The 9 Best Espresso Machines 2024 — Sleek Gadgets That Give Your Kitchen Extra Style Points

The best espresso machines on the market range from flashy and fast to portable and compact. These nine are all tested and barista-approved for their style credentials

One of the best espresso machines on the market, the De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro on a countertop with coffee around it
(Image credit: De'Longhi)

As a former barista, I'm a little bit obsessed with the finding the best espresso machines on the market. I started out using luxury, commercial machines, but in the past five years good espresso machines have become more accessible, reliable, user-friendly, and much more beautiful.

These hands-on machines vary significantly. You can spend thousands on huge, sparkling appliances with dials, gauges, gadgets, grinders, and other smart functions. However, there are some excellent compact, sleek, and small machines, perfect for every home. 

I've taken all of these to our dedicated test kitchen and some have even come back to my home for a longer trial. I've seen the good, the bad, and the beautiful. You might recognise some of them from our buying guide for the best coffee makers on the market — it's no coincidence. Without further ado, here are the best espresso machines on offer.

Quick List

Best espresso machines 2024

Livingetc knows design. We spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, bringing only our edit of the very best to you. Find out more about how we review.

Best espresso machine overall

1. De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro

This machine is made to be admired

Specifications

Type: Semi-automatic
Dimensions: 18.5 x 16.5 x 14 inches
Weight: 35.2 lbs
Descaling Notification: Yes
Interface: Dials
Pressure: 19 bars

Reasons to buy

+
Looks serious
+
Easy controls
+
Can make a range of coffees

Reasons to avoid

-
Options could be overwhelming
-
Quite expensive
-
Large footprint
Buy it if

✅ You want a 'wow' machine: this is eye-catching
✅ You need some help: this auto grinds, tamps, brews, and steams
✅ You drink cold brew: this has a setting for cold brew

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: this doesn't score high on affordability
❌ You have slim countertops: this is a large and heavy
❌ You only drink one coffee type: La Specialista's coffee range will be overkil

The bottom line

🔎 De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro: the people who will really get the most for their money out of La Specialista Maestro drink a range of coffee and notice the nuances in every sip. If you want simplicity (and a budget machine) this is too much.

De'Longhi's La Specialista Maestro gets people talking, even if they don't like coffee. Sat on my kitchen countertop, it's almost always the first thing people mention when they walk into the room and I'm pretty proud of it. The machine looks the part, with dials, gauges, and a shiny stainless steel finish.

On test, La Specialista more than delivers for flavors and usability. The machine can automate most functions: grinding, tamping, infusing, brewing, and steaming. Even a beginner could make a barista-quality coffee without breaking a sweat. There's a neat dial that lets you choose from a range of delicious coffee, including iced, and cold brew options. I've tested a lot of espresso machines and have never seen a good cold brew function; this is a first.

The coffees it makes are consistently flavorful, well-balanced, and nuanced. Even when frothing plant-based milks, the sensitive steam wand can create a velvet texture, rather than burns and bubbles which taste horrible in the mouth.

If that sounds like a dream come true, it's because this machine is one. However, one look at the price tag might wake you up. When not on sale La Specialista Maestro costs over $1,000. There are plenty of good models at just over half that price, so if money really matters, keep scrolling. It's also worth noting that this is quite a dominating machine: be ready to have it on display all the time.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorPerfect flavors across the range★★★★★
VersatilityCan make cold brew and iced coffee★★★★★
UsabilityPlenty of guidance and automation★★★★★
ValueAlmost double the price of most others★★★

Best espresso machine for luxury

2. Breville The Barista Pro

Beautiful, capable, but a little intimidating

Specifications

Type: Semi-Automatic
Dimensions: 12" x 12.25" x 14.5" inches
Weight: 27.6 lb.
Descaling Notification: Yes
Interface: Dial and button

Reasons to buy

+
Looks impressive
+
Smart pre-brewing features
+
Makes delicious coffee

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up a lot of space
-
Expensive
Buy it if

✅ You want a professional espresso machine: this can get very technical
✅ You have a sensitive palette: the precision controls are next level
✅ You like luxury: this is a truly premium machine

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: this isn't cheap
❌ You're a beginner: this might be overwhelming
❌ You have slim countertops: this demands a lot of space

The bottom line

🔎 Breville The Barista Pro: everything you need to know is in the name. Breville's espresso machine turns your kitchen into a cafe; it's technical, precise, and ultra-impressive. If that sounds overwhelming, there are cheaper, easier models available.

