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19 October 2021

How to buy the best Nespresso machine

Do you want a Nespresso machine but aren't sure how to choose? We explain how to find the perfect model for you
PG
Patrick Gallagher
Nespresso lifestyle 466853

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 separate 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.

Read Nespresso, Tassimo or Dolce Gusto? to find out more about the most popular pod coffee machines.

Choosing the best Nespresso machine

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.

Check our guide to the Top five best Nespresso coffee machines for 2021 to see which ones we recommend.

Nespresso machines: what to spend

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:

Entry-level 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 quite compact with a relatively small capsule bin and water tank. If you just want a quick espresso, they should be more than enough.

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. 

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 SNE500BKSNespresso Creatista Pro (£649) – has an automatic steam pipe with different froth levels for ultimate frothing and a colour touchscreen.

Go to our Nespresso coffee machine reviews to filter the latest models by price and find the one for you.

Nespresso Vertuo or Original?

Nespresso Vertuoplus

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 widening range of different machines available, starting from roughly £99 up to around £219. You can't use original Nespresso capsules in these machines, only Vertuo pods will fit. 

Read about the pros and cons of these machines in Nespresso Original vs Vertuo - which one should you buy?

Nespresso coffee machines compared

Here's an overview of some of the coffee machines included in the official Nespresso range. You can click on the model name to see our full test review.

£90/£140 (with Aeroccino frother), Original pods

This ultra-compact coffee maker is the cheapest official Nespresso machine. Good if you're looking for something small.

£140/£190 (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.

CitiZ

£160/£180/£210 (with Aeroccino frother), Original pods

The CitiZ is a slim coffee machine with a fold-down grid for different-sized cups.

£220, Original pods

This model has an integrated milk frother for hands-free milky brews.

Expert

£250/£300 (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.

£209, Original pods

Built-in automatic milk frother for a one-touch brew.

£329, Original pods

This model has a steam pipe, giving you more control over the level of froth in your lattes and cappuccinos.

£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 tailored different-sized pods. The tank on the VertuoPlus, which is bigger than the typical Nespresso machine, holds 1.8 litres of water and it's movable, plus the capsule lever automatically closes.

£149/£179/£199, Vertuo pods

The Next is a more compact version of the VertuoPlus, but it's bigger than some of the original Nespresso machines, so that's worth bearing in mind if you're thinking of trading up. The water tank isn't moveable on this version, and you'll have to close the lid manually. 

Prices correct as of August 2021.

Want to narrow down your choices? See our list of Best Buy coffee machines.

Nespresso coffee machines rated

We asked Nespresso owners to tell us how happy they are with their machine and if they had any problems with it. We've taken this data, and test data from our years of lab tests, and analysed the numbers to bring you our verdict on how good Nespresso machines are at making coffee, and how long they're likely to last when you get them home.

In the table below you can find out:

  • How well Nespresso machines from different brands do in our coffee machine tests.
  • How prone to faults Nespresso machines are, based on feedback from owners.
  • If Nespresso owners consider them value for money.
  • How satisfied Nespresso owners are with their coffee machine and how likely they are to recommend Nespresso to a friend.
  • Our overall verdict on Nespresso brands including Nespresso DeLonghi, Krups and Magimix machines.

Only logged-in Which? members can unlock all the information in the table below. If you're not already a member, you can join Which? to get instant access.

Number tested
13
Average test score
Range of test scores
Number of Best Buys
Number of Don't Buys
Brand reliability rating
Value for money rating
Customer score
Pros
Cons
Should I buy a Nespresso coffee machine?

Read which coffee machine brand to buy to discover what coffee machine owners had to say about other brands.

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 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.

What does your coffee habit cost you?

This graphic shows how much capsule coffee machines cost to run in comparison with other models.

What does your coffee habit cost you?

Ground-coffee machine is the cheapest cost of £544, followed by the bean-to-cup at £760, and coffee capsules are next at £1,166. The most expensive is buying a takeaway coffee.

This is based on two espressos per day over five years, plus the upfront cost of the cheapest relevant Best Buy coffee machines.

See our 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 Nespresso-compatible pods for 2021.

Is a Nespresso subscription worth it?

Nespresso capsules

Nespresso introduced its subscription service back 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. Currently there are two plans available, one for those with a machine already,  and one for those without.

There are five annual coffee plans to choose from – they start at £17 a month and rise to £50 a month. There are also five plans with a coffee machine included for just £1. These start at £20 with the Vertuo Next included. £25 a month gets you the Pixie or Vertuo Plus. One of the priciest packages will see you spending £55 a month in exchange for the Creatistia Plus, which retails for around £440.

See Your top 10 Nespresso questions answered for answers to other common Nespresso questions.

Best Nespresso machines for cappuccino fans

Cappuccino

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 or Dolce Gusto?.

Types of milk frothing

  • Aeroccino frother accessory – this comes bundled with standard range models such as the Pixie and Citiz.
  • Automatic steam wand – featured on Creatistia models. The Nespresso Creatista Plus has a fully automated steam wand that can froth milk to eight 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 that 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 filter our coffee machine reviews to see all the models which have a milk frother, or see best milk frothers for 2021 if you want a stand-alone model.

Prices updated: August 2021. Prices may change.