So, who comes out on top: Gaggia or Breville espresso machines?
There’s no denying these two are both frontrunners in the espresso industry, but deciding which one to pick can be tricky.
To help you make your decision, we’ve put their best machines head-to-head.
Our overall pick definitely goes to Breville. But, a Gaggia model is better suited for those new to the world of espresso-making.
We’ll be diving into all the details you need to know to choose the best espresso maker for you.
The Gaggia Vs Breville Brands Reviewed
Breville Espresso Machines
Founded in Australia in 1932, Breville has been a leader in the industry for over 85 years now. This company has built up a respected reputation amongst all espresso-lovers.
Breville ensures optimal espresso extraction. With precise temperature control and pressure gauge, a Breville machine is guaranteed to impress even the most experienced espresso maker.
Our favorite Breville pick is the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. This semi-automatic machine shows off everything that Breville has to offer. It’s capable of brewing a very professional, barista-style cup of coffee.
We really appreciate its built-in stainless steel conical burr grinder. This comes with an impressive range of 16 grind settings. The Breville Barista Express allows for a precise grind that goes straight into its portafilter, giving you the perfect cup!
Another great feature is the Breville infuser. The coffee grounds expand and moisten before water is pushed through the ground. This goes a long way to improve the quality of your espresso shot.
Aside from its sturdy stainless steel frame, Breville’s sleek steam wand and large bean hopper give it a stylish finish. The Barista Express is sure to get glowing customer reviews no matter where you look!
Every semi-automatic machine has a learning curve. Unfortunately, this model can be a bit trickier to figure out for beginners compared to its Gaggia competitor.
If you’re an espresso expert searching for a delicious café-style cup, then this model is perfect for you!
Gaggia Espresso Makers
Gaggia is an Italian company founded in 1947 that specializes in coffee and espresso makers. With its large following of loyal customers, it’s no surprise that Gaggia’s Classic Pro has a reputation as the best entry-level espresso machine.
You can always count on Gaggia for a time-tested, quality espresso machine. They are dedicated to manufacturing coffee machines that give you consistently high-quality brews.
Plus, the company has outstanding customer support service in case you run into any trouble.
The Classic Pro is our favorite Gaggia model, showcasing an incredibly convenient and user-friendly Gaggia design. Its simple design has only three switches. In addition, it has both pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets that are compatible with ESE pods.
Standing at only 8 inches wide, you won’t have any issues finding a snug spot in your kitchen for this compact machine.
The Gaggia Classic Pro also boasts a commercial steam wand and 58mm filter basket, which is very impressive for machines in this price range. These features allow for a deliciously brewed espresso.
A major drawback to any Gaggia machine is that it lacks a built-in grinder. As a result, you’ll need to grind the coffee beans separately which also means there are no programmable brewing options.
Another downside is that Gaggia also only offers a single boiler which means that you can’t steam milk and brew espresso at the same time. A dual boiler is the better option for time-saving coffee.
Despite its drawbacks, Gaggia offers a refreshingly simple design and we highly recommend it for those looking to learn the art of espresso!
Face to Face: Breville vs Gaggia
Breville and Gaggia are popular and well-respected names. They both manufacture quality semi-automatic espresso machines.
Breville and Gaggia are both trustworthy companies. They have offered outstanding customer service for many decades now. Gaggia machines come with a two-year warranty though, whereas Breville only offers one-year warranties.
At around the same price range, they have each built up a strong fanbase of satisfied customers. Both machines feature an impressive range of functions rarely offered within this low price bracket.
Our favorite shared feature of the two machines is their commercial steam wands. Gaggia machines feature a simple and convenient Pannarello wand, which is great for beginners. Breville models use a standard commercial-style steam wand. It’s smaller and gives you more control over how you make your frothed milk.
Related: Best Commercial Espresso Machine
Another impressive shared feature is their portafilters. They both offer single and double-sized shot basket options. These two machines can cater to everyone’s strength preferences.
Plus, they both use a 3-way solenoid valve for extracting dry puck. The puck, which is the ground coffee inside the portafilter, is much easier to remove when it’s very dry.
The two brands feature machines with removable water tanks which give you easy access to refill the water. It’s worth noting the difference in water capacity between the two though. With the Classic Pro’s 72 oz. water tank capacity and the Barista Express’s 67 oz. capacity, you won’t have to re-fill the Classic Pro as often.
