Automatics Under $500

Smeg ECF01 vs. DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine – Which Is Best To Buy?

DeLonghi’s Dedica has been a popular choice for a beginner’s semi-manual espresso machine. It’s a user-friendly machine that can give you nice professional results. It’s also a great, budget-friendly machine for a beginner at-home barista.

Smeg, the Italian brand famous for its retro-style home appliances, also makes an espresso machine similar in features to the DeLonghi Dedica.

So if you happen to be in the market for a similar espresso machine and looking at these two brands, here’s a comparison between the two.

To start, let’s look at the features of each espresso machine…

Smeg Espresso Machine

Smeg Espresso Machine Black ECF01 BLUS
  • TECHNICAL: The Smeg Espresso Coffee Machine has 15 Bar Pressure with a Thermoblock heating system. Uses stainless steel filter holder for powder coffee or paper pods. Features a user-friendly control panel, removable drip-tray for mugs accommodation, and anti-slip feet. Contains a 1 liter removable water tank with optional water filters and includes 3 filters (1 cup, 2 cups, and paper pods).
  • FINISHING: Stainless steel wrap and plastic painted housing. Stainless steel cup holder and passive cup warmer. Chrome zamak steam lever and chromve plated base. 3D Logo.
  • FUNCTIONS: Includes a 1 cup button and 2 cup button and a steam option. Adjustable Cappuccino system, flow stop function to customize your coffee length, adjustable coffee temperature and water hardness, descaling light indicator, On/Off button with automatic stand-by, and can be used as a hot water dispenser.
  • SPECIFICATIONS: 120V, 60Hz, 1300W, the cord length is 1 meter, Slim dimensions: 12" x 13" x 6", 11lbs

The most noticeable thing about the Smeg espresso maker is its design. It has a 50s retro style design that you’ll certainly love looking at on your kitchen counter.

Looks aside, the machine is equipped with a 15-bar pressure pump, which is pretty standard for most espresso machine. It has a single thermoblock heating system, so there’s going to be a bit of a wait between espresso extraction and using the steam wand for frothing milk.

The exterior of the espresso machine, while it looks nice and shiny, is actually made of plastic. So that’s a bit of a letdown for me.

Operating the machine is quite simple. You have three buttons: single-shot, double-shot and steam. The shot volumes are already programmed, but you have the ability to reprogram them with your own choice of volumes. On the side, you’ll find the wand for steaming and frothing the milk. On the back of the machine, you’ll find a 1-Liter capacity water reservoir.

Included with the Smeg espresso machine three basket filters for a single shot, double shot or e.s.e pods. It also comes with a tamper. Top of the machine features a space to keep your cups.

Smeg espresso machine is made in China and it’s available in several colors.

DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine

De'Longhi EC680M Espresso, Stainless Steel, Metallic
  • EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING: 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable controls allow you to make modifications for your personal taste preferences. NOTE: Kindly descale the unit so that it is clean and can function properly.
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Removable water tank and drip tray make for easy cleanup, and the parts are dishwasher safe.
  • BREW LIKE A PRO: Whatever your preference – single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte – the machine brews authentic barista-quality beverages just like you enjoy at your favorite coffeehouse.
  • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks – just the way you like them.
  • EASY TO USE: The machine does most of the work for you. The Automatic Flow Stop feature dispenses just the right amount of espresso while maintaining the ideal brewing temperature.

Dedica’s specs are not much different than Smeg’s espresso machine. It has a 15-bar pump pressure and a single stainless steel thermoblock heating system, too. On the front panel of the machine, you’ll find three buttons: single-shot, double-shot and steam. All shots are pre-set and reprogrammable. The included portafilter also comes with three basket filters for a single-shot, double shot and for a e.s.e pods. So far, it’s identical in specs to Smeg’s espresso machine.

Let’s talk about design. The Dedica has a slim design, which the Smeg also has. But the Dedica has a full stainless steel housing, which gives it a stronger and more durable body that the Smeg. On top, there’s a flat space where you can keep your glasses to keep them warm before use.

DeLonghi Dedica is also made in China and available in several colors.

The Difference Between Smeg EFC01 vs DeLonghi Dedica

When it comes to specifications, these two machines are identical. So when it comes to function and usability, you should expect the same quality from both brands.

Now let’s talk about quality and value in terms of price. Smeg’s espresso machine has a rather beautiful design. It’s an iconic design and it’s the reason why most people opt for Smeg’s appliances. However, they don’t come cheap. The fact that the espresso machine’s housing is made of plastic is disappointing to me. For the price, it should have a housing of higher quality material.

