Few things can beat the kick of an espresso. Whether you decide to enjoy your coffee in the morning or the afternoon, there is a certain charm to the strong, unique taste of an espresso coffee.
It is for this or some other reasons that you may wish to procure an espresso machine for your household.
Unfortunately, finding the right espresso machine can sometimes appear to be a daunting task. It's not as if you can go through the store taste testing every espresso machine to find one that is to your liking.
This is why we will be reviewing ten of the best home espresso makers to come out this year.
Our top 3 semi-automatic espresso machines
Our first category we will be looking at in our guide of the best home espresso makers is the semi-automatic espresso maker type. Semi-automatic espresso machines have the advantage of giving more control over how you brew your espresso, more specifically, you control the extraction time of your shot.
Semi-automatic machines also don’t usually feature a grinder, leaving that task up to the user. Another unique feature is the need for a porta-filter, something which is not needed in a super-automatic machine.
It is for these reasons that there is a fiercely contested debate in the espresso world about the best type of machine.
#3 - Breville BES870XL Barista Express
The BES870XL from Breville is the best home espresso machine we have seen regarding versatility. When compared to other semi-automatic machines, it may not have the same brewing consistency, but it makes up for it with a host of extra features that make this machine far more accessible than much of the competition.
One example of this machine’s more forgiving nature is the inclusion of double walled filters and a toggle on the machine to switch between filter sizes before you start your brew. The double walled filters make it easier for a beginner to make an espresso while retaining the option to use the included singled walled filters ensures that this machine will not alienate veterans.
Overall, this machine is an excellent choice for those who would like a semi-automatic espresso machine that is still relatively simple to use while retaining broadly similar standards of coffee.
Features of the Barista Express
- 15-Bar Italian Pump and 1600W Thermo-coil heating system
- Auto purge functionality adjusts the water temperature automatically.
- Integrated conical burr grinder and the half-pound bean hopper.
#2 - Delonghi EC155 espresso and cappuccino machine
Like the previous model, this is one of the best espresso machines you will find regarding versatile operation. The DeLonghi EC155 is a little less user-friendly, but still, features just as many features. In this machine's case, the added features serve to increase the types of coffees that can be made.
Unlike most other semi-automatic espresso machines, you are not confined to a single type of coffee or preparation method with this model. You can make use of either separately ground coffee or espresso pods, depending on your preference and how quickly you would like your coffee prepared at the time.
Another feature that we appreciate is the ability to make cappuccinos, lattes, and frappuccinos with this machine, another aspect which is rare in espresso machines of this caliber. This model from DeLonghi is not only an excellent espresso machine, but it is also a great all around coffee machine for those needing a little bit more.
Features of the Delonghi EC155
- Dual function filter allows the use of pods or ground coffee, which makes the preparation of espresso very simple and fast.
- The EC155 has separate thermostats for water and steam pressure which allows you to brew espresso at the perfect temperature.
- The three-in-one filter holder has a holder for one or two shots as well as a holder for an easy-serve espresso pod.
#1 - Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso / Cappuccino System
In our search for the best home espresso machines of the semi-automatic variety, we found that the Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 was the winner.
This is because it does something quite innovative in straddling the line between a semi-automatic espresso machine and one which is fully automatic. This makes the machine far more accessible to beginner baristas.
What we particularly loved about this model of espresso maker was that it does not sacrifice high-quality espresso output to make the machine more accessible, also known as dumbing down.
In fact, this machine makes some of the best coffee we have come across for a machine in its price range.
The inclusion of an automatic milk frother means that the only separate appliance you need to use this espresso machine is a grinder.
The mode of operation is as easy as picking your filter, filling it and the milk reservoir and then pushing a button so you can rest assured that this is a simple but effective choice.
Features of the Mr Coffee ECMP1000
- Your choice of single or double shots with the Cafe Barista's One Touch Control Panel.
- The ECMP1000 includes an automatic milk frother, making frothing up of milk in creamy cappuccinos and lattes absolutely effortless.
