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Pod-based espresso was first dreamt up in the mid-70’s by Swiss engineer Éric Favre, employed by Nestlé at the time. He tinkered with prototypes, sought to perfect the process, but it would be another ten years until Nespresso’s first launch in 1986. Now, the name is synonymous with coffee capsules.
Nespresso machines are widely known for their ease of use—simply pop in the pod and press a button—and the company has expanded its line to include more than a dozen models. Some Nespresso machines can make both coffee and espresso. Some can whip up lattes and cappuccinos. Others are designed to save counter space or heat up quickly and so on. There is a perfect option out there for every coffee lover, and this list will help you find yours.
Here are the best Nespresso machines to buy.
Speedy drink preparation
High-quality coffee and espresso beverages
Beautiful, compact design
Includes 12 coffee capsules
Must use Vertuo coffee capsules
Coffee is on the stronger side
Makes only individual cups
While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Nespresso's Evoluo or DeluxePlus, the Vertuo is still highly reviewed and offers an affordable package that includes the machine and an Aeroccino3 milk frother.
This single-cup brewer makes either coffee or espresso and is designed for use with Vertuo capsules only. The machine uses barcodes on the capsules to change the settings to create the perfect cup every time, and it even makes crema on the larger cup sizes. Besides choosing between coffee and espresso, you can also choose the cup size from a tiny 1.35 espresso shot to a large 14-ounce cup for your travel mug or to share. When it’s time to clean the machine, you’ll get a descaling alert, so you won’t forget that important step.
Another reason we chose this item as the best combination is because you can choose the perfect bundle for your coffee needs: you can simply buy the Vertuo machine by itself, or you can select a two-part bundle of machine and milk frother or the machine and Nespresso capsules.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: De'Longhi EN750MB Lattissima Pro Original Espresso Machine with Milk Frother
Multiple functions for coffee and more
Nearly hands-off operation
A professional-grade machine for the home user, the Lattissima Pro offers the simplicity of Nespresso capsules and push-button selection while looking quite impressive on the counter. It can whip up a wide variety of drinks, including ristretto, espresso, lungo, cappuccino, latte, hot milk, and hot water. If any of these terms are unfamiliar, check out our glossary of coffee drinks.
Along with its ease of use, the item also works quickly. The Thermoblock heating system turns cold water to hot in just a few seconds, brewing coffee much faster than you could with a manual espresso maker.
After going through our testing process, our reviewer noted the item's customizable settings—something that further sets the Lattissima Pro apart from many one-touch coffee makers. "Each of the coffee, water, and milk options can be adjusted for the desired volume," she wrote. The machine even "remembers [your preferences] for future use." One of the only things the item can't do, our reviewer added, is "produce coffee in large volumes."
While this might be too costly for the occasional espresso drinker, it will make a statement and produce excellent results without the need to learn the differences between brews.
"It’s hard to argue with the many functions of the Nespresso Lattissima Pro Espresso Machine by DeLonghi—from shots of espresso to lattes to hot milk or hot water—but the steep price tag must be considered." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Slower heat-up time
You know it’s meant to be portable when it comes with a fold-down handle to move it. This compact machine has a small footprint so it’s easy to tuck away in a cabinet or in the pantry when not in use, yet it makes full-flavored espresso every time, with 19 bars of pressure to extract the full-bodied flavor you crave.
This offers two coffee sizes with buttons for Espresso and Lungo, and it heats the water in 25 seconds so you’ll be sipping quickly. The tank holds enough water for 9 cups of coffee, so you won’t have to refill when you’re serving guests, then it turns itself off after 9 minutes if you’re not making more coffee.
You purchase it with or without an Aeroccino 3 that will make hot or cold milk froth for your coffee, or use it to make froth for the kids’ hot chocolate for a special treat. You’ll also get 16 Nespresso capsules, so you can try a variety of flavors to help you choose which you like the best.
Value for money
Multiple drink sizes
Large, removable water tank
Coffee could be hotter
In 2014, after nearly three decades of business, Nespresso added a new series of machines to its coffee-making arsenal: VertuoLine. These machines offer more coffee per serving than the OriginalLine, which is primarily meant for espresso shots.
Our favorite in the Vertuo series is the Evoluo. It clocks in at a similar price point to the other Vertuo options but offers more bang for your buck. The item heats up the fastest, at just 15-20 seconds, and it holds up to 17 used Nespresso capsules before it’s time to clean it out. Its 54-ounce water reservoir is slightly smaller than the VertuoPlus Deluxe (57.5 ounces) but much larger than the other two options in the series, the Vertuo and the VeruoPlus.
The Evoluo can brew five different cup sizes, starting at an espresso shot and ranging to an Alto-sized cup of joe. An automatic shut-off after 9 minutes saves energy (and wandering thoughts on your commute of if you turned the machine off). For an additional fee, you can also pair the Evoluo with Aeroccino3 milk frother to craft tasty lattes and cappuccinos at home.
