Whether you’re an espresso aficionado or a beginner in all things coffee, the best espresso machines can help you create high-quality espresso drinks right in the comfort of your own home. Many models come with useful features like built-in automatic milk frothers (great for whipping up lattes and cappuccinos) and other barista-approved accessories that make brewing a breeze. Some models are lightweight and portable enough to easily move around the house or bring with you while traveling. If you’re on the hunt for a machine that will deliver coffee-shop-level drinks, we spoke with coffee experts for their espresso machine buying tips.
How to choose the best espresso machine
When choosing the best espresso machine, experts agree that you should consider space, budget, purpose, and any cool features you’d like to use.
“Definitely think about how much effort you’re willing to put in the morning,” Sebastian Ventura, director of education for New York–based Colombian coffee company Devoción, tells SELF. Ventura says that if you want just to press a button and go, an automatic espresso machine may work best for you. Alternatively, if you’re interested in a more hands-on experience, a semi-automatic machine may be a better fit. “A semi-automatic machine allows you to manipulate all aspects of brewing and achieve a balanced espresso to your tastes,” adds Ventura. If you want a machine that can brew and steam simultaneously, go for a dual-boiler espresso machine.
Cary Wong, director of coffee at Partners Coffee, suggests looking for temperature control and stabilization when picking out an espresso machine. “In order to get the best out of the coffee, temperature consistency is one of the key factors in a great-tasting espresso,” says Wong. Overall, the best espresso machines are “user-friendly and not intimidating to operate at home,” he adds.
It’s not just about choosing the best espresso machine: Experts also stress that you shouldn’t forget to purchase a high-quality coffee grinder if your espresso maker does not already have a built-in grinder. A coffee grinder helps crush coffee beans into grounds that can then be brewed. “There is so much focus on the espresso machine when setting up a brew bar, but a great grinder is also essential,” Anita Tam, Specialty Coffee Association judge and CEO of Slow Pour Supply, tells SELF. “So including that into your budget is important too.”
How to pick the right coffee for your espresso machine
When picking out coffee for your espresso maker, look for a slightly heavier roast profile, “either a medium or dark roast, depending on your flavor preference,” Lyndia McGauhey, head of training and development at Verve Coffee Roasters, tells SELF. She also says that you don’t need to look for the word ‘espresso’ on the bag. “That simply indicates that it fits the roast category,” she explains. When choosing, she typically likes to go for a blend of two to three coffees to help add more complexity and structure.
“That said, espresso offers a vast array of flavors, and it’s okay to have fun and be playful!” McGauhey says. “Do remember that two different coffees will pull differently, so you may need to spend some time dialing in your parameters if you change coffees frequently.”
The best espresso machines
To help you choose the best espresso machine for you, we tapped coffee experts for their picks, broken down by different price points. Below, you’ll find their top picks from high-quality brands like Breville, Nespresso, Cuisinart, De’Longhi, and La Marzocca, available at retailers including Amazon, Williams Sonoma, and Sur La Table.
Budget-Friendly Espresso Machines
Espresso machines don’t have to cost a ton of money. If you’re new to the world of espresso or are just looking for inexpensive options, here are some highly rated picks that can help get the job done without breaking the bank.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
With over 18,00 Amazon reviews, this budget-friendly option is a cult favorite because of its convenience and ease of use. Small but mighty, with this lightweight gadget, “you can brew just about any kind of coffee; strong Americano-style beverages or iced coffee or just a regular old filter brew,” Oodie Taliaferro, president of the Austin Coffee Collective, previously told SELF. It uses a rapid brewing process to make drinks in no time—simply add ground coffee, stir, and press.
Imusa Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (4-Cup)
From rich espressos and coffees to velvety-smooth macchiatos and lattes, this highly rated model is loved for its handy features and affordable price tag. This lightweight pick is able to brew four servings of espresso at a time. It has light indicators (so you know exactly when your drink is ready to enjoy), a removable drip tray (to help catch any spills), and an easy-to-use milk frother for foamy drinks.
