Finding the best latte machine can be a difficult process for any coffee lover, there are so many different options and price ranges. How do you know which one is the right for you? In this blog I aim to make this process a little bit easier by using my barista knowledge to recommend the best latte makers for every budget.
You'll soon be making delicious lattes for yourself every morning and be able to entertain guests with a killer cup of coffee after dinner.
Read on to view my comparison table, individual reviews, and detailed buying guide. But for those looking for a quick recommendation, I recommend the Barista Express.
I believe that the Barista Express is the best latte maker for most households. This is because it comes equipped with an inbuilt grinder, giving you everything you need to make lattes at home in one package.
Best Latte Machine Reviews: Top 6
The latte machine is the most important tool in every coffee lover's setup. But when you start looking for your first machine it can get very confusing as there is a big range to choose from!
Different features, built quality, and prices that can vary from $100 all the way to $2000+. How do you know what is best machine for you?
To make this task a little easier I've used my barista skills as a barista with over 10 years experience and coffee knowledge to provide a list of latte makers to match your budget and needs.
The machines I've selected in this article cover good options for entry level, mid-range, and high end latte makers.
Entry Level Latte Makers
Not everyone is willing to invest too much in a latte machine, especially when they’re just starting out on their coffee making journey. The below are excellent starting points for people being introduced to the world of latte making.
1. Mr Coffee Latte Maker - Budget Pick
The Mr. Coffee Latte Maker is an budget automatic latte machine. Mr Coffee's unique selling point is that it automates the milk steaming process rather than the espresso extraction process. This takes away some challenges for people who are fans of frothy lattes but have trouble steaming milk on their own.
All you do is pour in milk, press a button, and let the steamed milk come. You’ll be enjoying your cappuccino or latte in no time. It also gives you the option to use freshly ground coffee or compatible coffee pods.
I would recommend this machine for the person who enjoys making lattes on a budget and doesn't want to invest a lot of time learning how to manually make a coffee. If this machine peaks your interest make sure to read our full Mr Coffee review. If you are looking for a more hands on approach or want to make a coffee similar that baristas make at cafes, keep reading.
2. Gaggia Classic Pro - Best Entry Level
The Gaggia Classic is widely recommended as the one of the best entry-level latte machines. The Classic comes equipped with a proper single boiler, commercial group head, stainless steel shell, and its newly updated commercial steam wand! All this at a very reasonble price.
If you want to make lattes like your barista at your local cafe does without breaking the bank, the Classic is the machine for you.
One of the reasons the Classic is so popular is because of its small size compared to other latte makers. It’s perfect for any bench top. And if you're into tickering, the Gaggia Classic has a cult mod and hacks following. There are countless of threads on moding this machine to give it even better feature sets. For example like adding a PID (tempreature control over the boiler - a big deal!), new screen/gasket, naked portafilter and more.
For the price point and build quality the Gaggia Classic is a great entry-level latte machine that produces delicious drinks. I recommend this machine for people who want to learn how to make coffee manually.
Mid Range Machines
The following latte makers are for those who want to invest a bit more in their coffee set up. The level of coffee these machines produce are of a higher quality and provide a lot more features compared to entry level machines.
3. Breville Barista Express - Our Pick
If you’re looking for one of the most user friendly latte machines then the Breville Barista Express is the way to go. The Australian engineers behind this machine have created it with the home user in mind as it comes equipped with everything the average home user needs.
It most obvious feature is its inbuilt coffee grinder with adjustable settings. This is a big deal in the world of coffee making. Not only because of the convenience it creates by reducing your kitchen bench space, but also because of the money you will save for not having to buy a separate coffee grinder.
This machine is also semi-automatic, meaning it its pre-programmed to extract delicious espresso, but also gives you the ability to override the controls to go manual and dial in your own settings.
Finally it has a great looking design and comes in multiple colors to match your kitchen. I recommend this machine for the person who wants a value packed machine that allows you to make your coffee manually. If you want to read more about it, check out my Breville Barista Express review.
4. DeLonghi Magnifica - Super Automatic
For those who don't want to go through the hassle of manually making their lattes, then the DeLonghi Magnifica is the machine for you. The DeLonghi a super-automatic latte machine. This means it automates the entire latte making process.
With a press of the button the machine will grind your coffee with its inbuilt grinder, tamp it, and then extract your espresso. For your latte's milk, simply select the level of froth you want, put the automatic milk frother into your jug, the machine will froth your milk, and then pour!
The advantage of this system is that it allows for consistency where it counts – in the espresso extraction – and the assisted steam wand allows you to control how much foam you want for your coffee – more for a cappuccino, less for a latte.
This is the best value machine in its class and it is the perfect fit for the person who wants fresh coffee automated.
High End Machines
Finally we've reached the end of the list where I select a good high end latte makers. There are machines that have more commercial features than our recommendation below, however they are much more expensive. Our selection is based on value for the average home user.
5. Brevile Dual Boiler - The Best Value High End Pick
The Breville Dual Boiler is one of the most recommended latte machines in the "high-end" range. This is because it matches many of the features and functions of more expensive latte makers at a cheaper price. For example dual boiler machines like the Breville are usually over $2,000.00, but this machine comes in at much less.
The benefit of this latte machine is that it has a strong design, programmable extraction, and a dual boiler system. Dual boilers means there is one boiler dedicated to steaming milk and another for pulling espresso shots. This means you can make your lattes much quicker, have better pressure, and more stable heat control.
The Breville also comes equipped with a lot of extra techie features, as it allows you to program in your extraction time, pre-infusion, boiler temperature, and it even has a handy shot clock. Some of these features are not found on more expensive latte makers. This makes the Breville a great value proposition for its price.
