We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies as per our policy which also explains how to change your preferences.

Best Coffee Machines 2018

Choose the best coffee machine for you using our expert buying guide and independent coffee machine reviews

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Find the best coffee machine for you

From cheap and cheerful Nespresso makers to professional-grade espresso machines, there's never been more choice of coffee machine. And with prices ranging from as little as £30 to more than £1,000, it pays to spend a little time working out what the best option is for you. 

Read on for our expert buying advice and top coffee machine recommendations, based on our expert independent lab tests of the latest models. 

Coffee machine types explained

  • Capsule or pod coffee machines are a quick and fuss-free way to make coffee. They use disposable pods of pre-measured ground coffee. Nespresso, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto are three of the biggest brands. Capsule machines tend to limit you to just one brand of coffee pod, and per cup they cost more than other types. The used capsules can also be difficult to recycle.
  • Bean-to-cup coffee machines make freshly ground coffee at the touch of a button. A bean-to-cup machine can use any brand of coffee beans and your coffee will be ground on demand for each drink. Some models also work with ground coffee for times when you want to mix it up.
  • Ground coffee machines are a little more hands on than other types, as you have to measure and prep your coffee, but you can use any type of ground coffee, or grind your own beans, and they enable you to easily tailor your drink. They're typically cheaper and lighter than bean-to-cup machines, and offer more flexibility and lower running costs than capsule machines. Many also take ESE (easy serving espresso) pods - these are like pre-measured tea bags full of coffee.

Coffee machine features to look for

  • Milk frothing – necessary if you like a cappuccino or latte. Some models have automatic frothers – either a standalone accessory or a built-in frother that dispenses the milk directly into your cup. Others have a steam pipe, which allows you to manually froth milk using a burst of steam. Some capsule machines use pre-packaged milk pods. Think about whether you want your drink made for you or if you are happy to handle the milk frothing and add this to your coffee.

  • Personalisation – some coffee machines will let you save preferences,controlling the amount of water and milk that goes into your coffee. This means you can prep the machine to automatically dispense just the right amount for your favourite mug, or add a little extra milk to your latte.
  • Smart controls – these let you control the coffee machine from your smartphone via an app, so you can check if it has enough water, and set it to make your coffee from the comfort of your sofa or bed (as long as you’ve left a cup in place!).
  • Capacity – a larger water tank is handy if you want to make lots of coffees in quick succession, or don't want to be constantly refilling the water tank.

How to buy the best coffee machine >

Coffee machine running costs

It's not just the price of the coffee machine you'll need to think about, but also the ongoing cost of coffee. Ground coffee and beans are cheaper per serving than individual coffee pods.

Of the three main types, ground coffee machines work out the cheapest overall, with capsules machines costing nearly four times as much. All are cheaper than getting your daily fix in a coffee shop though.

Best coffee machines for 2018

We've rounded up our pick of the best coffee machines from our independent tests to help you find the right model for your home. 

We’ve tested hundreds of coffee machines, including models from DeLonghi, Dolce Gusto, Krups, Nespresso, Sage, Tassimo and more. The models below are some of the very best coffee machines money can buy.

Lowest price (in stock) £83.00
Which? score 86%
Reviewed Jun 2014

This coffee machine is a couple of years old, but remains one of the best-scoring coffee machines we've tested. It uses ground coffee, or ESE pods, and has a steam wand for milk frothing. There’s even a cup warmer on top. This stylish, affordable machine is a top pick - it makes excellent espresso and cappuccino with minimal fuss.

Lowest price (in stock) £118.99
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Sep 2017

This compact and affordable pod coffee machine is a great buy if you’re keen for a quick coffee hit but short on worktop space. Bought with the milk frothing accessory, it makes flavoursome espressos and tempting cappuccinos. It’s quick, quiet and easy to use. There are a wide range of compatible capsules available.

