Coffee gear!

updated 3/31/21
Hopefully, after looking over some of these machines, you will come away with the answer to the question, “Which HOME espresso machine should I buy?“. This list is in no particular order and is more of a guide to the different types of home espresso machines that are on the market. If you are an experienced espresso drinker, we will try and highlight a few different features of machines that might help in a future machine purchase if necessary.

For ease of nomenclature, we will consider roughly 3 types of espresso machines: Manual, Semi-Automatic and Automatic.

  • Manual – The beans are ground and loaded in the portafilter by you (the user). The pressure created to dispense a quality shot comes from the force of the user. Meaning you literally have to move a lever up and down to get espresso to come out of the machine. Professional or commercial lever style espresso machines use a giant spring to assist in the lever pull pressure creation.
  • Semi-Automatic – The beans are ground and loaded in the portafilter by the user. Then, instead of pulling a lever, the user toggles a switch that activates a mechanical pump to instantaneously deliver 9 bars of hot water through the ground coffee in the portafilter.
  • Automatic or Fully-Automatic or Super-Automatic or even Super Duper Espress-o-MaticRelax. Push a button. Walk away. Really, the only manual thing about these machines is the cleaning and up-keep. Once the user pushes a button, the machine takes over and will grind the beans and dispense an espresso shot. Whether it will froth milk automatically at your desired level or talk to your toaster is all in the fine details.

The most important thing in choosing an espresso machine is making sure it has all the features you are looking for.

Of course it has to look good on your counter, then after that, make sure it will do what you need it to do. If you have a family of 7, morning milk based espresso drinkers, you might need to choose a Super-Automatic that has a milk jug style attachment on it as opposed to a frothing wand. Maybe your flying solo on your coffee mission and want to dive into the intricacies of every coffee bean varietal known to man. A manual machine or semi-auto would be more your speed.

Whether you pay $500 or $15,000, an espresso machine is designed to deliver 9 bars (130.5psi) of hot water dispensing pressure.

After the machine list, there are some common espresso machine tools, accessories and cleaners that we find useful.

All of the links on this page should properly go to a corresponding Amazon product page. We tried to include as many Prime options as possible.

Rancilio Silvia (Semi-Auto)
The Miss Silvia has been around for quite some time. It has gone several small revisions, but remains our favorite entry level machine for home espresso. If you want to step it up a notch look for a Silvia with a PID installed.

This will need an espresso grinder.

Rancilio Silvia Home Espresso Machine
Rancilio Silvia

Bezzera BZ10 (Semi-Auto)
A base model in the Prosumer price range. This is as real to a home espresso machine as you will find. Also good for very small cafes where espresso is not their main focus.

Not many Prosumer style espresso machines are found on Amazon. Most manufacturers already have seller arrangements from Italy (where most quality home espresso machines are made) to USA.

You will have better luck and plenty of reviews with companies like Espresso Outlet, Whole Latte Love or Seattle Coffee Gear.

Good espresso machines are those that are user friendly, safe design, have quality boilers or heat exchangers, sturdy and replaceable parts, heats up very fast and are easy to clean. -Ben

This will need an espresso grinder.

Quick Mill Anita EVO (Semi-Auto)
Just another quick example of a good quality home espresso machine. 😉

This model has the traditional e61 lever group head. It’s design has been around since the 1960’s and still going strong today.

This will need an espresso grinder.

Quick Mill Anita EVO

Quick Mill Vetrano

Quick Mill Vetrano (Semi-Auto)
Probably the most expensive on the list. This would be for the home user that drinks espresso all day or for a small cafe.

Also a traditional e61 lever group head.

Espresso machines with e61 lever group heads and that are plumbed in are great because you can open the lever dispense valve just a little bit and let city water pressure pre-infuse your puck for a few seconds before opening the lever all the way and activating the pump to reach the desired 9 bar.

This will also need a quality espresso grinder.

Gaggia Classic (Semi-Auto)
Another machine that has been around for quite some time. We think the best thing about this machine is that the boiler heating elements are on the outside of the boiler housing. Meaning the heating element itself never comes in contact with water.

This will need an espresso grinder.

