Breville Bambino Vs Bambino Plus: Which Is Better?

Short on time? Our top choice is the Breville Bambino coffee machine!

Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus – is there really any difference?

Short answer: there’s really only one (the milk frothing system).

In this article, I’ll give you an overview of each machine and break down the specific components of each one. (Including the only big difference between them!)

Then I’ll put their features head to head to declare a winner.

Let’s get to it!

Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus: Quick Comparison

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
Product
Product
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
Build Quality & Design
Build Quality & Design
Stainless steel body
Stainless steel body
Performance & Brew Quality
Performance & Brew Quality
Full 9 bars of pressure for shop-style espresso
Full 9 bars of pressure and automatic steam wand
Milk Frothing
Milk Frothing
Manual steam wand
Automatic milk frothing
Ease of Use
Ease of Use
More intuitive interface
More buttons, more options for milk frothing
Value for Money
Value for Money
Great value
Pay more for automatic milk frothing

Quick Chat About The Breville Bambino

Breville has been around for almost a century, but they haven’t always made coffee machines.

Breville only started making espresso machines recently.

But is that a downside to the Bambino? Not at all. Breville has a long history of making high-quality home appliances. And that translates to their coffee machines.

The Bambino is no exception.

The Bambino is a compact Breville machine that’s about 6” wide and 13” tall.  That makes it small enough for most kitchens.

But even in a small design, you still get Breville’s ThermoJet heating system. That gives the Bambino a lightning-quick 3-second heat-up time.

On top of that, you can pull espresso with a full 9 bars of pressure.

It has a 47 oz water tank. That might seem small, but you can still make almost a dozen espresso shots. That’s plenty big enough for daily use.

The only downside is that the Bambino has a manual steam wand. So, if you aren’t used to steaming milk for lattes, you’ll have to learn.

Pros

  • The compact design fits just about any kitchen space
  • A full 9 bars of pressure gives you true shop-quality espresso, so you’ll get good results every time
  • The ThermoJet heating system means you’re ready to brew in 3 seconds
  • A simple interface makes brewing and milk steaming really easy

Cons

  • Manual steam wand means you’ll have to learn how to steam milk for lattes or cappuccinos
  • The portafilter is aluminum, and has issues with heavy use
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Short Overview For The Breville Bambino Plus

The Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine is considered the next step up from the Bambino.

But in reality, the machines are almost identical.

As in, they have all the same features except for one: the milk frother.

The Bambino Plus is also a little bit bigger, at almost 8” wide. That said, it is still compact enough to fit most small kitchens.

It also has a bigger water tank at 64 oz.

As far as espresso goes, it has all the same technology. The ThermoJet heating system still gives you a 3-second warm-up time, and you still get a full 9 bars of pressure for espresso extraction.

The biggest difference is in the milk steaming.

The Bambino Plus has an automatic steam wand with three options for temperature and texture. That’s 9 total combinations for anything from a flat white to a cappuccino.

But if you ask me, the higher price point doesn’t really make the automatic steam wand worth it.

Pros

  • Huge 64 oz water tank means you can brew a ton of espresso shots without refilling
  • ThermoJet heating system means you’re ready to brew in just 3 seconds
  • Automatic steam wand takes the guesswork out of milk frothing
  • It’s still compact enough to fit in most small kitchens

Cons

  • The automatic steam wand jumps the price up and might not be worth it
  • The portafilter is aluminum and can become faulty with heavy use
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Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus: Features Rundown

Now that you have a brief overview of each machine, let’s dive into the features.

In each section, I’ll explain the features of the machines and declare a winner for each one.

What’s the build quality and design like?

breville bambino design design

When I look at espresso machines, I look at the materials used to build the machine itself.

In all honesty, you shouldn’t get a plastic body machine if you want a high-quality espresso.

Plastic just doesn’t cut it for home espresso machines. It’s got to be something sturdier. After all, there are a lot of parts and technology that go into an espresso. And you want a machine that can withstand all of that.

The good news is that both the Bambino and Bambino Plus are made with a stainless steel body.

The other things I look for in a home espresso machine are water tank capacity and overall size.

For the water tank, it should be big enough to make at least a handful of espresso drinks in a row without needing a refill.

The Bambino features a 47 oz water tank, while the Bambino Plus has a 64 oz tank.

Does it make that much of a difference?

No.

It’s pretty unnoticeable in practice unless you’re making many drinks each day.

So, what about the overall size?

Again, it’s negligible.

