Be Your Own Barista With These Easy-to-Use Espresso Machines

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We all have those days when regular coffee just isn’t strong enough, and that’s when you need to level up to espresso. The strong drink is made by forcing very hot water through finely ground, compacted coffee, and the result is a caffeine-packed shot that’s sure to give you the morning jolt you need. 

If espresso or an espresso-based drink is your go-to on a daily basis, you’ll probably save quite a bit of time and dough by investing in an espresso maker. These small kitchen appliances allow you to make lattes, cappuccinos, and more right from home, especially since many models come with a built-in milk frother and other cool features. Plus, there’s an espresso machine out there for every budget, whether you have $50 or $500-plus to spend. 

The following are our hands-down favorite espresso machines to add to your coffee station.

Best Overall: Jura A1 Super Automatic Coffee Machine

Jura A1 Super Automatic Coffee Maker

Don’t be fooled by this machine’s minimalist design—it’s still tops in terms of functionality! The Jura A1 is a favorite among coffee lovers, thanks to its stunning appearance and unbeatable versatility. It automatically makes espresso, coffee, and even ristretto, a more concentrated form of espresso, if you can imagine such a thing! You can also select between two coffee strengths and three cup sizes to further personalize your brew.

The Jura A1 has a built-in grinder that’s faster and quieter than many comparable options, and it’s equipped with a special filter that removes impurities from your water for a more delicious cup of java every time.

Best Budget: Nespresso by Breville VertuoLine Coffee and Espresso Maker

Nespresso by Breville VertuoLine Coffee and Espresso Maker

Don’t want to mess around with tampers and filters? The Nespresso VertuoLine Coffee-Espresso Maker makes it easier than ever to brew delicious espresso (and coffee, too!), thanks to its capsule-based operation. (Think of it as a Keurig, but for espresso.)

All you have to do is pop one of the brand’s signature capsules into the machine then push a button. The unit will automatically recognize whether it’s a coffee or espresso capsule and heat up an appropriate amount of water, and it even creates a rich crema during espresso brewing for a delicious drink.

Best Mid-Range: Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine

Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine

The Gaggia Classic Pro Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine is a mid-priced model with professional-grade features. This unit has a streamlined design with just three switches for power, brewing, and steaming, and it has a commercial steam wand that’s ideal for creating beautiful latte art. 

This unit comes with a plastic tamper and baskets to make both single and double shots of espresso, and it earns praise from buyers, thanks to its simple yet efficient operation.

Best Splurge: Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine

Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine

If you want an espresso maker that does it all—from grinding fresh coffee beans to frothing milk—then the Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine is worth the splurge. The high-end machine has all the bells and whistles you could ever want, and its sleek design will become a focal point in your kitchen. 

The Barista Pro has an LCD screen where you can customize every aspect of your brewing, from the grind size to the brew time. There’s a built-in conical burr grinder on top of the machine where you can put fresh coffee beans, and it will dispense the ideal amount of coffee for single or double shots of espresso—without you ever having to lift a finger. 

This pricey machine also comes with a stainless steel milk jug, scoop, and a cleaning kit. Plus, you can choose from several metallic finishes to match your kitchen.

Best for Small Kitchens: De'Longhi Dedica DeLuxe Espresso Machine

De'Longhi Dedica DeLuxe Espresso Machine

I can confirm that the De'Longhi Dedica DeLuxe Espresso Machine is a worthwhile investment, as I’ve owned—and loved—this unit for years! It has a narrow 6-inch-wide design that doesn’t take up too much counter space, and it comes with a three-in-one filter holder that can make single or double shots. It’s even compatible with espresso pods. 

The Dedica DeLuxe also has an adjustable milk frother on the side, allowing you to customize the foam and steam levels to perfect your favorite drinks. Plus, it can even brew ground coffee or dispense hot water for tea, making it an all-in-one appliance for your kitchen. And you can’t beat its moderate price, especially considering its versatility and durability.

Best On-The-Go: Wacaco Minipresso GR

Wacaco Minipresso GR

If you can’t go a day without espresso, the Wacaco Minipresso is an essential purchase. This compact espresso maker weighs less than 1 pound, and it’s easy to stash in your camping pack or tote along in your work briefcase. 

When you’re ready to indulge in some delicious espresso, all you have to do is add boiling water to the unit and pack ground coffee into the filter basket. Then, just use the unit’s pump to dispense your on-the-go espresso—no electricity necessary! There’s even a pod attachment available for those who prefer espresso capsules.

Best Design: Smeg Espresso Coffee Machine

Smeg Espresso Coffee Machine

For all the retro-appliance enthusiasts out there, you’ll be happy to know that Smeg offers an espresso machine in the brand’s signature 1950s-inspired aesthetic. The manual design can brew both single and double shots as well as paper pods, and it has a built-in frother to help prepare cappuccinos, flat whites, and lattes. 

This cute espresso maker comes in a rainbow of pretty colors, and its slim design won’t commandeer too much counter space. Plus, it even comes with three filters and a measuring scoop for added convenience.

Best for Beginners: Illy X1 Anniversary Espresso Machine

Illy X1 Anniversary Espresso Machine

For an appliance with a little more personality, the Illy X1 Espresso Machine has a fun, eye-catching design. It has an easy-breezy two-button design and make either espresso or brewed coffee via Illy iperEspresso capsules which you just pop into the machine. 

The unit includes a steam wand to froth milk, and you can also use it to heat up water for tea or hot chocolate. Plus, it has a removable cup holder on top where you can put your favorite espresso and coffee cups on display.

Best Hybrid: De'Longhi All-in-One Coffee and Espresso Maker

De'Longhi All-in-One Coffee and Espresso Maker

Short of hiring a barista to work in your home, the DeLonghi All in One Combination Coffee Maker is your best shot at enjoying pro-approved drinks straight from your kitchen. This machine is an espresso maker and drip coffee brewer all in one, though you wouldn't guess it from its relatively small footprint. The espresso side features an advanced steam wand for picture-perfect latte art and thoroughly frothed foam. Meanwhile, the coffee side's brew settings allow you to create a pot of coffee with your ideal strength and aroma.

Despite its varied uses, this machine's streamlined display makes it very easy to use, no matter what kind of drink you're craving.

Best Automatic: Philips 3200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine EP3221

Philips 3200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

Whether your preferred drink is a latte, macchiato, cappuccino, or Americano, the Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine can make it for you. Just select the drink you want on its digital display, adjust the aroma strength and coffee quantity, and let it do its thing!

The machine automatically grinds beans before brewing and it features a classic milk frother that's easy to clean. All that’s left to do is grab your drink and go.

Best Stovetop: Bialetti Moka Express

Okay, so the Bialetti isn't technically a machine, but not all espresso makers are electric! The popular Moka is a simple stovetop model that can be used to make both espresso and coffee. All you have to do is fill the base with water and put your ground beans into the filter. From here, you put it on the stovetop and water is forced upward through the coffee, brewing a fresh pot of java in a matter of minutes. 

This stovetop espresso maker can hold up to nine cups of coffee, and its handle and knob stay cool to the touch for easy handling. Plus, its sleek geometric form will look great displayed on your stove or elsewhere in your kitchen.

Final Verdict

The Jura A1 Super Automatic Coffee Machine (view at Amazon) checks all the essential boxes for an espresso maker, but it's anything but basic. It offers two different strengths for three different cup sizes, so you can trust that it'll brew up a cup exactly to your liking. Another great option, especially for those who prefer to make their espresso on the stove, is the Bialetti Moka Express (view at Amazon). Its old school look underlines its longstanding reputation among espresso purists.

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