Always fancied having your own espresso machine at home, but never known where to start in terms of actually buying one? With so many options nowadays – automatic or semi-automatic, built-in grinder or separate, and so on – it can be difficult to know which model is right for you. But don’t worry, we’re here to give you the definitive round-up of the best home espresso machines available right now, whether you’re on a budget or looking to splash out.
Having your own espresso machine at home is a real treat and has a number of benefits. You can control many of the variables yourself, and you can experiment as much as you like until you’re satisfied with how your coffee tastes - so you can enjoy cafe-quality coffee every time. You’re also free to try different coffee origins and roast styles whenever you like. And, perhaps most importantly, you can choose a machine that’s best suited to you and your coffee-drinking habits.
Automatic vs semi-automatic espresso machines
Broadly, home espresso machines fall into two categories: automatic and semi-automatic. Each has its pros and cons depending on what you want from your coffee machine.
Automatic machines are so named as they do all the work for you at a push of a button. They’re perfect if you’re after consistently great-tasting coffee in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of fuss.
Semi-automatic machines require a little more effort (think grinding the coffee, dosing the portafilter, tamping, and starting the shot), but this is arguably part of the fun of making espresso at home. A semi-automatic espresso machine also gives you more control over the different brewing variables, and so there is more scope to develop your skills.
While there are several key differences between commercial espresso machines and home espresso machines, especially in terms of power, pump pressure, and the volume they are designed to deal with, the capabilities of home espresso machines have never been greater, and there will certainly be an ideal model for you out there. So, without further ado, here are our picks.
The best espresso machines: channel your inner barista
- DeLonghi Dinamica automatic coffee machine, £599.00
- Melitta Avanza Bean-to-cup coffee machine, £399.00
- Sage the Barista Pro coffee machine, £699.00
If you’ve got a decent budget and are looking for the best of the best when it comes to home espresso machines, then the three models listed here get our vote.
The DeLonghi Dinamica is an automatic machine with simple touch controls, a built-in grinder and milk steamer, and a generous 2 litre tank.
While the absence of a portafilter may not lend itself to feeling like a pro barista, the Dinamica nevertheless gives you an impressive amount of control over all the important variables, and it is easy to program and save your preferences.
Melitta Avanza Bean-to-cup
The Melitta Avanza Bean-to-cup coffee machine is a similar concept to the DeLonghi Dinamica, but at a more modest price point and with a slightly smaller (1.5 litre) tank.
Again, it offers one-touch espresso making, but rather than a conventional steam wand for milk it makes use of a cappuccinatore to create the kind of dense foam that’s perfect for – you guessed it – a cappuccino. The Avanza also creates some of the best crema around, especially for a home espresso machine.
Sage Barista Pro
When it comes to the best of the best, however, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than Sage’s the Barista Pro coffee machine. This lovely machine is sure to help you channel your inner barista.
With a built-in grinder, intuitive interface and enough features to feel luxury, but requiring enough effort for you to feel like a budding home barista with every use, there’s a reason the aptly-named Barista Pro features so regularly in round-ups of the best home espresso machines.
And although it isn’t cheap, the Barista Pro boasts an impressive range of features for its price, so you’re still getting the most out of your investment.
On a budget: home espresso machines under £100
- Beko CEP5152B manual espresso coffee machine, £79.00
- Swan Retro Pump espresso coffee machine, £99.00
While the choice of home espresso machines under £100 may be smaller than at other price points, there are some real workhorses to be found in this range. Those listed here are our best buys if you’re on a tight budget.
The Beko CEP5152B might not be much to look at, but what it lacks in beauty it more than makes up for in reliability and usability.
It is a simple, traditional unit with one grouphead and a surprisingly large (1.4 litre) water tank. You’ll need a separate grinder, however the CEP5152B does have its own steam wand, which is impressive given its small size and low price. An unbeatable budget option.
Swan Retro Pump
As well as being an attractive addition to any kitchen worktop, the Swan Retro Pump espresso machine is reliable, efficient, and easy to use.
