The Best Italian Espresso Machine Brands of 2024

Published on 05/02/2024 · 11 min readExplore 2024's top Italian espresso machine brands, known for their exquisite design, innovation, and the rich, authentic espresso they produce!
Ethan Hauck, Coffee Expert
By Coffee Expert Ethan Hauck

Photo by Limpido

Espresso is a massive industry with countless brands, techniques, and styles of machines on the market. While this reality can get a bit overwhelming, that’s why people like myself — Curated Coffee and Espresso Experts — are here to help. From the likes of De’Longhi’s range of widely accessible machines to high-end names like Rancilio and Gaggia, there’s something for everyone.

I’m here to break down the best Italian espresso machine brands of the year and, importantly, provide a few samples to show why they’re so great. Should you find yourself still curious about key brands, reach out! Curated Coffee and Espresso Experts are here to help, so don’t waste our expertise.

Now, onto the highlights. Note that most of these machines are automatic rather than semi-automatic machines, with one manual exception.

Nuova Simonelli: Best for Learning Professional Machines

Photo by Baranq

Nuova Simonelli is one of the “OG” espresso machine brands. Founded in 1936, they’ve formed a name for taking innovative steps in the world of espresso. Their first machine, the 1936, was shockingly advanced for the time. Over the next few decades, they would create the first coffee machine in the world with a continuous dispensation, the Selene, as well as build some incredibly well-known home-use espresso machines.

Nuova Simonelli is known for combining professional-grade high-quality design with the ease of an at-home machine, making them ideally suited for moderately experienced home baristas who want to step into the “big leagues” of espresso.

Perhaps their best-known machine in recent years, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II, offers a top-quality articulated steam wand, timed dosage, and a professional-grade steam lever (no more finicky buttons or single-knob designs!). In combination with a full-size group head and copper boiler, this machine is a masterpiece of Italian espresso machine craftsmanship that will create a delicious latte in mere moments.

Gaggia: Best Espresso Machine for Silky Crema

Gaggia is, in the history books of espresso, best known for creating some of the earliest — and best — horizontal espresso machines (rather than those that use a vertical boiler). Founded in Milan in 1948, Gaggia created an Italian espresso machine brand that would develop a name for machines that were equal parts art and engineering magic.

By 1949, Milan natives knew something that the rest of us would learn in time — Gaggia machines pull a luxurious crema, unlike many modern home machines. The Lampo, Gaggia’s first machine, paved the path for machines in the future by using pressurized hot water, rather than steam, to extract espresso. This seemingly small upgrade would found the basis for modern espresso machines and, to this day, leads the pack in extraction quality.

Their modern masterpiece, the Gaggia Babila, is a beast of a machine. It provides many modern bells and whistles, including drink customization, programmability, and a fully automatic frothing carafe, but the quality of the Babila’s extraction is still peerless. Other highlights include the Gaggia Classic Pro and Gaggia Brera.

La Marzocco: Most Unique Espresso Machine

La Marzocco was founded in 1927 in Florence, Italy, by Giuseppe and Bruno Bambi. By 1939, they would file the patent for the first horizontal-boiler-based espresso machine — what is now the foundation for most modern boilers.

Throughout the years, La Marzocco would release plenty of machines, each of which adapted to the times and offered excellent espresso. Yet what most enthusiasts will know La Marzocco for is their aesthetic: a seemingly space-age combination of sleek design and sexy stainless steel, creating what is bound to be a centerpiece in most home kitchens and cafés.

One of their more recent machines, the Linea Micra, is built to emulate the Linea Classic S in terms of performance while keeping a small, home-friendly kitchen counter footprint. It offers a double-boiler setup with PID and full temperature control, making it nearly effortless to fine-tune each espresso shot to perfection. In short, the Linea Micra is a gorgeous chrome machine that compounds La Marzocco’s knack for crafting elegant, longstanding espresso machines.

