DeLonghi ECP3420 vs ECP3120: Which Is Better Affordable Espresso Machine For Beginners?

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This article is a comprehensive comparison between the DeLonghi ECP3420 vs ECP3120! These two coffee makers exhibit striking similarities, both falling within the affordable range while still delivering good espresso for beginner baristas.

While these two devices share numerous resemblances, there are distinct differentiators worth noting. The De’Longhi ECP3420 boasts a more substantial metal-infused coating and features a “double drip tray” designed for accommodating taller cups. This added functionality comes at a marginal price increase of just 20-30 dollars over the De’Longhi ECP3120. Consequently, I find the ECP3420 to have a slight edge.

Nonetheless, the ECP3120 remains a worthy contender. It serves as the twin of the De’Longhi ECP3420, offering identical features and performance. Opting for this model is a sensible decision if the plastic body isn’t a concern for you.

DeLonghi ECP3420 vs ECP3120: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
De'Longhi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, 15", Black
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
De'Longhi ECP3120 15 Bar Espresso Machine with Advanced Cappuccino System, 9.6 x 7.2 x 11.9 inches, Black/Stainless Steel
Model
De'Longhi ECP3420
De'Longhi ECP3120
Dimensions
9.4 x 7.2 x 12 inches
9.4 x 7.2 x 12 inches
Color / Material
Black and silver / Plastic, Stainless steel
Black / Plastic
Water Tank Capacity
37 oz
37 oz
Weight
~ 9 pounds
~ 9 pounds
Heating System
Stainless steel boiler
Stainless steel boiler
Milk system
Panarello Steam wand
Panarello Steam wand
Interface
Selector knob
Selector knob
Pump pressure (bar)
15 bars
15 bars
Number of filters
3
3
Cup warmer
Water level indicator
Removable water tank
Compatible for ESE pods
Double drip tray
What I Like
Price
$152.39
$149.95
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
De'Longhi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, 15", Black
Model
De'Longhi ECP3420
Dimensions
9.4 x 7.2 x 12 inches
Color / Material
Black and silver / Plastic, Stainless steel
Water Tank Capacity
37 oz
Weight
~ 9 pounds
Heating System
Stainless steel boiler
Milk system
Panarello Steam wand
Interface
Selector knob
Pump pressure (bar)
15 bars
Number of filters
3
Cup warmer
Water level indicator
Removable water tank
Compatible for ESE pods
Double drip tray
What I Like
Price
$152.39
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
De'Longhi ECP3120 15 Bar Espresso Machine with Advanced Cappuccino System, 9.6 x 7.2 x 11.9 inches, Black/Stainless Steel
Model
De'Longhi ECP3120
Dimensions
9.4 x 7.2 x 12 inches
Color / Material
Black / Plastic
Water Tank Capacity
37 oz
Weight
~ 9 pounds
Heating System
Stainless steel boiler
Milk system
Panarello Steam wand
Interface
Selector knob
Pump pressure (bar)
15 bars
Number of filters
3
Cup warmer
Water level indicator
Removable water tank
Compatible for ESE pods
Double drip tray
What I Like
Price
$149.95
More Info

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DeLonghi ECP3420 vs ECP3120: Differences

The DeLonghi ECP3420 emerged victorious over the ECP3120 with a decisive score of 2-0. Despite their near-identical nature in most aspects, they diverge solely in terms of their coating (materials and colors) and the design of the drip tray.

Color & Material

The Winner: De’Longhi ECP3420 

De'Longhi ECP3420 and ECP3120's appearance
De’Longhi ECP3420 and ECP3120’s appearance

Certainly, the coating materials and colors stand out as the most notable distinction between the ECP3420 and ECP3120.

Given its budget-friendly nature, it makes sense that the De’Longhi ECP3120 doesn’t feature stainless steel construction. Instead, its body is made with ABS plastic (excluding the group head). Also, the whole body is glossy black, leading some people to mistake it’s metal.

Some people might say the plastic material gives off a cheaper feel compared to metal. I’m not denying it! But honestly, I felt pretty satisfied with the materials and the whole build, considering its price. It’s not really flimsy or looks super cheap. Actually, it’s pretty sturdy.

The body of the De’Longhi ECP3420 is also constructed from plastic, yet it incorporates a greater number of stainless steel components. In particular, its front side is predominantly enveloped in metal plates, rendering it notably more robust compared to its counterpart. Its color scheme combines black with silver accents. In this combination, the black parts are made from plastic.

But you know what? It’s just an extra 20 – 30 dollars to enjoy that added sturdiness of the De’Longhi ECP3420. So why not go for it, right?

Drip Tray

The Winner: De’Longhi ECP3420 

To begin with, a similarity between the two is their removable drip tray. This design element proves handy for effortlessly removing water droplets on the tray and simplifying the process of drip tray maintenance.

However, the true brilliance unfolds when you remove that drip tray. This is where the De’Longhi ECP3420 truly shines as an enhancement designed with the user in mind. Once you extract the main drip tray of the ECP3420, you’ll unveil a clever addition: a small metal plate situated underneath. I’ve dubbed this system the “double drip tray,” an exclusive feature of the ECP3420 that’s absent in the ECP3120.

De’Longhi ECP3420 has 2 drip trays
De’Longhi ECP3420 has 2 drip trays

This ingenious setup affords an additional 2-3 cm of space, effectively raising the maximum cup height to approximately 4.3 inches. So you can comfortably accommodate larger coffee cups.

DeLonghi ECP3420 vs ECP3120: Similarities

Beyond these two minor distinctions, the De’Longhi ECP3420 and ECP3120 are virtually identical in every aspect.

