Even the best Nespresso machine isn’t going to please coffee connoisseurs or ecologists, but contrary to popular belief, Nespresso pods do make good coffee and they are usually recyclable. The advantage of the best Nespresso machines is that they make it easy to produce consistently good coffee with no mess, from a small machine. They among the best coffee makers for that reason.
Realistically, for most people, if you love espresso coffee and don't want to really get into the craft of coffee with the best bean to cup machines, we'd say a capsule-based machine is the best way to go. They're not even as wasteful as they appear – the pods are aluminium, so are endlessly recyclable (as long as you, y'know, recycle them), and their energy use is lower, because you only heat up the amount of water you need to use.
Nespresso isn't the only capsule option – we have more of the best pod/capsule coffee machines – but it's easy to recommend. The best Nespresso machines produce consistently good results, consistently little mess, and, there's even a growing range of pods from different companies, if you want to mix things up.
What is the best Nespresso machine?
The important thing to remember is that coffee from Nespresso machines all tastes exactly the same (subject to the quality of your water; we recommend a filter jug). You can buy one for £30 or £300 and the coffee from the same pod will be identical. We recommend Nespresso Vertuo machines over standard Nespresso but again, all Vertuo machine coffee tastes the same, regardless of brand or price.
That’s not to say there’s no point to paying more. The pricier machines naturally tend to look classier, and have milk frothing capabilities for all your cappuccino and latte needs.
If we were to recommend just one Nespresso machine, it would be the keenly priced and thoroughly excellent Magimix Vertuo Plus M600, which uses a completely new type of Nespresso capsule that is larger than the standard pods.
If you’re hellbent on sticking to the standard Nespresso system, the fancy-pants Sage Creatista Plus is a top choice because it comes with a really excellent milk frother. And if you’re looking for a simple no-frills option then check out the stylish Magimix Nespresso Expert or the budget-priced Krups Essenza Mini.
For well under £100, the Krups is attractive enough, even if it's not a work of industrial art like the Sage machine, and it produces consistently excellent results. There's no milk frother included with it, but you can always buy your own.
Finally, if you travel a lot and simply can’t survive without a proper morning caffeine hit then make the portable Wacaco Nanopresso your first port of call.
The best Nespresso machines, in order
If you find standard Nespresso capsules are too small in size to produce a decent caffeine hit, consider this new Vertuo machine from Magimix. Nespresso’s newish Vertuoline pod-based system is totally different to the standard Nespresso capsule system. For starters, the pods are almost twice the size and shaped completely differently so you can’t use a standard Nespresso pod in a Vertuoline machine, and vice versa.
The best thing about the Vertuo system is that it’s capable of using different sized pods – Espresso and Double Espresso to Gran Lungo, Mug and extra large Alto – and this makes it a great choice for those who like a variety of coffees throughout the day.
The Magimix VertuoPlus comes with a monstrous 1.8-litre water tank that can be positioned behind or either side of the machine depending on your worktop space. It also has the biggest used capsule bin in the business – enough for 13 large pods.
To use, simply tap upwards on the protruding silver disc and the whole lid moves up mechanically. Now pop in a pod blend and size of your choice and tap the top button. Every pod comes with its own unique barcode which instructs the machine to provide just the right amount of water and the optimum length of extraction. Uniquely, the Vertuo system uses Centrifusion technology instead of just steamy water under high pressure. Basically, the capsule is suffused with hot water before being sent into a phenomenally fast spin – at up to 7,000rpm.
The result is the deepest, thickest and creamiest crema you will likely ever get your lips around. Granted, some espresso purists will say it’s just a foam and not strictly a crema but this writer begs to differ because, to me, it has the same consistency of a genuine crema, only it’s much deeper and richer – like the head of a Guinness draft. In fact, it’s so rich and creamy that, if you add a drop of hot milk to it, it turns an ordinary espresso into a mini cappuccino.
This writer received a variety box of 12 capsules with the test machine and can vouch that the Diavolitto Espresso and Double Espresso Scuro blends are strongest and by far the most satisfying. But if you prefer a weaker blend, then there are plenty of those to choose from, too. After all, the whole point of this system is to cater for as wide a variety of tastes as possible.
