Best Illy Espresso Machines – The Ultimate Guide

Are you looking for an espresso machine? Illy machines are a great choice – and in our guide to the best illy espresso machines, we’ll take you through the best ones you can buy.

Illy is an Italian coffee company, founded in 1933. They specialize in espresso production. They create delicious coffee in three basic variations: normal, dark, roast, and decaffeinated. They also offer single-origin arabica beans from six different countries. You can buy Illy coffee as whole beans, pre-ground coffee, E.S.E pods, or iperEspresso capsules.

Illy espresso machines use capsules, which they have designed to contain the maximum flavour and aroma (more on that a little later in this article). The coffee itself is made in Italy, and many reviewers describe it as being better than Starbucks, which is pretty good considering you can make it at home in the mornings!

The question is – which one do you go for? We’ll take a look at each model in detail, including their pros and cons and their specifications, and what users think of them, to help you find the right espresso machine for your home.

First, let’s start with a quick overview of all the models we’ll be looking at today.

Best Illy Espresso Machines – an Overview

Model Size Cord Length Colour Options Coffee Types Water Capacity
Francis Francis X7.1 11.4 x 10.2 x 12.6in 39in Red, Black Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo 40oz
Illy 60332 y3.2 3.9 x 11.73 x 10in 39in Blue, White Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo 25.4oz
Illy 60255X1 10.6 x 9.8 x 13in 39in Black, Red, Almond, Grey Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo (plus hot water for tea/hot chocolate) 33oz
Illy 60208 y5 5.7 x 11 x 9.6in 39in Black Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo 30oz
iPerEspresso Home X9 4.8 x 10.6  10.5in 39in Red, Black, Chrome Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo 23.7oz

What Features Should I Look for in an Espresso Machine?

Illy iPerEspresso Home X9 Coffee and Espresso Machine
$279.00
Illy iPerEspresso Home X9 is our TOP CHOICE because not only does it work really well, but it looks beautiful and the lighted mug is a nice touch for any kitchen.
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10/22/2021 12:07 am GMT

There are a few things you should take into consideration when looking for a new espresso machine:

Pods or Grounds?

You’ll have to decide if you want to buy a coffee machine that uses pods or whole beans. Pods are simple, requiring fewer steps to make coffee. They’re very quick to use but can be more expensive, plus, there’s more of an environmental impact. 

Illy’s iperEspresso capsule system has a patented two-stage process, the first being hyper-infusion (this is the part that happens inside the capsule), where the coffee is infused with water under high pressure, which extracts more flavor.

The second stage is emulsification, which forces the coffee through the e-valve where oils are emulsified, giving the espresso richness and flavor. This means you might be able to recapture some of the flavor lost from other coffee pods.

Some people prefer to buy coffee grounds or even whole beans that they grind each day. (See below for more information on machines with built-in grinders). Some people prefer the freshness and flavour of newly-ground coffee beans. However, at the time of writing, illy is not manufacturing espresso machines using coffee grounds – so you will have to choose another company if this is the case.

best illy espresso machines

Grinding Power

Some espresso machines come with a built-in grinder. If not, you’ll need to get a separate grinder (these can be automatic or manual). Machines with built-in grinders tend to be much more expensive, but they are convenient. Some even drop the coffee grounds into the basket automatically, making it really easy to use.

If you have a large number of people using the same machine, make sure you get a grinder with a high capacity, to save you constantly having to refill.

Again, if you’re using pods – this is not something you have to worry about.

Durability

If you plan on making a lot of espressos, you need to have a machine that can handle it. A cheap espresso machine might break down quickly if you demand a lot from it, but a more expensive model (or even a professional-grade model for coffee shops) should be able to work all day with no issues.

You may find that your espresso machine eventually breaks down after years of regular use. This is normal, but you can expect a few good years of use out of your new machine.

Water Capacity

The average espresso machine holds enough water to make 8 cups of espresso – which is usually plenty for most people. Large espresso machines may be able to connect to a water source, but these tend to be professional-grade models. Some machines are designed to be very simple to refill, so you can quickly top up again if you need to make a lot of espressos at once.

Ease of Cleaning

This is an important one. You’ll quickly grow to resent your espresso machine if you want to use it often but find it fiddly or difficult to clean. Any areas that are exposed to moisture need to be cleaned and thoroughly dried after use to prevent rusting. These can include the water receptacle, the frother, and the cups. 

Aesthetics

illy machine

There are some beautifully designed machines out there. If you have it on your kitchen counter, chances are, you want it to look stylish. There are a lot of great options to choose from, in a variety of colors and styles. Illy machines are great for this, as some of them are designed by Italian architects – so they look sleek.

You might want a model that is curved or a model that fits into a tight space. Or, you might want one that illuminates the espresso cup as it brews – these small things can bring a touch of luxury into your home.

Cord Length and Storage

Where are you going to keep your machine? Find out the dimensions first, to check if it will fit in the desired spot. It’s also a good idea to check the cord length. Some models can have short cords, which can be an issue if you want it to fit into a certain space.

