The Best Cappuccino Maker in 2021: 7 Leading Machines Reviewed

Everyone loves a frothy cappuccino, with a fine foamy head that finishes off that espresso shot just perfectly.

How do you choose the best cappuccino maker for you though?

To help you navigate this particular corner of the coffee world, I’ve put together an in-depth guide that will answer all your questions.

(Looking for something else for your morning cup? I have a massive coffee brewing archive that has more to explore!)

Here’s my pick of the best cappuccino makers. You can find a summary of the big winners just below the list, and more detailed reviews of each machine after that:

  1. Breville Barista Express BES870XL – BEST OVERALL
  2. DeLonghi EC155 Espresso And Cappuccino Machine – BEST BUDGET
  3. Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus – BEST POD MACHINE
  4. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso And Cappuccino Maker
  5. Gaggia Classic Pro
  6. DeLonghi Magnifica
  7. Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker

Cappuccino Maker Comparison Summary

If you’re short on time and just need a quick recommendation, here are the cappuccino makers that came out top in my comparisons:

BEST OVERALL – Breville Barista Express BES870XL

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso...
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is...
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right...
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps...

“This is not the first time Breville’s Barista Express espresso machine has taken top spot in one of my review summaries. Compared to the competition it does more things better than just about any other machine. It involves a little more manual effort on your part, but the learning curve is well worth the results.”

BEST BUDGET – DeLonghi EC155

DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino...
  • EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING: 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable...
  • BREW LIKE A PRO: Whatever your preference – single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte – the...
  • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly...

“DeLonghi’s EC155 espresso maker is often recommended for budget brewing and I have to agree. It’s also very beginner-friendly and a compact home cappuccino maker, making it ideal for budget-conscious brewers who don’t have a lot of kitchen space.”

BEST POD MAKER – Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus

Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee...
  • SINGLE SERVE COFFEE AND ESPRESSO MACHINE: The Nespresso Creatista Plus offers freshly brewed coffee as...
  • BARISTA GRADE: Brew different single serve coffee and espresso beverage options at the touch of a button...
  • SMART COFFEE AND ESPRESSO MAKER: Brew a perfect single serve coffee or espresso cup time after time with...

“The Creatista Plus requires a significant upfront investment, but is the best option if you’re a fan of pod-brewing. The are plenty of automatic settings for brew sizes and milk finishes, and the espresso quality is excellent.”

(This article includes affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.)

Cappuccino Machine Reviews

In this next section you’ll find more detailed reviews of the espresso makers I shortlisted for this guide.

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

The Breville BES870XL is one of the go-to machines for those of you who want to develop their coffee skills.

It’s an evergreen favorite, and it features frequently in my round-ups of high-quality espresso machines.

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso...
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is...
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right...
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps...

As well as having a high quality grinder, which helps achieve that crucial even grind, the Barista Express also features advanced PID temperature control.

This adds water to the coffee at just the right temperature, which means the flavor of the beans is extracted with real precision.

Although much of the brewing process is handled automatically by the machine, you will need to manually foam your milk using the built-in wand.

Frankly, this may present a bit of a challenge on your first few attempts!

Once you’ve mastered the process though, you’ll be able to produce really luxurious latte milk. You can even dabble in a little latte art once you can whip up that essential micro foam.

Despite this hands-on approach, the controls are pretty simple on the Barista Express. There’s a dial for choosing the grind size, and a few big blocky buttons to help you select things like double-shots and brew intensity.

Out of the box you get all of the gadgets and gizmos that you’ll need to get started too. These include a portafilter, multi-size filter baskets, and a stainless steel jug for foaming your milk in.

Just be aware that this is a machine that requires a more manual approach than others in this round-up. If you’re looking for the simplest cappuccino maker, then in all honesty this isn’t going to be the right machine for you!

If, on the other hand, you’re ready to flex your muscles and develop your skills then the Barista Express is one of the best all-round espresso / cappuccino machines on the market right now.

Pros

  • Everything you need is included right out of the box.
  • Pressure gauge is great for learning and really helps you drill down on making a better brew.
  • Once you’ve mastered the process, the milk wand makes really good foam.
  • Hot water dispenser is useful for making other drinks like hot chocolate or tea.

