Even the best Nespresso machine isn’t going to please coffee connoisseurs or ecologists, but contrary to popular belief, most Nespresso pods do make good coffee and they are usually recyclable. The big 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 are 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 by any means the only capsule coffee option – we have more of the best pod coffee machines from various other brands – but it's an easy one 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.
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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 about £50 or £450 and the coffee from the same pod will be identical. We recommend trying the Nespresso Vertuo system as a great alternative because they use bigger pods but again, all Vertuo machine coffee tastes the same, regardless of brand or price.
If we were to recommend just one standard Nespresso machine, it would be the thoroughly excellent Grind One, which looks elegant and makes excellent standard Nespresso coffee. The sleek looking Sage Creatista Uno is also a top choice because it comes with a really excellent milk frother.
When it comes to the newer Vertuo system, we still think the Vertuo Plus is the best of the bunch. But if space is an issue, then the smaller Vertuo Pop is an excellent choice.
Finally, if you travel a lot and simply can’t survive without a proper morning caffeine hit wherever you are, then make the portable Wacaco Nanopresso NS your first port of call.
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The best Nespresso capsule machines you can buy in 2023
It’s made entirely of stainless steel, it’s retro design flourishes shout ‘buy me’ and it makes great Nespresso. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Grind One – the most stylish machine you can buy for all your Nespresso needs.
Let’s start with the packaging first because the Grind One comes in a pink box and the Nespresso pods you buy from Grind are stored in a pink tin. And it’s not just any old pink – it’s the best pink you’ve ever laid eyes on. But then so is the machine which, along with the Lavazza-compatible Smeg, is a stunner, all the way from the vintage aircraft-style switches and chunky pod-engaging lever to the height-adjustable stainless-steel cup tray, protruding group head dispenser and generously large rectangular 1.2-litre water container. Mind, at 18.6cm, this machine is wider than the majority.
To turn the Grind One on you have to flick a heavy-duty steel switch which you’ll have to remember to turn off again after you’ve extracted your coffee or the machine will stay on forever. But, hey, it’s a properly retro machine so these things should be expected. You get two lengths of extraction with the Grind One – short and long – but you can program it to your preferred length of extraction by holding in one of the buttons until the coffee hits your sweet spot.
The Grind One extracts a mighty fine Nespresso that’s as good as any other machine on this page but its the design and build quality that impress the most.
Find out more in the epic love-in that is my Grind One review
If you find standard Nespresso capsules are too small in size to produce a decent caffeine hit, consider this Vertuo machine. Nespresso’s Vertuo 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 Vertuo 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 (centrifugal and infusion) technology instead of just steamy water under high pressure. The result is a crema-type foam that’s as thick as the head on a pint of Guinness. 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.
For this writer, the Diavolitto Espresso and Double Espresso Scuro blends are strongest and the most satisfying. But if you prefer a weaker blend, then there are plenty of those to choose from, too.
If you want a pod-based machine that delivers a wide range of coffees including espressos that are much stronger than standard Nespresso, this is the machine for you.
Now read read our full Nespresso Vertuo Plus review
The Sage 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 frother – Sage has a real knack of getting the milk frothing just right, and the results here 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. But if you fancy spending more for even more features, perhaps consider the all-singing Creatista Plus instead.
Check out our full Sage Creatista Uno review for more on what it can do.
Like the Vertuo Plus above, this brand new 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 espresso pods so if you like a stronger hit – and a variety of coffees – this is the system to go for. Just as the Plus produces amazing espressos with incredibly deep albeit foamy crema, so it is with this model.
Unlike the Plus, this one eschews that model’s tactile motorised lid in favour of a stiff and rather clunky manually-operated locking lever that isn’t especially nice to use. Also, at just 600ml, the Pop’s water reservoir is very small – I managed to get about six espressos out of it.
Mind, I wouldn’t let these minor foibles put you off because the Pop is a lot narrower than the Plus (13.6cm vs 22cm) and that means it takes up less space on the worktop. It’s also available in six lively colour schemes – black, red, white, aqua mint, pacific blue and mango yellow.
If you fancy jumping on the Vertuo bandwagon, the new Vertuo Pop is a very competent and very cheap entry level option that produces the same quality of extraction even if it isn’t quite as gratifying to use.
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 bag provided by Nespresso.
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.
Check out our 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.
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.
Like the winning 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.
The most obvious difference between this and the Plus is the capsule loading system. 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. In this writer’s opinion, the Plus is the better buy, simply because it has a bigger reservoir and an automatic capsule filler.
Here's our full Nespresso Vertuo Next review
Versatility lies at the heart of the Nespresso Lattissima Pro by DeLonghi. Even before you’ve brewed your first coffee, this 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 regular replenishment needed for the decent sized water capacity of 1.3 litres. Since the DeLonghi uses Nespresso pods, there is a degree of waste generated, but the versatility factor of capsules comes nicely into play in the way that you can personalise your favourite drink settings. They're all here, from espresso to flat white and Americano.
Another highlight is the properly frothed milk you get from the machine – a single tap of a button is 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. However, that’s not enough to put us off what is essentially a damn fine, albeit pricy, Nespresso machine.
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. 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.
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 we’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 44p with prices rising to a rather steep 76p for the Stormio Boost blend.
When it comes to finding the right standard (or original) Nespresso blend to suit your palette, you’ll be required to sip through a chocolate box assortment of flavours and intensities with names like Volluto, Cosi, Scuro and Stockholm Fortissio Lungo.
Most of the Nespresso machines reviewed above come with a free selection box of 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 47p and 51p per standard Nespresso capsule and between 53p and £1.10 per Vertuo capsule.
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. Grind is another eco-friendly third-party pod provider that’s making a great name for itself.
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 £8.30 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 (£26.50), 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.
Is Lavazza or Illy more your cup of brew? Head over to our roundup of the Best Capsule Coffee Machines for all pod types