On the other hand, DeLonghi’s Dedica, which also has a nice sleek design, has a full stainless steel housing and it cost about $200 LESS than the Smeg (as of the time of writing – as prices keep changing, always check for the latest price).

Which Do You Buy?

If you opt for the Smeg espresso machine, then know that you’re paying for design only. If you’re a fan of the iconic retro design Smeg offers and don’t mind its price, then go for it. In my opinion, the machine is not worth its price, but I do understand if a design enthusiast wouldn’t mind paying just for its looks.

In terms of value, the DeLonghi Dedica makes a much better choice. It has the same specs and it’s made of better materials which makes it more durable.

Nespresso Pixie vs. Citiz Comparison: Which Machine to Buy?

A Nespresso machine is the ultimate convenient automatic espresso machine that uses Capsules to create the perfect cup of espresso every time. Not only is it compact in size, very quick and convenient, it only requires you to insert a capsule and push a button and you’ve got yourself an espresso cup within seconds.

Which Nespresso Machine Is Best To Buy?

Here’s the gist of it…

– If you want the best manufactured machine (but smallest water tank, on the down side), the Pixie is the only machine made in Switzerland. (some newer models may not be though, kindly check before buying).

– If you want the largest water reservoir, and an option to have an integrated Aeroccino milk frother, the CitiZ is your machine!

Read on for more details…

Features of Nespresso Pixie:

Nespresso C60 Pixie Espresso Maker


  • 24 ounce water reservoir.
  • 2 reprogrammable cup sizes for espresso or lungo.
  • Drip tray folds up to hold different cup sizes.
  • Capsules container holds up to 12 used capsules.
  • Backlight indicators for empty water tank or full used capsule drawer.
  • Power cord storage.
  • The Nespresso Pixie is the only Nespresso machine made in Switzerland.
  • Measurement: 12.83-Inch length by 4.33-Inch width by 9-1/4-Inch height
  • Available in Electric Titan (pictured above), Aluminum or Titan.

Pixie C60 vs. D60, Is There a Difference?

You might notice that some Pixie machines are labeled C60 and other D60, is there a difference between them? No, not at all. These numbers only reference slight model differences and colors, and does not affect the quality or performance of the machine at all. Simply choose the one that looks best to you.

Pixie by DeLonghi or Pixie by Breville? What’s The Difference?

Another variation you might find is that some Pixie (or even other Nespresso models) are sold under the Breville brand and others under the DeLonghi brand. There are no actual difference between them. Nespresso partnered with these brands to help them with distribution of their machines, and these labels are only to let you know which brand made your machine. But you’re still getting the same Nespresso no matter what.

Click here to read more about the Nespresso Pixie and read customer reviews.


Video Review:

Features of Nespresso CitiZ:

Nespresso CitiZ C110 Espresso Maker


  • 33 3/4 ounce water reservoir. The largest on a Nespresso OriginalLine machine.
  • 2 reprogrammable cup sizes: espresso and lungo.
  • Folding drip tray.
  • Used capsules container.
  • Available in Red, black, silver, white.
  • measurement: 8-Inches by 13-1/2 inches by 10 inches

Click here to learn more about Nespresso Citiz and read customer reviews.


Video Review:

What Is The Difference Between Pixie and Citiz?

Reservoir Size:

Pixie has a 24 oz water reservoir, CitiZ has a 33 oz reservoir.


There’s difference in design of both machines that won’t affect the actual performance of it, but might make a difference to you or your kitchen decor. The difference is in the colors, side panels and the bar in which the machine opens/closes the lid.

The Pixie has metal side panels which gives it a more premium feel. It’s also the only machine with backlight indicators for empty water reservoir and full capsule drawer. It will turn from blue to red to let you know it’s time to check up on these two things.

On the other hand, the CitiZ has a nice design, but it lacks the premium materials of the Pixie as it’s mostly made of plastic. But it does have a larger water reservoir which is quite a useful thing.

Country of Origin:

CitiZ is made in China, Pixie is made in Switzerland.

Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother:

Aeroccino is Nespresso’s electric milk frother that heats and froths milk for making Cappuccino or Latte. It includes two whisks for creating different density of milk froth and it can make hot or cold froth. When buying a Nespresso machine, you have the option to buy it as a stand alone or bundled with this milk frother. If you’re planning on making milk based drinks, then we highly recommend that you include it with your purchase.

Learn more about Nespresso’s Milk Frother here.

Common Questions About Nespresso Machines:

Can I Use Any Other type of Coffee Capsules with Nespresso Machines? (K-Cups, Starbucks Verismo… etc.)