Cons

  • A very hands-on espresso machine, which demands a desire to learn on your part. This may be a plus for you!
  • Despite an elegant stainless steel appearance, some components are made of plastic.
  • Requires lots of cleaning to maintain in top working condition.
  • The supplied frothing jug is a little on the small side, and you may want to buy something bigger along with the machine.

DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso And Cappuccino Machine

I’ve yet to find a espresso machine that strikes a better balance between espresso quality and budget better than the DeLonghi’s EC155.

It’s a compact, affordable machine that nevertheless delivers the 15 bar pressure rating that’s so essential for brewing high quality espresso.

DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino...
  • EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING: 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable...
  • BREW LIKE A PRO: Whatever your preference – single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte – the...
  • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly...

It’s possible to tweak the shot extraction somewhat, but overall this is a also a very beginner-friendly espresso machine

The manual frother’s a very simple affair as well. The results are more than good enough, although fine latte art is pushing things a bit far.

With a little practice though, you can can top off both cappuccinos and lattes with a very smooth, very even milk finish.

Handily you can also brew single or double espresso shots just by switching up the three-in-one filter holder.

There’s not a lot of downtime between shots either, as the EC155 works hard to maintain the optimal temperature between multiple shots.

It’s got compatibility for pod brewing too, although do check it’s compatible with your favorite pods before picking it up.

In terms of maintenance, it’s a pretty easy machine to look after. The drip tray and water tank snap out easily enough, and all of the removeable items are dishwasher safe as well.

The numbers don’t lie with this DeLonghi machine, and it’s got nothing less than an army of loyal fans.

If you’re looking to significantly increase your espresso quality on a relative shoestring, it’s an easy recommendation to make.

(You can read my DeLonghi EC155 review elsewhere on Viva Flavor if you’d like more insight.)

Pros

  • A compact machine that’s ideal if you’ve limited kitchen countertop space.
  • Excellent espresso extraction thanks to the 15 bar pressure brewing system.
  • An affordable way to access really impressive espresso at home.
  • Accommodates espresso pods as well as single or double shots.
  • Beginner-friendly, and easy to clean and care for.

Cons

  • Can only accommodate quite small cups (around 2.5 inches clearance).
  • Vibrates a little on the countertop while you’re brewing.
  • The tamper included with the machine is a little too flimsy for the job.
  • Comparatively small water reservoir. If you’re glugging a lot of espresso be prepared to refill often.
  • Limited control options.

Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus

In the world of pod-based espresso brewing, the Creatista Plus is king.

This is not a cheap espresso machine by any means though, and so it’s aimed at those of you who want convenience without compromising on quality.

Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee...
  • SINGLE SERVE COFFEE AND ESPRESSO MACHINE: The Nespresso Creatista Plus offers freshly brewed coffee as...
  • BARISTA GRADE: Brew different single serve coffee and espresso beverage options at the touch of a button...
  • SMART COFFEE AND ESPRESSO MAKER: Brew a perfect single serve coffee or espresso cup time after time with...

As well as offering three separate serving sizes as standard (Ristretto, Espresso and Lungo), you can tweak these volumes to get a personalized brew strength and size.

In addition to these sizes, you also have presets for making lattes, flat whites and – of course – cappuccinos. Just press a few buttons and the machine takes care of the rest.

You’d expect an espresso machine at this end of the market to make exceptional espresso, and I’m not disappointed by the Creatista Plus.

19 bar pump pressure delivers exceptional espresso extraction – even when you consider you’re using pods rather than fresh ground coffee.

In terms of fast brewing I think this is about as good as things get. It takes just a few seconds for the Creatista Plus to heat up, for example, which means a rapid espresso shot every morning.

I have to make a final note on the design and feel of this espresso maker. It’s a gorgeous machine to put out on your counter top – all brushed stainless steel and smooth curves.

It’s got a smart high-resolution display as well, which makes navigating the brewing options very simple.

Pros

  • The end-game for fans of pod-based espresso brewing.
  • 19 bar pressure brewing gets the best possible results out of your espresso pods.
  • Lots of options for brew sizes and milk finishes.
  • Rapid heating up time makes the brewing process even faster.
  • One of the more attractive pod machines you can add to your kitchen.

