Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machine | A Barista’s Guide To The Best Dual Boilers and How To Choose Them

John Newbranch
Post date 05.23.2023

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In this article I have gathered the best dual boiler espresso machines for every category.

During my years as a barista I have come in contact with a lot of dual boiler espresso machines from working in smaller caffées.

So I used my hands-on experience as well as a week of reading reviews from consumers and testers in order to find the best machines out there.

Dual boiler espresso machines are the creme de la creme (literally) when it comes to home espresso makers. They let you make any espresso drink with milk in a fraction of the time it takes a single boiler machine.

Thanks to a lot more companies making these machines than before they have become a lot more affordable. 

This means it is no longer necessary to go out and spend a small fortune for a decent dual boiler espresso machine. Although you still can.

Don’t need dual boilers? Check out our other lists on Top Espresso Machines!


Here Is What This Article Will Cover :


What To Look For When Buying A Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

Things like brew boiler size, steam boiler size, pump type and material of the boiler are the most important factors when choosing a dual boiler espresso machine.

What you choose will ultimately come down to answering the following questions:

How frequently will you be using the machine?

Answering this question will determine what brew boiler and steam boiler size you should go for. 

The brew boiler size will decide how many shots you can pull in quick succession. The steam boiler size will determine for how long you can steam without needing to reheat.

 If you plan on only making coffee for yourself and your family a smaller brew boiler will work fine. Smaller brew boilers also heats up faster as well, great for a quick morning coffee. 

The same thing goes for the steam boiler, if you are not using it in a commercial setting a smaller steam boiler will work great for you.

What is your budget?

A dual boiler espresso machine tends to be quite expensive. That’s why you need to decide your budget in advance since that will determine what features you can look for when shopping around.

Boilers: 

Larger boilers are of course more expensive so unless you really need them sticking with smaller boilers is a lot cheaper.

Boiler Material:

The most common options are Copper, Brass and stainless steel. 

Copper and stainless steel are the most common options for more expensive machines. 

Copper offers better thermal properties but is also more expensive. 

Stainless steel has better corrosion resistance and is more affordable but worse thermal properties.

Brass is used in cheaper machines with smaller boilers.

Pumps:

The pumps you can choose from are either rotary or vibrating pumps. Rotary pumps are more expensive so going for a vibrating pump is the budget friendly option.

How much space do you have?

Boilers:

Large boilers, especially the steam boiler, makes for very large machines. So unless you have a large kitchen or are buying one for your coffee shop, I would stick to smaller boilers because of their footprint.

Pumps:

The pump you choose will also determine the size of your machine. Rotary pumps are larger than vibrating pumps. So if you care about footprint go for a vibrating pump.

Will you be plugging it into a water line?

This determines what type of pump you can choose. If the answer is yes you can go for a rotary pump.

Rotary pumps can plug directly into a waterline so that you don’t need to refill the water tank. Rotary pumps also offer things like line-pressure pre-infusion. 

Vibrating pumps don’t need a waterline. But they are louder and the water tank needs to be refilled now and then.


Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machines


Best Overall – Lelit Bianca V3

Pros:

  • Height: 15, Width: 11.4, Depth: 19.1
  • Dry and powerful steam
  • Great flow control paddle
  • Pre-infusion, Boiler offset and Low Flow Mode

Cons:

  • Max 20 second pre-infusion
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The Lelit Bianca V3 is my choice for best dual boiler espresso machine overall. It can compete with some really high end machines for a lot less money. 

So let’s go over the reasons this machine is so great, as well as some improvement points.

The flow control paddle is great and something people always bring up when talking about this machine. The control is clear and easy to use with a 180 degree range. This means that a half turn of the dial takes you from min flow to max flow.

Compare this to the much more expensive La Marzocco GS3 which has a much narrower range. This means you have to be a lot more careful with the dial to achieve the perfect flow.

Bianca’s steam boiler manages to produce some dry and powerful steam. And If you find the 4 hole tip to be a bit too powerful you can easily switch to the 2 hole for smaller drinks like the Macchiato. 

The V3 comes with a few other great features such as configurable Pre-Infusion, boiler offset and a Low Flow mode for. All these features help automate and optimize the espresso making process for easier use.

