Both machines can brew a great cup of espresso and have proven themselves to be worthy opponents. They both have Stainless Steel Housings, three way solenoid valves, commercial portafilter and commercial brew groups. The way they differ is that each one fits a different persons needs. The Silvia is for the person who may want to fiddle around a little to get a great shot. It also has very high steam pressure and a commercial style steam tip for those who want to perfect their frothing technique. The brew temperature on the Gaggia is more stable so it is more consistent and easier to use for brewing. It has an easy frothing wand so that any member of the family can use it without having to learn any technique at all. For both of these machines we have instructional CDs to help you with the learning process. We also have tech support people who would be happy to help you learn how to use it to its fullest potential.