Breville Dual Boiler vs Rancilio Silvia Pro: Why Breville Dual Boiler Is The Better Home Espresso Machine

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While I found the Breville Dual Boiler to be the better machine overall, keep in mind that these are two great options for coffee lovers. With that said, the Breville Dual Boiler offers a wider range of features such as pre-infusion, limiting the maximum extraction pressure, and PID temperature control for the espresso boiler. This allows you to brew coffee that is specifically designed to your tastes and preferences.

On the flip side, the Rancilio Silvia Pro also offered some great features, making these two machines a hot topic for comparison. The Silvia Pro features dual PID temperature control, so you can get a consistent temperature from both boilers. Since it has a dual boiler, you can use this machine for great coffee-only drinks and even milk drinks like a latte or cappuccino. On top of that, the Rancilio pods & caps kit makes the machine compatible with coffee pods, giving you a bit more flexibility.

Both of these machines come with robust features that make them great fits for any coffee lover’s home. That’s why I wrote this comprehensive comparison between Breville Dual Boiler vs Rancilio Silvia Pro where I dive deep into the key features and characteristics of each option. That way, you get to see how these two stack up against each other and clearly see why I found the Breville Dual Boiler to be the better option.

Breville Dual Boiler vs Rancilio Silvia Pro: Comparision Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
The Runner-Up (#2)
Rancilio Silvia Pro (Stainless Steel)
Model
Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
Rancilio Silvia Pro
Dimensions (LxWxH)
14.1 x 14.6 x 14.7 Inches
20.7 x 17 x 11.9 Inches
Color/ Material
Brushed Stainless Steel / Stainless Steel
Brushed Stainless Steel / Stainless Steel
Weight / Power / Voltage
30 Pounds / 1700W / 110-120V
48.2 Pounds / 1000W / 110V
Water Tank Capacity
2.48L
2.0L
Built-in Grinder
Heating System
Dual Boiler
Dual Boiler
PID
Yes, For Espresso Boiler
Yes
Settings
Manual / Automatic
Automatic
Pressure Gauge
Display
Programmability
PID, Shot Time, Pre-infusion
PID
Boiler Material
Stainless Steel
Brass / Stainless Steel
Pod Friendly
Cup Clearance
4’’
3.5’’
Cup Tray
What I Like
Price
$1,825.00
Price not available
The Winner (#1)
Image
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL
Dimensions (LxWxH)
14.1 x 14.6 x 14.7 Inches
Color/ Material
Brushed Stainless Steel / Stainless Steel
Weight / Power / Voltage
30 Pounds / 1700W / 110-120V
Water Tank Capacity
2.48L
Built-in Grinder
Heating System
Dual Boiler
PID
Yes, For Espresso Boiler
Settings
Manual / Automatic
Pressure Gauge
Display
Programmability
PID, Shot Time, Pre-infusion
Boiler Material
Stainless Steel
Pod Friendly
Cup Clearance
4’’
Cup Tray
What I Like
Price
$1,825.00
More Info
The Runner-Up (#2)
Image
Rancilio Silvia Pro (Stainless Steel)
Model
Rancilio Silvia Pro
Dimensions (LxWxH)
20.7 x 17 x 11.9 Inches
Color/ Material
Brushed Stainless Steel / Stainless Steel
Weight / Power / Voltage
48.2 Pounds / 1000W / 110V
Water Tank Capacity
2.0L
Built-in Grinder
Heating System
Dual Boiler
PID
Yes
Settings
Automatic
Pressure Gauge
Display
Programmability
PID
Boiler Material
Brass / Stainless Steel
Pod Friendly
Cup Clearance
3.5’’
Cup Tray
What I Like
Price
Price not available
More Info

Last update on 2021-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Breville Dual Boiler vs Rancilio Silvia Pro: Differences

Both of these machines have a lot to offer, especially for coffee lovers looking to brew cafe-quality drinks in their own home. Since both come with incredible features, it was hard to choose a winner. But after carefully comparing the machines myself and looking at other customer opinions, I found that the Breville Dual Boiler beats out the Rancilio Silvia Pro 3-2. The Breville Dual Boiler simply offered more control over the final output, which allowed users to brew better coffee and is also the reason why I chose this option as the winner. So, here’s what I found after rigorously comparing the differences between the two machines;

1. Flavor

The Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Flavor
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Flavor

After trying out the machines myself and also looking at the opinions of other coffee lovers, I found that the Breville Dual Boiler could produce better coffee than the Silvia Pro. Keep in mind, these are semi-automatic machines, so there is still some skill involved in pulling a well-balanced shot. However, the robust control system of the Dual Boiler made it easier for many people to brew high-quality shots.