There are a few downsides worth mentioning. Switching from reservoir to plumed is a bit of a hassle and some customers have dented the walls of the machine a bit too easily. The max 20 second preinfusion can also be a bit short for some recipes.

All in all this machine truly punches above its weight class. Although it isn’t exactly cheap it offers great features and an experience that you usually only get with even more expensive machines. A great option for anyone that can afford it and defintely the best dual boiler espresso machine overall.


Best Commercial – La Marzocco GS3 MP

Pros:

  • Height: 14, Width: 16, Depth: 21
  • Amazing build quality
  • Huge boiler capacities
  • consistent shot-to-shot

Cons:

  • Too expensive for most consumers
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Let’s start off by mentioning that this thing costs about 8000 dollars so if you are on the lookout for a budget friendly machine this isn’t for you. But if you have the cash and the knowhow this machine will certainly not disappoint.

It is well suited for smaller to medium size caffées and “stay at home baristas”. The high quality build that La Marzocco is famous for holds true with this machine. 

The stainless steel boilers are large enough to let you make Latte after Latte without having to worry about recovery times or flush routines.

The pressure paddle on this thing might not be as great as the Lelit Bianca in terms of control but after a few tries you’ll get the hang of it. The paddle lets you adjust the brew pressure for low-pressure pre-infusion from 0 to 9 bars.

Regular users of La Marzocco’s GS3 all seem to agree that the consistency shot-to-shot of this machine is top of the line. It achieves this through high controllability by the user and an unrivaled temperature consistency.

All this comes in a beautiful package that will without a doubt be the centerpiece of your kitchen or coffee shop. So if you are willing to pay the price you will definitely not be disappointed with this truly professional dual boiler espresso machine.


Best Prosumer – Rocket Espresso R58 Cinquantotto

Pros:

  • Height: 17, Width: 17, Depth: 22.75
  • Silent rotary pump
  • “Incline Boiler Technology” for temp stability

Cons:

  • Electronic PID a bit exposed (as seen on picture)
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The Rocket Espresso R58 is another great contribution to the espresso machine line by Rocket. The R58 is suitable for the “prosumer” that want as much of that professional performance without having to pay 8000 dollars for a La Marzocco.

Let’s start off with the brewing part. The R58 has double boilers with PID control as well as their patented “incline boiler technology”. This lets them claim best-in-class temperature stability. If that’s true or not is up to you to decide but judging from reviews most people seem to agree.

The rotary pump allows you to plug this thing straight into a water line. The sound level is also much lower than a vibrating pump you find on lower end models.

The E61 grouphead is managed by a manual lever that allows for low-pressure pre-infusion.

The user interface has also been improved with the new model where you now can control a lot of the settings directly on the new touch screen.

All this is combined in a beautifully built package with high end precision. Professional users have even compared the build quality to the high end commercial machines.

The only real downsides that people mention are that the water reservoir is somewhat small and hard to remove as well as that the PID is a bit exposed. 

All in all this is a great machine that is well worth the price tag associated with espresso machines in this class. Definetly the best dual boiler espresso machine for prosumers.


Best Home – Rancilio Silvia Pro X

Pros:

  • Height: 15.3, Width: 9.8, Depth: 16.5
  • Improved portafilter
  • New programmable soft infusion
  • Great exterior build quality

Cons:

  • Non-insulated steam wand
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This classical machine is on the top of many peoples list as the best espresso machine. Rancilio has combined their knowledge and experience to make this one of their top selling and well liked espresso machines.

The Pro X is the new and improved version of the Pro based on customer feedback. 

The new portafilter is an improvement on the old. The new one is larger and can be customized with aftermarket upgrades. Making this a more versatile option than the previous portafilter. 

Rancilio also added a brew boiler pressure gauge. This gives you more control and makes you feel a bit more in touch with the brewing process. A good addition to an otherwise great steaming setup.

The Silvia Pro X adds a layer of control by allowing for pre-infusion for 2-6 seconds with the new programmable soft infusion. This leads to a more evenly extracted espresso shot by allowing you to fully saturate the coffee in your portafilter prior to brewing.