Typical price £299.00
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Oct 2018

This bean-to-cup machine is compact and simple, so you won't find the multiple drink options you get on premium bean-to-cup machines. It gets the basics right though - it makes excellent coffee and is easy to use and clean. It's a brilliant Best Buy at a great price. If you're keen to make milky drinks, you can pick up a separate automatic milk frother for less than £50.

 

Best bean-to-cup coffee machines for 2018

Bean-to-cup coffee machines grind your coffee from scratch for the freshest cup possible. They also tend to automate more of the process and have self-cleaning functions for hands-free coffee prep. Here are three of our top picks:

Best bean-to-cup coffee machines

Typical price £1,200.00
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Aug 2018

This high-end coffee maker is easy to use, brews excellent coffee and froths milk like a champion. It's got a quiet grinder too. You can make a coffee from the comfort of your sofa, thanks to the smartphone app it connects with, and it's got plenty of scope for personalising your brew, too.

Typical price £299.00
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Oct 2018

This Beko bean-to-cup machine is compact and simple, so you won't find the multiple drink options you get on premium machines. It gets the basics right though - it makes excellent coffee and is easy to use and clean. It's a brilliant Best Buy at a great price.

Lowest price (in stock) £266.17
Which? score 80%
Reviewed May 2014

This great value bean-to-cup machine isn't the slickest-looking model we've seen, but it does make excellent coffee at the touch of a button. It's much cheaper than competitors, so is a great option if you're on a budget or after the best fresh coffee around.

 

Best pod coffee machines for 2018

Pod, or capsule, coffee machines such as those from Nespresso, Lavazza or Tassimo are the ultimate in convenience if you just want a quick, consistent coffee with minimum hassle. They tend to be small and simple machines. Here are three of our top picks:

Best capsule coffee machine

Typical price £99.00
Which? score 84%
Reviewed Oct 2018

This Best Buy coffee machine is user-friendly and makes a delicious cup of coffee without keeping you waiting too long when you need that caffeine hit.

Typical price £39.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Aug 2018

Compact, consistent and able to make delicious espressos, this simple and easy to use capsule coffee machine has it all. It's good value too. If you're after a cheap and simple way to make espresso, this is a great choice.

Lowest price (in stock) £118.99
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Sep 2017

This cheap and compact capsule coffee maker is a great buy if you’re keen for a quick coffee hit but short on worktop space. Bought with the milk frothing accessory, it makes flavoursome espressos and tempting cappuccinos. It’s quick, quiet and easy to use.

 

Best ground coffee machines for 2018

Ground coffee machines are the classic coffee maker. You measure and prepare your coffee yourself, and usually froth milk manually with a steam pipe rather than an automatic frother. They can take a little more time to get used to, but you'll have more control over your coffee. Here are three of our top picks:

Best ground coffee machines

Lowest price (in stock) £83.00
Which? score 86%
Reviewed Jun 2014

This coffee machine is a couple of years old, but remains one of the best-scoring coffee machines we've tested. It uses ground coffee, or ESE pods, and has a steam wand for milk frothing. There’s even a cup warmer on top. This stylish, affordable machine is a top pick - it makes excellent espresso and cappuccino with minimal fuss.

Lowest price (in stock) £119.99
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Feb 2018

This stylish compact coffee machine makes excellent espressos and cappuccinos, all while taking up much less space than your average ground coffee machine. It's a good bet if you want a top-notch traditional coffee maker with a small footprint.

Lowest price (in stock) £186.80
Which? score 72%
Reviewed Nov 2009

This coffee machine makes good espressos and cappuccinos in a flash. Milk froths beautifully with the steam pipe, and overall this machine is easy to use too.

 

Best cheap coffee machines

A high price doesn’t always mean great coffee. We’ve found both cheap coffee makers that make excellent espressos, and pricey machines that are underwhelming.

Capsule coffee machines are the cheapest type, with some models costing as little as £35 to buy, but bear in mind they cost more to run as coffee pods are pricier than ground coffee or beans.

