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Best espresso machines for home 2024 – tested by a barista (and self-confessed coffee snob)

Our guide to the best espresso machines will walk you through every option. From petite to professional, these machines make the very best coffee

One of the best espresso machines, a De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro coffee maker in a modern kitchen surrounded by different types of coffee
(Image credit: De'Longhi)
Best espresso machines 2024: Jump Menu

kitchenaid espresso machine and grinder on a surface with coffee around it

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

1. The list in brief ↴
2.
Best overall: Breville The Barista Pro
3. Best luxury machine: De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro
4. Best for beginners: KitchenAid Espresso Machine
5. Best for small spaces: Breville Bambino Plus
6. Best portable: Wacaco Picopresso
7. Best manual: La Pavoni
8. The ones that just missed the list
8. How to choose
9. How we test

The best espresso machines offer specialty coffee from the comfort of your own home. These elite machines, once reserved for baristas and coffee connoisseurs, are becoming increasingly simple and user-friendly. It's an exciting time for latte lovers and cappuccino connoisseurs.

The best espresso machines don't need to be complicated. If you can pull a consistently delicious shot of coffee and texture milk like the best milk frothers on the market, you can cover a whole menu of specialty coffees. Some espresso machines will have more technical features, allowing you to pre-bloom, adjust brewing temperature, shot size, and much more. 

As a former barista and H&G’s coffee expert, I’ve spent the last nine months testing over sixty different coffee makers alongside the best coffee grinders on the market. I've covered the best of Breville and De'Longhi's elite machines as well as portable and manual espresso machines from smaller start-ups and independent brands.

For every espresso machine we test, our team of experts evaluates whether the model is built to last, made to be admired, and easy to use. The results of our tests are this list, covering the big, the bold, the basic, and the beautiful espresso machines. If you want to complete your coffee station set-up, it's worth investing in some of the best espresso cups too.

The quick list

If you want the headlines for why we love these espresso machines, here's our single-line summary. We'll deep dive into the details of flavors, build quality, value, and in-person insights that came up in our tests further down the guide.

The best espresso machines in 2024

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best espresso machine overall

1. Breville The Barista Pro

Incredibly capable, slick, and smart - it's the perfect all rounder

Specifications

Type: Semi-Automatic
Dimensions: 12" x 12.25" x 14.5" inches
Weight: 27.6 lb.
Descaling Notification: Yes
Interface: Dial and button

Reasons to buy

+
Control grinding
+
Adjustable brew temperature
+
Steam wand swivels 360 degree
+
Storage tray for accessories

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Take up a lot of space
Buy it if

✅ You want to improve your coffee skills: this has plenty of features for pros
✅ You like really good coffee: every espresso is packed with flavor
✅ You're looking for luxury: this comes with plenty premium accessories

Don't buy it if:

❌ You've never used an espresso machine before: the technical could be overkill
❌ You're short on space: the footprint of this machine is pretty huge
❌ You've got a small budget: a luxury machine comes with a luxury pricetag

The bottom line

🔎 Breville The Barista Pro: close to faultless, this machine can make everything from espresso to cappuccino perfectly. It's a hands-on machine, so you'll need to be confident or willing to learn to make the most of all the features ★★★★★

If you’re looking to up your coffee game with a stylish, technically competent machine, the Barista Pro is impossible to beat. Over sixty machines, including Breville’s own models have tried and failed to steal the top spot and the Barista Pro has stayed unmoved.

One of the best things about the Barista Pro is how neatly it sits within a wide range of espresso machines. The integrated grinder isn't a given in every espresso machine and it shouldn't be underrated. This comes with 30 different grind settings and delivers consistent ground, expert results. 

The Barista Pro also comes with a generous selection of accessories (tamper, portafilter baskets, stainless steel milk pitcher). This means that the machine arrives with all you need to make consistently delicious coffee. There’s no mess, no fuss, just great coffee from the get-go.

Thanks to the simple set up and speedy ThermoJet heating technology, I went from unboxing to brewing in under five minutes. I pulled consistently delicious shots, making use of the smooth, pre-infuse function, which lets you bloom the coffee before extracting it. 

When it came to using the milk frother, I had to flex some barista skills, since it's a manual steam wand. Beginners might be put-off by this, but it's a skill which requires only a few minutes to master. I made some silky lattes and cappuccinos using both dairy and oat milk, with minimal mess —  the shiny backboard stayed mirror-like, even after a day's worth of testing.

