Semi-automatic Espresso Machines

Gaggia Classic Pro Comparisons vs. Rancilio Silvia, Breville Bambino Plus, Infuser and more

If you’re familiar with Gaggia’s Classic espresso machine, you know it’s one of the best entry-level espresso machines out there. It has commercial style qualities, but it’s made with the home user in mind, so it’s user friendly even for a beginner.

The Gaggia Classic Pro builds on the great quality of the Classic model, but comes with many improvements to take your experience even further.

Features of Gaggia Classic Pro

Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Solid, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • 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
  • Commercial steam wand. Rotating steam want movement type
  • Easy-to-use rocker switch controls

The Gaggia Classic Pro has a full stainless steel housing, which is the first indicator of a high quality espresso machine. It has very simple control panel with three switches: on/off, espresso switch and steam switch. Remember, this is a manual espresso machine, so there are no pre-sets. You’ll extract and time your espresso shot manually.

The machine comes with a commercial style 58mm chrome plated portafilter. It also has a commercial style steam wand, which is able to create creamy micro foam that you can use to make beautiful latte art.

Gaggia Classic Pro is one of few espresso machines made in Italy. It is available in several colors.

Gaggia Classic vs Classic Pro, What’s Changed?

So, what has changed since the last Classic mode?

  • The design is slightly different. The rocker switches have been changed and placed individually in the control panel.
  • The frother is now commercial style and fully stainless steel. Where with the Classic model, it was a pannarello plastic covered wand. The new frother wand makes a better quality microfoam, where the pannarello made more of a dense foam texture.
  • Updated and improved pump for quieter espresso extraction.

Gaggia Classic Pro Compared to Other Espresso Machines

Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
  • Ergonomic porta filter handle same as the proven design of Rancilio commercial machines
  • Commercial grade group head for superb heat stability and extraction quality
  • Articulating steam wand offers complete range of motion and professional steaming knob precisely controls steaming pressure
  • Classic linear design fits most decors
  • Optional pod and capsule adaptor kit available

Another respectable Italian brand, Rancilio and its famous Silvia model is quite comparable to Gaggia’s Classic Pro. This machine is also made in Italy, has a sturdy full stainless steel housing, commercial style portafilter and a professional stainless steel steam wand.

On the control panel, you’ll find rocker switches: on/off button, extraction/brew button, hot water button and steam button. The Gaggia Classic can dispense hot water as well, but it does not have a dedicated button for it.

The portafilter of the Rancilio Silvia comes with two filter baskets, one single shot and another double shot basket. Additional pod basket can be purchased separately. The machine also includes a professional wood-handle tamper.

Like the Gaggia Classic Pro, the Silvia has a single stainless steel boiler, so there’s bit of a wait between each task.

If countertop space is an issue for you, the Gaggia Classic Pro is more compact with dimensions LxWxH 9.5 x 8 x 14.2 inch. On the other hand, the Silvia is 13 x 14 x 16 inches.

Budget wise, the Gaggia Classic Pro makes a less expensive option without giving up on quality. The build and quality of these two machines are quite comparable, not to mention both are made in Italy.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Bambino Plus

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Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Automatic microfoam milk Texturing: The automatic steam wand allows you to adjust the milk temperature and texture to suit your taste; Delivering Barista quality microphone that enhances the flavor of the coffee and is essential for creating latte art
  • Faster heat up time: Innovative thermojet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds; Ready to make your best coffee without the wait. Power: 1600 Watts
  • 19 gram dose for full flavor: Achieve a consistent and balanced Espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 54 millimeter photo filter with 19 grams is the key for full flavor and café quality coffee
  • Low pressure pre infusion: Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • Precise Espresso extraction: digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal Espresso extraction; Voltage 110 to 120 volts

Bambino Plus is a compact automatic espresso machine by Breville that is quite user friendly and easy to operate for a beginner.

The machine has pre-sets for single and double shots. But here’s the best part about it: it has an automatic steam wand that makes milk texturing a breeze, even if it’s your first time using a steam wand. It offers temperature and foam selections to customize your milk, and you’re guaranteed to get creamy micro foam milk texture every time. When using an espresso machine for the first time, most people struggle with milk texturing, so the Bambino Plus definitely takes care of that for you.

