Best Small Espresso Machine for 2021 | Ultimate Guide – Espresso Perfecto

Best Small Espresso Machine for 2021 | Ultimate Guide

best small espressp machines

Have you ever noticed how most espresso machines—especially the high-end models—are getting bigger?

Big toys are almost always cool, but if we were to take a close look at and compare the best big espresso machines to the best small espresso machines, does size really matter?

As far as we’re concerned, size doesn’t have much to do with the quality or the performance of an espresso machine for home models.

If you’d trace the history of technological progress, most machines were first made big but later on were made smaller and smaller as they were improved. If this hadn’t been the case, we’d still have cellphones as big and similar in shape to shoeboxes.


The Final Shot: The Nespresso Pixie  is the top pick in this range. It has one of the slimmer profile and is super fast, less than 30 seconds for espresso priming and pulling upon start-up. The Nespresso pods are also highly regarded for taste and quality.

I’m an equal-opporuntiy espresso machine lover and I think both big and small machines can produce excellent, flavorful espresso, but to debunk the myth that small machines just can’t go toe to toe with the big guys, I’ve put together a list of 3 of the best small espresso machines currently available in the market.

The Best Small Espresso Machines

  • Nespresso C91 Essenza Espresso Machine
    Product Name
  • 4.1Rating
  • $Price
  • ManualMachine Type
  • Nespresso C60 Pixie Espresso Maker
    Product Name
  • 4.2Rating
  • $$Price
  • Super AutomaticMachine Type
  • De'Longhi 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
    Product Name
  • 4.0Rating
  • $Price
  • Semi-AutomaticMachine Type

#1 Choice – Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker

If you’re looking for a compact, top-notch, and easy-to-use espresso machine that streamlines the brewing process while still producing a strong, flavorful beverage, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker is the one for you. Coming in at a very light 8 lbs and 12.8” x 4.3” x 9.2” in size, this espresso machine is definitely petite and was designed using chrome and matte-black plastic, giving it an edgy, modern, sophisticated look.

The Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker is fast – promising to make each cup in less than a minute. Not only does this espresso machine come with programmable buttons for espresso and lungo, which enables you to make coffee at a push of a button, it can also make a shot of espresso in less than 30 seconds.

The rest of this espresso machine’s features include: backlight indicators, which enable you to monitor the brewing process easily; water level detection, which lets you check whether you poured enough water into the tank by just looking at it; auto power-off, which makes preparing coffee require even less thought; convenient power cord storage; used capsule container; and 24 oz water tank.

If you’re looking to make lattes and cappuccinos, make sure you add on the Aeroccino milk frother, which can be paired with any of Nespresso’s products.

Despite how convenient the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker makes preparing espresso at home, users have a few minor complaints about the water tank, mainly that it is pretty small and tricky to remove. When looking for a small machine, water reservoir capacity will be the big compromise every time. There really isn’t a way to get around it.

The Pixie received a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon. It is also one of the best selling units for super-automatic espresso machines.

A great place to buy is on Amazon and here is why:

  1. All the reviews are like having hundreds of really good friends give you their personal experience with the espresso machine, then taking all of that personal experience and giving it a star rating. You’re buying quality when there are hundreds of fans of the machine.
  2. A friendly UPS driver will deliver it right to your door. No waiting in line, no hauling it in your car. No sore muscles or achy back the next day.
  3. Amazon has the best price 99% of the time. Amazon constantly watches competitor pricing and makes sure you get the best deal. They do a ton of business and take advantage of economies of scale, which means you get the savings!
  4. FREE shipping. Enough said.
  5. Returns are easy. Amazon recently shipped a car, and they ship a ton of large items, all day, every day. If they can ship a car, rest assured, you will get your espresso machine in perfect condition. BUT if for any reason it comes damaged, it is super easy to return. Just print out a UPS label, slap it on the box and a friendly UPS driver will pick it up, free of charge. This is way easier than waiting in a return line at Williams & Sonoma talking with a snoody sales clerk.
Hot features of the espresso machine are:
  • Programmable buttons for espresso and lungo
  • folding drip tray for larger cups and recipes, brew ready in 25-30 seconds
  • Backlight indicators, water level detection, auto power-off, used capsule container, convenient power cord storage
  • 12.83-Inch length by 4.33-Inch width by 9-1/4-Inch height
  • 24-Ounce water tank

#2 Choice – Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine

Weighing in at a petite 6.3 lbs and 4.3″ x 12.8″ x 8.1″ in dimensions, the Nespresso Essenza Espresso Machine is the smallest and lightest espresso machine on this list, and is the embodiment of the old adage, “good things come in small packages.” This little powerhouse comes equipped with just as many features as its larger counterparts and is a great home brewing machine. For starters it comes with manual volume control, backlit coffee buttons, and easy insertion of capsules and ejection of used capsules, all of which make using the espresso machine itself easy and straightforward to use.