Ground coffee machines can cost anything from £50 to £500+, but we’ve found some great options for around £150.

Bean-to-cup machines are the most expensive type, with models starting from around £250 and going up to more than £2000. Paying more will get you fancy extra features such as smart controls, colour touch screen menus and increased drink options, but we’ve found a couple of brilliant cheaper Best Buys if you want the bean-to-cup experience on a budget.

Here are three of our top picks if you're after a cheap coffee maker:

Lowest price (in stock) £83.00
Which? score 86%
Reviewed Jun 2014

This coffee machine really impressed our expert. It's remained the one of the best-scoring ground coffee machine we've tested for years, easily earning its standing as the top Best Buy.

Typical price £39.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Aug 2018

Compact, consistent and able to make delicious espressos, this simple and easy to use capsule coffee machine has it all. It's good value too. If you're after a cheap and simple way to make espresso, this is a great choice.

Lowest price (in stock) £266.17
Which? score 80%
Reviewed May 2014

This great value bean-to-cup machine isn't the slickest-looking model we've seen, but it does make excellent coffee at the touch of a button. It's much cheaper than competitors, so is a great option if you're on a budget or after the best fresh coffee around.

Best coffee machine brands

We asked more than 1,500 coffee machine owners about their machines to find out which brands will reliably deliver a tasty morning brew for years to come - and the ones to avoid. We've combined our survey results with expert insight based on decades of coffee machine testing to help you identify the best and most reliable brands. 

Two brands in our survey scored an impressive five stars for reliability, while one got just one star, after owners reported a high number of issues with their machines. Use our full comparison table to gain unique insight into all the major coffee machine brands, including DeLonghi, Krups, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Nespresso, and Tassimo.

Top 10 coffee machines brands for 2018 >

Three coffee machines to avoid

Even the big brands can produce a dud from time to time. Among our list of disappointing coffee machines is a model from a popular capsule brand. This machine produced a poor espresso that left our coffee tasting expert underwhelmed. The Don't Buy coffee machines below are definitely best avoided.

Typical price £140.00
Which? score 51%
Reviewed Feb 2018

This capsule coffee machine offers more control over your coffee but fails to hit the spot on the flavour front. As with previous machines from this brand we've tested, we found it makes somewhat forgettable coffee.

Lowest price (in stock) £146.49
Which? score 50%
Reviewed Oct 2013

This coffee machine looks great and is simple and quick to use. It's not terrible, but the espresso was underwhelming or poor depending on whether you use ground coffee or capsules - there are better machines available.

Lowest price (in stock) £220.00
Which? score 32%
Reviewed Sep 2017

We weren't impressed by this coffee machine's efforts - the espresso it made was thin, and lacked body and aroma. It's also slow, noisy and makes poor cappuccino, so you'll want to look elsewhere for your morning pick-me-up.

How we test coffee machines

Which? is independent – we work for you, the consumer, so you can be sure that our coffee machine recommendations are influenced only by our test results. We don’t take advertising and we buy all the products that we assess ourselves. With more than 50 years expertise in testing home appliances, you can trust that we’re the experts in separating the good from the bad.

Every coffee machine we review goes through the same series of tests, designed to assess how well it will make coffee and how easy it is to use. We rate how easy the machine is to set up and use, how quick it is to make espresso and how hot the coffee is, as well as how noisy it is and how easy it is to clean afterwards. We also rate how easy it is to descale – something you need to do regularly to keep your machine in working order.

Most importantly, our specially trained coffee tasting panel rates the espresso each machine makes, so you get the best-tasting brew. If a coffee machine has a milk frother or steam wand, we’ll get them to rate the cappuccino too.

Our panel can tell how well the coffee machines we test have extracted the flavour from the coffee, as we use the same one in each type of machine. During our blind taste test, they judge the appearance of the coffee, as well as the texture, taste and aroma, to give a rounded view on how good it is.

SHARE THIS PAGE

Related products

See all coffee machines