Bialetti Moka Stovetop Espresso Maker (6-Cup)
Affordable and easy to use, this Italian stovetop espresso maker has remained a popular pick for many, many years. In fact, it’s “most likely the coffee maker your grandma had in the kitchen,” Casey Wojtalewicz, founder of Canyon Coffee in LA, previously told SELF. This longtime favorite, which comes in three different sizes, can brew high-quality espresso in a matter of minutes and be used on glass and electric stovetops. Pro tip: To prevent burning, Wojtalewicz advises using the Moka pot with medium or low heat and keeping an eye on it during the brewing process.
Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
With over 1,600 highly rated Amazon reviews, this portable espresso machine does the job without the high price tag of similar models. Its extra-large portafilter allows you to whip up four shots of espresso at a time, and its stainless steel frothing pitcher makes frothing milk a piece of cake. The included coffee scoop and water cup, complete with measurement markings, means you have more precise brewing.
Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine by De’Longhi
Simplicity and consistency are two factors to consider when deciding on an at-home espresso maker. Life can be hectic, “so your machine should easily be able to provide a quality shot of espresso each time,” Nick Newbill, head of marketing at 7 Brew Coffee and former barista, tells SELF. Keeping these important tips in mind, we recommend this user-friendly Nespresso machine, which heats up in 25 seconds, features an energy-saving automatic shutoff, and has a folding drip tray to catch any messes. Even better? Each espresso maker comes with complimentary Nespresso capsules.
Chefman 6-in-1 Easy Brew Espresso Machine
Mitalee Bharadwaj and Lisa Yala, cofounders of Transcendence Coffee, say that being a home barista is “definitely an undertaking,” but can be a lot of fun once you get the hang of it and start brewing coffee you love. Their best advice is to consider your needs and interests when choosing how automatic or manual you want your machine to be. If you’d like a more hands-on brewing experience, we recommend this affordable all-in-one stainless steel option by Chefman. Featuring an extra large water reservoir, one-touch presets, a built-in automatic milk frother, and 15-bar pump pressure, this machine makes customized coffee-shop-worthy beverages with little to no effort. Double shots of espresso coming right up!
Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Coffee Maker
Ander Lehto, general manager at The Wild, a full-service coffee and cocktail concept in Denver, uses the Cuisinart Premium Single Serve Coffee Maker. Both compact and portable, this programmable machine works well for all different experience levels. “It definitely works for those who have a busy lifestyle,” says Lehto. With this machine, you can use K-cup coffee capsules or its HomeBarista filter cup, which allows you to fill it up with ground coffee or tea of your choice.
L’Or Barista System Coffee and Espresso Machine
Turn your kitchen into a French café with the L’Or Barista System. Ideal for people with busy schedules, this espresso machine uses pods that you can pop in quickly to create the perfect cup of coffee or espresso (topped with smooth crema) each time. Even better, it heats up in just 20 seconds and can brew six different sizes of drinks using its dual-capsule recognition technology. Whether you live alone or need a versatile machine for the whole family, this design-forward model has you covered.
Gevi Professional Espresso Machine
A perfect match for smaller kitchens, this compact Gevi espresso machine comes with versatile features. We especially love its Thermoblock Fast Heating System and nifty pressure gauge, which allows you to make perfect drinks in less than a minute, and its hot water function that can be used for preparing tea and instant soups. Be sure to also take advantage of the adjustable steam wand, which comes in handy when you’re in the mood for a latte or cappuccino.
Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
No space, no problem. You can make high-quality espresso with this ultra-compact machine that can fit in even the smallest of kitchens. It uses a 19-bar pressure pump to create a rich, full-bodied taste and has an energy-saving function that kicks in after nine minutes of inactivity. Both portable and lightweight, this machine also works well for road trips and hotel stays.
Espresso Machines Under $600
There are also plenty of higher-end espresso machines that sit below the $600 price point. Whether you’re ready to take your espresso-making to the next level or need something with a few more features, these options can help you achieve the perfect cup of espresso regardless of how much experience you may have.
Gaggia Classic Pro
Bharadwaj and Yala describe this pick as “a great espresso machine that’s also very modular, so you can easily make upgrades and replacements.” The Gaggia Classic Pro, which has been popular for decades, uses a commercial-style portafilter, steam wand, and double-shot baskets to create espresso you (or your guests) won’t soon forget. It also heats up in roughly 30 seconds, which is especially helpful during sleepy mornings when you need to get caffeinated ASAP.
