When it comes to finding the best espresso machines for home use, you’ll quickly notice that there are so many brands and models to choose from. So many in fact that it can be quite overwhelming.
Luckily we’ve done the research for you so that you can spend more time doing what you like instead of wasting time hunting down an espresso machine to buy for your home.
Why buy an Espresso Machine to use at home?
There are many reasons why you’ll want to buy an espresso machine for your home. In the sections below we’ll go into detail on why you should buy an espresso machine and how it can benefit you.
Buying an Espresso Machine saves you money
First and foremost, who wouldn’t want to save money by buying an home espresso machine? You don’t have to buy an incredibly expensive machine. You can more than make due with a relatively cheap espresso machine that will provide you years of espresso drinks.
Still, investing in a quality espresso machine does mean you have to pay more, but it will actually help you to save a lot more money in the long run.
If you didn’t know already, the average American worker spends over $1000+ a year on coffee! And in 2015, the average price for an espresso based drink is $3.45. According to this average, if you only drank 1 cup of espresso a day during a 5-day work week you’d be spending about $70 a month (tax not included). That’s like an unnecessary additional bill added to your monthly budget!
Now, chances are you pay more for a cup of espresso than the average we’ve listed. Plus, you may drink more than one a day. If you actually sat down and counted up how much you spend a month at the coffee shop, you’d be surprised to see that it adds up to a pretty large amount.
Did you know for a fraction of the cost you could actually make great tasting espresso drinks in the comfort of your own home?
Chances are you probably do know but haven’t really taken it seriously until now. Just ask long time espresso machine owners how much money they’ve saved and you’ll probably see a big smile appear on their face while they give you an answer.
Having an espresso machine in your home will definitely save you more money than you probably even know. Take into consideration other things like the gas spent and the time it takes to physically go to the coffee shop. If you truly want to save more money and make the most of your time and resources, having an espresso machine sitting on your counter is well worth it.
The convenience and benefits of owning an Espresso Machine
Imagine it’s winter season, it’s freezing cold outside and you’re sitting in front of your cherished television with a warm cup of espresso watching your favorite show.
There’s nothing like having something during the cold winter months to keep you warm and toasty. And what’s better than having the ability to have a delicious espresso drink whenever you want during these times? And what’s even better is being able to serve espresso drinks to friends and family who are visiting instead of having to take orders down and make a run to the coffee shop. You’re happy, your guests are happy, and all is right with the world, especially during the holidays!
Having an espresso machine in your home means you can have espresso whenever you want, however you want it. The time and money you’ll save can have a pretty big impact on your life.
- Would you rather wait in line for an espresso drink or wait on the couch for your espresso drink?
- Would you rather drive to the coffee shop or walk to your kitchen?
- Would you rather pull out a debit card every time you want an espresso drink or pull out a cup from the cupboard?
Maybe you’re thinking that making espresso is a complicated and delicate process. In reality, all you need is a good espresso machine, the right coffee, some hot water, and a few minutes of your time. And let’s face it, not every coffee shop will make the espresso you want the way you like it.
When you have your own espresso machine, you’re in complete control. Why pay someone else to make your espresso when you can simply make it exactly how you like it? And do it all from the comfort of your own home.
Why you need to buy a Grinder with your Espresso Machine
When you’re trying to make some great espresso with your new espresso machine at home, you’re going to want to have a really good grinder. The reason being is that without a good grinder that can produce consistently fine grounds, your espresso machine will be a waste of money.
Don’t be tempted into just sticking with the pre-ground or pre-packaged coffee you buy at the store. A grinder is an essential and crucial part when it comes to the espresso making process. The main reason why your espresso shots aren’t performing up to your standards (insufficient crema/bitter tasting) is because you didn’t buy a good coffee grinder for your espresso machine.
Why a grinder is important to make great espresso
If you don’t take the time to understand how to make great espresso, then the process of making it can be tough. Espresso brewing starts with quality ground coffee beans and if you want to produce something that tastes exquisite, then you will need a quality grinder.
