Imagine the rich aroma of a fresh-pulled shot of espresso wafting through the air of your favorite café. Now, imagine that same scent floating through your home. With modern home espresso machines, you don’t need to run to the local coffee shop every time you need a comforting and energizing drink.
Looking for a piping hot single shot? How about a double espresso for that afternoon pick-me-up? Prefer sipping a latte or cappuccino? Today’s home espresso makers can do it all.
Espresso Machines Overview
From built-in grinders and bean hoppers to advanced features and the ability to use pre-packaged coffee pods, espresso machines come in many shapes and sizes.
Here, we’ve summarized the most important characteristics, good and bad, of each of our top twelve choices in espresso machines in 2020.
Good: A burr grinder with adjustable ground fineness, 7-ounce bean hopper, and double boiler system is more than you would expect at this price.
Not so good: No menu display to help you navigate its settings and a little too large for countertop use.
Bottom Line: This is a high quality, well-priced machine for those who don’t need any overly advanced features.
Good: Features a bean hopper, internal burr grinder, steamer wand, and several other functions to help you create the perfect shot every time.
Not so good: Its large size and protruding bean hopper make it difficult to fit in some kitchens.
Bottom Line: At a very reasonable price with only its size as a downside, this incredible machine is perfect for espresso and cappuccino connoisseurs.
Good: Functions and features include a steam wand, 35-ounce water tank, and the option to use either pods or grounds.
Not so good: Does not come with an or internal grinder, and isn’t built as tough as others.
Bottom Line: This value-priced machine boasts many of the same qualities you’d expect in a more expensive model, with few real downsides.
Good: This small, compact unit comes in 5 colors, uses convenient espresso pods, and has a 24-ounce water tank.
Not so good: Has none of the perks of less automated machines, including a steaming wand to create milk froth.
Bottom Line: Doing without some special features won’t be a burden if simple and easy operation is more important to you.
Good: At a mid-level price, this machine boasts a ceramic burr grinder, bean hopper, bypass for pre-ground coffee, and a simple control panel.
Not so good: Does not feature a timer or auto-off function and will not allow you to tamp your grounds by hand.
Bottom Line: Lack of a timer and auto-off function is a small trade-off for this quality at this reasonable a price.
Good: This large machine allows you to adjust many settings, including espresso strength and temperature.
Not so good: It takes longer than some similar machines to get from bean to cup, while the controls aren’t very intuitive.
Bottom Line: As long as you want to use freshly ground beans only, this is a great option.
Good: Simple controls, a narrow profile and the ability to use it with both pods or grounds make it a good choice the whole family will enjoy.
Not so good: Does not feature an internal grinder or any special settings for customizing beverages.
Bottom Line: Good for people who want a straightforward but high-quality machine without a grinder.
Good: A steamer wand, extra-large cup warmer, portafilter, and simple controls are all included on this mid-level, mid-priced machine.
Not so good: Does not feature an internal grinder for fresh grounds and requires a bit of a learning curve.
Bottom Line: Although you might have to pay extra for a stand-alone grinder, the quality and features of this machine make up for that shortcoming.
Good: Bean hopper and internal grinder feed grounds directly into an internal filter, meaning less work for you.
Not so good: Priced near the top end of the spectrum but does not allow you full control over milk frothing.
Bottom Line: Too many good qualities to list; these do combine to make its price worth it for people who don’t like portafilters.
Good: Simple controls, an extra-large 72-ounce water tank and a swiveling steam wand are all found on this compact, well-engineered machine.
Not so good: No special settings for customized drinks and no internal grinder for whole beans.
Bottom Line: Overall, a solid and high-quality, yet somewhat basic machine.
Good: A built-in burr grinder, bean hopper, and 60-ounce removable water tank are only some of its nice qualities and features.
Not so good: Its many push-button settings and functions will be confusing for some people at first.
Bottom Line: This small espresso maker has an impressive range of functions considering its size.
Good: Features a built-in milk carafe for automatic frothing as well as one-touch settings for espresso, latte and cappuccino.
Not so good: More difficult to brew with fresh grounds since it does not have an internal grinder.
Bottom Line: If you don’t mind pre-ground coffee, this well-priced machine may surprise you with its quality and abilities.