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.

Top five best espresso coffee machines for 2018

By Yvette Fletcher

Don't waste money on a model that doesn't suit your needs - our round up reveals the best espresso coffee machine for you.

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.

A good coffee machine will make you a tasty espresso quickly and easily, without giving you a headache from all the noise it makes. But the worst models will have you throwing your money away twice: on the machine itself and on the disappointingly watery coffee it leaves you with.

To help you find the best coffee machine - whether you're a fan of espressos, cappuccinos or a longer coffee - we've rounded up the top-scoring models across the board. Our selection includes capsule, ground coffee and bean-to-cup machines. And because they've all gone through our rigorous lab testing, you can rest assured that no matter which of these Best Buy coffee machines you go for, you'll end up with a delicious brew.

We've also highlighted three less-than-excellent coffee makers worth avoiding. The coffee from these machines was among the worst we've tasted, so it's worth steering clear.

Unlock our recommendations below by logging in or, if you're not a member, you can join Which? to get access to all our reviews.

Top five best espresso machines

Lowest price (in stock) £106.29
Which? score 86%
Reviewed Jun 2014
Ground coffee (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Cappuccino:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This traditional coffee machine really impressed our expert taster, gaining a full five stars for its espressos and cappuccinos. It's remained one of the best-scoring ground coffee machines we've tested for years. If you want to make coffee in a hurry, you can buy ESE pods to use with this machine.

Typical price £79.00
Which? score 82%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Coffee made using capsules (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Cappuccino:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This cheap capsule coffee machine ticks all the boxes. It's compact, stylish, affordable, quiet and makes superb coffee at the touch of a button. You can buy it with or without a milk frother - which makes tasty cappuccinos.

Typical price £190.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Feb 2018
Coffee made using capsules (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This capsule coffee machine makes a great-tasting espresso. You can make longer coffees in it too, so it's a good option if you like a large mugful to get you going in the mornings.

Lowest price (in stock) £259.99
Which? score 80%
Reviewed May 2014
Ground coffee (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Cappuccino:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This cheap bean-to-cup machine is an oldie but a goodie. It's our best bean-to-cup model, beating out many a newer and shinier model on taste. It may not be the most stylish or hi-tech model you'll see, but if you want the best-tasting freshly ground brew on a budget, it's a great choice.

Lowest price (in stock) £136.99
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Feb 2018
Ground coffee (taste test):
4 out of 54 out of 5
Cappuccino:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This stylish compact coffee machine makes excellent espresso 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.

Note: selections last updated on 15 March 2018 

Not found the coffee machine for you? See all our coffee machine reviews

Three espresso 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.

Check the models below to avoid a mediocre morning brew.

Lowest price (in stock) £219.99
Which? score 32%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
1 out of 51 out of 5
Cappuccino:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This bean to cup machine is so bad we've made it a Don't Buy. The model we tested was slow and noisy, spurted out hot water at random, and produced weak, univiting espressos and poor cappuccinos. It's one to avoid.

Lowest price (in stock) £150.94
Which? score 50%
Reviewed Oct 2013
Ground coffee (taste test):
3 out of 53 out of 5
Coffee made using capsules (taste test):
2 out of 52 out of 5
Cappuccino:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This versatile coffee machine looks great and is simple and quick to use. However, the espresso it makes isn't the best we've tasted. For the price, we think you can do much better.

Typical price £140.00
Which? score 51%
Reviewed Feb 2018
Coffee made using capsules (taste test):
2 out of 52 out of 5
Cappuccino:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Type:
Member exclusive
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This pricey capsule machine promises more control over your coffee, so it's just the way you like it. Unfortunately, it turned out underwhelming brews in our tests. Espressos lacked flavour and had a metallic tang.

Not found the right coffee machine for you? See all our coffee machine reviews.

Choosing the best coffee machine

Coffee machines range in price from as little as £40 to more than £1500. There are three main types: 

  • Capsule coffee machines - use pre-portioned coffee pods to make a quick and easy brew
  • Ground coffee machines - traditional pump espresso machines where you measure out and prepare the ground coffee yourself
  • Bean-to-cup coffee machines - grind fresh beans on demand and make your drink automatically

Capsule machines are often cheaper to buy, but can cost more in the long run due to the higher ongoing cost of buying capsules vs ground coffee or beans.

To find out more about the pros and cons of the different types, and get independent advice on choosing the right model for you, head to our coffee machine buying guide.

Which? coffee machine tests

We've tested hundreds of coffee machines, and we do it more thoroughly than anyone else too. Our independent coffee-tasting expert Giles Hilton blind tastes coffee from every machine, rating the flavour, crema, texture and aroma of the espresso. As well as testing how good the coffee is, we also check how hot the coffee comes out, how noisy the machine is when brewing and how quick it is to make your drink. If the machine has a milk frother or steam wand, we froth milk for cappuccino and check how well it blends with the espresso.

Find out more about how we test coffee machines or see all our top-rated models in our round-up of the best coffee machines.

SHARE THIS PAGE

Related products

See all coffee machines