Heating System

Both of these machines use dual boiler heating systems. Using boilers as opposed to a thermoblock allows for a much more consistent, even, and accurate temperature. So, when using either the Silvia Pro or the Dual Boiler, you can expect a well-balanced coffee shot because of the even temperatures. The Breville Dual Boiler is made out of stainless steel. This is expected of a home espresso machine as stainless steel boilers are generally less expensive but still provide even heat distribution.

On the Silvia Pro, you’ll find that the boilers are made of a mix of brass and stainless steel. These are also fairly inexpensive materials used to create high-quality and consistent boilers on a budget. Both machines utilize PID temperature control, but the Silvia Pro has PID equipped on both the steam and espresso boiler, but we’ll touch more on that later.

Both machines feature a small and simple display. On the screen, you can view the temperature of the espresso boiler and tweak it to your liking using the PID system. So, you can pull shots that are specifically tailored to your tastes, regardless of the machine you’re using. The heating systems of both machines are similar, so this isn’t why the Breville Dual Boiler produces better coffee. For that, we need to take a look at the extraction process.

Pre Infusion & Extraction Process

The main reason I found the flavor of the Dual Boiler’s coffee to be superior is the extraction process. For starters, there’s automatic pre-infusion, which gradually increases the temperature of the pump. This expands the grind before actual extraction begins, and makes for a more consistent flavor with less bitterness. Pre-infusion is a very important step in pulling balanced espresso shots, and the Silvia Pro sadly doesn’t have that feature.

The Breville Dual Boiler also has a manual override function. So, when extracting you can choose either a single or double shot and it will do it for you automatically. Or, you can press the manual button and decide when to stop extracting. The automatic buttons can be programmed to be volumetric or timed, so you can decide which option allows you to pull higher-quality shots. On the Silvia Pro, after grinding and tamping then placing the portafilter under the water pump, you can press a button to start pulling the shot, then you press it to stop. There are no volumetric or timed options with the Silvia Pro, and you have to choose when to start and stop the shot manually.

Both of the machines don’t have grinders built-in, so you would need a separate grinder on the side. However, both come with tampers and a 58mm portafilter, so you have everything you need to start pulling a shot. On the Breville Dual Boiler, there is a pressure gauge on the machine that allows you to view the pressure as you’re pulling the shot. On the menu, you can further customize the pressure of the pump to produce coffee that perfectly suits your personal tastes.

Overall, the Breville Dual Boiler offers more versatility when it comes to pulling espresso shots. The manual override and the automatic buttons make it very easy to switch between modes, and if you have prior experience using espresso machines, you’ll find that the Dual Boiler is a great option for easily brewing top-quality coffee.

2. Milk System

The Winner: Rancilio Silvia Pro

Rancilio Silvia Pro Milk System
Rancilio Silvia Pro Milk System

Both of the machines come with steam wands. So, if you want to steam milk for a latte or cappuccino, you can easily do it with either the Dual Boiler or Silvia Pro. And since both machines are equipped with dual boilers, you don’t have to wait to change the temperature to steam the milk.

However, the reason that the Silvia Pro’s milk system is superior is because it has dual PID temperature control. This allows you to specifically program the temperature of the steam boiler between 248 and 257 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows you to specifically program the temperature of the steam and gives you more control over the texture of your milk. You can also use the Breville Dual Boiler to steam milk, and even adjust the temperature between 265 and 285 degrees Fahrenheit. However, since the steam boiler doesn’t have PID temperature control, it won’t be as accurate as the steam boiler of the Silvia Pro.

For that reason, I found the Silvia Pro’s milk system better than the Dual Boiler. However, it has to be said that the Silvia Pro didn’t win by that much, but it’s hard to argue with the precise temperature control options you have with the machine.

3. Cleaning & Maintenance

The Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Breville Dual Boiler Maintenance
Breville Dual Boiler Maintenance

To keep your machine up and running, you need to do proper maintenance. For starters, cleaning it every day before use is crucial. You need to do this with both the Breville Dual Boiler and the Silvia Pro. Cleaning either machine is fairly easy. Since both options are relatively lightweight, you can easily move it around, remove the water tank, and start cleaning.

