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Consider espresso coffee’s gritty reboot: darker, stronger, smoother, altogether more mysterious.

Fortunately, making it at home does NOT have to be a mystery. You just need the right espresso machine.

So, no more spilling the tea — we’re here to spill the espresso on the best espresso makers of 2022.

Best espresso machines

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An espresso machine is a specialized coffee machine that makes espresso. Espresso isn’t just any ol’ cup of coffee, though.

It’s a super smooth, super rich, super dark coffee concoction that’s almost silky in texture thanks to the high pressure, high heat process and low coffee grounds-to-water ratio used to make it.

For this reason, not just any coffee maker can make espresso.

Espresso machines are designed to pressurize and heat water to the correct pressure and temp, then force it through the coffee grounds to produce a consistent espresso, every time.

Some have other added features too, like a milk frother or a coffee bean grinder.

Home espresso machines tend to provide a bit more of a personalized experience than commercial espresso machines, for all you former baristas looking to invest in one. Since they’re not having to push out hundreds of cups a day, you can expect them to be a little slower but also — honestly — a little better (if only bc you can make it exactly how you want it).

In the market for an espresso machine? Here’s what you should look out for.


When it comes to espresso machine pricing, the sky’s the limit — really. Some ultra-high-end or commercial espresso machines can go for thousands of dollars.

However, the vast majority of home models clock in somewhere between $150 and $1,500.

Types of espresso machine

There are four types of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatic, automatic, and capsule.

The type you choose comes down to three things: how involved you want to be in physically making the espresso, whether you want to be able to customize your espresso, and how much you want to spend.

Here are the deets on each type:

  • Manual espresso machines. They’re old school and pretty hands-on. You’re basically in control of every part of the process, from grinding the beans to starting/stopping the extraction of the espresso by pulling a lever to force the water through the beans (hence the expression “pull an espresso”). These machines don’t have milk frothers or coffee grinders and they require the most technical skill. They’re also pretty pricey, but you have complete control over the size and strength of your espresso.
  • Semi-automatic espresso machines. These are almost the same as manual espresso machines, but they use an electric pump instead of a lever. You’ll follow the same set up process as a manual machine (grinding beans, loading a portafilter, and tamping), but you’ll press a button to start and stop the extraction of the espresso. These are super common in coffee shops and give you a ton of control over your espresso without the manual labor of fully manual machines. They also often have steamers or frothers.
  • Automatic espresso machines. Autu machines have got it all handled — grinding, temping, dispensing, and frothing. Depending on the machine, you can customize various settings like the size and strength of your espresso and the coffee grind. These make the whole process user-friendly, but the full customizable ones don’t come cheap.
  • Capsule espresso. These machines are like the Keurigs of espresso. You insert espresso pods (or use attachments that let you use loose coffee), click a few buttons, and voila. Some machines have frothers, too. You have very little control over your espresso with these, but you can find some inexpensive capsule machines.

Special features

Some of the special features you might want in an espresso machine include:

  • milk frother or steam wand
  • coffee grinder
  • cup warming tray


Finally, you may be looking for an espresso machine that fits in with your home’s vibe. There are some that look like they got yeeted out of a steampunk novel, and others that look super sleek and modern.

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding one to match your look.

Here’s what we looked for to assemble this list of the best espresso machines around:

  • Variety of types. We included manual and automatic espresso machines on this list, as well as machines that use coffee pods and machines that use loose coffee grounds.
  • Variety of price points. We included espresso machines from a variety of price points. They tend to be on the expensive side, but there’s still a huge difference between $150 and $600 — so we wanted the list to reflect all the different price options available.
  • Trusted brands. We stuck with trusted brands. Espresso machines are a big investment, so we avoided unknown companies and went with names we knew we could trust.
  • Editor recommendations. We also consulted the Greatist editors to see what their favorite espresso machines were. (In fact, we figure they probably know strong coffee better than anyone.)
  • Reviews. Finally, we stuck with espresso machines that had mostly positive reviews online.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $200
  • $$ = $200–$500
  • $$$ = over $500
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Best overall espresso machine

Calphalon TempiQ Espresso Machine with Steam Wand

  • Price: $$
  • Type: semi-automatic
  • Size: 12 x 10 x 13 inches (in.)
  • Color options: stainless
  • Refund policy: 60-day money back guarantee

This classy-looking little espresso machine from Calphalon is our best overall pick for a few reasons. It can make 2 cups of espresso at once (for you and your boo… or just for you), it comes with a steam wand for frothing milk and a warming tray for warm and toasty cups, and it pre-infuses the ground coffee with hot water prior to brewing for the most excellent espresso.

These features make it intuitive enough for beginners to use easily but still allow for plenty of creativity and experimentation for espresso aficionados.

Most reviewers are really impressed with this moderately priced espresso machine, but some say that it stopped working within just a few months.


