, if you’re looking for a fantastic cup of coffee, you really can’t beat this machine.
Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine Key Features:
- Tons of features
- Various cleaning tools and accessories included
- Hands-free operation
- Microfoam texturing
Best Stovetop Espresso Machine: Bialetti 06799 Moka Express StoveTop Coffee maker
The Bialetti 06799 Moka Express StoveTop Coffee Maker is designed for you to use it on the stovetop. It takes less than five minutes to brew on your stove and creates a rich, strong mocha coffee with a velvety texture. There are a few different sizes available, though we specifically reviewed the 3-cup size. This size makes just enough for two espresso cups with a little bit leftover. The whole thing is made with high-quality, polished aluminum and is a classic Balletto octagon shape. It features a patented valve system and is easy to clean and disassemble. It does come with an optional protection plan for an added fee.
While customers didn’t have many negative things to say about this cup, some people did report receiving a fake machine. Be sure to purchase from the correct seller, which you can do by following the link we provided above. The device supplied by the phony seller is fraught with problems, such as leaching aluminum particles into the coffee while it is brewing.
With that said, customers had some gripes involving the design of this espresso machine. Firstly, the bottom part is difficulty to clean and seems to tarnish quickly on the inside. The safety valve can also cause the coffee to leak while you’re pouring the coffee into your cup.
Bialetti 06799 Moka Express StoveTop Coffee Maker Key Features:
- Many sizes available
- Made of polished aluminum
- Takes 5 minutes or less to brew
- Designed and made in Italy
Best Budget Espresso Machine: Yabano Espresso Machine
If you’re craving espresso, the cheapest way to go about it is to purchase a stovetop model. However, if you want a budget, standalone machine, the Yabano Espresso Machine is the best option. This machine is far cheaper than the competition by hundreds of dollars. However, it still has many of the features you need to make a good cup of espresso. It is effortless to use, even more beginners and doesn’t require much technique or skill. It can make up to four cups of espresso at a time, which should be enough for almost all customers.
Its design is quite compact when compared to other options. If you’re having difficulty with your counter space already, this machine is an excellent option. It also isn’t cumbersome at only 4.7 pounds, so you can easily store it away in between uses if you need to. Of course, it does come with a built-in steam wand, allowing you to create that creamy foam you’re used to at home. The portafilter, nozzle, and drip tray can all be removed for cleaning purposes. Overall, this machine is quite easy to clean, though it doesn’t come with the added cleaning accessories that some devices do.
Yabano Espresso Machine Key Features:
- Steam wand built-in
- Compact design
- Easy to clean with removable parts
- Very easy to use
Best Single Serve Espresso Machine: Breville BNV420IBL1BUC1
For those who just really want a cup of sweet, warm espresso in the morning, you may want to check out the Breville BNV420IBL1BUC1. This machine is similar to a Keurig, but for espresso. It brews a single cup of espresso at a time using pods made by the same company. While it is mostly focused on single-serve, the machine’s settings also allow it to brew more significant options as well. The device automatically calibrates itself based on the pod you put in it and the cup size you choose, taking all the guesswork out of brewing the perfect cup.
The water tank can hold 60 ounces of water and can swivel in various directions to fit your countertop better. The water heats up in only 20-25 seconds and automatically shuts off after 9 minutes.
This machine is perfect for what it was designed to do. However, because it uses pods instead of coffee beans, it gravely restricts the sorts of coffee it can make. If you’re just looking for a yummy cup of coffee, you may find this perfectly suitable. But, if you’re looking to get into making espresso, you should probably look into getting a different machine. Our top pick does single serve as well, so that may be an option if you want to go that route.
Breville BNV420IBL1BUC1 Key Features:
- Uses pods to brew the perfect cup
- Various brewing size options
- Heats water in 20-25 seconds
- Easy to use
Best Portable Espresso Machine: AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
The AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is very different from the other espresso makers we’ve reviewed. It is incredibly small and completely portable. It uses a rapid, total immersion brewing process to create a full-flavored coffee on the go. It is advertised to create a coffee without bitterness and high acidity that is common in other brewing methods. Plus, it doesn’t have a paper microfilter, so clean up only takes a couple of seconds.
