Breville Infuser vs Rancilio Silvia: which Espresso Machine Is Worth It?

Breville the Infuser — programmable and giving. The Rancilio Silvia — simple, but high quality. Is one of these espresso machines better than the other? We’re about to see. What’s good about this battle of espresso machines is that both machines have good basic components, like 15-Bar pumps and good boilers, that qualify them as nice machines. Breville Infuser vs Rancilio Silvia — let’s start.

Article summary

Breville the Infuser

Editor’s rating: 4.8 Star Editor's Rating

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel Key features:

  • Programmable coffee volume and temperature
  • 15-Bar pump
  • Thermocoil boiler
  • 3-way solenoid valve
  • Stainless steel housing
  • Hot water spout
  • Pre-infusion
  • 61-ounce water tank
  • Multiple accessories included in the box


Programmability and user-friendliness is something that the Infuser by Breville brings to every user

The 15-Bar pump, the pre-infusion, and the 3-way solenoid valve optimize the espresso-making process

The thermocoil boiler that has an integrated PID controller keeps the brewing and steaming temperature stable

Comes with a razor, a built-in tamper, a measuring scoop, and 4 pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets—perfect for teaching newbies how to make better coffee


A little delay when you try to switch to steaming after brewing because the machine needs to heat up

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Rancilio Silvia

Editor’s rating: 4.8 Star Editor's Rating

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch Key features:

  • 58mm commercial portafilter
  • Anti-burn steam wand
  • Heating element made of brass and stainless steel
  • 67-ounce water tank
  • Hot water option available through the steam wand
  • Rocker controls
  • Cup warmer
  • Non-pressurized filter baskets included in the box


Best in-class quality of performance

Incredible steam wand, that is as powerful as it is easy to use and maintain

A simple Italian design that brings you the durability of a stainless steel housing and the ease of use of the rocker buttons

An espresso machine suitable for intermediate espresso enthusiasts who want to enjoy commercial-style coffee beverages


No programmable options

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Our pick: The Nespresso Vertuo by Breville

We assumed that if you’re are looking for machines in this price category, you are an espresso enthusiast whose skills are still growing. This is why we decided to pick Breville the Infuser as the winner in this espresso machine competition. The Infuser offers a lot of bells and whistles that can teach you about making espresso, it comes with beautiful accessories among which two pressurized filter baskets, and it offers programmability, auto purge, and little things that will make your espresso experience easier. There is a little learning curve, but that will only prepare you for machines like the Silvia, for example. The steam wand on the Silvia is very powerful and the machine comes with no pressurized filter baskets, so, if you are a beginner, you’ll have an easier time with the Infuser.

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel About Breville the Infuser

The Infuser by Breville is a compact espresso machine packed with features to the point where we’re honestly surprised by it. Stainless steel is what is dominating here, with the Infuser having a casing and a portafilter made of stainless steel. Even the thermocoil boiler has an aluminum heating element lined with stainless steel! This is Breville’s standard for good espresso machines, so not seeing stainless steel anywhere near the machine would’ve been strange to us.

As a machine that can make cappuccinos and lattes, the Infuser also has a steam wand, which truly is a ‘featuresque’ component. Hand-friendly, the wand rotates 360 °and it has only one hole for slow, but effective steaming and manual milk texturing.

With Infuser’s 15-Bar pump and the programmable coffee volume, customizing your espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes is fancy. The built-in PID for the boiler, furthermore, keeps the water temperature suitable for brewing and steaming, with temperature stability guaranteed from the start. If you want to increase or decrease the temperature, the Infuser lets you do that within a range of 4° F. Quite nice for some extra tweaking of your coffee, right?

Breville the Infuser also pre-infuses the coffee for better extraction, which translates into an espresso rich in flavor and crema. Good espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes, however, are also possible because of the many accessories included: the 4 pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets, the razor, the scoop, and the brush. The accessories even have their own storing compartment below the drip tray of the machine — how cool is that!

Of course, other features like the three-way solenoid valve, the auto purge, and the auto off help you have good interactions with the Infuser, while keeping the machine healthy and clean at the same time.

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch About the Rancilio Silvia

Made after the best commercial espresso machines in the market, the Rancilio Silvia comes with a commercial and ergonomic 58mm stainless steel portafilter and a housing completely made of stainless steel. Its powerful steam wand quickly froths its way to hot lattes and cappuccinos as the machine’s 15-Bar pump and improved brass boiler craft fantastic espressos.

The Silvia is, in fact, the product of constant improvements to older versions of the machine, with today’s version being the best and the most advanced one.

We love simple-to-operate, but brilliant espresso machines. In the case of the Silvia, espresso is a press of a rocker button away. The machine has four rocker buttons on the front, all of which are intuitive with symbols for water, steam, power, and espresso. You also know whether you’ve pressed the buttons or not!

We already said a little something about the steam wand of the Silvia, but this wand definitely deserves a better description. It is traditional, but an anti-burn one and it comes with a nice finger guard.

The wand is one of Silvia’s improved components and it is very articulated. It rotates, steams powerfully, and lets you go cappuccino and latte fast — a true frothing master!