This machine is best suited for the person who really wants to get "geeky" with their coffee. With the ability to control temperature and pressure, you can dial in the machine to match the type of coffee bean you are using. This is not possible with cheaper latte makers.
The only down side of this machine is the cost, as you will also need to buy a separate grinder to make your coffee. But if you are looking at a machine in this price range, this shouldn't be a deal breaker for you.
If you are looking to get the most out of your coffee for delicious lattes and price is not an issue, definitely consider this machine.
6. Rocket Appartamento - Small Kitchen Pick
The Rocket Appartamento is the machine that I personally use at my home. I love it. It is the perfect sized machine for anyone that has a small kitchen set up like I do and wants a machine that has a "wow" factor.
It is a heat exchanger machine that allows you to steam milk and extract espresso at the same time and has beautiful design. It makes fantastic lattes all day long thanks to its big boiler that steams milk quickly.
In fact, this machine steams milk faster than any other machine on this list. I remember when I first upgrade to this machine, I had a shock at how powerful it was and had to get used to it.
If you want to learn more about this machine, I've written a full review of the Rocket Appartamento. But in short, if you are looking for a classic espresso machine and not concerned about techie features and prefer manual controls, get this machine, if you prefer to program everything to the second, then look at the breville dual boiler above.
Latte Maker Buying Guide
Now that I've gone through our recommended latte makers you will have an idea on what type of machine best suits your needs.
But if you need more help below is our buying guide that will allow you to make an informed decision. There are 3 main considerations you will need look at when deciding on what latte machine to buy, these are:
- The type of latte machine
- Your price range
- Boiler system used
Type of Machine
The first thing to understand when picking your latte machine is that there are two types to chooise from, these are:
The way these two types differ is the level of automation that they have.
Fully automatic latte makers automate most or all of the coffee making process. For example they will grind your coffee, pull your espresso shot, and make your milk. Some will even then pour the milk into the espresso to create the whole beverage with a press of a button.
Fully automatic machines best suit people that want a no hassle coffee making experience. Press a button and you're done. If you value convenience then this type of machine is for you.
The down side of fully automatic machines is that they will not be able to produce the same quality coffee as a semi automatic machine with manual controls. This is because when you have manual controls you can adjust the setting of your machine to get the best coffee possible. However fully automatic machines can still make excellent tasting coffees if you invest more money in a better built machine.
Semi automatic latte makers are the most common type of latte machine. They allow you to control most if not all of the coffee making process. You will need to grind your own coffee, extract the expresso with the machine's "group head", and then steam your own milk for the latte.
These types of machines best suit people who enjoy a more hands on approach and want to get the best tasting coffee. This is because when you have manual control over your machine, you control every element of the end result.
The down side of semi automatic machines is that there is a a learning curve. You will need to practice for a while before you are able to make quality coffee. But once you master the techniques you will be loving the tasty results.
Note: You can also classify "pod" machines as a latte machine, like those made by Nespresso. If you are looking for this type of machine I recommend you check our Nespresso buying guide. This guide focuses on classic latte makers.
Cost of Machine and Price Range
The next consideration you will need to make is how much money you can spend on your machine.
Latte makers are a tool. So like other tools usually the more you spend the better machine you can get. However there are exceptions to this rule as machines that provide great value for money.
In this article I have only selected latte makers that offer value for money for the average home consumer for each price range.
Typically the benefits you get from a more expensive machine when compared to a cheaper one are:
- Better build quality
- Levels of automation or programmable control
- Type of boiler system
- Extra features, such as built in grinders and temperature controls
So it will be a trade off on how much money you want to spend to get the features you want.
Type of Boiler
The final consideration you will need to make is what type of boiler system you want inside of your machine.
The boiler is the "engine" of your latte maker. It is the system responsible for producing the heat and steam pressure to make you drinks.
There are generally 3 different types of boilers systems:
- Single Boiler
- Heat Exchange
- Dual boiler
Single boiler machines are the most common type of boiler and are found in cheaper latte makers. They are perfectly suitable for home use and a good compromise to keep the cost of your latte maker down.
The down side of single boiler machines is that you cannot steam milk and extract espresso at the same time. You can only do one or the other. Further there is a usually a 1 minute delay between these two functions. This is because the boiler has to heat up to a higher temperature to steam milk, and then cool down to extract the espresso as otherwise you will burn the coffee.
If you are making coffee just for yourself or a small house hold this type of machine is fine. But if you need more speed and power, the below two options may be better for you but they will cost more.
Heat exchange boilers are single boiler with an internal 'heat exchange' mechanism that is used to heat up the water within the machine to the correct temperature to extract espresso, while the boiler is used to steam milk.
The benefit of this type of system is that you can steam milk and extract espresso at the same time unlike single boiler machines. This means you save time and can also make multiple coffees at a time much easier and faster.
The down side of the heat exchange system is that temperature stability can fluctuate as the boiler loses water faster. But for normal home use this is fine. This type of boiler is best suited for a person who wants to make multiple coffees at a time.
Dual boiler machines are the most expensive option out of the three. This type of boiler is found in high end latte machines.
Dual boiler machines have one boiler dedicated to steaming milk and the other boiler dedicated to extracting espresso. The benefit of this is that you can steam milk and extract espresso at the same time quickly and on demand. Also, since there are two separate boilers, heat stability is strong as the two functions don’t conflict with each other.
The downside is that these types of boilers are the most expensive. This type of boiler benefits the person who wants coffee on demand and is a "coffee geek" who wants exact control over their coffee making process.
And that concludes our best latte maker guide. I hope you have found your ideal machine. If you have any questions please leave a comment below and make sure to check out our next post on buying the smallest espresso burr grinders.