Breville Dual Boiler Vs Rancilio Silvia: A Comparison Of Two Hot Espresso Machines On The Market

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The showdown between the Breville Dual Boiler vs Rancilio Silvia was incredibly close, but in the end, the Breville Dual Boiler proved itself to be the winner. 

The Breville Dual Boiler speeds up the time for preparing multiple drinks thanks to the dual-boiler heating system, allowing to steam milk and brew espresso at the same time. Moreover, the machine offers amazing convenience and programmability in both extraction and milk frothing processes. It also delivers excellent water temperature consistency controlled by the integrated PID controllers. Therefore, you can get consistent and flavorful espresso drinks every time.

The Rancilio Silvia does not feature such amazing consistency and adjustability as the Dual Boiler, but it’s still one of the finest home coffee machines out there. It consistently brews delicious coffee and operates with a boiler. Besides, it is a breeze to clean and offers a more appealing price tag. However, compared to the Dual Boiler, the Rancilio Silvia can be a bit trickier to use, taking more time and effort to get used to.

Breville Dual Boiler Vs Rancilio Silvia: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine BES920XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
The Runner-up (#2)
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machinet,0.3 liters, with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
Model
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso BES920
Rancilio Silvia
Dimensions (LxWxH)
14.7 x 15.9 x 14.9 Inches
11.4 x 9.3 x 13.4 Inches
Weight / Power / Voltage
30 lbs / 1700W / 110-120 V
30.8 lbs / 1450W / 110-120 V
Water Tank Capacity
84 oz
71 oz
Heat-up Time
~ 10 minutes
~ 5 minutes
Heating System
Dual Boiler + PID control
Single Boiler + Thermostat
Pre Infusion
Pump Pressure
15 bar
15 bar
Milk System
Manual Steam Wand (3-hole tip)
Manual Steam Wand (1-hole tip)
Interface
Button control + Pressure gauge + LCD screen
Rocker switches + LED indicators
Cup Clearance
4 Inches
3 Inches
Flexible Shot Control
Adjustable Steam Temperature
Adjustable Brewing Temperature
Auto Off Function
Auto On Function
What I Like
Price
Price not available
$865.00
The Winner (#1)
Image
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine BES920XL, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Dual Boiler Espresso BES920
Dimensions (LxWxH)
14.7 x 15.9 x 14.9 Inches
Weight / Power / Voltage
30 lbs / 1700W / 110-120 V
Water Tank Capacity
84 oz
Heat-up Time
~ 10 minutes
Heating System
Dual Boiler + PID control
Pre Infusion
Pump Pressure
15 bar
Milk System
Manual Steam Wand (3-hole tip)
Interface
Button control + Pressure gauge + LCD screen
Cup Clearance
4 Inches
Flexible Shot Control
Adjustable Steam Temperature
Adjustable Brewing Temperature
Auto Off Function
Auto On Function
What I Like
Price
Price not available
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machinet,0.3 liters, with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
Model
Rancilio Silvia
Dimensions (LxWxH)
11.4 x 9.3 x 13.4 Inches
Weight / Power / Voltage
30.8 lbs / 1450W / 110-120 V
Water Tank Capacity
71 oz
Heat-up Time
~ 5 minutes
Heating System
Single Boiler + Thermostat
Pre Infusion
Pump Pressure
15 bar
Milk System
Manual Steam Wand (1-hole tip)
Interface
Rocker switches + LED indicators
Cup Clearance
3 Inches
Flexible Shot Control
Adjustable Steam Temperature
Adjustable Brewing Temperature
Auto Off Function
Auto On Function
What I Like
Price
$865.00
More Info

Last update on 2024-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Dual Boiler Vs Rancilio Silvia: Differences

Between Breville Dual Boiler Vs Rancilio Silvia, the winner turned out to be the Breville Dual Boiler. It wins 5-0 against Rancilio Silvia. Briefly, better consistency, convenience, and programmability are factors contributing to the victory of the Dual Boiler over its competitive rival.

Coffee flavor & Brewing system

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Heating system

When it comes to the heating system, the Breville Dual Boiler definitely takes the lead. As its name implies, this Breville appliance features two excellent stainless steel boilers, enabling the machine to pull espresso and steam milk simultaneously, ensuring you have hot drinks every time. Additionally, the brew group head of the Dual Boiler is well heated, optimizing the espresso extraction most of the time.

In addition, the Breville Dual Boiler is equipped with PID temperature control for its heating system. This PID component plays an important role in ensuring the water is heated to the precise temperature for brewing and steaming while being consistent during the whole operation. In short, the Breville Dual Boiler’s heating system effectively hinders the temperature from varying between shots.