The build quality feels exceptional. This is stable on the countertop and has ultra-premium finishes, from the control panel to the weighty portafilter. The range of technical settings, including adjustable temperatures and brew times, is easy to navigate through and means that any professional barista will feel more than satisfied with their espresso machine.

The only ways in which I could fault the Barista Pro is that it has a relatively large footprint and pretty toppy price tag (just over $1,000). However, if you'll use all of the features, it's worth every dollar. You won't find a good espresso machine with a grinder for less than $800. Spending another $200 is worth it to get a machine which will last you for a lifetime.

There's more detail in my Breville Barista Pro review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorPerfectly extracted range of notes across all coffee types★★★★★
UsabilityEasy to use with scope for experts★★★★★
ValueExpensive, but good quality, durable build★★★★
AppearanceLooks professional, but demands a lot of space★★★

The best luxury espresso machine

2. De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro

The machine to buy if money is no option

Specifications

Type: Semi-automatic
Dimensions: 18.5 x 16.5 x 14 inches
Weight: 35.2 lbs
Descaling Notification: Yes
Interface: Dials
Pressure: 19 bars

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent range of coffees
+
Super stylish build
+
Makes incredible brews

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Large footprint
-
Overcomplex for some
Buy it if

✅ You're looking for variety: this can make everything from espresso to cold brew. It's incredibly capable
✅ You want easy controls: whether you're tamping or frothing milk, this machine guides what you do
✅ You like luxury: everything about this machine, from the build to the interface feels premium

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: this is usually $1000+
❌ You are short on space: this is a large and heavy machine
❌ You only drink filter coffee: whilst this will make you an incredible cup of filter coffee, La Specialista Maestro is overkill - you're paying for features you won't use

The bottom line

🔎 De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro: this is almost the best espresso machine I've tested. It's technically perfect with features that go above and beyond. However, it's expensive, so you need to budget carefully ★★★★★

If you gave me a piece of paper to design my dream coffee machine, this is the one I would draw. It can make a range of incredible coffees, hot and iced, including cold brew. I've only seen one espresso machine that can match it, which is the Breville Barista Pro above.

If we just judged espresso machines on aesthetics, this would win every time. I have one of these in my kitchen and it gets a complement every time a new guest comes into my kitchen, whether they like coffee or not. The dials look technical, but really, they’re made for beginners. One is a menu for different coffee types and the other gets more technical with brewing temperatures, eighteen faultless grind settings, espresso quantities, and more. I’ve been playing with these for over four months and still haven’t scratched the surface of what this machine can do. 

With auto-tamping, auto-grinding, auto-brewing, and auto-frothing, the only thing this espresso machine won’t do for you is drink your coffee. This means that La Specialista Pro invites beginners into the world of luxury coffee makers. If you’re a professional who shivers at the idea of auto-everything, you can disarm these functions and use it completely manually. It’s truly a do-it-all machine.

In spite of the shiny, glossy finish, this is really low maintenance. I left my family using this for two weeks whilst I was away and when I came back, it hadn’t been cleaned, but still looked spotless. The drip tray effectively drains any coffee splatters away and the backboard neatly masks splashes too. When it needs a deep clean, descale, or run-through, the control panel tells you. All I have to do is press a button and, you guessed it, the machine will work through the rest.

I am yet to make a coffee short of anything but perfect in La Specialista, so I feel like it’s worth every dollar. However, I recognize that a cold brew function, delicious as it may be, is a little lavish for most machines. You don’t need all the extra functions and automated features; if you know how to make a long black, you won’t need a machine to make it for you. It is also really heavy and quite large, so if you have a small kitchen, this will dominate your space. 

There's more information in my De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorBold, rich, well balanced flavors across all the menu★★★★★
UsabilityIntuitive controls which can get technical★★★★★
ValueExtremely expensive if you don't use every function★★
AppearanceEye-catching, techy, and very low maintenance★★★

The best espresso machine for beginners

A simply brilliant model with stylish features and incredible coffee

Specifications

Type: Semi-automatic
Dimensions: 6.38 x 13.15 x 11.26 inches
Weight: 15 lbs
Descaling Notification: Yes
Interface: Buttons
Pressure: 15

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value
+
Stylish and compact
+
Makes great coffee

Reasons to avoid

-
No integrated grinder
-
Not very complex
-
No auto-froth
Buy it if

✅ You're short on space: this is a slim and stylish model
✅ You're new to coffee: the simplicity of this machine is easy to use
✅ You want a stylish machine: this is available in a range of colors, with a matching grinder

