In this guide, we're comparing the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II vs. Breville Dual Boiler. We'll be breaking down all the details and leaving no stone unturned to help you select the machine that meets your needs.
We're going to cover...
- The features the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and the Breville Dual Boiler share.
- The key differences between these espresso machines and what they mean for you.
- Advice on which machine to buy based on professional or personal requirements.
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
The Oscar II is a small but serious powerhouse that will delight the home espresso expert or the small cafe owner. If you need an affordable option for lower volume service and high-quality espresso, choose the Oscar II.
Breville Dual Boiler
This prosumer espresso machine is designed with commercial features to raise your home espresso experience. It's a solid option if you want to make delicious lattes at home for a low sticker price.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and the Breville Dual Boiler are designed with a single group for brewing espressos one at a time with attention and care.
For home use especially, you wouldn't particularly benefit from multiple groups as you won't be needing to keep up with long lines of drink orders.
Many small commercial enterprises also select single-group machines to match their espresso drink output. (Skip to "So Which Should You Buy?" below to see which machine we recommend for commercial use and why.)
Checking the number of brew groups on a machine is a good place to start your assessment. You don't want to end up buying more or less than what you actually need.
Stainless Steel Panels
With gleaming stainless steel panels, both the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and the Breville Dual Boiler stand out on the countertop.
One thing you don't want to compromise on in an espresso machine is quality, especially where parts and functionality are concerned.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't expect it to look good, too. Additionally, stainless steel is easier to keep clean than plastic casings and will be a lot hardier.
Both of these models come with pre-infusion, which guarantees even extraction while brewing. In short, it'll help to ensure that the espresso tastes as good as it possibly can.
Pre-infusion systems carefully immerse the coffee grounds in water before the full brew cycle kicks in. This will prevent channeling and deliver the water to all of the coffee particles.
Full saturation is important because if sections of the coffee bed can't be reached by the water, they won't be extracted and you'll miss out on the full potential of the espresso.
Another great thing about pre-infusion is that it helps to correct tamping issues. If your tamping pressure is off or you tamped a little unevenly, this system will settle the coffee and ensure that these errors won't interfere with the extraction process.
Read next: See the top commercial espresso machines on this page.
If you're looking for temperature stability, you'll be glad to know that both of these machines are constructed with their own thermal stability systems.
The Breville Dual Boiler comes with an adjustable PID heat control system connected to the espresso boiler and the group head to maintain the temperatures.
A PID controller, or proportional-integral-derivative controller, is an industrial temperature modulation element that uses an algorithm to automatically adjust temperatures as needed. Basically, it's a self-correcting system.
The Nuova Sinomelli Oscar II is built with a thermo-compensated group, which ensures temperature stability via continuous hot water circulation in the heat exchange unit.
Because the hot water is always traveling throughout the heating system to the group head, it will always be the correct temperature for brewing.
Ergonomic Steam Trigger
While major technological functions are the primary focus while you're shopping for a quality espresso machine, ergonomic features also deserve some of the spotlight.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and the Breville Dual Boiler are designed with a flip switch that controls milk steaming.
If you've ever used an espresso machine with a twist knob that takes a lot of physical exertion, you'll appreciate how gentle this flip switch is. Just tap it into the on and off positions—no hard turns necessary.
The Breville Dual Boiler has a good-sized reservoir that can hold just about 2.5 liters of water. The pour-over Nuova Simonelli Oscar II can hold about 2.3 liters of water.
Considering their overall size and espresso capacity, these reservoirs are ample enough for the smaller-scale espresso service they provide.
Dual Boiler System vs. Heat Exchange Boiler
In espresso machines, you'll find single boiler, double boiler and heat exchange boiler systems.
Whereas single boiler machines don't allow you to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time, double boiler and heat exchange machines do.
The Breville Dual Boiler has two separate boilers for brewing and steaming, which is why you can operate both functions simultaneously.
This dual boiler system is fast-acting and a logical answer to the issue of steaming and brewing requiring different temperature settings.
With a heat exchanger, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II contains a boiler with an isolated compartment inside and a copper tube that draws water to the group heads.
The water is heated to brew temperature as it travels through the copper tube so that brew and steam temperature can be effectively maintained.
Stainless Steel Boiler vs. Copper Boiler
The materials used in an espresso machine will have an effect on their functions. With stainless steel boilers, the Breville Dual Boiler is sturdy and decently rust-resistant (but not necessarily rust-proof).
The copper boilers in the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II have greater rust resistance and are also antimicrobial, making it easier to keep them sanitary.
Copper also has a natural element of temperature control, which will aid in the thermal stability of the unit.
Volumetric Dosing vs. Timed Dosing
Though these machines share programmable dosing as a feature, it works very differently in each.
The Breville Dual Boiler has programmable volumetric dosing, which allows you to set the volume of your espresso shots (both single and double) for automatic dosing.
