Best coffee machine: 11 of the best coffee machines we've tested at home

Find the best coffee machine to make your espresso, cappuccino or latte just how you like it for the best price

best coffee machine: DE’LONGHI DEDICA STYLE EC685
(Image credit: Amazon)

If you like coffee then you are going to LOVE our round up of the best coffee machines. One of these small (and essential) appliances will mean that you can make a delicious creamy latte and an espresso which packs a punch in the comfort of your own home. You won't even need to walk out the door to grab a takeaway so you can stay in the warm and make a brew when you want it, and just how you like it. This is also the perfect time to hone in on those evolving barista skills which you may have started during the last lockdown.

And if those aren't a good enough reason to take a punt with a coffee machine then wait until you have seen the prices of some of our top picks. The January sales have made way for some true bargains and all those options featured in our guide only display the best prices, so you know you are getting a good deal.

As you scroll through our selection, keep a look out for the coffee machines we've awarded with our Real Homes Loves badge because these guys have scored a stella five-out-of-five stars during our at-home testing. If you see a machine you like without this logo don't worry: nothing less than four stars has made it on to this guide so you really are getting the crème de la crème of coffee machines.

If you prefer to boil water and do all the mixing yourself, take a look at our best kettles guide for our pick of the best electric and stove top models.

These are (what we think) are the best coffee machines

best coffee machineReal Homes Loves badge

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

1. Nespresso by Sage Creatista Uno SNE500BKS Pod Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine: it's easy to use, easy to clean and makes lovely coffee, too

Best for: Pod coffee
Type: Pod
Pressure: 19 bar
Cups: One (1.5 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Really quick coffee+Easy to clean+Makes great coffee
Reasons to avoid
-Cost of pods

This coffee machine by Sage gets our vote for the bet coffee machine you can buy. Why? Because it simply makes a really great  coffee, plus it's super easy to use, keep clean and looks fab on the worktop, too... 

Speedy and easy to use
If you like the ease of a pod machine with good milk frothing too, this is for you. It can produce three types of milk foam! Another thing it does well is deliver you an espresso in no time at all (just 25 seconds). Ideal if you get twitchy waiting for that first fix of the day. Plus it's easy to use and we like that.

What do we like about it?
The automatic steam wand has three milk temperatures to choose from. Plus, the steam wand purges itself after use so cleaning it isn't an issue.

The adjustable settings don't stop there: you can control your coffee cup size, too (there are three to choose from) and milk texture, too. So, whether you like a long or short coffee, adjust the coffee machine to suit, and it'll produce your perfect cup every time.

Despite the high pressure (19 bar) pump, this coffee machine is quiet. And, there's an energy-saving auto shut-off feature (after nine minutes).

Cleaning is simple
Let's talk cleaning: the 1.5ltr water tank is easy to remove and the metal milk jug can go in the dishwasher. There's also an indicator so you'll know when the coffee machine should be descaled (answer: not too often, and another easy, quick job). 

What don't we like?
The ongoing cost and waste of pods – but then this is always an issue you'll face if you choose this type of coffee machine. That said, Nespresso does run a pod recycling scheme that's advertised on their website. Or, look out for the compostable pods that are compatible with Nespresso machines. You can even find refillable pods on Amazon that can be used time and time again, filled with your own choice of ground coffee.

best coffee machine - The best espresso coffee machine: Beko CEP5152B

(Image credit: Beko)

2. Beko CEP5152B coffee machine

Best coffee machine for espresso fans: espresso in just 20 seconds

Best for: Espresso
Type: Ground coffee
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+Great price+Good tasting coffee+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid

The Beko coffee machine has a lot going for it: it's neatly proportioned, but still has a few fancy features (we'll go into them in a minute), it makes good coffee and it's really affordable compared to our other picks. But do you get what you pay for? 

Value for money
For its price, you wouldn't expect this coffee machine to be the very best on our list at making coffee, but it does make a really very decent cuppa, so it's a great buy if you're on a budget or aren't a coffee snob and just like a good tasting morning pick-me-up espresso or after dinner cappuccino. 

What do we like about it?
Well, the price, for one. And the one dial control is a bonus for anyone (us) who hates complicated appliances of any kind. With this one, you have a choice of three settings: one for brewing, one for milk frothing, one for standby. 

But we like the extras we weren't expecting with a coffee machine this cheap: namely, the cup warmer; the manual steam wand for frothing milk; the two-in-one filter basket for fresh or pre-ground coffee. Plus, it's quick. And we mean really quick: just 20 seconds for an espresso.