Gaggia Classic

DeLonghi Magnifica

DeLonghi Magnifica (Fully-Automatic)
The base model of the Magnifica line. It has been around for quite some time and is a soldier in the game of fully automatic home espresso machines. At a lower entry cost this machine is a little larger and little louder than its more expensive relatives.

DeLonghi Magnifca XS (Fully-Auto)
Probably our favorite of the Magnifica line. It has a smaller footprint than the base model and is a little more quiet during operation.

DeLonghi Magnifica XS Home Espresso Machine
DeLonghi Magnfica XS

DeLonghi Magnifica S

DeLonghi Magnifica S (Fully-Auto)
This is one of our in-house machines. We have a hard time not pushing the go button on this thing. Although we would rather froth milk on a machine worth more than a small sedan, the convenience of a consistently good fully-auto espresso shot is worth its weight in gold.

La Pavoni PC-16 (Manual)
Another oldie, but goodie. La Pavoni has manufactured the lever group Europiccola and Professional models for a long time now, and many changes and upgrades have occurred.

The lever pull machine literally gives you all the control. Lift the lever up to fill the chamber with hot water and then pull the lever down to dispense espresso. Not only is this machine fun, but it is quite stylish on the counter.

This will need and espresso grinder.

La Pavoni PC-16 Home Lever Pull Espresso Machine
La Pavoni PC-16

Breville Barista

Breville Barista Express / Pro
This is a popular home espresso machine line. It seems to have good reviews on Amazon. We have even had good tasting espresso from one.

One problem is we cannot find parts for them.

Also, there are a lot of small plastic components on the inside and after several years of sitting next to a hot boiler things seem to clog, crack, or fail.

As most machines would have pros and cons, we find these to have many CONS and would advise NOT TO BUY.

For a machine with a built-in grinder and small countertop footprint, see the La Pavoni Napolitana below.

La Pavoni Napolitana
Another hybrid style where the grinder is in the machine, but you still have to use a portafilter. We prefer a separate grinder setup, but clearly this would take up less counter space.

With parts readily available, we have seen these small machines take some wear.

Since there is no circuit board, this espresso machine is less “sophisticated” than the Breville Barista, but it still produces 9 bars of hot water to deliver a quality espresso shot.

We do not consider this espresso machine to be in the prosumer line, so probably not good for a small cafe. Just a good simple home espresso machine.

La Pavoni Napolitana

DeLonghi La Specialista
DeLonghi La Specialista

DeLonghi La Specialista
Wow! What a sharp looking system! This would be a direct competitor to Breville Barista machines. We have yet to have one in for service, but once we do, this post will be updated.


Espresso Tamper
There are all kinds of different tampers available. The most common size is 58mm. Traditionally, tampers have a smooth flat base, but now you can find some that convexed or grooved. This one seems like a nice traditional tamper.

Espresso Distributor / Tamper
After grinding the coffee beans into the portafilter, a espresso distributor helps level and distribute the grinds evenly and tamps at the same time.

Tamper Mat
These are nice because it has a little groove so the portafilter won’t slip.

Tamper Stand
Simple Tamper storage. Keeps the bottom of your tamper smooth and free of scuffs and scratches. There are many variations of a tamper stand. We like this one because it is compact and it serves the purpose for a reasonable price.

Portafilter Stand
Holds your espresso portafilter on a scale so that you can easily weigh the coffee dose. Very nice!

Milk Frother
Some fully-automatic machines require a jug of milk in order to make a latte. It turns out to be a hassle and a waste. This is perfect for the user that likes a little frothed milk. Or a lot of frothed milk. Check out the best milk residue cleaner.

Steaming Pitcher Rinser
Probably more for the cafe setup, but these are great for rinsing your steaming pitchers after you froth milk. If you do not want to cut a hole in your there is a countertop version. There is even one for under the counter.


Descaling Solution
Typically used in fully-automatic machines. A Citric Acid Cleaner That Is Odorless And Safe For the Environment. We also like Puly.

Coffee Cleaner
An industry standard for cleaning coffee residue. Used in machines that utilize a 3-way valve for back flushing and cleaning the group head. We have also had good experience with Puly Caff.

Milk Frother Cleaner
You should always purge and wipe down the steam wand after every use, but in case you forgot. A excellent cleaner for nasty milk residue. We have also had good experience with Urnex Rinza.


