When buying a coffee machine, one of the factors that most buyers consider is how long it will last. No one likes to have their coffee machines repaired every few years. In addition, coffee machines are sometimes a major investment, so subconsciously we always think about buying a coffee machine to last for several years.
And for many experienced users, this may be a trivial matter, as they can make small repairs that keep the coffee machine in perfect condition. But for the novice buyer purchasing a coffee machine for the first time, a small breakdown can be a big problem.
We will try to clarify how long a coffee machine can last but specify the lifetime depending on the type of machine. The lifetime of a coffee machine varies greatly depending on whether it is manual or automatic, capsule or Moka.
What is the lifespan of a capsule coffee maker?
Measuring the useful life of a capsule coffee machine is complicated because of its low price. As soon as their capsule coffee machine starts to give problems, most people prefer to buy a new one instead of repairing it.
As an objective fact about the durability of a capsule coffee machine, we can use its warranty period. Where most brands offer between 2 and 3 years, see this example of 2 years with Dolce Gusto coffee machines.
Another important factor in the durability of capsule coffee machines is regular descaling. Nespresso, for example, recommends descaling their coffee machines every 300, 600 or 1200 cups of coffee served, depending on the hardness of the water. If a user prepares two coffees a day, he should descale every 5, 10 or 20 months.
A regularly descaled coffee machine will last longer than a coffee machine that is not. Descaling prevents limescale from building up inside the pump and the heating element. With these two components in good condition, breakdowns will be avoided and obtain a higher quality coffee.
Finally, another factor to take into account is their robustness. Most capsule coffee machines are made of plastic materials, chassis and casings. And although plastic is more sensitive to breakage than metal, these coffee machines withstand shocks well, although this depends on each user.
The lifespan of a drip coffee machine
Something similar to what we said in the previous section happens with the cheapest filter coffee machines. If a part breaks, it is cheaper to buy a new machine than to repair it, so in the end, we only have them at home for a few years.
As for the lifespan of mid-range and high-end drip coffee machines, the period of activity extends over many more years. If well maintained (descaling any appliance in contact with water is a must), these coffee machines can last for several decades. Moccamaster coffee machines, entirely handmade in the Netherlands, are guaranteed five years, although this impacts their high price.
Remember that drip coffee makers with a built-in grinder are more expensive and more likely to break down in the long term if not properly maintained. They are usually of the highest quality and have many more components and complexity than “normal” coffee makers.
The lifespan of espresso machines
Most mid-range and low-end domestic espresso machines have heating elements and other internal components made of aluminium, which tend to wear out more than stainless steel, brass or copper. Higher quality espresso machines can withstand continuous contact with tap water and stand the test of time.
The presence of an electric control board is one of the weakest components of espresso machines and, therefore, often determines the durability of the whole machine. Sometimes a small functionality stops working due to a faulty capacitor or a defective microchip. And even if all mechanical components are in perfect condition, the coffee machine will not work.
Therefore, in espresso machines, the materials used in their manufacture will primarily determine their lifetime, followed by the quality of the control board used.
A domestic espresso machine has a shorter lifespan than a capsule coffee machine and certainly much shorter than a high-end drip coffee machine. These espresso machines should last at least 3 to 5 years with you, although brands such as Delonghi only offer a 1-year warranty.
In contrast, the life span of a commercial espresso machine is usually much longer due to two main factors:
- These machines are subject to more inspections and technical maintenance (repairs and overhauls are usually carried out by a specialised service, not by the business owner himself).
- Commercial espresso machines are built and designed to withstand many coffees per day and run almost 24/7.
Life of an automatic coffee machine
When it comes to the durability of coffee machines, super-automatic coffee machines are undoubtedly the most delicate type of coffee machine and the one that buyers have the most doubts about. There are two main reasons for this:
- They are the most expensive coffee machines on the market, with some models costing several hundred pounds (sometimes more than a thousand).
- They are the most complex and incorporate the most technology, so it is much easier for a part or system to fail.
The best coffee machines tend to give more guarantees of durability. A difference of £100 or £200 in coffee machines with apparently identical performance usually means that they have passed more rigorous quality controls, been more tested, or some parts have been processed/assembled by hand. Jura offers at least a two-year warranty on all models.
Although it may seem very economical at the time of purchase, an automatic coffee machine of dubious quality or an unknown brand may break down or give multiple problems within the first few years. Lights that do not turn off, milk that does not emulsify as well or less precise temperatures.
The lifespan of an Italian coffee maker
In the case of Italian coffee makers (Moka pot), the durability criteria change as they are manual devices with no electrical installation. The most important difference is the material they are made of.
An Italian stainless steel coffee machine can last a lifetime if you maintain it correctly. On the other hand, aluminium Moka pots are more sensitive to wear and tear from fire and dents, although they can still last for many years.
The good news is that many of the durability problems with Italian coffee machines stem from the rubber gaskets, which are easily replaceable and inexpensive components.
What about French press coffee makers?
We end our review of the service life of French press coffee makers, which in our particular ranking have the highest durability step.
The difference with Italian coffee machines is that the plunger machines are not subject to the direct action of fire, so the wear they suffer is minimal. The plunger or mesh filter can be bought separately and replaced if it breaks, so if we are careful not to drop or break the glass, the durability of a French press coffee maker is guaranteed for life.