Finally, we think it's subtly good looking. At that price, it could look plasticky, but we think it looks pretty professional, if on the small side.

Well built and easy to use
You might expect, for this price, that it's noisy and not very user friendly. Nope. This coffee machine is quiet and simple to get the hang of – right down to the removable water tank, which makes refilling easy (and spill-free). And for its low price, it's surprisingly sturdy.

What don't we like?
Descaling is manual. Yawn. The milk froth could be hotter. But at that price, we can live with it.

The best smart coffee machine: Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102Real Homes Loves badge

(Image credit: Melitta)

3. Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102 Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine with smart features: you can control it from your phone, too

Best for: Bean-to-cup coffee
Type: Bean-to-cup
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: Two
Reasons to buy
+Makes great coffee+Smart features
Reasons to avoid
-A little hefty for small kitchens

If you're looking for a bean-to-cup coffee machine, then you'll want the Melitta Barista Smart Coffee Machine.  Why? It does it all: grinds fresh coffee beans, makes great coffee, has an integrated frother for milky coffees and you can control it from your smartphone. No more 'I'd love a coffee if I could only get out of bed' and plenty 'Ooooh, that coffee aroma is encouraging me to get up now'.

A great bean-to-cup option
Let's put the smart functions aside for now because a smart coffee machine that produces bad coffee is no good to anyone. So, the all important question: does it make good coffee? Yes, of course it does – it's in spot two, and position one for the best bean-to-cup coffee maker. 

What do we like about it?
So, down to the coffee. The espressos and cappuccinos are spot on, as you'd hope – but there are actually 21 coffee recipes you can create. The milk frother is super easy to use and effective, too, plus it self-cleans, which we're always in favour of.

If you're into grinding coffee beans, you'll be happy to know that the integrated grinder is quiet when operating; that said, there's the option, as with most models of this type, to use pre-ground coffee, too. Talking of choice, the coffee bean hopper can hold two different coffee bean types, ideal if you're not a one-taste drinker.

We also like how easy this coffee machine is to use – it's a one touch and go design with an LCD text display for clear instructions (technophobes rejoice). Even the descaling function is done at the touch of a button. In other words, it maybe smart-enabled, but it's not complicated to use.

A smart coffee machine
We're always on the look out for a smart feature (you might have noticed The Hub – our home tech pages dedicated to making life easier, not just being techy). This one's a fairly simple innovation: you download the app, and it allows you to control the coffee machine from your smartphone. You can save your favourite coffee choices so you'll always get the cup you want, and there are some useful tips on getting the best from your coffee machine, too.

While we're thinking coffee machine smarts, more on those coffee choices: this machine has the My Coffee Memory function – it saves the coffee preferences of up to eight people, and four pre-programmed classic specialities: espresso, cafe creme, cappuccino and latte macchiato. You can get hot water too, should anyone dare to ask for tea instead. The plug-in Milk System has a removable milk container which fits the fridge. Handy.

What don't we like?
We're not big fans of the black finish – although it's a good pick for contemporary kitchens. However, you'll be pleased to know it comes in a subtle stainless steel, too.

best coffee machine - De’Longhi Active Line ICM14011 coffee machine - Real Homes

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. De’Longhi Active Line ICM14011 Drip Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine with a compact filter: get the same delicious taste of ground coffee from a space-saving machine

Best for: space saving
Type: Filter coffee
Pressure: N/A
Cups: Five (0.65 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Coffee miles better than instant+Keeps drinks warm+Flavour adjustment possible
Reasons to avoid
-Jug capacity doesn’t cater to a crowd

If you're short on space and prefer a filter coffee then we can highly recommend this coffee machine from De'Longhi – we've gave it a credible 4.5 stars in testing, and for good reasons too!

Ease of use
Put simply, this coffee machine is super simple to use. All that you'll need to do to get your breakfast brew is pour water into the tank, add the coffee and switch on. It is well suited to singles and couples who want the taste of real coffee rather than instant, but don't want to get involved with all the froth which comes with cappuccinos.

It's a compact machine, with pleasing lines, which can can be matched to kettles and toasters in the range.

Coffee options and taste
Ultimately you'll be making filter coffee with the De’Longhi Active Line ICM14011, but it does offer a degree of customisation with two brewing speeds using the Aroma function.

The coffee from this machine is a good temperature too and, with the keep warm plate, it will keep warm for up to 40 minutes after brewing if you need.

Bear in mind
The size of this machine is pretty compact making it a good fit for small kitchens. For the larger households, however, this will not be suffice for more than a couple of coffee drinkers at a time.