Group Head Cleaning Brush
Great for cleaning the group head of a traditional espresso machine that uses a portafilter. Has a pre-measured scoop on the handle for the right amount of cleaner. Not for fully-automatic machines.

X-ACTO Knife
The best way to remove a stuck group head gasket is to slice through it carefully with a sharp x-acto knife and then pry it out with a small-screwdriver or with a hook from the hook and pick set below.

Hook and Pick Set
Do you like to keep up with your own group head maintenance. The hook is nice to get stubborn gaskets out. This set is also nice.

Magnetic Retrieval Tool
Not really necessary on this list, but they come in handy in a lost screw situation from time to time.

We have used this flashlight for quite some time now and it has been quite reliable.

110v to 220v Step-Up Transformer
Good for when you purchased your machine outside the United States and need to go from 110v to 220v.

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Water Filtration

Ideal water for espresso has a TDS (total dissolved solids) of 90-150 ppm, with no extraneous odors or flavors that would interfere with taste, but still has enough TDS that the minerals in the coffee are able to help do the work of extraction.

Do not use Reverse Osmosis (RO) water.  Water below 50ppm TDS or 1.5 grains hardness for coffee of any form is considered too soft and interferes with the brewing process and distorts the taste.

All espresso machines require some amount of dissolved minerals to function, and to make coffee taste great.

Espresso Machines with a Water Reservoir

There are 3 main types of water you can buy at the grocery store.

Distilled Water: This is essentially RO water. It has NO minerals in it and is not for espresso machines.

Purified Drinking Water: This is it! This is what you need! This water has been filtered and all the bad stuff removed. If your home machine has a reservoir that needs to be filled….this is the good water to purchase and use.

Already good tasting, St. Louis tap water through a Brita Filter is just fine.

There are even pump options out there if you need a large amount of water and your machine is plumbed in.

Spring Water: This water taste great, but is NOT for espresso machines. The reason this water taste good is that it supposedly comes from the Earth.  While this water makes it purification journey through the natural filters in the ground it picks up higher doses of various minerals. These minerals might taste great, but they are way out of range for an espresso machine.

There are other “waters” out there….Seltzer water, Tonic Water, Rain Water, etc., but no.

Espresso Machines that are Plumbed in

If your machine is plumbed in, you need a water filter. Here are just a few.

St. Louis Metro has pretty good water!

With the properly sized filter in place and changed out at least once a year, your machine should age nicely without any costly blockage repairs.

Pentair Everpure ESO 6
The ESO has a fixed blend of about 40% of filtered water.  This means that along with removing the bad chemicals all together it filters 40% of the mineral content out of the water provided to it.
With the hardness level that St. Louis Metro has this filter should be changed out around the 600 gallon usage range or to be safe, at least once a year for the average home machine. The ESO 6 filter can use the QL2 or the  QL3 Filter Head . It is 23.75″ H x 5.6″ W x 4″ D.

ESO6 Filter with QL2 Head w/ Gauge

ESO6 Cartridge Replacement

Pentair Everpure ESO 7
The bigger version of the ESO 6 filter. Same function just a couple hundred gallon larger usage range and taller dimensions. The ESO 7 filter can use the QL2 or the  QL3 Filter Head .  It is 27.5″ H x 5.6″ W x 4″ D.

Claris S Complete Filter

Pentair Everpure Claris S
With the addition of a water softening component, this filter has an adjustable blend feature that allows the customization of how much mineral content you want in the product water. The S has a rated capacity of around 600 gallons. The Claris S filter can use the Gen 2 filter head.

The Everpure Claris system was designed to allow the user to control the relative water softness of his or her water supply by adjusting the level of its exposure to a bed of hydrogenated resin – an alternative to traditional salted resin – effectively putting the user in control of the alkalinity and mineral content of the water.

Pentair Everpure Claris M
There are a total of 6 different Claris sizes that keep going in size and capacity. The M is the next step up with a rated filtering capacity of about 1,000 gallons. The Claris series can use the Gen 2 filter head.

Pentair Everpure Claris L

Pentair Everpure Claris XL

Keep in mind that you should size your filter by the amount of water used within 6 months to 1 year. All filters should be changed at least once a year.