There’s nothing quite like starting your day with a warm cup of coffee, particularly when it’s an espresso. Its aroma, flavor, and pick-me-up are hard to beat. The first espresso machines were created in the 1800s and their popularity soon soared across Europe, making the espresso one of the world’s most consumed beverages.
Previously, coffee connoisseurs could only savor their favorite espresso at cafes. However, in 1961, the game changed with the introduction of the Faema E61, the first semi-automatic espresso machine. This revolutionized coffee consumption, making espresso widely accessible. Today there are dozens of espresso machine brands each intent on making the perfect cup of espresso, and plenty of models that allow you to make your daily espresso from the comfort of your own home.
We’re here to guide you through the top home espresso machine brands, ranking them from good to best. While every machine on this list represents premium quality, certain brands stand out due to their innovative features, warranty, user-friendliness, and, unquestionably, their ability to deliver the perfect espresso. Here are the major espresso machine brands ranked worst to best.
Mueller has carved a niche for itself in the espresso universe, even though it’s one of the more recent entrants. Primarily an online hub for kitchen gadgets and appliances, its branded espresso machines have been making waves among aficionados in search of a better cup.
While Mueller’s offerings might not be top-of-the-line, they are a fantastic stepping stone for espresso rookies. These machines strike a balance between affordability and functionality, making it simple for novices to craft their first espresso. Plus, the built-in grinder transforms them into an all-in-one brewing station. Simplicity is Mueller’s strength. The machines are easier to use than most and have easy-to-use controls.
To sum it up, Mueller delivers a splendid coffee experience right at home. It might not rival the ultra-premium machines, but unless you have an exceptionally discerning palate, the difference is subtle. Priced around $400, Mueller is the ideal pick for those dipping their toes into the espresso world who want the convenience of a quality in-home espresso machine without the price tag of a higher-end model.
Nespresso is practically everywhere in the global coffee landscape. Stroll through any coffee section, and it’s almost certain you’ll spot the Nespresso logo. What began as a luxury brand has evolved into a global giant, reshaping the espresso experience with its pioneering pod system. These sealed pods offer coffee lovers freshly ground coffee anytime, right at home. Simplicity is at the heart of Nespresso machines, with minimalistic button designs and easy pod loading.
However, it’s not been all smooth sailing. Owned by Nestlé, Nespresso once held an iron grip over the pod espresso domain. Yet, challenges arose — from legal tussles with third-party pod manufacturers (which Nestlé lost) to scrutiny over the environmental impact of their pods. In response to environmental concerns, Nespresso transitioned to primarily aluminum pods, which are recyclable. But, due to traces of other materials in the pods, recycling is restricted to specific facilities.
Despite the controversy, Nespresso machines are still one of the most popular — and convenient — ways to have a freshly brewed espresso with literally only a press of a button.
9. Mr. Coffee
One of the most common coffee machines found on kitchen counters in America is the Mr. Coffee drip system. It’s simple, reliable, and does the job. The company has branched out into the espresso market with a similar approach to coffee.
Mr. Coffee’s espresso machines are affordable and easy to use. With an entry price point of around $50, the Mr. Coffee brand espresso machines allow anyone to enjoy coffee from the comfort of their home. They’re user-friendly and have a wide variety of convenient features that anyone can master. Their simpler versions allow users to simply fill up the reservoir with water and coffee grounds, then press a button for freshly made espresso. The more feature-heavy versions can also include reservoir milk holders for automatic milk frothing, used for preparing cappuccinos and lattes.
Mr. Coffee has built a reputation for delivering cost-effective, easy-to-operate products. It’s not advanced enough to coax out the highest levels of flavor, but for the price, Mr. Coffee makes excellent budget espresso machines for users who simply want a nice cup of espresso without any fuss.
