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Saeco vs. Gaggia Automatic Espresso Machines-Consiglio's Kitchenware

Saeco vs. Gaggia Automatic Espresso Machines 2019

“What’s the best espresso machine?”

Here at Consiglio’s, we hear a lot of questions about espresso machines, and more often than not people are looking for the BEST machine. This is always tricky, because “best” will vary widely depending on a lot of factors and preferences.

Between Saeco, Jura, Delonghi, Gaggia and Breville, there are a lot of options out there - so the first step in pinning down the perfect espresso machine is to find the brand(s) that are the best match for you.To make this easier,  in the past, we’ve done side by side brand comparisons for Saeco vs. Jura and Saeco vs. DeLonghi - this week, we bring you Saeco vs. Gaggia!

Although Gaggia is commonly best known for their manual Gaggia Classic machine, and Saeco in the past has offered manual machines such as the Aroma and Poemia, this Saeco vs. Gaggia comparison will be focusing exclusively on automatic and superautomatic espresso machines.

What is an automatic/ superautomatic espresso machine? Automatic and superautomatic espresso machines are ones with an integrated grinding system, an automated dosing and tamping/system, and the ability to brew “bean-to-cup” at the touch of a button. Often times these machines will offer either a manual milk wand on the front of the machine for steaming or frothing milk, or an automated milk function also known as OTC (One Touch Cappuccino) that are able to prepare and dispense milk drinks (cappuccinos or lattes) at the touch of a button.  

  

Saeco vs. Gaggia Automatic Espresso Machines

The Gaggia line first got it’s start with Achille Gaggia, who filed his first espresso machine patent in 1938 for a unique, steam-free espresso machine that used high-pressurization in place of the traditional steam extraction to create the espresso’s signature crema. Gaggia was formally founded as a company in 1948, with many of their modern designs built on their 75+ years of experience.

Saeco, on the other hand, is a much more recent company - Saeco was founded in 1981 by Sergio Zappella and Arthur Schmed (Sergio, Arthur e Compagnia = Saeco), and produced the automatic espresso machine for domestic home use a few short years later in 1985. Despite not being around for nearly as long as the Gaggia line, Saeco has become a leader in the development  of  contemporary espresso machine technology, especially for machines in the domestic market - their very first Bluetooth-enabled Saeco GranBaristo Avanti hit the North American market in 2015, complete with it’s own app allowing for beverage customization and brewing via tablet or smartphone.

Saeco vs. Gaggia - are they really now one in the same?

Perhaps the most important thing to keep at the forefront when getting into the Saeco vs. Gaggia debate is the fact that Saeco now owns Gaggia, and has for a while. Yes, that’s right - Gaggia was purchased by Saeco in 1999; Saeco was then purchased by Dutch-based electronics manufacturer Philips in 2009.

With both Saeco and Gaggia now being owned by the same company, it’s to be expected that there are a lot of similarities between the two brands.

Saeco vs. Gaggia - Similarities

As mentioned in our Saeco vs. Delonghi article earlier this year, most automatic espresso machines share a lot of similarities - this is doubly so for Saeco and Gaggia. Both brands use a similar base design across all of their machines: integrated ceramic burr grinders, a removable brewing unit for easy cleaning and maintenance, a bypass doser for ground coffee, and easy to navigate controls with an intuitive user interface.

Though these similarities might seem fairly basic and straightforward, they can be incredibly important to keep in mind when shopping around for a new automatic espresso machine - if you’re familiar with one brand (ex. Saeco), it will be a seamless transition to the other (ex. Gaggia), especially in terms of use and maintenance. By having a removable brewing unit, both Saeco and Gaggia simplify the cleaning process - unlike Jura (which requires the use of specialized cleaning tablets), Saeco and Gaggia machines can be easily cleaned by removing and rinsing the brewing unit. As an added bonus, since both Saeco and Gaggia are owned by the same parent company, they share many of the same cleaning products and accessories - Saeco’s liquid descaler is recommended for both lines, and many of the new Gaggia machines use Saeco’s Intenza water filter.

With Saeco and Gaggia sharing such strong similarities, their differences become all the more important. Below, I’ll run through a quick summary of the pros and cons of each line before offering a side-by-side comparison and evaluation of the Saeco and Gaggia machines.

  

Saeco Automatic Espresso Machine Pros and Cons

 

Saeco Automatic Espresso Machines

 

Familiarity: Perhaps the best thing about Saeco automatic espresso machines is the fact that most people are familiar with the machines - for many who have owned a machine in the past, it’s been a Saeco. Which, ultimately makes sense - as mentioned above, Saeco has been on the cutting edge of advancing the technology and design for automatic espresso machines in the domestic market. Though overtime the design and the aesthetic of Saeco’s machines has changed and evolved, their basic use has stayed much the same - meaning that if you’ve owned a Saeco in the past, a new Saeco machine will still feel familiar.

Size: From full-sized machines that can keep up to the demands of a large family or small office setting, to small, compact machines that fit seamlessly into small, modern living spaces, Saeco offers a well-rounded selection of machines, making it easy to find an option with a footprint that matches you, your needs, and your lifestyle.

Price Point: As with size above, Saeco also makes sure to cover a wide price point - basic entry level models such as the Saeco X-Small can be very economical, and Saeco’s pricing general follows a very linear pattern where price point rises relative to the technology and interface of the machine. This wide range of price point makes it easy to find a machine that fits nicely into your budget.