If you're ready to indulge your inner barista with some luxury and quality, Breville's The Barista Pro has been waiting for you. The shiny, stainless steel model is simply perfect. It even comes in a range of stunning finishes. Truffle black anyone? 

Getting set-up with The Barista Pro doesn't take long. I had unboxed it, rinsed it, and brewed a delicious coffee in under five minutes without having to read novel-like instruction manuals beforehand. The grinder has an impressive 30 settings, so you can dial-in to whichever bean variety you've chosen to brew. 

Thanks to Breville's smart system, the machine warms up much quicker than other, boiler espresso machines. Even better it has a pre-infuse setting which mimic 'blooming' coffee grounds, meaning everything I made, from espresso to cappuccino was a little sweeter and more mellow than the average coffee.

The steam wand has a flexible 360 rotation socket, which is perfect if you're confident frothing your own milk. If not, it will take a little practice before you can get into your latte art, but be patient. It's worth it. 

This nearly knocked De'Longhi's La Specialista Maestro off top spot in our buying guide, but it's not as automated or versatile. The Barista Pro won't help you out with coffee-pre sets, auto-tamping, or auto-grinding, so the whole process is a little less precise and a lot more messy. Texturing your own milk, as I've mentioned, takes work too. These aren't issues for competent coffee makers, but it's enough to put plenty of beginners off.

There's more detail in my Breville Barista Pro review.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorPre-infuse setting is brilliant★★★★★
VersatilityCovers all speciality coffee options★★★★
UsabilityGood for experts, but no automation★★★★★
ValueExpensive, but good quality★★★★

Best espresso machine for beginners

3. KitchenAid Espresso Machine

A slim and stylish machine which you can't go wrong with

Specifications

Type: Semi-automatic
Dimensions: 6.38 x 13.15 x 11.26 inches
Weight: 15 lbs
Descaling Notification: Yes
Interface: Buttons
Pressure: 15

Reasons to buy

+
Good color options
+
Space efficient
+
East to use

Reasons to avoid

-
No grinder
-
Need to learn to use a steam wand
Buy it if

✅ You're a beginner: this is simple and easy to use
✅ You want color options: this is available in a range of finishes
✅ You're short on space: this is ultra-slim

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't own a grinder: you'll have to buy one
❌ You want customization: this only has a few controls
❌ You can't froth milk: this doesn't have presets

The bottom line

🔎 KitchenAid Espresso Machine: In true KitchenAid style, this beautiful, durable machine is highly-desirable. Although, it's designed for beginners, so might be a little basic for some.

KitchenAid has carried a reputation for their iconic stand mixers into the coffee industry and they are very welcome here. Their espresso machine, available in a range of classic, tasteful colors, is slim and stylish, perfect for any kitchen. It sits subtly on the countertops and quietly works on delivering perfect coffee every time. It's a true success.

If you've never owned an espresso machine before, they can look a little daunting. That's where KitchenAid's model becomes a must-have. The simple buttons make it hard to trip yourself up. I made consistently delicious espressos in here and the steam wand is more than capable of frothing dairy and plant-based milks. 

If you've never used a steam wand before, it's worth practicing, because this is one of the few aspects of the KitchenAid which isn't fully automated. You'll still be able to warm milk easily, but to get truly silky latte milk, you might need a bit of practice. It's also worth noting that this doesn't come with an integrated grinder. KitchenAid sells a co-ordinating model separately and I can attest to its excellence. However, adding this into the cost of the KitchenAid makes it seem like less of an incredible deal.

There's more detail in my KitchenAid Espresso Machine review.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorConsistently delicious★★★★★
VersatilityCompatible with grounds and pods★★★★★
UsabilityEasy for everyone to use★★★★★
ValueExcellent value, but grinder sold separately★★★★

Best espresso machine for small spaces

4. Breville Bambino Plus

Not to be underestimated, this is a barista-favorite

Specifications

Dimensions: 7.7 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches
Power: 1560 watts
Caoacity: 64 fl oz
Pressure: 15 bar

Reasons to buy

+
Slim design
+
Easy to use
+
Can get very techy if needed

Reasons to avoid

-
No integrated grinder
Buy it if

✅ You're short on space: this is ultra-slim
✅ You're a coffee amateur: this will give you enough to work with
✅ You're on a budget: this exceptional value

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't own a grinder: you'll have to buy one separately
❌ You need capacity: this can only make one coffee at a time
❌ You aren't a keen cleaner: this is a little high maintenance 

The bottom line

🔎 Breville Bambino Plus: don't underestimate this slim and petite machine. It's incredibly popular for the sensitive brewing features and reasonable price tag. However, it doesn't come with a grinder.

