Best Nespresso machine: a comparison of the best-selling coffee and espresso makers

Original vs Vertuo line, we'll break down the model range to find the best Nespresso machine for you

Woman with best nespresso machine
(Image credit: Getty)

The best Nespresso machine is meant to emulate the experience of sitting in a Swiss cafe. The notorious espresso brand has brought the luxury of great-tasting espresso (and coffee) into the ease of your home, essentially on-demand with it's single-serve pod style machines. 

With expertise in both coffee and espresso, Nespresso is one of the most renowned names among the best single-serve coffee makers. Over the years, Nespresso has expanded it's single-serve coffee makers from a single espresso maker, referred to as Original line, to a wide array of espresso and coffee makers that span the spectrum from basic to downright indulgent. To please its customers who want the option of both espresso and coffee, Nespresso introduced the Vertuo line into the mix in 2014, and it's been a top-performer ever since.

From here, the choice comes, which machine is best for needs? The truth, each machine brews equally tasty coffee and the crema as good, after all the coffee is all the same Nespresso. However, the machine you choose matters because the Original and Vertuo pods are not interchangeable between machines.  We'll also get candid about the differences between the Original and Vertuo machines

If you're after the best Nespresso machine, it's true the hardest part is choosing which machine to buy.  Read on and we’ll reveal the cream (crema?) of the Nespresso coffee machines which we've vetted and reviewed based on ease of use, maintenance, how good the coffee is, the price (and more) so you can buy with confidence. 

Keep scrolling to see which six Nespresso machines made our shortlist then, head over to our best coffee machine guide for more top caffeine-fueled options.

The best Nespresso machines 2021

Nespresso by De'Longhi VertuoPlus, Black

(Image credit: De'Longhi)

1. Nespresso Vertuo Plus

Best Nespresso machine, Overall

Specifications
Pod type: Vertuo
Water tank capacity: 40oz.
Dimensions: 9.8"W x 13.3"D x 12.7"H
Reasons to buy
+Five cup sizes+Fast heat up+Flexible positioning of water tank+Makes coffee and espresso
Reasons to avoid
-Larger design

Vertuo Plus should be the Nespresso machine you consider first, offering up the best of both worlds when it comes to espresso and coffee. The neat Vertuo system can brew both coffee and espresso beverages to please the discerning coffee drinker who wants options.

Key features
Five cup sizes from the 14 oz. alto down to the 1.7 oz espresso mean this machine can make the different coffees many of us prefer depending on the time of day. Note, the capsule you choose dictates the cup size, but brewing is the simple touch of a button.  The fast heat-up time doesn’t have you hanging around when you need a shot of caffeine before you head out the door. The water tank can be positioned at the back or on the left or right of the machine thanks to a rotating arm, which helps fit it neatly wherever it fits most comfortably.  

Milk frother?
No, although there is a version that comes with the Aeroccino3 frother (at a higher price point) for latte and cappuccino lovers who don’t already own one. 

The verdict
Being able to brew a variety of sizes with this machine makes it a standout buy for fans of espresso and coffee – although we confess that even we coffee lovers find the largest size alto more than we’d want in one go, for one.

On Amazon, the Vertuo Plus scores 4.5 out of five. For a buyer who’s previously been using multiple pods to make a mug of coffee, it’s a big hit: "This machine is fantastic! Can’t recommend it enough." There’s also acclaim for the "lovely strong hot coffee" it makes, and the fact that it’s "easy to use and clean."

Nespresso Pixie

(Image credit: Nespresso)

2. Nespresso Pixie

Best Original Nespresso coffee machine

Specifications
Pod type: Original
Water tank capacity: 24 oz.
Dimensions: 4.4" W x 12.8" D x 9.3" H
Reasons to buy
+Rapid heat-up+Descaling program
Reasons to avoid
-Small serving size

For those who want their quick and convenient fix of espresso, we present to you the pint-sized Pixie for cafe-style coffee in a snap. 

