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The Best Espresso Machines to Fuel Your Runs and Your Day

Find the espresso maker you’ll like a latte.

best espresso machines
Runners World; Courtesy Phillips

An espresso might be the fuel you need for a morning run. And a great espresso machine can help you whip up a silky latte or potent ristretto to get you through the rest of your day.

An espresso maker adds lots of new possibilities to your morning routine. I regularly make chocolate cakes and muffins with espresso, and I crave the steamed eggs from an espresso machine at a local coffee shop.

Here are the seven espresso machines that will bring plenty of good buzz to your breakfast table.

Best Espresso Machines

The Expert: As a food writer, I test kitchen appliances for a living. I’m also a cookbook author with a solid coffee habit. I favor a mid-afternoon espresso. I’ve used manual and automatic espresso machines with coffee that I’ve ground freshly or that comes in sealed pods. I’ve also interviewed dozens of baristas about what it takes to pull a good shot of espresso (the right grind, pressure, and practice) and what they might order at a new coffee shop (likely a cortado—equal parts espresso and steamed milk).

What to Consider

Espresso machines are like exercise bikes: There are no shortages of bells and whistles, so finding the right one for you means knowing what kind of ride you want to take.

Although your budget matters, you should also consider the amount of space you have for an espresso machine (you’ll need about the size of a small toaster oven). Likewise, think about your standard coffee shop order. Are you getting a double shot of espresso or a foamy cappuccino? Lastly, do you prioritize convenience and want coffee quickly, or do you want to geek out with a single origin bag of coffee?

For those of us who need caffeine immediately, automated machines, which can easily run close to $1,000, often take care of everything. Most will grind your beans, measure the amount of coffee you need, froth milk (for lattes and cappuccino), and dispense the espresso drink of your choice at the push of a button.

If you want to find out if you like espresso, manual espresso makers are cheaper and often smaller, great if you’re looking to store them in a cabinet or take them on the road. Bear in mind, the more you use them, you’ll likely want to purchase a coffee grinder and milk frother.

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How We Evaluated

I have owned nearly every type of coffee machine out of a mix of professional curiosity and a desire to play around with coffee. I took what I know about coffee and balanced that with credible online reviews to find espresso machines that can produce café-worthy drinks on your counter. I also delved into customer reviews and review videos to discover which machines were user-friendly, could fit on most counters, and did a solid job of frothing milk.

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Best Automatic Espresso Maker
The Barista Touch
Now 20% off

Key Specs

Type Automatic
Dimensions (W x H x D) 12.5 x 16 x 12.7 in.
Best Manual Espresso Maker
EC155M Manual Espresso Machine

Key Specs

Type Manual
Dimensions (W x H x D) 7.4 x 11 x 9.5 in.
Best Coffee Bar at Home
3200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine with LatteGo
Now 20% off

Key Specs

Type Automatic
Dimensions (W x H x D) 9.7 x 17.5 x 14.6 in.
Best Espresso Machine for New Enthusiasts
The Bambino Plus
Now 20% off

Key Specs

Type Manual
Dimensions (W x H x D) 7.7 x 12.2 x 12.6 in.
Best Travel Espresso Maker

Key Specs

Type Manual
Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.8 x 6.1 x 2.4 in.
Best Single Serve Espresso Machine
Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe by De’Longhi

Key Specs

Type Automatic
Dimensions (W x H x D) 8.7 x 12.8 x 12.7 in.
Best Stovetop Espresso Maker
Moka Express 1-Cup

Key Specs

Type Manual
Dimensions (W x H x D) 4.4 x 4.4 x 2.9 in.
Best Espresso Machine For Black Coffee Drinkers

Key Specs

Type Automatic
Dimensions (W x H x D) 9.4 x 12.7 x 17.5 in.
Expert Jonathan Bender on How to Keep Your Espresso Machine Clean, Plus More Tools for Your Coffee Bar
breville the bambino plus
Courtesy Breville

RW: What’s your preferred type of espresso machine?
JB: One day I will have the time to recreate a complete coffee shop set-up in my house. Since I know that day is not today, I’ll opt for as much automation as my budget allows. An espresso machine that cranks out silky, foamed milk and bright, clean espresso is how morning coffee feels like a luxury and not a chore.

RW: How do you keep your espresso machine in good working order?
JB: Like all of us, espresso machines need a lot of love. Regular cleaning is part of owning an espresso maker. Flush your brew system with water daily. Do a deep clean of the parts (steam wands, for example) weekly. Look at changing gaskets—the silicone rings can wear out over time—once a year. Espresso still funky? Test your water to know if the mineral content matches your machine’s specifications.

RW: What other tools do you recommend for making at-home espresso?
JB: If your machine doesn’t include a grinder, it’s worth investing in one for freshly ground coffee. Find ceramic cups you love. A demitasse works for a shot or two of espresso, while an “egg” cup, which is deeper and has a wider rim, is perfect for cappuccinos. Making latte art? Start with a 12-ounce stainless steel milk pitcher with a round spout (good for designs like tulips or hearts).

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