If you ask people who have the ability to make great shots of espresso from home what their secret is you’ll learn that it boils down to:
- Good water
- Fresh roasted quality coffee
- An established skillset for making espresso
- A good grinder
The first three in the bullet points listed above are all things that you can easily get ahold of or accomplish over time. The fourth bullet point is the core item that is the center of making great espresso.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to buy a quality grinder to make espresso. That’s why we sound like a broken record. Because it is that important. The grinder is essential to freshly grind the coffee of your choosing into very particular particle sizes that are required for a good extraction.
Depending on your espresso machine budget, you should factor in the cost of a good grinder. Don’t just spend the entire budget on the espresso machine. You should be willing to spend around the same amount for the grinder as you are on an espresso machine.
Here’s a great Grinder Budget Recommendation section so you can understand how to fit a grinder into your espresso machine budget.
Bottom line, you can buy a very expensive espresso machine with no grinder and be disappointed or you can buy an inexpensive espresso machine with a good grinder and make a better shot of espresso than most cafes. The choice is yours.
Note: Some espresso machines do come with grinders. Our Top Pick for the best espresso machine (Breville Barista Express) actually has a burr grinder included, saving you money.
You can check it out here on Amazon or just scroll toward the bottom of the page to read our write-up on it.
Best Coffee Grinders for Espresso Machines
A coffee grinder is definitely one of the most important pieces of equipment for absolutely good espresso shots. A quality grinder will help to ensure that you get an even extraction of flavors and aromas whenever you want to grind some fresh coffee beans.
In this section we’re talking about nothing but the best coffee grinders. These are the best coffee grinders you should buy along with your espresso machine (if you machine doesn’t already include one). When looking through this section, remember to keep in mind the price of the grinder so that it fits within your total espresso machine budget (machine + grinder).
Best Grinder for making espresso – Our Top Picks
Below is our list of the best coffee grinders to buy in order to make the best espresso possible.
The list is broken down starting with the cheapest coffee grinders all the way to the most expensive ones. We can’t tell you which one is right for you or your budget so we highly suggest exploring each option we’ve listed. Only then will you be able to make a decisive purchasing decision that will set you on the road to producing incredible espresso at home.
1. KRUPS GX5000 Professional Electric Coffee Burr Grinder with Grind Size and Cup Selection, 8-Ounce, Black
If you’re looking for a budget grinder that works well and is designed to provide a great flavor, then the KRUPS GX5000 Professional Electric Coffee Burr Grinder is something you should consider. This is a very cheap coffee grinder for those looking for a balance between simple and value.
- Metallic burr grinder
- Burr mill system
- Fineness selector (Extremely fine/Coarse)
- Auto stop safety feature
- Quantity selector
- Anti-static coffee container with lid
- Large capacity hopper
- Removable burr
This is another low price coffee grinder designed to provide you with an easy way to put your coffee beans to good use. It has plenty of options and delivers when it comes to producing an even consistent grind.
- Commercial-grade conical burrs
- 16 grind settings
- Bean container (Holds 8 ½ ounces)
- Ground container (Holds 4 ounces)
- Built-in timer
- Removable bean container and upper burr
- Heavy-duty zinc die-cast housing
- Reduction gearing
The OXO On Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale is a great inexpensive coffee grinder if you’re budget doesn’t allow for the more expensive ones. This is a cheap coffee grinder that packs a lot of great features for the price.
- Integrated scale and strength adjustment
- Conical burr grinder
- Customize you brew by grinding by weight
- Durable stainless steel 40mm burrs
- Built-in overheating prevention
- No-bean detector
- Precise grind selection (Fine for espresso/coarse for French press)
- LED interface
- UV-blacking tint
- Large capacity hopper and grinding cup
The Virtuoso grinder has the elegance and function you’d expect from a coffee grinder in this price range. It comes feature packed with a multitude of options that’ll ensure you get some of the best results possible.
