Espresso machines

Can you make the perfect coffee in your kitchen?

Espresso machine making two coffees.

What’s the best espresso machine for you?

We've tested 38 espresso machines.

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Your espresso machine has a big impact on the quality of your morning coffee, but which type to choose – manual, semi-auto, automatic or capsule? Our test results will help you pick the ideal machine.

There are four main types of espresso machine:

  • Manual - produce the best coffee in our tests, but they’re very hands-on. You’ll have to do the grinding (if it has a hopper), filling of the portafilter, tamping, extracting and frothing. If you’re particular about your coffee, and don’t mind the extra time and work involved, these machines are a great choice.
  • Semi-auto - if you’re a coffee aficionado, but aren’t keen on all the fuss of a manual machine, a semi-auto is a good choice. Like with manuals, you fill and tamp the portafilter – but a semi-auto extracts the exact amount of coffee at a pre-set temperature, which some models let you customise, with the press of a button.
  • Automatic - if you want to upgrade from instant coffee, and don’t mind paying upwards of $1000, automatic espresso machines are where you should look. They handle everything from grinding and tamping to extracting. They’re ideal for busy households that drink lots of coffee and aren’t hung up on making the best coffee possible.
  • Capsule - the simplest way to brew espresso. Capsules are automatic machines, but instead of a portafilter to extract coffee, they use pre-packaged coffee capsules – just pop one in and press start. They’re one of the fastest espresso machines, but some coffee lovers will find the flavour questionable.
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Espresso machine buying guide

Automatic, manual or capsule? Our buying guide explains the pros and cons of different types of espresso machines, plus what features you should look for.

Read the guide