Best coffee machines 2019: 10 bean-to-cup, pod, ground and filters options

Our pick of the best coffee machines will please everyone, whether you’re an espresso lover or just want a simple filter coffee. We've got them at the best prices, too

Nespresso Sage coffee machine in best coffee machines roundup
(Image credit: Nespresso)

The best coffee machine is a kitchen essential for any coffee lover. Whatever your brew of choice, investing in your own coffee machine will save you hundreds in going to your local coffee shop on the way to work. And, having the tech right at home could be the start of the perfect Sunday morning ritual.

Coffee machines can be divided into two categories: espresso or filter. What's the difference? 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. 

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.

Find out more about how to buy the best coffee machine by jumping to the bottom of this feature.

Otherwise, read on for the best coffee machines you can buy. If you're looking for a bargain, don't miss the latest coffee machine sales

What is the best coffee machine?

The best coffee machine is the De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 W, which can deliver every coffee imaginable, barista style. It uses either ground coffee or pods which some find more convenient. It can also froth milk so if you like a longer, milky coffee this is for you. It's not badly priced, either. 

If space is an issue, our favourite small coffee machine is the De'Longhi EC685 for expertly made coffee in even the smallest of kitchens. If you are on a tight budget too, check out the Wacaco Minipresso NS – a manual coffee maker that can be used on the go and popped in a drawer between uses.

THE BEST COFFEE MACHINES

The best coffee machine: De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 W Traditional Pump Espresso Machine

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

The best coffee machine: brew every tasty coffee drink you can imagine

Specifications
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
-Not automatic: you have to have some input

The DeLonghi Scultura ECZ351 W 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 – all of which is why it takes our top spot. 

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.

The best pod coffee machine: Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno

(Image credit: John Lewis)

2. Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno SNE500BKS

The best pod coffee machine: it's easy to use and clean, too

Specifications
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

The Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno capsule coffee machine takes the second place in our list for good reason: it makes really great coffee, it's super-easy to use and clean and it looks good on a worktop. It's only beaten into second place by our first choice because it's pod-only (Nespresso Original or compatible coffee pods) and because it's a little higher in price. Otherwise, we're big fans. 

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 far faster than our first choice (about three times quicker at 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. Like our first pick, 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 coffee machine should be descaled (anwer: 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.

Want to see more options from these brands?

The best bean to cup coffee machine: Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102

The best smart coffee machine: you can control it from your phone, too

Specifications
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, the Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102 bean-to-cup coffee machine is our top pick. 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 three, 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 subtler stainless steel, too.

The best espresso coffee machine: Beko CEP5152B

(Image credit: AO.com)

4. Beko CEP5152B coffee machine

The best coffee machine for espresso fans: espresso in just 20 seconds

Specifications
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
-Basic

The Beko CEP5152B 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.

Best small coffee machine: De’Longhi EC685

5. De’Longhi EC685

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

Specifications
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 De’Longhi EC685 might be small, but it's pretty mighty and is our pick of the best small coffee makers – 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 machine 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

6. KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso 5KES0503

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

Specifications
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 the KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso 5KES0503 but, looks aside, it makes a mean coffee, too.

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 small coffee machine for coffee addicts: De'Longhi Distinta Filter Coffee Maker

7. De'Longhi Distinta Filter Coffee Maker

Best filter coffee machine: for making multiple cups at once

Specifications
Coffee type: Ground
Tank capacity: 1.25ltrs
Power: 1000W
Cups: 10
Reasons to buy
+ Make enough for 10 cups + Sealed carafe plate keeps in aromas+Great budget buy
Reasons to avoid
-Only for filter coffee

If you're looking to please a crowd, the De'Longhi Distinta Filter Coffee Maker is a great buy – it can serve up to 10 cups at a time, but it's pleasingly compact, too.

What's it good at?

When your friends are round for coffee and cake, it can take an age to set up the espresso machine for each person. This filter coffee machine enables you to make up to 10 large cups of filter coffee in one go, which is perfect if it’s Americanos or flat whites all round.

What do we like about it?

As we've said, it makes multiple cups at once and it looks great. We are showing the stylish copper version, but it also comes in stainless steel and black. But looks aren't everything and luckily it serves up on functionality just as well.

You can use a ground blend of your choice – none of that ‘nasty stuff’ that you may have become accustomed to in greasy spoon cafes – always a plus for anyone who doesn't like to be tied to a particular coffee brand. 

There's an Aroma function that releases the water into the filter slowly to improve the flavour and smell of the coffee, while the anti-drip system on the filter holder has a spring-loaded mechanism that stops the sizzle you get with poorer quality coffee machines and, as a result, there's no burning smell when you remove the jug to improve the coffee.

What else?

It has 40-minute auto shut off to conserve energy. And, the see-through window of the water tank means you always know at a glance whether you need to top up.