- Professional-grade 40mm conical burrs
- Efficient DC motor
- Electric and gear speed reducers
- 60-second timer switch
- Front-mounted pulse button
- Grind adjustment
- Automatically resetting thermal cutoff switch
- Burr calibration system
- Electronic speed controller
Want extreme accuracy for weight-based grinding? Are you looking for a coffee grinder with a fully integrated real-time weight-based grinder? The Baratza Vario-W 986 is a professional grade grinder that provides accurate grinding with superior Vario-W burrs.
- 54mm Ceramic flat burrs
- Small footprint
- Weight based dosing
- Built-in precision load cell
- User-programmable buttons (One-touch grinding)
- Macro/Micro adjustments
- High-torque DC motor
- Belt drive transmission
An all-purpose grinder that provides a lot of value for its high price. The Forte AP is a compact commercial grade grinder that gives you a precise grind for all brew methods.
- 54mm flat ceramic burr
- Commercial grade grinder for all brew methods
- All metal construction
- Touch screen control panel
- Efficient DC motor
- Grind by time or by weight
- LED backlit technology
- Programmable dose presets
The most expensive coffee grinder on the list is the Baratza Forte BG (Brew Grinder) – Flat Steel Burr Coffee Grinder (with Bin only). It’s a compact coffee grinder designed for both manual and batch brewing. This is a very high-end coffee grinder for your home that guarantees you a great value for this top quality grinder.
- Touch screen controls
- 54mm flat steel burr
- Commercial grade grinder
- All metal construction
- Intuitive control panel
- Dose by weight or time
- LED backlit technology
- 3 programmable does presets
- Hopper holds 300g of coffee
- Bean shutoff feature
- Calibration tool to re-calibrate burrs
Okay, enough talk about grinders. Time to move onto what this page is really about, the best espresso machines and why you should buy them.
Which Espresso Machine should I buy?
So you’re interested in buying an espresso machine right? Well, you’re definitely not alone. There are a lot of people searching for how to pick the best espresso machines to buy for their home and wondering ‘Where do I start?’.
Well, let’s start with briefly talking about the different types of machines that make espresso and go from there with a list of the best espresso machines to buy for home use.
About Manual Espresso Coffee Machines
[Pictured] Top seller on Amazon – La Pavoni PC-16 Professional Espresso Machine, Chrome
A manual espresso machine is not only elegant in design but it offers you the most control over every part of the espresso making process. With a manual espresso machine you have the ability to fine tune how your espresso shot turns out.
A boiler, steam pressure gauge, portafilter, and a manual lever are all features you’ll find in a manual espresso machine which are also referred to as lever espresso machines. These type of machines are the most hands-on you’ll get when making espresso and they can be frustrating to work with but very rewarding as well.
There are two types of manual espresso machines you should be aware of.
- Spring Piston Lever machines
- Direct Lever machines
Detailed information on the Spring Piston Lever machine and Direct Lever machine can be found here.
If you’re thinking about using a manual espresso machine just know that the process for creating a good espresso with these machines is tough. Manual machines are far more complex to operate than the more high-tech espresso machines.
There are a lot of variables that go into making espresso with a manual machine. If you’re up to the challenge and want to fully immerse yourself in the espresso making process to the maximum extent, then a manual espresso machine might just be for you.
About Semi-Automatic Espresso Coffee Machines
[Pictured] Amazon best seller – De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
One of the more popular types of espresso machines that people buy for home use is a Semi-Automatic Machine. These are a bit more hands-off than manual machines as some of the process is automated to make your life a bit easier when making espresso.
Some of the things that a Semi-Automatic Espresso machine offers are:
- Automated pump
- Automated temperature controls for the boiler
- Pump activation switches
What makes the Semi-Automatic machine different from the Manual Espresso machine are the automated features. But a Semi-Auto allows you the freedom to still interact with your machine in the espresso making process by engaging and disengaging the pump. This is why it differs from a fully Automatic Espresso Machine.
