Coffee lover? Black Friday is coming, giving you the perfect opportunity to get a great coffee machine for less whether you’ve decided to upgrade from an old model or to save on trips to the coffee shop by making barista-style brews at home.
How do you find the right machine for you and ensure it's a great bargain? Check out our guide to the best coffee machines to narrow your choice, read our recommendations below and use these expert tips below to find out what you need to consider before you buy – and keep scrolling for Black Friday coffee machine buying tips.
1. What type of coffee do you want to make?
This question will help you narrow down your options in a trice.
I’m after long, black or white coffees – and to make lots in one go: If all you want to brew is cupfuls or mugfuls of black, or to add milk straight from the fridge for white versions, then all you need is a filter coffee machine.
The big plus point of these machines? They can make a jug full of coffee in one go and keep it warm on a hot plate so you can come back for refills – but you can make a lesser amount just as easily. Once you’ve put coffee in, and set the machine going, you can also do something else until it’s ready. The De’Longhi Distinta filter coffee maker is our favourite for this type of coffee.
I want to make espresso at home: Then, you’ve guessed it, it’s an espresso coffee machine you’re after. Which espresso maker you opt for will probably depend on your preference for using coffee beans, ground coffee, or capsules (see question below).If it’s only espresso and its varieties you favour, you can narrow your search down to espresso makers only… The Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus is a neat and quiet espresso machine that we liked most for this type of coffee.
I need to make cappuccinos and other milky coffees, too: In that case you either need to opt for an espresso machine with built-in milk frothing, or team your espresso machine with a separate milk frother. Our top choice for great espressos and cappuccinos (and more)? The De’Longhi Scultura ECZ351 espresso machine.
I prefer not to deal with steam spouts or frothers, but I love lattes and more: A capsule machine could be the answer as some models make cappuccinos and other milk foam drinks straight from the pod. This isn’t quite the same as the barista-made sort, however, so your decision will be down to convenience versus authenticity. The Nescafé Dolce Gusto Lumio will whip you up a cappuccino from a capsule.
2. Do you want to use capsules, ground coffee or beans?
How you like the coffee to come will help you decide among the vast range of machines out there.
I want maximum flavour: For purists, coffee beans need to be the starting point to make the freshest and tastiest coffee. If that’s you, then it’s a bean-to-cup machine you should buy. This grinds the beans as well as making the coffee. On the whole, this means you’ll be looking at an espresso machine, but there are bean-to-cup filter coffee machines out there, too. Nothing but bean-to-cup will do? We love the Barista TS Smart.
Ground coffee’s enough for me: Sealed packets of ready ground coffee still make flavoursome brews, and if they keep you content, you can save with a machine that isn’t bean-to-cup.
I want to be able to use ground coffee and beans: You’ll find bean-to-cup machines that can work with either.
The less clearing-up the better, I say: Capsule machines are the answer if you want to minimise cleaning-up requirements. Bear in mind, though, that recycling the used pods is something you’ll need to consider. Brewing up with capsules is also more costly than using beans or ground coffee. I was delighted by the capsule Lavazza A Modo Mio Idola coffee machine when I tested it.
I want my coffee machine to make other drinks as well: Some capsule machines make a wide range of other drinks and will prove a good buy if you, friends or family members don’t always hanker after coffee.
3. How much cleaning do you want to do?
As we considered just now, a capsule machine needs little in the way of cleaning, but here’s what else to bear in mind dependent on the type of coffee machine you’re favouring.
Filter coffee machines are simple to clean and you may be able to put some removable parts in the dishwasher.
Espresso machines need more attention when it comes to cleaning, and those with steam wands still more to keep this working.
Bean-to-cup machines involve the most clean-up duties because they’re doing both the grinding and coffee-making.
4. How big is your kitchen?
If you’re loath to give up much worktop space, think capsule machines which can be quite diminutive.
For a small kitchen, the Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus could fit the bill.
Espresso makers and their steam-wand brandishing cousins can be compact, but do check the dimensions and our reviews.
The slim De’Longhi EC685 featured in our list of the best coffee machines you can buy
Filter machines tend to fall into the medium-sized bracket because the coffee goes into a jug rather than a cup and they need to be large enough to accommodate it.
Bean-to-cup coffee machines can be sizeable, and therefore very demanding of worktop area. We tell you the dimensions in our reviews.
5. What's your budget?
If you’re looking to keep your spend as low as possible, capsule machines start at low price points (although do bear in mind the ongoing cost of the capsules themselves, see above).
Filter machines can also be a budget way to get a good cup of coffee. If you were to spend more on one of these, it would likely be because it has extra features, so assess whether, for example, a programmable timer, is useful for you.
Bean-to-cup machines can be extremely pricey – although that’s not the case for all. Again, assess whether what’s offered is what you’ll appreciate with our reviews.
6. Still not sure what you need? Check our best coffee machines buyer's guide
I've tested and reviewed the best coffee machines and our list includes our very favourites. You can use our guide to narrow your choice down further – it includes buys to suit every budget and household. Not found one you want on there? Move on to tip seven.
7. Bookmark retailers' Black Friday coffee machine pages now
It's worth bookmarking retailers' pages now so that you can find what you're looking for. Some retailers will even allow you to fill your basket then retain its contents (which will adjust to the new prices) so that all you have to do is press 'pay now' when the Black Friday deal drops. Bear in mind that some retailers have started their sales early! We think it's worth checking out these first:
8. Can't wait until Black Friday? Shop the best coffee machine sales now
Best place to start? Our Black Friday coffee machine sales page is updated with all the latest deals and will be showing all the best deals (at the best prices, thanks to our clever price comparison widget) now and over Black Friday weekend.