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After rigorous testing by expert food writers, our top choice is the Nespresso Gran Lattissima Coffee and Espresso Machine, with its fast brewing time, versatile drink options, and ease of use. If you're looking for a budget pick, the Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine is ideal not only for its compactness and affordability but the strong expresso flavor it produces.
Pod-based espresso was first dreamt up in the mid-'70s by Swiss engineer Éric Favre, employed by Nestlé at the time. He tinkered with prototypes and sought to perfect the process, but it would be another 10 years until Nespresso’s first launch in 1986. Now, the name Nespresso is synonymous with coffee capsules and the brand makes machines that can brew espresso, coffee, or both.
We tested a dozen of the most popular Nespresso machines side by side in our Lab's dedicated test kitchen, rating their ease of use, heat up time, brew flavor, and ease of cleaning. Most Nespresso machines produce a consistent drink, but after making and testing over 50 lattes, cappuccinos, and shots of espresso, we were able to narrow down the top machines that outranked all the rest.
For quick, tasty coffee, here are the best Nespresso machines you can find today.
Best Overall: Nespresso Gran Lattissima Coffee and Espresso Machine
Fast heat-up time
Easy to use and LED display
Many drink options
A little pricey
Milk frother is slightly complicated
Who else recommends it? Good Housekeeping also picked the Nespresso Gran Lattissima.
What do buyers say? 72% of 400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
The Gran Lattissima takes Nespresso's signature one-touch brewing to the next level by offering an impressive nine drink options. Users can select a shot of espresso in three different sizes or several milk-based drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, latte macchiatos, and flat whites. After testing the machine firsthand, our reviewers praised its versatility and added that it's easy to tell what drink you're choosing because of the labeled buttons and LED display.
Another benefit of the Gran Lattissima is how quickly it brews. This is true for most Nespresso makers, but the speed is especially notable here considering the variety and complexity of drink options. It took just 20 seconds for an espresso shot and 50 seconds for a cappuccino in our testing process. We also found its heat-up time second fastest out of the 11 machines we tested.
Once finished with your coffee, clean-up is simple thanks to the item's self-cleaning function, which forces steam and hot water through the milk spout. Nespresso recommends using the cleaning function after every use. The Rapid Cappuccino System requires a little more upkeep, however; instructions say to remove it from the machine, disassemble its six parts, and place them in the dishwasher or handwash them. Some users report that the milk spout drips for a while after use, but we didn't come across this issue in our tests.
One last detail to consider is the Gran Lattissima's price. It's more expensive than most Nespresso machines (not to mention that Nespresso capsules themselves are pricey), but we think the convenience and versatility make it worth the money for those interested in a long-term, top-of-the-line coffee maker.
Category: Original | Milk Frother: Built-in | Water Tank: 34 ounces | Capsule Container Capacity: 14 capsules | Dimensions: 7.9 x 14.4 x 10.8 inches | Warranty: 2 years
"We love that the Gran Lattissima pulls water from the reservoir and cleans itself at the touch of a button." — Collier Sutter, Review Editor
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Nespresso Vertuo and Milk Frother
Speedy drink preparation
High-quality coffee and espresso beverages
Beautiful, compact design
Includes 12 coffee capsules
Standard coffee has some espresso characteristics
Who else recommends it? Cosmopolitan and TechRadar also chose Nespresso's Vertua Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine as one of their top picks.
What do buyers say? 93% of 10,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
When Nespresso launched its VertuoLine machines in 2014, this is the one that started it all. The Vertuo marked the brand's expansion from just espresso and espresso-based drinks to drip-style coffee in larger serving sizes. It can make four drinks: a single or double shot of espresso and a 5-ounce or 8-ounce cup of drip coffee. While that might be plenty of options for some people, the Vertuo can also be purchased in a bundle deal with an Aeroccino milk frother, which opens the door for lattes and cappuccinos. The Vertuo is among the more affordable Nespresso machines, even with the addition of the frother.
We tried the machine ourselves and came away impressed with its speed, simplicity, and coffee quality. Our testers say the espresso shots are extremely bold and topped with a rich crema. One possible critique, however, is that the two drip-style options retain a bit of the boldness and bitterness that's characteristic of espresso. This will please customers who like a stronger brew, but it may be an adjustment for those who prefer true drip coffee.