Cons

  • A hefty price tag might put this out of reach of all but the most enthusiastic pod brewers.
  • Replacement parts – including the water tank – can be tricky to source if you have an accident.
  • Some feel the coffee could brew at a hotter temperature, but this will be a matter of personal taste.

Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso And Cappuccino Maker

The Mr Coffee  Cafe Barista machine is much easier to use than some of the more advanced machines in this guide, and is another very popular option.

Sale
Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker |...
  • Semi automatic 3 in 1 espresso maker, cappuccino maker, and latte maker
  • 15 Bar Pump System Brews Rich Tasting Espresso Coffee
  • Trouble Free Automatic Milk Frother Removes the Guesswork. Do not wash the water reservoir in the...

It’s also a much better choice for those of you working to a smaller budget, but who still want a great cappuccino!

It’s a less hands-on coffee maker overall, with a milk frother that handles the entire foaming process for you.

If you know that you’ll never want to take manual control of this part of your cappuccino crafting, then it’s a really good option.

It has a very simple interface as well, with just a handful of buttons for selecting things like the froth size you want for your cappuccino, and the number of espresso shots.

That milk container is front-loaded as well, which means it easy to take out and top up.

Just be aware that there is no grinder of any kind built into this machine, and so your only option is to use pre-ground coffee.

That helps keep the machine affordable, of course, but it does mean you won’t get the best possible espresso shot from a machine like this.

It’s a very simple offering, then, but I can’t knock the quality of the cappuccino it cooks up.

Overall I think it’s a really good option if you’re after very good coffee, want the machine to do all the hard work, and you don’t want to break the bank in the process.

(Have a read of my Mr Coffee Cafe Barista review for more information about this cappuccino maker.)

Pros

  • A very simple machine that nevertheless produces a pretty decent cappuccino.
  • Automatic milk frother creates good quality foam.
  • 15 bar pressure produces a very good espresso shot.
  • Overall a great starter machine.

Cons

  • Limited customization options, with a greater focus on clarity and convenience instead.
  • For best results, I’d recommend buying a separate grinder and using fresh coffee beans.
  • Takes a little bit of practice to get the right amount of pressure when packing your grounds.

Gaggia Classic

Like the Barista Express I reviewed earlier on in this guide, the Gaggia Classic is another very popular espresso machine for making top-notch cappuccinos.

Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso...
  • Rugged Brushed Stainless Steel housing
  • Commercial three-way solenoid valve. Capacity water tank - 2,1 liter
  • Commercial-style 58mm chrome-plated brass portability and brew group

It has a much more industrial looking design though, and it’s one that I personally find a little off-putting if I’m honest.

You will, of course, have your own preferences when it comes to the aesthetics of your kitchen equipment.

The good news for everyone though is that it makes extremely good espresso shots. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given Gaggia’s reputation for producing killer coffee machines.

Many of the brewing elements included in the Classic are the same as you’d find in a coffee shop.

The 58mm portafilter is a notable element here, ensuring a fantastic shot of espresso that’s – theoretically – as good as anything you’ll get commercially.

This is another machine that comes with a manual steaming wand, and so you’ll need to be ready to roll your sleeves up and make your own cappuccino foam.

If you want to make lattes as well, the wand does a good job of creating that super-smooth micro foam.

There’s no built-in grinder here. For that reason you’ll need to either buy a dedicated grinder separately, or make use of pre-ground coffee.

The Gaggia Classic can also accommodate Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods. Think of them as little tea bags, but for coffee!

If you’re after a hands-on cappuccino brewing experience from one of the industry’s most reliable manufacturers, the Classic is a very good option.

(My Gaggia Classic review takes a closer look at a machine that’s built a loyal audience over decades!)

Pros

  • High quality, commercial-grade brewing components.
  • A very good milk foaming wand – one that’s much improved on the original machine.
  • Clever pump mounting minimizes brewing noise.
  • The Gaggia brand is highly regarded and this machine has a long lifespan.

