Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: which should you buy, and what is the difference?

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto machines are both top coffee makers, but which is right for you? Our guide as more info

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nespresso vs dolce gusto
(Image credit: AO)

If you're looking for a pod coffee machine, it can often come down to Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto. Both are some of the best coffee machines you can buy when it comes to value-for-money and convenient use, but there are some key differences that you should know before deciding which to buy: Dolce Gusto or Nespresso? 

As they both run on pods, Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machine will be easy to use and clean, and give you a range of tasting notes and coffee brands to try for your morning brew. Both also come in a range of sizes, so whether you want to make a compact coffee corner in your kitchen, or get a machine with all the bells and whistles, you'll find something suitable for you. 

Especially with Black Friday right around the corner, taking place in 2021 on November 26th, we're going to tell you the key differences between Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee machines as well as bring you the best deals as and when they drop. 

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: How much do they cost? 

Nespresso coffee machines fall into a price range starting from around £70 and going up to around £450. You’ll find a wide choice of models that use this system, including those from Krups, Sage, Magimix and Dualit, as well as Nespresso branded machines.

Be aware that Nespresso offers two sorts of pods: Original and Vertuo (of which more below), so make sure you match machine to pod type.

Dolce Gusto coffee machines begin from the same place of around £70, and go up to around £150. De’Longhi and Krups both make a range of machines that use these pods. 

Which Nespresso machine should you buy? 

If you're looking for the best Nespresso coffee machine, our top choice would be the Vertuo Plus. It's sleek, classic, and it goes on regular promotions that make it worth waiting for Black Friday to pick up. 

Nespresso by De'Longhi VertuoPlus, Black

(Image credit: De'Longhi)

Nespresso Vertuo Plus

Our top Nespresso machine

Pod type: Vertuo
Water tank capacity: 1.7 litres
Dimensions: 40.79 x 38.5 x 28.4 cm
Reasons to buy
+Sleek and modern+Easy to top up+One button prep+Five cup sizes
Reasons to avoid
-Not the smallest Nespresso machine

The Vertuo Plus is many people's favourite Nespresso machine, and it's one of the best we've tried, too. It heats up fast, can do five drink lengths by using different capsule types, and while it's not the smallest coffee machine, the water tank can be pivoted to fit perfectly into your kitchen. 

For a budget-friendly machine, it feels premium to use. This is in part down to the range of delicious taste notes available with Nespresso's own pods, and you can also buy compatible pods with indie coffee brands for serious coffee lovers. 

We've seen this coffee machine for sale for as little as £70, which is a great deal for such a sleek model. 

Which Dolce Gusto machine should you buy? 

The best Dolce Gusto coffee machines are typically a little cheaper than Nespresso. We recommend the Dolce Gusto Genio S Plus. 

nespresso vs dolce gusto

(Image credit: Dolce Gusto)

Dolce Gusto Genio S

Our top Dolce Gusto machine

Pod type: Dolce Gusto
Water tank capacity: 0.8 litres
Dimensions: ‎27.6 x 12.1 x 27.3 cm
Reasons to buy
+Narrow yet bold design+50 drink options+Eco mode for auto shutoff+Makes hot and cold drinks
Reasons to avoid
-It's not the cheapest Dolce Gusto

The Dolce Gusto Genio S features a 0.8l removable water tank for easy cleaning, it has a maximum 15 bar pump pressure and since it's a pod machine, you'll have your choice of 50 different drinks to make. Not only that but there'll be less mess to clean up, too. You can also control the coffee strength for the days you're feeling slightly worse for wear, and when it comes to summer, you can also enjoy the new cold brew pod! 

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Black Friday deals

Both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto are some of the best pod coffee machines you can buy, and every year we're impressed by the discounts on both brands when Black Friday rolls around. 

Dolce Gusto in particular had some great discounts on Amazon last Black Friday, with up to 50% off bundles that included pods to get you started. Nespresso machines wowed us on Prime Day this year, and we're expecting to see a return of some of our favourite savings on the Vertuo Plus Special Edition, which was over £100 off. 

