What is Nespresso, anyway? Is there more than one kind?
Nespresso is a company that is a division of Nestle. It offers a machine to make a coffee with a layer of crema on top, similar to espresso and frothed milk. The output is the size of a shot of espresso, not a large cup of joe. Like the famous K-cups, Nespresso "pods" are single-use only. Unlike K-cups, they are aluminum and not plastic, and therefore fully recyclable. This is a very popular single-use coffee system in Europe, and many styles of machines are available there and here.
But what is the best Nespresso machine?
While most of the machines here are from the flagship company, high-end coffeemaker company DeLonghi has also put their hat into the Nespresso ring and offers a few varieties of Nespresso makers as well.
We have looked at ten of the most popular machines, what makes them tick, and heard from actual owners about what they love and hate about each. Read on to discover the best of the best, as well as the perfect machine for your budget and needs.
As a bonus, if you have not bought a Nespresso maker because you don't think you can recycle your pods nearby, Nespresso will send you UPS bags that you can drop at any UPS location and they will send them to the recycling center free of charge to you. Simply go online and order as many bags as you wish, and Nespresso picks up the tab from there.
Gotta love that!
|Product Name||Image||Water Tank Capacity||Capsule Capacity||Overall Rating||Details|
|Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker||24-ounce||11||9.5||Check price|
|Nespresso Verto Evoluo Coffee and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi||54-ounce||17||10||Check price|
|Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker||24-ounce||11||8||Check price|
|Nespresso VertuoLine Coffee and Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother||40-ounce||13||8.5||Check price|
|DeLonghi Silver Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System||30-ounce||10||9||Check price|
|Nespresso D121-US4-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Milk Frother||34-ounce||10||9||Check price|
|Nespresso D111-US-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker||34-ounce||10||8.5||Check price|
|Nespresso Essenza C91 Manual Espresso Maker||30-ounce||10||7.5||Check price|
|Nespresso Citiz C111 Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother||34-ounce||10||8||Check price|
|De’Longhi America EN750MB Nespresso Lattissima Pro Machine||44-ounce||16||9.5||Check price|
Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
How does the Inissia stack up when it comes to Nespresso machines? Read on to discover the answer!
The Inissia is a good single-use machine for small kitchens and those who only need a cup at a time. Its sleek, black design is tiny and fits well in most kitchens. For those who are always on the run in the morning, it offers one design feature that is lacking in many of the other machines. Specifically, wake it up and walk away.
You don’t need to wait until the water has warmed to order your coffee, and you don’t have to push it to turn it off. This is a true innovation in comparison to other models, and if this is the one thing that drives you crazy about other machines, this is a clear winner for you.
Nothing wrong with that!
- 25-second brew time
- 275 PSI pressure
- One-touch insertion or ejection of capsules
- Two-touch design offers the choice between espresso and lungo
- 24-ounce water tank is removable for easy refills
- Cup tray folds back to accommodate taller cups
- Used capsule container holds up to 11 used units
- Class A energy rating
- 9-minute power off design to save energy
- 6 x 4.7 x 9 inches
- 3 pounds
Do you live alone and are you always in a rush? This is the perfect brew for you!
Inissia is a great choice for the small apartment or dorm where you grab a quick cup of caffeine before heading out.
- Sleek black design
- Can accommodate taller cups
- Your choice of two coffee styles
- Small countertop footprint
- You don’t have to wait for the water to warm to start your coffee
- Doesn’t require you to touch it to stop brewing
- Tech support is difficult if there is a problem
- Small water reservoir if you drink a lot of coffee
Nespresso Verto Evoluo Coffee and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi
This little red hot rod of Nespresso makers is the final model in our top tend of brewing machines. Like its Italian heritage, the Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo is chic and practical.
One distinct advantage that DeLonghi offers when it comes to creating a coffee maker for Nespresso cartridges is that there is no financial incentive for them to use Nespresso brand cartridges exclusively. This means that it has added a bar code scanner that will look at the type of cartridge and adjust the brew settings to ensure the best cup of coffee possible, regardless of brand.
Versatility is something that Nespresso brand coffee makers, who profit from your purchase of their named cartridges, don't have the incentive to do. If you prefer to have a number of cartridge options, to buy what's on sale, or to reuse your cartridges, this is a distinct advantage. A centrifuge-based brew system can also enhance the ability to get every ounce of flavor out of these tiny pods.
Brew perfection. Yum!