It can make 1 to 3 cups of American coffee per pressing in about a minute each. It can also brew espresso for use in cappuccinos and other espresso-based drinks in a similar amount of time. The whole system fits together quickly and can be easily stored in any bag, making it ideal for situations like camping and traveling. The entire thing is only 9 inches tall when completely put together and 4 inches in every other direction.
With that said, this machine is still an excellent option for at-home use as well. It can perform on-par with other devices, so you aren’t sacrificing quality for portability. It takes up zero counter space, of course, so that is something to keep in mind. You can easily store the whole thing in a drawer.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker Key Features:
- Completely portable
- Includes everything you need to start brewing coffee (besides the coffee)
- Can create American coffee and espresso
- Brews low-acidity coffee
Who Should Buy an Espresso Machine
Espresso is unique in the coffee world. If you’re looking to make a cappuccino or other espresso beverage, you have to use real espresso if you want it to taste appropriate. You can’t just substitute regular coffee and expect it to taste as you want it to. If you’re running to Starbucks multiple times a day to get your espresso fix, it’s probably time to invest in a quality espresso machine. These machines can help you create your favorite drinks at home for a fraction of what it costs to consume them when you’re out and about.
With that said, though, espresso machines can be quite expensive and can take up a lot of room on your countertop. You shouldn’t cut corners when purchasing an espresso machine either, so avoid settling for those uber-cheap models unless they have stellar reviews. Espresso machines are best obtained by espresso junkies or those who want to try their hand at some fancy coffee brewing.
If you’re looking for fresh bread to go with your morning coffee, then you may want to check out The Best Bread Machines.
Important Features to Consider
An espresso machine should have a few essential features. Here’s what to consider when selecting an espresso machine for your home:
- Maintenance level. All espresso machines are going to require some level of maintenance. You’re going to have to refill water compartments, remove coffee grounds, empty capsules, and clean drip trays. However, some machines require more maintenance than others. Because you’re only using these espresso machines for your personal use, you probably don’t want one that requires enormous amounts on maintenance every time you use it.
- Ease of use. Espresso can be complicated. Some machines have many different settings, which is excellent if you like experimenting with your coffee, but not so great if you don’t have time to handle all the details. Other machines can have your espresso brewed at the touch of a button, but don’t have very many options in terms of styles and flavors. When it comes to espresso, there is always a give-and-take of ease of use vs. variety.
- Size. Espresso machines take up quite a bit of room in most cases. Many are made to be left on the counter, which means you’ll have to sacrifice a portion of your kitchen permanently to house these machines. With that said, there are smaller options available – and even some units that are completely portable. If space is an issue in your kitchen, be sure to consider the size of the machine you’re purchasing.
- Quality of espresso. Of course, you’re purchasing an espresso machine to make espresso. Because you’re dedicating money and space to these huge machines, you should select one that makes a pretty perfect cup of espresso. In this case, it makes more sense to avoid cutting corners and purchase an ideal model. You may be able to get away with a cheaper option, but their product will not taste as good as it could.
- Time. Just like any other coffee product, espresso machines take a minute to make your espresso. Preferably though, this period shouldn’t be too long. If you’re planning on using the device in the morning before work, you’re going to have significant difficulties if it takes forever to make your cup of espresso.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an espresso machine, and how does it work?
An espresso machine makes espresso, which is used in many different coffee-flavored beverages. One of these machines brews coffee by forcing pressurized hot water through an area of ground coffee, which produces a thick, concentrated coffee – aka espresso.
What is the difference between coffee and espresso?
Coffee and espresso both come from coffee beans. The difference comes from how the ground beans are brewed. Espresso uses finely ground coffee beans that are brewed under pressure. They have little contact with water while they’re brewing. Coffee is made with medium ground coffee beans and uses gravity to drip the water through the coffee grounds. These grounds have more prolonged contact with the water.
How much does an espresso machine cost?
Generally, you’re going to be spending a few hundred dollars on an espresso machine, at least. You can find some smaller, cheaper options. However, the cost of the device is often directly correlated with how good the espresso tastes. If you want good espresso, your best bet is to purchase a more expensive machine. Plus, the more expensive machine also has more features and can make a wider variety of espressos.
Can you make espresso without a machine?
You can make espresso with something like a French press or AeroPress. However, you can’t DIY an espresso machine at home because it requires pressure, and therefore must be in an air-tight container. You will need some sort of device.
