If you’ve decided to invest in a coffee machine, we’ve got advice on how to make your money go further.
The first thing to figure out though is what sort of coffee machine you’re looking for. There are four main categories, and which is right to you will depend on your taste, your budget, and how much effort you want to put into your morning brew.
Manual espresso machines
The coffee aficionado’s obsessive’s machine of choice, home espresso makers rely on highly pressurised steam to produce shots of espresso, which you can then mix with milk or water for longer drinks. Most will include a hot water dispenser and a milk wand for just this purpose. A manual espresso machine is probably the way to get the absolute best coffee at home, but it’s messy and time-consuming, and it may take some patience to learn how to make it just right.
To see which machines we rate the highest, have a look at our round-up of the best espresso machines we’ve reviewed.
If that sounds like a lot of work, you might prefer a bean-to-cup machine. These are essentially automatic espresso machines: you just add the beans, hit a button, and the machine will grind, heat, and brew, delivering you a shot of espresso with minimal effort. There is one big downside: you’ll have to pay for all that tech, with good bean-to-cup machines starting around $400/£400 and often climbing to well over $1,000/£1,000. We’ve included some in our chart of the best coffee machines.
Aficionados may recoil, but capsule machines are a great option if you want something quick and easy. If it’s espresso you’re after, opt for a Nespresso or a Lavazza espresso maker. If you prefer a wide selection of sweet and milky drinks, you’ll probably get the most from a Nescafe Dolce Gusto or a Tassimo machine, which also make hot chocolate and flavoured coffee drinks.
You’ll also get a lot of choice, with higher end machines including more brewing options, milk wands, and even smart functionality. Just remember that capsules from different brands are rarely interchangeable. Once you buy a pod coffee machine, you’re locked into that type of capsule for the life of the machine, so it’s important that you enjoy them.
We’ve tested some of the best from each brand in our round-of of the best pod coffee machines.
Finally, if you just want no-frills black coffee, you might want a filter machine. The old office staple is still a great choice, especially if you need to make coffee for lots of people at once, and the machines are often friendlier on your wallet. Look out for how long the machine can keep coffee warm after its brewed, how many cups it can make at once, and whether it has the option to schedule coffee to brew at set times – or even smart functionality so you can set it to brew remotely.
We’ve reviewed two budget-friendly filter coffee machines from Russell Hobbs: the Buckingham and the Chester Grind and Brew.
Where to find coffee machine sales, deals & discounts
Coffee pod subscription deals
One of the best ways to get a deeply discounted coffee machine is to sign up for a coffee pod subscription service. Those from Lavazza and Nespresso are among the best. If you can make time to do some back-of-the-envelope calculations to work out how much coffee you drink, a coffee pod subscription is a convenient, zero-effort way of ensuring you never run out of the good stuff.
Lavazza in the UK has a regular deal that’s probably the best available. Sign up to a Lavazza pod coffee subscription and choose a Lavazza coffee machine worth up to £199 for just £1. Options tend to include the gorgeous Lavazza a Modo Mio Smeg, the Desea, the Jolie & Milk and the Voicy – which comes with an inbuilt Amazon Alexa smart speaker. We’d recommend them wholeheartedly.
If you’re in the US, Lavazza also runs a regular subscription deal. If you subscribe to Lavazza coffee capsule delivery, you can usually get the Classy Plus machine discounted by around half (saving you over $100). It’s a good deal – just not as tempting as the huge UK discount.
If you’re a Nespresso drinker in the UK, you can sign up for a Nespresso pod subscription and get a Nespresso Vertuo Next or the petite Nespresso Vertuo Pop at a huge discount. We’ve reviewed the Vertuo Next and it’s stylish and easy to use.
The only snag here is that, if the subscription deal isn’t currently running, you’ll have to wait until it starts up again. However, it happens several times a year, so it’s well worth it if you’re on a budget. The only thing to bear in mind is that if there are compatible, generic pods you can use with your machine, you’ll miss out on this saving by going with a branded subscription service.
You’ll be able to find savings on coffee machines from plenty of online retailers. If you visit an online home and appliances retailer at any time and search “sale” and then filter for coffee machines, you’ll always be able to find an appliance or two on sale. We’d caution you to then do a general search for the machine to make sure that the saving is real.
The best discounts you’ll find are when a retailer is getting rid of the last of their stock of a particular model – but sometimes they’ll artificially raise and lower prices to generate interest and make a deal seem better. A general search of the make and model of machine at different retailers will tell you if the saving is real.
As with most things, Amazon is one of the best places to look first, especially if you look in the Deals of the Day. These discounts offered for a limited time (often for a few hours only), or until stocks run out – they’re also known as Lightning Deals.
We’d recommend signing up to Amazon’s 30 day free trial of Prime, which will not only get you access to Lightning deals 30 minutes earlier than non-Prime members, but will also get you free next-day delivery. Plus, you’ll get access to Prime Video, which you can access through your smart TV, and other benefits during your trial, too.
Otherwise, you can wait for a sales period to come along. Sales periods for home appliances are regular: at Easter; over summer; on Prime Day, when other retailers will match Amazon’s discounts; in the run-up to Black Friday, on the day itself and on Cyber Monday; then finally during the Christmas and January sales.
Again, if you spot a machine that looks to be deeply discounted, we would always advise checking its price on other sites. If you’re looking at a product on amazon, you can use Camelcamelcamel to see its price history.