Magimix has pulled off a doozy with this particular machine – it delivers consistent results and is just so easy to use. I also love the huge water reservoir, enormous capsule collector and its clever automatic capsule loading and unloading mechanism. Best buy on the market.
• Read our Nespresso Vertuo Plus review
This writer has tested and owned innumerable espresso machines over the years, both standard and pod based, and can vouch that Krups machines are among the most reliable and durable.
This elegant, entry-level Krups unit is just 8.4cm wide and perfect for even the smallest of kitchen worktops. It's also just the right size to take away with you on holiday – simply drain the boiler, wrap the unit in a plastic bag and pop it into the suitcase.
The Essenza Mini couldn’t be easier and more practical to use. Just place an espresso cup under the spout, lift the lever, insert a pod and hit either the one-cup or two-cup button. You don’t even need to stand around waiting for the machine to heat up since the coffee is dispensed automatically as soon the boiler reaches optimum temperature, which takes less than two minutes.
Granted, the small used capsule collector fills up pretty quickly but that’s hardly a hassle given that all it takes is to slide out the drawer and empty the contents into the recycling bin.
This slim, keenly-priced gem produces an excellent espresso replete with a decent head of crema. But, as is so often the case with the Nespresso brand, if you like your coffee to pack a palette-smacking punch, you may need to use two pods at a time – or buy a Vertuo machine instead, of course.
• Further reading: Check out my full Krups Essenza Mini review review, if you want to know more about using it in real life, and we have a guide to the Nespresso Vertuo Next vs Krups Essenza Mini if you want to see how it compares to that model, which is also in this list.
Here’s best coffee machine mainstay Sage’s connoisseur entry to the Nespresso roster of third-party machines. The Creatista is superbly built and there’s a reassuringly large amount of metal used in the construction, but, holy mother of pearl, it’s an extraordinarily pricy thing.
What impresses most here is the typically Sage-like intuitive interface, which is so easy to use my cat managed to whip up a flat white without even looking at the instruction manual. There’s an LED panel on top that displays one of eight coffee styles from short-shot ristretto to latte macchiato. Just choose an option and let it do its stuff.
The milk foaming wand is also excellent and almost entirely automatic – simply set the amount of froth required and hit the button for a Mont Blanc-like peak of rich, luxuriously creamy froth.
You can read our Nespresso Sage Creatista Uno vs Sage Creatista Plus guide to see how this option compares to the model further down this list, and we've got a Sage Creatista Pro review, if you want to read up on that model.
If you’re a travelling espresso junkie who can’t function without a proper morning hit, try this little life saver – it produces espressos as rich and aromatic as any of the kitchen-bound Nespresso machines.
The cylindrical, travel-sized Nanopresso comes with everything you need to make a genuine espresso using just hot water and some coffee grounds. Nevertheless, if you purchase the separate Nespresso Adapter, you can do away with the faff of loose coffee grounds and slap in a Nespresso pod instead.
To use, simply unscrew the ground coffee adaptor and screw on the Nespresso one. Now add hot water and a Nespresso capsule (the Kazaar blend has the strongest bite) and pump the piston about seven times with your fingers for an authentically rich, aromatic espresso replete with creamy crema.
If hotel coffee rarely meets your high expectations, you’re out camping in the wilds or visiting a relative who only drinks instant dishwater, pop one of these in the shoulder bag and you’ll never be without a proper caffeine fix. Now available in orange and red as well as the standard black.
This standard Nespresso machine from Dualit doesn’t take up much space and is very easy to use – it comes equipped with a touch interface that provides a variety of extracts from espresso to Americano. It also heats up in 40 seconds flat – handy for those in a rush to get out of the house first thing in the morning.
On the downside, the Café Cino is noisy and, worse, the metal cup tray rattles about a bit, especially when used with a small espresso cup. On the plus side, it produces as good an espresso as most machines on this page, so it’s still worth a gander.
Incidentally, like many third-party Nespresso pod manufacturers, Dualit also makes its own range of reasonably-priced coffee – and tea – pods that are usually cheaper than Nespresso’s own. Just thought you should know.
The machine we have reviewed here is Nespresso by De'Longhi Vertuo Next, but as with most of the main Nespresso machines, you can find essentially the same thing, but made by Magimix or Breville. Like the winning Magimix Vertuo Plus above, this model is capable of producing five different styles of coffee beverage (espresso, double espresso, alto, mug and gran lungo) from a selection of different sized Vertuo capsules. These capsules contain more ground coffee than Nespresso’s standard pods so if you like a bigger hit, this is the system to go for. Just as the Plus produces amazing espressos with incredibly deep crema, so it is with this model. So far so good.