Breville's Bambino Plus is the coffee community's worst kept secret. It's the machine which most baristas will have at home for a multitude of reasons, but the main three are: it's excellent value, well-built, and has sensitive brewing controls. 

Keen coffee drinkers who are limited with countertop space will be grateful for the svelte and slim design of the Bambino Plus. It looks the part of a true espresso machine, with a control panel, steam wand, and all the signature features. The Bambino comes in three, simple finishes, which would blend well into any coffee bar — just don't expect the same range of colors as the KitchenAid, for example.

When it comes to brewing coffee, the Bambino Plus is quietly competant. Breville has integrated the technology of their more expensive machines, so that the Bambino Plus can pre-infuse shots, taking any unwanted acidity out of your morning Americano. 

The steam wand is semi-automatic, which is useful if you're not confident using an espresso machine on your own. I tested it on dairy and plant-based milks and the Bambino Plus didn't discriminate, the results with both were smooth and silky. 

Most people will hold-off investing $500 in the Bambino Plus because it doesn't come with a coffee grinder. Breville happens to make an excellent model, but it's a cost which you'll need to factor into considerations for which espresso machine you buy. The fact that you can't steam and brew at the same time might also slow you down if you have a lot of coffees to make in the morning.

There's more detail in my Breville Bambino Plus review.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorConsistently excellent★★★★★
VersatilityGood with fresh coffee, but not pod compatible★★★★
UsabilityIntuitive and easy to use★★★★★
ValueGreat value, but no integrated grinder★★★★★

Best technical espresso machine

5. La Pavoni Professional

Science meets art in this wonder espresso machine

Specifications

Type: Manual
Pressure: Adjustable
Dimensions: 35 x 29 x 24 inches
Water tank capacity: 8 cups

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely technical
+
Eye-catching
+
Premium build
+
Makes good coffee

Reasons to avoid

-
Too technical for most
-
Very expensive
Buy it if

✅ You're a coffee geek: this is ultra-technical
✅ You like to take time over coffee: this is slow and involved
✅ You want something a little different: this is a true talking point

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're not a professional: this is complex
❌ You're on a budget: this is very expensive
❌ You don't have an espresso grinder: you'll have to buy a special one

The bottom line

La Pavoni Professional: any coffee geek will go weak at the sight of La Pavoni. The industrial-chic stainless steel design is a marvel which you will need to dedicate some serious time to testing.

If you're after authenticity, luxury, and quality, La Pavoni has a shiny, stainless steel marvel waiting for you. The machine is eye-catching. There's no avoiding it, but all the levers and dials can make it a little scary too — it depends who you are.

If you're a confident coffee maker, looking to dive deep into the details of coffee making, this will be an exciting challenge. La Pavoni is a manual machine, which makes delicious coffee. Once you've mastered the pressure and steam gauges, you can pull a beautiful (and very satisfying) espresso shot. La Pavoni's Professional model also comes with a steam wand, so you can texture milk by hand too. It's an experience you'll either love or resent, depending on how you feel about taking time over coffee.

If you're not a confident coffee maker, that probably sounded a bit scary. La Pavoni is a lot to handle and there are much simpler manual espresso machines on the market that you could try first. In fact, I recommend the NEO Flex further down because it's a fraction of La Pavoni's price. However, it's not nearly as stunning as the La Pavoni.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorExceptionally good★★★★★
VersatilityLimited function★★★★
UsabilityVery inveolved★★
ValueExpensive and you'll need a special grinder★★

Best portable espresso machine

6. Wacaco Picopresso

A miniscule marvel to take on your travels

Specifications

Dimensions: 4.17 x 3.07 x 2.8 inches
Weight: 0.77 lbs
Tank capacity: 80 ml
Pressure: 18 bars

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use on-the-go
+
Comes with premium case
+
Makes delicious coffee

Reasons to avoid

-
Only makes espresso
-
A lot of clean up
Buy it if

✅ You travel a lot: this is portable
✅ You need a silent machine: this is motorless and whisper silent
✅ You only like espressos: this pulls a delicious shot

Don't buy it if:

❌ You like milky coffee: this only makes espresso
❌ You aren't a keen cleaner: there are lots of parts to cover
❌ You want an automatic machine: this is manual

The bottom line

🔎 Wacaco Picopresso: contained in a barrel no bigger than a can of soda, is the capability to make incredible espressos. It can't do much else though.

