Updated: August 11, 2023 by Mary Nguyen
As nice as automatic espresso machines are, sometimes it’s nicer to go old school and put in the work yourself. By that, I mean using a manual machine that requires you to do most of the work. If you are into these kinds of machines, you need to know all about the best lever espresso machines I have included in this roundup!
I am a person who likes to get their hands dirty now and then, so sometimes I set my automatic espresso machine aside and grab the lever one. Sure, it requires more precision, time, and effort, but the espresso shot that you get at the end is that much more enjoyable. If you have never tried a lever espresso maker before, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible.
My manual lever espresso machine reviews are of great models you can find on the market right now. Most of them include a lot of great features, while some are more affordable than others. To get all the deets on the machines included on my list, I recommend that you stay and read until the very end of this article!
As my favorite lever espresso machine, I have to mention the Flair PRO 2 Lever Espresso Machine. This company has a lot of great lever machines, three of which are included on my list, but this PRO 2 has to be at the top of the list because of how simple, lightweight, and sturdy it is. It is also quite easy to clean, which makes brewing espresso that much more enjoyable.
Table of Contents
My Reviews of the Best Lever Espresso Machines
|1. Flair PRO 2|
|2. Flair Classic|
|3. Flair NEO |
|4. La Pavoni Professional|
|5. Rok Manual|
|6. Elektra Micro Casa|
Detailed reviews are the best thing to give you all the information you would ever need, which is why I have included such reviews of all six machines on my list. To determine which one of these six lever machines is the perfect one for you, go over each of these guides. Trust me, you will not regret it!
1. Flair PRO 2 – Best Lever Espresso Machine
If you are someone who likes to take their espresso machine everywhere with them, this might just be the best option for you. This PRO 2 machine from Flair is the company’s best portable machine, designed to make espresso with ease and within a minute. Since the machine comes with its travel case, you do not need to worry about its storage while traveling!
- 6 to 9 bars of pressure
- Pressure gauge
- Removable brew head
- Stainless steel tamper and drip tray
On the side of this lever machine, you will see the custom pressure gauge that lets you check the pressure you are generating with the machine while pulling the shot. The pressure can go anywhere from six to nine bars, which is perfect for espresso. Once the shot is almost done, make sure that you release the lever and let it finish the brew on its own.
- Portable, comes with a travel case
- Quick shot brewing
- Sleek aesthetics
- Possibility of getting a wobbly unit
This machine allows you to be included in the brewing process from start to finish. If you think that pulling espresso with lever machines is hard, you need to check out this one. It will show you that Flair’s manual lever machines are some of the easiest, most convenient machines on the market.
I love machines that don’t need to be plugged in at all times – they are so much easier to use, and you can use them just about anywhere. That is why I love this classic espresso machine from Flair. It’s a fully manual machine that you can operate using nothing more than the lever – no electricity needed at all!
- 6 to 10 bars of pressure
- Detachable brewing head
As with all espresso machines, you will need to clean this machine after using it. The cleanup is very simple – all you need to do is detach the brewing head, detach all its parts, and rinse it with cool water. If any other parts need cleaning, you can give them a quick wipe and they will be good to go!
- Compact and portable
- Sturdy design
- Comes with a custom travel case
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Controls might be difficult to master
This machine has a sturdy build, making it quite durable. If you manage to master the controls quickly, you will have no problem making espresso.
3. Flair NEO Lever Espresso Machine – Best Budget
Even though the NEO has a very similar construction to the previously mentioned Flair espresso machines, the biggest advantage that this one has over the other two is the price. This is the most affordable lever machine that I have on the list, so if you are on a tighter budget, you should look into it. The brewing is simple and quick, and the espresso you get will be strong with beautiful crema!
- 6 to 9 bars of pressure
- Flow-control portafilter
- Standard brew head
Another great thing about this machine is the custom flow control filter, which, as the name suggests, restricts the flow of the brew water through the grounds. This is a handy feature for beginners because it simplifies the process and ensures proper pressure and extraction time without having to worry about dialing in your shot. This truly is a “no experience necessary” machine.
- Easy cleanup
- Simple to use, suitable for beginners
- Machine might not be as durable as others
This fun and user-friendly machine is everything you need to pull a great shot of espresso. It does not come at a very high price, so if you are on a tighter budget, this machine can be a real lifesaver!
This machine looks quite different from all the others I have mentioned so far. While the previous ones have very simple designs, this machine looks modern and sophisticated with its chrome exterior. The machine has a pressure gauge, water reservoir, as well as a lever that you can use to pull one or two espresso shots at the same time.
- Optimal brewing pressure
- Pressure gauge is included
- Water level glass
- Single or double shot option
The company recommends that you heat the machine and attach the portafilter at first, then lift the lever to its top position before you pull the shot. If your shot seems a bit too short, you can always pull the lever once more to get a second dose of espresso.
