Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which Should You Choose?

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The invention of the coffee pod coffee maker does divide opinion. Those that aren’t so keen much prefer the process of using grounds or beans and the “barista” experience. But, these capsule machines do tend to offer greater consistency with the coffee brewed and a more efficient process for those in hurry in the morning.

They are also a good way to discover new tastes and styles.

If you are in the market for a fast and compact coffee pod machine that provides a great espresso each morning, and maybe some other options, there are plenty out there. High on the list in terms of popularity and quality are those that use Nespresso and Dolce Gusto capsules.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which Should You Choose?

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto.

There are so many different types of coffee pods on the market and buyers all have their preferences. One may just hit the spot in intensity a little better, or another may have a better range. We can also bring in tastes from our favorite coffeehouses sometimes. But, this all depends on the machine you get. Two of the most popular brands of coffee capsules are Nespresso and Dolce Gusto. So, what is it about these two brands that are so special? Let’s start with a Dolce Gusto v Nespresso machine comparison.

Who offers the best coffee?

This is a difficult one to answer because it is such a subjective thing. One person could absolutely love the taste of a range of Nespresso capsules or one certain pod and not want to use anything else. The same could be true for someone using pods in a Dolce Gusto machine. The Dolce Gusto ones may draw more new users in because of the Nescafe name – someone we are all familiar with. But, there is still a great reputation behind Nespresso.

However, it is worth noting that bloggers and coffee lovers do tend to lean towards Nespresso as a more “high-end” choice. They talk about the depth of the coffee and the artisan pods. So, if you are keen to expand your horizons or go for something new, this might be the upgrade you are looking for.

Who offers the most capsules?

The decision on who to pick based on the quality of the coffee may instead come down to the range of capsules on offer and their accessibility. For example, Nespresso has a wide range of options in their line with milky drinks, iced coffee, and different styles and strength. But, Nespresso machines take Nespresso pods only. You need to order the right compatible pods to get the best results. For some, this will be no problem at all because of the professional customer support where you can order these pods online. You can get packs of your favorites shipped to your door and know they are from a good source.

Dolce Gusto is different. As mentioned above, the options aren’t as high-end. But, there are more of them. It is possible to get Nescafe Dolce Gusto pods in a range of styles and to do so in-store. This convenience is enhanced by the fact that some Dolce Gusto machines take capsules from other brands. So, if you are a Starbucks lover, you may be able to get that taste via your new machine.

Who makes the most attractive machines?

Again, this is a very subjective thing because it is difficult to judge the visual appeal of a machine. For example, while I love the quirky shapes of some of the spherical Dolce Gusto machines for their futuristic look, others will hate them. Similarly, I find the blockier pod machines to be too predictable when a small capsule machine allows for more interesting shapes. But, this has to sit out on your counter so it needs to be attractive. Do you want something bold or something straightforward?

Who makes these coffee machines?

When you buy a Nespresso or Dolce Gusto machine, you are buying something manufactured by another company. The coffee company will work with other designers to get the best quality products. This means that the people behind the machines vary from one model to the next. The downside of this is that you might not get the same consistency in quality or use of materials. It depends on the manufacturer and the country of origin. It isn’t always easy to find out who made a machine. The two Dolce Gusto models below are listed as Dolce Gusto, whereas the two Nespresso ones are by Breville and DeLonghi. DeLonghi is a known maker of Dolce Gusto too, but most seem to be Krups. The upside here is that both Breville and DeLonghi are known for their high-quality merchandise.

Are Nespresso and Dolce Gusto pods recyclable?

There is some confusion over the Dolce Gusto pods, as some claim that the materials are safe for household collection while others don’t. It comes down to the use of plastic. There is a home collection service with mixed reviews. The Nespresso pods are aluminum, so should be easier to deal with. Again, there is a home collection service to take advantage of.

What about the warranty and customer service?

Finally, it helps if a coffee company has a good customer relations set-up and is easy to work with. You are going to build a relationship with Nespresso ordering their pods, and this seems to be a pleasant experience for most users. Both companies have a 2-year warranty on their machines with the usual disclaimers about damage, faults, and wear. It is also important to register the machine for the best customer experience.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which Should You Choose?

Choosing the best coffee machine from either Nespresso or Dolce Gusto.

So far, it is clear that there are plenty of reasons to choose either a Nespresso or Dolce Gusto machine. If you already know that you love the taste of Nespresso capsules over the Nescafe Dolce Gusto ones, this could be an easy decision. Brand loyalty certainly exists with these capsules – until your favorite is discontinued and you are left searching for a replacement. However, if you are new to these brands and their taste, you can make your choice based on some key criteria.

1. The type of coffee produced.

This has to be the most important starting point because not all capsule machines have the same options. As you will see with the different models below. Some have adjustable sizes and others have presets. These can also vary in size. The accessibility of capsules also determines what you can make, as will any milk functions or aeroccinos.