- The cup tray of this unit is fully adjustable which allows you more freedom with the size of your cup.
Our top 3 quality espresso machines for under $100
Far too many customers are convinced that you can’t find a good espresso machine for a reasonable price. This category exists to dispel the myth that you have to spend at least 100 dollars to enjoy a good coffee at home.
There is a line between a product which is expensive and a product which is manufactured to high standards.
Some of the best espresso machines available on the market can be found for under 100 dollars, and this goes to prove that there is such a thing as an affordable product which is still excellent.
While they may not have all of the bells and whistles present on more expensive machines, they can certainly brew coffee.
#3 - BELLA Personal Espresso Maker with Built-in Steam Wand and 5-Bar Pressure
If you are looking for an espresso maker which is affordable yet features a good number of extras, you will probably be interested in this 5 bar model from BELLA.
These extras include a good number of quality of life features such as an included milk wand, used for the frothing and steaming of your milk and coffee.
Another pair of features that we appreciated was the inclusion of a scoop for easier measuring of your espresso and markings on the glass container, so you know how much water to fill. This stops you from having to take the measuring cups out of the cupboards every time you want to enjoy a shot of espresso.
While 5 bars of pressure may seem rather inadequate, you will find that it is more than good enough for the price of this espresso maker.
We would argue that this is one of the more affordable models that manage to go without stripping away every amenity just to achieve a reasonably good brew.
Features of the BELLA Personal Espresso machine.
- This machine produces a constant 5 bars of pressure and delivers a truly bold serving of espresso in just seconds.
- The built-in steam wand allows you to froth and steam milk in order to prepare your very own cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos.
- Take the guess work out of how much water to use with the easy-pour glass decanter
#2 - MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker
If you are a fan of enjoying your espresso on the go or you are simply often in a rush, this is probably the best espresso machine for you, but it can only be loosely defined as a machine.
The MiniPresso GR is a hand operated espresso maker that has the objective of being the smallest possible espresso machine available.
This is designed for hikers, early risers and anyone else who may need a quick espresso wherever they are. All you need is ground coffee beans and a source of hot water to make your coffee; the rest is up to the manual operation of your MiniPresso.
If it sounds simple, that's because it really is.
That is one of the easiest coffee makers you can use. Even without an instruction manual, the method of operation is simple enough to discover through guesswork.
If you're one of those people who can't resist the craving for an espresso no matter where you are, you will love this coffee maker.
Features of the MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker
- The MiniPresso GR is one of the smallest espresso makers on the market, weighing in at less than a pound and under 7 inches long.
- Uses only hand operation to prepare your espresso, all you need is a source of hot water and a separate coffee grinder.
#1 - Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso System with Milk Frother
The Mr. Coffee ECM160 is one of the best home espresso machines for those looking for a bargain without sacrificing brewing capability.
While it may not be overloaded with extra features, it has a few helpful amenities, including but not limited to the built in milk and frappe steamer.
Where this machine truly shines is in its extreme value for money when compared to other models in the same price range. Where other machines attempt to woo you with shiny bells and whistles, the designers of this machine know what a true espresso enthusiast wants: a good coffee at an affordable price point.
One of the few other features there for your convenience is the removable drip catcher, which prevents spills and overflows from making it to your countertop.
If you like the idea of an affordable espresso machine which manages to make coffees like a machine worth more than double, you will certainly love the Mr. Coffee ECM160.
Features of the Mr. Coffee ECM160
- Features a steamer for quick and easy frothing of your milk.
- Includes a glass carafe with a four shot capacity.
- Removable drip catcher for easier cleaning.
Our top 3 super-automatic espresso makers
The next category we will be looking at in our best home espresso makers guide is that of super-automatic espresso makers. These machines are meant to function more smoothly with less user input thanks to a more streamlined brewing process.
While not controlling the water flow makes the brew easier, it will also be more inconsistent.