The most obvious difference between this and the earlier model is the capsule loading system. And this is where it sadly goes downhill. Where the Vertuo Plus incorporates a brilliant motorised capsule lid that is a joy to use, this one uses a very basic latch and lift system that is nowhere near as tactile. In fact, the lever is so stiff to lock and unlock that you cannot perform the task with just one hand without the whole machine shifting on its base. To use it efficiently, you need to press down on the hatch with one hand while sliding the lever with the other. Put another way, it’s not the machine to go for if you don’t have much strength in your hands.
The Next also has a smaller water reservoir (1.1 litres against the Plus’s much larger 1.8 litre tank) and the tank can’t be moved to either side of the main unit as can be done with the Plus. That said, the Next is 10cm shorter than the Plus. Both machines share the same sized used capsule bin – 10 in all.
Nespresso’s website lists three main variants of the Vertuo Next: Standard, Premium and Deluxe. They are ostensibly all the same except for a few design accents like a metal cup support on the Premium and a stainless steel pourer on the Deluxe. In our opinion, the tiered pricing doesn’t really justify the differences so if you want to save a few quid, go for the standard version. But if you fancy saving even more, we’d suggesting opting for the Plus version instead. It’s simply a better all round design.
• Here's our full Nespresso Vertuo Next review.
This 9-kilo kitchen cracker sports all the tell-tale olde-worlde design flourishes of KitchenAid's vast range of Artisan food prep machines: the heavyweight die-cast construction; the curved enamelled exterior; the reliable componentry, it’s all here.
It’s a big thing, mind – arguably somewhat larger than it needs to be – so clear the worktop of all those other small kitchen appliances you’ve hardly used because you’re likely to use this one every day.
The sturdy Artisan warms up in a thrice and comes with a removable 1.4-litre water reservoir and a large used-capsule container with capacity for up to 14 expended Nespresso pods.
The espresso extraction process is a breeze: lift the oversized lever, load your favourite blend of Nespresso, pull down on the lever, choose between the six pre-programmed extraction settings and hit the button. Setting one produces a short, powerful hit while setting six is for those who like a long, mild brew.
Do you like a choice of colours? Well this one is available in three sexy hues.
Versatility lies at the heart of the appeal of this, the Nespresso Lattissima Pro by DeLonghi. And, before you’ve even brewed your first coffee the Italian unit makes a solid first impression with its clean stainless steel lines. We’re also fans of the digital display that sets out what sort of cup of coffee you’ll get in plain, no-nonsense terms. The Latte Machiatto has to be a personal highlight, but all the options are dependable. Cappuccino’s, incidentally, are tidy too.
On initial setup the appliance also seems to be pretty low-maintenance, with thankfully not much in the way of replenishment needed with a decent sized water capacity of 1.3 litres helping. Meanwhile, using the machine is actually more straightforward than the first impression you get from the manual.
Of course, the DeLonghi does use Nespresso pods, so there is a degree of waste generated, but the versatility factor comes in to play nicely in the way that you can personalise favourite drink settings. They're all here too, with the likes of flat whites and Americano’s being a popular choice with others who’ve tried its charms.
A highlight, however, is the proper frothed milk you get from the DeLonghi, and the journey to getting it is a simple one too, with a single-touch button press being all that stands between you and a quality cup of the white stuff. There’s also a self-cleaning feature, which means the milk frother can be steam cleaned as and when it’s needed.
While the coffee produced by the DeLonghi is mighty decent, we’d also like it to be a little hotter. There’s no cup warmer option either. However, that’s not enough to put us off its potential and the auto off feature is handy if you wander off and neglect to power down the machine.
Fancy another Sage Nespresso machine in your life? Well, the Creatista Uno is a neat variation on the theme. This model comes in black, which really sets it apart from the multitude of silver models out there on the market. And, obviously, it’s also more than capable at producing coffee with similar levels of jet black goodness.