Other Espresso Machines We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other espresso machines. Even though they didn’t make our five best espresso machine list, they’re the best of the rest, and each is still an excellent option for your home. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
- Stovetop Espresso Machines
- Single Serve Espresso Machine
- Portable Espresso Machine
- Manual Espresso Machine
With a stay-cool handle and knob lid, this stovetop machine comes with plenty of safety features. It makes six, two-ounce cups at one time, enough for a warm breakfast in bed.
- 6 cup capacity
- 2-year guarantee
- Minimalist design
This classic stovetop espresso machine comes in a few different sizes and works on all sorts of stovetops, including propane camping stoves. It comes in a few different colors and features a wooden handle.
- Multiple colors and sizing options
- Made with food-grade aluminum
- Large soft handle with burn guard
This modern espresso maker makes 9 cups of espresso at a time and comes with coffee measuring spoons. It is effortless to use, especially when compared to other machines.
- 9 cup capacity
- Attractive modern design
- 365-day replacement guarantee
Made with an easy-to-grip handle, this espresso maker comes in the traditional octagon shape. It can hold up to 6 cups at a time and brews espresso in under five minutes.
- Suitable for all stovetops
- Rubberized ergonomic handle
- Holds six demitasse cups
This inexpensive machine can hold up to 6 cups at a time and is crafted out of premium aluminum. It comes with a flame retardant handle and a lever that allows for easy pouring.
- Safety valve to regulate internal pressure
- Easy to use
- 6 cup capacity
This machine is a little bulkier than some other options, but it is also far cheaper. It comes with a one-touch operation and is compatible with Nespresso pods.
- Two brewer settings
- Energy efficient
- Auto shut-off
This espresso maker is very similar to a Keurig. It takes pods and comes with programmable options and pre-sets. It also has a water tank, so you don’t have to fill up the machine every time.
- Transparent water tank
- Visual alerts
- Simple, touch controls
This espresso machine is compact and sleek, ensuring that it won’t take up much room in your kitchen. It is programmable and accepts most capsules.
- Fast capsule disposal
- Adjustable serving sizes
With many color options available, this sleek machine is sure to fit into any kitchen. It comes with a water tank and uses specially made pods.
- Brews five different size beverages
- Single-touch controls
- Very simple to use
This barista-grade machine makes amazing espresso and coffee. It features a decently large tank and heats up to temperature in 25 seconds.
- Three colors available
- Programmable with adjustable serving sizes
- Energy efficient
Producing 15 bars of pressure, this tiny machine is suitable for more espresso lovers. It makes barista-quality espresso, but it is straightforward to carry around while you travel.
- 15 bars of pressure
- Compatible with car chargers
- Fully automatic design
This electric brewing machine is completely portable and can be charged using your average car battery. It is fully automatic and produces up to 15 bars of pressure.
- Espresso is ready in 8 to 12 minutes
- 15 bars of pressure
- Compatible with some pods
Due to innovative leak protection technology, this little machine can produce 20 bar stable pressure. It takes ground coffee as well as espresso capsules.
- Ergonomic design
- Saves 50% more force when compared to others
Made for portability, this tiny machine only weighs 0.97 pounds but can create delicious espresso on the go. It uses Nespresso pods and is also compatible with ground coffee.
- High-quality stainless steel
- 2-year warranty
This small, pod-shaped machine produces 18 bars of pressure for unbeatable coffee extraction. It works best with finely ground coffee and works with some pods.
- Two colors available
- Produces 261 PSI
- Comes apart of easy cleaning
With the ability to use both pods and ground coffee, this is the perfect machine for the traditional espresso enthusiast. It comes with advanced features as well, like the swivel jet frother.
- 15 bar pump pressure
- Self-priming operation
- Stainless steel
This espresso press is 100% human-powered and designed with modern aesthetics. For users who are looking for something different, this is the machine to get.
- Easy to clean
- Fully portable
- 6 to 9 bar
This hand-crafted machine is made in Italy and has a stainless-steel finish with no electric parts. It is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
- 5-year warranty
Made with all-steel, this machine is extremely sturdy. It comes with everything you need to get started, including a cappuccino attachment and a measuring spoon.
- All-steel with heavy chrome plating
- Comes with many accessories
- 1-year warranty
For the true espresso freak, this professional machine has all the bells and whistles. It can hold up to 16 cups at a time and features a steam-pressed piston.
- 1-year warranty
- Huge capacity
- Dual frothing system