Here are the 3 subclasses or Semi-Auto machines:
- Dual Use machines
- Heat exchanger machines
- Dual boiler machines
If you’d like to learn more about these subclasses then visit this page on CoffeeGeek for more details.
As we said before a Semi-Auto machine automates a lot of the process but still gives you the control you want with how your espresso shot turns out. You get the best of both worlds compared to a manual or full auto machine that sit at either end of the spectrum.
Semi-Automatic machines are definitely the most popular choice with people looking to buy espresso machines. One of the reasons they are so popular is because they give you total control of the water flow for every shot you make. You make the decision on when to activate the pump and when the pump should be turned off.
There are also a few other things that Semi-auto machines do well:
- They maintain a good brewing temperature
- They regulate and maintain pump pressure
- They maintain temperatures for steaming
A lot of consumers prefer Semi-Automatic espresso machines as they provide plenty of help throughout the espresso making process but still give you the freedom you need to get the perfect espresso shot.
About Automatic Espresso Coffee Machines
[Pictured] Amazon best seller – Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker, Electric Titan
The last type of espresso machine we’ll talk about is the Automatic espresso machine. They do the best job of automating the delivery of water for you with a simple press of the button. On a lot of the Automatic espresso machines you can program the volume you want for each of the brewing buttons on the machine.
The immediate problem with an Automatic machine is that you really have no freedom in the espresso making process. And if you do, it’s quite minimum especially compared to Semi-Auto and Manual machines.
The best reason to buy a fully automatic espresso maker is the hands-off approach to the process. The Automatic espresso machine’s true advantage is due to a one touch extraction system. Like we mentioned before you just need to press a button and the espresso maker will automatically control water volume to be dispensed through the coffee grounds. The automatic espresso machine will stop once the pre-determined amount of espresso is brewed, allowing you to simply be an observer during the entire process of espresso making.
About our picks for best Espresso Machines
Really quickly, we wanted to give you an explanation on why we chose these espresso machines.
The first is our overall Top Pick and is what the majority of consumers are looking for. The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine is designed for both beginners and the experienced espresso makers. This is the espresso machine we highly recommend you should buy.
The second is the best manual espresso machine around. We decided to include the La Pavoni PPG-16 Professional 16-Cup Espresso Machine for those who want to take their skills to the level of mastery. This manual machine is only meant for experienced espresso makers and is not for beginners.
So why only list two espresso machines?
If you came to this page looking for the best espresso machines, the two we listed below are incredibly great. There’s no need to bombard you with a list of sub-par machines and what we provided below is a good starting point for you.
If the two we’ve listed don’t suite you, we’ve also sprinkled other machines in the sections throughout this entire article for you to check out.
Section – About Manual Espresso Coffee Machines
- Top seller on Amazon – La Pavoni PC-16 Professional Espresso Machine, Chrome
Section – About Semi-Automatic Espresso Coffee Machines
- Amazon best seller – De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Section – About Automatic Espresso Coffee Machines
- Amazon best seller – Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker, Electric Titan
Also, by clicking on the links in the following sections below (Best Espresso Machine/Best Manual Espresso Machine) you’ll be taken to Amazon where there are comparative espresso machines like the ones below for you to check out. So you’re never too far away from finding the perfect espresso machine for you.
Now, let’s see why we chose these machines.
Best Espresso Machine – Top Pick
Our overall Top Pick for the best espresso machine you should buy is the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine. This is a product that is meant for both beginners and aspiring baristas who want a machine that makes great espresso quickly and easily.
The Breville Barista Express comes highly recommended by Amazon reviewers who have given this espresso machine 4.5 stars out of 5 with over 500 reviews.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Breville Barista Express is that it comes with an integrated conical burr grinder. For one, the inclusion of the burr grinder saves you money because you don’t have to purchase one. Also, the integrated grinder will save you time when it comes to grinding and extracting.
Being a best rated espresso machine, the Breville Barista Express has a design that is streamlined with the consumer in mind. Built with high-quality materials, you can expect a sturdy machine with no-slip feet, a sleek stainless steel casing, and a hideaway storage compartment to house included cleaning tools.