Both the carafe and the filter holder are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Hurrah.

What don't we like?

Like other models from this brand, it might come with a European plug so plan ahead or check first. If you are into coffees with frothed milk, you will need to sort that separately so an all-in-one machine may be better suited to your requirements.

Best small coffee machine for pod coffee fans: Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus

8. Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus

Best quiet coffee machine: a quiet and compact machine

Specifications
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)

The Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus is a neat little coffee pod machine that produces a decent cup. 

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. That and the fact that at present, Lavazza's A Modo Mio pods cannot be recycled. However, this is set to change later this year.

Best portable small coffee machine: Wacaco Minipresso NS

9. Wacaco Minipresso NS

Best portable coffee machine: for making coffee ANYWHERE in the world

Specifications
Coffee type: Ground or Nespresso capsules
Tank capacity: 0.7ltrs
Power: None
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+Completely portable +Quality espresso on the go+Hand-operated so can even be used off-grid
Reasons to avoid
-Not an all-in-one – you have to boil water separately-Just makes espresso

Find yourself craving an espresso in the middle of a yomp across the countryside? The Wacaco Minipresso NS is for you. It's the ultimate coffee-on-the-go gadget.

What's it good at?

It is easy to use and does not need to be plugged in – you could even take it camping. 

What do we like about it?

It's soooo easy to use. Simply fill the base up with hot water, use the scoop to pop your favourite blend of ground coffee in its container, fix together and pump until the pressure starts pushing the water through the coffee – and you're done: a creamy, luxurious espresso. 

You can then add frothed milk or more water for your desired Americano, lungo or cappuccino. It is the perfect portable pal for the coffee aficionado.

If you are particularly fussy about your coffee but you’re struggling to find a large enough space in your kitchen for a full-sized coffee machine, this clever little portable espresso maker can be tucked neatly in a drawer until you’re ready to use it. 

What else?

This is probably not for anyone who has problems with their motor skills as you need to hand-pump it. It doesn't deliver lots of coffee in one go, but be mindful that this is intended to make one espresso that you then customise to taste. 

What don't we like?

It RRPs at £50, which is not far off the price of filter machines or some of the cheaper pod machines – so if price is of importance, the Wacaco is not your best bet. 

Best small coffee machine: Whittard AeroPress Coffee Maker

10. AeroPress Coffee Maker

Best coffee machine for experimenters: for those who like to channel their inner Walter White

Specifications
Coffee type: Ground
Tank capacity: 0.5ltrs
Power: None
Size: H14cm x W11cm x D11cm
Reasons to buy
+ Makes a longer drink than the Wacaco + Perfect for coffee tasting trips+Super compact
Reasons to avoid
-Hands on – not for anyone looking for a press and go coffee

The AeroPress Coffee Maker is another take on the coffee-as-you-go design – but it's a tad cheaper.

What's it good at?

The AeroPress injects a little bit of fun into your coffee-making routine. Whether you’re planning a coffee tasting trip to Columbia or heading on the fast train to London Victoria, you can experience coffee wherever you are with the AeroPress. 

What do we like about it?

Whittard prove that they’re not just about tea with the AeroPress. Much like the Wacaco, it uses manual pressure to infuse the coffee flavour into the water – perfect if you are after a more experimental style of coffee making. 

What's the coffee quality like? Well, people rave about the coffee that it produces, and you have complete control over the amount of water and coffee used – something often overlooked with push-and-go machines. 

As you'd expect, it’s uncomplicated to use and, like our other manual coffee maker, it'll fit in a drawer so won't take up any countertop space. 

What else?

If you have no space for a coffee machine, this will certainly fit the bill, but otherwise you might want this one as well as one of the other automated options.

What don't we like?

Again, like the Wacaco, it is far more involved and required more effort than the machines above. As you need to pour hot water into it, you need to be 100 per cent sure it is properly constructed or you risk nasty burns. 

How to buy the best coffee machine

We've looked at bean to cup, pod and ground filter coffee machines. We've also included our top pick of the best small coffee machines. These are all our top picks, but if you need a little jargon-busting first, here's what to consider when buying the best coffee machine:

Pod and capsule machines are very popular as they are quick and easy to use and are normally pretty good value for money. 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. 

Bean to cup machines tend to work out cheaper in the long run, and are much more likely to please the coffee aficionado with their fresh-tasting results. 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. 

Filter coffee machines are a more classic option, and better when catering for more people than just yourself. 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, although they take a little longer to prepare your drink, so you’ll need to have patience when making filter coffee. 

Milk frothers – are they a must-have or a luxury? 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.

We’ve picked out the top coffee machines above that cater to all coffee drinkers and picked out ones to suit all different styles of kitchen and budget. 

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