Cons

  • A rather blunt and industrial design aesthetic overall.
  • Shallow dispenser height limits cup sizes.
  • Extra accessories required to get the most out of the machine.
  • Very simplistic controls and brewing options.

DeLonghi ECAM23260SB Magnifica

Delonghi’s cappuccino maker is one of the more advanced automatic machines I’m reviewing for this round-up.

It’s important to know in advance that all the bells and whistles it packs in come at a premium.

Sale
De'Longhi Magnifica Smart Espresso &...
  • The double shot feature makes your preferred drink, Just taller! It doubles the amount of Coffee and milk
  • Integrated STAINLESS steel burr grinder with 13 adjustable settings for whole beans and second chamber...
  • Maintenance: de’longhi machines require half the cleaning time of other brands, unlike competitor...

One of those advanced features is very fine control over the coarseness of your bean grind.

A grinder is built into the machine, which means you get very consistent grinds, which results in a more evenly flavored cup of coffee. Overall it brews pretty consistently too.

There are thirteen different grind size options in total, but you can also bypass the grinding process altogether if you wish.

If you want to use some of your existing pre-ground coffee (for a decaf cup, say), then you just add it to the second chamber. You don’t have to scoop everything out of the bean hopper, just to grab a quick cup of something else.

The ECAM machine also has two separate boilers: one for heating the espresso and one for heating the milk.

The advantage of this is that both elements of the drink are heated optimally, which means a better overall coffee experience.

As for the water reservoir, you can fill the machine with up to 60oz of water between refills. That’s not the biggest tank on the market, although it’s pretty generous and should be good for around half a dozen drinks.

Despite the machine’s relatively advanced features, it’s pretty simple to use.

A selection of push buttons are used to select the various brewing options, which light up clearly on the front. It’s not as intimidating as it looks at first glance!

As for the quality of the milk foam, DeLonghi’s machine makes use of some clever, bespoke LatteCrema tech. This does a good job of producing dense foam that doesn’t just whisper away the moment you put your lips to the cup.

Pros

  • Warms up from a cold start in around five minutes.
  • Detachable milk reservoir can be placed in the refrigerator.
  • A decent selection of coffee strengths to choose from.
  • Useful self-cleaning regime built-in to keep the machine in good working order.
  • Initial water hardness test helps establish the right descaling schedule.

Cons

  • Self-cleaning cycle gets through a fair bit of the water reservoir.
  • Hopper requires a bit of rummaging around to keep the coffee beans moving.
  • Even a simple digital screen would have removed some of the interface clutter.
  • Coffee may not be hot enough for some purists.
  • The quality of the crema on espresso shots leaves a little to be desired.

Ninja Speciality Coffee Maker

Like the Mr Coffee machine featured earlier on this guide, Ninja’s Specialty Coffee Maker is designed for beginners who value convenience as much as they do quality in their cappuccinos.

Sale
Ninja Specialty with 50 Oz Glass Carafe,...
  • SPECIALTY BREW: Brew super-rich coffee concentrate that you can use to create delicious lattes,...
  • ICED COFFEE: Brew fresh over ice for flavorful iced coffee that's never watered down.
  • 6 BREW SIZES: Brew anything from a single cup or travel size to a half carafe or a full carafe in your...

The coffee concentrate produced by Ninja’s machine is very rich and is good not only for cappuccinos, but also for drinks like lattes and macchiatos. If you’re after a machine that provides a lot of versatility, it’s an excellent option.

There are two distinct brewing options to play with as well. If you want a really punchy shot you can opt for the Rich Brew setting, which works the coffee harder, while Classic makes a more balanced drink.

I really like the design of the machine as well. In particular, the milk frother is designed to fold away, which helps to reduce the machine’s space requirements. The frother isn’t the best in the world, but it does a good enough job for cappuccinos.

Another very welcome inclusion is the adjustable cup height. You can get a huge array of cups, travel mugs and carafes under this thing, so it’s ready for pretty much any occasion. This kind of flexibility is not at all common, so top marks to Ninja on that front.

Unusually for a machine at this end of the market, it’s also certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). They don’t give their mark of approval easily, and a machine with this label is guaranteed to brew coffee at the optimal temperature for maximum flavor extraction.

