Let’s cut to the chase – you’re here because you are interested in purchasing a small espresso machine, but you’re not sure which one is going to be best for you. Am I close?
Well, you can relax now because we’ll take care of the rest. We have looked at the best small espresso machines available, each with their own quirks and from all different price ranges, and have whittled the options down to this definitive list of 10 of the absolute best available today.
Top 10 Small Espresso Makers
Great home coffee awaits so let’s get straight into it – your new mini espresso machine is probably listed below, let’s go and find it.
- Nespresso BNE800BSS Creatista Plus
- Hamilton Beach Small Espresso Machine
- Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus
- Instant Dual Pod Plus 3-in-1 Coffee Maker
- Nespresso BEC220BLK Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
- DeLonghi EC155 Small Espresso Maker
- Smeg ECF01CRUS Espresso Coffee Machine
- Mr Coffee Steam Espresso Maker
- IMUSA USA 4 Cup Epic Electric
- Single Serve Coffee Maker With Milk Frother
We’ll kick things off with a look at this Nespresso capsule machine made by Australian home appliance kings Breville. They’ve been manufacturing household products since 1932, and have firmly established themselves as one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
This machine is made to work in conjunction with the most recognizable coffee pods in the world - a recipe for success, surely?
The first impressions are certainly very good - the Creatista is a very attractive machine.
Completely encased in stainless steel, as opposed to plastic which much of the competition will utilize, this machine oozes not just style and sophistication, but also durability.
When you are spending money on something like this, you want to feel like it’s going to last - this certainly has that feeling.
The other thing that you will notice at first glance is just how small this is - measuring just 6.7 x 12.2 x 16.1 inches this certainly fills our criteria for the ‘small espresso machine’ category. With just over 6 inches in width, this will comfortably fit in almost any kitchen.
Aesthetics and dimensions alone are not enough to make it onto this list - these machines need to be able to make a great coffee. Fortunately, the Creatista excels in this department, as it makes better coffee than I have tasted from any capsule coffee machine.
The key is all in the milk and the control that you have over the drink. By selecting the type of drink that you want to make on the easy-to-use display on the top of the machine, everything is automatic, even the heating and frothing of the milk.
What’s more, there is the ability to alter the amount of foam that is included, and the temperature of the milk. You get your drink exactly how you like it, and it is all completely automatic.
If you want a simple-to-use pod coffee machine that makes great coffee automatically, and doesn’t take up much room in your kitchen., then the Nespresso Creatista Plus from Breville will take some beating - although it does come at a price.
Next up we will take a look at a more traditional espresso maker - but on a budget. This offering is from Hamilton Beach - another home appliance company, this time out of Glen Allen, Virginia.
They originated in Wisconsin back in 1910, and in the last hundred-plus years, they have expanded their range to cover almost every type of kitchen appliance that you can imagine, from coffee makers to convection ovens, electric knives to waffle irons.
This espresso maker is one of the cheaper ones that we will look at on this list, but that does not mean inferior quality.
There is an attractive chrome finish to the façade of the machine at the top, which neatly contrasts the crisp black of the shell of the unit. The dial and interface on the front are invitingly simple, with one button and one dial. Not much that can go wrong here.
In terms of size, this is 9.6 x 12 x 11.6 inches, so while it is slightly wider than the Creatista Plus that we looked at above, it is still under 10 inches wide, which should comfortably fit most kitchen counters. It is quite short as well, so could fit under cupboards.
Its diminutive size does not correlate to a lack of power, though. With 15 bars of pressure, this machine has more than enough to get a perfect extraction of coffee every time.
The removable water tank at the bank also seems to contradict the compact nature of the machine - you will get more than 20 shots out of a full tank, so you won’t need to keep refilling it every time you use it.
The milk frother is excellent and gives you the opportunity to perfect your barista skills. It will swivel out to the side of the machine to give you plenty of room to manipulate your milk and get it exactly how you like it for whichever coffee you are making.
This espresso machine offers you the complete espresso-making experience, but without taking up too much space in your kitchen, or making too much space in your wallet! A great budget option.
Back over to Breville now, to take a look at a traditional espresso machine this time. Rather than the Creatista above which makes coffee from Nespresso pods, this makes fresh coffee from coffee grounds the traditional way.
There are some similarities with the Creatista though - firstly the price. This is at the higher end of the espresso makers that we have looked at, positioning itself as one of the premium options in this market.
It also has a similarity in terms of its appearance. This is another really stylish-looking machine. The brushed stainless steel finish is just a fantastic look for a coffee machine.
Clean, crisp, sturdy, and stylish. The perfect combination of class and heft.
It is also nearly as small as the Creatista - measuring just 7.6 x 12.5 x 12.2 inches. While it is quite tall, the height isn’t usually an issue when it comes to kitchen top ‘real estate’ - it's all about the width. This will fit neatly amongst your other kitchen appliances.
So what about the coffee? Well, first of all, you have a digital temperature control so that you can brew your coffee at precisely the correct temperature. Then there is the low-pressure pre-infusion, which gradually builds up during the extraction process so that as much flavor as possible is drawn out from the coffee grounds.
