Choosing an espresso machine doesn’t have to give you a headache. Many of us like the thought of making espresso at home more and more these days.

But when you begin the hunt for the perfect one, you may find yourself thinking…

”The choices are too many! I can’t decide, I don’t even know where to begin!” or “Scouring all these sites is a pain. I just want one place to go to figure it all out.”

Don’t panic. And don’t fret. We’ve got you covered either way. This guide is all about the Saeco, a well known Italian espresso machine company with a solid reputation. We’ll take you through their line of super automatic machines from least to most expensive. We’ll break the choices down so by the time you’re done reading you’ll have found the perfect machine… and the perfect espresso.

But if you’re in a hurry, let’s cut to the chase. Our favorite Saeco Super Automatic for the money is the Incanto. Not too wimpy… not more than one person needs… a beautiful, clean, creamy espresso shot… and, the option for manual or automatic milk steaming depending on the model. Want to choose for yourself? We don’t blame you. Read on!

A Little About Saeco


Back in the 80’s while VHS was winning the home entertainment world over one household at a time, and the Apple home computer was revolutionizing the way we use technology, Saeco was busy transforming something of its own, home espresso machines.

The birth of Saeco took place in Gaggio Montano, Italy in 1981 when Sergio Zappella and Arthur Schmed decided they wanted to build espresso machines together. In 1985 their first home-use fully automatic machine came onto the market.

Dubbed “The Superautomatica,” this machine was the first in a long line of Saecos that have helped the company earn a lasting reputation for quality craftsmanship and reliability. Saeco’s super automatic line is designed with the home user in mind.

Although variations exist between each model, the technology behind the super automatic is the same across the board.

A super automatic espresso machine eliminates most of the hard work in espresso making so that it’s accessible to anyone regardless of knowledge level. No need for an external grinder, no need for manual dosing, tamping, or group head fitting. A super automatic grinds, doses, tamps, and pulls the espresso for you.

Price Defining Features


Depending on the level of features, Saeco super automatics will run somewhere between $400 and $3,000.

Standard Saeco Super Automatic Features

  • Pre-infusion technology
  • Ceramic grinders
  • Essential adjustability in dosing, brew, grind, temperature
  • Removable brew groups
  • Water filter
  • Auto shut off

Price Influencing Features

  • Cup warmers
  • Adjustable brew spouts
  • Large capacity tanks
  • Double boilers
  • Programmable LCDs
  • Increased variability in dosing, brew, grind, temperature
  • Bypass doser
  • Programmable auto shut off
  • Stainless steel encasement (partial or full)
  • Milk steaming method

The Milk Factor

Steaming can be done manually with a pannarello steam wand, semi-manually with the help of a cappuccinatore, or completely automatic with a milk carafe attachment. Milk steaming capability is a hefty price and convenience driver when choosing the right machine.

Super Saeco Specialities

Each Saeco super automatic brings something a little unique to the table. As we move up through the line, starting with the smallest, most economical, we will see increases in capacity, customizability, and unique features that add a little more user convenience to the espresso brewing experience.

Review of the Best Saeco Espresso Machines


Xsmall Vapore

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Simple to use
  • Pannarello steam wand
  • Small footprint (11.5” W x 16.5” D x 13” W)
  • Automatic rinse cycle

CONS

  • Long hot water recovery time
  • No adjustable spout for taller cups
  • No bypass doser for pre-ground
  • Limited programmability
  • Weak steaming power
  • Fully plastic encasement
  • No cup warmer
The Xsmall Vapore will get your feet in the door as an occasional use machine. It’s tiny and light, with a modest (33 oz) water reservoir, and 6.5 oz bean hopper. The Xsmall Vapore gives you the basics in programmability with an analog dial design. Just turn the dial to select between espresso, steam, and hot water. Milk steaming is manual but easy, thanks to the pannarello steam wand.

Minuto Focus

PROS

  • Small, compact design
  • Automatic cleaning cycle
  • Volumetric controls
  • Good size capacity for the price
  • Bypass doser
  • Pannarello steam wand

CONS

  • Power saving mode is not adjustable
  • Fully plastic encasement
  • No grommets underneath, rough slide on the counter
  • No cup warmer
Get it while it’s hot… this machine is no longer in production, but you can still find them around… which may be some explanation why this machine is a bit cheaper than the Xsmall Vapore but provides a more extensive capacity and increased programmability. Unlike the Xsmall Vapore, the Minuto focus provides a fully programmable LCD, five adjustable grind settings, and more extensive range of espresso volume. Its water reservoir, bean hopper, and dreg bin are also more significant. A nice little feature on this machine is the ability to switch between brewing pressure levels so that you can easily choose between traditional espresso and American style coffee.