The best multifunctional coffee machine: De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 espresso coffee machine

(Image credit: De'Longhi)

5. De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 W Traditional Pump Espresso Machine

Best coffee machine for multifunctional uses: brew every tasty coffee drink you can imagine

Best for: All round performance
Type: Ground coffee or ESE pods
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: Two (1.4 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Makes every coffee you can think of+Espressos and cappuccinos a highlight+Self-priming – always ready to go
Reasons to avoid
-Water stop is manual so requires more user input than some machines

This is the best coffee maker if you want a) a quality machine; b) the ability to make a vast range of quality coffees, from single and double espressos, Americanos and flat whites to lattes, cappuccinos and latte macchiatos; c) a price that is really reasonable.

A good range of drinks
Without being flippant, it's really good at making coffee: expressly, espresso, but cappuccino and latte, too, thanks to the easy to use steam arm. 

What do we like about it?
You can use your choice of coffee – ground or ESE pods – that for us is a winner. But how does it perform? Let's start with the espresso, which is, without fail, good. The holder for the ground coffee (you might have seen baristas pressing dry coffee grounds into this before inserting into the machine) is big enough for two cups. And before you start worrying about lacking the skills of a barista, it's an easy to use machine, in our opinion. Then, there's the steam arm to froth fresh milk. That too is user-friendly and is really effective at creating coffee shop standard cappuccinos and lattes. 

What's more? There's good hot water delivery for fans of Americanos – or for herbal tea drinkers (shudder). And, we like the hot plate that heats your cups in advance so that your coffee stays hot for longer. 

Stylish and energy saving
We love how this coffee machine looks – professional and sturdy to fit in both traditional and contemporary kitchens alike. Talking of looks, it's available in a range of finishes, including grey, white, Champagne and black (we love the white). Plus, the auto switch off is a thoughtful, energy-saving feature; the auto-off time – set at 20 minutes currently – can be changed by you, too.

What don't we like?
This machine does involve a certain amount of effort from you (tut tut). Namely, the water doesn't automatically stop – you have to make that happen. But, you know what? It's a small price to pay for excellent coffee.

best coffee machine for filter coffee drinkers Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine review

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine for matching with other Smeg appliances: it makes a lovely tasting filter coffee, too

Best for: Making a really good filter coffee
Type: Filter coffee
Pressure: N/A
Cups: Up to 10
Reasons to buy
+Makes a really good coffee+Excellent filter+Six colour options available
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky 'small' design-A little tricky to fill up the water tank

If you enjoy the taste of fresh filter coffee in the morning, without too much faff, and want to mix-and-match models for a colourful chic kitchen set-up, then this coffee machine is for you.

What we like
This coffee machine does exactly what is intended: make filter coffee. And the filter coffee is really nice, at that. 

When the coffee is made it is easy to clean and maintain the coffee machine, once, like everything you get used to it.

Anything else?
It also comes in a selection of complimentary colours. These colours would probably suit other Smeg appliances in the kitchen, more than if you just have this standalone coffee machine, but it's one (of a few things) we like anyway.

What we don't like
There's nothing we especially dislike about this coffee machine, but the set-up is a little fussy with a number of settings to work your way through before you can brew. And the water tank is pretty tricky to fill up, too, particularly if you have it sat on the work surface under some cupboards.

Also, just be mindful NOT to switch off the machine at the plug after each use because all settings will be cleared so you'll need to run through the set-up process again.

Lavazza Tiny best pod coffee machine

(Image credit: Lavazza)

7. Lavazza A Modo Mio Tiny Espresso Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine for budget & espressos: perfect for compact (tiny) spaces if you need an espresso in a hurry

Best for: space saving
Type: Espresso
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: 1 (0.75 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Space saver+Simple to use+Great result+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Limited to just Espresso and tiny cups-If you prefer ground beans

If you like an espresso in the morning to kick things off then you'll enjoy a shot of this coffee machine fro Lavazza.

Easy to use
If you're eager to start the day then the Lavazza Tiny is on hand to help. It's ready to use in 25 seconds flat, fairly quiet and no need to boil a kettle so you won’t be waking up the whole house when you’ve got an early start. 

All you'll need to do in the morning is remove the pod tray and pop your Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules (pod) in, then you’re ready to click the on/off/go button – we like an easy life!

Cleaning and maintenance
Just on the first use you’ll need to rinse out the water tank and fill it with a minimum 0.5 litres of fresh water. Then run it without a pod inserted for an easy cleanse. If you choose to do so, you could do this cycle on a weekly basis to flush it out, otherwise just wipe it down with a warm and damp cloth .Removable parts are dishwasher safe too, so happy days!