Nespresso machines are typically easy to clean, yet this one is even easier than most, in part because there's no frothing wand. Our reviewers were pleased with the removable capsule container on the right side of the machine, as it makes disposing of pods easier. They mentioned that the water reservoir is too narrow for some hands to fit all the way inside, though. A descaling alert pops up when it's time for a more thorough clean.
Category: Vertuo | Milk Frother: Separate | Water Tank: 40 ounces | Capsule Container Capacity: 13 capsules | Dimensions: 8.32 in x 11.91 in x 11.93 inches | Warranty: 1 year
"Offering speedy prep, low maintenance, and excellent coffee and espresso beverages, the Nespresso VertuoLine with Aeroccino3 Milk Frother is a true bargain." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Budget: Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
Compact and lightweight
Available in multiple colors
Small capsule container
Espresso lacks complex flavors
Compact and affordable, the Essenza Mini is the ideal Nespresso maker for coffee lovers trying to save space in the kitchen or money in their wallet. It doesn't have as many bells and whistles as other Nespresso models, but that's expected given its low price. There are only two drink options to choose from—espresso and lungo sizes—and no frothing wand attached. That said, our product testers found the espresso to be strong and well worth the purchase, even if the Essenza Mini doesn't produce flavors as complex and nuanced as pricier machines. They added that the coffee is extremely consistent.
The review team also said that the item heats up in under 25 seconds and requires minimal cleanup. One detail that separates the Essenza Mini from the typical bulky espresso maker is its small size. It's just over 3 inches wide, which is roughly the size of a coffee mug. This is accomplished, in part, because the 23.2-ounce water tank is directly behind the machine instead of on the side. To save energy, the Essenza Mini turns off nine minutes after you stop brewing.
Category: Original | Milk Frother: Separate | Water Tank: 20.3 ounces | Capsule Container Capacity: 6 capsules | Dimensions: 3.3 in x 12 in x 8.03 inches | Warranty: 1 year
"While it's certainly not top of the line, it stands out as an excellent option for anyone who desires good espresso at home with limited space." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Design: Nespresso Creatista Plus
Consistent, strong espresso drinks
High-resolution color display
Louder than other Nespresso makers
The Creatista Plus is a premier model among Nespresso makers. In addition to making an excellent brew, we came away with high praise for the integrated milk frother after we made a variety of drinks with it. There are 11 settings to adjust the milk temperature and eight options for milk texture. The microfoam is rich and fluffy, wonderful for perfecting your latte art; we also found the foam thicker than that produced by a comparable Nespresso machine, the Creatista Pro.
Along with the advanced technology comes a high-end look, one reminiscent of manual espresso machines but much easier to use. Simply choose the drink you want—from ristretto, espresso, lungo, latte, cappuccino, flat white, or latte macchiato—adjust the serving size, then select your milk temperature and texture from the digital menu.
One of our testers said the water heats up in three seconds, which is unheard of compared to most espresso machines, so you’ll be sipping in no time. Not only is this smart enough to turn you into a kitchen barista, but it also lets you know when it’s time to clean and descale the machine with its self-cleaning function. This is one of the most expensive Nespresso makers, though, so you could explore non-pod-based espresso machines in a similar, if not cheaper, price range.
Category: Original | Milk Frother: Built-in | Water Tank: 50.7 ounces | Capsule Container Capacity: 12 capsules | Dimensions: 6.7 in x 16.1 in x 12.2 inches | Warranty: 2 years
"Another nice feature of this espresso machine is its ability to create a lovely micro-foam. I was impressed at how well this machine could automatically manipulate the milk to create a nice frothy texture without requiring me to do anything but touch a button." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best High-End: Nespresso De'Longhi Lattissima Pro
Multiple functions for coffee and more
Nearly hands-off operation
Icons may be confusing
A professional-grade machine for the home user, the Lattissima Pro offers the quick, push-button selection Nespresso is known for while looking impressive on the counter. It can whip up a variety of drinks, including ristretto, espresso, lungo, cappuccino, latte, hot milk, and hot water—many of which are broken down in our glossary of coffee drinks.
Along with its ease of use, the item also works quickly. We found that it pulls espresso shots in 14 seconds once heated up. The Thermoblock heating system turns cold water to hot in just a few seconds too, brewing coffee much faster than you could with a manual espresso maker.
After going through our testing process, our reviewer said that she appreciated the item's customizable settings—something that further sets the Lattissima Pro apart from many one-touch coffee makers. The coffee, water, and milk options can all be set to your preferred volume, and the machine even remembers the preferences for future use.