De’Longhi: Best Espresso Machine for Beginners

De’Longhi is one of the more well-known home espresso machine brands on the market. I’ve covered them heavily, highlighting their best-in-class machines for home use, and for good reason. Founded in the early ‘80s, they’re a more recent entry into the annals of Italian espresso machine manufacturers, but that doesn’t mean their machines are without merit.

De’Longhi paved the way for radiator boilers to solve many issues for home enthusiasts who simply couldn’t afford to power other (at the time) modern espresso machines. This would lead to De’Longhi launching the Pinguino, breaking into the at-home market in a short time. Their reputation for at-home espresso would be compounded by the company’s 2004 agreement with Nespresso to partner in making capsule coffee machines. This advancement with pods, rather than a filter or basket style, would pave the way for countless similar machines.

By 2007, De’Longhi had built a name for incredibly energy-efficient, easy-to-use machines that provided a wide range of features to accommodate any experience level. Their newer Dinamica Plus is a star in the world of automatic machines, offering near-effortless use from start to finish. It makes use of De’Longhi’s decades of experience, in tandem with modern technology (namely a touchscreen, app, and fully automatic frother), to provide what is inarguably a nearly flawless machine.

Rancilio: Best Mid-Range Home Espresso Machine

Photo courtesy of Rancilio

Roberto Rancilio founded Rancilio in 1927 and is one of the earliest innovators in the world of espresso. The name has become synonymous in recent years with masterful craftsmanship, incredible espresso, and peerless design. While it all started, like many of these Italian brands, as a small operation, it quickly grew to become one of the mainstays in high-end cafés because of the Rancilio Silvia.

In fact, the Silvia was made as a thank you to their restaurant-grade distributors, ultimately leading to a full line of top-tier machines. While that may seem odd at first glance, one peek at the Silvia line will reveal why it’s remained a household (and café-hold, if that’s a word) name since 1997.

Their most recent entry to the Silvia line, the Silvia Pro X, is an absolute beast of an at-home espresso machine. With dual-PID-controlled boilers, incredible thermal insulation and stability, and soft infusion technology, the Silvia Pro X takes decades of knowledge and turns it into a modern masterpiece of technology and innovation.

Bialetti: Best Stovetop Coffee Maker

Bialetti was founded in 1919 by Alfonso Bialetti, making it one of the oldest (still standing) Italian espresso machine brands on the market. Their first introduction, the Moka pot, has become something of a myth in modern espresso; it’s used by countless beginners as an introduction to real Italian coffee (not espresso) and often acts as a jumping-in point for lifelong enthusiasts.

Their coffee makers are simple, but that’s their beauty. Intended as an accessible stovetop (or fire-top, in some cases) alternative to full espresso machines, the Moka Express pot creates delicious, rich coffee that tastes about as close to espresso as one can get without diving all in.

The Bialetti Moka Aluminum Espresso Maker is, despite its name, not an espresso maker; rather, it uses percolation to create incredibly strong coffee that is markedly close to espresso in most ways. While it lacks modern features like a built-in grinder, hopper, or bypass doser, the combination of its incredible ease of use and simple design makes it ideal for travel and coffee-deprived, exhausted mornings alike, which is why this brand is still standing strong over 100 years later.

La Pavoni: Best Manual Espresso Maker

Founded in 1905, La Pavoni is one of the oldest espresso machine brands on the market. Where many brands chose to, over time, expand their offerings to fit multiple needs, La Pavoni has stood strong with one focus: absolutely gorgeous, fully manual espresso machines.

Thanks to a combination of industry-leading design in manual espresso makers and high-quality materials, La Pavoni has ensured that their espresso makers can live in the homes of enthusiasts who want to work for their coffee. While this may not appeal to everyone, they have their niche, and they perfected it.