No, you can’t. Nespresso machines are compatible with their own capsules/pods only.

Can I use the Same Capsules For More Than Once?

Each Nespresso capsules is pre-measured with the exact amount of coffee ground you need for a perfect cup of Espresso or Lungo. Technically, You can hit the brew button twice on the same pod before you’ve ejected it, but that won’t be a good idea. The coffee will not taste good as you’ve already spent the coffee ground inside the capsule on the first shot. So we really don’t recommend doing this.

Can I use My Own Coffee Ground with Nespresso Machines?

There are non-official refillable Nespresso capsules that you can use to brew your own coffee ground, however, they’re not recommended. These capsules, manufactured by companies other than Nespresso, can actually harm your machine. Also, chances are, you won’t get the measurements or coffee ground right or as good as Nespresso makes them, which can negatively affect your experience.

Can I Make Tea with Nespresso?

Surprisingly, you can! Not officially though. There’s a company that makes tea pods that are available for Nespresso machines, which you can learn more about here.

Where Will I Buy Nespresso Pods From?

There’s available online at Nespresso or Amazon. They’re slightly more expensive on Amazon, but you’re not restricted to buying in quantities of 10 like at Nespresso’s website. They’re also available at Nespresso Boutiques available worldwide. Learn more about buying the capsules here.

Is There a Difference Between the Pixie C60 and D60? Or the U D50 and C50?

Not in the way the machines function. The names refer to slight aesthetic differences in the coffee spout or available color only. For example, the C60 is available in Titanium and Chrome, and the side panels look differently than the D60 which has a smooth side panel and is available in colors like red, green and blue.

Breville Bambino Plus Review and Comparisons

Breville is at it again with an espresso machine that is stunning as it is easy to use. We’re no strangers to espresso machines by Breville. An all time favorite is the Breville Barista Express followed closely by the Breville Infuser. So let’s have a look at the Breville Bambino, how it works and how it compares to its elder siblings.

Features of Breville Bambino Plus:

  • Commercial-like quality while being compact in size and easy to use for the home user.
  • Full brushed stainless steel body.
  • Automatic microfoam milk texturing. The steam wand automatically froths milk to the temperature and texture you want.
  • Fast heat up time: the machine is ready to work in 3 seconds.
  • 54mm porta filter with 19 gram dose for the best coffee house quality drink.
  • Pre-infusion setting saturates coffee ground with low pressure water to ensure full saturation before extraction.
  • Digital temperature control delivers water at the exact right temperature for optimal espresso extraction.
  • Auto purging ensures your machine is clean for the next use.
  • 64 oz water reservoir.

Click here to learn more about Breville Bambino Plus, read the customer reviews and buy it.

Who Is The Breville Bambino Plus Right For?

We all know that semi-automatic espresso machines come with a learning curve. You take your time to get your milk texturing skills right, getting the temperature right and handling your machine correctly, overall. And milk texturing is where everyone usually goes wrong. That micro foam texture is the dream of every beginner’s!

Some at-home baristas though do not have the patience for all that. They want the flexibility of a semi-automatic, but do not want to spend a lot of time getting things right. That’s where a machine like the Bambino Plus comes in…

The Bambino Plus gives you room to adjust your coffee shot volume, temperature and texture and it will remember things for you. Also, there are pre-sets all ready for you to use. As for the hard part of milk texturing: the automatic steam wand does it all for you! Select your temperature and your texture (how much foam you want) and it will be done for you. Your coffee drink comes out perfectly right the first time.

How does the machine know the right milk temperature, though? It’s all thanks to the included milk jug, which contacts a sensor placed right under its place where the steam wand goes. The sensor works to measure the temperature of the milk as it heats up and will stop when it reaches your desired temperature.

Breville Bambino Plus vs. Breville The Infuser, What’s The Difference?

Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Steam Wand
Built-In Grinder
Milk Temperature Settings
Reservoir Capacity
64 oz
61 oz
Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Steam Wand
Built-In Grinder
Milk Temperature Settings
Reservoir Capacity
64 oz
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Steam Wand
Built-In Grinder
Milk Temperature Settings
Reservoir Capacity
61 oz

The Breville Infuser is also a semi-automatic espresso machine with some programmable features. But it does not have the automatic features that the Bambino Plus has:

  • The frothing wand on the Infuser is not automatic. There’s no selection for temperature or texture like the Bambino Plus. So you’ll have to do your own tests til you get the temperature and texture you prefer.
  • The Infuser features a gauge that should make it easy for you to see where your machine at, temperature wise.
  • The Infuser has a built-in tamper and a built-in hot water dispenser. Bambino Plus has a tamper included as an accessory, but doesn’t have the hot water dispenser.
  • Although The Infuser is physically bigger than the Bambino Plus, it has a slightly smaller water reservoir with 61 oz capacity ( vs. 64 oz for the Bambino Plus).