The rest of the Nespresso Essenza Espresso Machine features include: a 19-bar pressure pump and thermoblock heating element, both of which ensure the water needed for brewing is heated to the appropriate temperature; a 0.9 L removable water tank, which makes cleaning the espresso machine itself a cinch; and a  removable drip tray, which ensures no mess is left after each round of brewing.

Consumers do have a few small critiques of the Essenza, a few finding that the machine’s spout is too close to the cup tray, limiting the sizes of cups it can accommodate. The cost of the cartridges has also been noted as a drawback.

The Essenza has received a stellar rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

Hot features of the espresso machine are:
  • 2 programmable buttons for Espresso and Lungo; 19 bar high pressure pump
  • Intuitive and easy to use; Ultra light and compact; 20.3 oz water tank
  • Heat-up time in under 30 seconds
  • Automatic Power-Off after 9 minutes; low Energy consumption after 3 minutes
  • Capsule tasting pack included; designed for use with Nespresso capsule

#3 Choice – De’Longhi 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Coffee Maker

Designed relatively compact at 9 lbs and 8” x 11” x 10” in size, the De’Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is the largest on our list but will still fit cozily on your kitchen countertop, island, or coffee bar, and is another great option for kitchens with limited counter space.

The De’Longhi 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker comes with several features that not only make brewing coffee at home remarkably easy for you, but also give you a lot of control over how your coffee comes out. For example: If you’re sensitive to hot coffee, the espresso and cappuccino maker lets you brew using 2 separate thermostats, enabling you to enjoy espressos or cappuccinos at the temperature you’re happiest with. If you prefer espresso, the espresso and cappuccino maker lets you brew easily and with no fuss using De’Longhi’s easy-serving espresso (ESE) pods and the unique, patented, dual-filter holder allows you to switch to ground coffee at your convenience. If you prefer cappuccino, the De’Longhi comes with an easy-to-use swivel jet frother, which ensures each cup of cappuccino it prepares comes topped with foamy steamed milk every time.

The other features we like that this machine comes equipped with are: self-priming operation, which makes the start-up preparation quick; a durable, high-quality, stainless-steel boiler with 15-bar pump pressure; a removable drip tray with 35 oz. removable water tank with indicator light, both of which can be cleaned easily; and a cup warmer, which lets you leave your cup of coffee sitting for several minutes without worrying that it will get cold.

Despite all of the De’Longhi 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker’s useful features, some customers say there are some downsides to using it. One of them has complained about the frothing wand, the grounds basket, and the built-in tamper, though most reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

Nonetheless, the espresso and cappuccino maker received a solid rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon, making it the best espresso machine under $100.

Hot features of the espresso machine are:
  • Use convenient pods or ground coffee with the patented dual function filter holder
  • Easily prepares latte and cappuccino with the swivel jet frother, for perfect drinks every time
  • Eliminate annoying start-up preparation with the self-priming operation
  • Always brew espresso at the perfect temperature with two separate thermostats, which allow for water and steam pressure to be controlled separately
  • Enjoy delicious espresso for years to come with the durable, high-quality stainless steel boiler and 15 bar pump pressure
  • Coffee cups not included with the product

Quality doesn’t always come in a large package. As shown by the aforementioned coffee makers, the best can appear in a small form. Having reviewed each one, we hope to help you find the best small espresso machine for you, beginning with them.

Do you know of other small espresso machines that can blow their bigger counterparts out of the water? Share them with us. We would love to hear from you.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

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About the Author Michael York

I am a die-hard espresso fan. I love every form of the drink from straight espresso shots to lattes and cappuccinos. I currently use a Breville BES870XL Barista, it is an awesome machine. BUT, my dream machine is definitely an Italian Quickmill Andreja. Those bad boys make badass espresso. I love answering your questions, leave a comment or question below!

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