Coffee Flavor & Brewing Technology

Flavor 

Don’t expect too much from a cheap machine. They deliver a good cup rather than an outstanding flavor profile. It adequately caters to the taste of individuals who don’t often consume coffee/espresso or those who are relatively new to the realm of coffee.

These models don’t excel in producing rich crema; you might get a so-so crema layer. Sometimes, it is just a sprinkling of bubbles on your espresso. However, considering they are just low-mid machines, they actually perform quite admirably!

I’ve also come across complaints regarding an unpleasant plastic taste during the initial week of use. This might indeed stem from the plastic water tank. Personally, I resolved this issue by running the tank through the dishwasher prior to its first use, and things improved significantly thereafter.

Pump Pressure

These machines both boast a 15-bar pressure system, ensuring the production of delicious espresso. Pressure levels ranging from 9 to 15 bars are commonly considered standard for pump espresso machines.

Heating System

In line with many of DeLonghi’s espresso machines, both the ECP3420 and ECP3120 are equipped with a stainless steel boiler, indicating a durable and reliable choice despite the absence of a dual boiler configuration.

For those frequently caught up in the morning rush, the coffee machine’s heat-up time is notably swift. You can expect it to be ready in approximately 5 minutes or even less.

Portafilter

Both of them provide a versatile 3-in-1 pressurized portafilter. But what exactly is this? To put it succinctly, you’re not confined to brewing just a single shot but you can concoct doubles or even opt for ESE pods thanks to this portafilter. 

Nevertheless, I do hold the desire for the interior of the portafilter to be covered in stainless steel rather than plastic.

De'Longhi ECP3420's 3-in-1 pressurized portafilter
3-in-1 pressurized portafilter

Tamper

These machines come with a plastic tamper in the package. But let’s be honest, plastic tampers aren’t my best choice. They lack durability and don’t help with creating consistent pressure. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, De’Longhi offers a bundle with the machine and a stainless steel tamper for just $199.

Design 

The ECP3420 and ECP3120 excel in the realm of compactness, showcasing a space-saving design. With a weight of under 10 pounds, they neatly slot into the dimensions of a small counter or a studio apartment kitchen.

Their water tank holds 37 ounces of water that can make 4.5 cups before needing to refill. This capacity proves fairly reasonable for their compact size. Moreover, it is conveniently removable, simplifying the tasks of refilling and cleaning.

De'Longhi ECP3420's user interface
De’Longhi ECP3420’s user interface is similar to that of De’Longhi ECP3120

Their user interface is really simple and beginner friendly. Situated on the machine’s front, a solitary knob assumes command over the lion’s share of the machine’s functions. A simple clockwise twist initiates the espresso extraction, while a counter-clockwise turn shifts gears to steam mode. 

Additionally, there are two indicator lights. The first beacon informs you of the machine’s operational status, illuminating when it’s powered on. The second light illuminates once the preheating phase reaches completion. 

Steam Wand

The manual Panarello wand of De'Longhi ECP3420 and ECP3120
The manual Panarello wand of De’Longhi ECP3420 and ECP3120

The inclusion of the manual Panarello wand imparts a sense of being more expensive to these coffee makers. For those seeking cappuccinos or lattes, the wand proves to be a straightforward tool, though not effortless. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that milk frothing is a skill that requires honing. 

Quick Rundown of De’Longhi ECP3420

Sale
De'Longhi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, 15", Black
  • EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable controls allow you to make modifications for your personal taste preferences.
  • BREW LIKE A PRO Whatever your preference – single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte – the machine brews authentic barista-quality beverages just like you enjoy at your favorite coffeehouse
  • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY The Advanced Cappuccino System with manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks – just the way you like them.
  • ONE ESPRESSO SHOT OR TWO? The three-in-one filter holder, included with the unit, has a holder for one espresso shot, a holder for two shots, and one for an easy-serve espresso pod – whatever your preference.
  • SLEEK SPACE-SAVING DESIGN With a sleek profile, compact design and narrow footprint, each model fits beautifully on a kitchen countertop – without taking up too much space.

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • It has a compact size.
  • Budget-friendly pricing.
  • Powerful 15-bar pump.
  • Enhanced durability through stainless steel components.
  • Adjustable cup height with a two-tier drip tray.
  • Features an integrated steam wand for milk frothing.
Cons
  • The steam is not the greatest.
  • It is hard to hold the filter in place.

Quick Rundown of De’Longhi ECP3120

De'Longhi ECP3120 15 Bar Espresso Machine with Advanced Cappuccino System, 9.6 x 7.2 x 11.9 inches, Black/Stainless Steel
  • EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable controls allow you to make modifications for your personal taste preferences
  • BREW LIKE A PRO Whatever your preference - single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte - the machine brews authentic barista-quality beverages just like you enjoy at your favorite coffeehouse
  • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks - just the way you like them
  • ONE ESPRESSO SHOT OR TWO? The three-in-one filter holder, included with the unit, has a holder for one espresso shot, a holder for two shots, and one for an easy-serve espresso pod - whatever your preference
  • NO WAITING BETWEEN CUPS The Advanced Cappuccino System maintains the optimal temperature so you can brew cup after cup instantly

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Compact size that doesn’t take up much space.
  • Pump performance is powerful at 15 bar.
  • Beginner-friendly.
  • It has a built-in steam wand.
  • Budget-friendly pricing.
Cons
  • The pressure is weak. 
  • The steam wand is short and produces thick milk foam. 
  • Plastic water tank material may lead to smell in initial cups.
  • Less user feedback is available to gauge long-term reliability and performance.
  • It’s all plastic.
  • The frother is a bit short.
  • It is hard to hold the filter in place.
  • [/i2cons]

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Rating 5/5 - (4 votes)