Incanto HD8911/47

PROS

  • Exceptional price for fully automatic milk steaming
  • Stainless steel pannarello on the basic model instead of plastic
  • Adjustable spout (to accommodate 6-inch cup height)
  • Stainless steel/plastic mix encasement
  • Bypass Doser

CONS

  • The top mounted water tank is a little hard to fill
  • The Adjustable spout doesn’t adjust very low, just high
  • Drip tray removal can be clunky – simultaneous button pushing involved
  • No cup warmer

Saeco has a long history with its Incanto, one of its most reliable, mid-level super-automatic machines. With the Incanto, we start to enter everyday use territory. At smaller capacities, the Xsmall Vapore and Minuto Focus are designed more for the occasional user. But with its larger size and heightened programmability, the Incanto is best for someone who drinks espresso more frequently. The Incanto comes in a couple versions depending on your milk preference. The basic comes with a stainless steel pannarello steaming wand. Or you can upgrade with the more automatic milk carafe steaming unit. Of course, you’ll pay a bit more for the automatic milk feature, but having the flexibility to choose within the Incanto model is a considerate move on Saeco’s part.


Intelia Deluxe HD8771/93

PROS

  • Increased capacity over the Incanto
  • Adjustable spout
  • Bypass Doser
  • Descaling option
  • Tinted ceramic grinder lid to preserve beans
  • Easy to use programmable LCD screen
  • Cup warmer

CONS

  • Plastic siding
  • Milk frothing unit must be removed to access hot water spout
  • The degree of milk foam cannot be controlled vs. complete user control with a steam wand

If you’re a many espressos per day type of person, then the Intelia Deluxe may be a good option for you. It moves up from the very capable Incanto in capacity and programmability. The Intelia Deluxe comes with a 50 oz water reservoir, a 10 oz bean hopper, and large dreg bin. This means frequent uses without stopping to dump or refill often. Grind range increases from five levels with the Incanto, to ten with the Intelia Deluxe. The upgraded backlit LCD screen is easy to use. And like the Incanto Carafe model, milk can be steamed with just a touch of a button.


PicoBaristo

PROS

  • Aquaclean filtration
  • Ten grind levels
  • Adjustable spout up to 6.5 inches
  • Large capacity – 56 oz water reservoir, 9.3 oz bean hopper
  • Bypass Doser
  • Easy to use programmable LCD screen

CONS

  • Milk frothing unit must be removed to access hot water spout
  • A Large front face of the machine lifts with the drip tray
  • No cup warmer
Need even more capacity? You’ll find it in the PicoBaristo. Mostly, it is a cross between a beefed up Intelia Deluxe and an Incanto. Like the Intelia Deluxe it features a large capacity, and like the Incanto, it comes with two different options – steam wand or milk carafe. The PicoBaristo does have a bonus feature – the Aquaclean water filtration system allows the machine to operate through 5,000 brew cycles before needing to be descaled.

Royal One Touch

PROS

  • Cup warmer can be turned on or off
  • Separate dedicated water spout
  • Automatic cleaning
  • Two boilers
  • Mammoth capacity
  • Bypass doser
  • Easy to use, fully programmable screen
  • Cappuccinatore Cross Function Milk Frothing System

CONS

  • No manual steaming option
  • Partial plastic encasement instead of complete stainless steel
  • Milk dispenser is directly in front of brew head, so wide cups must be used
Things get hot and heavy with the Royal One Touch, weighing in at almost 40 lbs. This machine is the first in the lineup to feature a double boiler, which means no wait time for temperatures to adjust between espresso brewing and milk steaming. Capacity is superb in the Royal One Touch, featuring a 74 oz water reservoir, 12 oz bean hopper, 20 cycle dreg bin, and 16 oz double insulated milk carafe. This machine is perfect for a large heavy drinker household, or small office break room.

GranBaristo Avanti

PROS

  • A revolutionary smart device enabled ordering and customization
  • Precise customization with slide bar feature on App
  • Cup warmer
  • Quiet – 58 decibels at peak volume
  • Bypass doser

CONS

  • The high cost given the mid-level mechanics of the machine apart from the smart device functions
  • Milk frothing unit must be removed to access hot water spout

The Cadillac of Saeco’s super automatic line, the GranBaristo Avanti is the smartphone of espresso machines. The internal and external features are very similar to the Incanto, though with a tiny bit larger capacity. But what makes this machine so unique is its Bluetooth enabled technology that allows you to customize and order drinks from your smart device. With precise customization not available on any other Saeco machine, the custom Saeco App features slide bar adjustment for milk volume, dose amount, espresso volume, water temperature, and milk temperature.

Our Opinion


Best Value

Incanto HD8911/47

You saw it back in the beginning, so it’s no surprise we’re saying it again. The Saeco Incanto in either wand or carafe version is the absolute best bang for your buck in the super automatic line. It’s consistent, well built, has a decent capacity, good range of versatility, and it won’t break the bank. Treat the Incanto right, and it will treat you right for years to come. That being said, every Saeco machine is a good Saeco machine for the perfect espresso.

Worst Value

GranBaristo Avanti

You may be throwing some money away if you’re looking to purchase the GranBaristo Avanti. Yes, it is a very cool machine. But, for the option of ordering on an App, the hike in price is just not worth the trade-off. Sure you can order your drink from the other room, or even from bed when you wake in the morning, but who’s going to get up and attach the milk carafe for you when you’re ordering?