Frothing

If you like lattes, macchiatos, or cappuccinos, make sure you get a machine that comes with a frother. This can froth pressurized milk, giving you the foamy consistency you want from a good cappuccino.

Programmable

You may want your espresso machine to be programmable – this allows it to switch on at certain times. If you’re after convenience, this is a good option. After all, there’s nothing quite like waking up to the smell of freshly made coffee first thing in the morning.

Coffee Types

You can make different types of coffee with espresso machines (depending on the model you choose). These can include:

  • Lattes
  • Cappuccinos
  • Macchiatos
  • Long Blacks
  • Mochas
  • Americanos
  • Lungo
  • Flat Whites

Some espresso machines heat water for tea and hot chocolate, too.

Cup Size

Some espresso machines require a certain type of cup to fit the machine. Others can be adjusted, so you can create different types of coffee using other sizes of the cup. Buying specific cups can be an unexpected extra cost, so make sure you bear that in mind when you’re looking for a new one.

Now, let’s take a look at each model in detail.

Francis Francis X7.1 Iperespresso Machine – Most Stylish Espresso Machine

Francis Francis X7.1 Iperespresso Machine

If you want a stylish option using pods, this might be the one for you. The Francis Francis X7.1 has an unusual curved design with two color options and soft-touch buttons. It’s a statement piece for sure, designed by the Italian architect Luca Trazzi.

It’s also got a lot of great features. It has a one-touch brewing cycle for a hands-off experience. It has the Pannarello steam wand, which makes frothing milk simply. The power save mode and automatic descaling is great, too. Plus, the extraction of the coffee happens inside the capsule – making the whole machine much easier to clean up.

It’s pretty simple to use. The user reviews are good, too, with people praising its simplicity and beautiful design.

However, like all machines, it does have its downsides: there isn’t a display that shows if you have switched from manual to automatic mode, and a couple of people found that the steam nozzle broke after a while. Illy’s customer service is pretty good, which helps, but it’s still a bit of a pain. You can see the latest price for it here.

Specifications

  • Size: 11.4 x 10.2 x 12.6in
  • Colour Options: Red, Black
  • Coffee Types: Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo
  • Cord Length: 39in
  • Water tank size: 40oz

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Simple to use
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • No display to show if in automatic or manual mode
  • Some users had issues with the steam nozzle after a while

Illy 60332 y3.2 Espresso and Coffee Machine – Best Budget Option

Illy 60332 y3.2 Espresso and Coffee Machine

This one is really slimline, so it fits in really well in small spaces – it’s a good choice for home or for your office. It comes in some nice colors, too, including blue and white. 

It’s a pod-based system, and it has two programmable coffee settings. It fits almost any cup size – so no need to worry about buying new cups. You can enjoy brewed coffee or espresso, and it also has automatic ejection of used capsules (up to 7 capsules can fit in the drawer).

You can enjoy an espresso, lungo, cappuccino, or latte with this machine. It’s a great choice if you’re on a tight budget, with its competitive price point.

Reviewers praised the compact size and neat appearance of this machine, and state that the coffee tastes just as good as if it came from a coffee shop. Some, however, had issues with the longevity of the machine, finding it broke down after a certain period of time. Although it comes with a warranty, this only covers one year from purchase. You can see the latest price for it here.

Specifications

  • Size: 3.9 x 11.73 x 10in
  • Colour Options: Blue, White
  • Coffee Types: Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo
  • Cord Length: 39in
  • Water tank size: 25.4oz

Pros

  • Compact and stylish
  • Easy to use
  • Used capsules are stored inside
  • Coffee tastes great

Cons

  • Some users found parts broke down after a while
illy 60332 y3.2 Espresso and Coffee Machine, 12.20x3.9x10.40, Blue
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Illy 60255 X1 Espresso Machine – Best Higher End ModelIlly 60255 X1 Espresso Machine

The illy 60255 is a versatile model. If you want something that makes something other than espressos, this could work really well for you. It makes brewed coffee, cappuccinos, espressos, lattes, and it heats water for tea and hot chocolate, too. Perfect if you want something more versatile.

This machine is bigger than some of the others on our list. It looks stylish, however, in black, red, almond, or grey color options. It is made entirely of metal and uses the retro illy logo. It’s also curved – so, similarly to the Francis Francis X7.1, it looks very attractive.

The steam wand froths milk nicely. It also has a removable cup support tray – so you can swap it out for espresso cups, mugs, and cappuccino cups. It’s simple to use, and users praise this model for how beautiful it looks in their kitchens.

On the downside, the coffee pods (not the espresso pods) can be difficult to get hold of at times, so you may need to look online to find them. Plus, eventually, you may find some of the parts begin to break down according to user reviews. However, most users seem happy with its performance. You can see the latest price for it here.