- One-touch functionality for easy brewing
- Centrifusion brewing means extra flavor extraction
- Barcode is cross-matched with specifications to create the perfect brew conditions for capsules from every company
- 54-ounce water tank is refillable outside the machine
- 17-count empty cartridge container means more time between cleanouts
- Uses Nespresso Vertuline style capsules
- Brews both coffee and espresso
- 9.0 x 12.2 x 12.3 in
- 1350 Watts
- Automatic power save mode
A hotter, more versatile solution to some of DeLonghi's other models. A budget price and a lot to offer.
If you're looking for the best coffee available, Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo has a whole lot going for it. It has tried to look at the typical problems of other models- small cartridge ejection space, warm brews but not hot, the ability to make both coffee and espresso, the ability to brew multiple brands of cartridges-- and to create an answer to many of these problems at a price that will work for college students and families alike. In all accounts, they seem to have succeeded.
Wow. Have more questions? See below for more information on both testing and the Nespresso maker in general.
- Barcode reader means optimal brews for every brand
- Makes both coffee and espresso
- Makes hotter coffee than most other models
- Side location of the water tank means you can't stick it close to other appliances and easily remove the water tank
- Troubleshooting guide is written in small, light gray print and hard for some to read
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker
The Nespresso Pixie is a metal version of the Inissia. It offers a bit more heft as a result, but stainless is easy to wipe down and clean to a gleaming shine. This is a lovely part of the reason that you should consider this machine. Its small footprint (and price) and a host of great features are several more reasons.
Read on to discover what makes the Pixie supernaturally great!
- Compact brewing unit technology
- Easy insertion and ejection of capsules
- Drip tray folds back to allow you to fill tall cups
- Automatic, programmable volume and quantity of coffee- step away and come back to a fresh cup
- 24 ounce water tank, holds 11 cartridges
- 1-year warranty from the date of purchase
- Choose between espresso and lungo
- 20-30 second brew time
- Low water detection
- Powers off automatically to save energy
- 83-Inch length by 4.33-Inch width by 9-1/4-Inch height
A good choice for the busy aesthete
Want something beautiful, personal, and expedient? Nespresso Pixie is an excellent choice for you. This machine is in many ways a more artistic, metallic version of the Inissima. However, it has a few options that rise above the Inissima, specifically the choice of two different kinds of coffees.
Another great choice for the bachelor(ette) on the go, the college student, or the workaholic who needs one cup before dashing out the door each day.
- Small footprint
- Auto programming means you don't have to stand around waiting for the water to warm up
- Sleek, sturdy stainless steel design
- Not enough water capacity to cover a family of coffee drinkers without a water refill
- Some problems with leaking into the drip pan
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker
Nespresso VertuoLine Coffee and Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother
The Vertuoline is another great option that offers a great way to have the steamed or frothed milk you want when you need it, and an excellent cup of coffee when you don't. This works with the more modern Vertuoline line of cartridges, but not with the original line of Nespresso cartridges.
Vertuoline pods are different, and they are brewed with a centrifuge to extract every last morsel of flavor from the coffee inside. They are also smaller than the original capsules, which means that you can hold more empty cartridges in the waste container before you empty it.
The machine comes with the classic, highly functional Aeroccino milk frother that is a great addition to any cup of coffee. This gives you that excellent bit of cappuccino foam atop your delicious shot. It is easy to use and to clean.
A powerful pair of coffee accouterments!
- Includes coffeemaker and frother as two separate units
- Can brew both coffee and espresso
- Centrifusion technology
- Recognizes capsule type and applies brand-specific parameters
- Fits both large coffee and small espresso capsules
- Only works with Vertuoline capsules, not the original line capsules
- Holds 13-20 used capsules before requiring a refill/empty
- 15-second heating time
- 40-ounce water tank
- Holds 13 capsules
- 8.32 x 11.93 x 11.91 in.
- 10.85 lbs
- 1350 Watts
A great, highly-functional machine that's pretty to boot!
There is a lot to like about this machine, which is really a pair of great machines. The fact that Vertuoline uses a centrifuge and has a steamer/frother makes it the perfect substitute for your neighborhood latte stand with a pennies on the dollar cost savings.
A great choice for those who love both coffee and espresso!
- Centrifuge on this model is an innovative design to provide better coffee
- Easy to use and clean
- Heavy-duty components
- Frother makes perfect crema each time
- Bar code reader helps to perfect coffee from each brand of capsule
- The coffee is a little watery after about 6 ounces
- Not a lot of customization options
DeLonghi Silver Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System
The second DeLonghi attempt to meet the needs of Nespresso lovers. How does it stack up?
If you like milk, cream, or non-dairy milk, this is one of the best milk-based Nespresso models on the market. DeLonghi has hit the ball out of the park with the Latissima Plus. This is an easy-to-use model with a variety of brew options that make it just as great for hot chocolate as it is for a latte.
