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Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Rancilio Silvia M

Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Rancilio Silvia M

If you’re in the market for a manual espresso machine, chances are you’re considering either the Gaggia Classic Pro or the Rancilio Silvia, and for good reason - both are high-quality, Italian designed machines made from commercial grade materials, and both have reputations for being some of the most reliable and durable domestic-use espresso machines on the market. With many similarities, it’s important to ask what, then, is really the difference between the Gaggia Classic Pro and Rancilio Silvia?

In this guide, we’ll be breaking down the similarities and differences between the Gaggia Classic Pro and the new Rancilio Silvia M, and offer some recommendations on what unit really is best for your needs.


Gaggia Classic Pro  vs. Rancilio Silvia M

What is a manual espresso machine?

Manual espresso machines (sometimes also referred to as “semi-automatic” machines) are similar in design and use to the type of espresso machine you’re used to seeing at your favourite cafes and espresso bars. Unlike automatic and super-automatic espresso machines from lines like Jura or Saeco that offer push-button espresso extraction and beverage creation, manual machines like the Gaggia Classic Pro and Rancilio Silvia require you to use a portafilter to brew a shot of espresso or make a drink. Manual espresso machines require more involvement in the beverage-making process than their automatic counterparts, with the trade-off of allowing for more control and customization.

Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Rancilio Silvia: A Quick History

The Gaggia Classic Pro can be traced back to 1938 when Achille Gaggia first filed a patent for a steam-free espresso machine that would use a piston mechanism to force water through espresso grounds at a high pressure, allowing for a single shot to be brewed in 15 seconds - this patent would begin the modern era of espresso technology. Over the next decade, Achille Gaggia established the Gaggia company in Milan, Italy, and by 1949 was producing “the Classic” - very different from the Gaggia Classic Pro we know today, the original Classic was popular in cafes and clubs both in Milan and around the world. In 1991 Gaggia launched the updated, semi-automatic Classic - the birth of the quality home-use Gaggia Classic Pro available today.

Founded in 1927, Rancilio got its start with Roberto Rancilio in Milan Italy. By 1953, Rancilio had moved away from forced-steam espresso extraction, and adopted the lever piston technology introduced by Achille Gaggia. Their hallmark domestic use machine, the Silvia, is now available in the new, updated Silvia M model.


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In the name of being as thorough as possible, this article is quite a bit longer than most that we have here on our Consiglio’s Blog. You can scroll through the article for and in-depth break down of the differences between the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia M, or use the menu below to jump directly to a specific section!

Tech and Specs Break Down:

Tech and Specs Summary

Grinder Compatibility

Recommendations


Tech and Specs Break Down:

Dimensions:

The Gaggia Classic Pro features a compact construction, and measures 23 cm in width, 38 cm in height and 34 cm in depth and weighs 8 kg (20lbs). Similar in size, the Rancilio Silvia M measures 23 cm in width, 34.4 cm in height and 27.2 cm in depth, weighing 13.6 kg (30 lbs).

Their similarity in size means both the Gaggia Classic Pro and Rancilio Silvia M share a small footprint, and fit well into modern, compact kitchens and living spaces.

3-way Solenoid Valve:

Both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia M have a 3-way Solenoid Valve - a feature common on commercial espresso machines that relieves pressure on the espresso grounds after extraction, drying them out and allowing for an easier, hassle-free cleanup.


Portafilters:

One of the first differences between the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia M comes in their portafilter set-ups. Both the Gaggia and the Rancilio feature commercial style and weight 58mm chrome-plated brass portafilters and brass group heads to help ensure thermal stability. Although similar in size, the Rancilio Silvia M offers an ergonomic portafilter handle, stylishly embossed with a small version of their logo - a small touch that elevates the overall aesthetic of the machine. By contrast, the Gaggia Classic Pro offers a plain, straight utilitarian portafilter handle.

Another predominant difference is found in the filter baskets available for each machine. The Rancilio Silvia M portafilter comes with a single and a double filter basket - standard for most manual or semiautomatic espresso machines. The Gaggia Classic Pro, however, not only comes with the standard single and double filter baskets, it is E.S.E (Easy Serve Espresso) Pod compatible, allowing for the use of both espresso grounds and espresso pod right out of the box. Furthermore, the Gaggia Classic Pro comes with their “Crema Perfetta” pressurized filter baskets - a system that optimizes pressure during extraction allowing for the creating of a thick, rich, and ultimately perfect crema every time. While it’s possible to produce this crema with the Rancilio Silvia M, it does take more skill, patience and finesse, especially for those users without a background in barista skills. With the Crema Perfetta pressurized basket, the Gaggia Classic Pro gives all users the opportunity to pull great espresso shots regardless of their skill level. 

Boiler:

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Rancilio Silvia M and the Gaggia Classic Pro comes down to their boiler systems. The Rancilio Silvia M features a large, 12 oz (350mL) boiler made from a lead-free marine grade brass, powered at 952 watts. While this large boiler volume does mean a longer initial warm-up time for the Silvia, it ultimately allows for greater steaming power, shorter recycle (re-heating times) between beverages, and gives the ability to produce back-to-back milk based beverages such as lattes or cappuccinos with relatively little downtime.

While the Rancilio Silvia M features a large boiler, the Gaggia Classic Pro has a relatively small 3.5 oz (100 mL) aluminum boiler powered at a whopping 1370 watts. The pairing of this high wattage with a relatively small volume means that while the Gaggia Classic Pro will have to reheat more often than the Silvia (especially if making milk based beverages or multiple drinks), with will get up to heat much quicker. The Classic’s small volume also gives it the edge in temperature stability.

