How to buy the best Nespresso machine
Do you want a Nespresso machine but are not sure how to choose? We explain how to find the perfect model for you
Nespresso machines range from small and simple to pricey and feature-packed. But before you decide on a machine you need to think about what type of coffee you want, as this affects your choices.
Some Nespresso machines come with built-in milk frothers or milk frothing accessories to make cappuccinos, while others just brew a super-fast short espresso. The newer Nespresso Vertuo machines use a different capsule system altogether.
Find out how the range compares to help you choose the right Nespresso machine for you.
In this guide:
- Choosing the best Nespresso machine
- Nespresso prices
- Nespresso Vertuo vs Original
- Nespresso machines compared
- Nespresso subscriptions - are they worth it?
- Best Nespresso machines for cappuccino fans
Want to know which machines we recommend? Check our guide to the best Nespresso coffee machines.
Do you want to make a quick choice? Here's how to do it:
If you just like a swift shot of espresso in the mornings – save yourself some cash and look for a model that doesn't have a milk-frothing feature.
If you want to make longer coffees – choose a model with a 'Lungo' option, or one which lets you control the volume of water per cup. It's worth considering the Nespresso Vertuo range, which is designed for larger cups.
If you're into frothy, milky coffees – choose between models with milk-frothing accessories, depending on whether you want more or less input into the frothing process.
See our Nespresso coffee machine reviews.
There are options to suit every taste and budget in the Nespresso range. More expensive Nespresso machines tend to come with extra features such as a larger capacity, more drink size options, memory programming of your favourite coffee, and milk frothing. Some are also finished in premium materials such as die-cast aluminium for a luxury look.
Here's an overview of the range by price point:
Reasonably priced Nespresso machines (£100 or less)
These models stick to the basics, offering one or two drink size options (usually espresso or lungo) and no milk frothing. They're likely to be relatively compact with a smallish capsule bin and water tank. If you just want a quick espresso, they should be more than enough.
- Essenza Mini XN110140 (£77) – the entry-level model. Small, compact and affordable.
- Nespresso Pixie (£100) – slightly larger capacity than Essenza models.
Mid-priced Nespresso machines (£100-£200)
If you pay a bit more, you'll get an automatic milk frother for making cappuccinos, lattes and more, and more in the way of capacity and choice. Extras may include more drink options, the ability to store your preferences, or even Bluetooth capability so you can control the machine from your phone or tablet.
- Nespresso Essenza Mini (£119) & Nespresso Pixie with Aeroccino frother (£140) – bundling these models with a milk frother pushes the price up but means you can make lattes.
- Nespresso Lattissima Touch (£185) – built-in milk automatic frother for one-touch milky coffees.
- Nespresso Vertuo – this machine uses a different type of coffee pod, and makes longer coffees with a super frothy top
Premium Nespresso machines (£200 and above)
Top-end Nespresso models make a real style statement in your kitchen and offer more control over your coffee.
- Nespresso Expert (£200) – slimline profile, multiple temperature settings and an extra drink size – Americano.
- Nespresso Creatista Uno SNE500BKS (£250) – has an automatic steam pipe with different froth levels for ultimate frothing
See all of our expert Nespresso machine reviews to filter the latest models by price and find the right fit for you.
In 2017, Nespresso launched an entirely new capsule system, Vertuo. This system uses centrifugal force – spinning the capsules at high speed – to extract your brew. It's designed to make a wider range of coffees, particularly longer drinks, for those who aren't pure espresso fans.
There are three pod sizes to choose from, and a handful of different machines available, starting from roughly £180. You can't use original Nespresso capsules in these machines, only Vertuo pods will fit.
Get our verdict on the new coffee system and compare all three Vertuo machines side-by-side with our Nespresso Vertuo coffee machine reviews.
Here's an overview of the official Nespresso range. You can click on the model name to see our full review of that machine.
£89.99 / £139.99 (with Aeroccino frother), Original pods
This ultra-compact coffee maker is the cheapest official Nespresso machine. Good if you're looking for something small.
£139.99 / £189.99 (with Aeroccino frother), Original pods
The Pixie has a slightly bigger water tank and capsule bin than the Essenza Mini, hence the jump in price.
£159.99 / £209.99 (with Aeroccino frother), Original pods
The CitiZ is a slim coffee machine with a fold-down grid for different-sized cups.
£219.99, Original pods
This model has an integrated milk frother for hands-free milky brews.
