Roasting the Competition: A Guide to the Best Coffee Machines

If you’re contemplating purchasing a coffee machine, check out Canstar’s complete guide to the best in home coffee machines.

There are typically two options when it comes to quality coffee. Splash out $5 at your local café every day, or invest in a coffee machine for your home so you can enjoy a cup as often as you like. But with so many different types of coffee machines out there, it can be difficult to zero in on the best one. So, if you’re a coffee snob, like most of team Canstar, and you want to make sure you’re not disappointed with your home-made espresso, read on:

What is the best coffee machine to buy

Buying a coffee machine

Things to consider

Sure, we all want great-tasting coffee, but what other factors help determine overall satisfaction with a coffee machine? Below are some of the key things to consider when purchasing a coffee machine:

Coffee taste

How to get the best coffee taste with coffee machines

Naturally, coffee taste/quality is the most important factor when choosing a coffee machine. What’s worse? A coffee machine that’s prone to breaking down, or a bad cup of coffee? With a good cup of coffee on the go, you might be able to overlook some things not going to plan. But if the coffee isn’t up to the standards you expect, it might affect the rest of your morning.

Value for money

When it comes to buying a coffee machine, there are certainly some cheap options out there, but cheap doesn’t always mean the best value. For your purchase to represent good value for money, it needs to deliver on coffee taste and reliability. Value for money is very subjective, so do your research and compare products on features and prices.

Easy to use coffee machine

Ease of use

No espresso coffee machine should be overly difficult to use, but some are easier to operate than others – and that’s to be expected. Keep this in mind when picking the best machine for your home. The most sophisticated coffee machines may deliver the best coffee, but unless you can operate the machine properly, you won’t get to enjoy it.

Many people buy expensive, professional coffee machines only to have them collect dust because they’re too fiddly to use on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s worth sacrificing a little taste for a quick and easy cup of coffee that you can make on the go.

Quality & reliability

Of course, if you purchase a coffee machine, you want it to work when you need it. Imagine the frustration of missing out on that first coffee of the morning! We’ve all been there. So when choosing the right machine for your kitchen, make sure you pick one that’s reliable and up for the job. There’s no point choosing a cheap machine if it’s not going to last the course of your caffeine habit.


Best coffee machine design

After all the functional factors mentioned above, you’ll also want a coffee machine that is easy on the eye – and impresses your guests when they pop round for drinks. Some espresso machines more closely resemble alien spacecraft than traditional coffee makers, but perhaps that’s the look you’re going for. Whatever your (design) tastes, you might be better advised to concentrate on the above points rather than the appearance of your coffee machine.

Ease of cleaning & maintenance

You might be surprised to learn that coffee machines – even espresso machines – require a fair bit of love and care in order to keep them working effectively. So, considering how easy a coffee machine is to clean is important before splashing out hundreds of dollars. Like ease of use, if your coffee machine is hard to clean, you’ll probably be less likely to use it.

What types of espresso coffee machines are there?

Types of espresso coffee machines

There are three main types of espresso coffee machines you can buy, including:

  • Manual machine: become a barista in your own home with a manual coffee machine that gives you full autonomy over the results of your coffee. This type of coffee machine lets you control the coarseness of your grounds as well as the frothiness of your milk.
  • Capsule/pod machine: is typically easy to use with no tamping required, plus you can add a full range of exquisite flavours to your taste palette. It’s also ideal if you’re limited on bench space.
  • Automatic espresso machine: takes all the guess work out of your morning coffee. For those who aren’t able to function without their coffee in the early hours of the day, perhaps this one’s for you!

You’ll find domestic coffee machines in all shapes and sizes to suit your expectations and expertise.

How much do coffee machines cost?

Typically, the type of espresso coffee machines that you can buy from a regular homewares store cost between $60 and $3500. As a general guide, expect the following figures for each type:

Coffee Machine Type Price Range
Manual machine $150 – $2500
Capsule/pod machine $60 – $1000
Automatic espresso machine $500 – $3500

Nespresso Coffee Machine


Which coffee machine should I buy?

Picking the best coffee machine for your home is clearly a challenge. Ultimately though, it all comes down to your personal preferences – and your budget, of course! Consider how often you are likely to use your coffee machine. Most people use theirs every day. But if you’re not sure that it will get much use, it’s probably a smart move to go for a relatively cheap option in the first instance, so that you’re not left brewing over your purchase.

Also consider how much you spend on coffee away from home. Those takeaway coffees on the way to work quickly add up. So work out how much you’re likely to save by making your coffee at home. This could be a good guide to how much it’s worth spending on your home coffee maker.

Owning your own coffee machine is a great way to cut back on your day-to-day spending, especially if you’re trying to save for a home deposit. If you are, and would like to know more about the great mortgage deals on offer at the moment, just click on the button below to access Canstar’s free mortgage comparison tool.


Compare home loan rates for free with Canstar!

You’ll also have to consider things like:

  • Space: If you plan on keeping your coffee machine on your kitchen bench, make sure you don’t buy one that’s too big. If you keep it hidden in a cupboard, you might find it gets forgotten!
  • Ongoing costs: Make sure you get an idea of how much any coffee capsules and other accessories will cost you going forward. The price of coffee machines is often in line with the cost of the capsules you use with it, so if you’re going for a high-end piece of kit, you can expect premium capsule prices.

When all is said and done, coffee machines can be a great addition to your kitchen, provided that you get adequate value from them. For many consumers, they probably fall into the category of impulse purchase, so give it some thought before diving in.

