Best Coffee Machine To Buy: Bean-To-Cup, Filter And Pod

Want to find the best coffee machine for your coffee breaks? We’ve got you covered.

Coffee Machines

by Piper Huxley |
Updated on

If coffee is what gets you up in the morning, choosing the best coffee machine is as essential as caffeine itself. Discovering which coffee machine is best for your home takes a bit of brew-how. Indeed, you may be asking yourself, is it worth having a coffee machine at home? Take a well-earned fika and let A Modern Kitchen guide you through the perks of top-quality cuppas that deliver a 'coffee shop' feel – without leaving the house.

If you're short on time and impatience is your least desirable virtue (there's got to be a caffeine equivalent of hangry), opt for a coffee pod machine. Overall, we highly recommend the Nespresso Vertuo Next for its mug-size premium coffee made in a minute. No fuss, no mess – just an utterly delicious cup of Joe. Furthermore, coffee machines don't need to be expensive, most coffee pod machines are less than £100. Though if you're a frustrated barista and a latte lover, you may find that a high-spec coffee machine with a steam wand is going to provide great pleasure and earn its cost back through use.

Best Coffee Machine Shortlist:

Best Nespresso coffee machine: Nespresso Vertuo Next
Best bean-to-cup coffee machine: Sage, The Barista Touch
Best espresso machine: De'Longhi EC685.M Dedica Espresso Coffee Machine
Best budget coffee machine: De'Longhi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Infinissima Pod Coffee Machine
Best filter coffee machine: Sage SDC450BSS the Precision Brewer Coffee Maker

As we are evermore conscious of energy consumption, all the major coffee machine brands have auto shut-off as a power-saving feature in their appliances. Even a budget coffee machine has been designed to be efficient, making a coffee machine cheaper to use than boiling a kettle. Additionally, by choosing a filter coffee machine, you get multiple cups of coffee per brew… think of it as a levelled-up cafetière. A Modern Kitchen's office wouldn't function without a jug of coffee keeping warm on the side. Similarly, if you're looking for a coffee machine for your office, we have some compact and affordable options that'll fit on a pedestal within arm's reach.

How to choose a coffee machine? It's all down to lifestyle, budget, and what coffee you generally prefer. Some bean-to-cup coffee machines aren't that expensive, and you don't have to shell out for expensive pods if you do your research. We've rounded up the best coffee machines, whether that be a coffee pod machine, bean-to-cup, or ground coffee machine. Hopefully, you'll find one that fits perfectly and will make you that cup of home-brewed coffee that replaces the daily spend on high street takeaways.

Best Home Coffee Machine

Best Nespresso coffee machine

Whether you choose the Vertuo Next or the Vertuo Pop, these compact machines easily fit between an air fryer and a microwave on a worktop. With a footprint of just 13.97cm and the ability to brew up to 535ml coffee - the Nespresso Vertuo Next is just as compact as the Pop, albeit taller - the bonus is that it can brew more. Also, the machine is 54 per cent recyclable and the packaging is 99 per cent recyclable. And the 80 per cent recycled aluminium capsules get remade when they are recycled via Podback.

Our review: "Unlike the Vertuo Pop, I can fit my really big mug under the spout - I mean, that thing is like a small chimney pot! So, if you are looking for supersize coffee, definitely pay a little extra and opt for the Vertuo Next. Also, I'm really appreciating the joy of drinking Nespresso coffee with milk. I've tried both warm and cold oat milk and both mix beautifully with the coffee and crema to give a sumptuous smooth mouth feel - it's utterly delicious. Finally, all credit to Nespresso for delivering a sustainable, energy-efficient and luxurious coffee experience."

Read A Modern Kitchen's full review on the Nespresso Vertuo Next.


  • Large size coffees
  • Nespresso quality
  • Delicious crema
  • No Mess
  • Easy to use
  • Sustainable
  • Recyclable


  • Wish more capsules were compatible with it

Best bean-to-cup coffee machine

Something that we love about a coffee shop is all the different types of coffee we can get. Well, with this Sage, The Barista Touch coffee machine, why not be your own barista? Plus, the touchscreen display has a pre-programmed coffee menu where you can easily adjust the strength, milk texture and temperature to suit your taste. Further, it will even save up to six personalised coffees. Fancy! You won't have to leave the house for a coffee, either.

Customer review: "I absolutely love this. Took me a few minutes to get the hang of it but it's so easy now. Grind, choose your coffee, place cup under, and watch it pour. Then the milk, press the button and it froths it all for you automatically. Then add to your coffee and hey presto! Spent a fortune on espresso machine accessories since. Oops! Also, it's so beautiful."


