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The Best Small Espresso Machines

Best-Small-Espresso-Machines

Small espresso machine are not hard to find but it’s tiresome hunting through to find out the exact size of each machine.

That’s why we’ve done the hard yards for you. Each of the powerful machines below comes with both weight and dimensions clearly labelled. You’ll be able to compare these machines at a glance.

With size taken care of, you should focus on what type of drink the machine makes. Does this fit with the tastes of you and your family? Plenty of espresso machines also give you the latitude to make longer, creamy coffees. Make sure you get one to suit.

These small machines don’t come with onboard grinders so think about investing in a third-party conical burr grinder to start your espresso with finely ground fresh beans.

Think about ease of use when you’re on the buying trail. Who will use the machine and how comfy are they with tech? Do they know anything about making coffee? Choose something labor-intensive like the manual press we highlight or opt for the push-button ease of a capsule-based espresso machine.

Keep your buying decision personal and finding the best small espresso machine is a cinch.

We’ll push directly ahead with our brief reviews of the finest examples on the market.


Top 8 Best Small Espresso Machines

1. Breville Bambino Plus Espresso MachineOur #1 Pick

(12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 inches and 3.15 pounds)
Breville-BES500BSS-Bambino-Plus-Espresso-Machine

Breville has a stable of outstanding coffee machines so how about when you want espresso in a compact unit? It’s got to be the Bambino Plus but what makes it so good?

Great espresso starts with water at the right temperature. The PID digital control on board ensures you get things started impeccably.

Pre-infusion keeps the temperature low at first so you’ll get all the flavor drawn out.

There’s a thermojet heating system which gets the Bambino up to temperature in 3 seconds, perfect for those busy mornings.

The auto-purge feature directly after steaming primes your machine for the following shot.

Note that this machine only runs on 110/120 volt systems so make sure of compatibility before purchase.

The stainless steel finish and build quality are robust enough to give you years of faithful service. While the Breville isn’t exactly cheap, you’ll be rewarded in terms of quality and lifespan both.
Things We Like

  • Heats up in seconds flat
  • Digital temperature control helps you achieve the perfect extraction
  • Auto-purging promotes consistency with every shot

Things We Dislike

  • Costly for a small machine

2. DeLonghi Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

(9.6 x 7.2 x 11.9 inches and 11 pounds)
DeLonghi-ECP3420-Bar-Pump-Espresso-and-Cappuccino-Machine

This multifunctional DeLonghi can kick out great espresso while also allowing you to create creamy cappuccino.

Self-priming, you won’t be standing on ceremony in the morning. The DeLonghi will up and running in no time.

15 bars of pressure is more than enough to enjoy great espresso while the manual frother gives you complete control when you’re creating cappuccino.

You’ll be able to slide taller travel mugs in thanks to the adjustable tray. The water tank is simple to slip out, too. This makes cleaning and refilling much easier. You can easily determine the water level at a glance.

Build quality and aesthetics could be improved on this machine. That said, at this price-point you naturally expect some compromises. At least with the DeLonghi those compromises don’t involve the quality of the espresso in your cup.

If you’re looking for a budget espresso machine with a small footprint that gives you the option of longer coffees as well, this unit makes perfect sense.
Things We Like

  • Self-priming and rapid start-up so no hanging around for your shot
  • Make cappuccino as well as straight espresso
  • Accommodates taller travel mugs

Things We Dislike

  • Looks flimsy and too much plastic

3. Nespresso by DeLonghi Essenza Mini Espresso Machine

(4.3 x 12.8 x 8.1 inches and 4.35 pounds)
Nespresso-by-De'Longhi-EN85R-Essenza-Mini-Original-Espresso-Machine-by-De'Longhi

Single-serve coffee machines are highly convenient even if they exact a cost on the environment. Along with Keurig, Nespresso dominate this space. The Essenza Mini gives you a powerful espresso machine in a very small form factor but is it any good?

As with any capsule-based machine, you’ll be given almost no control over the brewing process. Aside from filling the water reservoir and popping in a pod, your input is nil, in fact. So, if you don’t object to relinquishing control, you’ll benefit from the epitome of convenience.

With one-touch operation you’ll have the water up to temperature in less than 30 seconds. Following 9 minutes of inactivity, the Essenza Mini power down automatically for your safety and peace of mind.

Choose from a standard shot or a lungo and let the dinky Essenza do the rest for you.
Things We Like

  • Fire hydrant red makes an arresting statement on the kitchen counter
  • All the convenience you’d expect from a pod-based machine
  • Gets up to temperature in 30 seconds flat

Things We Dislike

  • The cost of capsules can mount if you drink a lot of coffee

4. Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine

(8 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches and 20 pounds)
Gaggia-RI9380/46-Classic-Pro-Espresso-Machine

Since Achille Gaggia invented the precursor of today’s espresso machines, the company has served up fantastic and generally affordable equipment to help you make the best coffee at home.

The Classic Pro uses a number of commercial parts from the solenoid valve through to the group head and portafilter. Throw in a rugged stainless housing and you’ve got a coffee machine built to take some heavy punishment.

A semi-automatic machine, all you’ll need to do is time your shot with the machine taking care of the rest for you.

Use either pre-ground coffee or ESE pods giving you maximum freedom.

The 58mm portafilter is shaped and sized like those on commercial machines while the pressurized filter basket encourages the richest and silkiest crema.

This facelifted model includes an uprated chassis, improved pump mounts and upgraded controls.