Top Coffee Machines


Nespresso coffee machine review

Famous for its advertisements featuring George Clooney, Nespresso has established itself as a boutique coffee experience. There is a wide selection of models available at different price points, from the Essenza Mini standalone capsule machine – priced at $159 – to the sleek and stylish Creatista Pro (pictured) priced at $1199.

Across the machine range, there’s a choice of capsule machines, separate frother appliances and for the most authentic experience, models with a fully-automatic steam wand! Unlike several capsule products, Nespresso’s capsules can be purchased individually so you can custom create your very own assortment (hello double shot vanilla). Visit a retail boutique, reseller, or the Nespresso online store to explore the range.

Nespresso’s espresso machine range includes:

  • Essenza Mini: $189*
  • Lattissima One: $449*
  • Gran Lattissima: $749*
  • Creatista Plus: $899*
  • Creatista Pro: $1249*


Kmart coffee machine review

Kmart is the undisputed champion of bargain buys and trendy homewares, but it also sells a snazzy retro espresso coffee machine for $99 (pictured), which has garnered rave reviews online. This machine comes with a 15-bar pressure, single and double espresso shot option, high-pressure milk steamer with adjustable steam knob, and 1.2L detachable water tank with handle.

Kmart also stocks various accessories for making coffee, including coffee plungers, coffee grinders and milk frothers.


DeLonghi coffee machine review

Italian kitchen appliances designer DeLonghi has one of the biggest coffee machine ranges on the market, covering manual espresso machines, fully automatic coffee machines, and capsule machines (collaborating with Nestle to produce the Nescafe Dolce Gusto range).

The manual coffee machine range covers a number of different colours and styles, from sleek modern designs to retro throwbacks. These are also compatible with ESE pods, thanks to the 2-in-1 filter holder. Some models also include an automatic milk frother and dispenser. The fully automatic coffee machine range stretches well into the high end of the market, with prices starting from $850 for an entry-level Magnifica ESAM model (pictured), up to $3000 for the PrimaDonna Elite ECAM unit.

DeLonghi’s espresso machine range includes:

  • Icona Pump Espresso: $399*
  • Magnifica S range: from $1043*
  • Dinamica Plus: $1,899*
  • PrimaDonna Elite ECAM: $3000*


Breville coffee machine review

Breville produces both manual and capsule coffee machines, plus a drip coffee appliance. The manual machine range starts with the Bambino Plus which comes with a 54mm porta-filter with a 19g set dosage, automatic steam wand and 3-second heat up time − for $750. At the other end of the price spectrum is the Oracle Touch (pictured) fully automated machine with a built-in grinder and automatic tamper, colour screen and digital temperature control, hands-free milk frother, drip tray and self-cleaning function, priced at $3400.

Breville’s espresso machine range includes:

  • Duo-Temp Pro: $750*
  • Barista Express: $1200*
  • Barista Touch: $1900*
  • Dynamic Duo: $2500*
  • Oracle Touch: $3400*

Nescafe Dolce Gusto

Nescafe Dulce Gusto coffee machine review

For coffee at home, at just the touch of a button, Nescafe Dolce Gusto offers a wide range of capsule machines, from the classic Piccolo XS priced from only $69, to the futuristic circular Majesto, for $399 (pictured). Its fully automatic Eclipse model is shaped as a loop, which opens up to reveal the coffee dispenser, while the Stelia design was apparently inspired by a drop of coffee.

All Dolce Gusto coffee machines operate at a maximum 15-bar pressure and can be used to brew both hot and cold drinks. Boxes of Nescafe capsules can be purchased from most major grocery and home supplies retailers, as well as online from the Dolce Gusto website. Flavours include classic coffees, including double shots, plus chai, hot chocolate and even skinny cappuccino.

Nescafe Dolce Gusto’s espresso machine range includes:

  • Genio Automatic Matte Black $105*
  • Mini Me Automatic Piano Black: $149*
  • Movenza Brushed Black By Breville: $270*
  • Majesto Automatic Black: $399*


Sunbeam coffee machine review

This Australian home appliance brand produces a range of manual coffee machines, choosing to stay clear of the capsule trend. The Sunbeam range covers all budgets, starting with the Piccolo Espresso single-cup espresso and steam wand appliance at $139.

At the highest end of the pricing spectrum, there’s the Café Series Espresso Coffee Machine (pictured) for $899, with a stainless-steel PID-controlled thermoblock system (to regulate water temperature) and a built-in espresso gauge and temperature sensing steam wand to produce a professional-tier barista experience at home. Sunbeam also produces a drip filter coffee machine and a number of different coffee grinders.

Sunbeam’s espresso machine range includes:

  • Café Barista: $299*
  • Mini Barista: $299*
  • Barista Max: $519*
  • Café Series: $899*

*Prices taken from retailer websites, correct as of October 2020.

Get a better power deal with Canstar

If you’re going to brew up a storm at home with your new coffee machine, you’ll definitely be using more electricity and adding to your power bill. So while you’re considering the best caffeine, why not consider whether you’re on the best electricity deal for your household, too. Because you could be getting a better rate. Fortunately, Canstar here to help and every year we compare and rate electricity providers, so you can check your options easily:

Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction and value for money. The table below is an abridged version of our full results. Click on the big button below for more details!

See Our Ratings Methodology

Compare electricity providers for free with Canstar!

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