do i need a dual boiler espresso machine

Do I need a dual boiler espresso machine?

One of the most common questions we're asking is whether or not a dual boiler is overkill for most home users. After all, dual boilers are certainly pricier than those with a sole boiler. 

The honest answer is yes, dual boilers are usually overkill for most people looking for a home espresso machine. They're bigger, bulkier, and are typically just too much machine for the amount of coffee most people are making. 

But don't let this scare you aware from dual boilers. There are many cases where you'll truly find the benefits of a dual boiler and should opt for one. 

Cliff & Pebble: shop all our dual boiler espresso machines

Benefits of a dual boiler espresso machine

dual boiler espresso machine benefits


Dual boilers much more consistent than single boilers and heat exchangers.


While it is true you can brew and steam simultaneously on a heat exchanger, you won't be getting 100% output from both functions if doing so. Why? Well, that sole boiler is responsible for both heat and pressure of both your group head and steam wand. So, if you're performing both tasks at the same time, you won't be getting as efficient of a result as you would using the two functions separately. 

A dual boiler erases this problem as you have one boiler solely dedicated to brewing espresso while the other is solely dedicated to steaming. No sharing required. 

Thermal Stability

The two main ingredients to making espresso is heat and pressure (and of course coffee!). If you have those things, you can make espresso. 

Dual boiler espresso machines have proven much higher levels of thermal stability giving you better espresso on a more consistent basis.

Upgraded Features

Most dual boilers will contain a rotary pump however not all, where heat exchangers typically contain a vibratory pump. 

Rotary pumps are much more consistent, quieter, and allow you to plumb your espresso machine straight to your water line should you choose. 

No loss of pressure

Make drinks one-after-the-other frequently? This is where a dual boiler will shine as there is virtually zero loss of pressure in between making drinks. You won't need to wait and allow the machine to rebuild pressure after using it once.

So, is a dual boiler overkill for me?

Do you entertain a lot? Do you need to be able to make four or five drinks back-to-back on a consistent basis? Do you run a café out of your kitchen?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, our opinion is yes, you would absolutely benefit from having a dual boiler espresso machine!

However, if you're only going to be making 1-2 drinks a day, our honest opinion is no, you do not need a dual boiler. In this case, we highly suggest taking the money you're saving not getting a dual boiler and invest that savings in a better grinder, upgrading your current one, or upgrading the grinder you had in mind. After all, the grinder is by far the more important piece of equipment.

To recap:

1-3 drinks per day - a dual boiler is NOT necessary

More than 5 drinks per day - you'd benefit from a dual boiler

Entertain a lot? - a dual boiler is for you

Live alone? - save the money and opt for a heat exchanger instead

Don't care about the money and only want the best? - sure, grab a dual boiler

Dual boilers that won't break the bank (entirely)

1. The Elizabeth V3 from Italian manufacturer Lelit.

lelit elizabeth v3 dual boiler espresso machine buy

2. This gem from Breville

breville dual boiler espresso machine

3. The Silvia Pro X from Rancilio Group

rancilio silvia x pro espresso machine

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