Key features
Choose from 40ml of espresso or a 110ml lungo at the touch of a button. It takes a rapid 25 seconds to heat up, so there’s no hanging around, and the reservoir can fit up to 11 used pods. The machine is compact in size, helping worktops stay uncluttered, and it has a sophisticated style with its sleek metal casting. The descaling program takes just 15 minutes to clean the machine.

Milk frother?
Sold as an add-on, so it's completely up to you! 

The verdict
If you’re after high-quality espresso drinks, but don’t have the space or the skill to fit in a big shiny barista-style machine, this is a brilliant choice.

Amazon buyers agree. The model gets 4.7 out of five and high plaudits like ‘everything I need in my coffee life’ and ‘the best coffee I’ve probably ever had."

Nespresso Lattissima Pro

(Image credit: Nespresso)

3. Nespresso Lattissima Pro

Best Nespresso coffee machine to splurge on

Specifications
Pod type:: Original
Water tank capacity: 44 oz.
Dimensions: 7.6" W x 13" D x 14" H
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable milk frother+Descaling and cleaning alerts+Powers off automatically+Brews 9 different drinks at the touch of a button+Milk jug can be refrigerated and dishwasher safe
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-More parts to clean

After a splurge? Invest in the Lattisima Pro to get your milky lattes at the touch of a button! No skills are required. It doesn't feel more luxe than this! 

Key features
Choose from cappuccino, latte and latte macchiato functions to make your ideal milky drink – and, of course, espresso’s on the menu, too. It makes nine different recipes at the touch of a button. Descaling and cleaning alerts help keep the machine ready to brew and froth as desired. It powers off automatically after nine minutes to save energy. 

Milk frother?
This machine is made to suit latte lovers. Fill the milk container with the amount needed, and put it in place on the machine – it takes 15 seconds to heat. With a cup under the coffee outlet, the milk spout can be lifted to the required level for the cup. The texture of the froth can be adjusted, too.

The verdict
Coffee doesn't get much easier than this. It's pretty luxe to watch froth milk simultaneously dispense into our mugs. If your budget allows for it, we think you'll love this splurge, but you could also find happiness with any of the other options on this list. 

Many of us never choose black coffees, preferring a range of milky versions instead, and this machine meets this need perfectly. The prompt to rinse the system after making a milky coffee is a clever way to avoid hitches, too.

Amazon’s conclusion? 4.6 out of five stars for this svelte machine. "Best coffee maker I’ve had" and "makes excellent coffee" are among the judgments. The design is also acclaimed as "very intuitive" and buyers also like the fridge friendly milk storage jug, and the fact that it's dishwasher safe. 

Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso MachineReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

Best Nespresso Coffee Maker for eco-friendly choices

Specifications
Pod type: Vertuo
Water tank capacity: 37 oz.
Dimensions: 5.5W x 16.90D x 12.4H
Reasons to buy
+Space-saving+Affordable+Made of partially recycled materials+The only machine that can make an 18 oz. carafe+Available in many colors and editions
Reasons to avoid
-The lock and unlock mechanism takes effort to open-Carafe sold separately

The compact and sustainably-minded Vertuo Next is made with over 50% recycled plastics and a space-saving design at just 5-inches wide. We're also quite keen on its curvy, crown-like aesthetic. 

Key features
Six cup size options. In addition to the sizes of the Vertuo Plus, the Next is also unique in that you can brew an 18 oz. carafe, built for sharing, though there are fewer pod options, and you'll have to purchase the glass carafe separately if you don't have a comparably sized container of your own. It also has a very fast heat up time and an auto-off. 

Milk frother?
Also sold separately, or available to be bundled.

The verdict
Being able to brew a mugful from one capsule makes this machine a standout buy for fans of long drinks – although we confess that even we coffee lovers find the largest size alto more than we’d want in one go. The Next is also unique in that you can brew an 18 oz. carafe, built for sharing, though there are fewer pod options, and you'll have to purchase the glass carafe separately if you don't have a comparably sized container of your own. 