Calphalon is a globally renowned brand known for its kitchen appliances. Established in the 1960s, they initially excelled in producing premium aluminum cookware, supplying the restaurant industry. With time, their innovation led them to diversify, introducing electronic appliances, including espresso machines. While relatively new to the world of espresso, Calphalon uses its vast industry experience and reputation for crafting top-tier kitchen products. Their espresso machines reflect this commitment to excellence. Currently, they present three distinct models, each catering to different needs and budgets:
The premium model costs around $800 and is constructed from stainless steel. This machine is equipped with a combined grinder and steam wand. It includes features typically found in professional restaurant-grade espresso machines but is available at a mid-tier price point. The mid-range model costs $500 and mirrors the premium model but omits the built-in grinder, resulting in a more economical price. Designed for simplicity, the budget model costs $300. It is a sleek, no-frills home espresso machine that is ideal for those seeking an affordable option.
All of Calphalon’s espresso machines are designed for home use and have a range for most budgets. Their espresso machines are also a good choice for beginners and intermediate coffee brewers.
Made in Italy, Lelit holds a prominent position among top-tier espresso machine manufacturers. While it may be one of the smaller Italian brands, Lelit has made a name for itself by crafting high-caliber machines. The company takes pride in its Italian roots and every Lelit machine is designed and manufactured in Italy.
Given the quality Lelit upholds, their machines come with a premium price tag. They fit the needs of businesses and quaint cafes. However, their cost might place them beyond the reach of the average household unless they have considerable disposable income or have been saving up for one. The Victoria, Lelit’s entry-level model, costs about $1,000, while their flagship, the Bianca, can be priced upward of $3,000. For such an investment, owners receive a café-grade espresso machine laden with top-notch features. Lelit’s machines are known for their precision in temperature regulation via electronic sensors, strong stainless steel construction, and sleek design.
They’re not as large as industrial-designed espresso machines, but they produce the same quality in a compact and aesthetically pleasing design. The higher-end model comes with carved wooden handles and knobs while their entry-level products use plastic in their design.
Rancilio is an Italian brand that has been making espresso machines since 1927 and has since gone global. Starting with its first model, the Regina, the company has consistently adapted to include the latest technology in its designs.
Originally, Rancilio focused on commercial espresso machines. However, in 1997 the brand expanded to offer personal machines for home use in its product line. The Silvia model, in particular, has become a popular choice for homes worldwide. It continues to be updated and improved based on feedback and technological advancements.
A notable feature of Rancilio espresso machines is the integration of advanced electronic controls, including the company’s proprietary iSteam technology. This smart steam wand detects and adjusts to the right temperature to froth milk perfectly for each cup. This is just one example of the integrated tech that Rancilio is known for. The Silvia model is still being produced and upgraded, and the newest iteration can grace your countertop if you’re willing to pay the $800 price tag.
5. La Marzocco
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La Marzocco is an iconic name in espresso machines. Established in 1927 by the Bambi brothers, Giuseppe and Bruno, the brand has consistently delivered outstanding espresso machines for both home and commercial use. Machines produced by La Marzocco were the first to use a horizontal boiler which allowed for faster heating. Horizontal boilers are now considered the industry standard. What makes La Marzocco machines even more impressive is that each machine is made by hand in their factory in Florence, Italy.
Among their vast range of products, the Linea series is the brand’s signature model. It includes a dual boiler system, accurate temperature controls, efficient cleaning mechanisms, and a timeless design. For home enthusiasts, the Linea Micra offers a compact version of this iconic machine. La Marzocco sets itself apart with models that feature professional-grade functionalities. Notably, it is among the select brands offering an integrated app –- the La Marzocco Pro app. This tool provides insightful data analytics and usage tracking while simplifying the maintenance process.
It’s worth noting that such exceptional quality and craftsmanship come with a premium. The machines, especially for home use, carry a price tag that starts at several thousand dollars. Still, for many, the quality justifies the investment.
Jura espresso machines have a sleek, futuristic design that looks like they’ve been pulled right out of a sci-fi movie. Founded in Switzerland in 1931, Jura has been at the forefront of the espresso industry, driven by its innovative approach, commitment to eco-friendly sustainability, and unique design.
