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Starting the day with plain, old drip coffee sometimes feels so basic—it’s function, not flair, but a Nespresso machine can help. Espresso drinks can be customized to fit your day and mood. A double espresso preps for a day that’s all business, no frills. A latte with skim milk offers comfort without adding too much to a waistline. An affogato is an adventure in a cup, and if you start your day like this, you’re probably a party. Paying for such variety at a local coffee shop can add up but even folks with zero barista skills can recreate many of their favorites with help of a Nespresso machine. The capsule-based system automates many coffee-based drinks into a one-button operation or a selection from a menu. We combed through popular models, examining the variety of drinks they make, the types of accessories they take, and their ease of use to determine the best Nespresso machines for every type of caffeine capsule connoisseur.

How we chose the best Nespresso machines

We’re the kind of people who get caffeine headaches if we miss our morning cuppa … and our afternoon follow-up. We’ve been perfecting our home setups for years, experimenting with different coffeemakers for our own consumption and for reviews. And we love to give coffee gifts to coffee lovers. Our recommendations come from this accumulated experience, expert opinions, and research.

The best Nespresso machines: Reviews & Recommendations

Nespresso machines are best for people who like their coffee on the more robust, darker side and want a machine to do most of the work. Compared to the grinding, tamping, and pulling of a traditional espresso machine, Nespresso machines brew quickly and comparatively cleanly. The flavor is also remarkably consistent—it’s one of the selling points (too consistent across pods, some say, but to each their own). To pick the suitable machine for your home, determine whether you want coffee, espresso, or milk-based drinks; consider the size of used capsule containers and water tanks; and how easy it is to operate and clean. If the slower, more customizable route is your speed, check out our picks for the best espresso machines. But if you love the idea of one-touch pick-me-ups or even some lite steam pipe experimentation, get that coffee travel mug ready and read on.

Best overall: Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville




  • Dimensions:  6 inches D x 17 inches W by 13 inches H, but includes an adjustable water tank to help fit space
  • Type of Capsule: Vertuo 
  • Capacity: 60-ounce water tank capacity
  • Extra Feature: Used capsule container holds up to 10


  • Makes four sizes of drinks: a single or double espresso, lungo, or 8-ounce coffee
  • Auto-off after 9 minutes
  • One-touch operation


  • No customization
  • Some users report leaks developing in the water tank

The Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville offers one-button simplicity for households that want espresso and coffee. The machine can brew a single or double espresso, lungo, and 8-ounce coffee, but it reads the capsule for the brewing specs, including coffee size, temperature, pressure, and brewing time. In other words, you don’t customize your drink with buttons; you select its main features according to whatever Vertuo capsule volumes and flavors you bought.  The expansive capsule menu includes single-origin options, flavors like pumpkin spice cake, and iced options that brew with intense flavor. 

Brewing is as simple as selecting a capsule, pressing a button, and waiting. When complete, the capsule automatically drops into the used capsule container. The Deluxe model comes with one of the larger used capsule containers and a 60-ounce water tank, so you won’t have to empty or refill the machine after each drink. Water tank placement is also adjustable; it can be moved behind or kept on the side to adjust for shallow counters or weird corners.

It’s an excellent machine for someone who wants simplicity and to clean up after a few cups, not each one. However, some users complain about the water tank developing leaks after years of use.

Best value: Instant Pod 3-in-1 Espresso, K-Cup Pod and Ground Coffee Maker

Billy Cadden



  • Dimensions: 7 inches D x 13 inches W x 14 inches H
  • Capsules: Nespresso Original capsules, Keurig cups, or ground coffee in included reusable cup 
  • Capacity: 68-ounce water tank capacity
  • Extra Feature: Reusable pod lets you brew your own beans


  • Make all the coffee formats
  • Makes six drink sizes, including 2-, 4-, and 6-ounce Nespresso
  • Does collect Nespresso capsules in container


  • Tall when lid is open, can bump some top cabinets
  • Looks like a plastic box

The Instant Pod 3-in-1 Espresso, K-Cup Pod and Ground Coffee Maker is for the household that insists on having many coffee options in a single machine. And this bad boy is the only machine that brews from Nespresso Original capsules, Keurig cups, and, yes, even your own beans of choice with an included reusable pod. The multitasking machine comes from the makers of the Instant Pot multicooker, though this kitchen gadget doesn’t seem to have a cult following—yet.

Like other entry-level Nespresso machines, the Instant Pod’s suggested retail runs around $180, and it can crank out a single espresso, a double espresso, or a lungo. However, it offers the flexibility of three more sizes—8, 10, and 12 ounces—for Keurig cups and your own grounds without having another machine on your counter. There’s also an option to brew “bold” for putting it over ice. It’s the most flexible machine for coffee and espresso drinkers, especially if Nespresso’s signature crema on its regular coffee is too bitter. 

