Breville Barista Express VS. Philips 3200: 7 Key Differences

So, you’ve decided to buy your next espresso machine, and it has to be an automatic machine. You’ve got a modest budget and are wondering whether it’d be enough to get your hands on a pretty good machine—well, you’re in luck! Both Breville and Philips can help you out with that!

From Breville, it’s the Barista Express, and from Philips, it’s the 3200. Both of them are extremely popular models in the mid-price range.

It’s also important to note that the Barista Express is semi-automatic, whereas the Philips 3200 is super-automatic. So, other than their differences, it’s also about your control over the machine. So, let’s not beat around the bush anymore and start with their comparison table.


Breville Barista Express VS. Philips 3200: The Comparison Table

Breville Barista ExpressPhilips 3200
TypeSemi-AutomaticSuper Automatic
MaterialBrushed Stainless SteelPlastic & Stainless Steel
InterfacePressure Gauge, Buttons, DialsFull Touchscreen
Weight (lbs.)2320
Dimensions (W x H x D) (in)12.5 x 15.9 x 13.814.6 x 9.7 x 17
Power Consumption (Watt)16001500
Warranty1 Year2 Years
Grinder Levels1812
Portafilter (mm)54N/A
Pre-Programmed DrinksN/A5
Water Reservoir (oz.)6760.9
Bean Hopper (oz.)89.9
Milk Carafe (ml)480260
Hot Water Levels43
GrinderSteel Conical BurrCeramic Flat Burr
Boiler & Pump PressureSingle Thermocoil & 15-barSingle Thermoblock & 15-bar
Milk SystemIntegrated Steam WandLatteGo
Water FilterCharcoal FilterAquaClean
Milk TexturingAuto & ManualAuto
Adjustable Spout Height (in)N/A3.3 – 6.9
Used Grounds Container CapacityN/A12
Removable Brew GroupNoYes
Pre-Ground Powder ChuteNoYes
PID ControlYesNo


What Are The Key Differences?

Breville Barista Express vs. Philips 3200

Build Quality

Before looking inward, we must address their outward aspects. Both machines are aesthetically pleasing, so fitting either of them in your kitchen won’t be a tough task.

Like all of the Breville machines, the Barista Express has a brushed stainless steel look. Plus, it’s also constructed with stainless steel. On the other hand, the Philips 3200 comes with a sleek, dark look and is mostly made of plastic. That’s why, despite having almost the same footprint, the Barista Express weighs more than the Philips 3200.

Both machines have an integrated bean hopper with a safety lid. The Philips 3200 has a slightly bigger bean hopper than the Barista Express. On the other hand, the Barista Express has a bigger water tank than the Philips 3200.

User Interface

Since the Barista Express is semi-automatic, it has a lot of buttons on the interface, all positioned around the big pressure gauge. It has 3 selector dials: grind size selector, grind amount, and hot water. Other than that, you’ll also see the automatic dosing, program, and power buttons, along with all necessary indicator lights. It’s not ultra-modern but clear and concise—efficient for all types of users.

The Philips 3200 offers a completely opposite style of interface. It only has 2 buttons: on/off and start/stop buttons. Everything else is made on a sleek touchscreen display. The indicator icons are also part of the touchscreen. But each function or tab is well defined with clearly drawn icons. Between the two, the 3200’s interface does look more engaging.

Grinder

The Philips 3200 features a flat ceramic burr grinder, which provides much more even and consistent coffee grinds—one of the major reasons why it makes very good-tasting coffee. Breville machines are known for using stainless steel-made conical burr grinders. The Barista Express also has one—ideal for finer grind levels to make all those espresso specialties with the machine.

Please note that, between these two, the Philips 3200 is a fairly loud grinder. Also, the Express has more grinder settings (18) compared to the Philips 3200 (12).

Pre-Programmed Recipes

As the Philips 3200 is a touchscreen machine, you won’t have to lift a finger in the morning for your cup of coffee. Moreover, it also comes with 5 pre-programmed recipes: espresso, latte, lungo, macchiato, and americano. Just choose any of these preset drink options, press the button, and you’re done! All of these drinks’ shot volumes and temperatures are customizable as well.

As for the Breville Barista Express, it requires a bit of manual work and know-how on the user’s part since it’s semi-automatic. Once you select the grind size and amount, you’d have to manually tamp it. Only then can you lock its 54-mm portafilter into the group head. As you can see, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved.

The automation part mainly controls the shot volumes, temperatures, and pressure levels. The Barista Express doesn’t come with any pre-programmed recipes at all. But it has been stated in the user manual that you’ll be able to make 6 drinks with it: cappuccino, macchiato, espresso, long black, latte, and ristretto.

So, if you prefer having complete control over your coffee, the Barista Express is obviously an ideal option. However, if convenience is your style, the Philips 3200 is the one to go for.

Heating System

A consistent and reliable temperature mechanism is an essential factor behind every automatic espresso machine. Both the Barista Express and the Philips 3200 follow a similar heating system, but as always, there are some important differences.

The Barista Express works with a Thermocoil heating system. This system is not only efficient but also keeps the machine within a more affordable price range. Thermocoil works by pulling in water through a metal or copper-made heating tube. As the hot water is consistently passed through the coils, the system ensures superior temperature stability when operational. Moreover, Thermocoils have better durability as they’re made of metal.

On the other hand, the Philips 3200 is equipped with a Thermoblock heating system. It heats up the water similarly to the Thermocoil system, but instead of pulling the water through metal tubes, it passes through a heated block of metal. This is why the temperature of the water is less consistent in this system. Furthermore, Thermoblocks are not as long-lasting as Thermocoils.