This is made most clear by the Esperto Competente, an espresso maker that combines the ease of many more feature-rich manual espresso makers with incredible, modern design. Rather than needing to put one’s entire weight into pulling a shot (along with assembly), the Esperto Competente is both easy to learn and truly gorgeous. Striking copper, sexy wood accents, and top-notch measurement equipment (namely a manometer for boiler pressure and a pressure gauge for the group) mean that users can pull a delicious shot of espresso in style.

La Spaziale: Best Commercial-Grade Espresso Machine

Like De’Longhi, La Spaziale is a relatively recent entry to the world of espresso, entering the market in 1969. They tend to specialize in commercial-style machines, though their home espresso entries are truly supreme.

Machines like the Vivaldi II and S11 Brio can be seen, to this day, in countless cafés around the world. While we could say that this makes them less suited to home use, that wouldn’t be entirely true. Users who demand the best of the best and are willing to pay (and plumb) for the privilege will find few machines that can stand up to La Spaziale.

Surprisingly, La Spaziale’s high-end machines tend to use a 53mm portafilter rather than a standard 58mm, making them ideal for home use while keeping the quality and consistency of a commercial machine. Perhaps the best machine in their lineup today, the Dream T combines a retro look with the more modern features (PID control, read/write function for custom code, and ESG ground delivery) you’d expect from a top-choice machine such as this.

Lelit: Best Plumbed-In Espresso Machine

Photo courtesy of Lelit

Lelit is another more modern Italian espresso brand. We first saw them step into the market in 1986, though as of 2022, they’re technically not an Italian-owned brand anymore. Breville, the well-known Australian espresso machine company, acquired them on July 1, 2022.

This has led to a wider assortment of machines from both sides, though notably, Lelit is known for their massive steps in flow control and profiling (as in coffee profiles). This has seeped into Breville’s more recent machines, leading to a massive step up in quality on both sides.

The most popular Lelit machine, the Bianca is a masterclass in both design and function, offering incredible control over every step of the brewing process. Perhaps its largest draw for home users is its detachable water reservoir for direct plumbing, drastically reducing its footprint in smaller kitchens while keeping the performance Lelit is known for.

Victoria Arduino: Best High-End Espresso Machine

Victoria Arduino is one of the oldest espresso machine brands in the world. Founded in 1905, the brand claims to take inspiration from one of the period’s most ubiquitous images: the steam train.

Their knack for impeccable craftsmanship that never sacrifices quality or appearance has earned the company well over a century of love from espresso enthusiasts the world over. Those seeking a mainstay in the industry will be hard-pressed to find a more beloved brand.

The Eagle One is one of the most well-known commercial-grade espresso machines on the market. As seen in this review, this machine is perfectly suited to those who want to grow their toolkit and make incredible espresso in the process.

Rocket Espresso: Best Long-Term Espresso Machine

Rocket Espresso is the most modern espresso machine line in this list, having started as recently as 2007. Founded with an emphasis on creating modern yet timeless espresso machines, Rocket Espresso has quickly become a favorite for many baristas the world over.

This is, in large part, due to their design philosophy. Where many brands opt for a stainless steel dual boiler and cheaper, plastic internal parts, Rocket Espresso uses brass and copper for a machine that, reportedly, will last well over ten years.

This design does mean that their machines can run on the higher end of the price range, but that’s countered by machines like the Appartamento. Their use of long-lasting materials and modern technology makes Rocket Espresso’s lead lineup excellent for entertaining, consistency, and, crucially, flavor.

Side note: Rocket Espresso makes some of the best grinders on the market, such as the Super Fausto. If you need consistent grind size and ease of use, it’s truly peerless.

Final Word

Ultimately, any Italian coffee machine brand will introduce you to a massive world that can be hard to break into. While the brands and machines listed above are truly the best of the best, it can still be hard to find the perfect fit for you. Should you find yourself stuck between brands, features, or design, contact a Curated Coffee and Espresso Expert today — we live and breathe espresso, so I’d like to think we can help.

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