The boxy, all-plastic body gives water cooler vibes minus the water bottle. Still, it does have a massive 68-ounce water tank that will take a reasonable amount of time before a refill is needed, particularly when brewing cup by cup. Some users warn that its height and flip-top-style lid can be too tall for some upper cabinets, so measure carefully.

Best small: Nespresso Essenza Mini by De’Longhi




  • Dimensions: 4.3 inches D x 13 inches W x 8 inches H
  • Capsules: Original 
  • Capacity: 20-ounce water tank
  • Extra Feature: Used capsule container holds up to 6


  • Makes two sizes of drinks: espresso or lungo
  • Two programmable drink sizes
  • Small footprint
  • Offered in black or red


  • Espresso only

The Nespresso Essenza Mini by De’Longhi is teeny tiny by coffee machine standards but is big on simplicity. It warms up in under 30 seconds, switches to a low power mode after three minutes, and automatically turns off after nine. The Essenza Mini features only two buttons, making either a single espresso or a nearly 4-ounce lungo using Nespresso Original line capsules. If you prefer a different volume, you can program each of the two buttons, but this isn’t a machine for someone who wants a Stanley mug to sip out of all day.

The machine, which comes in black or red, is small enough to tuck away, though it’s cute enough to stay full-time on the counter. At under three pounds, some customers report packing it up for trips or using it in RVs.To make milk-based drinks, you can upgrade it to a bundle with an Aerocinno or check out our recommended milk frothers.

Best for lattes: Nespresso Gran Lattissima Original Espresso Machine by De’Longhi




  • Dimensions: 8 inches D x 14.4 inches W x 10.8 inches T
  • Capsules: Original
  • Capacity: 34-ounce water tank capacity
  • Extra Features: Used capsule container holds up to 10; 12-ounce milk container


  • One-touch ristretto, espresso, lungo, cappuccino, latte macchiato, cafe latte, flat white, foamed milk and hot milk.
  • Adjustable foam levels
  • Additional platform for smaller cups
  • Removable parts are dishwasher-safe


  • Cleaning milk requires another vessel
  • Noisy operation
  • All-plastic body
  • White version comes with a black power cord

Latte lovers, the Nespresso Gran Lattissima Original Espresso Machine by De’Longhi is for you. The Gran Lattissima’s glass screen features buttons for nine different coffee drinks, including milk-based options such as cappuccino, latte macchiato, cafe latte, flat white, or just hot milk or hot foam. It doesn’t whip up lovely latte art, but the milk drinks are consistent and, most of all, easy.

Like many options on this list, the machine warms up in 25 seconds. Most Nespresso makers are noisy when brewing and the Gran Lattissima’s adds the glugging and chugging of milk as it foams, which is something to consider if you’re an early bird in close quarters with sleeping night owls. 

The milk carafe needs a little TLC after every use. The brewing is easy: Attach it for any drink that requires milk, and the machine will follow the “recipe” for each selection as needed. The Gran Lattissima will handle the recipe. It’s the clean-up that takes practice to get the sequence right. When your drink is finished, the machine will prompt you to clean it. Swap your crafted beverage with an empty, easy-to-clean cup—which it doesn’t come with. Switch the milk carafe’s dial to “clean,” water will push through the tubes and connections to prevent buildup. Don’t skip this step, and don’t just clean it into the drip tray because the milky water will go here, there, everywhere, and you’ll end up wiping it down anyway and emptying a drip tray.

The versatility comes with a higher price tag of over $600, so the all-plastic body is disappointing. However, the sleek, monotone black or white machines look chic on the counter. A few more design-minded customers think the all-white model should also have an all-white power cord (the black ruins the look).

Best premium: Breville Nespresso The Creatista Pro




  • Dimensions: 17 inches D x 7.8 inches W by 13 inches H
  • Capsules: Nespresso Original
  • Capacity: 68-ounce water tank
  • Extra Feature: Comes with stainless-steel jug


  • Touchscreen menu
  • Nine beverage choices with adjustable settings
  • Fast-heating steam pipe
  • Dedicated hot water spout
  • Stainless-steel body


  • Expensive
  • Parts require hand washing
  • Requires more maintenance

The Breville Nespresso The Creatista Pro goes all in on its espresso machine heritage with a gleaming, stainless steel body complete with a steam wand, making the Nespresso the best with milk frother. It looks intimidating, but the Creatista Pro keeps most of the process automated while expanding the variety of drinks you can make at home. The glass touchscreen scrolls through black drinks—your espressos, ristrettos, etc.—as well as milk-based beverages. Each of the nine preset drinks allows for custom adjustments, like tweaking the coffee volume and adjusting the milk temperatures and froth levels. And once you develop your most perfect, individualized drink, you can save it to the menu.

