Gaggia Classic Pro vs Rancilio Silvia M

by Ben Coleman Updated: March 8, 2024 4 min read
CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive promotions and regular updates on everything coffee!

The Gaggia Classic Pro and Rancilio Silvia M are two of the most popular single-boiler espresso machines available—and they have been for decades. 

Given the machines’ popularity, we get a lot of questions from aspiring home baristas about how they compare to each other. While there’s a lot about the Classic Pro and the Silvia M that’s similar, there are some distinguishing features worth mentioning. 

Similarities Between the Classic Pro & Silvia M

Both the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia M have solid build quality and temperature stability, making them great machines to learn brewing and steaming skills on. They also have similarly sized water reservoirs, the same type of group head, and a 3-way solenoid valve that prevents mucky pucks after brewing. 

They’re even aesthetically similar—both feature stainless steel exteriors with rocker switches and the same ring brew group that has impressive temperature stability and passively heats the cup warmer. 

Both machines are also made from commercial-grade components, making them versatile and upgradable. For example, they both use 58mm portafilters that are compatible with a variety of filter baskets, including single and double shot baskets. 

Gaggia Classic Pro Highlights

The Gaggia Classic Pro has long been considered to be “the Honda Civic of home espresso machines.” It’s a high-quality, reliable machine capable of brewing excellent espresso without too many frills, bells, or whistles—it also costs a fraction of what comparable machines do. 

Aside from its astounding reliability, the size of this machine is a huge selling point. Not only will it fit on most any countertop, the 3 oz stainless steel boiler heats up in mere minutes, and switches between steaming and brewing mode in seconds. This means your espresso shots won’t go stale while you wait to texture milk.

Despite the machine’s smaller stature, the drip tray on the Classic Pro is actually larger than on the Silvia M (and easier to remove). 

The Classic Pro is also highly customizable: it’s available in 10 different colors and has a variety of wood component upgrades available exclusively from Whole Latte Love. 

Rancilio Silvia M Highlights

Since its introduction to the consumer market (back in the day it was only available as a special gift to Rancilio’s favorite commercial vendors), the Silvia M has become incredibly popular. 

Its brass boiler is four times the size of the Classic Pro’s, making it a much better option if you plan on preparing drinks that require lots of hot water or steamed milk. The Silvia M also has a bit more steaming power, and the single-hole commercial steam wand does a better job of creating a vortex in your pitcher than the two-hole wand on the Classic Pro. 

Beyond the boiler, the Silvia M is a larger machine overall than the Classic Pro. It will take up a bit longer to heat up and require more counter space as a result, but if you’re a bit of a tinkerer, this second aspect could actually be a benefit—there’s a lot of space inside the machine for upgrades and modifications. In fact, there’s a vibrant community online dedicated to sprucing up their Silvia Ms with PIDs, pressure gauges, sound dampeners, and more. 

The Silvia M is also going to be less aesthetically versatile than the Classic Pro. It comes in only two color variations (stainless steel and black), and there’s no option to upgrade to wood components. Despite that, the Silvia M has a classic retro look. It’s evocative of the old-school diners of the 1950s. If that’s your kind of aesthetic, you won’t miss the color variation the Classic Pro provides. 

Gaggia Classic Pro vs. Rancilio Silvia M: Which is Best?

This may be a frustrating answer, but whether the Gaggia Classic Pro or the Rancilio Silvia M is a better machine depends a lot on what your priorities are. 

Do you want a machine that’s compact and quick to heat up, or one that’s larger, slower, and more powerful? 

At the end of the day, these two machines are both great options for the up-and-coming home barista looking to dip their toes into the vast and caffeinated ocean of espresso brewing—they’re a lot more alike than they are different. 


Is Gaggia Classic the same as the Classic Pro?

The Gaggia Classic is not exactly the same as the Classic Pro—the latter is a more updated version of the former. In addition to replacing the pannarello wand with a commercial steam wand, the Classic Pro is operated using commercial-grade rocker switches. It also has a stainless steel boiler (compared to the old brass boiler), which helps reduce scale build-up. 

Is Gaggia Classic Pro made in Italy?

Every Gaggia Classic Pro is made entirely in Italy, at Gaggia’s factory in Milan. All of the parts are commercial-grade, so you know you’re getting a quality piece of equipment. 

Does the Gaggia Classic Pro have a PID?

The Gaggia Classic Pro does not have a PID, however you can add one yourself if you’re so inclined. There’s a vibrant online community of at-home espresso enthusiasts who spend their time upgrading the Classic Pro, and adding a PID is one of the most popular upgrades.