2. The consistency and quality of the coffee produced.

Consistency should be a given with these machines because you use the same capsule with the same recognition system each time. However, this isn’t such a guarantee if you buy pods from various brands. You also need to be sure that there is enough pressure behind the system and that the settings perform flawlessly each time.

3. The ease of use.

Any machine from these brands needs to be user-friendly. There is no point have a range of settings and sizes if you can’t set them up. The features should be intuitive with clear visual cues. Ease of use then continues into the way the capsules are loaded and stored. There should be internal storage for spent pods, but it is always a good idea to check.

4. The size of the machine.

Size matters with capsule machines because they should be more compact. They are a great alternative solution for smaller kitchens where barista-level machines are too dominant. Check the specifications for the height and width, which should include the water containers.

Some of the best Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto products around right now.

Those are some of the basic considerations when choosing the ideal capsule coffee maker for your household. From there, you need to go more in-depth and compare some of the best machines to use these branded capsules. Below is a more in-depth comparison of four top products. They are the Nespresso Pixie, the Nespresso Vertuo Plus, the Dolce Gusto Genio 2, and the Dolce Gusto Esperta 2. We will look at their performance, features, and ease of use. You can also check out this table for a quick comparison between the four.

Nespresso PixieNespresso VertuoPlusDolce Gusto Genio 2Dolce Gusto Esperta 2
manufacturerBrevilleDeLonghiDolce GustoDolce Gusto
capsulesNespressoNespressoNescafe Dolce GustoNescafe Dolce Gusto
capsule ejection/storageYesYesYesYes
capsules in boxcomplimentary starter set complimentary starter set option for starter set option for starter set
coffee sizesespresso and lungo espresso, double, gran lungo, altoadaptableadaptable
pressure19 bars unclear15 bars 17 bars
start-up time25 seconds 15 seconds unspecified unspecified
eco mode9 seconds yes, unspecified unspecified5 mins
water tank24 oz40oz, with swivel 45 ounce 60 ounce
size4.4 x 9.3 x 12.8 in9.8W x 13.3D x 12.7H 6.5 x 10.8 x 11.7 10.1 x 9.4 x 13.3
weight6.6 lbs10 lbs6.8 lbs 5.4 lbs
milk optionsversion with aeroccino version with aeroccino yesyes
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                                           Nespresso Pixie 

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                                Nespresso Pixie With Aeroccino

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                                     Nespresso Vertuo Plus


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                   Nespresso Vertuo plus with Aeroccino

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                                 Dolce Gusto Genio 2


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                                Dolce Gusto Esperta 2


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How many coffee options are available with these machines?

If you are someone that likes a lot of adaptability and the chance to create longer cups of coffee with ease, the Nespresso Vertuo Plus should be a better choice than the Pixie. The Pixie has two cup sizes at the touch of a button. You can quickly set up your espresso or switch things up with a lungo with no extra effort. The Vertuo Plus takes this further with espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, and alto options. Still, the Pixie has the benefit of an adaptable setting to change the size of the espresso and lungo if needed.

Things are a little vaguer with the Dolce Gusto models, where the clever interface lets you adapt the coffee to your needs with no clear indication of sizes or limitations in the listing. That doesn’t mean that they do any less.

Are capsules readily available with Dolce Gusto and Nespresso machines and do you get any free?

As mentioned above, the accessibility of capsules is a big deal when comparing these brands. If you go for the Nespresso Pixie or VertuoPlus then you have a wide selection of own-brand capsules to order from the company. The Dolce Gusto Genio 2 and Esperta 2 appear to be compatible with more brands, such as Starbucks, but it is best to check with the companies first. Also, be careful which version of the machine you get. The Nespresso models come with a complimentary starter set of capsules to try out. From there, you can pick a favorite and order more. With Dolce Gusto, you have to be sure to click the right version to get those freebies.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which Should You Choose?

Who wins in the battle of milky drinks? Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto.

This is where things get interesting for those that like to have a milky drink and turn their espresso into something longer. The products highlighted here from the two companies take different approaches. The Dolce Gusto machines are all about the process of using the capsules and the programmable settings to make a range of coffee options. There are capsules for lattes and other milk-based drinks that are compatible here – including some from other brands.

Over with the Nespresso machines, there is a different approach. Both the Nespresso Pixie and Nespresso Vertuo Plus machines have options with a bonus Aeroccino machine. If you have never used one of these before, these little containers froth up milk on the side ready to add to your freshly brewed coffee. The cost of the bundle is a little higher but worth it to get this clever tool.

How does the size of these Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machines compare?