Much like the Beko CEP5152B, it is a simple, one grouphead unit with a small footprint, and it has a built-in steam wand and drip tray. Its looks far belie its modest price point, too.
Mid-range: home espresso machines under £300
- DeLonghi Dedica pump espresso coffee machine, £181.00
- Sage the Duo Temp Pro coffee machine, £299.00
If your budget sits somewhere between non-existent and unlimited, there are now a number of mid-range options for you to choose from. Listed here are our picks for the best home espresso machines under £300 (although the Beko CEP5152B is such a solid machine for its price that we could easily have included it in this section, too).
The DeLonghi Dedica is a traditional pump machine – quite different from the Dinamica – but it still packs a punch in terms of the standard of espresso it makes.
At only 15 centimetres wide, this machine is perfect if you’re short on counter space, and the integrated steam wand also detaches for easy cleaning. This is a strong mid-range option and it doesn’t look half bad, either.
Sage Duo Temp Pro
The Duo Temp Pro is another great machine from Sage, who have an impressive range of models at various different price points. The Duo Temp Pro may be on the lower end, but thanks to its outstanding temperature control, it is still capable of optimal espresso extraction every time.
It also comes with everything you need to make your favourite espresso and milk drinks, including a portafilter, tamper, milk steaming pitcher and, of course, a built-in steam wand.
The best home espresso machines with a grinder
- DeLonghi Magnifica Bean-to-cup coffee machine, £349.00
- Sage the Barista Express coffee machine, £585.00
DeLonghi Magnifica Bean-to-cup
The Magnifica Bean-to-cup coffee machine is another automatic model from DeLonghi, offering freshly prepared espresso at the touch of a button.
The Magnifica’s integrated grinder makes use of conical steel burrs for uniform and reliable grinding, which in turn leads to optimal espresso extraction. The built-in bean container also holds up to 200 grams of coffee beans at a time, so you can keep it topped up with your favourite roasts.
Sage Barista Express
The Barista Express by Sage has long been a popular home machine, and once you’ve used one, it's easy to see why. It has everything you need to feel like a pro barista whilst still being user-friendly and accessible for those who just want an excellent cup of coffee in the morning.
Like the Magnifica, the Barista Express boasts a built-in conical burr grinder for consistent and even grinding, while the bean container holds 250 grams of coffee beans at a time – an impressive amount for a home machine.
Conclusion: which is the best at-home coffee machine?
While it is difficult to choose an overall winner from this list, and really any of the models mentioned would be money well spent, there are one or two standouts.
Our overall winner would have to be the Sage Barista Express. This machine offers the best of both worlds: it is accessible and easy to use whilst still leaving room for you to hone your barista skills. It also has impressive specifications for its price, and the fact that you don’t need to buy a separate grinder is a huge bonus.
While you’re here, be sure to check out our guide on how to use an espresso machine in order to get the best out of whichever machine you choose. And if you are interested in learning more about espresso, read our intro to espresso here.
|Grinder||Tank Size||Steam Wand||Footprint||Price|
|DeLonghi Dinamica||Yes||2 litres||Yes||348mm x 236mm x 429mm||£599.00|
|Melitta Avanza||Yes||1.5 litres||No||303mm x 200mm x 455mm||£399.00|
|Sage the Barista Pro||Yes||2 litres||Yes||401mm x 350mm x 401mm||£699.00|
|Beko CEP5152B||No||1.4 litres||Yes||315mm x 192mm x 320mm||£79.00|
|Swan Retro Pump||No||1.2 litres||Yes||281mm x 200mm x 311mm||£99.00|
|DeLonghi Dedica||No||1.1 litres||Yes||305mm x 149mm x 330mm||£181.00|
|Sage the Duo Temp Pro||No||2.5 litres||Yes||330mm x 260mm x 300mm||£299.00|
|DeLonghi Magnifica||Yes||1.8 litres||Yes||371mm x 281mm x 360mm||£349.00|
|Sage the Barista Express||Yes||2 litres||Yes||400mm x 330mm x 310mm||£585.00|