On Amazon, the Vertuo Next scores a 4.4 out of five, with buyers, who love how easy it is to quickly make great coffee.  They do, however, also note that the lid mechanism can be finicky to lock... it definitely does require using some force to latch and unlatch. 

NEspresso Creatista

(Image credit: Nespresso)

Best Nespresso machine for budding baristas

Specifications
Pod type: Original
Water tank capacity: 50.7 oz
Dimensions: 15.4" H x 12" D x 6.7" W
Reasons to buy
+Built-in milk frother+Three coffee sizes to choose from+Quiet (although high pressured!)
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

Want your Nespresso and your latte art too? Our hearts are set on the Creatista Plus, with its sleek barista-style steam wand to recreate your favorite coffeehouse beverages at home, stainless steel design, and intuitive user interface to guide you through preparation, settings and maintenance aspects. 

Key features
Three coffee sizes: ristretto, espresso, or lungo, plus step-by-step instructions to craft Cappuccinos, Cafe Lattes, Flat Whites, Latte Macchiatos or just milk froth.  Customizations on milk texture and temperature will bring out the barista in you. We also like the fact that it’s not noisy despite being a high-pressure machine. The auto shut-off to save energy is handy, and it has ultra-fast heat up time, 3 seconds. 

Milk frother?
This machine has a convenient built-in steam wand, so you can have your pod-style coffee and practice your latte skills too. Even better, there are 11 milk temperatures to choose from and 8 milk textures. The icing on the (coffee) cake? The wand purges itself so it doesn’t leave you with a dull cleaning job.

The verdict
The Creatista delivers great drinks speedily. Its stainless steel exterior looks incredibly high-end. It's a bit pricey but gives the closest experience to a true espresso machine, without the fuss of having to tamp, measure, or grind. It doesn't get better than this. 

Amazon buyers average it an outstanding 4.7 out of 5 stars, and praised "great results at the touch of a button," "beautiful and convenient" and it was even acclaimed as "the best single cup of coffee or espresso I've ever had."

Nespresso Essenza mini

(Image credit: Nespresso)

6. Nespresso Essenza Mini coffee machine

Best Nespresso machine for compact spaces

Specifications
Pod Type: Original
Water tank capacity: 20 oz.
Dimensions: 3.3" H x 12" D x 8.03" H
Reasons to buy
+Great for compact spaces+Quick to heat up+Automatic power off+Makes the same quality espresso as more expensive models+Removable water tank
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller water capacity-Need to use a smaller mug

The Nespresso Essenza Mini coffee machine takes up minimal counter space in addition to some rich-tasting espresso while delivering a punch of color. And if you're wondering, yes, it's available in black too! 

Key features
This machine really is mini at 3.3" H x 12" D x 8.03" H. Some have even noted how they're feeling bold enough to take it with them in their carry-on when they travel, as it only weighs 5 pounds. It makes espresso and the longer lungo at the press of a button and you can customize your brew. It heats up in 30 seconds, has a low energy mode after three minutes, and auto power off after nine minutes.

Milk frother?
No – this one is for espresso purists. It's also reflected in the price too. Though, you can still invest in a separate frothing machine if that’s how you like your coffee on occasion.

The verdict
Small kitchen owners will love this petite machine – and the taste of the coffee. Like our other picks, it’s a fast worker, and it looks great on a worktop as well.

It comes with a very positive 4.7 out of five for Amazon buyers, with comments praising its performance like" It's very easy to use and it makes, I think, some the best tasting espresso and coffee that I've ever had. It was very surprising to me," to others expressing delight over its compact size. 


Nespresso Vertuo Next by De'Longhi

(Image credit: Nespresso)

What is the best Nespresso coffee machine?

To recap... if you want the most versatility, we're keen on the Vertuo system, specifically the Nespresso Vertuo Plus as our machine of choice for its ability to make both coffee and espresso drinks, and we really like its design.