One thing that you can count on with either of these brands is the ability to create compact pod machines for small kitchens. However, the shapes and sizes do vary and some machines have clever adaptations. Start with Nespresso, The Nespresso Pixie is 4.4 x 9.3 x 12.8 inches, while the Nespresso Vertuo Plus is 9.8 x 13.3 x 12.7 inches. Even though the Vertuo Plus is wider, there is a swivel on the water tank so it can fit into tighter spaces more easily, This separate tank may also explain why the Vertuo Plus is heavier at 10lbs.

There are similar specs with the Dolce Gusto machines. The Dolce Gusto Genio 2 is skinnier at 6.5 x 10.8 x 11.7 while the boxier Dolce Gusto Esperta 2 is 10.1 x 9.4 x 13.3. Yet, this one is lighter at 5.4 lbs.

The size of these machines also incorporates the water tank and while a compact machine fits nicely on the counter, it can mean a smaller tank. Therefore, you spend more time refilling it. That is the case here. The compact Nespresso Pixie has a much smaller 24 oz container than the 40oz one on the Vertuo Pus. The Dolce Gusto tanks are both bigger again, with 45 oz on the Genio 2 and 60 oz on the Esperta 2.

What about the look of the machines. Are Dolce Gusto or Nespresso coffee makers better looking?

We can’t talk about the size of these machines without mentioning their shape and overall look. The Nespresso Pixie is interesting with its bar handle and more industrial feel compared to the Nespresso VertuoPlus. The Dolce Gusto Esperta 2 is perhaps a bit too traditional, even with the LED system mentioned below. The | Dolce Gusto Genio 2 has that recognizable spherical futuristic shape that is highly appealing.

Which is the easiest to use? Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto.

There are lots of helpful features in these machines besides capsule storage and one-touch programming. The Nespresso Pixie is particularly user-friendly with the adaptable cup holder and cup sizes. Over with Dolce Gusto, both the Genio 2 and Esperta 2 use an interesting LED system to match the machine to the bars on the capsule. The Esperta 2 uses a nice dial to cycle through the options while the Genio 2 has a strange toggle stick. This could lose its novelty appeal after a while but is fun for those that don’t want a more traditional machine.

On that note, it helps to know long it takes to start up and shut down a Dolce Gusto or Nespresso coffee maker. Unfortunately, the companies aren’t always forthcoming with this information. The Nespresso Pixie has the best performance, however, starting up in time: 25 seconds and offering a 9-second eco-mode shut down. By comparison, the Esperta 2 takes 5 minutes to shut down.

Which product comes out on top in this battle of Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto?

Nespresso machines are highly recommendable for all those that crave an upgrade to their current coffee experience. There are lots of great capsules and you can even turn drinks into longer, milky versions if you get a bundle with an Aeroccino. The limitations with the pods aren’t too bad if you find a flavor you love.

The pressure and cup sizes allow for quality and consistency with some great results each morning. The slightly higher pressure on these machines helps too. There is also a nice range of well-made machines with interesting designs.

The Dolce Gusto machines are the best option for you if you are new to using capsule machines and yet to become brand loyal. You can have fun testing out different types of capsules from brands in the grocery store and then narrow down a preference. There is also something fun about the user-friendly design and the LED bars that make this appealing to newcomers. There is the sense that anyone could use this machine.

Which machine is the best for each brand?

My personal recommendation in this Nespresso machine comparison is to go for the Nespresso Pixie but to splash out and get the one with the Aeroccino. Even if you only use that tool a few times, it is worth having to add to the diversity of the machine. You might not get as many cup sizes but you do get some nice adaptable features in a classic capsule machine. This compact machine will sit nicely in the corner of the kitchen and ask very little from you in return. Just load it up, pick your cup size, let it brew, and then it will shut down on its own.

My personal recommendation for Dolce Gusto machines is the Genio 2. This has a lot to do with the design and the way it draws new users in with its quirky look, toggle stick, and functions. It is easy to use and provides the same great-tasting coffee as the Esperta 2. But, it goes further with the design than the larger Esperta 2. Otherwise, there isn’t that much to say to make a choice. They share so many traits that they are both great choices.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Nespresso Pixie or Dolce Gusto Genio 2?

Either of these top picks for the brands is a great addition to a kitchen and you need to choose based on your personal preferences. But, for me, the Nespresso Pixie edges it because it just does a little bit more. The adaptable features combined with the simple one-touch buttons make it a little more user-friendly and there is more clarity over what this machine can and cannot do. There should be no nasty surprises. Again, make sure to get the full set with the Aeroccino and the complementary capsules to start your Nespresso experience in style.

Make sure to choose the best coffee pod machine for your needs.

You may completely disagree with what I have said here in my summary of the best product and feel that the Dolce Gusto Esperta 2 is far better suited to your needs and tastes than the Nespresso Pixie. That’s fine, as long as you can come away from this with a better idea of the idea machine and improve your morning as a result, you should be fine.



This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.