Sometimes it’s hard to compare espresso machines because they can be similar but not always head to head on the same functions.
We’ve got two impressive espresso machines that are compared according to what they do and how they perform over each other.
If you want to know the differences between Gaggia Classic Pro Vs Rancilio Silvia, this expert review will make it easier to find the right model for you.
- Gaggia Classic Pro Overview
- Rancilio Silvia Overview
- Gaggia Classic Pro VS Rancilio Silvia: Main Differences
- What the two machines have in common
- What machine should you buy?
Gaggia Classic Pro Overview
- Capacity: 21 liters
- Color: Brushed stainless steel
- Steam wand: Yes
- Portafilter: 58mm
- 3-way solenoid valve
- Easy to use switch controls
- Fast heat-up
- Filter baskets
- ESE pod compatible: Yes
Heating and temperature control
The boiler for this Classic Pro is 3.5 ounces and is made from aluminum. It’s externally heated using 1370 watts that heat the boiler. There is no specific temperature control aside from rocker switches that are placed on the front of this machine. There are a total of three rocker switches that control the on/off function, espresso function, and steam wand function.
The temperature is automatically controlled so the water temp will range between 185 to 211 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, you can bet that the temperature will be a constant 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit which is ideal for making espresso.
You’ll find this portafilter is 58mm and comes with a double shot basket, and two single and double shot pressurized baskets. This makes it possible to add ground espresso and also adding ESE pods. The construction of this portafilter is impressively sleek looking but lacks the feel of a handle that feels like it’s well made. It’s not going to fall apart but it doesn’t resemble a standard portafilter handle.
Aside from the cost of ESE pods, this isn’t such a bad extra cost since the Gaggia is a more affordable machine. If you like the simple use of ESE pods, this will make them an alternative to buying disposable coffee and espresso pods.
This has a feature that is good for texturing milk because the steam tip is called a Pannarello wand. This is easy to use but doesn’t allow you to finesse the milk like you can with a single-hole steamer wand. The control knob for the Gaggia is on the side of the machine which might be difficult to adjust if your counter space is cramped. This will also require careful placement if you need to use the steam knob every day.
This steam wand will need more cleaning since it’s an automatic steam wand. This wand will move back and forth on a swivel connection, so you are limited on the angle you can get with this design.
This drip tray looks very impressive at first but is made from thin materials that might feel cheap. The one advantage is that it is very deep and easy to clean for most drip trays. The top stainless steel cover is quick to remove using two rounded finger access holes to take off the lid. The entire tray can slide out with very little effort, making it a cinch to clean when it fills up.
These water tanks can hold a full 72 ounces of water before it needs to be filled again. There is an access point that is on the top of this machine. A special design perk also allows you to remove the drip tray and get to the water reservoir. It’s a nice touch if you put this machine underneath low-hanging cabinets. It’s also nice if you want to clean the reservoir because it gets limescale building up on the inside.
ESE pod brewing
The advantage of this model allows you to add ESE pods if you prefer to buy these special filter coffee pods. The portafilters that come with this machine allow for standard coffee grounds and ESE pods. Even if you never use the ESE pods, having different filters used for getting pressurized espresso baskets is a nice touch.
Ease of use
Aside from being easy to use, the annoying part will be that this espresso machine only weighs 20 pounds. You have to hold the top of the machine to lock in the portafilter otherwise the machine will slide around when you attach it. The portafilter does heat up very nicely when espresso is made so you get optimum brewed espresso. The rocker switches are simple to use and allow you to start coffee brewing in just one minute.
Check the video below for some of the tips and tricks that will help you to optimize the use of the Gaggia Classic Pro.
Rancilio Silvia Overview
- Capacity: 0.3 liters
- Color: Stainless steel
- Steam wand: Yes
- Ergonomic portafilter
- Optional pod and capsule adaptor kit available
- Updated icons
- Filter type: Reusable
Heating and temperature control
The Silvia boiler is made from brass and is a total of 12 ounces that is heated internally using 952 Watts. Because of this, you need to descale the boiler often. Because the heater is internal this makes it more powerful for using steam. This has 4 rocker switches that are used for special settings. There is a dedicated on/off switch, a switch for brewing your espresso, a switch for heating the boiler, and a switch for using the steam.
This machine will have automatic temp control ranging between 185 to 211 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also fluctuate between 195 to 204 degrees on average.
The portafilter basket is 58mm and comes with two standard baskets which can make a single or a double shot of espresso. If you want to use ESE pods you have to buy an adapter kit that doesn’t come with a standard purchase. The plastic for this handle is hefty and thick reminding you of what a standard handle should look like. It’s also nice and rounded for handling with a solid classic design.
This is a single-hole steam wand that is easier to use when steaming milk. This wand design does take a bit of practice but produces great milk texture once you learn how to froth milk. The wand itself is attached to a ball socket so you can angle the wand easier inside a frothing cup. The steam is controlled by a knob located on the front of the machine. This steam wand is easy to clean with a damp towel.