Those who are always on-the-go probably already have a Wacaco Picopresso sized-hole in their lives. This espresso machine is no bigger than a can of soda, but can really pack some coffee power. It makes a shot which can rival the machines at the top of this buying guide, but requires a fraction of the space and money too.

One of the best parts about the Picopresso is the packaging. Every part of the Picopresso has an ultra-premium feel, from the stain-finish case to the smooth, matte exterior. Every aspect of the product is a true delight. If you have a coffee friend, this will make the perfect present for them. If that goes down well, there are also some lovely accessories, such as the Picopresso stand which can help you to complete your portable coffee collection.

The Picopresso is quick to use. I went from unboxing to espresso in less than five minutes, but the process is more involved; you need to pump a piston to create the equivalent of 15 bars of pressure. This doesn't take long, but those with mobility wishes might not like this idea. 

The coffee results, as I have mentioned, are exceptional. The Picopresso made an espresso with a thick, hazelnutty crema. My coffee was well-balanced and delicate. However, when you start looking for more than an espresso or Americano, the Picopresso cannot deliver. It can't warm, steam, or produce hot water. 

There's more detail in my Wacaco Picopresso review.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorMakes a flawless espresso★★★★★
VersatilityOnly makes espresso★★★★
UsabilityVery easy to use★★★★★
ValueExpensive, but feels premium★★★★★

Best espresso machine for style

7. Smeg ECF01/2

Smeg's speciality in style is showcased again

Specifications

Type: Semi-automatic
Dimensions: 13" x 5.9" x 13"
Weight: 10.4 lbs
Descaling Notification: Yes
Interface: Buttons
Pressure: 15

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of color options
+
Good for beginners
+
Very slim

Reasons to avoid

-
Feels a little cheap
-
Short steam wand
-
Low brew head
Buy it if

✅ You put style first: this is beautiful
✅ You have slim countertops: this is very compact
✅ You drink mostly espressos: that's Smeg's speciality

Don't buy it if:

❌ You have tall coffee cups: the brew head is low
❌ You can't steam milk: the steam wand is tricky
❌ You want lots of control: this is pretty basic

The bottom line

🔎 Smeg Espresso Machine: available in seven different colors, Smeg's espresso machine flaunts their signature style. It can pull a good shot, but is imperfect in some practicalities.

It should come as no surprise that Smeg makes the most stylish espresso machine on the market. The colors, chrome, and curves are irresistible. Even if you have a relatively compact kitchen, the slim design will slot neatly into place, not disturbing your clear aesthetics at all. 

The Smeg was easy to set-up and most of the controls are automated, so it's a matter of pressing some simple buttons to get an espresso made. Flavor-wise, the Smeg is hard to fault. My espresso was chocolatey, smooth, and delicate. Even when I tested out the pod portafilter, which is compatible with ESE pods, the notes were well-extracted. If you're an espresso drinker, you're in for a treat.

The steam wand is very usable and can froth both dairy and plant-based milks well. However, it's really short. If you have a deep milk jug, you'll need to overfill it so that the steam wand can reach your milk. Dimensions also became an issue with the brew head. Travel cups and tall mugs simply don't fit under the brew head, which is frustrating and can create extra washing up if you're always having to use espresso cups. 

It's also worth noting that the machine doesn't have an integrated grinder. Luckily, Smeg makes a grinder, which I think is one of the best on the market. The grinder and espresso machine next to each other look fantastic and they're both pretty compact, but it's an extra expense you'll need to consider.

There's more detail in my Smeg Espresso Maker review.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Test results
AttributesNotesRating
FlavorMakes a good espresso★★★★★
VersatilityCompatibe with grounds and pods★★★★
UsabilityLow brew head and short steam wand★★★
ValueExpensive with grinder★★★

Best value espresso machine