The draw of Jura machines isn’t solely in their appearance, their functionality is equally impressive. These machines personify convenience, designed for user-friendly operation and maintenance. A Jura machine has the capability to grind, tamp, brew, and initiate an automatic self-cleaning process, all in a mere 60 seconds.
A standout innovation from Jura is the proprietary P.E.P. system, which stands for pulse extraction process. This system guarantees a full-bodied flavor profile from the coffee by shortening the brew time. Yet, it maintains optimal flavor extraction by pulsating water through the coffee grounds, guaranteeing that the water interacts with the grounds for the ideal duration of time.
Given Jura’s reputation and its cutting-edge technology, its espresso machines come with a premium price tag. Their most budget-friendly model is priced comparably to the top-tier models of other brands, standing at around $1,000. On the other end of the spectrum, the Giga 10 is Jura’s latest release and comes fully loaded with state-of-the-art features typical of a luxury espresso machine for a whopping $5,000.
Gaggia, a renowned Italian coffee brand, is no stranger to coffee connoisseurs. Founded by Achille Gaggia in 1948, its roots in the coffee domain trace back to the 1930s when Achille worked at his family’s cafe. Since then, the brand has made avant-garde espresso machines for both home and commercial use.
One of Gaggia’s standout innovations is its signature piston design, still a hallmark of their machines today. In 1938, the company filed a patent for a device called a Lampo which used water pressure instead of steam to produce the much sought-after crema that espresso is known for. This innovation was followed by a piston-driven espresso machine that could brew espresso in just 25 seconds.
Today, Gaggia’s product line includes both commercial machines and a wide variety of home-use machines as well. For home use, the company provides models with state-of-the-art electronics and touchscreens, giving users complete control over their brewing process, although machines with classic manual controls are also available. Whether you’re a homebrew enthusiast or a commercial business, Gaggia’s quality and craftsmanship make it one of the best names in the business.
Founded in 1902, De’Longhi is an iconic Italian brand recognized for its premium kitchen appliances, particularly its espresso machines. These machines are celebrated not only for their superior design and quality but also for their impeccable espresso delivery.
Priced competitively, De’Longhi’s espresso machines range from an affordable $100 to a high-end $800, offering value unmatched by many top-tier brands. Every machine has strong stainless steel construction, integrated milk frothers, and steamers. The more advanced models are equipped with integrated grinders, easy coffee ground tamping, and sophisticated temperature control. With their sleek designs, De’Longhi machines complement both home countertops and professional cafe settings. The user-friendly design, combined with easily accessible and detachable components, ensures a hassle-free cleaning experience.
What truly distinguishes De’Longhi in the market are its advanced customization options, allowing precise control over temperature and grind size. Paired with one of the industry’s best warranties, a standard 2-year coverage (extendable to 3 years upon product registration), De’Longhi clearly sets the gold standard for espresso machines.
Established in 1932, Breville is an Australian powerhouse that has emerged as one of the leading espresso machine manufacturers globally. Breville holds the distinction of being our top recommendation among the elite espresso machine brands. Several elements elevate Breville above its competitors, not the least of which is its diverse portfolio includes machines priced from a modest $300 to a premium $3,000, catering to a broad spectrum of coffee drinkers.
What sets Breville machines apart is the blend of intuitive functionality and advanced technological features. Notably, it incorporates dual boiler designs—one dedicated to steam and the other to maintain the optimal espresso brewing temperature. Orchestrating these boilers is a sophisticated electronic control system, ensuring each operates at an ideal temperature. The premium espresso machines come with integrated grinders that are equipped with diverse grind settings. These grinders allow users to easily tailor every aspect of their brewing experience. Automation is at the heart of Breville, ensuring that the perfect espresso is but a button press away.
Breville’s commitment to unparalleled espresso is encapsulated in their 4 Keys Formula, a doctrine they believe holds the secret to the quintessential espresso shot. This formula revolves around four pillars: the ideal dose, optimal pressure, precise temperature, and robust steam. Given Breville’s intricate designs, state-of-the-art electronics, and user-centric approach, it’s no wonder they reign supreme in the world of espresso machines.