Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Breville Barista Express at Amazon
"This highly reviewed expresso machine features a built-in burr grinder, digital temperature control, and a cleaning sensor."
Best Semi-Automatic: Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 at Amazon
"It’s affordable, easy to use, and designed with a simple and clear control panel, an automatic milk frother, and a 15-bar pump system."
Best Pod-Compatible: De’Longhi EC155 at Amazon
"Pop in your favorite pods or use freshly ground beans to brew a delicious espresso, Americano, latte, or cappuccino."
"Along with brewing rich, flavorful espresso, the detachable milk frother lets you craft lattes and cappuccinos."
Best Budget: Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso Maker at Amazon
"For $100 or less, this item has a 15-bar pump system, a removable 40-ounce tank, and a milk frother for those fancier espresso-based drinks."
Best Portable: Staresso Portable Espresso Maker at Amazon
"In addition to brewing delicious espresso on-the-go, it allows you to froth milk for specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos."
Best Design: Smeg Espresso Machine at Amazon
"The style is iconic: bold letters, glossy finish, an eye-catching shape, without sacrificing function."
Best Fully Automatic: Nespresso Lattissima at Wayfair
"The Nespresso Lattissima Touch offers six different beverage options while also being compatible with coffee pods."
Best Super Automatic: Cuisinart Super-Automatic Espresso Machine at Wayfair
"The Cuisinart Super-Automatic Espresso Machine grinds coffee beans, brews them, and even adds steamed milk at the touch of a button."
01 of 09
Best Overall: Breville Barista Express
Customers and critics alike consider Breville’s Barista Express one of the finest espresso machines on the market. The item has thousands of five-star reviews with reviewers consistently praising its customizable settings, beautiful design, and rich espresso. Although the price is quite high, considering the overall quality of this piece, the price is quite reasonable. "For the quality of espresso produced with this machine, it’s an excellent option for those who have a keen interest in espresso but are unwilling to spend thousands of dollars," enthused our reviewer.
Of course, the high-end cost comes with high-end features: a built-in burr grinder, digital temperature control, and a sensor for when it’s time to clean the machine. You can purchase the product in three bold colors—stainless steel, cranberry red, and black sesame—and easily find it in-store and online at your preferred retailer.
02 of 09
Best Semi-Automatic: Mr. Coffee ECMP1000
When searching for espresso machines, you’ll notice they are often divided into three categories: semi-automatic, fully automatic, and super-automatic. Don’t fret. All that this shows is how hands-on the brewing process will be. Semi-automatic machines, for example, are the most hands-on, requiring users to load the coffee grounds themselves and, most importantly, control how long the espresso shot is pulled. This is more laborious, yes, but semi-automatic machines are the most popular variety for household use.
And the most popular product within this category is Mr. Coffee’s Café Barista. It’s affordable, easy to use, and available at multiple retailers (not to mention the downright tasty coffee it makes). The item is designed with a simple and clear control panel, an automatic milk frother, and a 15-bar pump system. Ideally, espresso is brewed around 8 or 9 bars, meaning the Café Barista can make coffeehouse-worthy drinks, right in your kitchen.
If you do go the semi-automatic route, you’ll need a reliable coffee grinder. Take a look at our list of the best coffee grinders.
03 of 09
Best Pod-Compatible: De’Longhi EC155
Coffeeholics are divided on espresso pods. Some love them for their convenience, consistency, and variety of flavors; others love the old-school feel of packing the filter by hand and controlling every aspect of the espresso process. That’s why the De’Longhi EC155, with a dual-function filter holder, is the best of both worlds. Pop in your favorite pods or use freshly ground beans to brew a delicious espresso, Americano, latte, or cappuccino.
The EC155 is equipped with a swivel jet frother, a removable water tank, and a self-primer that makes the brewing process even faster. At 8 x 10 inches, this machine is on the slimmer side, useful for saving space in the kitchen. And it comes at an unbeatable price, usually retailing at $100 or less.
04 of 09
Best Set: EspressoWorks 7-Piece All-In-One Espresso Machine
This 7-piece espresso set from EspressoWorks brings the café to your kitchen. Along with brewing rich, flavorful espresso, the detachable milk frother lets you craft lattes and cappuccinos from the comfort of home. The set also includes an electric coffee bean grinder, a stainless steel milk frothing cup, two porcelain coffee mugs, a filter with single and double shot baskets, and a measuring spoon.
All of this comes at an affordable price and is backed by hundreds of glowing reviews. Customers say the machine is easy to use, easy to clean, and especially great for beginners. And thanks to the Thermoblock heating system, the espresso is ready fast, brewing in under a minute. While a few users noted durability issues, saying the machine wore down after several months, many praised EspressoWorks’ 24/7 customer service and added that their replacement parts were sent promptly if any issues arose.
And if you need a quick rundown on espresso, from its background to the various drinks you can make with it, check out our handy espresso guide.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Best Budget: Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso Maker
Every-morning trips to the coffee shop for a latte or cappuccino can get pricey. That’s why household espresso machines make great investments, especially when the machine is as affordable as the Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso Maker.