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't want to buy a separate grinder: there isn't one integrated
❌ You like variable controls: this is a basic model
❌ You can't froth your own milk: this doesn't have presets, so you'll have to texture milk yourself

The bottom line

🔎 KitchenAid Espresso Machine: This simple, stylish machine is the perfect model for beginners or people who don't plan on making super complex coffees. It doesn't have an integrated grinder, but KitchenAid makes a matching model which we love ★★★★★

KitchenAid isn't the first name that springs to mind for coffee, but it should be. This slim and stylish model is a must-have if you want a simple espresso machine. In fact, that's why it's so good. It focuses on making excellent coffee without any other dials or distractions.

The first thing to note is that whilst this is slim, sleek, and available in a range of colors, it doesn’t come with an integrated grinder.  If you’re happy switching between coffee capsules and store-bought pre-ground coffee, you’re set with this.

However, if you want to enjoy fresh specialty coffee, you’ll need to make some room in your budget for one of these 

As you might expect from a simple, inexpensive machine, this is easy to use. There’s enough weight in the base of the KitchenAid for the portafilter to lock into place without lifting off the countertop. It brews delicious shots of coffee, both double and single shots and the stream of hot water produced by the steam wand is the perfect pressure. It doesn’t splash or trickle, meaning your countertops stay free from coffee stains. 

When you want to make a cappuccino or latte, you’ll need to learn how to use a manual steam wand. This takes a matter of minutes (although perfecting barista-quality silky milk might take a little longer) but might be a deterrent for some. You’ll need to carefully clean your steam wand after use because this doesn’t auto-clean itself, so milk could easily dry and clog it up.

Whilst this is incredible value for the coffee it makes, some features explain why it’s so affordable. The casing is plastic, which feels a little cheap, even though the overall machine is relatively robust. The simple functions don’t leave any room for customization. You can’t change the temperature, strength, or length of the coffees you brew, which more experienced baristas might find frustrating.

There's more detail in my KitchenAid Espresso Machine review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorDelicate flavors, but not as well extracted as the two above★★★★★
UsabilitySuper simple controls, which are limiting for professoinals★★★
ValueA really well priced machine (although it doesn't include a grinder)★★★★★
AppearanceSlim, stylish, and available in a range of colors★★★★

The best espresso machine for small spaces

One of the most popular models, quietly competent and reasonably priced

Specifications

Dimensions: 7.7 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches
Power: 1560 watts
Caoacity: 64 fl oz
Pressure: 15 bar

Reasons to buy

+
Slim model
+
Easy steam wand
+
Great price
+
Feels durable

Reasons to avoid

-
Need to buy a coffee grinder
-
Not for technical drinkers
Buy it if

✅ You own a grinder: this doesn't have one
✅ You like simplicity: this is intuitive and easy to use
✅ You're on a budget: this excellent value

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're not a meticulous cleaner: this won't clean itself
❌ You will brew more than one cup at once: this can't multitask
❌ You want to modify your coffee: this takes work to adjust 

The bottom line

🔎 Breville Bambino Plus: popular amongst professionals and beginners alike, the Bambino Plus is incredible value. It's one of the cheapest espresso machines on the market and yet it performs like the most premium models ★★★★

As a barista, I love the Bambino Plus. It’s one of the most popular models amongst professionals who already own a specialist grinder and who don’t want to waste money on a machine with one already integrated. It’s perfect if you like techy coffee and the classic, stainless steel espresso machine aesthetic, but you’re limited on countertop space.

The beauty of this machine is that it’s made by Breville. The Bambino Plus has all the expensive, technical ThermoJet and blooming technology which is integrated into our top pick for the buying guide, just disguised in a smaller shell. This meant that the machine was quick to warm up; maintained temperature, even after teaming pitcher after pitcher of oat and dairy milk; and was excellent at extracting espressos. The only drawback is that it's not compatible with pods like some other espresso machines.

As a smaller model, it's also more budget-friendly. If you want a good espresso machine for around $500, this is your best option. We found that lots of reviewers had been using their Bambino for over four years, which is well beyond the warranty. It feels robust and well-built, although, if you’re locking the portafilter in with a lot of strength, this could rock on the countertop. You’re best to hold one hand on top when locking it into place.

The main pain point of the Bambino Plus is that, if you don't already