An excellent machine from an excellent company.
- One-touch patented system for creating perfect foamed and steamed milk products- just slide the container onto the machine and it's ready to go
- Milk steamer has a steam-powered autoclean
- Three choices of milk and two coffee brew spices
- Backlit buttons are easy to read
- Slide-in, slide-out dip tray accommodates taller latte cups
- 6.6 x 12.5 x 10.2 inches
- 9.6 pounds
- Used capsules are automatically ejected into a container that holds up to 10 used cartridges
- Pop-out milk container doesn't require daily cleaning
- Auto-off feature to save energy
A great instant latte machine for anyone who likes that simplicity of nespresso cartridges for fast coffee drinks.
If you want a latte that is cooked right on the spot at the push of a button, Latissima Plus should be your purchase. Period. Nothing else out there does as much on its own with real milk. If you're all about the espresso part, or if you want something with super hot milk or that's super frothy, this may not be the product for you. But you won't find an easier way to make milk-based coffee drinks with one touch.
Pretty amazing stuff. But wait and see what else we have!
- One of the best milk steamers on the market that doesn't require cleaning with each use
- Large container for used capsules
- The only fully-integrated milk brewing machine
- Easy to use touchpad makes it simple for anyone to operate without instruction
- There is some dripping that happens after use, which means you must empty the drip tray each time or keep a backup cup under the spout
- Heats milk but doesn't froth it
Nespresso D121-US4-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Milk Frother
Another choice in the functional Citiz line of Nespresso makers, the D121 is a slightly higher-end version of the D111. It offers a little more variety in brewing and in functionality. The Aeroccino that comes with this model is actually integrated into the machine with this model, rather than being a separate, standalone item. If you like milk all of the time, this is a great choice.
A popular, well-reviewed model with a host of powerful features!
- 275 PSI brewing capacity and an auto-off feature after 9 minutes of inactivity
- Aeroccino milk frother is integrated into the machine
- Capsules autoeject into a holder that collects up to 10 cartridges
- 34-ounce water tank is removable for easy filling
- Milk frother can make cappucino, iced cappucino, latte, and macchiato with the touch of a button
- Pivoting cup tray allows you to fill tall latte cups
- 5.1 x 14.6 x 10.9 in
- 7.5 lb
- 3.6 foot cable
- Vintage design
A strong, all-around competitor in the coffee brewing and milk steaming categories.
If you're looking for something that does it all, and does every bit of it pretty well, then this is the machine for you. The Citiz line with Aeroccino is a great way to get both frothy milk and a crema-laden espresso cup consistently and in a machine that lasts for years.
While the product may not rival the best espresso houses in Europe, it is good and consistent and saves a lot of money over a daily latte stand fix. All of this is good news for anyone who wants reliable coffee at a reasonable price point.
Good coffee, decent price, quality brand. What else could anyone want?
- Can get a nice foam on whole milk and cream
- Makes a consistent espresso shot that is tasty
- Positive reviews from owners who have had it five years or more
- Very quick and consistent coffee
- Frother only brews at 150 degrees, which isn't hot enough for everyone's tastes
- There are a lot of plastic parts that can break if you're not careful
Nespresso D111-US-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker
This is a vintage model that isn't sold new in stores anymore. But the Nespresso D111-US-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker is enough of a fan favorite that it might be worth looking around at used models to find one of your very own.
- Holds up to 10 used capsules in easy-eject cartridge holder
- Automatically programs to adjust for volume and brew type (espresso or lungo)
- 34-ounce water tank is removable for easy refills
- Easy buttons are backlit and self-explanatory
- Can fit tall latte glasses
- 25 seconds to hot
- 9 minute automatic shutoff feature saves energy
- 7.5 pounds
- 5.1 x 14.6 x 10.9 in
- Foldable, water catching drip tray
While out of stock, the plethora of five-star reviews make this a great choice, if you can find one.
Nespresso D111-US-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker is a great little machine. It's small, it's programmable, and it gives you everything you need, especially if you need it fast and at the expense of little counter space.
- Catches drips like a pro
- Push the button and walk away. You don't need to wait for the water to heat to start it or to push another button to stop it.
- Small footprint is great for small apartments and single-person use
- Tastes like real espresso
- Only works with Nespresso brand cartridges
- Not available for sale- must be found used or secondhand
- Some leaking into the drip tray may occasionally occur if the water container isn't properly aligned
Nespresso Essenza C91 Manual Espresso Maker
This little powerhouse offers a quick and tasty cup of nespresso without a lot of counter space. The Nespresso Essenzia is fast and quiet with a large water capacity and a good amount of room for spills. Its sleek black design is right at home in the modern kitchen and only takes up as much room as a sheet of paper on your counter.