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Will either look good on your worktop?

NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Oblo Coffee Machine by Krups

(Image credit: Nescafé)

The answer is yes. 

Dolce Gusto coffee machines have curvaceous modern lines, and you can keep things more understated with white or black or go bolder in colour. 

Nespresso coffee machines tend to have less extravagant shapes, but they’re smart and stylish, and you won’t be embarrassed to show them off in your kitchen.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which drinks can you make?

OK, they’re both pod coffee machines, but we’re not just talking a mug of black or white here.

Nespresso, as we mentioned, has both Original and Vertuo ranges. Original is all about espresso – either authentic black with its crema on top, or the plus hot milk and foam type of coffee. The capsules in the Original range give you the choice of coffees from renowned coffee-producing nations – think Colombia, Ethiopia, and so on. Alternatively, you could choose based on taste, or opt for flavoured coffees – caramel, chocolate – or try the barista-inspired capsules designed to be used with milk. Don’t want caffeine in your drink? There are decaf capsules, too.

If you like the option to drink a longer coffee, the Vertuo range of capsules might float your boat. Pick from capsules destined to make different cup sizes. There are five of them, starting from the quick coffee injection of a 40ml espresso and going up to the Alto, which makes a take-your-time 414ml cup. As with the Original range, you can shop by country or flavour, or opt for coffees to create milky drinks.

Dolce Gusto pods aren’t just about coffee – although of course there’s plenty of coffee choice, including a Starbucks range if you’re hankering for the taste of the high street but putting aside the money you would have spent out and about. You can also pick coffees from countries like Peru or Colombia, or types of drink – that’s Americano, espresso and so on – or flavoured coffees.

A Dolce Gusto machine can also whip you up a hot chocolate, or a cup of tea or chai.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Can the pods be recycled?

There’s no swerving the issue that the fuss-free nature of pods does equal more waste. Nespresso has a recycling scheme for its pods, as does Dolce Gusto. 

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: What about milk frothing?

Here’s a big difference between Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machines. 

Dolce Gusto: if you want a flat white or  cup of tea with milk, perhaps, from your coffee machine, then that’s the capsule you use. 

Nespresso: this machine, on the other hand, comes either with a built-in steam arm, or you can use a milk frother. Nespresso’s Aeroccino version is sold with some models, or can be bought separately, and there’s a more costly Barista milk frother, as an alternative, which has a touchscreen and app.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: How many coffees can you make?

Nespresso Citiz and Milk Coffee Machine, Black by Magimix

(Image credit: Nespresso)

It’s a coffee (or other drink) at a time with Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machines – but the process is very quick.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which machine makes better coffee?

It’s the crucial question: will you get a tastier drink from a Nespresso or a Dolce Gusto machine?

Nespresso has the edge if it’s barista-style coffees – that is those that take espresso as a starting point – that you’re going to be drinking. That’s not just the black versions, either. A machine with a steam arm or an accompanying milk frother means you can conjure up cappuccinos and other foamy favourites simply.

A Dolce Gusto machine would come out on top if you’d prefer to get more mileage out of your machine in the form of other drinks, though.

As for the taste of the coffee, we give the Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno capsule coffee machine second spot in our list of the best coffee machines – which includes non-pod machines, too – and loved the coffee it made. Buyers of the same model on Amazon felt similarly with reviews awarding an average of 4.8 out of five for flavour. And, setting aside the particular machine, Amazon buyers of the mixed selection of Nespresso capsules gave the flavour an overall 4.7 out of five. 

How about the java a Dolce Gusto brews?

Mini Me by Krups coffee machine

(Image credit: Nescafé)

Buyers of the highly rated Mini Me by Krups coffee machine, which uses Dolce Gusto capsules, award a 4.5 out of five for flavour. The capsules themselves? It’s a big thumbs-up on Amazon with 4.6 stars for flavour for the Dolce Gusto Americano Intenso pods.

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.