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Best Coffee Machines 2019

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

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Find the best coffee machine for you

From cheap and cheerful Nespresso makers to commercial-style 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 independent tests. 

Coffee machine types explained

Capsule or pod coffee machines 

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. 

You're usually limited to just one brand of coffee pod, and they can be pricey and difficult to recycle.

Bean-to-cup coffee machines 

These 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 

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 work with ESE (easy serving espresso) pods – like tea bags full of coffee.

Coffee machine features to look for

Milk frothing – necessary if you like a cappuccino or latte. There are several options. These are:

  • Automatic frothing – a built-in frother that dispenses the milk directly into your cup.
  • Frothing accessory – a standalone milk frother.
  • Steam wand – allows you to manually froth milk in a separate jug using a burst of steam, which you can then add to your drink. 
  • Milk pods – pre-prepared UHT or powdered milk pods. Used in Tassimo and Dolce Gusto capsule coffee machines.

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 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.

Get more buying advice in our full guide to how to buy the best coffee machine >

Coffee machines: upfront vs running costs

  • Pod coffee machines £35 - £400 (typically £100)
  • Ground coffee machines £50 - £500+ (typically £185)
  • Bean-to-cup machines £250 - £2000+ (typically £750)

Paying more will get you fancy extra features such as smart controls, colour touch screen menus and increased drink options. A high price doesn’t always mean great coffee though. We’ve found both cheap coffee makers that make excellent espressos, and pricey machines that are underwhelming.

Don't get caught out by the ongoing cost of coffee

Ground coffee and beans are cheaper per serving than individual coffee pods, so while pod machines may be cheaper initially, they can work out more expensive in the long run.

Best coffee machines for 2019

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, Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Krups, Nespresso, Sage, Tassimo and more. The models below are some of the very best coffee machines money can buy:

86%
£149.00
Reviewed

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.

81%
£109.00
Reviewed

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.

80%
£249.00
Reviewed

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 

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

80%
£799.00
Reviewed

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.

80%
£249.00
Reviewed

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.

76%
£506.00
Reviewed

Get delicious, freshly ground coffee in less than a minute, with this compact and well-priced bean-to-cup coffee machine. It can produce drinks at a single touch and even remembers your preferred size. While you will have to froth your milk manually, unlike on pricier models, the steam frothing wand will give your cappuccinos a fantastic foam finish.

Best pod coffee machines 

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 machines

84%
£80.00
Reviewed

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.

81%
£49.00
Reviewed

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.

81%
£109.00
Reviewed

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 

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

86%
£149.00
Reviewed

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.

79%
£49.00
Reviewed

This budget coffee machine makes exceptional espressos and is incredibly easy to use. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything better at a price this low.

74%
£146.03
Reviewed

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.

Not sure which type is right for you? Check out our buying advice:

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 poor espressos that left our tasting panel underwhelmed. The Don't Buy coffee machines below are definitely best avoided.

51%
£80.00
Reviewed

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.

50%
£149.00
Reviewed

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.

32%
£324.49
Reviewed

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, 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.

Our coffee machine tests

Every coffee machine we review goes through the same series of tests, designed to assess how well it will makes 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
  • How hot the coffee is
  • How noisy it is when making coffee
  • How easy it is to clean afterwards
  • How easy it is to descale – important to do regularly to keep your machine working smoothly

Most importantly, our specially trained coffee tasting panel rates the espresso each machine makes on taste, aroma and appearance, so you get the best-tasting brew. If a coffee machine has a milk frother or steam wand, we’ll 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.

Ready to buy? Head to our coffee machine reviews to compare models and find the best for your budget.

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