Again though, there’s no grinder built into the machine. You’ll need a separate, dedicated grinder or be happy to stick with pre-ground coffee.

Pros

  • A very versatile home cappuccino machine that’s designed to pack a lot into a small appliance.
  • Carafe included for when you need to entertain (or just brew a big personal batch)
  • Can be programmed in advance. Set your first cup of the morning up the night before!
  • Easy to use settings for whatever size and strength coffee you want to brew.

Cons

  • Largely plastic-constructed but feels durable.
  • Despite its clever design it’s a little on the tall side. Check it will fit underneath your cabinets first.
  • Carafe cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher and it can be tricky to get at the insides.
  • Brew head gets gunked up quickly and will require frequent cleaning.

Verdict

Overall I think the Breville BES870XL Barista Express is the best option for anyone looking to improve their home cappuccino making.

The built-in grinder does a great job of preparing your fresh beans, which is the most important element of starting a high quality espresso brew.

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso...
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is...
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right...
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps...

Fine temperature control ensures optimal extraction, and the foam wand produces an excellent finishing touch. Yes, you need a little practice to master that wand, but I think the results are worth a little hands-on involvement.

You get really good espresso for little effort, and you’ve also got some room to spread your wings and develop your own personal touches over time.

This machine frequently features in my recommendations, and for cappuccino brewing it once again comes out on top.

Click here to find out more about the machine, and read how its many owners have been getting on with it.

Cappuccino in a blue cup on a wooden bench

What I Look For In A Cappuccino Maker

When it comes to choosing a cappuccino maker, there are a few things that you should think about before settling on a machine.

Will You Make More Than Just Cappuccinos?

Obviously a great cappuccino is of primary importance here. That said, most machines will also be capable of making a lovely latte for you too – to name just one example.

Different drinks need different milk finishes though, so it’s worth thinking about how much versatility you need from the machine.

An all-in-one maker will do a pretty good job on all fronts, but probably not the best.

If you opt for a machine that has a manual frothing wand though, you’ll have more control over the texture of the milk.

How Much Control Can You Handle?

That leads naturally onto the next point. How are your barista skills, and how much fine control do you want over the process?

Some espresso machines take over much of the brewing process for you. You add your beans or coffee grounds, you choose your settings, and then it’s all hands-off from that point.

If you still want to be able to tamp down your coffee grinders and handle other elements of the process though, make sure the machine gives you that flexibility.

As for the frothing side of things you have a few options.

A dedicated steam wand will let you manually steam the milk yourself. This allows you to get the consistency of the foam just right for the drink in question.

That, of course, also requires you to develop a few new skills!

I would say though that none of this stuff is beyond the reach of most people, and shouldn’t be something that puts you off. Even if your first few attempts are a little wanting, you will pick this stuff up quite quickly.

Elsewhere on the site I’ve written a guide to steaming and foaming milk – give that a look if you need some starting tips.

Close up shot of coffee grounds in an espresso maker puck

Grab A Grinder Separately If Necessary

For the average coffee drinker, pre-ground coffee does a pretty good job of delivering a decent drink.

The problem though is that coffee begins to lose its rich aromas and flavors as soon as you’ve finished grinding it. Even when packaged well it’s a compromised experience.

If you use whole beans and grind them as they’re needed though, you’re setting them up for the best possible extraction.

Some of the machines featured in this article have built-in grinders. All you have to do is add your beans to the bean hopper, then choose your settings.

(A burr grinder is particularly useful here, as it ensures the beans are ground more evenly, which results in a richer brew.)

These sorts of machines tend to sit at the higher end of the market though, but all is not lost if you choose a machine without this functionality!

There are some great dedicated grinders on the market that won’t break the bank. If you’re picking one up separately, I recommend splashing out on a burr grinder if it’s at all possible.

Be Realistic About Your Budget

In general, you’ll pay more for a manual control (or semi-automatic) machine, then you will for an automatic machine.

If you’re only drinking the occasional cappuccino and you just want a very good – rather than outstanding – drink without too much hassle, an automatic machine is the way to go.

As these are typically cheaper to get started with, you can then work your way up into a more advanced machine. That’s if you feel it’s justified in terms of your time, skills and money.