Breville Dual Boiler 900 Vs 920: A Real Upgrade or Just A Gimmick?

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When I first checked out the Breville Dual Boiler 900 vs 920, I’ll be honest, they seemed pretty similar. I thought maybe it was just a marketing move from Breville, throwing in a few extras to launch a “new” version. But it turns out the newer model packs some serious upgrades.

The Dual Boiler 920 comes with a razor tool, a water hardness test strip, and even a descale alert with LCD-assisted descale procedures. Most importantly, it lets you customize the steam temperature between 265-285°F, meaning you get more control over the steam pressure compared to the Dual Boiler 900.

Breville Dual Boiler 900 Vs 920: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine BES920XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler Semi Automatic Espresso Machine
Model
Breville Dual Boiler 920
Breville Dual Boiler 900
Dimensions/Weight
20.1 x 17.2 x 17.2 inches/30 lbs
19.9 x 16.8 x 17.2 inches/29.9 lbs
Interface
Non-touch Display
Non-Touch Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
2
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Heating System
Dual Boilers
Dual Boilers
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2.5 L/None
2.5 L/None
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
Price not available
Price not available
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine BES920XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Dual Boiler 920
Dimensions/Weight
20.1 x 17.2 x 17.2 inches/30 lbs
Interface
Non-touch Display
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Heating System
Dual Boilers
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2.5 L/None
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
Price not available
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler Semi Automatic Espresso Machine
Model
Breville Dual Boiler 900
Dimensions/Weight
19.9 x 16.8 x 17.2 inches/29.9 lbs
Interface
Non-Touch Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Heating System
Dual Boilers
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2.5 L/None
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
Price not available
More Info

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Dual Boiler 900 Vs 920: Differences

The Dual Boiler 920 is really a big upgrade to the 900, with some big improvements. So now let’s dive into the details to the very end.

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler 920

Built-in Grinder 

Right off the bat, neither version of the Dual Boiler comes with a built-in grinder. This means you’re either using pre-ground coffee or investing in a quality stand-alone grinder, which is a must if you’re all about those fresh-ground coffee beans.

If you don’t have a solid burr grinder yet, I highly recommend checking out the Dynamic Duo package on Amazon, bundling the Dual Boiler with the Smart Grinder Pro. The Smart Grinder Pro is also from the Breville family and is specifically designed to complement models without a built-in grinder like this one. And in my book, it’s one of the most wallet-friendly electronic coffee grinders out there.

the dual boiler with the smart grinder pro
The Dual Boiler with the Smart Grinder Pro

Dosing & Tamping

Both the Dual Boiler 900 and 920 are pretty well-equipped right out of the box. They come with a 58mm stainless steel portafilter, a solid stainless steel tamper, and both single- and double-wall filter baskets, not to mention some handy cleaning tools.

I’m also glad that Breville didn’t forget to include a stainless steel milk jug in the package. It’s something a lot of brands overlook, but Breville doesn’t. A big thumbs up to Breville!

With the 920 version, you get a razor-shaped tool. Well, don’t use it to shave your beard. This little tool is used to level and trim your coffee grounds in the portafilter basket.

Heating System

I’m not sure if Breville was over the moon naming these machines “The Dual Boiler,” but the name is spot-on because, yes, they do have two boilers. That means the machine can brew and steam at once, and one boiler is precisely calibrated for espresso while the other takes care of the milk.

This setup is all about speed and temperature stability for each part of the drink-making process. Compare this to single-boiler models, where you’re stuck waiting for the machine to switch from brewing to steaming.

The thing is that the machine heats up for quite a while at first, about 15 minutes. So if you’re used to models with a thermocoil like the Barista Express or a thermojet like the Barista Pro, prepare for a slightly longer wait with the Dual Boiler.

Brewing System

Speaking of extraction, the Dual Boiler really shines with its 15-bar pump and adjustable pre-infusion. Pre-infusion slightly dampens your grounds, letting carbon dioxide escape and unlocking those delicate aromas.

If you’re familiar with pour-over coffee, you know this as the “blooming phase.” In the realm of espresso machines like the Dual Boiler, it’s known as pre-infusion. Anyway, it is also a very important first step for espresso extraction.

Having the pre-infusion function is good. But it is great that you can tweak the pre-infusion temperature, pressure, and duration to your liking. How awesome is that?