The Bambino Plus is an easier machine to use. If you’re looking for an espresso machine that does not require a lot of practice and learning to get things right, this is a great choice. Using a machine like Gaggia’s Classic Pro means you’re doing everything on your own, from dosing to measuring and timing the shot, and then there’s milk texturing. If you want this learning experience, and want a machine that’s more on the commercial side, the Gaggia Classic is for you. If you want something simpler to use, then go for the Bambino Plus.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs Breville Barista Express

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel
  • Dose control grinding: Integrated conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of the bean
  • Precise espresso extraction: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal Espresso extraction
  • Micro foam milk Texturing: The steam wand performance allows you to hand texture micro foam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art
  • Grind size dial: Simple and intuitive, giving you control over the grind size no matter what type of bean you're grinding
  • Hands free operation: Innovative grinding cradle allows any at home Barista to grind directly into the espresso port filter

The Barista Express is a popular choice for anyone who wants an all in one solution for their espresso needs. It’s usually the first choice for anyone looking for an espresso machine with a built-in grinder.

Unlike the Gaggia Classic and the Rancilio Silvia, the Barista Express is easier to operate for a beginner since it’s an automatic espresso machine. It can automatically grind and dose your shot, there are pre-sets for a single or double shot. But also, there’s room for experimentation since it has a manual override as well. You can adjust your shots volume and the grind settings to customize your coffee even further.

The control panel on the Barista Express has many press buttons as well as a gauge that displays pressure level, this allows you to understand the temperature of the machine and when it’s ready to perform, either extraction or steaming.

The Barista Express also has a nice brushed stainless steel housing. The steam wand is stainless steel, too. It has a hot water on demand function with a dedicated spout, which is a nice feature.

How does it compare to the Gaggia Classic Pro then? they definitely fulfill different needs. The Gaggia Classic Pro is more on the commercial side, and it requires more of a learning curve that the Barista Express… which is a great choice if you want a budget-friendly all in one machine. With the Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia for that matter, you’ll want to include a conical burr grinder in your budget. The Barista Express you’re paying for a machine and a grinder all in one, although its built-in grinder isn’t the best, it works perfectly well and does give good results.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Breville Infuser

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Pre infusion function applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction to gently expand grinds for an even extraction; Water Tank Capacity: 61 ounce
  • 1600 watts thermocoil heating system with integrated stainless steel water coil accurately controls water temperature; Settings: Single or Double Shot Volumetric Control & Manual Over ride. Dimensions : 13.7 x 11.5 x 13.2 inches
  • Auto purge function automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature; 15 bar Italian pump provides complete volumetric control preset, manual over ride or re programmable volumes
  • Accessories: single & dual wall filter baskets, coffee scoop, stainless steel jug, cleaning disc & tablets, cleaning tool, water filter with holder. Please note: There is a “Black Plastic” insert inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter, this is meant to reduce heat loss experienced when espresso hits cold metal also prevents any “splashing” from the dual wall pressurized filter baskets
  • PID temperature control that delivers water at precisely the right temperature adjustable in 2 degree Celsius increments; Power 1700 Watts. Voltage: 110 to 120 Volts

If you want everything that the Breville Barista Express has, minus the built-in grinder, then the Infuser is it.

Breville Infuser is another automatic espresso machine WITHOUT the built-in grinder, which is a great choice for anyone who isn’t a fan of built-in grinders. You can get the Infuser and pair it with a grinder of your choice.

There are many benefits to having a separate grinder, one of the most important reasons would be that you’ll be able to adjust the grinder and use it for any brewing method you might want to use. Unlike having a built-in grinder, which restricts you to espresso grind only.

And like the Barista Express, the Infuser doesn’t have the commercial-like qualities that the Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia have.

Which Espresso Machine Do You Pick?

Of all the espresso machines above, I can separate them into two categories:

  • Commercial-style machines for the home, and these would be the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia.
  • Espresso machines for home, and those would be all the Breville machines listed above.

The Gaggia and Rancilio, although considered to be entry-level, they are higher end machines that are durable and made to last. Using these machines takes some practice and time to get things right. Also, you will need to include the price of a grinder in your budget.

As for Breville’s machines, they’re not as commercial, they’re easier to use and perfect for anyone who does not want to invest a lot of time practicing their coffee making skills.

Out of all of these machines, the Barista Express would be the most budget-friendly since it has a built-in grinder. I believe that’s the reason it’s such a popular choice. For the rest of the machines, you’ll need to include a grinder in your budget, and you’ll want a high quality conical burr grinder to get the best results.