On the other hand, the Rancilio Silvia uses a single-boiler heating system, so I have to do the extraction and milk steaming one at a time. This machine also lacks PID temperature control for keeping the temperature consistent between shots. However, you can get the same water temperature for your shots by practicing the temperature surfing technique. 

If you’re a beginner, temperature surfing will be difficult for you to manage, but you can get used to it by taking time to research and practice. If you don’t want to spend too much time in experimenting, getting the espresso machine with PID temperature controllers, like the Breville Dual Boiler or lower-price Barista Express, seems to be a better option.

 Heating System: Breville Dual Boiler
Heating System: Breville Dual Boiler

Brewing performance

With the more advanced heating system, the Breville Dual Boiler is capable of brewing more consistent and tastier espresso shots, compared to the manual Rancilio Silvia. Not only does the Dual Boiler offer outstanding optimal extraction temperature, but it also allows me to adjust the the brewing temperature.

The default brew temperature of the Breville Dual Boiler is 200°F, which I found enough for my taste. If you this temperature point is too much or too low for you, you can decrease or increase it in the range of 190-205°F. As far as I know, to get the most flavorful espresso shots, the temperature range you should keep is from 193°F to 203°F (90-95°C).

One more thing the Breville Dual Boiler outperforms the Rancilio Silvia is the low-pressure pre-infusion feature. The pre-infusion duration on the Dual Boiler is often around 8-12 seconds, depending on the volumetric setting you chose. The water will be infused into the coffee puck slowly, expanding the coffee ground, before the machine delivers the full 15-bar pump pressure to get the 9-ish bar full flavor extraction. 

Moreover, the Dual Boiler provides a manual button for users to fully control the pre-infusion and extraction duration the way they want. You can also bypass pre-infusion if you want to, but I prefer having the pre-infusion to get full-flavor espresso shots to stay awake for an active morning.

The Rancilio Silvia does not have the pre-infusion feature, but you can do tricks to get the manual pre-infusion by opening the steam valve to lower the extraction pressure on the coffee puck. I learned this following several videos on YouTube, and the results were great. However, it takes a lot of time to practice with the Rancilio Silvia because everything about the extraction is manual. So, be patient and enjoy the process!! 

After managing the skills and getting used to the operation of the Rancilio Silvia, I can pull beautiful shots with a rich body and thick crema, similar to what I get from the Dual Boiler. Yet, the consistency between shots is somehow hard to control with the Rancilio Silvia.

Design & Convenience

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Dimension & Capacity

The Breville Dual Boiler has a bigger footprint
The Breville Dual Boiler has a bigger footprint

It is easy to see at first glance that the Rancilio Silvia possesses a thinner footprint than the Breville Dual Boiler. With that compactness, the Rancilio Silvia can fit well in a small counter space. Meanwhile, the Dual Boiler is quite large, so it may take quite a space, which you should keep in mind before purchasing.

Though it has a smaller dimension, the Rancilio Silvia offers a generous water reservoir capacity of 71 oz (~2.1 liters). The Dual Boiler definitely boasts a larger water tank, about 84 oz (~2.5 liters). However, when put into comparison, the capacity difference is not that significant, at least for me.

Programmability

The feature that makes the Breville Dual Boiler stand out against the Rancilio Silvia is its drink customization. On the Rancilio Silvia, I cannot instantly brew double-shot espresso with a touch of a button like on the Dual Boiler. The flexible shot volumetric control on the Dual Boiler makes brewing single or double-shot espresso cups quick and easy.

I can also walk away or steam the milk without keeping an eye on the extraction, as the Dual Boiler will stop the extraction process automatically when the selected volume is met. Meanwhile, with the Rancilio Silvia, I have to measure and wait to get the desired volume to stop the extraction manually. 

Moreover, the Rancilio Silvia has nothing to program like the Dual Boiler, so I need to keep my eyes on every parameter involving the extraction process. On the other hand, when using the Dual Boiler, I can change the pre-infusion duration, the extraction length, and the brew and steam temperatures.

Breville Dual Boiler has volumetric shot control buttons
Breville Dual Boiler has volumetric shot control buttons

Interface & Hot water dispenser

The control interface of the Rancilio Silvia is very simple, including rocker switches, a dial knob, and LED indicators. The dial knob is responsible for initiating the steaming process or delivering hot water from the steam wands.

The Dual Boiler, in contrast, engages more visual confirmations when making changes, thanks to the integrated LCD display. Moreover, it features many functional buttons and a pressure gauge, which help to navigate through orders and options and make tracking the extraction pressure much more convenient.

The Breville Dual Boiler also features a separate hot water dispenser placed on the right of the steam wand. This dedicated hot water spout is convenient for getting clean water to make americano or even preparing chocolate or tea. 

The Rancilio Silvia does not have such a distinguished hot water spout. Instead, its steam wand functions as the hot water dispenser when I turn on the hot-water switch and twist the steam knob.

