Pumps make an enormous difference in espresso quality and how the machine performs. And as an espresso expert, that matters a lot. That inspired me to write a guide on the most common pump type, vibratory pumps.
I’ll explain what the pump is, its pros and cons, how it compares to rotary pumps, and the best machines around that include this pump type.
Here is an overview:
Let’s dive in.
- Vibratory pumps use pistons to move fluids through machines.
- These pumps last 5 to 6 years.
- Machines with this pump cost less.
- Not ideal for commercial espresso machines.
What Is a Vibratory Pump?
A vibratory pump is a type of pump that uses a vibrating element to move fluid. The vibrating part is a piston or diaphragm attached to a spring. When the element vibrates, the pressure difference forces the fluid to flow.
Vibratory pumps are used in most espresso machines because they’re cheaper and smaller.
These pumps will usually last 5 to 6 years .
Vibratory pumps have pistons that move back and forth and push water out of the pump using electromagnets created by a coil inside the component. The piston moves around 50 to 60 times per second . Since it moves back and forth a lot, it produces a lot of noise.
Problems that arise with these machines include sediment accumulation and broken rubber seats. Issues that could damage the piston. It’s typically cheaper to replace the pump entirely for these machines instead of repairing them.
Let’s dive into the pump’s advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Vibratory Pumps
Pros of using vibratory pumps include:
- Handles high temperatures: Maintains performance under high temperatures.
- Durable: Will handle wear & tear well.
- Cost-effective: More affordable than rotary pumps.
- Compact: Leads to smaller machines, which fit well in tight spaces.
Vibratory pumps are compact and cheaper to make, which makes them ideal for entry-level and mid-range espresso machines. These pumps are also easier to replace due to their small size and affordability.
Disadvantages of Vibratory Pumps
Cons of using vibratory pumps include:
- Vibration & noise: Produces more vibration & noise than rotary pumps.
- Limited consistency: Could impact your espresso’s consistency.
- Unusable with direct water line machines: Can’t use these pumps with machines that directly connect to home’s plumbing.
They make more noise, don’t produce the greatest-tasting espresso, and aren’t compatible with machines that connect to your home’s water line.
Water line espresso machines are better for folks who don’t want to descale their machines frequently. And want better-tasting water and don’t want to refill water reservoirs often.
Vibratory pumps don’t work well with direct-connection machines because they can’t handle the pressure from water lines. They can also heat up since they use electric coils, which could cause them to overheat if they’re constantly used.
How do they compare to rotary pumps?
Vibratory Pumps vs. Rotary Pumps
Vibratory pumps work better for folks who don’t have much room in their kitchens and want a more affordable machine. These people also wouldn’t mind not having a means to connect their device to a water line directly.
Rotary pumps work better for high-volume commercial machines where durability and consistency matter. They’re also great for high-end and connect-to-plumbing machines because they can handle high pressures.
Get rotary pumps if you have the extra money and are picky about taste. Get the other if you want to save money.
Rotary pumps last much longer than vibratory pumps (15 years), requiring replacements less frequently. Saving you money in the long run.
What Are Rotary Pumps
These pumps use a rotating disc to generate pressure, resulting in a consistent flow of water at a high pressure level. This is vital for producing a quality espresso shot. Rotary pumps are a popular choice for commercial and home use due to their durability and quiet operation.
Pros & Cons of Rotary Pumps
Pros of using rotary pumps include:
- Quieter: Makes it so your kitchen doesn’t sound like a factory.
- Longer lifespan: Lasts longer; fewer replacements.
- More consistent pressure: Builds up pressure quicker.
- Consistent flow of water: Produce a more consistent flow of water.
Cons of using rotary pumps include:
- Larger: Not ideal for tiny homes, small kitchens, studio apartments, or RVs.
- More complex: Difficult to repair.
- Higher cost: 10–20 times more expensive than vibratory pumps.
Rotary pumps are top-of-the-line due to their better taste and quieter operation. And their price reflects it. Making them ideal for businesses or espresso enthusiasts who have a lot of money to blow on high-end machines.
Espresso shots from vibratory pumps don’t have as rich or deep flavor as those produced by machines with rotary pumps. The crema consistency also isn’t as intense. These types of devices make shots that aren’t as bold and are thinner than rotary pumps.
Keep reading to see the best espresso machines with vibratory pumps.
Best Vibratory Pump Espresso Machine
The following sections will compare the pros and cons, specs, features, and other information about all the best espresso machines with vibratory pumps.