The boilers of the Rancilio Silvia M and the Gaggia Classic Pro are equally well matched on their durability and longevity - their key differences in boiler volumes, however, do result in one of the larger performance differences between the two: the Silvia M has more steaming and frothing power, hands down, while the Gaggia Classic Pro boasts faster re-heat times and greater temperature stability and consistency.

Steam Wands and Milk Frothing

 
The Rancilio Silvia M boasts a commercial style, stainless steel steam wand capable of producing cafe-quality cappuccinos and lattes. 

The Gaggia Classic Pro also features a stainless steel commercial steam wand resulting similarly to the consistency and accuracy of the Rancilio's steam wand. 

Controls and Interface:

Both the Rancilio Silvia M and the Gaggia Classic Pro use an easy straightforward interface with basic rock-switch controls:

 

Gaggia Classic Pro

Rancilio Silvia M

This similarity makes either machine user-accessible and easy to understand and operate. Though basic, the layout and design of the Silvia M’s controls do have an aesthetic advantage over the Gaggia Classic Pro.

Maintenance:

Both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia M require regular maintenance in the form of descaling. Descaling powders and solutions for either brand are easy to find (you can find them on our retail site here), and it’s recommended you descale your machine roughly once every three months.

Design and Aesthetics:

The Gaggia Classic Pro and Rancilio Silvia M are similar insofar as both feature a compact design and durable stainless steel housing - making either an excellent aesthetic addition to any kitchen or living space.


Gaggia Classic Pro

Rancilio Silvia M

While both units boast a stainless steel exterior contrasted with black rocker switches, the Rancilio Silvia M uses small details such as their unique control layout and embossed portafilter handle to round-out the units visual appeal, resulting in a sleek and alluring aesthetic.

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Tech and Specs Summary:

 

Dimensions

  • 23 cm x 38 cm x 34 cm
  • Weight: 8 kg (20lbs)
  • 23 cm x 34.4 cm x 27.2 cm
  • Weight: 13.6 kg (30 lbs)

3-way Solenoid Valve

  • Yes
  • Yes

Portafilters

  • 58 mm commercial quality portafilter
  • Chrome Plated Brass
  • Brass Group Head
  • Comes with single basket, double basket and pressurized Crema Perfetta basket
  • Pod Compatible
  • 58 commercial quality portafilter
  • Chrome plated brass
  • Brass group head
  • Comes with single and double filter basket

Boiler

  • 3.5 oz (100 mL)
  • 1370 Watts
  • Aluminum
  • Smaller capacity = fast initial heat-up period, but needs to reheat often when switching from brewing to steaming, or making multiple beverages.
  • Greater temperature stability
  • 12 oz. (350mL)
  • 952 Watts
  • Lead-free Marine-quality Brass
  • Larger capacity = smaller recycle time, better able to produce multiple beverages with minimal down-time; longer initial heat-up period.
  • Greater steaming power

Steam Wands and Milk Frothing

  • Stainless steel commercial steam wand
  • Easy to use
  • Capable of producing cafe-quality lattes and cappuccinos
  • Stainless steel commercial-style steam wand
  • Allows for greater control, nuance and finesse
  • Capable of producing cafe-quality lattes and cappuccinos
  • Takes practice to master

Controls and Interface

  • Intuitive rocker-switch controls
  • Intuitive rocker-switch controls

Maintenance

  • Requires regular descaling
  • Requires regular descaling

Design and Aesthetics

  • Stainless steel housing
  • Stainless steel housing
  • Embossed ergonomic portafilter handle and rocker switch layout elevates aesthetic

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Grinder Compatibility:

Outside of the technical specifications and design differences between the Rancilio Silvia M and the Gaggia Classic Pro, the largest notable distinction between the two units comes down to the grinders with which they are compatible.

Many of the differences outlined above center around the fact that while the Gaggia Classic Pro is easier to use, the Rancilio Silvia all-around allows for greater control - and this pattern holds true for the grinders that each machine can be used with. E.S.E compatible out of the box, the Gaggia Classic Pro can be used with espresso pods, pre-ground espresso, or freshly ground espresso with minimal effect on pulling a shot of espresso - that said, to ensure a great tasting espresso we always recommend using freshly ground espresso from good quality espresso beans (such as our organic, locally roasted line) paired with a burr grinder.

The Rancilio Silvia, however, is much more particular in the grinder required - in order to function properly it needs a professional quality burr grinder calibrated to the bean type being used. While this pairing does allow for greater control and nuance in the final beverage, it does take user effort to achieve. In using the Silvia, a good grinder isn’t just recommended, it’s essential.

Grinder Recommendations:


For the Gaggia Classic Pro:

For the Rancilio Silvia M

Gaggia MDF Grinder

Available in a Combo with the
Gaggia Classic Pro Here!

Rancilio Rocky Doser Grinder

Available in a Combo with the Rancilio Silvia M Here!

Rancilio Rocky Doserless Grinder

Available in a Combo with the Rancilio Silvia M Here!

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Recommendations

Both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia M are quality espresso machines capable of making truly great espresso. Though there are key differences between them, the biggest distinctions ultimate comedown to ease of use vs. nuance - with the Gaggia Classic Pro, you can produce consistently great beverages with ease. The Rancilio Silvia allows you to step beyond that level and create stunning espresso beverages with practice.

Gaggia Classic Pro: Great machine for home use, good fit for someone looking to make espresso, lattes or cappuccinos at home; does not require previous manual-espresso machine use or barista skills.

Rancilio Silvia M: Greater steaming power and a commercial style frothing wand set the Rancilio Silvia above and beyond the Gaggia Classic Pro, but be prepared to pair it with a high-quality grinder and put in the time to learn how to produce your favourite beverages.



Enjoy our Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Rancilio Silvia M Guide? 

 

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