  • Milk frother
  • Manually adjustable grinder
  • Easy set-up
  • Works for pre-ground and coffee beans
  • Touchscreen


  • Frother needs descaling regularly

Best espresso machine

Like a little espresso to start your day? Why not be a barista in the comfort of your own home with this De'Longhi Dedica Espresso machine? Make your favourite coffee drinks your way with the adjustable controls and milk frother, cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites and more. Plus, it's only 15cm wide - very slim and fits great on a kitchen counter. Great if you're in a rush, the Thermoblock heating for faster heating time means you get an espresso in just 40 seconds.

Customer review: "This is our second one and it's a great machine. Easy to use and makes decent espresso. We make between four and six coffees a day, so we don't need a toy but something that can cope with the daily load. This really does fit into a small space, which is a bonus. Had to replace the previous one after five years, our very hard water killed it in the end."


  • Milk frother
  • Suitable for beans/ESE pods
  • Descale warning
  • Adjustable cup stand
  • Dishwasher-safe parts


  • Complicated to operate

Best budget coffee machine

Available in three colours, this slim De'Longhi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Infinissima Pod Coffee Machine wouldn't look out of place in any kitchen. Simply slide your chosen pod (Dolce Gusto or Aldi Alcafé), and with one easy manoeuvre, this machine will make the perfect beverage of your choice. Nescafe's Dolce Gusto range is easy to use and easy to clean. With a high-pressure system, your creamy coffee-shop-quality coffee will be ready in no time.

Customer review: "I saw a lot of bad or mediocre reviews on it but honestly it is amazing, you can personalise your drinks, it looks so good in our kitchen, the coffee is great and creamy, and I like the design because it is easier to clean than other machines I've had in the past. Also, I recommend you use a jug to pour water in, but other than that, amazing value for the price. Also, it shipped so quickly."


  • Eco-mode
  • A - energy rating
  • Comes with descaling tools
  • Compatible with Nescafé pods and Aldi Alcafé


  • Still costly to run, but this is a great budget option

Best filter coffee machine

This is the best filter coffee machine out there. Featuring multiple fittings for the brew basket, pre-set functions to determine the strength of the coffee, and a temperature setting so you can drink it cold or hot. What truly sets it apart from other products is the Precision brewer function, which allows you to customise brew time and bloom time, so you can achieve a fruitier or a more bitter coffee. We're very impressed.

Customer review: "The Precision Brewer by Breville/Sage is very well built indeed, like most of their products you get that quality feel as soon as you open the box. Having the gold standard built-in, the ability to produce a beautiful consistent supply of coffee at a high quality is a joy. Here is what really sets this coffee maker apart, the range and precise control to tweak the product to suit you is a great bonus, even to the point of allowing the coffee machine to make a cold brew using the permanent filter."


  • Thermal jug
  • Dual filter baskets
  • Customisable
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Steep and release


  • Takes a while to figure out coffee strength

Best for variety of flavours

Made in partnership with Philip, the L'OR Barista Sublime coffee machine is complete with dual capsule recognition technology, which automatically detects the capsule size and 19-bar brewing pressure for true barista quality. It measures H27.6 x W15.7 x D40.2cm, which makes it ideal for small countertops as it won't take up too much space. It is compatible with L'OR Espresso single shot capsules and the L'OR Barista XXL capsules and allows customers to use a wide range of alternative branded coffee capsules on the market, providing maximum flexibility and choice.

Our review: "An affordable coffee pod machine at £80, the L'OR Barista Sublime is worth the investment if you're looking for a coffee hit but are not concerned with tasting the roast strength of beans, and are happy to use capsules or pods."

Read A Modern Kitchen's full review on the L'OR Barista Sublime.


  • Can make two drinks at once
  • Dual coffee pod compatibility
  • Compatible with other pod brands
  • Affordable


  • Pod bin fills quickly

Best slimline bean-to-cup coffee machine

Smeg BCC02 Bean To Cup Coffee Machine
Price: £699.95

If your kitchen already has Smeg products and you're loyal to the brand, then this coffee machine is a no-brainer to add to your collection. Even if you don't own a Smeg product, this Smeg BCC02 Bean-To-Cup Coffee Machine is a great mid-range appliance which includes features like a sophisticated thermo-block heating system to allow faster switch-on times and precise water temperature control for brewing, steam and hot water.

Customer review: "I have used many different bean-to-cup machines over the years and the last few went on to Nespresso. Decided to go back to b2c. After looking around for some time I came across this Smeg one. One of the smaller bean to cup about, modern clean looking well it is Smeg. I read the reviews and the one thing I do agree with is to read the instructions FIRST. I now have mine set just the way I want it, single espresso double espresso and 150cl. The machine heats up quickly so no hanging around, flushes each time it goes on and automatically off. Worth the money and I have tried a few beans from Waitrose and think I will stick to their house blend. Good all around."

Read A Modern Kitchen's full review on the Smeg BCC02 Bean to Cup Coffee Machine.