If you do a lot of steaming, you need to be careful that this can burn out the boiler heater element from low water.
The drip tray used for this model is made from metal that comes in two pieces. The top portion needs to be removed from the top of the drip tray which acts as a cover for the tray itself. The drip tray is very shallow so you don’t want to let this get too full when removing water and dripped coffee from this pan. It’s also a little bit difficult to remove from the bottom slots, especially if you have a lot of liquid that’s sloshing around inside of it.
The water tank for Rancilio Silvia holds almost 68 ounces of water but is actually 67.6 ounces. You can only add water from the top section and don’t have any other way to access the water tank. It can be removed for cleaning only through the top of the machine. Because this reservoir doesn’t hold as much as the Gaggia, you will need to refill this tank more often so you don’t have problems when using the steamer wand.
Ease of use
This is not a lightweight machine and won’t scoot around when you’re using it to make espresso coffee. It weighs 30 pounds which is 50% heavier than the Gaggia Classic. The portafilter will also heat up when it’s connected and helps to make the perfect espresso when it’s in use. The rocker switches make it easy to start coffee using the selection of what rocker switches you activate.
Check the video below for some of the tips and tricks that will help you to optimize the use of the Rancilio Silvia.
Gaggia Classic Pro VS Rancilio Silvia: Main Differences
There is a big difference between operation speeds. The Silvia takes three minutes and 7 seconds before it’s ready to brew espresso. The Gaggia will only need a mere 65 seconds before the machine is ready to brew espresso.
It only takes 17 seconds for the Gaggia to recover from making hot water while the Silvia takes 57 seconds for hot water to be ready. In terms of steam, it’s a close call between these two.
The time it takes to make steam will only need 20 seconds for both, yet the Gaggia takes an additional 8 seconds to follow after the power of Silvia’s steam. In comparison, the Silvia can recover faster when pulling many shots.
Exterior and weight
Both of these machines are relatively similar looking when you see them side by side. The operational buttons are easy to use and won’t need much fuss to get instant results. About the best thing about these two is that the weight difference is the only thing that is noticed. The Silvia is 30 pounds and feels nice and steady when you’re using it, while the Gaggia needs to be held down when you remove or lock on the portafilter.
What the two machines have in common
Both of these machines have similar functions that are mirrored with each other. They both have the same size portafilters and similar water tanks. They both have stainless steel housings and come with a warranty that is 2 years. They are also nearly the same size in dimensions with the Silvia being slightly larger by an inch or so. They both feature three-way solenoid valves so the water pressure is identical.
Thoughtful home design
These espresso machines are perfect for putting on your kitchen counter and will fit underneath hanging cabinets. The design makes them classically conservative and will fit into nearly any style of kitchen that includes stainless steel appliances. Depending on your preference, they both have similar appearances with only a slight design layout difference in where knobs are placed.
Full control when making coffee
Because the temperature is fully automatic for keeping the water temperature consistent, all you really need to do is set the rocker switch to start your espresso. There is a steam control knob that is located on the front of the Silvia, and the Gaggia has a knob on the right side instead. There are simple adjustments that you can make with the steam wands except the Rancilio gives you better adjustment ability.
Is Gaggia Classic worth it?
If it comes down to how much you pay, the Gaggia is certainly worth the price that you pay. It’s priced to be an affordable alternative to the Silvia machine which is certainly worth the money you would pay, yet many people will often choose the lower cost if you can get the same results that both machines can provide. If you don’t have a good burr grinder to go with this espresso machine, this will make every bit of difference when brewing espresso.
What’s the difference between Gaggia Classic and Gaggia Classic Pro?
The most significant difference between the classic compared to the classic pro is mostly the heat-up time. The original took an entire 3 minutes whereas the classic pro now only takes less than 1.5 minutes. There wants any option for choosing a color on the original but the classic pro does allow for different colors. The control panel on the classic pro is also easier to use while the original but still uses rocker switches on both.
The original design does look much more like a coffee machine that you would see in a restaurant. The newest version has an appealing appearance that will blend in much better within your kitchen.
What machine should you buy?
For the price difference that you’ll find, you will immediately see that the Gaggia Classic Pro is much cheaper in cost compared to the Rancilio Silvia. If you’re trying to save some money, the Gaggia is a steal that can afford you enough to buy a good quality burr grinder. If you want a good solid machine that is heavier and feels more like a professional espresso machine, the Rancilio Silvia is a much better choice.
If you want to know more about other coffee machines and brewing methods on the market, make sure to check our comparisons:
Giacomo is an Italian living in Shanghai since 2016. After working as a barista in Italy, he started to be more interested in the different types of coffee, beans, and the ways to prepare this ancient beverage. He founded Authority Coffee and he is currently on a mission to find the best coffee in China.