How it looks
This coffee machine is compact (tiny) with a pleasing streamlined design which will work well on a kitchen counter, in your home office space or outhouse kitchen. It could also make the perfect gift for the university student stuck in a tiny room but in need of a lot of caffeine. 

Best small coffee machine: De’Longhi EC685

8. De’Longhi EC685 Coffee Machine

Best small coffee machine: for professional barista brilliance on a small footprint

Coffee type: Ground or ESE pods
Tank capacity: 1.1ltrs
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+ Heats up in 30 seconds + Three interchangeable devices for the perfect milk froth +Cup warmer+Milk functions and lots of options
Reasons to avoid
-Handwashing parts is a faff

The coffee machine may be small, but it's pretty mighty and is our pick of the best small coffee machines – perfect for small kitchens.

Good for customising your cuppa
Everything. It works perfectly well with both ground coffee and pods, so if your palate is particularly fussy, you can explore all the options to find the perfect blend. It has a steam pipe for frothing milk, and if you want to grind your own beans, you can get a matching grinder.

What do we like about it?
This small coffee maker is the real deal, thanks to a speedy heat up, adjustable steam frother and interchangeable devices for producing the perfect froth. 

It comes in a number of colours, too, so can suit many kitchen schemes. While traditional in shape, its matt steel and chrome outer brings it right up to date, at a decent price, too.

Check the plug
Some reviewers mentioned it comes with an EU plug so check before purchase.

What don't we like?
Cleaning. This is like a mini version of the machines you see in coffee shops so it has a coffee sump and other accessories. This adds to the versatility, but also gives you more things to wash up afterwards.

Best small coffee machine for espresso drinkers: Kitchenaid Artisan Nespresso small coffee machine

9. KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso 5KES0503 Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine for espresso drinkers: for those who love a short shot (especially one served in style)

Coffee type: Pod
Tank capacity: 1.4ltrs
Pressure: 19 bar
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+Compatible with Nespresso’s full range of pods +Makes a great espresso or cappuccino +Six coffee programmes +Good range of colours
Reasons to avoid
-No milk frother-Limited to pod use which is pricier than other coffee types

We love the look of this KitchenAid coffee maker but, looks aside, it makes a mean coffee, too. If budget allows, we can highly recommend this option.

What's it good at?
It's a robust and well-made coffee machine that won't take up much space on the worktop or in the cupboard. Making a coffee with it is straightforward, quick and easy once you have got to grips with the pod mechanism.

What do we like about it?
You can always rely on KitchenAid to deliver on retro style. But they haven't ignored functionality in this little machine. Whether it’s the six coffee programmes, from ristretto to lungo, automatic turn off or a quick, 30 second heat up time, this beautifully stylish small coffee machine will ensure you never regret making the extra space for it. 

To make life easier, it features an easy descaling option so you can keep it in great condition for many years of reliable service. The drip tray can be washed in a dishwasher, too. We like.

What else?
It doesn't have a milk frother but is often sold as a bundle with the Nespresso Aeroccino milk frother.

What don't we like?
Some reviewers found it hard to operate, arguing that for a fraction of the price they could have got a simpler Nespresso machine. 

Best quiet coffee machine: Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus

10. Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine for keeping the noise down: a quiet and compact machine

Coffee type: Pod
Tank capacity: 0.6ltrs
Pressure: 10 bar
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+Super quiet +Authentic Italian espresso +A range of pre-set coffee settings 
Reasons to avoid
-Pod-only-Small tank (but it is super compact)

This little coffee machine from Lavazza gets our vote for the quietest model on the market, plus it produces a decent cup of coffee too.

What's it good at?
It is quick and the coffee tastes amazing. It only takes Lavazza pods, but fortunately their coffee is of supreme quality and even capsule-machine skeptics will enjoy a cup from this machine.

What do we like about it?
This stylish coffee machine produces both single and double espressos with a smooth, rich crema. Use compatible milk pods alongside its range of preset coffee settings to create your own drink, whether it’s a cappuccino or a latte. 

Some pod coffee machines are notoriously noisy – not what you want in an open-plan kitchen – but not the Lavazza Jolie Plus. 

What else?
Apart from being super quiet, it is also unobtrusive in size. It does only have a 0.6ltr capacity tank, so it’s perfect for individual usage and a smaller tank means it takes up less space on the worktop – win, win. 

What don't we like?
The only drawback is the restrictions around the pods you can use. The machine requires Lavazza capsules and while some companys create compatible pods, the branded ones are recommended. We were happy to hear that Lavazza has recently launched some compostable capsules. Check out their Eco Cap capsules.