Saeco Cons:

Saeco has long been the go-to standard for domestic automatic espresso machines - their easy to use, reliable and make a good espresso. That said, overall there’s little about the Saeco machines that make them really stand apart from other lines such as Jura, DeLonghi and Gaggia that have started to enter the market place.

  

Gagggia Automatic Espresso Machine Pros and Cons

 

 

Similarity to Saeco: Although almost counter-intuitive to list a “pro” in a product comparison article, one of the great things about the Gaggia automatic espresso machines is just how similar they are to the Saeco line - meaning that if you’ve owned a Saeco machine in the past, switching to a gaggia machine will still feel very familiar. Caring and maintaining a Gaggia machine will be largely the same as Saeco, and you can even make use of the same descaling solution.

Design and Aesthetic: One of the great things about the Gaggia line that makes it stand apart from Saeco is the look of the Gaggia machines - the new Gaggia Anima line looks sleek and professional, a rare feature for machines at lower price-points. Even Gaggia’s entry-level Brera machine looks sharp, and features a stainless-steel aesthetic.

Further to aesthtic design, the Gaggia machines also feature excellent functionality and usability - the machine interfaces are easy and intuitive to use. Despite being their “entry model” the Gaggia Brera is frequently listed as one of the best automatic espresso machines available on the market, and makes most (if not all) “top ten” lists. We’ve previously reviewed the Brera here, and it took the top spot in our Best Home Espresso Machine article as the best machine under $1000.

Foot Print: As with Saeco, the Gaggia machines offer a good range of machine sizes, offering excellent small, compact machines that fit into small, modern living spaces without sacrificing functionality. Again, a great example of this is the Gaggia Brera mentioned above - not only is it a top rated machine, it’s also one of the most compact machines available on the market, coming in at only marginally bigger than Saeco’s X-Small.

Temperature: One of the most common points of criticism for automatic espresso machines is beverage temperature - for a long time, automatic machines have just not been able to brew as hot as their manual counterparts. As mentioned in our Saeco vs. DeLonghi article, DeLonghi has addressed this as brand, and has designed their machines to simply brew at a hotter temperature, to great effect.  Recently, Gaggia too has addressed this issue by adding beverage temperature as an adjustable option on their Gaggia Anima series - the Anima Black, Anima Deluxe and Anima Prestige all have the option to select a minimum (117.5 F), medium (182.9 F) or maximum (184.5 F) brew temp.

 

Saeco vs. Gaggia - Entry Level Comparison: Saeco X-Small vs. Gaggia Brera

 

X Small / Phillips 2000

Saeco X-Small: $499.99*

Gaggia Brera

Gaggia Brera: $749.99*

Technical Specs:

  • Power: 1400 W
  • Voltage: 120 V
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee bean capacity: 180 g
  • Dump box capacity: 8 servings
  • Water tank capacity: 1 l
  • Weight: 7.2 kg
  • Product dimensions (width x depth x height): 295x420x325 mm
  • Cup space height: 100 mm (4 in)
  • Warranty - 1 Year Parts and Labor 5 Year on brewing unit.

Technical Specs:

  • Dimensions: 25.4 x 31.5 x 44.5 cm ( 10 x 12.4 x 17.5 inches)
  • Weight: 8.2 kg (18 lbs)
  • Voltage: 120 V
  • Wattage: 1400 W
  • Grinder Bean Capacity: 250g
  • Used Grounds Capacity: 8 servings
  • Water Tank Capacity: 1.2L (40.3 fl. oz.)
  • Bypass doser for ground coffee
  • Single thermoblock boiler
  • 1 Year Warranty

 

*Pricing shown reflects price point at the time this article was published. Prices are subject to change.
This article cannot be used for price matching. Please see product pages for up-to-date pricing information

 

The Saeco X-Small and Gagga Brera are “entry-level” machines, and thus are both pretty basic machines. Both offer the ceramic burr grinders offered on all machines of their respective brands, and both machines have manual frothing wands, unlike the OTC (One Touch Cappuccino) feature you begin to find at higher price point.

Comparing the X-Small and Brera side-by-side, it’s easy to see the key differences between the two models: the X-Small is cheaper, but you get more with the Brera for the little extra you’ll pay. The Brera features a back-lit LED display interface (the X-Small has no interface), a sleek stainless steel aesthetic, and a bypass doser for ground coffee (again, the X-Small has no bypass).

If budget is your primary concern, the Saeco X-Small is a decent little machine - that said, with the difference in price to the Gaggia Brera, you’ll get more features for your money, and a better all-around machins.

 

Saeco vs. Gaggia Rating

 

Saeco

Gaggia

Aesthetic:

6.5

8

Size:

8

8

Temperature:

6

9

Value:

7

8

Quality:

8

8.5

     

Total:

35.5/50 (71%)

41.5/50 (83%)

 

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Comments

J Devito - September 16, 2017

Gaggia Babila has double boiler system and makes a very hot espresso, I like Gaggia for this and for the stainless steel exterior .

Haggerty Terry - September 17, 2018

I've owned a Saeco "Super Automatica" for 20 years. Fantastic machine..great Expresso at the touch of a button. I've had it repaired only twice due to a chip and electronics failure…parts were less than
$10. (Mailed it to a Montreal). I'd buy another..if this one ever stops working. Functional design, easy to clean.

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