Saeco vs DeLonghi – Which one to Buy and Why?

While DeLonghi enjoy vast consumer brand recognition, the story behind Saeco may be a little less well known.

Those in the market for super-premium, or even relatively entry level espresso and coffee makers tend to be a pretty savvy circle, but if for some reason either firm has eluded your attention, or if you just want more information then you’ve come to the right place!

In a hurry? The DeLonghi is the unit I would buy, but the Saeco is the machine I would secretly lust after.

So let’s put these two titans head to head and see what we find.

[easyazon-image asin=”B003GCVY7C” alt=”Saeco Xelsis SS Automatic Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel” src=”” align=”right” width=”75″ height=”75″]

[easyazon-image asin=”B001CNJHC6″ alt=”DeLonghi ESAM5500M Perfecta Digital Super-Automatic Espresso Machine, Metallic Blue” src=”” align=”right” width=”56″ height=”75″]

About Delonghi and Saeco

DeLonghi is one of those companies that your grandma could have worked at, assuming she was Italian. Yes, they have been around for some time, since 1902 in fact, so it’s safe to assume that they know a thing or two about designing and building quality items.

In fact, while doing a little research I’ve found that I’m not the only one who thinks so. DeLonghi has won an exhausting list of awards over the years, more so than many of the other companies that I have profiled. Good job then!

Saeco, on the other hand is a much newer company, more likely your lucky brother or sister works for. I say lucky because apparently this relative fledgling, they got their start in 1981, is not only a creator of fine products, but of fine jobs as well.

You can be content in the knowledge that the product you buy from them was made by an equally content Italian employee. Saeco is no stranger to awards either, receiving an international product design award, the famous Red Dot in 2007 for their Talea Touch, with Milk Island accessory.

So does this upstart have the chops to unsettle the standard setter? Let’s keep digging.

Company Websites

The DeLonghi company website offers an “at a glance” view of their product. If you do a little digging, depending on how much you want, you will find most of the information you are after. If sticking to what you know is the right way in business then DeLonghi is to be commended for not losing focus, still, the competition seems to have the edge on the net. Does it all really matter?

Probably not.

The first thing you are greeted with at the Saeco website is a fantastic Flash sequence that animates the workings of a Xelsis machine. This happens to be the model that we look at in a minute, but their whole range including office, commercial and even vending machines is represented.

These aren’t the cheesy, old school coffee vending machines with playing card cups either, but of course, our focus is on the home market. The layout for the site is clean, and inviting if a little short on information when compared to some of the competitions almost relentless display of data.

Do you really need to know how much the screws weigh? If not you should be fine.

More About The Products

Now we get to the good part. Espresso machines for the most part can be considered a luxury item, certainly the super high-end super automatic espresso machine market, and because of this, the consumer is asked to pay a luxury price.

What you get these days for your money, however, is a fascinating cross-over of old world café perfection, met with the latest techno wizardry. I’m going to hand pick one model from each manufacturer’s line-up and take a brief look at the features; of course, you will want to look at what customers have said on specific models including the DeLonghi ESAM5500M.

DeLonghi ESAM 5500M Perfecta Digital Super Automatic

[easyazon-image asin=”B001CNJHC6″ alt=”DeLonghi ESAM5500M Perfecta Digital Super-Automatic Espresso Machine, Metallic Blue” src=”” align=”left” width=”120″ height=”160″]Ok, so what we have here is another fabulous super automatic in a long line of great machines put out by DeLonghi. I was fortunate enough to witness this product in action, and I can tell you it’s a beautiful design and fits well in its intended place in their line-up.

What I mean by this is that the ESAM5500 is not their top of the line product, but it is, certainly, not anywhere near the bottom either. It’s interesting, when looking at these machines, certain comparisons come to mind, in this case a printer cartridge when the brew head is removed for cleaning, again, the technology represented by these makers is rather astounding.

You may see an MSRP listing for this model, or any other, but it’s important to note that the ESAM5500 can actually be found at a much reduced price. As always, check Amazon for the best price.

This DeLonghi unit is an outstanding performer, and offers good looks and performance according to owners. The only thing I would have liked to see DeLonghi do differently is the plastic body.

I get the feeling that DeLonghi used a plastic face more as a tool to distinguish this model from its more expensive siblings than as a cost savings. I believe the bean counters at DeLonghi would have plumped for a stainless steel fascia had the designers felt comfortable with the resemblance, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

Still, the ESAM5500 weighs in at a respectable 23.2 pounds so you’ve got to believe there is metal in there somewhere. I’m joking, of course, this is a solid machine.

Some nice features:

  • 15 Bar Pump
  • Warming Cup Plate
  • Compact Size (H 14.9” x L 11.1” x D 17.5”)
  • 23.2 lbs.

Saeco Xelsis SS Automatic Espresso Machine

[easyazon-image asin=”B003GCVY7C” alt=”Saeco Xelsis SS Automatic Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel” src=”” align=”left” width=”160″ height=”160″]The very first thing that needs to be pointed out here is that this maker is in a different price range than the DeLonghi. So why did I include it here? Well, the MSRP of the two machines are quite different, in fact, the Saeco Xelsis SS is over one thousand dollars more than the DeLonghi model, but when compared at the more reasonable prices you find at Amazon I actually found the Saeco for “only” a few hundred more. Is it fair to compare these two? That depends on your perspective. If the difference in price is not a deal breaker, then you will want to know more about this machine.

Strictly speaking, the Xelsis SS is not Saeco’s top of the line super automatic, that job is reserved for Xelsis Digital ID. One of the reasons why I chose this model is because I am so darned excited about it.

Aside from the Digital ID, you are not likely to find a more high tech machine that happens to make espresso. Like the ESAM5500, I got to watch the Xelsis in action, and until you have seen it for yourself, it’s kind of hard to quantify the price tag.

The Xelsis is an impressive machine, with impressive features. Do you have a bunch of people vying for control of the machine? The Xelsis can accommodate by storing very specific settings for six different people, each person getting six specific drinks. How about a ceramic disc grinder?

What about looks? Well, the Saeco has it all over the DeLonghi with the stainless steel chassis and color digital screen. Keep reading though the DeLonghi hasn’t lost the battle yet.

Some nice features:

  • 15 Bar Pump
  • Warming Cup Plate
  • Compact Size (H 16.5” x L 11” x D 14.5”)
  • 37.5 lbs.
  • Color Screen w/ Active Buttons
  • Stainless Chassis
  • Ceramic Grinder


We have covered a little about these two companies and yet the question remains.

Which product would I buy and why? Well, to put the answer into perspective let me say that while the DeLonghi is an excellent machine, the Saeco is just a little more appealing, and with that, I would put my money on the DeLonghi.


The truth is that for a lot less money the ESAM5500 appears to do about the same job as the Xelsis. Both have excellent automatic milk frothing and cleaning capabilities and both make excellent espresso at the touch of a button, which at the end, or beginning, of the day is what really matters. The DeLonghi is the unit I would buy, but the Saeco is the machine I would secretly lust after.

Both Saeco and DeLonghi machines are available for good prices and free shipping over at