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7 July 2021

Top five best espresso coffee machines for 2021

Don't waste money on a model that doesn't suit your needs – our round up reveals the best espresso coffee machine for you.
Rebecca Marcus
Coffee cup 2

Good coffee machines make 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 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

  • 85%
    £74.99

    This compact worthy Best Buy makes excellent coffee at the touch of a button. It has some handy features, including an espresso boost if you want a more intense coffee, an auto switch-off and a fast heat up, so you won’t be waiting long for your coffee. And it's super-slim size makes it perfect for small spaces. Pods aren’t the cheapest way to enjoy your espresso, though, and recycling them is tricky.

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  • 82%
    £50.00

    If you're after the perfect espresso, this pod coffee machine won't disappoint. It was a Best Buy when we first tested it and continues to be a Best Buy today, maintaining excellent scores in our retest. It's really easy to use, very quiet, and not difficult to clean - so it's no surprise that this is one of our highest-scoring capsule machines.

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  • 80%
    £339.00

    This Best Buy bean-to-cup coffee machine makes excellent espressos that are sure to please. It’s also quiet and easy to use, although it’s a little on the slow side – you’ll be waiting more than a minute for the first cup of the day.

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  • 78%
    £69.99

    The Magimix Nespresso Vertuo Plus coffee machine, which takes Vertuo rather than standard Nespresso capsules, can make a wide variety of black coffees, ranging from small 40ml espressos, to large 414ml altos. Nespresso says its smart barcode-reading system enables the machine to tailor extraction to each drink type for the perfect brew. Read our review to find out how its coffee went down with our expert tasting panel.

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  • 76%
    £319.00

    This beautiful Best Buy brews excellent espressos, and the steam wand whips up creamy cappuccinos. It’s not the cheapest option, but if you want a show stopper for your kitchen counter, this eye-catching coffee machine won’t disappoint.

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Last updated: July 2021.

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

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.

  • 50%
    £179.00

    This versatile coffee machine is simple and quick to use, however it makes disappointing espresso. For the price, we think you can do much better.

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  • 51%
    £109.00

    This 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.

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  • 62%
    £599.00

    Our tests found this bean-to-cup machine to be slow, noisy and tricky to clean. While it makes decent espresso when using beans, espressos made with ground coffee are less impressive. Its cappuccinos aren’t bad, although the foam disappears fairly quickly.

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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.