  • can make 2 shots at once
  • comes with cup warming tray and steam and
  • large filter


  • some reviewers say their machine stopped working within months
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Best capsule espresso machine

Nespresso Vertuo

  • Price: $$
  • Type: capsule
  • Size: 8 x 12 x 12 in.
  • Color options: titanium, chrome, red, black, matte black
  • Refund policy: 30-day money back guarantee

Nespresso makes some of the most well-known automatic espresso machines in the U.S. The company uses disposable coffee pods to create a consistent experience with each and every cup.

The Vertuo can make regular coffee and espresso, so it’s great for people who want both but don’t have the counter space for two separate machines.

Our editors adore this machine, saying it makes a super smooth cup of espresso (and regular coffee!). The entire experience feels luxurious — even though it’s a convenient capsule machine. It would be even better if it had a built-in frother (though you can buy Nespresso’s frother separately) and if the pods weren’t so pricey $$$.


  • makes luxuriously smooth coffee and espresso
  • convenient AF pods


  • no milk frother
  • pods can be expensive
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Best espresso machine for beginners

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe

  • Price: $
  • Type: automatic
  • Size: 12 x 9 x 15 in.
  • Color options: black/stainless
  • Refund policy: 60-day money back guarantee

This coffee and espresso maker from Ninja is a great choice for espresso beginners because it does a little bit of everything. It can brew your regular pot of coffee and make an espresso with the “rich” setting, OR iced coffee.

Additionally, it’s got a fold-out milk frother built right in so you can easily make your favorite specialty drinks, and it’s a great price for an introduction to espresso.

Another bonus? It can make single cups or full pots of coffee without expensive pods.

However, some reviewers say that the water reservoir is leaky and others say the espresso flavor is subpar.


  • makes coffee and espresso
  • built-in frother
  • can make cups or full pots of coffee (without pods!)


  • some reviewers say water reservoir leaks
  • some reviewers say espresso flavor isn’t amazing
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Best espresso machine with grinder

Breville The Barista Express

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: semi-automatic
  • Size: 12 x 11 x 14 in.
  • Color options: brushed stainless steel, black sesame
  • Refund policy: 30-day money back guarantee

If you’re really starting to get into home espresso, you might want one that has a built-in grinder to grind your beans directly into the portafilter. This one also features a sizing dial so you can choose your grind size to see which makes your favorite cup of espresso.

In addition, this one from Breville has all of the features that a home barista is gonna be looking for — like a steam wand, and the ability to brew 2 cups at once. And according to Breville, you can go from “bean to espresso” in less than 60 seconds.

People highly recommend this machine and say it’s worth the splurge. But because it’s a semi-automatic machine, it *does* require some technical know-how that reviewers say makes it a bit high maintenance. They also say it requires a lot of cleaning and/or troubleshooting.


  • comes with a built-in grinder with grind size dial and steam wand
  • brews 2 cups at once


  • expensive
  • learning curve for using it
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Best espresso machine for flat white

Nespresso Essenza Mini with Aeroccino Frother

  • Price: $$
  • Type: capsule
  • Size: 4 x 8 x 13 in.
  • Color options: white, gray, black, green, red
  • Refund policy: 30-day money back guarantee

A flat white is a popular drink made from espresso mixed with steamed milk. It has more espresso than a latte, and no froth — unlike a cappuccino. It’s a fabulous canvas for latte art.

If it’s your fave, you may want a machine that will help you get it right every time — and that’s where the Essenza Mini comes in. It can brew you the perfect shot of espresso from one of the many Nespresso pods available, while the Aeroccino can whip up a perfect microfoam for you at the press of a button.

The only drawback to having anytime access to flat whites is (because you have to buy Nespresso pods) your coffee budget may end up going up instead of down.


  • compact
  • easy to use
  • comes with frother


  • pods can be expensive
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Best espresso machine under $200

K-Cafe Special Edition Single Serve Coffee Latte & Cappuccino Maker

  • Price: $
  • Type: capsule
  • Size: 13 x 15 x 12 in.
  • Color options: chrome
  • Refund policy: 30-day money back guarantee

A Greatist editor fave, this machine clocks in at just under $200, and is the perfect buy if you love your specialty coffee drinks. It’s also a good pick if you live with your boo and want one machine that covers all your fave types of at-home coffee.

It brews single-serve coffee, shots of espresso, and extra-strong brews (for when you need a little extra), and comes with a dishwasher-safe frother to help you easily make all of your faves.

It’s compatible with all K-cups — so you can brew regular coffee pods on the espresso setting or buy stronger espresso pods. (We’ve done both and regular coffee K-cups still make a fire latte.)

The only drawback is that the K-cup pods can get expensive after a while, and a few reviewers say that their machine failed in less than 6 months.


  • brews coffee and espresso
  • can use any K-cups you want
  • built-in frother


  • some reviewers say theirs failed in less than 6 months
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Best manual espresso machine

Flair Classic Espresso Maker

  • Price: $
  • Type: manual
  • Size: 14 x 10 x 4 in.
  • Color options: black/red
  • Refund policy: 30-day money back guarantee

And if you want to be intimately involved in your espresso-making (and add a statement piece to your kitchen), then this is your dream espresso maker. It’s a manual maker, so the process is quite involved — but a very nice ritual, nonetheless.