This is an inexpensive espresso machine that is packed with a lot of great features and extras. From the cleaning kit to the programmable volumetrics that let you set the water volume, you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth. There’s even a light to indicate when the machine needs a cleaning cycle so you don’t have to guess.
Take a look at the features we’ve listed below and you’ll begin to understand that this is a machine that will definitely produce Café quality espresso in the comfort of your home.
- Powerful 15 Bar triple-prime Italian Pump
- 1600W Thermo coil heating system
- Includes an integrated stainless steel conical burr grinder
- ½ lb. sealed bean hopper
- Removable water tank (67 fl. Oz)
- 1 year limited warranty
- Hands-free grinding cradle
- Auto purge function
- Drip tray is removable
- 360-degree stainless steel swivel action steam wand
- Programmable volumetric control
- 54mm tamper
- Tools included
- Dedicated hot water dispenser
- Adjustable brewing temperature
- Energy efficient
- Patented Breville stainless steel razor dosing tool
- Basket options
As we said before, this is an entry level home espresso machine for both beginners and experienced baristas.
For the beginner – When it comes to making espresso, it’s considered both science and art. As a beginner, you can’t be expected to know exactly what you’re doing. That’s why the Breville Barista Express was designed to give beginners the ability to pull a perfect shot. The included dual-wall filters give you the opportunity to practice as they are designed to regulate pressure, optimizing the extraction for you.
For the experienced – If you’re someone looking for more of a challenge when it comes to espresso making, the Breville Barista Express gives you the option of using two single-wall filters. These non-pressurized filters are included so that you have the option to experiment with a variety of grind sizes, grind amounts, and tamping pressure.
Why you should buy the Breville Barista Express
The Breville Barista Express will make an attractive addition to any kitchen while also saving you time and money with its years of use. If you’re serious about making espresso in the comfort of your home, then this is definitely one of the best espresso machines you can buy today.
It’s a very affordable espresso machine that’s perfect for both beginners and the more experienced. And you can expect to create fresh, quality espresso quickly and easily morning, noon and night.
Best Manual Espresso Machine
For those of you looking for one of the best manual espresso machines on the market for professional home use, we have to recommend the Brass La Pavoni PPG-16 Professional 16-Cup Espresso Machine. This isn’t a machine for a beginner or budget consumer. This is an expensive espresso machine that’s for people who are serious about brewing the best espresso shots possible.
The La Pavoni PPG-16 is a professional machine that comes with a beautiful brass finish. This is the best home espresso machine for true espresso lovers. It comes from an interesting history, it’s absolutely beautiful, and most importantly it’s a top performing manual machine.
The La Pavoni PPG-16 is designed with a classic Italian construction. And because it’s a manual espresso machine, it’s going to give you absolute control over its award winning espresso shots you brew. The La Pavoni PPG-16 is able to pull up to sixteen delicious manual shots and the only thing needed is time, practice, and patience.
- Large boiler (38-ounce solid-brass)
- Fast heat-up times
- Internal thermostat and mounted pressure gauge
- Varying brewing capacity
- Nickel plated boiler
- Steam-pressure piston
- Rosewood handles
- Dual frothing system (Cappuccinos and Lattes)
When it comes to the La Pavoni PPG-16’s large 38-ounce boiler, you’ll be able to pull up to sixteen cups (2 oz. each) of delicious espresso. If you have the skill set, you’re going to pull the absolute best shots of espresso you’ve ever had.
Just note that you should save your money or buy an automated espresso maker if you aren’t the type of person who wants to put in all the extra effort it takes to make espresso through manual means.
Why you should buy the La Pavoni PPG-16
Some of the great things about the La Pavoni PPG-16 is that its warm up time is less than 10 minutes, it’s very user serviceable, makes incredible espresso, and has a very small footprint.
Many people who own the La Pavoni PPG-16 agree that if you enjoy the art of making espresso by experimenting with the many variables to produce something special, then this manual espresso machine is for you.
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