However, the reason I found the Breville Dual Boiler to be the easier option to clean is the descaling function. The descaling function is all automatic and barely requires any work. This makes it easier to perform a key part of espresso machine maintenance and will keep the boilers fully functional for a long time coming.

4. Other Utilities

The Winner: Tie

Rancilio Silvia Pro Other Utilities
Rancilio Silvia Pro Other Utilities

When it comes to utilities, both of the options come with great accessories and bonus features that make them great choices for coffee lovers. For example, the Breville Dual Boiler comes with a razor trimming tool, a cup tray, a cleaning kit, and a portafilter. The Silvia Pro comes with similar accessories like a portafilter and all the other things you would need to pull a high-quality espresso.

The Breville Dual Boiler has automatic functions that can make brewing much easier. For example, if you don’t want to do things manually, you can either press the single or double shot buttons. These can pull shots volumetrically or time-based, which gives you even more control over the espresso shot. 

Both of the machines come with small displays. On the display, you can see the temperature of the espresso boiler. You can also use the small display to tweak the settings of the machines. On the Silvia Pro, you can use the display to tweak the temperature of either boiler, giving you precise control over your coffee. On the Breville Dual Boiler, you can use the display to tweak a wide variety of parameters such as pressure, volumetric/timed shots, and also the temperature of either boiler.

The Silvia Pro allows you to set a timer for it to turn on and turn off automatically. This is great for those who don’t have the time in the morning to wait for the machine to warm up. On the other hand, the Breville Dual Boiler has an auto-shut off feature which is designed to help you reduce your electricity consumption when the machine isn’t in use.

Both of these options only accept ground coffee, since they don’t come with grinders. However, Rancilio has an accessory that you can use with the Silvia Pro that allows it to use both pods and caps, which is a point in the Silvia Pro’s favor.

But since both machines came with great extra utilities, I found that they were tied in this specific aspect.

Breville Dual Boiler vs Rancilio Silvia Pro: Similarities

Since both of these options are semi-automatic espresso machines designed for home use, they share a couple of similarities. For example, both have dual boilers, which is a great feature to have for your home espresso machine and allows you to pull quality espresso shots and steam milk without long waiting times. And since these machines have boilers, it takes a couple of minutes for them to warm up and be ready for use when you turn it on.

Both machines feature stainless steel cases. This provides a sleek and modern aesthetic while also making for a very durable build. With the proper maintenance and regular cleaning, either of these machines can last you a very long time in your kitchen.

Another similarity between the machines is that they don’t come with grinders. So, you won’t find bean hoppers on either of these models. Before buying either the Breville Dual BOiler or Rancilo Silvia Pro, make sure you have a coffee grinder ready at home so you won’t have to buy one when the machine arrives.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Dual Boiler BES920

Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
383 Reviews
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Dual Boiler with commercial features delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula; It has a professional Dual Boiler construction that delivers unparalleled temperature control and simultaneous extraction and steaming
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 58mm porta-filter with 19-22 grams is the key for full flavor and third wave specialty coffee
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: The Over Pressure Valve limits the maximum pump pressure throughout extraction, helping prevent bitter flavors; Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases water pressure to gently expand grinds for an even extraction
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Dual stainless steel boilers and heated group head controlled by digital temperature control (PID) brings water to precisely the right temperature (+/- 2⁰F) to extract maximum flavor potential every time
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk of commercial machines that enhances flavor and is essential for creation of latte art

Last update on 2021-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Allows for complete control of your coffee’s flavor
  • Automatic or manual pre-infusion
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Pressure gauge allows you to monitor the pressure pump when pulling a shot
  • Allows for volumetric and timed shot pulling
Cons
  • Portafilter can be tricky to lock in place the first couple of times
  • Steam boiler doesn’t have PID temperature control

Quick Rundown Of Rancilio Silvia Pro

Rancilio Silvia Pro (Stainless Steel)
8 Reviews

Last update on 2021-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Sleek and modern design
  • Both boilers are equipped with PID temperature control
  • Comes with a timer function for turning the machine on and off
  • Easy and convenient to use
  • A great upgrade on the original Rancilio Silvia
Cons
  • The steam boiler is fairly small
  • Doesn’t have an option for volumetric/timed shot pulling

Product Videos

References

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