BREVILLE VCF125 Mini Barista Coffee Machine

(Image credit: Currys PC World)

11. Breville VCF125 Mini Barista Coffee Machine

This is the best coffee machine which YOU voted for

Best for: all coffees
Type: ground coffee
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: 2 - 3 (2 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Barista-style coffee+Milk frother+Compact size
Reasons to avoid
-None that we can think of

This coffee machine by Breville won the Real Homes Awards for the category which you, our readers, voted for earlier this year. We're pretty big fans of it ourselves, to be fair, although we are yet to test it...

Barista-style coffee
This machine will make you your favourite coffee when ever you want it, and it'll taste just as good as it does in your local coffee shop. It'll make a latte, flat white, or cappuccino but you may have to perfect the swirls on the top with the milk jug and frother.

What do we like about it?
It'll do it all for you. By this we mean that it will control the amount of coffee grounds and the water temperature used, whilst you just need to opt for a single or double shot of the good stuff.

The machine will gently pre-infuse the coffee whilst the 15-bar pump will perfect a rich crema.

Keeping it clean
The stainless steel is easy to keep clean if polished and shined regularly. And the machine has a cleaning programme so it will take care of the internals, whilst you matter about how it looks.

What we don't like?
Nothing really. The price is a little steep, yep, but this is an investment and one to rival the coffee shops so it's worth the investment (if you ask us anyway).

How to choose a coffee machine for my home?

Coffee machines can be divided into two categories: espresso or filter. Espresso coffee machines are going to please coffee addicts who like the choice of everything from classic espresso to milky cappuccinos. Their pressurised hot water extracts rich flavour from coffee grounds, but they can really only handle single or double shots at any one time. Pod coffee machines are a simplified form of espresso machine which save you from having to measure coffee or manually control the pressure and water through the grounds.

Filter machines, on the other hand, are crowd-pleasers. The hot water is dripped through the coffee grounds quickly – and while you won't get the choice or the richer taste, you will get quantity, fast. If you like a no-fuss cuppa (or ten), then a filter machine is for you.

Which type of coffee machine is right for you?

We've looked at bean to cup, pod and ground filter coffee machines. Our top picks are above, but if you need a little jargon-busting first, here's what to consider when buying the best coffee machine:

Pod and capsule machines
These are very popular as they are quick and easy to use and are normally pretty good value for money. They're ideal if you are regularly in a rush as they heat up super quick and they make a range of coffees and teas – yep, teas!

However, purchasing one of these means you are committed to buying the right pods on a regular basis which could quickly add up if you drink a lot of coffee. 

Browse our best pod coffee machine guide, if you want barista-style brew options at the touch of a button.

Bean to cup machines
If you love barista-style coffee then this is the coffee machine for you, for sure, as it will recreate all those flavours and aromas which you've become attuned to.

Although they do come with a higher price tag, this sort of coffee maker tends to work out cheaper in the long run, and are much more likely to please the coffee aficionado with their fresh-tasting results. 

The machine has a built-in grinder and they normally come with a range of settings so you can make anything from an espresso to a cappuccino, and have added features such as a milk frother so that you can have your very own Costa or Nero from the comfort of your own home. 

Check out our best bean-to-cup coffee machine guide for our top machines of this sort.

Filter coffee machines 
A more classic option, and better when catering for more people than just yourself, the filter coffee machine will create a simple yet wonderful coffee. If you like your coffee strong and black, then a filter machine will most likely cater to your taste a little better than a pod or bean to cup machine.

However they do take a little longer to prepare your drink because they work by dripping water through ground beans into the jug, so you’ll just need to have a little patience when making a mug of filter coffee – it'll be worth the wait, honest.

View our best filter coffee machine guide for options from the likes of Morphy Richards, Russell Hobbs and De'Longhi.

Milk frothers
Okay these aren't a coffee machine per-se but, are these a must-have or a luxury to accompany your coffee maker? Well, it depends whether you like a coffee with the perfect crema on top or not, and how much effort you're prepared to make. An integrated or automatic milk frother will undoubtedly drive up your coffee machine's price, but it will heat and froth milk for creamy coffees fast. Manual frothers may come with your coffee machine, but you have to do the frothing yourself. It doesn't mean you can't have great crema, but it will mean you have to allow for a bigger budget.

What is the best coffee machine?

To recap... we can highly recommend Nespresso by Sage Creatista Uno SNE500BKS Pod Coffee Machine. This model has been our firm favourite for a while now, and it's popular among our reader too.  It's easy to use, easy to clean and makes reeeally lovely coffee.

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