You’ll need to grind your beans, boil water, load the portafilter and tamp the grounds, and add the water to the machine — but then you get the very satisfying experience of pulling your own shot.

As you master the process, you can make tweaks to each step (like grind finer beans or change the water temp) to create your perf espresso.

Reviewers say there’s a learning curve, but that it pulls an amazing shot of espresso. Others say it’s perfect for travel because you can use it anywhere.


  • less expensive than other espresso makers
  • more control over the process
  • portable


  • time consuming and involved
  • no frother or steamer
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Best espresso machine for enthusiasts

DeLonghi La Specialista Arte

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: semi-automatic
  • Size: 14 x 16 x 11 in.
  • Color options: stainless
  • Refund policy: 30-day, must be unused in original packaging

For a really dedicated latte artist or home barista, this espresso machine from DeLonghi pulls no punches — although it does pull a lot of espresso.

It has a built-in grinder with eight grind size settings, a steam wand to make fast, easy microfoam, and three preset functions (espresso, americano, and hot water). It also comes with tamping tools and a milk pitcher to help your espresso dreams come to life.

Reviewers love it too and say that it gives you tons of control over the whole process from start to finish. But like any semi-automatic machine, you’ll need to put in the work to learn how to use it to get the most out of it.


  • built in grinder and steam wand
  • preset functions
  • comes with add-on accessories


  • expensive
  • learning curve to use it
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Is an espresso machine worth it?

If you identify with most of the criteria below, then an espresso machine just might be worth it for you if:

  • You appreciate a good cup of coffee/your friends jokingly call you a “coffee snob.”
  • You enjoy coffee drinks, rather than just a plain cup of coffee.
  • You prefer stronger, bolder coffees than you can get at the grocery store.
  • You’re currently spending way too much money at your local specialty coffee house.
  • You are on a quest for the *perfect* cup of coffee.
  • You want to learn how to make your own coffee drinks.
  • You’re an espresso martini fanatic.

What is the difference between an espresso machine and a coffee maker?

The difference is that a coffee maker makes coffee, and an espresso machine makes espresso.

OK, OK. Most coffee makers are drip-style coffee makers, so they make drip coffee. It’s from a courser grind of beans, and there’s a higher ratio of water to coffee, so the coffee isn’t as strong or smooth as espresso.

OTOH, espresso is a stronger brew because it’s made with more grounds to water. Additionally, the beans are a much finer grind — resulting in a brew that’s smooth, strong, and with a slightly thicker mouthfeel than coffee.

Espresso machines are also a little more involved than drip coffee makers because a good espresso requires precise control not only of the beans but also of the pressure and temperature of the water and the time of the brew process.

Because of its richer taste, espresso is used as the base of most specialty coffee drinks (like lattes and cappuccinos) rather than drip coffee.

Which espresso machine is best?

It really depends on what your budget is, whether you want to use your own beans or coffee pods, the types of drinks you want to make, and what features you’re looking for.

What is a good first espresso machine?

A good first machine is one that will give you what you need to make several different kinds of drinks, but without overwhelming you with features or options. That’s why we like the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker for beginners.

How do I choose an espresso machine?

First, understand what type of espresso machine you want: manual, semi-automatic, automatic, or capsule?

Manual and semi-automatic machines are best for people who want to feel like a legit barista because they’re both pretty hands-on. You’ll need to commit to really learning the machine to get the most out of them. They also both give you a lot of control over the end product because you’re so involved in the entire process.

Automatic and capsule machines are better for peeps who love good espresso and espresso drinks, but just want them at the click of a button. Automatic machines with a lot of customizable options can get really expensive. You can find cheaper capsule machines, but you’ll lose out on having much control over the end product.

Also, pay attention to whether your machine comes with milk frothers or steamers. You can always buy one separately, but if you’re buying an espresso machine just to make lattes, a frother is a must.

What espresso machine does Starbucks use?

Starbucks uses a Swiss espresso machine called Mastrena.

And why, you ask, is it not on this list?

Unfortunately, it’s made just for Starbucks locations, and it’s designed for high-output commercial coffee — to make LOTS of espressos as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What is the best value home espresso machine?

You can get an espresso machine in the $100 to $200 range, but it may be fairly no-frills and more appropriate for beginners, or for people who just want an every-once-in-a-while fancy coffee drink.

For example, the Flair, K-Cafe, and Ninja models above are all below $200 and may be worth your consideration if you’re looking to squeeze the most value out of your espresso machine (while squeezing them sweet, sweet, beans).

Care for an espresso? With the right machine, espresso and specialty coffee drinks are totally doable at home. First, choose whether you want a manual, semi-automatic, automatic, or capsule machine by determining how much werk you’re willing to put in for a cuppa joe.

From there, you can choose the espresso machine that has the features and the look you want at the right price. We’ll sip to that!