Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus: Which one is Best for You?

How to decide between the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus? It’s a major debate because both machines make excellent espresso and look similar. The question is whether you want to pay up for automatic milk frothing on the Bambino Plus or have the simplicity of the Bambino at a lower price.

I’ve tested both espresso machines, and in my opinion, the Bambino is the better choice. Why? Price, mainly. I recommend buying a Bambino and using the savings to buy an Aeroccino milk frother and/or a better grinder.

If you want the all-in-one package with easy milk frothing, choose the Bambino Plus. The automatic milk frothing works well, and the self-clean is a time saver too.

The Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus both bring the coffee shop home, and they’re two of the best espresso machines under $500 too. I’ll review the main differences between the two espresso machines so you can make the best choice.

Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus
Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus

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Breville Bambino vs. Bambino Plus: The Breakdown

For the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus, it comes down to whether you want flexibility and value (Bambino) or a guaranteed result (Bambino Plus).

The Bambino Plus includes features like automatic milk steaming with a few presets to get precise results on the first use. The Bambino puts more control in your hands, with a manual milk wand and fewer automatic functions. That level of control means you have more flexibility: you can choose the temperature you want your milk to be, the texture, and so on.

But to get a better idea of what each machine brings to the table, we need to dive into the details.

Design & Build

Both the Bambino and the Breville Bambino Plus have a compact, solid design and high quality build, but there are a few key differences. I ultimately tend to prefer the Breville Bambino, in spite of some very strong points for the Bambino Plus.

The Bambino Plus comes in nine different colors, where the Breville Bambino only comes in brushed steel. I gotta say – the Black Truffle and Damson Blue are awesome (Breville’s site has more color options).

Also, the Bambino Plus also has a 2-year warranty versus the 1-year warranty for the Bambino.

While each espresso maker is compact, the Bambino is just a little bit smaller, which is important to me; I have pretty limited counter space. To break down the dimensions a bit:

Breville Bambino: 7.7 in x 12.6 in x 12.2 in, 1.4 liter reservoir (47 fluid ounces)
Bambino Plus: 9.6 in x 16.3 in x 16.9 in, 1.9 liter reservoir (64 fluid ounces)

While the water reservoir on the Bambino is half a liter smaller than the Bambino plus, it won’t be noticeable. You can still make a dozen espressos with one tank.

The Bambino’s drip tray feels a little more solid than the Bambino Plus. The drip tray on either machine is on the smaller side, but the Bambino Plus is designed with an integrated temperature sensor in the base, which makes the steel cover tray more flimsy.

In this case, there’s almost no difference in the size and feel. The Bambino wins this category for me as the smaller machine and slightly more solid build. That said, I love the color scheme on the Plus…

Which Steam Wand Is Better?

There’s no doubt the automatic frothing on the Bambino Plus makes life easier and is better overall. The temperature and texture control is really helpful, especially if you don’t want milk steaming to be a ritual.

That said, the Breville Bambino delivers the same performance. You can make beautiful latte art, although it takes longer with the one-hole wand. The Bambino also gives more flexibility with its full rotation, which can help get a more specific texture.

I compare the Bambino Plus automatic frothing like using GPS for directions. GPS helps if you’re unsure of direction, but doesn’t matter if you know you’re way around town. Decide how much convenience matters to you.

Espresso Performance

The single key performance question regarding espresso machines is the espresso quality they provide. Breville machines all have strong reputations in coffee brewing, and the Bambino and Bambino Plus compare equally because they have the same core ThermoJet heating system.

Brewing espresso also requires sufficient water pressure, which both the Bambino and the Bambino Plus supply. Pump-based systems deliver better results than steam-based systems, and each espresso machine boasts a 15-bar Italian pump design that competes with any commercial machine.

Both machines also feature digital temperature control (PID) for precise temperature control. The PID gets the water up to the exact temperature you need for optimal espresso extraction quickly.

Both machines offer high quality espresso through a few other important, well-designed features. They both include low pressure pre-infusion.

The built-in low pressure pre-infusion setting helps with precise espresso extraction by priming the ground coffee in your portafilter before espresso brewing really begins. This helps bring out the rich and complex flavors that espresso demands, whether you use freshly ground beans or pre-ground espresso.

Both the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus have the same technology inside, so there’s no difference here.

Final Verdict: Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus

Which is better? For me, the Bambino is the better buy. The Bambino is simpler to use and maintain, and packs the same quality in the essential areas you want in an espresso machine. The Bambino also offers more flexibility and a little more sturdiness compared to the Bambino Plus and at a better price.

The Breville Bambino is the best espresso machine at its price point. It uses Breville’s latest Thermojet technology that heats in three seconds, makes excellent espresso, and has no downtime between steaming and milk frothing. The manual steam wand gives you more flexibility with a 360-degree rotation and dispenses hot water.

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine BES450BSS,...
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use
  • Low pressure pre infusion: Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps...
  • Automatic Microfoam Milk Texturing: The automatic steam wand allows you to adjust the milk temperature and...

If you prefer a machine with an extremely easy milk frother, the Bambino Plus is the better buy, even at a higher price point. The higher machine cost goes directly into quality features, so it’s still a good value for the money.

The Breville Bambino Plus comes with an automatic milk frother. You can choose a temperature, milk texture, and let the machine do the rest. The Bambino Plus includes Breville’s latest Thermojet technology, which heats in 3 seconds. It has the features and convenience of a high end machine at a reasonable price.

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine BES500BSS,...
  • Item Package Dimension: 17.64L x 16.99W x 10.24H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 15.74 Pounds
  • Item Package Quantity - 1

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