One of the only things the item can't do, our reviewer added, is produce coffee in large volumes, which is typical for OriginalLine Nespresso machines. While this might be too costly for the occasional espresso drinker, it will make a statement and produce excellent results without the need to learn the differences between brews.
Category: Original | Milk Frother: Built-in | Water Tank: 44 ounces | Capsule Container Capacity: 15 capsules | Dimensions: 7.6 in x 13 in x 10.8 inches | Warranty: 2 years
"It’s hard to argue with the many functions of the Nespresso Lattissima Pro Espresso Machine by DeLonghi—from shots of espresso to lattes to hot milk or hot water—but the steep price tag must be considered." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Portable: Wacaco Minipresso NS
Sleek and compact design
Easy to use
Excellent on-the-go espresso
Cheaper than Nespresso machine
Only compatible with Nespresso capsules
Potential learning curve
The Wacaco Minipresso NS is a unique brewing device for the coffee drinker on the go. All you need is hot water, Nespresso capsules, and a little bit of elbow grease. It works via a semi-automatic piston that injects small amounts of water into the grounds with each press, until it reaches the correct extraction pressure. While this doesn’t have the convenience of pushing a button and letting the machine do all the work, our testing team had no issue operating the pump after several attempts.
As the name suggests, the Minipresso takes up little storage space, whether you keep it in a suitcase, kitchen cabinet, or desk drawer. It's also significantly cheaper than any Nespresso maker. Our tester found it easy to tote around in a purse or backpack and actually called the process of pulling her own espresso shot "fun." Most importantly, the coffee was strong, tasty, and consistent each time. Just be prepared to hand wash the item for a minute or two after each use.
For more versatility at home, there are water tanks of different capacities available to make different types of coffee in different sizes. A protective case is also available if you will be traveling and bumping it around a lot.
Category: Original | Milk Frother: No | Water Tank: N/A | Capsule Container Capacity: N/A | Dimensions: 6.89 x 2.75 x 2.36 inches | Warranty: 1 year
"Once I got the hang of it, it probably took me about three minutes or less to make a shot of espresso." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Nespresso's Gran Lattissima can make an impressive variety of drinks at the touch of a button. The high price is one of the only drawbacks to this otherwise consistent and user-friendly machine. Customers could also consider the Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine for an affordable yet reliable alternative.
How We Tested
Our editors spent a month researching Nespresso machines and developing a standardized methodology against which to test them, before spending a week putting each appliance through its paces in our Lab's dedicated test kitchen. Across the board, we greatly accounted for ease of use (taking note of interface and setup) and ease of cleaning.
Using a stopwatch, we also recorded each machine's heat-up time (when first turning on the appliance and between drinks). During our taste tests, our editors found that most Nespresso models churned out roughly the same quality of espresso by way of the capsules, however, drinks still varied in texture and taste.
We ruled out machines that produced a watery texture and took note of bitterness and acidity. The machine's ability to create velvety crema was also high on our list. Finally, we collected all of the data—as well as insights from our home testers—and used it to determine ratings and placement on this list.
Other Options We Tested
- Nespresso Vertuo Next: The Vertuo Next is notable for being made of 54 percent recycled materials, according to Nespresso. It didn't make our list, however, as we found usage a little more confusing than average, along with some coffee sediment at the bottom of our cups.
- Nespresso Creatista Pro: The Creatista Pro is one of the more advanced Nespresso machines, and it offers users a lot of control over their coffee. But we prefer its newer iteration, the Creatista Plus.
- Nespresso Pixie: This is one of the fastest and most compact Nespresso makers. While it's certainly worthwhile, we opted to showcase a similar machine in the Essenza Mini.
- Nespresso CitiZ: The CitiZ is a compact OriginalLine machine available in numerous colors. Unfortunately, we found the espresso too watery for our liking.
- Nespresso Vertuo Plus: The Vertuo Plus performed well in our testing process, but the taste and consistency of coffee made by the Vertuo won us over.
What to Look for in a Nespresso Machine
Original or Vertuo
Every Nespresso machine is sorted into one of two categories: Original or Vertuo. Original machines focus on espresso and espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, while Vertuo machines can brew espresso as well as larger drinks akin to standard drip coffee.
Deciding which category you prefer is a great place to start to narrow down the options. The company manufactures a greater variety of Original machines, so this category has a wider range of prices, sizes, and features.