You can’t put a traditional coffee cup under it; it is designed instead to pour into shot glasses or tiny, Euro-style espresso cups. But honestly, that just adds to the charm.
And guess what else!
- 1260 Watts of brewing power
- 275 PSI pressure pump
- Heating element with a thermoblock design
- Compact, sleek, modern unit
- Volume control for alarm
- Backlit buttons
- Capsule is easy to insert and eject
- Drip tray to prevent spillage
- Comes with the container to hold up to 14 used coffee capsules.
- 30-ounce water tank capacity
- 1 x 10.2 x 13.5 inches
- 3 pounds
An oldie but a goodie!
This is an older model that many people continue to seek out because of its sturdy design and simplicity of options. Nespresso Essenzia has everything you need with little to nothing extra. The things that people don’t like are things you either don’t mind or that you can live with; none of them are quality issues or deal breakers when it comes to making a good cup of coffee.
You’ve got to like that… and if you don’t? Read on and fall in love with your own future Nespresso maker.
- Sleek design
- Quiet brew
- Good water capacity for tank and spill tray
- Comes with place to hold used capsules
- Good for about 14 brews per tank of water
- Two-button design makes brewing super easy
- You can’t fit a cup taller than 3.5 inches under the spout
- No auto stop feature. You must manually stop it when done
Nespresso Essenza C91 Manual Espresso Maker
Nespresso Citiz C111 Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother
The Citiz is a gorgeous little piece that is as beautiful as it is functional. Simple, backlit buttons offer one-touch functionality that makes it as easy as possible to push a button, get ready for your morning, and return to a tasty cup of sunshine. Add to this the functional, powerful Aeroccino milk steamer and frother, and you have an excellent and versatile coffee maker.
There are a lot of handy features to both to make your morning as simple as possible, like an auto-eject container that fits 10 empty cartridges and an energy-saving auto shutoff that goes into effect after 9 minutes. With a 25-second heating time, you're still less than a minute from hot coffee at any time.
And check out these features!
- Gorgeous chrome art-deco design makes it a countertop showstopper
- Comes with Aeroccino Plus, a milk frother designed by Nespresso
- Choose between froth temperatures—hot or cold—with one touch
- Holds 10 capsules at a time
- 34-ounce water tank is removable for easy refills
- 25-second preheat capacity
- 275 PSI of pressure in the compact brew system
- Power has an auto shutoff feature after 9 minutes
- Tray pivots so you can fill tall cups
- 1 x 14.6 x 10.9 inches
- 1260 Watts of power
- 6-foot cable
Nespresso has created a useful machine with a lot of perks here!
Overall, the Citiz is both useful and beautiful. The frother/steamer is a handy item all on its own, and when combined with this powerful, one-touch machine, it’s an excellent combo. The machine requires a bit of precision to keep it in good running order, and if you’re naturally a precise person, this shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Beautiful and elegant to look at, and it makes great, consistent coffee!
- Beautiful, easy-clean design
- Can accommodate tall cups
- Saves a ton of money compared to latte stands
- Can make just espresso or use the frother to create lattes and cappuccinos
- Alignment of the water tank must be precise to prevent leaks
- Frother/steamer must not be left plugged in to extend the life of the unit
De'Longhi America EN750MB Nespresso Lattissima Pro Machine
So DeLonghi, a well-known name in espresso makers, has put their hat into the ring to get a piece of the Nespresso maker market. And when DeLonghi does something, they do it in an elegant way. This is not the espresso maker to buy on a budget. It is instead the last one you will need ever buy.
Of special note is the cream frother. It’s not just the instant crema foam that you find on the other espresso makers; this is special, patented froth that looks closer to what you find on a cappuccino.
- Delonghi’s patented crema system
- Touchpad display
- Italian design and luxury
- Choose from many drink options: hot milk or hot water, latte or cappuccino, ristretto, lungo, or straight espresso
- Pivoting spout allows you to choose your size of cup
- Modern, stainless design offers sleek aesthetics that are easy to clean
- Milk carafe automatically cleans itself with sanitizing steam power
- 275 PSI pressure
- 6 x 10.8 x 13 inches
- 6 pounds
This company offers the luxury vehicles of kitchen appliances, and this is no exception. You will find that every part of DeLonghi is well thought-out, easy to assemble, disassemble and clean. DeLonghi makes items designed to last generations.
Buy this, and you will be bequeathing it to your grandchildren one day; it is that long-lasting.