#3 - Gaggia Anima Prestige Automatic Coffee Machine
The Gaggia Anima Prestige is one of the best espresso machines we have seen, though it comes at a hefty price. This machine does not compromise between convenience and quality, providing both, though at a much-elevated price.
If you take your coffee seriously, this machine is the right choice.
The ability to choose between three brewing temperatures, ranging from 177.5 to 184.5 degrees Fahrenheit, is a much-appreciated feature which allows the user more control in the brewing process.
This is also one of the best-built machines that we have come across, and the included two-year warranty goes to prove it. There are few things more reassuring than a manufacturer who has a good amount of faith in their product.
If price is no object, we would highly recommend this model.
Features of the Gaggia Anima Prestige
- Features a one touch brewing process
- Automatic milk frother shortens the time it takes to prepare your coffee
- Features the choice of three different brewing temperatures
- Comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty
#2 - DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
If you would like to convenience of the previous model we reviewed coupled with a price which is far lower, then the DeLonghi ESAM3300 is a perfect choice for you.
This model is made for those who would like the convenience and quality of a super-automatic espresso machine without having to empty their wallet.
This is one of the more user-friendly models of super-automatic espresso machine that we have had the pleasure of reviewing. The controls all make sense, and there is no deciphering of symbols needed just to make your coffee.
This product is made to nearly professional specifications, meaning that the coffee brew is excellent, but it still cannot match the quality of full fledged super-automatic espresso makers of the top class.
This is an economical choice, but it is also a safe one, whether that is good or bad is up to you.
Features of the Delonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica
- Features an automatic Cappuccino System frother for added convenience
- Features rotating dial and button controls which are intuitive
- Features a low-pitch burr grinder made to professional standards
- Features the patented Direct to Brew system
#1 - Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
The Gaggia Brera is rather similar to the previous product with a slight increase in the quality of the brew, and this is the reason for which it won in this particular category.
This model features a rather attractive aesthetic when compared to some of the competition, and it is available at a lower price.
Like most of the winners on this list, we selected this product because it provides the best degree of value for money.
While it may sacrifice a few of the extras that you are used to seeing on super-automatic machines, it trades them for a better price and better coffee, which is a worthwhile exchange in our book.
Features of the Gaggia Brera
- Features a pannarello frothing wand for easier drink steaming
- Quick access to the dregs drawer and drip tray for cleaning
- Features a simple button and LED display with a minimalist aesthetic
- Product comes with a 1-year hassle free warranty
Our pick in our 'best home espresso makers' guide
Now that we have come to the end of our guide, one espresso machine must be crowned as the winner.
We have chosen a model which manages to combine an excellent brew and a healthy array of 'quality of life' features with a reasonable price to be at the head of the pack.
A machine which can outstrip even the previous three category winners regarding value and effectiveness. Our top espresso machine in our 'best home espresso makers' guide is the one and only Gaggia Classic.
Discover the Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker
When it came down to choosing the single best home espresso machine, we had to go with our guts and choose the classic.
Both in name and in reputation, this model from Gaggia is a classic coffee machine and very likely the best semi-automatic home espresso machine that will be sold for quite some time.
The design of this machine is quite minimalistic, featuring a couple of switches as opposed to the gaggle of buttons and knobs that you will see on other models.
This machine is made for the true barista, someone who is confident in their talents to make an excellent espresso, but it is still accommodating enough for beginners.
We would, in fact, say that this is the best coffee machine on which to learn how to make an espresso. This machine is designed to be as close as possible to your traditional espresso machine, so there is very little aid for the unaccustomed besides the inclusion of a double basket filter.
For more information on this machine please read our more in-depth review of the Gaggia Classic.
Features of the Gaggia Classic
- Includes a pannarello frothing wand for steamed beverages
- Features a simple design which is easy to use but difficult to master
- Includes a portafilter, both single and double filter baskets, an espresso scoop and a tamper
- Features a 72-ounce water reservoir
- Comes with a hassle free one-year warranty