Typically priced at $100 or less, the item is designed with a 15-bar pump system, a removable 40-ounce water tank, and a milk frother for those fancier espresso-based drinks. The Pump Espresso Maker also has dual shot brewing capabilities, allowing you to make two espresso shots at once—one for you, one for a friend. Many customers add that its ease of use and value for money make it an excellent choice for beginners.
There are some drawbacks to this budget option, however. You’ll have to grind the beans and pack the filter by hand, and the coffee might not be as robust as that of more expensive machines.
06 of 09
Best Portable: Staresso Portable Espresso Maker
No more of the dreaded on-the-go caffeine drought. Staresso’s Portable Espresso Maker is small enough and durable enough to pack inside suitcases, hiking bags, purses, and more. What really sets the product apart is that, in addition to brewing delicious espresso whenever and wherever, it allows you to froth milk for specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, making it one of the only true all-in-one portable espresso makers.
The item is pumped manually, providing between 15 to 20 bars of pressure, and is even compatible with Nespresso pods. This is an added bonus for when you don’t have access to a coffee grinder. You can find the Staresso Portable in five different colors and online at several retailers, including Amazon, Wayfair, and Macy’s.
Buying for someone else? Take a peek at our round-up of the best gifts for coffee lovers.
07 of 09
Best Design: Smeg Espresso Machine
Every drink from this Smeg Espresso Machine will transport you to 1950’s Italy. The style is iconic: bold letters, glossy finish, an eye-catching shape. And you can purchase the item in one of seven gorgeous colors, ranging from pink and pastel green to timeless options like black or cream.
Don’t let the vintage aesthetic fool you, though. This machine comes with modern amenities, like functions to adjust water temperature and espresso strength, as well as a removable drip tray and water tank for easy cleaning. The Smeg Espresso Machine uses a standard 15-bar pump system to produce rich, creamy espresso, and the adjustable frother allows for those all-necessary specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.
A stylish espresso maker calls for stylish drinkware, and our list of the best coffee mugs has you covered.
08 of 09
Best Fully Automatic: Nespresso Lattissima Touch by De’Longhi
Fully automatic espresso machines are very similar to semi-automatic ones. The main difference is that fully automatic machines turn off on their own after a set amount of water is poured through the coffee grounds. This is a nice perk for users who want to do other things in the kitchen while their espresso brews.
On top of that, the Nespresso Lattissima Touch offers six different beverage options—espresso, lungo, latte, latte macchiato, cappuccino, and warm milk froth—all of which can be brewed with the touch of a button. If any of these drinks sound unfamiliar, check out our coffee drink glossary. The machine is compatible with coffee pods, so you can avoid manually grinding beans and packing a portafilter, and it uses a powerful 19-bar pump system to brew tasty espresso that online customers rave over.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Best Super Automatic: Cuisinart Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
Super-automatic is the highest grade of espresso machine, a designation that means the product does every single step of the coffee-making process—other than drinking it, of course. The Cuisinart Super-Automatic Espresso Machine grinds coffee beans, brews them, and even adds steamed milk at the touch of a button. It’s a coffee lover’s dream. Touch-screen controls let users adjust drink size, water temperature, milk volume, and more. You can also store preset drink options to make the process even quicker. Like most super-automatic machines, however, the product is pricey, likely circling the thousand-dollar mark at most retailers.
Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Try our list of the top combination coffee-and-espresso machines.
Products Tested by The Spruce
Our writers spent 10 hours researching the most popular espresso and cappuccino makers on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 40 different espresso and cappuccino makers overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 80 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent six hours testing a top-rated espresso/cappuccino machine. To get the most comprehensive results, they used it to make a variety of coffee drinks. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this machine, from its design to the quality of the drinks it creates. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in an Espresso/Cappuccino Machine
Pod usage Machines that use pods (or capsules) can be very convenient, but they limit you to the coffees that are available in those formats. Machines that use ground coffee let you customize the beans, the grind, and the amount of coffee, but they’re a little less convenient (and messier) to use.
Size No matter how big your kitchen is, counter space is always a consideration when purchasing a new appliance. If you have the room, get a large machine that can sit out on your counter at all times. Coffee drinkers with less kitchen space should opt for a compact machine, which is easier to store in a cabinet or your pantry.
Milk frothing Some machines have milk tanks — which makes heating and frothing the milk easier — but someone still has to empty and clean the tank after each use. If you’re often serving coffee to a crowd, the convenience of the milk tank might outweigh the task of cleaning. If you’re usually making coffee for one or two, a tank might not be worth it.
Test Results: Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 (Best Semi-Automatic)
What We Like
Nice variety of drinks
Quality flavor at decent price
What We Don't Like
Difficult to clean
Milk frother is flimsy
According to one tester, this machine is perfect for “someone who loves coffee but isn't a coffee expert.” Figuring out how to use it was a bit challenging, initially, according to our reviewers, but once it was set up correctly, the touch panel was simple to use. Testers really liked the variety of drinks available and found the coffee flavor to be good quality for the price. Additionally, they liked its compact size but noted that cleaning all the parts is time consuming.
The machine is loud, so beware if you plan on using it before other household members wake up. "It is louder than I anticipated it being," one person said. "The first time I used it, my roommate was still asleep, and I panicked and turned it off."