The best espresso machines in 2022 offer futuristic levels of service, allowing you to whip up café-quality lattes and cappuccinos at home. But before you set out on your shopping expedition, it’s important to figure out your needs. After all, there’s a wide range on the market: Some espresso machines require minimal user interaction, making your morning coffee experience a total breeze; others ask that you get somewhat more involved in the process (they’re much like some of our favorite coffee makers in that regard—finicky, but essential); and some even require careful monitoring to ensure your final results are perfect. You have choices, though. Our top pick is the Breville Bambino Plus for its ease of use, mid-range price tag, and superior results, but there are several excellent options ahead.
It’s tempting to want to get a professional grade machine, but the sheer size and cost of those units makes home use all but impossible. Luckily, many consumer-facing brands know that, and they’ve recognized that there’s an increasing demand for espresso-brewing coffee grinders right at home. Those manufacturers have created models that fit perfectly in the modern home kitchen, with just one downside: You need to learn how to use them before you can really take advantage of all they have to offer. But with the help of user-friendly technology and a little bit of practice, you’ll be pulling perfect shots of espresso in no time. (You can also add to the fun with a coffee subscription—we’ve got tons of great recommendations in that arena, too.)
Ahead, find the best espresso machines for making quality coffee at home, from fancy machines with all the bells and whistles to one-touch models that rely on simple pods.
Best Espresso Machine Overall
A Straightforward Machine With Outstanding, Reliable Results
Best Budget Espresso Machine
A Wallet-Friendly Option That Doesn’t Skimp On Quality
Best Professional-Quality Espresso Machine
An Option That Rivals The Espresso Machine At Your Favorite Coffee Shop
Best Small Espresso Machine
A Narrow Machine That Packs A Lot Into A Small Package
Best Espresso Machine With Grinder
An All-In-One Option With Precise Temperature Control
Best Latte Machine
A Luxury Machine That Does The Work For You
Best Fully-Automated Espresso Machine
The Closest You’ll Get To A Live-In Barista
Best Nespresso Machine
A One-Touch, User-Friendly Model
Best Stovetop Espresso Maker
An Iconic Espresso Maker That Doesn’t Require An Outlet
What To Consider When Buying An Espresso Machine
When it comes to purchasing one of the best espresso machines on the market, there’s a lot you’re going to want to take into consideration. After all, this isn’t a small purchase—it’s bound to require a big chunk of cash, not to mention a large portion of countertop space. It’s best to come prepared to the shopping experience with as much know-how as possible. Ahead, find our full buying guide, including details on each of the details you’ll want to explore as you look at various models.
Space is an incredibly important consideration here, says Matt Woodburn-Simmonds, co-founder of Home Coffee Expert. “It will sit on your countertop, so look at how much real estate you can afford to give up to a coffee machine whilst still being able to cook and fit your other appliances,” he advises. One thing to consider, per Woodburn-Simmonds: “Lots of machines with built-in grinders load beans from the top, so make sure you have enough space above the machine if it’s going underneath cabinets.”
You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to be able to pull a really great shot of espresso, but you will find more features in more expensive machines, says coffee consultant Ben Kaminsky, of the GGet Coffee Club. “You have to go by you want to drink first,” he says. “If you just want espresso, you can get a manual machine. If you want to be drinking lattes, you need to get something that steams milk. And, if you want to do that well, then the price starts creeping up.” Still, Kaminsky points out that you can “get something that’s tiny and inexpensive—it just won’t necessarily steam milk.”
In general, “you’re going to want something that can hit 9 bar of pressure,” says Brian W. Jones, author of Brew: Better Coffee at Home. He continues, “if you want to make milk drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos, I would also highly recommend a dual-boiler machine. This will allow you to pull an espresso shot and steam milk at the same time with each having their own dedicated boiler.”
It’s crucial to factor in your morning routine, Woodburn-Simmonds says. “If you’re constantly in a hurry to get out the door, then a machine taking five minutes to warm up will feel like a lifetime,” he points out. “If you generally have a bit of time, then you’d probably never notice.”
Is An Espresso Machine Worth It?
It depends on how often you drink espresso and how much you spend on a machine. If you’re a daily espresso drinker—or even have multiple espresso drinks a day—the odds are high that an espresso machine is worth it for you. After all, many espresso drinks cost about $3 to start. If you multiply that by 365 days in a year, you’re looking at spending $1,095 out of pocket to visit a café for your fix.
There’s the convenience factor to consider, too. Having your own espresso machine at home means you can avoid having to wait in long lines at your local coffee shop and simply enjoy your go-to drink at home whenever the mood strikes.
Which Is The Best Espresso Machine?
The best espresso machine is one that meets your needs. If you want something fast and easy, you may want to invest in a Nespresso machine that simplifies the whole process. But if you prefer to take your time pouring the perfect shot or creating a latte, something like the Breville Barista Touch may be more your speed. Overall, we like the Breville Bambino Plus. It’s a quality machine that meets most home brewing needs.
What Machine Does Starbucks Use For Espressos?
Starbucks uses a fancy machine called a Mastrena, which was created just for the brand by Thermoplan AG. The Mastrena does a lot in one machine—it has built-in grinders and a computerized menu. The Mastrena was designed to make the coffee-making process as fast and easy and possible. There are some used Mastrenas on sale on eBay, but it’s hard to know if you’re getting the same quality as you’d get at Starbucks.
What Is The Best Espresso Machine For Cheap?
If you don’t want to spend a ton on an espresso machine, consider the De’Longhi Manual Espresso Machine. This petite device is just $160, but still delivers plenty of power to help you pour a perfect shot. It also has steaming capacity to help you create perfect cappuccinos and lattes. Another option worth considering is the Bialetti Moka Stovetop Espresso Maker. This espresso maker isn’t technically a machine, since it doesn’t plug in and is designed to be used over your stove. But, at just $35, it fits within most budgets.
How Do You Clean An Espresso Machine?
Cleaning your espresso machine (read this for a step-by-step guide) is important to keep it operating in peak condition and to also ensure that your drinks taste the way they should. Espresso machines can build up scale from water, which can impact the longevity of your machine. To clean your machine, you’ll want to scrub the screens on your machine with a brush and microfiber towel. You’ll also want to do something called backflushing, which is essentially when you run water and sometimes a cleaner back into your machine to clean it. Every month or so, you’ll also want to descale your espresso machine to help remove that scale that’s built up in it.