So, there are some trade-offs between the two machines. If you’re someone who does not want things done automatically and willing to learn, then go for the Infuser. However, keep in mind that it isn’t as compact as the Bambino Plus, if space is an issue for you.

Click here to learn more about the Breville Infuser, read the customer reviews and buy it.

Breville Bambino Plus vs. DeLonghi Dedica Deluxe:

When it comes to size and footprint, the DeLonghi Dedica is quite comparable to the Breville Bambino Plus. In fact, it’s even smaller. The Dedica Deluxe is only 6″ wide, while the Bambino Plus is about 7.6″ or so.

So, how else are they comparable?

  • Both have a single or double shot buttons that can be programmed.
  • The steam wand on the Dedica is not as advanced as the Bambino’s. There’s no temperature or texture settings. However, you can adjust the frother so it either foams or heats milk (without creating foam). But it’s quite hard to get the right texture or micro foam (which is what you need for latte art) with this kind of frother.
  • Heat up time on the Dedica Deluxe is 35 seconds vs. only 3 seconds for the Bambino Plus.
  • Water tank capacity is 35 oz on the Dedica Deluxe and 64 oz on the Bambino Plus, so that’s quite a difference.
  • Cleaning wise, the Bambino Plus has auto purge which is purge out water to automatically clean the steam wand after each use. With the Dedica, you’ll have to manually clean your wand after use so it doesn’t clog up.

How do you choose between the Breville Bambino Plus and Dedica Deluxe?

There are some clear trade offs between the two machines. If you want automatic milk texture and temperature, as well as automatic cleaning, then Bambino is your choice. The Bambino produces better and more professional quality milk foam. The Dedica, even on its high foam setting, does not produce enough foam.

However, it’s important to note that there’s a big price difference (in the time of writing this post, at least) between the two machines. So you certainly get what you pay for here.

Click here to learn more about the DeLonghi Dedica, read the customer reviews and buy it.

Video Reviews:

Illy Y3 vs. Y5, What’s The Difference Between Them?

Illy is undoubtedly one of Italy’s best coffee brands. And lucky for us, Illy manufactures their own single-serve espresso makers for us to enjoy their highly quality coffee at home.

In a previous post, we reviewed and compared Illy’s Y5 espresso machine and its two models, Duo and Milk. In this post, we’ll look at the differences between Illy Y3 vs. Y5.

Let’s start with the features of Illy Y3 Espresso Machine:

  • Compact, ultra slim single-serve espresso machine from Illy, for use with IperEspresso capsules by Illy.
  • 19-bar pump.
  • Two programmable coffee programs, can be re-adjusted to any volume of espresso your want.
  • Removable 1 Liter (33 oz) water reservoir.
  • Automatic used capsule ejection.
  • Used capsule drawer holds up to 8 used capsules.
  • Adjustable cup tray.
  • Available in different colors.

Click here to learn more about illy Y3, read the customer reviews and buy it. 

Features of Illy Y5 Duo Espresso and Coffee Machine:

  • Single-serve Espresso and Coffee maker, uses Illy’s IperEspresso capsules.
  • Can make espresso and traditional cup of coffee.
  • 19-bar pump.
  • Two coffee programs that can be readjusted.
  • 30 oz (0.9 liters) water reservoir capacity.
  • Slim and compact design.
  • Automatic capsule ejection.
  • Used capsule capsule drawer holds up to 10 capsules.

Click here to learn more about the Illy Y5 Duo, read the customer reviews and buy it. 

Illy Y3 vs. Illy Y5, What’s The Difference?

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The main difference here is:

  • Illy Y3 is an espresso machine and can only brew espresso at different volumes.
  • Illy 5 Duo can brew both Espresso and Coffee.

So, if you love espresso but still enjoy a traditional cup of coffee, you’ll love that the Y5 Duo can do both. And you could be wondering, since both machine have reprogrammable settings, couldn’t you just reprogram a button to do a large cup of coffee? No, it’s not advised that you do that, and heres’ why:

  • When making a cup of coffee with the Y5, you will be using iperCoffee capsules, which contains a coffee blend and different measurement than the iperEspresso capsules.
  • To make a cup of coffee, the Y5 will most likely use less pressure power than when making espresso, since coffee can’t be prepared using high pressure like espresso. The Y3 does not have this feature.