On top of that, the Barista Express has PID technology, which allows for consistent and precise coffee temperatures and shot timing. The Philips 3200 doesn’t have such a feature.

Coffee Quality

The Breville Barista Express offers control over water temperature, grind size, and shot volume. Yes, the Barista Express isn’t as convenient as the Philips 3200, but these extra manual controls actually pay off because you get to enjoy higher-quality coffee and learn how to control shots.

Although everyone has different tastes, the Barista Express is ideal for a broader palette. Its coffee quality hits all the right notes you want to see in your ideal cup of espresso or cappuccino. But it doesn’t mean the Philips 3200 can’t deliver decent coffee; it solely relies on the success and likeability of its pre-set recipes.

With the Breville Barista Express, you’ll have the luxury of using either the automatic settings or a manual override. So, if you’re looking to improve your barista skills, this espresso machine will suit you better.

With the Philips 3200, all the drinks are already pre-programmed, and only temperature and shot volume are tweakable. One of the advantages it has over the Barista Express is the ability to use pre-ground or decaf with the Philips 3200.

The Barista Express is a smooth fusion of control and convenience. The Philips 3200 is designed to provide a one-touch experience.

Milk System

The Breville Barista Express is equipped with a manual steam wand. It allows you to feel like a barista at home. The wand can produce excellent microfoam and textured milks, perfect for superior cappuccinos and latte arts. With a bit of practice, the wand can help you produce milk foam specific to your tastes. On top of that, the Barista Express comes with a 480-ml stainless steel milk jug for steaming and frothing.

The Philips 3200 model is a bit different and has an “uber-touch” to it. It uses the famed LatteGo system, which is designed for superior convenience. It’s designed to do everything for its users. All you have to do is press a button and wait for your foam or steamed milk. The LatteGo’s 260-ml milk carafe even pours the milk itself into your cup according to the recipe.


Notable Similarities

There are not many similarities among them other than the 2 we’ve added below. After all, they’re different in nature and from different brands. But if we’re being cheeky here, you’ll be happy to have either of them in your kitchen; that’s one heck of a similarity!

  • Both of these espresso machines have a dual-spot feature
  • Low-pressure pre-infusion technology is a common feature of them


Overview Of The Breville Barista Express

The Breville Barista Express is a 3rd wave specialty home coffeemaker. It also follows Breville’s 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series.

If you aren’t a fan of full atomization for your brewing, the Breville Barista Express will fit into your coffee habit like a glove. Its interface has buttons and dials for dispensing dual shots and hot water. The machine grinds the beans by itself, but the tamping is manual. Select the single or double amount after locking the portafilter into the brew head.

The machine does the brewing by itself and controls the temperature and pressure. The PID technology delivers water at precisely the right temperature for optimal espresso extraction. You can tweak the grind settings, shot volume, temperature, and hot water levels. The steam wand is manual and allows for microfoam milk texturing that’s capable of producing café-grade milk foam. It has a sufficiently sized water tank, bean hopper, and 18 grind settings. Its disadvantage is that it demands a steep learning curve for the greenhorns. 


Overview Of The Philips 3200

Philips 3200 is one of the rare super-automatic machines that is supremely budget-friendly. Moreover, its larger bean hopper and low-pressure pre-infusion technology ensure quality cups of brew every morning for you. Its smart touchscreen user interface allows you to access all of the drinks and functions with just a few finger touches!

If you’re a quick, no-hassle coffee drinker, then the Philips 3200 is a match made in heaven for you. Get your mug or cup ready, press a button, and wait for your espresso or latte. The LatteGo milk system does everything necessary to produce velvety smooth steamed milk or foam. You can customize certain parameters of your drinks as well. The 3200 is a compact, easy-to-move, and space-friendly machine. Among the drawbacks, its used ground container is small and doesn’t offer much customization. Furthermore, its Thermoblock heating system is not as reliable as it seems.


FAQs

Is the Breville Barista Express an automatic espresso machine?

No, it’s not a completely automatic machine. It’s semi-automatic, meaning it allows you to switch between automatic and manual modes.

Does the Breville Barista Express have a warranty?

Yes, it does. The Breville Barista Express has a 1-year limited warranty.

Does the Barista Express have different temperatures for the hot water?

Yes, it has multiple hot water temperatures. Its hot water temperature can be increased or decreased by +/-2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Does the Philips 3200 have an automatic shutoff feature?

Yes, it has. In fact, you can set how long it can stay on before triggering its auto-shutoff. You can choose 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes of idle time before it kicks in.

Can I prepare a flat white with the Philips 3200?

Yes, you can prepare it, but you have to do it in 2 steps manually. First, make a double shot of espresso. Then set your espresso-filled cup under the spout and select the latte option. By doing so, the machine will dispense the milk over the espresso. Just when it finishes the milk dispensing, cancel the latte order. And voila! You’ve got yourself a flat white!


Conclusion

The Breville Barista Express is a semi-automatic model that can be switched and programmed to either be automatic or manual whenever you like. It suits both the beginners who don’t know much about brewing and the veteran drinkers who want control over the brewing parameters.

The Philips 3200, on the other hand, is a zero-headache espresso maker. Being fully automatic, it takes care of every aspect of brewing and milk steaming. That’s why the Philips 3200 is living up to its “proper bean-to-cup machine” name. If you’re a decaf drinker, the Philips 3200 has got you covered as well. With its integrated pre-ground powder chute, you can brew a fresh cup of decaf at any time of the day.

Our job was to explain their differences, and we gladly complied. Now it’s your turn to pick one of them.

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