  • Stylish and compact
  • Quick change between making coffee and steam
  • Removable drip tray


  • Indicator lights are not easy to see

Best coffee pod machine

A seamless and sleek coffee pod machine, the Lavazza A Modo Mia Deséa is definitely the cream of the crop. We love that it has no pouring or splashes, so if you want to create a frothy cappuccino or latte, you can put the milk in the cup and then just add the coffee pod to the machine.

Customer review: "I absolutely love this machine - makes the best cappuccinos and does everything well. You can adjust the amount of milk froth and the temperature which is a major plus. The only thing (and the most frustrating) is that the machine is pretty much useless if you don't have the Lavazza Desea Mug (that comes with it). But you only get one, and as others have mentioned - it's impossible to buy another as they're constantly sold out and you can't get anything similar/ or elsewhere. They're only available on the Lavazza website. So if you accidentally break it, or just want more so you can make cappuccino etc. For others - you can't get another and will have to buy another machine essentially. It's so disappointing when otherwise I'd be in love with everything about this coffee machine."


  • Milk frother
  • Adjustable cup stand
  • Empty tank alarm
  • Touch interface


  • Manual dispenser to fill the mug

Best compact Nespresso coffee machine

The Nespresso Vertuo Pop machines are a vibrant range of compact coffee pod machines that come in a rainbow of colours. Make four different size drinks at the touch of a button: Espresso (40ml), Double Espresso (80ml), Gran Lungo (150ml) and Mug (230ml). The unique Centrifusion™ method of brewing and exclusive Vertuo capsules deliver an exceptional coffee experience.

Our review: "I call the Vertuo Pop the 'Crema of the Cup'. The thick frothy top you get on these decadent coffees is incredible. If you are a coffee lover, I highly recommend trying coffee from the Nespresso Vertuo range. Other benefits that the machine offers include: speed, ease of use, no mess and compact size. Nespresso offer a premium customer journey in every way. I greatly enjoy having my coffee experience curated and get to feel like a connoisseur. There are nods to Italian café culture in the names of the blends and language used to describe the preparation and cup size. The provenance of the beans and the tasting notes is akin to characterising fine wine. From the brilliant simplicity of colour-coded capsules, beautiful graphics and evocative language, Nespresso's attention to detail makes every step of the coffee experience feel like a luxurious treat."

Read A Modern Kitchen's full review on the Nespresso Vertuo Pop.


  • Incredible crema
  • Delicious coffee flavours
  • Fast
  • No mess
  • Compact


  • Compared to other coffee machines, it's expensive to purchase capsules

Best iced coffee machine

Save a fortune on fancy shop-bought frappes, now you can make them at home with the Breville Iced Coffee Maker. The insulated cup and ice cools the coffee quickly so you get a full-flavoured iced coffee that's not at all watered down. Simply add a scoop of your favourite ground coffee, fill the machine with water, and add ice to your tumbler - hey presto - a hot shot of concentrated coffee pours over the ice and cools fast due to the insulated cup retaining the cold. Get creative and add your favourite milk, syrups, squirty cream and sprinkles.

Our review: “I’m such a fan of iced coffee – but not a fan of the price a coffee shop is willing to charge for one. So, an iced coffee maker at home sounded like a solution. For under £30, it’s definitely something to consider if you have a penchant for an iced latte. Not only is it notoriously easy to use with a three-step method, but it’s ready in under four minutes. Though it feels a little on the flimsy side and only has one setting, it makes a fantastic cost-effective alternative to your favourite iced beverage. As soon as the brewed coffee pours directly into the giant tumbler, I’m ready to tackle the day.”


  • Easy to use
  • Makes flavourful iced coffees


  • Some reviews commented that water got inside the insulated wall of their cup

OUR VERDICT: Which Coffee Machine Is Best For Home?

The best coffee machine is the Nespresso Vertuo Next. It's good value and consistently delivers the best-tasting mugs of coffee. The Centrifusion™ brewing process makes a deliciously creamy inch-thick crema that you can instantly enjoy straight from the machine. As you'd expect from Nespresso, the machine feels robust, slick, and well-made. The entire user experience is easy, luxurious and super quick. It's compact, too and fits perfectly on a kitchen counter. After tasting coffee made with the Vertuo capsules and Centrifusion™, it's hard to find another coffee that can compete on incredible taste and convenience.

Nespresso Vertuo Next and Coffee+ capsules
©Photo credit: Natalie Knowles

Coffee Machine Buying Guide

How To Choose A Coffee Machine?

If you're fussed about which coffee machine to go for, think back to the coffee you drink. Do you prefer cappuccino or espresso, for example? This will dictate whether you are looking for the best coffee machine for americano or the best for making a flat white – if you know your beans, then you know the preparation of these two drinks requires different equipment. If you want a stronger flavour, you might want to consider something with ground coffee or whole bean – ideal for espresso and americano. Whole bean is great if you have time to grind your coffee down. Luckily, some machines do that for you. Like a latte? Maybe something with a milk frother would be better.