On the other hand, Vertuo machines are less expensive on average, but they require separate milk frothers and tend to be bulkier devices. Also, keep in mind that each category uses its own type of capsules that are not compatible with the other kind of machines.
It’s easy to associate Nespresso with the drink it does best: espresso. But customers are far from limited when it comes to drink options. Many devices can make lattes, cappuccinos, latte macchiato, and even different forms of espresso like ristretto and lungo.
Nespresso also has an extensive recipe list for specialty drinks that can be found on the company website; it includes sweet treats like a Peppermint White Chocolate Latte and even alcoholic beverages like a Nespresso Negroni. So consider the amount of drink variety you want in your brewing device and buy accordingly.
While Nespresso machines vary widely in size, the majority are more compact than regular espresso machines and electric drip coffee makers, so they can save much-needed space in the kitchen. Product dimensions are easy to find online; all you have to do is measure your countertops beforehand.
For those especially interested in saving space, some of the smallest machines are the Pixie, CitiZ, and Essenza, all of which are found in the OriginalLine category. Two other relevant factors to consider are the size of the water reservoir and the number of capsules a machine can hold. Most devices can contain up to 10 used capsules before the container needs to be emptied, though some can hold up to 17 capsules.
Like all brewing devices, Nespresso machines need time to heat up the water before they can make coffee and espresso. Fortunately, their heat-up time is significantly faster than that of real espresso machines, electric drip coffee makers, and many pod-based competitors, including Keurig.
Nespresso devices require anywhere from three to 30 seconds to heat up. The majority fall in the middle of that range, averaging around 20 seconds.
The starting price for a Nespresso machine is a little higher than that of most other coffee makers, including Keurigs. Nespresso capsules are also more expensive than other coffee pods and are certainly more expensive per serving than whole beans or ground coffee.
These drawbacks should be taken into account before purchasing a machine. On the positive side, however, the brand does have an extremely wide range of prices once you get past the high starting point. Customers can also save money on capsules by buying in bulk, as they stay fresh for months and even up to years.
Types of Nespresso Machines
The Creatista series, which includes the Creatista Pro and Creatista Plus, offers perhaps the highest quality of any Nespresso maker. Both devices in this line have rapid heat-up times, touchscreen displays, and a powerful steaming wand that lets users add café-worthy foam and milk texture to their drinks.
Such quality comes at a cost, however, as these are the most expensive Nespresso machines available—a true luxury option for the die-hard coffee lover.
Nespresso manufactures two different Essenza models: the Essenza Mini and Essenza Plus. Not only are they sold at an affordable price, but they are also the two slimmest machines the company makes, helping to save space in the kitchen. The downside is that they lack the drink variety of larger, pricier models. But for a delicious, no-fuss shot of espresso, Essenza is a wonderful option.
A member of the OriginalLine family, Nespresso’s Lattissima machines offer high-end coffee with one-touch convenience. There are three devices in this category: the Lattissima Pro, the Gran Lattissima, and the Lattissima One.
They vary slightly in price, size, and number of drink options, but are broadly quite similar. You can recognize the Lattissima line by its front-attached milk reservoir and frothing wand, which makes lattes and cappuccinos automatically, no hands-on effort required.
The Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Maker was the first item in Nespresso’s VertuoLine. Benefits include its reasonable price, fast heat-up time, and signature ability to make both espresso and drip-style coffee. It's naturally a great place to start for those specifically interested in a VertuoLine machine, rather than an OriginalLine one.
Like most pod coffee makers, Nespresso machines are super easy to use. Preparing coffee is as simple as letting the machine heat up, inserting a capsule, and selecting the desired drink. That’s it.
Machines can even be calibrated to brew espresso shots at a specific size and strength. To do this, hold down the brew button for at least three seconds and, after the shot begins pouring, release the button when you have reached the preferred amount and the machine will remember it later on.
This is also an effective way to reset a Nespresso machine if you notice drinks becoming too strong or too diluted over time.
Once you’re finished drinking your coffee or espresso, clean-up is just as easy. There are no coffee filters to throw away and no mess of stray grounds everywhere. After daily use, you may want to wipe the spout with a damp cloth and empty and rinse the drip tray. Some owners run a shot of fresh water through the machine before or after use in order to clean out the system.
Nespresso machines do need to be descaled (the removal of internal mineral buildup) like all other electric coffee makers. The brand recommends descaling every three months. There are slight differences from machine to machine, but the basic way to descale a Nespresso maker is this: Fill the water reservoir with a descaling solution, let it run through the machine, and then repeat the process with fresh water. Nespresso sells a reasonably priced descaling solution on its website, though an at-home combination of vinegar and water works, too.