Once you've programmed the volume, just hit the button and the machine will start and stop when it's reached the correct volume.
With the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II, you'll program dosing for single and double espressos by time.
Just like the Breville Dual Boiler, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II will automatically dispense the water when you press the button, just by time versus by volume.
It should also be mentioned that programming the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II includes the pre-infusion—you won't be programming it as a separate function, but as part of the whole brew cycle.
Pour-Over vs. Direct-Connect
The Breville Dual Boiler is a pour-over machine. What this means is that it comes with a water reservoir that you'll refill by hand to use the machine.
Though the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II also comes in a pour-over version, you can choose the direct-connect model if you prefer.
A direct-connect espresso machine is plumbed into a water supply so that you won't need to worry about keeping a water tank from running dry.
Fortunately, both machines do make it simple to improve water quality and espresso flavor if you add a water filter.
However, a direct-connect machine like the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II also allows you to install a water softener.
This is a huge advantage for machine maintenance as it will protect against mineral buildup that can break the machine down.
The Oscar II has incredible steam power. It can steam milk for a latte or cappuccino in about ten seconds flat.
There's a little less steam power for the Breville Dual Boiler, so it'll take longer. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
If you like to take your time finding your groove with angling the milk pitcher and texturing the milk, the Breville Dual Boiler will afford you all the time you need.
Manual Dosing in the Breville Dual Boiler
Many professionals and prosumers love the manual dosing button on the Breville Dual Boiler.
In addition to having programmed volumetric dosing, you can switch to the manual button at any time and pull longer or shorter shots at your discretion.
There's no manual button on the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II, which means that you'll need to stick to programming your shots. It's highly convenient for continuous use, but at the same time, it does curtail on-the-fly customization.
Reverse Mirror in the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
A stainless steel back plate in the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II functions as a reverse mirror, showing you all the aspects of the brew process.
You'll be able to observe the espresso from all angles and monitor the color and consistency.
The reverse mirror may seem like a bonus feature as it isn't vital to the operation of the machine, but it ends up being quite helpful for quality control.
Hot Water Outlet in the Breville Dual Boiler
You may have noticed that the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II doesn't come with a hot water outlet as it's designed to provide advanced espresso service while staying economical.
If you want to make an Americano or pour hot water for a tea, you'll need a separate hot water tank or source.
The Breville Dual Boiler has a hot water outlet so that you can make an Americano from start to finish on one machine.
Just remember that the Breville Dual Boiler is drawing water from the reservoir, so if you're using larger quantities of water, you'll need to keep a close eye on the water levels.
Longer Articulating Steam Wand in the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
One of the improvements Nuova Simonelli made to its Oscar model when the company designed the Oscar II is the long articulating steam wand.
This steam wand has an excellent range of motion, allowing you to position a milk pitcher as needed. The length is also conducive to larger pitchers as the wand will reach down toward the bottom for better heat distribution.
The Breville Dual Boiler also comes with an articulating steam wand with nice, fluid motion, but it's substantially shorter than the Oscar II steam wand. However, this shouldn't be a problem if you're using small milk pitchers.
Automated Cleanings in the Breville Dual Boiler
As baristas and espresso enthusiasts know, cleaning the machine after using it is critical to maintaining it well and delivering quality espresso.
This is often done with manual backflushing, which will require you to physically operate the process on the machine.
However, some machines, like the Breville Dual Boiler, come with automated cleaning. With this system, you can push a button and the machine will automatically perform the backflushing and cleaning cycle.
In addition to professional construction and functionality, both of these machines offer seriously affordability.
The Breville Dual Boiler and the pour-over Nuova Simonelli Oscar II are generally offered at a similar price.
At Majesty Coffee, we offer the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II for $1,295. The direct-connect Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is another highly affordable machine for the convenience it offers, available in the $1,600 range.
So Which Should You Buy?
It can be tough to decide between these espresso machines as they're pretty different from each other. But at the end of the day, you'll need to consider what you're using the machine for.
Certainly, if you're buying a home machine, you can safely pick either model and get plenty of reward for your investment. That being said, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II has a particular reputation for longevity.
If you're buying a machine for office or commercial use, whether for a small cafe or a business that offers complementary espresso drinks to clientele, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is the right machine.
It's fast, powerful and highly efficient, paying special attention to quality control with the reverse mirror and programmable timed dosing.
The Breville Dual Boiler also offers quality control with volumetric dosing, but especially with its slower steaming, it's designed to create espresso beverages at a slower pace.
Here's the bottom line.
The Breville Dual Boiler and the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II both utilize commercial grade features to make great home espresso machines.
However, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II has the adaptability for small shops as well as the option for a direct-connect model, which amounts to easier maintenance to keep your machine healthy.
For the best price online, check out the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II here on Majesty Coffee...
We're not currently selling the Breville Dual Boiler, but you can compare the latest price on Amazon.