The Bambino Plus espresso machine is slightly wider at almost 8”, but it’s also a little bit shorter. 

The Bambino is more than 1” narrower, but it’s also an inch taller.

The reality is that they are both compact machines that fit most small kitchens.

WINNER
It’s a tie. They are virtually the same machine in terms of size, design, and quality.

What is the performance and brew quality?

I might sound like a broken record, but these machines perform pretty much the same.

Both machines feature 9 bars of pressure from a 15-bar Italian Pump. What does this mean?

Bars refer to atmospheric pressure. For optimal espresso extraction, you need 9 bars (or 9x atmospheric pressure) to extract the espresso coffee drink from ground coffee beans.

The 15-bar Italian Pump is capable of 15 bars, but only uses 9 bars. Why is this important?

Think of it like a car engine. With a bigger engine, it doesn’t take as long to reach higher speeds. You might not use all of the engine’s capability, but it’s easier to get going.

With a smaller engine, you use more of its capability to achieve the same results.

Both the Bambino and Bambino Plus have Italian Pumps, so you’ll get pretty much the same results from each.

On top of that, they both have ThermoJet heating and single or double-shot espresso options.

WINNER
It’s a tie again. They have the exact same under-the-hood tech, so there’s nothing to separate them in this category.

Do they both froth milk?

breville bambino plus frothing milk

Okay, finally, a big difference between these machines.

The Bambino has a manual steam wand. And the Bambino Plus coffee machine has an automatic steam wand.

Does that make the Bambino espresso maker worse?

Not necessarily.

It just means that you have to steam milk yourself instead of choosing options and letting the wand do the work for you.

Both machines are perfectly capable of making a great latte.

The Bambino Plus has three options each for milk temperature and texture. That gives you 9 total combinations for anything from a flat white to a cappuccino.

But really, the milk frothing is a personal choice. Do you already know how to steam milk for latte art? Or do you want to learn?

Then the Bambino is a great place to start.

But if you don’t know how and don’t want to learn, the Bambino Plus takes a lot of the guesswork out of milk steaming.

WINNER
I’ll say the Bambino Plus simply because these machines are meant for average consumers and not for coffee professionals. So having automatic milk frothing is a good feature.

How easy are they to use?

And we’re back to these machines being pretty much identical.

Both machines have tactile buttons as their interface (which I always prefer over touchscreen displays).

They both have single or double shot buttons, milk steaming buttons, and hot water buttons.

How does this translate to you actually using these machines?

Well, the buttons make it super easy.

Just turn the machine on, wait 3 seconds for it to heat up, fill the portafilter with grounds, insert and press the espresso button.

If we have to split hairs, I might say that the Bambino has a more intuitive interface. With fewer buttons and pictures to correspond with what each button is for, it makes it a little bit easier to navigate for a first-time user.

That said, it only takes a handful of drinks for a first-time user to get used to the Bambino Plus interface.

WINNER
I think the Bambino is slightly easier to use, but with a little effort, the Bambino Plus is still very easy.

Is one a better value for your money?

breville bambino espresso machine

Man, with these machines being so identical, you might think this section would be tough.

But I actually think the answer is obvious.

The bottom line is that the Bambino Plus is more expensive than the Bambino.

Why is it more expensive?

Because of the automatic milk steaming.

With all the other features being pretty much the same, the milk wand is the only reason for the Bambino Plus to have a higher price point.

So, is it worth it?

In my opinion: no.

The automatic steam wand is perfect for someone who really cares about their milk texture but also doesn’t want to put in the work for that texture.

And that’s a very small overlap of home users.

You can get the same milk temperature and texture from the Bambino with minimal effort.

And for that reason, I have to say that the best value is the Bambino.

WINNER
The Bambino. The extra money for the automatic steam wand just doesn’t sit right with me.

My Final Thoughts

These machines are very similar. However, they do fit two distinct needs of the average consumer.

Go with the Breville Bambino if:

  • You need a budget-friendly option
  • You are okay with steaming your own milk
  • You want high-quality espresso in the most compact design

But you should opt for the Breville Bambino Plus if:

  • You don’t want to steam your own milk
  • Have the extra money to spend
  • Want a bigger water tank for more drinks before a refill

The bottom line is that these two machines are both great. And choosing one over the other won’t make or break your morning latte.

While the Bambino might be a better value for your money, the Bambino Plus takes all the guesswork out of milk steaming. And that’s really the biggest question you have to answer.

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.