Finally, you have the automatic micro-foam milk wand, which delivers your milk in exactly the right consistency and temperature every time.
What this leaves you with is a fantastic drink that you can recreate time after time, with very little effort on your part.
This machine is great fun to use and makes fantastic drinks. If you want an espresso maker that can do it all for you, this is a great one to look at, albeit at a higher price.
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If you are currently in the market for a new coffee maker, you may have had one before. It may have been a traditional espresso maker, or it may have been a pod coffee maker.
Perhaps you are trying to work out which sort of machine to invest in next, seeing the benefits of each type?
Step forward... the Dual Pod Plus 3-in-1 Coffee Maker from Instant - part of a huge conglomerate of brands, including Pyrex, Corelle, and Chicago Cutlery.
This machine offers you the chance to use two different types of pods or even coffee grounds.
With all of this functionality, you are probably imagining a huge, unwieldy industrial-sized machine, before quickly remembering that this is an article entitled ‘Best Small Espresso Machines’.
It measures just 7 inches wide, making it one of the thinnest machines on our list. It is quite tall (7 x 13 x 14 inches are the full dimensions), but it won’t take up much room in your kitchen.
It also looks quite stylish. A simple, understated design, with a simple black casing and smooth corners. It has a classic look to it and would fit aesthetically no matter what your kitchen décor is like.
The size doesn’t impact its water capacity, with a whopping 68oz water reservoir, meaning that you won’t need to keep refilling it.
The best thing though is the versatility - you can use K-cup pods (8, 10, and 12oz), Nespresso pods (2, 4, and 6 oz), and also it comes with a reusable pod which you can fill with your own grounds.
As well as the buttons you would expect to find (what size drink you are making etc), there is also a ‘Bold’ button, which will increase the temperature and draw out more flavor during the extraction process.
There is no milk function, which does limit from that point of view, but the opportunity to make longer coffees, using different varieties of pods is such a benefit.
As one of the more affordable options on our list, you could always invest in a separate milk frother if you find that you tend to make milky drinks.
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We’re going to check out another offering from the winning combination of Breville and Nespresso now with this super-slim Essenza.
We know by now what these two coffee behemoths offer, so let’s dive straight into the specifics of this machine.
The main selling point of this machine, and why we have featured it on this list, is its size. Mini doesn’t even cover it. It measures 3.3 x 8 x 12.9 inches.
Yep, just over 3 inches wide. . I don’t think there isn’t a kitchen in the country that can afford 3 inches of space, which makes this machine the perfect choice when space is at a premium, and good coffee is required regularly!
In terms of performance, this is a fine pod coffee machine. It couldn’t really be simpler to use - there are two buttons, one for an espresso (1.35 oz) and one for lungo (5 oz).
With its accelerated heating system, the water reaches the ideal serving temperature in just 25 seconds from the moment you turn on the machine. You get great coffee, made simply, and served really quickly.
As ever with pod coffee machines, the coffee is only ever as good as the capsules that you use to make it. Fortunately, Nespresso makes really good capsules and the result is some great tasting coffee.
There is a huge range as well, so I am sure you will be able to find your favorite with a bit of experimentation.
Again, there is no capacity to froth milk here. Great for your lungos, espressos, or americanos, but if you want a latte, cappuccino, etc you will need to purchase an additional milk frother.
For a tiny little espresso maker though, this is one of the best around. And at a very affordable price.
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It wouldn’t feel right to have a list of the best small espresso machines and not include an Italian option, so it was very satisfying to come across the EC155 from De’Longhi.
These Italian home appliance specialists have been in business since 1902, making pretty much any appliance you can think of at that time. Italy is the home of espresso, of course, so we tend to expect big things from them.
Or, in this instance, should I say, small things? Well, this compact little traditional espresso maker is one of the biggest on our list, measuring 12.2 x 19.3 x 15 inches, but is still small enough to comfortably fit into most kitchens. It manages to pack a lot into that space as well!
First, the espresso - you can have a single or double shot and even use easy-serve espresso pods. You can modify the settings so that you can get the exact temperature for the perfect extraction depending on what coffee you are using to make your drink.
Then there is the milk. You have complete control here - the swivel jet frother turns out to the side of the machine and you can use the dials and controls to get your milk exactly how you like it, whatever drink you are making.
There is no automated system here, it all comes down to your skill, so it is worth putting in the time to perfect your technique.
The real selling point here, though, is the price. As one of the cheapest espresso machines on this list, this represents the perfect option for you if you are on a budget.
Perhaps it will be used to complement your existing coffee maker, such as a drip machine, to give you more options or to fit into a home office for drinks while you work.
At this price, you can justify taking a chance on it.
Crucially, though, it makes great coffee. If you are prepared to froth your own milk, the results will be fantastic, and satisfying, every time.
We’ll stay in Italy now as we take a look at this espresso maker from home appliance kings, Smeg. Probably best known for their fridges, Smeg has an instantly recognizable look, a kind of 1950’s retro style that has proved to be popular all over the world.