I won’t cover commercial espresso machines in this section, since few devices for businesses include this pump type. It’s also best to avoid commercial machines with vibratory pumps, since they won’t handle constant use well.
|Dimensions||8 × 9.5 × 14.2 in (D, W, H)|
|Water Capacity||71 fl oz = 71 solo shots|
- Professional-grade steam wand.
- Durable & built to last.
- Easy to operate.
- Single boiler design.
- Lacking accessories.
- No temperature or pressure control.
The Gaggia Classic Pro works best for anyone who wants an entry-level espresso machine that’ll last a long time.
Despite not having high-end features, this machine is worth the cost for espresso enthusiasts and beginners.
It has a single boiler design without a heat exchanger, which means it can’t brew coffee and froth milk simultaneously. A feature that espresso machines with dual boilers or heat exchangers could do.
It doesn’t include the most accessories (e.g., tamper), which is fine.
I wish it had Proportional Integral Derivative (PID), which monitors your machine’s temperatures and constantly makes minor adjustments . Such a feature would have made this machine cost much more, though.
Look no further if you’re looking for a machine that’ll brew high-quality lattes and cappuccinos. The steam wand has a lot of pressure, which ensures your microfoam will have a great texture—better taste. It also has a ball joint at the end to give you more control over your milk’s texture.
The machine uses high-quality stainless steel throughout the machine’s design to withstand wear and tear better than most espresso machines in this price range.
Are you looking for a machine that’ll heat quicker? Consider the next pick.
|Dimensions||12.6 × 7.7 × 12.2 in (D, W, H)|
|Water Capacity||64 fl oz = 64 solo shots|
- Heats within 3 seconds.
- Includes pre-infusion.
- Doesn’t support ESE pods.
- Frother isn’t the best for microfoam.
- Drip tray doesn’t hold much water.
The Breville Bambino Plus works best for anyone who wants an espresso machine that’ll heat fast, yet produces high-quality drinks.
This machine’s almost as affordable as the Gaggia, yet includes more features.
For instance, the ThermoJet heating system allows it to heat in 3 seconds. Much quicker than the minutes it takes for machines with other heating types to warm up. However, it still can’t brew coffee and froth milk at the same time as dual boilers can do.
Speaking of frothing. The milk wand is pretty stiff and doesn’t have much flexibility. Meaning, you won’t have the most control over your milk froth’s texture and taste. However, it’ll get the job done.
The drip tray also doesn’t hold much water, so you’ll frequently have to empty it. The tray’s small size means it’s a compact machine, which will fit better in smaller kitchens, RVs, studio apartments, and other tight spaces.
Having the ability to replace a grinder with Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods would have made this machine perfect for compact spaces. It doesn’t have ESE support, though. You must buy a separate grinder.
It also includes pre-infusion, which gently wet coffee beans before brewing for better flavor extraction. A feature that usually higher-cost machines would have.
This machine may not last as long as higher-end models. Let’s see what a high-end machine would look like.
|Dimensions||16.34 × 10.04 × 15.16 in (D, W, H)|
|Boiler Type||Dual boilers|
|Water Capacity||101 fl oz = 101 solo shots|
- Can disable steam boiler.
- Uses high-quality internal plumbing.
- No pre-infusion.
- Short steam wand.
The Profitec Pro 300 is an excellent choice for folks who want a long-lasting espresso machine that’ll heat quickly and produce high-quality espresso.
You’ve come to the right place if you’re after a machine that’ll last a long time.
The long warranty period ensures this machine should last for at least 3 years. That’s because the machine uses braided stainless steel and copper tubing instead of Teflon. This machine’s innards will withstand wear and tear better than most machines.
It doesn’t include pre-infusion, though. A bummer for anyone who wants more even flavor extraction. However, this Germany-made machine consists of a dual boiler. Such a boiler allows you to brew coffee and froth milk at the same time.
Great for entertaining guests without having to take forever to wait for a tank to have to reheat.
Don’t want to use the milk frother? Disable it. It’s a feature that most machines don’t include.
Due to its short steam wand, you may only want to use this machine for brewing lattes occasionally. This gives you less control over your frothed milk’s texture (and taste).
Despite not having pre-infusion, it includes Proportional Integral Derivative (PID). Ensuring your machine will have consistent temperatures in every drink. This feature constantly monitors your device’s temperature and makes minor adjustments.
That’s all for recommendations.
Vibratory pumps aren’t usable in espresso machines that directly connect to water lines. They’re also not ideal for commercial machines, since they don’t maintain pressure consistency well.
They work great for entry-level and mid-range espresso machines for home use due to their affordability and size.
Want more recommendations on espresso machines? Check out our other guides.