Design & Convenience

Winner: Tie

Dimensions & User Interface

Dual Boiler 900Dual Boiler 920
Dimensions19.9 x 16.8 x 17.2 inches20.1 x 17.2 x 17.2 inches
Weight29.9 lbs30 lbs

The Dual Boiler is truly a tank. I mean, it’s huge and hefty, as well as giving off this indestructible vibe with its stainless steel finish. And believe it or not, it even comes with a wheel system to make moving it around a breeze.

the wheel system
The wheel system

On the front, you’ll find a large pressure gauge, a neat little LCD screen, and a couple of user-friendly buttons. The LCD shows you real-time info about your espresso shots, and if you choose the Dual Boiler 920, it also guides you through descale procedures – one more reason to nod to the 920 version.

the user interface
The user interface

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Dual Boiler 900Dual Boiler 920
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4 inches4 inches

The Dual Boiler provides enough space under the portafilter to ensure you’ll have no issues fitting espresso cups there. You might run into height issues if you’re trying to brew into a travel mug, but you can create more room by removing the drip tray.

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Dual Boiler 900Dual Boiler 920
Water Reservoir2.5 liter2.5 liter
Bean HopperNoneNone

One major worry with a large machine is filling the water tank, but Breville’s got that figured out with two super convenient ways. You can easily top off the water tank right from the top of the machine or remove the tank from the back by turning the machine around. It has a wheel system, remember?

the top slot for refilling
The top slot for refilling

You also have the option of installing a water filter into the tank to soften the water or, should I say, to remove impurities. Fewer impurities mean less need to descale the machine and better-tasting coffee.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Tie

The Dual Boiler’s steam wand is powerful and user-friendly, but give yourself a little time to master it. Once again, a well-crafted milk jug is included.

3-hole steam wand
3-hole steam wand

The wand is powerful enough to create a perfect vortex in the milk pitcher. What’s more, it rotates a full 360 degrees and features a three-hole tip, so creating a perfect microfoam for latte art shouldn’t be a challenge.

The tip of the wand is smooth and rounded, making it super easy to clean with just a damp cloth. And like any wand, if you don’t give it a good wipe and purge after each use, it can accumulate some gunk. But even if you do forget, the build-up gunk usually comes off pretty easily. 

Drink Options & Programmability

Winner: Dual Boiler 920

Drink Options

Dual Boiler 900Dual Boiler 920
Espresso
Hot Water
Espresso
Hot Water

The Dual Boiler essentially brews one-touch espresso (single and double shots), leaving the milk frothing and the art of combining espresso with milk up to you. It also has a hot water outlet, which is a fantastic feature for those who love a good cup of tea or enjoy whipping up an Americano.

Programmability

Adjustable SettingsDual Boiler 900Dual Boiler 920
Coffee StrengthNoNo
Coffee TemperatureYesYes
Milk Foam TemperatureNoYes
Milk Foam TextureNoNo

Both versions of the Dual Boiler offer the flexibility to fine-tune your shot volume and water temperature from 190 to 205°F. And here’s where the Dual Boiler 920 steps it up a notch: it lets you adjust the steam boiler temperature from 265 to 285°F, which is really cool.

Other Features

Winner: Tie

Auto On/Off

The Dual Boiler can be scheduled to turn on automatically every day. Imagine that extra bit of sleep you can snag, knowing your machine will be all heated up and ready when you are. And for added peace of mind, it’s got an auto-off function that powers down the machine after about 20 minutes.

Built-in Cup Warmer

Due to the absence of the bean hopper, the machine has a very large cup warming tray. And let me tell you, sipping espresso from a pre-heated cup? That’s a big yes from me!

the cup warming tray
The cup warming tray

Quick Rundown Of Breville Dual Boiler 920 

Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine BES920XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Dual boilers.
  • Large and easy-to-refill water tank.
  • Powerful steam wand.
  • Intuitive control panel.
  • Adjustable steam temperature.
Cons
  • No built-in grinder.
  • Bulky.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Dual Boiler 900

Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler Semi Automatic Espresso Machine
  • Dual stainless steel boilers and dual Italian pumps for simultaneous espresso extraction and steaming
  • Over-Pressure Valve (OPV) limits extraction pressure
  • Electronic PID temperature control for precise water temperature, plus actively heated group head and heat exchanger (HX) to maintain thermal stability
  • Backlit LCD displays brew temperature, shot clock or time. Assists with programming shot temperature and volume, pre-infusion duration and power, and auto-start time
  • Drop-down swivel foot lowers a wheel that lifts the machine upwards for convenient access to the water tank (both rear and top-fill)

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Dual boilers.
  • The water tank is large and easy to refill.
  • Powerful steam wand.
  • Professional-grade portafilter.
  • Intuitive control panel.
Cons
  • No built-in grinder.
  • Bulky.

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References

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