Specifications

  • Size: 10.6 x 9.8 x 13in
  • Colour Options: Black, Red, Almond, Grey
  • Coffee Types: Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo, hot water for tea and hot chocolate
  • Cord Length: 39in
  • Water tank size: 33oz

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Multi-purpose
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Standard coffee pods can be hard to get hold of
  • Some parts began to break down for some users after a lot of use
illy 60255 X1 Espresso Machine, 13 x 9.8 x 10.60, Black
$599.00
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10/22/2021 12:11 am GMT

Illy 60208 y5 Espresso Machine – Good All-Rounder

Illy 60208 y5 Espresso Machine

This is a great espresso machine that works really well. It looks good, with a simple rectangular design with an attractive tempered glass top. Given the compact size, it can hold a decent amount of water at 30oz. It can also store up to ten used capsules.

It has an adjustable cup shelf, so you can switch sizes if you want to.

There’s not a huge amount to say about this one – it does what it says on the tin. If you want a basic illy machine, this could be a good choice. One user found the buttons on the screen stopped working after a while. However, it does come with a one-year warranty, so if you do encounter problems within the first year, you should be covered. You can find the latest price here.

Specifications

  • Size: 5.7 x 11.2 x 9.6in
  • Colour Options: Black
  • Coffee Types: Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo
  • Cord Length: 39in
  • Water tank size: 30oz

Pros

  • Compact and stylish
  • Easy to use
  • Used capsules are stored inside
  • Coffee tastes great

Cons

  • Some users found parts broke down after a while
illy 60208 y5 Espresso and Coffee Machine, 5.7 x 9.6 x 11.2, Black
$249.99
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Illy iPerEspresso Home X9 Coffee and Espresso Machine – Best for Easy Refills

Illy iPerEspresso Home X9

This machine has an elliptical body, designed by architect Piero Lissoni. It looks compact but stylish and will fit nicely into many homes. The LED light illuminates the cup during brewing, which is a nice touch. It’s available in chrome, black, and red.

The X9 has a few interesting features – part of the water tank can be removed and refilled, even while the X9 is running (this is helpful as the capacity is on the lower side at 23.7oz). This makes it easier to refill if you’re making a large number of espressos in one go.

You can also select two in-cup volumes using the control buttons. Users were quick to praise this machine, with some stating they had rebought it after 5 years of regular use – so it seems to be robust. You can see the latest price for this machine here.

Specifications

  • Size: 4.8 x 10.6 x 10.5in
  • Colour Options: Red, Black, Chrome
  • Coffee Types: Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Lungo
  • Cord Length: 39in
  • Water tank size: 23.7oz

Pros

  • Stylish curved design that illuminates the cup
  • Tank is easy to refill
  • Choose between two in-cup volumes

Cons

  • Smaller tank size so will have to refill more often

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve got questions about the illy machines, we might be able to answer it here:

Question: Do Nespresso capsules fit in illy machines?

Answer: No – only illy capsules fit in these machines.

Question: How often should I clean my espresso machine?

Answer: Experts recommend you should clean your espresso machine at least once a month. You should also descale it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Question: Is illy considered a good brand?

Answer: Yes – illy is pretty well-regarded worldwide, especially in Italy where its headquarters are.

Question: Where does illy coffee come from?

Answer: Illy coffee comes from Trieste in Italy.

Question: What does the illy one-year warranty cover?

Answer: The warranty that comes with an illy machine is valid for one year from the purchase of your machine. 

Question: Can iPerEspresso capsules be recycled?

Answer: You can collect them and mail them to be recycled.

Question: Can I subscribe to have illy capsules delivered to me?

Answer: Yes – you can subscribe to have regular deliveries on their website.

Question: Where are illy machines made?

Answer: Some of them are made in Italy, while others are made in China.

Conclusion – Which Illy Espresso Machine is Best?

Illy iPerEspresso Home X9 Coffee and Espresso Machine
$279.00
Illy iPerEspresso Home X9 is our TOP CHOICE because not only does it work really well, but it looks beautiful and the lighted mug is a nice touch for any kitchen.
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10/22/2021 12:07 am GMT

There are a lot of illy machines to choose from, and they all have different strengths. The good thing about illy machines is that they are designed to look beautiful. Each one on this list looks slightly different, which means that you should be able to find one that suits the look of your kitchen or office.

For you, the design might be the main consideration. In that case, the Francis Francis X7.1 or the 60255 X1 might be the best choice – they look beautiful, and they function really well, so you know you’re not paying for style over substance. Plus, with the 60255 X1, you get hot water to make tea and coffee, too – so it’s a good multipurpose option.

However, our choice for the best one is the iPerEspresso Home X9. It doesn’t have the biggest tank, which means more frequent refills – but they’ve overcome that using the simple refill mechanism. It looks beautiful and the illuminated cup is a nice touch, but the important thing is that it works really well.

It’s also robust and doesn’t seem to suffer from as many of the issues to do with parts eventually breaking down as some of the other models we’ve looked at. That, combined with the ease of use and beautiful design, makes it our top choice for today.

However, illy’s coffee is delicious and all the machines look beautiful – so any of these would be a brilliant choice! Want to know more about coffee? Why not check out our guide to A-Z Guide on Brewing Coffee Like a Pro, or our Top 5 Best Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers list.

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