You expect this level of customization for more than $800, but the Creatista Pro has additional finer touches to enjoy. The machine warms up in three seconds, brewing the coffee into one vessel as it foams the milk in an included stainless steel milk jug. When finished, the steam wand has an auto-purge feature, but you’ll still need to wipe it with a damp cloth. The Pro also has a dedicated hot water spout to keep a clean, coffee-free taste when making an Americano or its Australian cousin, a long black, or simply pre-warming a mug.

The stainless-steel body and accessories must be hand wiped and washed more than other Nespresso machines. Nothing’s going into the dishwasher, and you should avoid abrasive cleaners. It’s a splurge but a gorgeous piece of counter art for an aspiring barista or perhaps one who wants to leave the thinking to a machine while they’re at home. Either way, you can practice latte art with the little jug. That part isn’t automated.

Things to consider when buying the best Nespresso machines

A shocking lot is standardized in Nespresso machines. They’re generally co-branded by Breville or De’Longhi, and they all put precisely the same amount of pressure—19 bars—into a shot. They warm up in less than 30 seconds, with higher-end models doing it even faster. They all roar as they push water through the capsule. The rest looks at price points, style, and how many other drinks you want to make beyond a single espresso.

Capsule compatibility

Except for the Instant Pod, Nespresso machines are a commitment to capsules, capsules, and only capsules. Nespresso offers two lines—Original and Vertuo—that are not interchangeable. Espresso drinkers should consider the Original line, which focuses on a less than 1-ounce ristretto, espresso, and lungo, only getting mug-size beverage when adding milk for cappuccinos and lattes or making a bunch of espresso shots.

The Vertuo line suits people who go back and forth between espresso and coffee. The coffee, however, differs from a traditional brewed cup of joe. Coffee made by a Nespresso machine features a thick layer of crema that a pour-over or a drip coffee doesn’t have. Some love the dark foam, while others find it bitter in a bad way.

Size and space

All Nespresso machines will make one cup at a time, and they’ll use either an Original or Vertuo capsule but can take up wildly different amounts of space. The simple Essenza Mini takes up less than half the area of the eye-catching Creatista Pro, and consider how much space you’ll need for any other accessories, like capsule displays or milk frothers. Many of the Nespresso makers in this roundup come in multiple colors to blend or pop your decor.

Milk frothing

A big part of a Nespresso’s price tag depends on whether a milk frothing component is an accessory or built-in. If lattes and cappuccinos are “nice to have,” opt for a simpler Nespresso and save some cash. You can always accessorize with a standalone milk frother later. However, if lattes and cappuccinos are a “must-have,” choose a model designed for milk drinks and muse on how much customization you want.


Depending on water hardness and use, Nespresso machines will periodically signal when they need a descaling and walk you through the process. Many other cleanings are automated—like post-drink rinsing for milk carafes—though other parts like drip trays, used capsule containers, and water tanks should also be washed out. Check to see if models have dishwasher-compatible components.


Q: Do Nespresso machines make espresso?

By definition of an espresso’s water temperature, water pressure, and other specs like that, no, a Nespresso is not an espresso. A Nespresso-made espresso drink isn’t as thick as a traditionally crafted, hand-pulled espresso drink. It’s darn close, though; if you had to ask, it’s probably close enough for you, too. If you want to dissect the issue, coffee discussion boards and Reddit threads are ready.  

Q: Can I use non-Nespresso branded capsules in my Nespresso machine?

Nespresso offers various capsules with different flavors and intensities in its Original and Vertuo lines. However, other third parties make capsules, including Williams-Sonoma, Peet’s, Starbucks, Illy, etc. The Original line tends to be more available than the Vertuo line.

Q: Can Nespresso capsules be recycled?

Nespresso will recycle the aluminum-encased capsules with prepaid recycling envelopes that you can get online or at a boutique. Select locations, including Nespresso boutiques, and some Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table locations, also take used capsules. Check the Nespresso site for the latest information.

Final thoughts on the best Nespresso machines

Anyone looking to mix up their morning coffee routine with some variety can make consistently good drinks with a Nespresso machine. Our pick for best overall machine—the Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville—creates a range of hot and cold coffee and espresso drinks. The tiny Nespresso Essenza Mini by De’Longhi does espresso with a singular purpose while the Instant Pod pulls triple duty by brewing from Nespresso capsules, Keurig cups, and grinds of your choice. Fans of milk-based brews have two excellent options: Nespresso Gran Lattissima Original Espresso Machine by De’Longhi for an automated experience or the Breville Nespresso The Creatista Pro with a steam wand and milk jug to zhuzh up a latte with some art.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.