£249.99 / £299.99 (with Aeroccino frother), Original pods
Slim profile designed to sit back against the wall, leaving your kitchen worktop free. Has three different temperature settings and makes four coffee types - ristretto, espresso, lungo and Americano. Connects to Nespresso App.
£279, Original pods
Built-in automatic milk frother for a one-touch brew.
£279, Original pods
This model has a steam pipe, giving you more control over the level of froth in your lattes and cappuccinos.
£399, Original pods
A premium coffee machine with a 1.5 litre tank. A screen on the top of the Creatista Plus lets you choose between drink types. Comes with an automated steam wand and multiple frothing options.
£429, Original pods
A high-spec version of the automatic milk frothing Lattissima models, with touchscreen controls.
£129, Vertuo pods
Worth considering if you want a large, black coffee to get you through the day. The Vertuo capsule coffee machine lets you pick between four coffee sizes and makes four drinks: espresso, gran lungo, mug and alto, with it's tailored different-sized pods.
£129 / £179 (with Aeroccino frother), Vertuo pods
The tank on the VertuoPlus, which is bigger than the typical Nespresso machine, holds 1.8 litres of water. Unlike the standard Vertuo, the VertuoPlus has a movable water tank and automatically closing capsule lever.
Prices taken from Nespresso website, May 2019.
Some brands, such as Dualit, Morphy Richards and even Asda make Nespresso-compatible machines, which work with Nespresso and compatible pods. Get our verdict on these models in our Nespresso machine reviews.
Nespresso capsule costs
As with all capsule coffee machines, it's worth considering the ongoing cost of buying Nespresso pods, which are more expensive per cup than using ground coffee, and differ if you opt for a Vertuo or Original machine.
Our graphic below shows much capsule coffee machines cost to run in comparison with other models:
See our full coffee machine buying guide for advice on other coffee machine types and how to choose the right one for you.
There is a healthy market in third-party compatible pods for Nespresso Original pod machines. Compatible pods don't work with all machines, but most of the basic range should be fine.
For more info, and our top-rated compatible capsules, see our guide to the best-tasting Nespresso pods.
Nespresso introduced a new subscription service in 2017, probably as a fightback against the increased popularity of compatible capsules. The idea is that you sign up to monthly capsule payments, and in return you get a specific Nespresso machine for £1.
There are six annual plans to choose from – they start at £18/month and rise to £45/month. The cheapest gets you the Nespresso Essenza Mini coffee machine, which retails for around £90. Meanwhile, £25 a month gets you the Nespresso Essenza Mini plus Aeroccino milk frother. One of the priciest packages will see you spending £45/month in exchange for the Lattissima One, which retails for around £220.
If you know you'll be getting through plenty of pods, it could be a good way to get a Nespresso machine for a lot less. See our story on the Nespresso subscription service for more details.
Are cheap Nespresso machines any good?
You don't need to spend a fortune to get a decent Nespresso machine, but some extract flavour from the capsules better than others. We've found some good value models that make it into our Best Buy list, but others were less impressive – check our list of the best coffee machines to get the lowdown on the good ones.
What you might miss if you opt for a cheaper model are the fancy extras – milk-frothing accessories and personalisation or smart control. However, one bonus of the cheaper models is they are usually very compact, and will easily squeeze onto the most crowded of kitchen worktops.
Nespresso machines use store-bought milk to make cappuccinos, unlike cheaper rivals Tassimo and Dolce Gusto, which use milk pods. You can find out more about the differences in our guide to Nespresso, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto machines compared.
Types of milk frothing
- Aeroccino frother accessory – this comes bundled with standard range models such as the Essenza, Pixie and Expert.
- Automatic steam wand – featured on Creatistia models. The Nespresso Creatista has a fully automated steam wand that can froth milk to 11 different textures, ideal if you're fanatical about your froth being perfect whether you're having a flat white or a cappuccino.
- Built-in auto frother – Nespresso's premium Latissima models have a built-in milk frother which creates cappuccinos at the touch of a button.
You can buy most Nespresso machines in the range either as a standalone product or bundled with a Nespresso Aeroccino milk frother. This usually adds around £40 to the price, and you can also buy the Aeroccino separately for £50.
We test every model with the Aeroccino frother, and give it a separate score if you just want to buy it for espresso, and if you plan to make cappuccinos. That way you can choose the machine that is best suited to your needs. You can use the milk frothing filter on our coffee machine reviews to see all the models which have a milk frother.