They are not known for their coffee machines, but just from the first glimpse of this machine, you will know that you are in safe hands.
This machine maintains its classic look and has produced a really stylish machine here. And measuring just 5.87 x 12.99 x 11.93 inches, it certainly fulfills our criteria for being ‘small’.
The Thermoblock system means that the machine takes a matter of seconds to heat up before it is ready to use - no waiting around at all.
The control panel has just three buttons, so there is very little that you need to learn before you start using this.
In terms of milk, there is a movable steam wand on the side of the machine, and it froths the milk really well.
As with any manual steam wand, it will take a little bit of practice to master the technique, but if you are going to spend this amount of money on a coffee machine, then it is well worth your time to learn the basics of milk frothing and latte art. The results will be incredible.
The big selling point is the appearance of this machine. It looks amazing, and it will be a real stand-out appliance in your kitchen, that will get admiring glances from guests. Smeg has a reputation of being a luxury make, and for good reason.
This level of luxury is represented in the price, though, as one of our most expensive machines on the list. It makes great coffee and looks fantastic, so if you can afford it, what’s not to like?
Since the 1970’s Mr Coffee has been a name intertwined in American culture - being mentioned in movies, hit songs, and even an episode of Seinfeld, as well as featuring Joe DiMaggio in their adverts.
Their drip coffee machines revolutionized the way we drank coffee forever and made drinking great coffee in the home possible and affordable.
The world has moved on since then, of course, and they are doing their best to keep up. More people are drinking espressos in their homes, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Mr Coffee is trying to provide an affordable option there too.
Affordable is the keyword here. This is right at the bottom of our price range for espresso machines on this list, coming in at around the same price of between 10-15 coffees if you were to buy them from a coffee shop. You don’t need to use this machine very often at all to get your money back.
With the price in our minds, this machine does the basics well. You can’t expect the same features as you would from the ones that cost more than ten times this offering, but you should expect it to make a decent cup of coffee - otherwise, what’s the point?
The extra-large portafilter has the capacity for up to four shots of espresso, so you can make nice longer coffees.
The extraction is good, giving rich flavored coffee, and the milk wand does the job - as ever, it really depends on your own skill as a barista.
Measuring 9.84 x 10.63 x 12.4 inches, this is a neat little machine that won’t take up much space. It is perfect for a first espresso machine if you’re not sure how much you’ll use it, or even for a college dorm. At the price, you won’t find much better.
We’ll continue this run of budget options with this cute little machine from IMUSA - a homeware brand with deep roots in Latin America, a culture immersed in coffee. Let’s see how this ‘Epic’ espresso maker lives up to that reputation.
First of all, I really like the look of this machine. While it is not the smallest machine on our list, measuring 8 x 10 x 12 inches, the shape and design make it seem incredibly unimposing. It will just sit neatly in the corner until it is needed.
The way that it delivers the espresso is pretty unique. There is a glass carafe placed underneath the portafilter where the coffee falls into. You can make up to four cups in one go, and then decant it between however many drinks you are making.
This is a great time saver if you are often making more than one drink at a time.
The milk wand is decent as well - with a little bit of practice you can get your milk to exactly the right temperature and consistency for your drink. There is no real limit from that point of view.
With the price being right near the lower that we’re looking at today, there isn’t much to dislike about this machine.
It may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive options, but it makes great coffee for more than one person at a time, and it looks pretty good as well. Put this one on your list.
We complete this list of the best small espresso machines with this single-serve effort from….well, to be honest, it is not immediately clear who makes this machine. After a bit of digging, it seems to be a company called Famiworths.
Usually, alarm bells start to ring when it isn’t immediately obvious which brand has produced a product, but we like to give everything a fair chance so we went in with an open mind.
We were pleasantly surprised. This tiny little machine (5.1 x 8.3 x 11.6 inches) performs admirably. Again, we have to appreciate that this is another budget option, so we can’t expect it to compare to some of the more expensive options.
It makes good coffee though. It takes a little bit of time, 2 minutes usually to pull an espresso, but you can achieve a nice rich coffee as a result. It is another that utilizes a glass carafe to dispense into, and the milk wand is pretty good as well, although slightly slower to get going than some of the more expensive options.
There is little to put you off this though, in terms of performance. It makes a good coffee, it won’t take up much room in your kitchen, and is pleasant to look at.
If you are shopping at this end of the price scale, this is certainly one for your consideration.
Whatever your preference when it comes to coffee, an espresso machine will give you the capability to make a coffee that you will love. The fact that you can now do this in your own home is a wonderful thing.
Of course, not everybody will want to spend their time perfecting their skills as a barista. Similarly, some people will want to be able to produce stunning works of latte art that will dazzle and amaze their guests.
This list provides an option for people no matter what they want out of their espresso machine, and no matter what their level of skill. Also, no matter what their budget.
Use this list as your base – you may find another out there that you prefer, which is great. But pick your favorite from this list and try to beat it for value and performance – that way you can’t lose and you’ll be enjoying delicious coffee for years to come.