Automatic Vs. Manual Espresso Machine (Things To Consider)

Last Updated on February 16, 2022 by John Moretti

Home espresso machines are for those who love coffee and who enjoy experimenting with various espresso-based drinks. The only trouble is that these machines are expensive, so buying the right one for you is important. There are two main types ss home espresso machines, automatic and manual machines, but which are better?

Automatic espresso machines are convenient, easy to use, often include a grinder, expensive, and require no skill for brewing good espresso. Manual espresso machines are less expensive and more challenging to use but are more versatile and offer greater control over the espresso that you brew.

Automatic and manual espresso machine both have their own advantages, but they both come with some drawbacks as well. Let’s take the time to explore both types of espresso machines to directly compare their strengths and weaknesses and to help you decide which is better for you.

Automatic Espresso Machines 

Let’s begin with automatic espresso machines, as these machines are becoming more popular in the international market, and many people are seriously considering switching to automatic machines or buying them rather than manual versions.

Automatic espresso machines are a modern innovation that is becoming more accessible to more people. These machines are entirely automatic. All that is required from the user here is to load in the water, coffee beans, and milk. The machine does everything else.

These automatic espresso machines will grind coffee beans to the correct consistency for espresso, pull shots of espresso-based on how much you want to drink or use, and even steam milk to your desired pre-programmed texture, all automatically after the simple press of a button. 

Some machines even have the ability to tamp ground coffee into a portafilter and pour the automatically steamed milk into your mug after it automatically brews the espresso.

Automatic Espresso Machine

These machines are easy to use, convenient, and make decent espresso with almost no effort from the user whatsoever. 

If you are the person who loves espresso and espresso-based drinks but does not want to go through the trouble of pulling espresso shots, learning milk steaming skills, and dialing in the espresso to the ideal ratios of time and brew, then an automatic machine is perfect for you.

Some argue that automatic espresso machines take the soul out of espresso, and the only way to brew truly excellent espresso shots is to take the time to dial in the machine and pull well-timed shots by hand, but if you just want a good cup of coffee without complication or fuss, there is no better way short of going out and buying one.

Automatic espresso machines are typically significantly more expensive than manual machines, and the machines that actually make good coffee are even more expensive still, which is a major factor in whether or not to buy one.

Let’s identify some of the major strengths and weaknesses of automatic espresso machines to better compare them to manual versions.

The Pros And Cons Of Automatic Espresso Machines

The important pros of automatic espresso machines include:

  • Are very convenient to use
  • Are very easy to use
  • Require no barista skills to use
  • Are very capable of making good coffee
  • Steam milk well
  • Often include an automatic coffee grinder
  • Last for a long time

The important cons of automatic espresso machines include:

  • Are very expensive
  • Have more components to clean
  • Do not teach a person any skills
  • Take the human touch out of brewing espresso
  • Are less controllable and versatile than manual machines

Manual Espresso Machines


The other standard option for home espresso machines is the manual variety. These machines are significantly more affordable than the automatic versions of espresso machines, and they are somewhat simpler devices as well.

There are, of course, many models of manual espresso machines available that range from the very cheap and very basic to the highly expensive and highly capable, but most home manual espresso machines are very similar.

Manual espresso machines require the user to master some basic espresso brewing and milk steaming skills to produce the type and quality of coffee drink that most people expect.

These machines are far more complicated to use than automatic machines, and they often require the use of a coffee bean grinder to grind before making coffee, whereas many automatic machines have built-in grinders.

Pulling espresso shots with a manual machine takes some skill, a lot of practice, a good amount of know-how. Properly dialing an espresso machine requires timing, precision, and plenty of patience. 

If you are not looking for a hobby, or if you are not the type of person who can handle complicated tasks before their first cup of coffee, a manual espresso machine is not for you.

However, if you love espresso and espresso-based drinks and enjoy the process of brewing espresso and creating beautiful and delicious espresso drinks, then owning and using a manual espresso machine can be a great joy.

Let’s look at some of the more critical pros and cons of manual espresso machines to better compare them to automatic versions.

The Pros And Cons Of Manual Espresso Machines


The important pros of manual espresso machines include:

  • Are less expensive than automatic machines
  • Are fully controllable
  • Let you control every aspect of your brew
  • Teach users barista skills
  • Have fewer components to clean
  • Are highly versatile.

The important cons of manual espresso machines include:

  • Can often be challenging to use.
  • Require good coffee skills to operate well.
  • Do not often have built-in grinders.
  • Do not last as long as automatic machines.
  • Are not very convenient.
  • Are messy.


At the end of it, all, both automatic and manual espresso machines are capable of making excellent espresso drinks. These machines are useful to own, versatile, and the ideal morning companion for every coffee lover.

Automatic machines are better for the person who loves espresso and espresso-based drinks but does not want to go through the process of making them every day. Manual machines are better for the person who prefers to be in control of every aspect of the brew or who simply has a smaller budget.

Both machines have their place, and which is better for you depends on how involved you want to be with your espresso brewing.