The Rancilio Silvia is unquestionably a very durable and well-made machine stainless steel machine. If there is anything made of plastic on the machine, it’s only the 67-ounce water tank; the tanks of espresso machines are usually made of plastic, so it was expected. Only the best high-end espresso machines, though, are made of stainless steel and use non-pressurized filter baskets—exactly what the Silvia is and does! That would be the story of this machine, which might not be programmable, but it sure is high-quality and the best in its class.

Similarities between Breville the Infuser and the Rancilio Silvias

As espresso machines, the Infuser and the Silvia are destined to have certain similarities. In terms of their design, the two machines are attractive, compact, and have accessible components, which translates into easy-to-remove drip trays and water reservoirs. There’s also a cup warmer on each of these two espresso machines, so preheating your coffee cups for hotter espresso is possible.

Although the Infuser has some plastic parts, the housings of the two machines are both made of stainless steel, making the two machines durable. They work with portafilters and have 15-bar pumps, meaning they are semi-automatic; their traditional steam wands are also part of the semi-automatic wonders.

In case you need hot water for tea, both the Infuser and the Silvia can dispense hot water for you, but in different ways. These two espresso machines pre-infusing the coffee as well and they also have a 3-way solenoid valve that redirects the water in the coffee puck straight to the drip tray. Overall, the Infuser by Breville and the Rancilio Silvia are two compact espresso machines that can make you great espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos in a pretty simple way.

Differences between Breville the Infuser and the Rancilio Silvia

The learning curve

The simpler one of the two machines is definitely the Rancilio Silvia. There is nothing on this machine that can confuse you because its control panel is pretty simplistic— four rocky buttons, a dial for the steam, a steam wand, and a group head. On the other hand, the Infuser is a bit more of a puzzle because the machine offers more options. With buttons that are programmable, a programmable temperature, integrated programs, and a lot of accessories to help you prepare your coffee, there could be some learning curve with this machine. Of course, using the Infuser won’t be way to hard, but we assume that it will take you a day or two to realize how to make the best use of the espresso machine and start improving you espresso, cappuccino, and latte-making skills.

Even though there are more things to discover on the Infuser, the Silvia does bring its own learning material as well. That powerful steam wand can be a bit challenging to froth your milk with, but, once you improve, the results will be beautiful. Also, the Silvia comes to you with two non-pressurized filter baskets and these can be challenging for beginners to use. Non-pressurized baskets require nicely-ground coffee and good tamping skills to be able to help in the espresso extraction properly. On the other hand, the Infuser comes with four baskets, two of which are pressurized, which is great even if you don’t have the best coffee grinder for espresso right now.

Commercial-grade features

Another notable difference between the machines is that, out of the two, it is the Silvia that is the more commercial-style one. This espresso machine has a 58mm portafilter in comparison to the 54mm portafilter of the Infuser, and it has a housing that is completely made of stainless steel. The Infuser, on the other hand, has more plastic parts, which is understandable because the machine is not in the class of the Rancilio Silvia. Of course, there are also the two non-pressurized portafilters of the Silvia which we already mentioned and its anti-burn steam wand— two other things that show the commercial style of the machine.

Programmable settings and other options

While Silvia lacks on programmability, the Infuser lets you have complete control over the coffee volume and some control over its temperature. The Silvia also lacks on some extra options that are available to you with the Infuser, like its accessory kit that includes a razor and a metal-bottom tamper which is better than the plastic tamper of the Silvia.

What’s interesting is that the accessories of the Infuser have their own special drawer located under the drip tray of the machine, and we love this. Speaking of the Infuser’s drip tray, it shows you an ’empty me’ message once its full. The drip tray of the Silvia, however, has a bigger capacity, and that might be appealing to some people.

This win-lose battle between the Infuser and the Silvia continues with the Silvia having a larger 67-ounce water tank in comparison to the 61-ounce reservoir of the Infuser. The Infuser, on the other hand, does auto purge — a nice, automatic touch on the purging process that we don’t see on the Silvia.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, the two machines have different boilers, with the Infuser having a thermocoil and the Silvia having a brass-and-stainless-steel boiler. That said, the boiler of the Infuser keeps the water temperature more stable, with steam on the fly being an option, but with a slower steaming process. Contrary to that, the Silvia will let you wait a bit before the water for the steam heats up, but when it does, steaming will be fast and powerful.

The big picture

Overall, we see the Infuser as being very giving and teaching its users about the basic-to-intermediate espresso skills with a slower steam wand, programmability, and a lot of options for your drinks. The Rancilio Silvia, on the other hand, is a good deal for the better-skilled espresso, cappuccino, and latte lover, offering commercial-style drinks through its easy-to-use control panel and commercial components.

Which one should you go with?

We recommend that you go with Breville the Infuser if you are a beginner or an intermediate espresso enthusiast who wants to learn more about espresso and strengthen your espresso, cappuccino, and latte making skills. In case you already are more experienced, the Rancilio Silvia could be the machine that will deepen your knowledge on milk texturing, while giving you tempting-to-drink espressos at the same time. It basically depends where in the learning process you are, with the Infuser by Breville being the machine that will be easier on you.

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