If money was no object, then we wouldn't hesitate to buy the Nespresso Lattissima Pro, which offers sharp looks and elevated drink offerings thanks to its automatic milk frother.  But if you're just after quick and easy espresso at the touch of a button, you'll find happiness with the Nespresso Pixie. Nespresso makes it just as simple to add on with its automatic milk frothers, which in all honesty, are the best complement to the machines. 

Difference between Original line and Vertuo Line machines and pods

For instance, Nespresso differentiates the two Original and Vertuo lines by suggesting that espresso purists stick with the Original machines, while those seeking the options for both coffee and espresso, should seek out its Vertuo machines.

The Original line machines utilized a traditional high-pressure 19 bar extraction system to brew a cafe-style espresso, whereas Vertuo models enable you to brew coffee and espresso drinks using its proprietary Centrifusion extraction method that rapidly spins the capsule inside of the machine and injected with water to "infuse" the ground coffee inside. To add a further level of technology, the system reads a barcode on each Vertuo capsule to adjust the brew to optimize brew speed, temperature, and extraction rate, and pressure.

Original lines brew coffee with a 19 bar pressure system, and typically offer , while Vertuo lines

Original capsules are typically cheaper per serving than Vertuo capsules, but the larger Vertuo capsules do offer the option for more versatility as they come in a larger variety of sizes.

Nespresso's commitment to sustainability

As single-serve coffee machines deal with the stigma of being a poor environmental choice, Nespresso is wholeheartedly transparent in its actions toward sustainable practices including recyclable aluminum pods, fair trade coffee production, and eco-friendly and energy-saving features on its machines. 

With each coffee capsule purchase, Nespresso provides a mailer bag to send back the used aluminum capsules to be recycled, for free. The machines are also incredibly energy-saving, with fast heat-ups and auto-shut-off ranging from two to nine minutes of idle to conserve energy. They're also designed to use only the exact amount of water necessary, minimizing waste. Some machines, like Vertuo Next, are even made with recycled plastics. 

Coffee is also responsibly and ethically sourced, as it all comes through Nespresso. 

Nespresso is also working to be carbon neutral by 2022, buy reducing the carbon footprint of each cup, and expanding tree planting in and around coffee farms to compensate for the remaining emissions of a cup of Nespresso with its NGO partners Rainforest Alliance and PUR Project.

Nespresso vs other single-serve coffee makers

Ok, we'll get straight to the point. We know you want to know the differences when it comes to Keurig vs Nespresso, the two dominating options in the world of single-serve coffee. Both are great and incredibly convenient, but where do they differ.

Nespresso caters to the espresso lovers crowd, while Keurig capitalizes on convenience, in terms of coffee and availability. The same k-cup also makes a range of cup sizes, with a smaller 6 oz. cup tasting bolder than a 12 oz. brew, while the Vertuo or Espresso pod has a predetermined size for optimal and consistent flavor results. 

We think Nespresso offers a more premium coffee drinking experience, however, you are limited to Nespresso-branded pods. Meanwhile, Keurig has licenses with hundreds of coffee brands for variety. They're also available to shop almost anywhere coffee is sold, while Nespresso capsules are typically only shoppable directly from Nespresso and their boutiques, as well as Amazon. 

Keurig machines and their k-cup counterparts, in general, are less expensive than Nespresso, and most closely resemble drip coffee makers. Keurig also offers the option to use reusable k-cups that you fill with your own coffee grounds if you're looking to minimize the use of single-use plastics. 

For those seeking pod-less single-serve coffee options, brands like OXO have made it possible to brew single-servings as seen in their OXO Brew 8-cup coffee maker, while we've noticed an increase in the interest around instant coffee and pre-portioned coffee packets that really only require hot water to make a cup. 

Black Friday Nespresso Deals

Black Friday is Nov. 26th, and it is the perfect time to save on a brand new Nespresso maker. Watch this space as we get closer to holiday shopping, but we'll likely see deep discounts on Nespresso Vertuo machines. It's the few times a year we see prices drop to below $100 on these sought after machines! 

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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 Realhomes.com, 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.

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