Where To Buy Illy iperEspresso and iperCoffee Capsules?

If you want to learn more about iperEspresso capsules and how they work, you can read our full post about it here. iperEspresso and iperCoffee can be purchased directly from Illy’s website. You can also buy them from Amazon. (for coffee, make sure the capsule is labeled iperCoffee).

Common questions about Illy’s iperEspresso and iperCoffee Capsules:

Can Illy’s IperEspresso and IperCoffee Capsules Be Used with Nespresso or Keurig Machines?

No, Illy’s capsules can be used with their systems only. If you want illy coffee for Keurig, you can buy their K-Cups here.

Are There Refillable Pods for Illy? Can I Use My Own Coffee Ground?

No, there are no refillable pods. You can only use official IperEspresso and IperCoffee capsules from illy.

Can I Make Hot Chocolate With an Illy Espresso or Coffee Maker?

No, Illy makes coffee and espresso drinks only.

Video Reviews:

How To Use Illy Y5 Duo:

Review of Illy Y3:

Review of Nespresso Prodigio: What Is It and How It Works

Nespresso Prodigio & Milk Frother

Nespresso has added yet another innovation to its lineup of single-serve espresso makers. Just like Nespresso brought us VertuoLine and VertuoLine Evoluo, which are the first Nespresso espresso makers that brew BOTH espresso and coffee!

So, what else can Nespresso bring us? Well, this time it’s an espresso maker only, but it’s powered by a high-end technology that adds to convenience and luxury Nespresso has to offer.

What Is Nespresso Prodigio?

Prodigio is a smart, Bluetooth-enabled espresso maker by Nespresso. It works just like any other OriginalLine Nespresso machine, it brews espresso using Nespresso capsules in the same way we know and love. But an added feature is the wireless Bluetooth connectivity, it connects to your smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android) and allows you to wirelessly brew a cup of ristretto, espresso or lungo without getting up. You can even schedule your brewing, manage your capsule stock, or check on your machine clean-up and maintenance all via a smart app.

Features of the Nespresso Prodigio:

Nespresso Prodigio

  • 19-bar single-serve espresso maker.
  • The first Bluetooth connected espresso maker by Nespresso.
  • Use the smart app to brew coffee immediately, schedule future automatic brews, capsule stock and more.
  • Uses Nespresso OriginalLine capsules.
  • Three programmable volume settings: Ristretto, Espresso and Lungo
  • Fast heat up time, 25 seconds.
  • Water reservoir capacity: 27 oz.
  • Rotating water tank makes it more adaptable to your space
  • Automatic used capsule ejection.
  • Used Capsule drawer capacity: up to 14.
  • Dimensions: 10.1″ x 4.7″ x 14.7″
  • Made in Hungary.

Click here to learn more about Nespresso Prodigio, read the customer reviews and buy it.

Buy From Amazon

Available Models:

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The Nespresso Prodigio is available in two models, Prodigio which is the standalone espresso maker and the Prodigio Milk, which has a built in Aeroccino milk frother.

Each model is available in 2 colors: Silver or Titan (Grey).

Watch How It Works:

This last video is not in English, but it should give you a clear idea of how the app and smart connectivity works.

Common Questions:

Nespresso Prodigio vs. Vertuoline, What’s The Difference?

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Apart from the fact that Prodigio is Nespresso’s first Bluetooth connected espresso maker, it’s also an OriginalLine machine, which means it uses the smaller espresso capsules by Nespresso (as well as Nespresso compatible brands). Vertuoline uses its own designed capsules to brew espresso and coffee, while Prodigio only brews espresso and espresso based drinks.

Nespresso Prodigio vs. Pixie, What’s The Difference?

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  • Prodigio and Pixie both are OriginalLine, so they will use the same capsules.
  • Prodigio is the only Bluetooth connected Nespresso machine.
  • Pixie has a 24 oz water tank while Prodigio has a 27 oz water tank.
  • The water tank of Prodigio is rotating, which means it’s more adaptable to your counter-space.
  • Pixie’s body is equipped with LED backlight which is on always or works as an indicator for an empty water tank or full used capsule drawer (flashing).
  • Pixie isn’t available with an integrated Aeroccino milk frother, but a frother can be purchased bundled with the machine.

Click here to learn more about Nespresso Pixie and how it’s different from other Nespresso machines.

Do I Have To Use the Smart App To Brew Coffee On the Nespresso Prodigio?

No, definitely not. It’s only an added feature for your convenience. The Prodigio can be used like any other Nespresso machine or through the app, the Bluetooth connectivity isn’t required.

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