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27 Mar 2020

Coffee machines for your home - make a cafe-style brew without leaving the house

Missing your daily coffee shop espresso or latte? We've tested coffee machines from DeLonghi, Sage and more to help you recreate that cafe culture
Person using ground coffee machine

With cafes now closed and most of us staying indoors following the latest coronavirus advice, coffee shop regulars might be craving something a little more satisfying than an instant coffee.

If you're looking to fill the latte-shaped hole in your life, now could be the perfect time to get a coffee machine.

Whether you choose a premium bean-to-cup coffee machine, a simple pod machine, or a hands-on traditional ground coffee machine, there are options to suit every taste.

Popular coffee machine makers include DeLonghi, Nespresso, Sage and Tassimo - but do they turn out the perfect cappuccino every time? Find out which models we recommend in our round-up of the best coffee machines.

Three things to consider when choosing a coffee machine

Coffee machine line up

1) What type of coffee will you use?

Most machines are designed to work with just one type of coffee - ground, beans or individually packed, pre-filled pods. It's worth considering which you'd prefer to use, as the type you choose will affect the drink options available to you.

Take our quick quiz to find out which type of machine suits you best.

2) Do you need a milk frother?

Fans of milky drinks such as cappuccinos can opt for a coffee machine that comes with a milk frother.

Some machines have a steam wand, which lets you froth milk manually, while others come with automatic milk frothing. Pod coffee machines made by Tassimo and Dolce Gusto use powdered milk pods to dispense froth directly into your drink.

Find out how to make cafe-style cappuccinos, macchiatos, flat whites and more.

3) Automatic or manual?

A traditional ground coffee machine gives you the ability to manually adjust the strength and size of drinks for a hands-on barista experience.

But if you want something that does the hard work for you, there are plenty of automatic pod and bean-to-cup models that will dispense the coffee of your choice at the press of a button.

Our coffee machine buying guide has expert advice on choosing the right coffee machine for you.

How much do I need to spend to get a decent coffee machine?

Person using pod coffee machine

Coffee machines can cost anything from £30 to more than £1,000. So how much do you really need to pay to get a great brew?

Bean-to-cup machines tend to be pricier than pod and ground coffee machines. And more expensive models usually have fancy features such as colour touchscreens, extensive drinks menus and automatic milk frothing.

But we've found plenty of good machines that won't break the bank. Many of the coffee machines we rate highly in our tests will only set you back £100 or less - and our cheapest Best Buy costs less than £50.

Costs compared: coffee shop vs coffee machine

Even if your chosen machine tops £100, just think how much not being able to pop to your local coffee shop for a while will save you. The savings over just a couple of months could easily pay for many of our Best Buy coffee machines that will keep your caffeine addiction supplied for years to come.

The graphic below shows how the cost of buying and using a coffee machine compares with typical spend on coffee-shop espressos over five years. Pods are more expensive than ground coffee or beans, so even though pod machines are typically cheap to buy, the cost per cup is higher.

Graphic showing running costs of different coffee

Cheap coffee machines on test

Looking for a cheap way to get your caffeine fix? We've recently put five coffee machines that are decently priced for their type through our rigorous lab tests.

KrupsDolce Gusto Piccolo XS KP1A0840, £38

  • Pod coffee machine
  • Takes Dolce Gusto pods
  • Make milky drinks using Dolce Gusto milk pods

If you're short on kitchen space, this cheap, compact pod coffee machine from Krups could fit the bill - but does it make a decent cup of coffee? Read our Krups Dolce Gusto Piccolo XS KP1A0840 review to see whether it should be on your wishlist.

John Lewis Pump Espresso Machine, £70

John Lewis Pump Espresso Machine
  • Ground coffee machine
  • Steam wand
  • Dispenses two drinks at the same time

This John Lewis coffee machine offers plenty of handy features, including a steam wand and cup warmer, at a low price. Discover whether it's one of our top picks in the John Lewis Pump Espresso Machine review.

Lakeland 2-in-1 Coffee Pod Machine 62120, £100

Lakeland 2-in-1 Coffee Pod Machine 62120
  • Pod coffee machine
  • Takes Nespresso and Dolce Gusto pods
  • Make milky drinks using Dolce Gusto milk pods

Unusually for a pod coffee machine, the Lakeland 2-in-1 machine takes both Dolce Gusto and Nespresso pods. Read our Lakeland 2-in-1 Coffee Pod Machine 62120 review to find out how it fared in our tests.

John Lewis Pump Espresso Machine with Milk Frother, £100

John Lewis Pump Espresso Machine with Milk Frother
  • Ground coffee machine
  • Automatic milk frother
  • Dispenses two drinks at the same time

Most ground coffee machines come with a steam wand, but this model from John Lewis has automatic milk frothing for fuss-free milky drinks. Find out whether its cappuccinos impressed in our John Lewis Pump Espresso Machine with Milk Frother review.

Beko CEG5311X bean to cup coffee machine, £289

Beko CEG5311X
  • Bean-to-cup machine
  • Steam wand
  • Memory function lets you save your preferred settings

The price tag of the Beko CEG5311X may not make it seem like much of a budget buy, but it's one of the cheapest bean-to-cup machines we've tested. Read our Beko CEG5311X review to see if it offers good value for money.