- Machine can heat the water on its own
- Minimal effort brewing
- Takes up to 8 minutes to heat up
This machine comes at a very high price, and it is not the most convenient one for people who are always rushing. You will have to wait anywhere from six to eight minutes for the machine to heat up before you can start the brew. Make sure you consider whether or not you have that much time to wait before you get the machine.
Rok used to be very popular when they first introduced their manual lever espresso machine. Even though it was not as modern as others and it did not have a lot of features, it could still brew a great shot of espresso quickly. You have to preheat the water as well as the machine if you are looking to get a hot shot of espresso.
- 5 to 10 bars of pressure
- Portable and lightweight
- Award-winning design
The metal construction of this machine ensures that you will be using it for years and years. The only problem that might arise is with the plastic pressure chamber, but that is something that you can replace whenever needed. Also, look into the updated version of the machine to get a pressure chamber made from glass composite.
- Sturdy, ergonomic design
- Extremely durable
- Pressure chamber is plastic
A simple, affordable, classic machine, this Rok manual machine could be a perfect choice for you. If you want to get a raw espresso brewing experience, you need to look into this machine more closely.
If you are looking for a machine that is all about design, you have to check out this lever espresso machine from Elektra Micro Casa. The combination of brass and chrome makes this machine unique, and the brass eagle standing on the dome is like the cherry on top of the design. The machine might be a bit more expensive than others, but the design makes every penny worth it if you ask me.
- Up to.3 bars of pressure
- Water level sight glass
- Pressure gauge included
- 1.8 L durable brass boiler
- Internal pressure regulation
The machine is quite quiet while operating, and it is also quite compact and you can easily fit it anywhere. It comes with a steam wand as well, so you will be able to steam or froth milk and add it to your espresso. This extra option is going to save you from having to buy an additional milk frother!
- Machine is very quiet
- Portable, lightweight design
- Not enough pressure
- Machine is not that user-friendly
The controls of the machine are a bit difficult, and the machine as a whole is a bit complex, but it is still a great machine with a lot of positive sides. I recommend that you consider it if your budget allows you to invest in it!
Things to Consider When Buying a Lever Espresso Machine
After looking into all these great lever espresso machines, you must be thinking that it will be difficult to choose just one machine for your home. I would like to make things a lot simpler for you by giving you a couple of pointers that you should focus on when buying a manual lever espresso machine. Let’s get into those pointers and see what you should know!
Prepare to Put in the Work
As you would expect, when you have a manual espresso machine on your hand, you will have to put in a lot of work. That includes grinding the beans, measuring them, tamping them, attaching the portafilter, creating the brewing pressure, and cleaning the machine afterward. This can be time-consuming, and it could require quite a lot of involvement on your part, so make sure that you are prepared to put in the work.
If you are not someone who likes to put effort or thought into their espresso, skip the manual machines and try to go for superautomatic ones.
Decide on Your Budget
There are a lot of great lever machines that come at lower prices, but there are some quality ones that have prices exceeding $1,000. Make sure that you think about your budget and decide how much you are willing to spend on the machine before hitting the stores.
Go with a Quality Machine
I recommend that you go with a machine with quality build and quality parts. That means the machine should be made from predominantly metal materials. At the same time, make sure that the machine is easy to use and easy to maintain or you will have to spend quite a while trying to master the controls on it.
FAQs About Lever Espresso Makers
As a final note, I want to mention a couple of the most frequently asked questions regarding this type of machine. I hope that this extra information will come in handy once you get your first lever espresso machine!
Are manual espresso machines worth it?
Manual espresso machines are worth it if you are someone who likes to be involved in the brewing process. This type of machine lets you generate as much pressure as you would like, and you also get to use the lever to generate it. The total involvement in the brewing process from start to finish will make you appreciate your espresso so much more, which is a fact that makes this machine worth it!
How do you clean a lever espresso machine?
The best way to clean a lever espresso machine is to focus on the brew head, removing all parts and rinsing them thoroughly before you reattach them. If there is a drip tray, water reservoir, or steam wand on your machine, you will need to rinse and wipe those parts as well. As for the construction, simply wiping it down will do the trick!
Level Up Skills with a Lever Machine
Thank you for sticking with me as I reviewed my list of the six best manual lever espresso machines. I would like to remind you to check out the Flair PRO 2 Lever Espresso Machine as it is the best machine of this kind currently available on the market. You can also look into the Flair NEO Lever Espresso Machine if you are on a tighter budget but still want to get a quality machine.
All of the machines in this guide are great, so I encourage you to give them a second look. Let me know in the comments below if you know any other great lever machines that I should know about. I will make sure to check them out as soon as possible!