Both Breville and Gaggia machines have similar cleaning procedures and are easy to maintain. Beville definitely comes out top in this category though. The Barista Express has automatic cleaning alerts for the drip tray and tank cleaning will come in handy!
As a bonus, straight espresso isn’t the only beverage these machines are limited to! Both models feature hot water dispensers for the occasional Americano or herbal tea. For lattes and cappuccinos, you can use their steam wands to get perfectly frothed milk.
Related: Best Nespresso Machine for Lattes
Stand Out Features
This is the biggest advantage Breville has over Gaggia. With a built-in grinder, Breville offers machines that conveniently grind fresh coffee for you every time.
Gaggia machines unfortunately require you to buy a separate grinder.
Another favorite Breville feature of ours is its PID technology. This allows you to manually control the perfect temperature throughout the brewing process.
Gaggia doesn’t offer PID controllers, so you won’t be able to experiment with brew temperatures.
Water heating technology
Breville boasts a superior thermocoil heating system. It pumps your water through a heated coil to quickly reach the highest consistent heat.
We found Gaggia’s heating technology to be slower. This is due to its longer warm-up time required before brewing.
Ease of Use
Gaggia offers a simpler design, making it more convenient and easier to use. If you’re a beginner coffee maker or you’re just after convenience, then Gaggia is your best bet.
But if you’re looking for a more professional, hands-on brew, then the Breville is the one for you. While Breville machines are more complex, they provide a lot of customization ability in the brewing process.
While the two brands both offer semi-automatic machines, Breville’s models are a lot more automated than the Gaggia. The Breville offers a wide range of programmable grind and brew options. Its competitor’s models aren’t programmable at all.
Breville machines come with automatic reminders for cleaning. It’s an excellent feature for convenience. There are light-up buttons that or show when you should empty the drip tray and clean the water tank.
Gaggia unfortunately doesn’t offer any automatic indicators, making Breville an easy winner in this department.
Breville’s timed drip feature lets you to simply press a button, giving you the exact volume every single time. This is yet another advantage of buying a Breville model.
Gaggia requires you to time the drips yourself, so you’ll have to pay attention to avoid spilling!
Breville’s pressure gauge easily sets it apart from Gaggia’s model. The front dial allows you to check the pressure throughout the brewing process to get it spot on.
We found that the Gaggia Classic’s internal pressure calibration wasn’t up to the same standard, making Breville a clear winner here.
Another superior feature of Breville is its pre-infusion regulation.
When tamping your coffee ground into the portafilter, air pockets or clumps can form. This changes the consistency of the puck. The Breville avoids this thanks to its unique automatic tamping technique.
Gaggia comes out on top here. Gaggia’s machine uses a standard portafilter size of 58mm. This portafilter is very easy to find in case you need to replace them.
On the other hand, Breville uses a 54mm portafilter. These tend to be more difficult to find in stores.
Breville makers are all-in-one machines. This means that it’s harder to upgrade or replace individual parts. You’ll have to replace the entire unit if anything gets damaged.
Gaggia’s models are a lot more versatile when it comes to modifications and repair. This makes Gaggia a clear winner if you’re wanting to add your own mods to your coffee maker.
Breville’s machines have a far more elegant build design. But this is only if you’re wanting a more stylish and sleek appliance for your kitchen counter aesthetic.
Our Final Verdict
At the end of the day, both the Breville and Gaggia machines are excellent choices with their unique advantages.
Our top pick is definitely Breville.
With that said, your choice between the two should be made based on what you’re looking for in a machine.
Use a Breville espresso machine if:
- You are an experienced espresso maker
- You are looking for a more automatic, programmable brewing process
- You are looking to experiment with brew temperature and strength
- You don’t want to buy a separate coffee grinder
Beville is an obvious choice for experienced brewers looking to make the perfect homemade espresso. Our favorite choice being the Breville Barista Express.
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Use a Gaggia espresso machine if:
- You are a beginner espresso maker
- You want a simple and more convenient machine
- You are looking for a more compact design
- You want to easily modify your espresso machine
Gaggia is the best choice for those wanting a simple, no-frills design that is easy to get familiar with. Our favorite model of which is the Gaggia Classic Pro.
Related: Gaggia Espresso Machine Reviews
Out of all semi-automatic machines on the market, we think we’ve got the two best options covered here.
Now go ahead and get brewing!