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
Breville has become synonymous with high-quality kitchen appliances for a reason—its products are top-of-the-line. Jiyoon Han, Q grader, barista, and co-owner of Bean & Bean Coffee, is particularly a fan of the Breville Bambino Plus, which she says is “approachable for beginners” and is great “to make café-quality beverages at home.” Equipped with an automatic microfoam milk texturing system, it consistently churns out top-notch espresso shots and velvety-smooth froth for a foamy finish. It’s also small enough to fit in kitchens with limited storage or countertop space.
Demi Natoli, beverage director for Graduate Nashville, also highly recommends this brand. Natoli’s Breville espresso machine of choice is the Breville Infuser, which she says is “quick, quiet, and doesn’t take up too much counter space.” Natoli also points out that cleanup with this machine is “really easy,” making it great for everyday use.
De’Longhi La Specialista Arte
According to Wong, the De’Longhi La Specialista Arte is a great approachable home espresso machine with excellent temperature control. “I love that it comes with tools that a barista would use in the café,” he says. Say, for instance, a commercial machine-style steam wand for latte art. This option checks off all boxes with a sleek stainless steel design, and detachable, dishwasher-safe parts. Make sure to use the included descaler (a cleaning solution specifically formulated for coffee and espresso machines to help get rid of buildup) to keep it in tip-top shape.
Splurge-Worthy Espresso Machines
If you’re an espresso enthusiast wanting to invest in a top-of-the-line espresso maker or are looking for an espresso machine with all the bells and whistles, then these higher-price models may do the trick. Although expensive, these machines are often used in coffee shops around the world—so you know you’re getting a high-quality brew each time.
Breville Barista Pro
Josey Markiewicz, senior director of the café at La Colombe, likes the Breville Barista Pro because of its ease of use and relatively compact design. “It has an onboard grinder and detachable hopper, which is spectacular because, as we all know, the grinder is the most important tool in our coffee toolkit,” says Markiewicz. This model comes in six different colors and is also equipped with a swivel steam wand and frothing nozzle, perfect for those mornings when you feel like a latte or cappuccino. It also has an impressive three-second heat-up time.
If you’re looking for a Breville model that offers even more, then Cortes, a barista and assistant manager at Cafe Grumpy’s Coral Gables location, recommends the pricier Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL because it doesn’t require heavy maintenance for normal use and is easy to take apart and clean. It also comes with a ton of useful accessories including dual wall filter baskets, an integrated tamper, and a water filter. “My favorite thing about it is that you can schedule a timer on the machine, and the machine will be ready to brew by the time you need it,” says Cortes. This especially is helpful during weekends or busy mornings before heading off to work.
Rancilio Silvia Pro X
If you want to step up your espresso game, this is the machine to buy. Ventura says that this espresso maker is a good fit for most levels of home-brewers because of its many built-in features, including auto back flushing, a shot timer, and a programmable auto-on function. “The Pro X also has a pre-infusion option, which helps the water to evenly saturate and extract coffee for optimum balance,” Ventura adds.
La Marzocco Linea Mini
Although La Marzocco espresso machines are very costly, they are some of the most beloved and sought-after models on the market by experts and home brewers alike. “My dream home espresso machine is a Linea Mini,” says McGauhey. McGauhey particularly likes that this manual machine is made with commercial components that “stand the test of time.”
Tam points out that La Marzocco is the “industry standard” and is used in a lot of high-volume commercial settings. This particular model has dual boilers, which is great to have for better espresso extraction and milk frothing capability. It also has a convertible portafilter, which lets you quickly switch between single-spout (great for single-cup brewing), double-spout (when you need to brew two cups at once), and bottomless portafilters (which allows you to see right into your filter basket) in just seconds.
Suppose you’re interested in a La Marzocco espresso machine, but need something slightly more affordable. In that case, there’s also the Linea Micra ($3,900), which comes recommended by Caitlin Burke, the beverage director of Maman. “It’s a super compact version from the same Linea family of machines we started using eight years ago at Maman,” says Burke. “So, for me, it is very intuitive and easy to use and has more power than most at-home espresso machines I’ve tried.” This stylish, compact model features a dual-boiler system, PID control (this helps better regulate brewing variables, such as temperature and pressure), and a speedy heat-up time, so you know you’ll always be crafting café-quality coffee and espresso.