Rancilio Silvia's control interface is simple
Rancilio Silvia’s control interface is simple

Milk system

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

The Dual Boiler and the Rancilio Silvia utilize manual steam wands, so getting the velvety froth will depend greatly on your skills. One thing I really appreciate about their steam wand is that they are on a ball joint, allowing me to swivel it easily from different angles, helping me a lot in practicing frothing techniques.

Apart from that, steaming with the Dual Boiler is faster and more manageable than with the Rancilio Silvia. This can be attributed to the separate steam boiler of the Dual Boiler’s heating system. With a separate boiler for steaming milk, the steam power from the Dual Boiler is more powerful without waiting for the heating transition, thus effectively speeding up the time for preparing multiple drinks. 

Additionally, the Dual Boiler’s steam wand tip has 3 holes, while that of the Rancilio Silvia has 1 hole. More holes at the steam wand’s tip help introduce air into the milk to make microfoam faster. Thus, using the Dual Boiler allows me to get microfoam relatively more easily compared to when using the Rancilio Silvia.

The 3-hole steam wand tip of Breville Dual Boiler
The 3-hole steam wand tip of Breville Dual Boiler

Besides, the temperature of the Dual Boiler’s steam boiler can be adjusted depending on the milk volume or control level you want. The higher the steam temperature, the stronger the steam power and the faster the steaming process. However, it will be more difficult to control your froth, especially when you’re a beginner. Meanwhile, if you use a small volume of milk or want to have more control over your milk froth, lowering the steam temperature can be useful.

Using a manual steam wand might take a bit longer to get the hang of, but don’t worry, you’ll master the basics in no time! Yet, these machines’ steam wands will give out some water before the dry steam kicks in. So, just remember to give the steam wand a little purge before you start frothing your milk in the jug.

Manual steam wands of Breville Dual Boiler vs Rancilio Silvia
Manual steam wands of Breville Dual Boiler vs Rancilio Silvia

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

The Breville Dual Boiler and Rancilio Silvia are not difficult to clean. Their removable parts, such as the drip tray, are easy to detach and clean with tap water. 

However, the Barista Dual Boiler shows the cleaning and descaling alerts on the display screen, so I don’t need to set the reminder by myself. The Dual Boiler also has a self-cleaning function, which allows the machine to start the cleaning cycle by itself after putting in the cleaning disc and dialing in order. 

Besides, the drip tray of the Dual Boiler features an overflow indicator, notifying me when I have to empty the drip tray to avoid water leaking all over the countertop. The Rancilio Silvia, on the other hand, does not have such alerts, but it is smaller and does not take much effort to clean and descale.

Their milk wands do not have an auto-purge function; thus, it is necessary to purge the wand after every use to clean out any residual milk. Before purging the frothers, you need to wipe the wands’ body and tip with a damp cloth. In this way, you can avoid the burnt milk residue affecting your milk foam in the next use.

Utilities

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

The auto-start setting on Breville Dual Boiler
The auto-start setting on Breville Dual Boiler

The Breville Dual Boiler features greater utility than the Rancilio Silvia owing to its programmable auto-start and auto-off functions. The Rancilio Silvia does not have these functions. Actually, only the Rancilio Silvia model distributed on the EU market has the auto-off function.

At the default setting, the Dual Boiler will enter the auto-off mode after 4 hours of no use. Additionally, the Power Saving mode will be activated if the machine is idle for 1 hour. In the default setting, the auto-start function of the Dual Boiler is not activated.

You can turn on the auto-on function and adjust the auto-off time in the advanced settings of the Dual Boiler. Besides, the Dual Boiler includes tool storage behind its removable drip tray for keeping the filter baskets and cleaning accessories.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Dual Boiler BES920

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 2024-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Has low-pressure pre infusion to maximize the espresso extraction flavor
  • The outstanding dual-boiler heating system and integrated PID temperature controllers
  • Can adjust the brewing and steaming temperatures
  • LCD display for easily confirming changes
  • Dedicated hot water spout and pressure gauge
Cons
  • Expensive price tag

Quick Rundown Of Rancilio Silvia

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machinet,0.3 liters, with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
  • Ergonomic porta filter handle same as the proven design of Rancilio commercial machines
  • Commercial grade group head for superb heat stability and extraction quality
  • Articulating steam wand offers complete range of motion and professional steaming knob precisely controls steaming pressure
  • Classic linear design fits most decors
  • Optional pod and capsule adaptor kit available

Last update on 2024-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Built with sturdy stainless steel case
  • Compact footprint and simple control interface
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Generous water reservoir capacity
Cons
  • Does not have pre-infusion feature
  • Lacks auto volumetric shot control

Product Video 

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References:

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