- Almost all users give it 4 to 5 stars
- Huge range of coffee style options
- Luxurious Italian design
- Easy to clean
- Hard water users must purchase a descaling kit for cleaning
- One of the more expensive units
De’Longhi America EN750MB Nespresso Lattissima Pro Machine
How We Tested
So how do you test this, anyway?
Nespresso machines are all judged by reading through thousands of reviews to get a feel for how actual owners like their machines. We do this for a number of reasons.
First, we want to get a feel for the kinds of problems that are one-off or due to operator error versus those that are based on an actual problem with the product. This is difficult to gauge with a single review or the personal use of a singular product. We want an idea of the kind of job that customer service does in helping owners to get the most out of their products or in fixing problems that occur.
Finally, in-person testing is always on a new product. Reviews give you an idea of how long people own a product, how they like it a year or two into ownership, or how quickly they sought out something new. All of this, we feel, gives us a fuller understanding of the best kind of product for you.
A distilled look at what thousands of actual owners thought? Good deal!
How To Buy The Best Nespresso Machine
Choosing the right Nespresso Machine is all the same, right? Wrong!
Nespresso machines come in a variety of styles with a variety of features because people are very individual when it comes to their coffee drinking habits and needs. Here are a few things that you need to ask yourself before researching a machine. By applying these filters, this can help you to better understand your options:
- How many cups of coffee per day do you plan to brew?
- How much room in your kitchen do you have for a machine?
- Do you have a certain aesthetic style that you wish to match?
- Do you only want basic nespresso shots? Or would you prefer more than one option?
- Do you like stainless or plastic?
- What's your price range?
- Do you want a milk frother?
This information can help you to better pare down the perfect machine for you. From there, you can shop online or see the machines in person at a brick and mortar store.
What are the main features of a Nespresso Machine?
Nespresso machines have a number of basic features that are the same. This includes:
- A reservoir for water. The amount of water this holds will determine how often you must refill it.
- A reservoir for Nespresso capsules. This may hold one or it may hold up to around a dozen. Again, you will need to refill and empty this either every time you brew or once every dozen capsules or so.
- An activation button. Some will let you push it and predetermine the volume, others will make you push it both to turn it on and to stop brewing.
- A milk frother (not all machines have this).
- An option to choose different brews (again, not all machines have this).
What Is The Difference Between A Milk Steamer And A Milk Frother?
Yeah, what IS the difference?!
The big difference between these two different milk types is the texture. Frothed milk sits atop a drink like whipped cream. A shot of espresso will mix with steamed milk equally, while froth sits on top. The addition of froth creates a cappuccino, while the same drink with just steamed milk will create a latte instead.
Care And Maintenance
How do I care for my Nespresso machine?
Care for a nespresso machine is pretty easy; most days it is simply to make sure that there is a cartridge and adequate water to use. If you have a frother or steamer, you will need to clean out the milk container.
The steaming element can be cleaned by pushing a lot of steam into a glass of water immediately after use. The container can be stored in the refrigerator and washed once per week or washed after use each time. Many of them are dishwasher safe. The drip tray should be regularly checked and emptied if you drip, and to see if there are any internal leaks, as this is where they will show up.
Design & Style
What kinds of designs and styles are available?
These machines are much more popular in Europe than they are in the United States. Because of this, you will find that many of the different designed cater toward this aesthetic.
Most machines are either black or stainless steel, and many have artistic elements that look rather art deco. They are often very geometric and easy to wipe down and clean. This matches the style that is popular in Italy and Switzerland, which are the two largest markets for this kind of machine.
The sizes can range from compact enough for a small space and a single person to something large enough to support a large family or the office break room of a business.
So what IS the best Nespresso machine?
Ultimately, though, the answer comes down to the best cup of coffee. And in that regard, our final contender, the Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo Coffee, wins this honor. It does not come with a milk frother, and if you want a built-in frother, then this is probably not the model for you. However, this is the winner for a few key reasons:
- Versatility of types of coffee cartridges: If you really want the best cup of coffee possible, you need a coffeemaker that will brew each brand's cartridges to their best specifications. A brand that does better with one kind of cartridge over another limits your options.
- It has looked at the problems that people have reported and tried to fix them: This Nespresso maker offers a lot of mores: more water, more empty cartridge room, more size and brew type choices.
- The price point is right for everyone: This doesn't cost a fortune, and this means it is an affordable choice for more consumers.
Of course, it is not the single most luxurious machine or the most versatile. It is the machine that will most consistently produce a trouble-free cup of tasty Nespresso at the touch of a button.
Was this your favorite, too? Let us know in the comments below!