The dual heating elements ensure that steam is ready in 30 seconds flat with the machine ready to brew in less than 5 minutes.
Things We Like

  • Borrows a number of commercial components
  • Ergonomic rocker switches for ease of use
  • Sleek and utilitarian stainless finish

Things We Dislike

  • Quite pricey for a smaller machine

5. Flair Manual Espresso Press

(12 x 6 x 10 inches and 5.9 pounds)
Flair-Espresso-Maker

Next for something completely different with Flair’s manual espresso press. If you’re looking for ease of operation and push-button simplicity, you’re clean out of luck. If, on the other hand, you’re happy to expend a little effort in pursuit of the perfect espresso, read on…

Coming with a padded travel case, the portability of the Flair makes it tailor-made if you’re a frequent traveller and won’t compromise coffee on the go.

There’s no need for electricity and the Flair features a detachable brewing head. So far, so good but how do you actually use this elegant but unusual device?

Well, all you need is some freshly roasted beans, some boiling water and then you pull down on the lever. There’s a stainless steel tamper thrown in to properly prepare your grounds then time the shot from 25 to 45 seconds according to taste.

For espresso to rival that produced by a machine, the Flair manual press makes a wonderful Christmas gift for coffee lovers, and it’s even finished in festive red.
Things We Like

  • No noise and completely portable
  • Exercise total control over the brewing process
  • Dependable stainless steel and aluminum build

Things We Dislike

  • Steep learning curve and a degree of effort required

6. Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker

(12.8 x 4.3 x 9.2 inches and 6.94 pounds)
Nespresso-Pixie-Espresso-Maker

Nespresso machines offer unbeatable convenience even if you relinquish a little control over the brewing process.

The Pixie allows you to make a short shot or a lungo at the push of a button. All you need to add is hot water and your favorite Nespresso capsule and you’ll have gourmet coffee in seconds flat. The machine fires up very swiftly and you’ll get coffee in your cup in a matter of seconds.

As with all single-serve machines, you’ll need to carry out very little by the way of maintenance and you’ll be protected by auto-off so you won’t end up burning out your machine or burning down the house.

If you plan to get more creative and build out longer recipes, the drip tray folds out to give you the space for large and tall glasses or even travel mugs.

Priced keenly and delivering fully, this small machine is well worth your investigation even if it has been discontinued.
Things We Like

  • Super-swift heat-up in less than 30 seconds
  • Makes both espresso and lungo
  • Removable drip tray accommodates larger travel mugs fuss-free

Things We Dislike

  • This model has been discontinued so bear this in mind before committing to purchase

7. DeLonghi Manual Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine

(11.4 x 9.1 x 13.8 inches and 6.72 pounds)
DeLonghi-EC155M-Manual-Espresso-Machine

This manual DeLonghi espresso and cappuccino maker is a pocket-friendly model that acquits itself admirably.

We’ll state right off the bat that the espresso is not the strongest from this machine. If you’re looking for a real eye-opener in the morning, you might be better served with one of the other units we highlight today.

If you’re not too concerned with strength as a priority, you’ll also be able to craft cappuccino so you’ve got a machine capable of delivering drinks for the whole day.

Design is sleek and minimalist just like its tiny footprint.

As with any cheaper machine, you’ll get a fair amount of plastic on display while build quality could certainly be improved.

You’ll be able to use ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) pods as well as pre-ground coffee so you’re spoiled for choice.

This model gives you the chance to buy into the DeLonghi brand heritage without spending a fortune so what are you waiting for?
Things We Like

  • Elegant and understated aesthetic
  • Independent thermostats for steam and water temperature
  • Use pre-ground coffee or ESE pods

Things We Dislike

  • Espresso comes out slightly weak

8. Breville Café Roma Espresso Machine

(9.2 x 9 x 11.8 inches and 13 pounds)
Breville-ESP8XL-Cafe-Roma-Stainless-Espresso-Maker

The Breville Café Roma espresso machine might be at the low end of the range but don’t let that put you off. For a budget machine, you’ll get great functionality and a robust chassis that also looks the part.

This unit is specifically designed for espresso in short shot glasses. If your coffee tastes extend beyond this, you’ll find the Café Roma limiting.

With a single simple dial on the front of the burnished housing, ease of use is uppermost. You’ll get a super-swift heat-up time and then great espresso at the push of a button. What’s not to love?

Crowned by a 1-year limited warranty and the build quality you’d expect from Breville, this is a cost-effective way to enjoy first class espresso at home every day. Road test this compact unit and you won’t be disappointed even if you’ve got very little space on the kitchen counter.
Things We Like

  • Eye-catching aesthetics married to rugged and reliable build
  • Dual-wall filter lends to fantastic crema for your espresso
  • Frothing jug thrown in along with manual steam wand

Things We Dislike

  • Only accommodates shorter espresso cups

Conclusion

By now, you should clearly see you have plenty of options up for grabs if you’re on the trail of the best small espresso machines. You should also see that you can pick up some pocket-friendly machines or you can dig deeper if you want a more rugged unit capable of standing up to sustained use.

Regardless of which machine you opt for, don’t forget to grind your own fresh coffee beans directly before brewing. This is essential if you want to get things started the right way. Also look out for a machine with precise temperature control since this is another core element of making great espresso.

The other thing to make sure of before launching into purchase is that the machine you’re looking at serves all the drinks you and your family want. Plenty of machines allow you to make longer, creamier drinks as well as those short, strong shots you crave.

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