Not sure whether to pick the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II or the Rancilio Silvia M? We created this guide to compare these espresso machines side by side and give you all the information you need to decide.
We'll be covering...
- The big features that the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and the Rancilio Silvia M share.
- The key differences between these machines and how they'll affect you.
- Which machine you should pick based on your business or individual requirements.
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
This is a robust little commercial espresso machine for small shops, offices, or even for the home. If you want professional results with guaranteed consistency, go with the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II.
Rancilio Silvia M
The Rancilio Silvia M is a semiautomatic home espresso machine that gives you plenty of power in an affordable package. This is the best option for a home or office on a smaller budget.
Read next: Find our favorite machines for commercial use on this buyer's guide.
Both the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and the Rancilio Silvia M come with one group for small-scale operations, offices and home kitchens for crafting your morning lattes.
There's no need to buy a machine with multiple groups if you're making the occasional cup.
Even for a small shop serving a limited number of espresso drinks a day, a single-group espresso machine can be very accommodating.
Stainless Steel Panels
Both of these espresso machines are constructed with stainless steel panels, giving them a sturdy design and a polished appearance.
Espresso machines that are all plastic tend to be a little less exciting to look at, which may not match the ambiance you're going for.
More importantly, stainless steel is more resilient than plastic. It's easy to clean and generally comes with greater longevity, which is highly desirable in any piece of equipment you're investing in.
No Hot Water Spigot
There's no hot water spigot on either the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II or the Rancilio Silvia M. If you want to make an Americano, you'll need a separate water tank or source.
The Rancilio Silvia M does allow you to get hot water from the steam wand, though it'll be a slower process than if it were coming from a dedicated hot water spigot.
To make these high-performance machines as affordable as possible, they're designed to be fairly straightforward in terms of espresso service.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is famous for its excellent steam power, despite its small size.
The Rancilio Silvia M is another powerhouse that will steam milk for lattes and cappuccinos quickly.
Both of these machines texture milk beautifully, so whichever machine you pick, you won't need to compromise.
Single Boiler vs. Heat Exchange Boiler
With a single boiler, the Rancilio Silvia M takes a little finesse to use. Steaming milk and brewing espresso require different temperatures, so sharing a single boiler for these processes means that you'll have to do one at a time.
You'll also need to watch and wait for the temperature to adjust to make sure that you don't burn the espresso after steaming milk.
The heat exchange boiler in the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II gives you the ability to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time.
In a heat exchange system, there's a separate compartment housed in the boiler and a copper tube that draws water to the group head, heating it up to brewing temperature along the way.
Because the heat exchange system essentially keeps the water for brewing and steaming separate, it can achieve the correct temperatures for each simultaneously.
Read Also: Espresso Machine Boiler Types
Direct Connect vs. Pour Over
While both of these espresso machines come in pour-over versions, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is also available in a direct-connect configuration.
The pour-over machine type isn't connected to a water line. Instead, it has a water reservoir that you manually refill as it gets low. The upside is that you can move this machine anywhere if you're looking for portability.
If you buy a direct-connect machine, you'll be hooking it up to a water line so that there's an automatic supply.
A direct-connect machine also lets you install a water softener or filter, which will improve the flavor of the water (and thus the espresso) and keep scaling issues to a minimum that could otherwise stop the machine from working properly.
Manual Dosing vs. Programmed Dosing
As a semiautomatic machine with manual dosing, the Rancilio Silvia M offers manual brewing. This means that you'll be starting and stopping the brew cycle with a single button, requiring you to know when the espresso shot has reached full extraction.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II works a bit differently. It features programmable buttons that you can set by time. When you're ready to brew, you hit the button and the machine automatically pulls the shot according to the programmed timing.
Both of these options have their pros and cons. Manual dosing takes more monitoring and expertise, but gives you the ability to pull any type of shot on demand.
Programmed dosing isn't conducive to customizing espresso on the fly, but it offers consistency and saves time and energy so that baristas can attend to other processes while the machine brews.
Soft Infusion System in the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
This is a feature that goes along with the programmable dosing in the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II.
Part of what you'll be programming into your timed shots is soft infusion, which is a method of initially saturating the coffee bed in the group head to ensure even extraction.
It's a way of guarding against improper tamping, which can easily encourage channeling and prevent the water from reaching all of the coffee particles.
Even extraction equals better flavor, making soft infusion a highly valuable function for espresso enthusiasts.
Steam Arm Length
One of the bonuses of both of these machines is that they have articulating steam arms, which gives you a good range of motion for angling the milk pitcher.
However, the steam arm on the Rancilio Silvia M is shorter, which does limit how far down it can reach into a pitcher. But if you're using a smaller pitcher, this shouldn't be a problem.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II's long steam arm can reach down even into deeper pitchers for heat distribution while you're texturing milk.
Push Pull Steam vs. Twist Knob
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II comes with a push-pull steam trigger that's specially designed for user friendliness.
The twist knob on the Rancilio Silvia M is by no means difficult to use, especially if you're making the occasional latte.
It's really when you're using an espresso machine for long periods of time, like in a cafe setting, that the twist knob can get tiring.
On the other hand, if you have sensitive wrists, you may be interested in the push-pull steam trigger.
Reverse Mirror in the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
Judging the quality of the espresso takes multiple senses, including taste and sight.
But before you get to the tasting, you'll be checking for good color, consistency and other visual markers of a good espresso.
This is where the reverse mirror on the Oscar II can help. The stainless steel back plate acts as a mirror so that you can see all the angles of the espresso while it brews.
The Rancilio Silvia M also has a stainless steel back plate, but it doesn't have the same reflective property.
The reverse mirror isn't an absolute necessity in any espresso machine, but it's beneficial for working quickly and monitoring every stage of the espresso.
The Rancilio Silvia M and Nuova Simonelli Oscar II are both highly affordable espresso machines, even for small budgets.
Because it's a fairly basic yet high quality model, the Rancilio Silvia M is quite a low-cost machine, available at Majesty Coffee for $715.
We offer the powerful pour-over Nuova Simonelli Oscar II for $1,295. The direct-connect version is still well under $2,000 at $1,620.
So Which Should You Buy?
Both of these espresso machines make excellent prosumer options for the home or the office. But only one of these is designed to accommodate a commercial location like a small shop—the Oscar II.
Between the heat exchange boiler and the programmable dosing alone, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II can meet the needs of many small coffee shops, cafes and offices.
But purchased for your home kitchen, it will delight the prosumer with its advanced technology and intuitive design.
As a home espresso machine, the Rancilio Silvia M is legendary with commercial features and power that will impress you.
Of the two machines, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is the more versatile option.
Check out the links above to Majesty Coffee for the best prices and service online!