If you're on a budget, the priority is going to be the price you pay for your new coffee machine. Prices of coffee machines vary; some can be around £40 – others can climb up to £2,000. Make sure you're looking at a few websites and looking for deals. Take into consideration the cost of use – electricity, water and, of course, the coffee. Generally, capsule machines are more expensive to run.

For the best budget range coffee machines (under £200), we recommend Tassimo by Bosch Suny' Special Edition' TAS3102GB Coffee Machine and Nespresso Vertuo Next. For the best mid-range coffee machines (under £300), look at Sage SDC450BSS the Precision Brewer Coffee Maker and De'Longhi EC685.M Dedica Espresso Coffee Machine. And finally, for the best high-end yet under £400 coffee machines, we think the Sage Bambino™ Plus is a super all-encompassing option. Additionally, if you are looking for a high-spec barista-style coffee machine, read our round-up of the best Sage coffee machines.

How much coffee do you drink? Maybe you should take into consideration the amount of coffee you consume on a weekly basis. If you drink a decent amount, you'll want a tank that holds more than 1.5L of water or whole bean, so you don't have to fill it so often. Just for convenience. Whereas, if you're a casual coffee drinker, a capsule machine that brews one cup at a time will be better.

Types Of Coffee Machines:

Filter Coffee Machines - are ideal if you wake up in the morning and need no-frills black coffee to fuel your day. Arguably the most cost-effective and simple to use, the filter machine is a good choice. You can even have control over the strength of your coffee, unlike a pod machine. However, it only makes black coffee, and the measurements can take a while to perfect – so be prepared for some trial and error with your morning cup of Joe.

Capsule or Pod Coffee Machines – are perfect if you're low on counter space and need a quick cup in the morning rush. Often ranging from £50 to £300, they're quick and easy to use. Plus, you'll have a better variety of flavours. However, you can be limited to a certain brand of pod/capsule – and often, buying from a brand can add up. Plus, some of these pods aren't recyclable or compostable. If you like a strong cup of coffee, maybe a filter or bean-to-cup machine will suit you best.

Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines - is a sound investment if you like a strong cup of coffee and want a barista feel to your coffee routine. These machines will be the closest to a fresh coffee shop brew you can get, but they have a high initial cost. However, over time, you will be paying less for your coffee than a pod machine. After all, these machines grind the beans down fresh for your morning cup. They're an all-in-one experience but take up a lot of room and need regular maintenance.

For more guidance, check out our full coffee machine buyer's guide.

Coffee Machine FAQs

What Is Ground Coffee?

Some of the coffee machines included above require ground coffee, not pods of instant coffee.

Unlike instant, ground coffee is a crushed version of a coffee bean. It can make great coffee, but it's not designed to dissolve in hot water. So, it needs to be filtered.

Do Home Coffee Machines Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Amazingly, new research has contextualised that brewing coffee with coffee pods is actually more energy efficient than preparing coffee in a French press. In short, a coffee pod gives a measured portion of coffee of around 7g, whereas we're more likely to over-portion our coffee when we're spooning it into a cafetière. In addition, heating water in a coffee machine is a far more economical and efficient process than boiling a kettle.

Is De'Longhi A Good Brand?

When it comes to coffee De'Longhi reputation precedes them. For authentic Italian espresso, their coffee machines are the crema. Read more about the best De'Longhi coffee machines in our guide.

Are Pod Coffee Machines Worth It?

If you find yourself purchasing coffee every day or having a specific coffee order that can only be made through a pod machine, then absolutely. They allow you to make rich and indulgent coffees from the comfort of your own home.

Are My Pods Recyclable?

This is something that several companies are working on right now to tackle the overwhelming one-use plastic crisis that is currently overwhelming our landfills. Some coffee pods are made from compostable plastic, which means that they will break down in either an industrial composting process or in-home compost. Unfortunately, not all coffee pods are recyclable. There are a few different ways you can recycle coffee pods.

Podback can recycle Nespresso, Nescafe Dolce Gusto and Tassimo pods at no cost.

What Pods Can Fit My Machine?

Always check online to see what the manufacturer recommends and what other shoppers have said. But typically, brands will ensure that dupes of their pods can't be made by using technology, which is a shame.

However, Aldi has a great dupe for the Dolce Gusto range.

You can get coffee on a subscription, too.

How Can I Descale a Coffee Machine?

Run a cycle without a coffee pod and with a commercial descaler with the water instead. But, always read your instructions manual in case they say something different. Some will tell you when they need descaling, though.

Piper Huxley is a Homes, Gardens and Wellness Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in cookware. When she's not cooking up a storm in the kitchen, Piper is re-watching a TV show or listening to a podcast.

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