The exterior of the Silvia Pro X does justice to its interior. The stainless steel with black detailing is beautiful and the build quality is impeccable. Add to this the deep rectangular shape and you have got yourself the best dual boiler machine for home use.

All in all the effort that Rancilio put into listening to their customers really shows in the upgrades on the Silvia Pro X. If I had to change anything it would be the steam wand (it is not insulated) and the auto wake up that has to be reset every day. 

But if you can live with these small complaints you will be more than happy with the Rancilio Pro X as your home espresso setup.


Best Budget – Lelit Elizabeth V3

Pros:

  • Height: 15, Width: 12, Depth: 11
  • 1/3 the price of other machines on this list
  • Unique programmable timed shots
  • Good build quality for the price

Cons:

  • Slow heat up time
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Coming in at around a third of the price of the rest of the espresso machines on this list the Lelit Elizabeth V3 gives a lot of bang for your buck

Of course there are no free lunches so let’s see what the pros and cons of this machine are and if it should be your pick for best dual boiler espresso machine on a budget.

Let’s start off with the positives. 

The build quality is very good for the price. The construction is stainless steel and it feels well built. One customer said that they found the components felt a bit less well built than the Rancilio Pro X. I would agree, but argue that the Rancilio costs 3x more.

The digitally controlled PID is a nice feature that lets you program the pre infusion time as well as adjust brew and steam temperatures. 

The ability to program timed shots is a welcomed feature not found in most espresso machines, even the higher end ones.

Now onto some of the downsides.

This machine takes about 20 minutes to heat up… This can be a bit annoying if you want your espresso as soon as you wake up. On the other hand it does get really hot and keeps the temperature stable. So it might not do the job fast, but it sure does it well.

Another thing I find people complain about is that the water tank is hard to refill without pulling out the machine. 

All in all this is a great machine that is well priced. Add to that the compact build and you have got yourself not only the best dual boiler espresso machine for a budget user, but also the best small dual boiler espresso machine.


FAQ


What Is The Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machine?

The Lelit Bianca V3 is my top choice for a dual boiler espresso machine Overall. It combines quality, functionality and value for money into a beautiful package. Check out the review above for more info.

Best dual boiler espresso machine under 1000


What Is The Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machine Under 2000?

The Lelit Elizabeth V3 is my top pic for best dual boiler espresso machine under 2000 dollars. It gives you high end features for a reasonable price without sacrificing quality. Check out the review above for more info.


What Is The Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machine Under 3000?

The Lelit Bianca V3 is my top choice for a dual boiler espresso machine under 3000 dollars. It combines quality, functionality and value for money into a beautiful package. Check out the review above for more info.


What Is The Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machine UK? 

The Lelit Bianca V3 is the best espresso machine you can get your hands on in the UK. It combines quality, functionality and value for money into a beautiful package. Check out the review above for more info.


What Is The Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machine Australia?

Since you can get the Lelit Bianca V3 in Australia it wins the top spot there as well as the 


Is dual boiler worth it?

Yes, I would definetly say it is. If you are big on steamed milk espresso drinks it is definetly worth buying a dual boiler espresso machine. It makes the entire process much faster and results in better drinks for less effort. So if you have the cash to spend it is a well worth investment.


Do you need a double boiler espresso machine?

It depends on what type of espresso drinks you want to make. But if you are into steaming milk a lot then yes I would definetly say that a double boiler espresso maker is worth it. You save both time and effort whilst getting better results.


What is better than the Breville Dual Boiler?

The Rancilio Silvia Pro X is a better choice according to me. The Silivia is a bit more expensive than the Breville, but spending those extra couple hundred bucks is well worth it. 


Is Gaggia Classic single or double boiler?

The Gaggia classic is a single boiler machine.


What Is The Best Small Dual Boiler Espresso Machine?

The Lelit Elizabeth V3 is the best small dual boiler espresso machine. It combines function looks and value for money into a compact package.


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AUTHOR

John has been in the game of blending and brewing for years now. Originally from Sweden, he has worked as a barista at coffee shops in the US and as a bar manager at a smoothie and juice bar in Paris. Now he is the main editor for Blend Brew Enjoy where he puts all his passion and effort into helping people find their love for coffee and smoothies.