What we really like about this model is that it’s obviously very well put together and engineered to produce quality brews with ease. There are three pre-programmed coffee types on offer that puts a plentiful supply of 40ml Espresso and 110ml Lungo brews within very easy reach. The appeal is further compounded by the excellent milk frothing aspect of the device. Sage has a real knack of getting the milk frothing just right, and the results while you’re using this machine are no exception.
You get all the convenience factors of a decent coffee machine too, so the automatic cleaning function leaves a great impression. We’re also fans of the descaling system, which is a must-have if you live in a hard water area. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this model though is its simplicity. There are no digital displays, just buttons, and they work to great effect. What’s more, this machine heats up really quickly, so it’s great for time-poor types. All in all, this is simple, stylish and a bit of a classic. Check out our full Sage Creatista Uno review for more on what it can do.
How to buy the best Nespresso products
Standard Nespresso pods are smaller than those by other coffee capsule brands like Lavazza and Illy, with around five grams of coffee per capsule. So if you like a decent caffeine hit first thing then I’d advise using two pods, one after another.
Alternatively, purchase a Nespresso Vertuo machine instead. This is a whole new kettle of coffee because, instead of just one capsule size, it uses five: Espresso, Double Espresso, Gran Lungo, Mug and extra large Alto. It’s able to tell what size pod you’ve put in by reading a unique barcode which tells the machine the amount of water required and the length of extraction. This is a brilliant way to satisfy a wide range of coffee preferences. Nespresso Vertuo espresso pods start at a fairly reasonable 39p with prices rising to a rather steep 62p for the Alto blend.
When it comes to finding the right standard Nespresso blend to suit your palette, you’ll be required to sip through a chocolate box assortment of 29 different flavours and intensities with names like Arpeggio, Kazaar, Bukeela, Roma and Ristretto.
Most of the Nespresso machines reviewed here come with a free selection box of 16 different flavours and blends. The general rule of thumb is that the darker the pod colour, the stronger the blend.
At Nespresso’s own website, every variety is explained in detail. You can even set your own search parameters like intensity, cup size and whether you prefer a fruity, balanced or more intense flavour. Expect to pay between 31p and 39p per capsule and more for Vertuo pods.
You can also buy Nespresso and Vertuo capsules at Nespresso bars in most shopping malls and some high streets. However, the experience is often unnecessarily slow and frustrating – like buying a house or a new mobile phone.
Most Nespresso machines are sold through the Nespresso website and at stores like John Lewis and Amazon. Some machines are Nespresso branded and made by Eugster/Frismag while others are produced under license by well-known companies like Krups, Sage, Magimix, KitchenAid and De’Longhi.
Rest assured that all the models featured on this page are dead easy to use. Simply drop in a pod, hit the button and out pops a stream of crema-topped black gold every bit as rich and aromatic as the last one. However, we urge you to give the new Vertuo system a try because it not only covers a wide variety of coffee-style preferences, but it produces some of the best capsule-related espressos we’ve ever tasted.
How to buy third-party Nespresso capsules
Look online and in many supermarkets, and you’ll find a host of artisan coffee providers offering their own Nespresso-compatible blends. For instance, Pactcoffee.com UK sells a range of Nespresso compatible pods filled with an interesting variety of bean blends, while Colonna does everything from high-quality espresso to full-on, rare, artisan beans for coffee connoisseurs. And in compostable pods, to boot. Sadly, the unique nature of the Vertuo system doesn’t allow for third-party capsule manufacturers to get a look in.
If you’d rather enjoy your own favourite coffee blend in a Nespresso pod, consider either Capsul’in disposable self-fill Nespresso capsules or Bluecup’s reusable alternative. The Capsul’in system retails at a very reasonable £8.40 for 100 plastic capsules and 100 circular sticky foils. Simply scoop your preferred blend into a capsule, stick a silver foil on top and drop it into your Nespresso machine. Despite its slightly messy nature, we can vouch that it works perfectly well, as if using a proprietary capsule.
If you’d rather not add any more plastic to the landfill, perhaps try the Bluecup system instead (£25.50), which comes with two reusable plastic pods, 100 aluminium foils, a spoon-cum-tamper and a clever capsule maker that fuses the foil to the capsule with a single twist of its cap. The Bluecup system is our preferred method because it's more environment friendly and it doesn’t create quite as much mess. It’s also cheaper to use in the long run. Both products are available from MaxiCoffee.