The amount of mineral buildup is affected by the kind of water you use. Hard water contains a high amount of dissolved minerals, namely calcium and magnesium, so it leads to faster mineral buildup. Soft or filtered water, on the other hand, is easier on your machine and cuts down on the frequency with which you need to descale. Nespresso’s user manuals generally contain a free water hardness testing strip.
The coffee world is teeming with tools, gadgets, and appliances that can improve everything from taste to user experience. And one starting accessory to pair with your Nespresso machine is a capsule storage system.
They keep your favorite coffee pods all in one place, instead of strewn about the counter, and can also provide an eye-catching aesthetic in the kitchen. Drawer holders are the most common storage system for Nespresso capsules. The majority are affordable and designed to go underneath your Nespresso machine, saving even more space.
The second most common type is a storage rack, whether it’s free-standing or wall-mounted. Many storage systems can hold both Original and Vertuo capsules, but make sure to check ahead of time. Those looking to save a little money and cut down on waste could also look into reusable capsules, which are typically made from stainless steel.
Depending on the type of Nespresso machine you own, a milk frother is another accessory worth consideration. Adding one will let you turn already-delicious espresso into lattes, cappuccinos, and more right from home.
Nespresso frequently offers bundle deals that include an Aeroccino frother with the purchase of a brewing device. But for those interested in buying a frother on their own, there are three kinds to know: manual, handheld, and electric.
Manual and handheld frothers are smaller, cheaper, and slightly less powerful. Electric frothers, on the other hand, can lead to café-quality drinks but are more expensive. Some of our favorite frothers are made by Bodum, Breville, and AeroLatte.
What’s the difference between Original and Vertuo?
When scrolling through a list of Nespresso machines, you will see them sorted into one of two categories: Original or Vertuo. The difference is that Original machines make espresso and espresso-based drinks, while Vertuo machines brew drip-style coffee along with the brand’s signature espresso.
The VertuoLine was introduced exclusively in North America in 2014. It expanded to other parts of the world following its popularity. Each category uses its own specific type of capsule, which is not compatible with the other line.
Do Nespresso machines brew real espresso?
Technically, no. There are certain standards concerning temperature, pressure, brew time, and more that are used to define espresso. Nespresso slightly differs from these standards, which prevents it from being categorized as true espresso.
Experts generally consider the taste and consistency of genuine espresso to be of higher quality than what Nespresso produces as well. But, in a general sense, the two drinks are very similar, and Nespresso is an excellent espresso alternative. Both are small shots of coffee topped with crema and made with rapid, pressurized water.
Can Nespresso capsules be recycled?
Yes! Nespresso capsules are made from recyclable aluminum, and the leftover coffee grounds inside the pods can even be composted. To make the process easier, Nespresso offers free capsule-recycling bags that can be dropped off (also for free) at any UPS location or Nespresso boutique.
The bags hold up to 200 OriginalLine capsules or 100 VertuoLine capsules. There are two stipulations, however: The recycling bags can only be ordered from Nespresso’s website, not other retail sites like Amazon, Wayfair, etc., and customers must purchase a separate item, whether it be capsules or a Nespresso machine, to receive the bags.
We spoke with Alex Payne, the manager of North American Public Relations for the non-profit recycling company TerraCycle, to learn more. He told us, "Waste-conscious consumers should be encouraged to brew coffee by the pot, but if they already have a coffee pod machine in their home, they can try reusable coffee pods that can be filled with their favorite ground coffee."
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was updated by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. As an espresso alternative, he uses the Bialetti Moka Express, complementing it with a separate milk frother to make lattes and cappuccinos.
Alex Payne, manager of North American Public Relations at Terracycle, was also interviewed for this piece. Founded in 2001, TerraCycle is a U.S. organization that focuses on recycling hard-to-recycle waste.
9 Best Nespresso Machines for Every Type of Coffee Drinker. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/appliances/coffee-maker-reviews/g35941582/best-nespresso-machines/
The best cheap Nespresso machine sales, prices, and deals for June 2022. TechRadar. https://www.techradar.com/deals/the-best-cheap-nespresso-machine-sales
The Best Nespresso Machines to Level-Up Your At-Home Coffee Game. Cosmopolitan. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/g38412225/best-nespresso-machines/