Integrated milk frother
Multiple drink options
Potential learning curve
Similar price to manual espresso makers
When espresso is a passion and not just a beverage, this is the machine you need. Not only does it make an excellent brew, but it also incorporates micro-foam frothing technology so you can perfect your latte art hearts and flowers, and work your way up to professional designs while doing the morning crossword puzzle in the convenience of your own kitchen. The milk frother is integrated into the machine, so you won’t need a separate device, and you don’t need to pay attention to details since it offers eight different foam textures and 11 different milk temperatures.
Along with the technology comes a high-end look, reminiscent of manual espresso machines, but this is so much easier since you simply choose from ristretto, espresso, lungo, latte, cappuccino, flat white, or latte macchiato, adjust the size of the serving, then choose your milk temperature and texture from a menu. The water heats in just three seconds, so you’ll be sipping in no time. Not only is this smart enough to turn you into a kitchen barista, it also lets you know when it’s time to clean and descale the machine to keep it running at peak performance with its self-cleaning function. If that’s not enough extras, this also includes a variety pack of 16 capsules so you can sample different flavors.
Best for Small Spaces: Breville-Nespresso USA Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine with Complimentary Capsules
Available in multiple colors
Small capsule container
Slower heat-up time
Small but mighty, this compact espresso maker won’t be hard to find room for, even in a small kitchen. Not much wider than a coffee mug, the water reservoir is behind the machine rather than taking up space on the side, so it will fit into a slim space with ease. Despite the small footprint, this still produces 19 bars of pressure for perfect espresso. This doesn’t have the multiple adjustments that larger machines offer, but that also makes it very simple to operate. Choose between Espresso and Lungo sizes, then just press the button. The water comes to temperature in less than 30 seconds. To save energy, the machine turns off 9 minutes after you stop brewing coffee.
While this machine doesn’t have a lot of frills, it does come with 14 capsules of different types of coffee, so you can discover which you like best before committing to one or two favorites.
"There's a reason hotels and Airbnbs often supply Nespresso machines to guests: They deliver quality flavor and a luxury experience while requiring limited effort and limited space." — Taysha Murtaugh, Associate Editorial Director, Commerce, The Spruce Eats
OriginalLine capsules only
Great for travelers who want their morning coffee before they leave the hotel room, or for folks who like the idea of a bit of espresso at work without leaving the office, this little device doesn’t need electricity to work. All you need is hot water, your Nespresso capsules, and just a little bit of effort. There’s a semi-automatic piston inside that injects small amounts of water into the grounds with each press, until it reaches the correct extraction pressure. For more versatility at home, there are water tanks of different capacities available to make different types of coffee in different sizes. A protective case is also available if you will be traveling and bumping it around a lot.
While this doesn’t have the convenience of pushing a button and letting the machine do all the work, it takes very little storage space, whether you keep it in a kitchen cabinet, a desk drawer, or whether it travels with you in your luggage.
Partially made from recycled materials
Connects to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Longer heat-up time
Slightly smaller capsule container
Compact and eco-friendly, this machine retains the multiple drink options that define VertuoLine products while also adding some new twists. It is one of the slimmest Nespresso machines available, yet it also has a fairly sizable water tank (37 ounces) that can be removed for easy filling and cleaning. It can also connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—a new feature that allows the machine to continuously and seamlessly run updates.
What really sets the Vertuo Next apart is that it is made from 54 percent recycled material, according to Nespresso. Pair this with the free recycling services the company offers for its capsules and you get one very green coffee machine, on top of the five delicious drink settings. Like most Nespresso products, you can also bundle the item with an Aeroccino milk frother to make specialty drinks at home.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a freelance food writer who specializes in product reviews and recipes. Her work has appeared on Serious Eats, Fine Cooking, and her own recipe blog, Cookistry.com. She's also the author of Make Ahead Bread, a cookbook meant to simplify the bread-baking process.
This piece was edited by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. As an espresso alternative, he uses the Bialetti Moka Express, complementing it with a separate milk frother to make lattes and cappuccinos.
What to Look for in a Nespresso Machine
Original vs Vertuo: Nespresso machines fall into one of two categories: Original or Vertuo. The main difference is that OriginalLine machines focus on espresso, whereas VertuoLine machines offer a wider variety of drink sizes, putting them closer to general coffee makers. The two require different capsules and have differing price points, so choosing the best type for you is a good first step in buying a Nespresso machine.
Versatility: Some Nespresso machines are minimalist—simply pop in a capsule and touch a button for espresso—while others have multiple settings and can whip up an array of drinks. Even though Nespresso has more than a dozen capsule varieties, you might tire of drinking the same kind of coffee every day. If so, check out Nespresso machines with integrated milk frothers, multiple drink settings, or some of their numerous bundle deals that include a separate Aeroccino frother.
Price: This is an important consideration for any coffee maker, but Nespresso has its own unique price points to consider. Nespresso machines start around $100, which is a higher threshold than many brands, and over time the capsules will cost more than ground coffee. Fortunately, Nespresso produces a wide variety of machines, so you should be able to find the perfect one within your budget.