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In response to a number of content requests made by some of our most passionate customers, we decided to do a side-by-side comparison of the Profitec Pro 700 and Lelit Bianca, a pair of dual boiler espresso machines that are listed at a similar price in the U.S. market.
Both machines feature high-end features like flow control of the E61 group, a PID, a rotary pump, and plumbed or reservoir operation, in addition to a number of key differences. We feel it’s important for our customers to understand these similarities and differences so if and when they decide to purchase either machine, they can make the most informed decision possible.
For this comparison, we decided to take a look at things that are easily overlooked from a distance yet more obvious upon closer inspection: specifications, fasteners, external fit and finish, flow control, internals, and plumbing.
Please note, Whole Latte Love does not currently sell the Lelit Bianca. Due to a number of customer requests, we obtained a unit in order to provide the most thorough and accurate comparison possible.
Firstly, we took a look at the basic specifications of the machines. Both are fairly similar, albeit with a few notable differences.
The brew boilers contained within both are about the same size, but the Pro 700 does offer about 20 percent more power. Wattage is the same in both steam boilers, but the Pro 700 once again gains the advantage with a 2 liter capacity that is 30 percent larger.
The Bianca gains a slight edge by running at a max of about 2.3 bar in the steam boiler, but you might want a bigger boiler over the .3 bar of pressure difference. The water reservoir in the Bianca is also .5 liters larger than the one in the Pro 700.
Both machines include an actual tamper, and a drip tray cup riser. The Bianca also comes with a bottomless portafilter and triple basket plus an extra steam tip.
If purchased from Whole Latte Love, the warranty for the Pro 700 is 3 years. We do not carry the Bianca currently, but the warranty could be up to 3 years depending on where purchased.
To some, the nuts, bolts, screws, and attachments that hold these machines together might not seem all that important. But to us, they are! The type of components used says a lot about overall quality, especially when manufacturers try to cut corners.
The Pro 700 and Bianca are night and day in this regard. The Pro 700 uses high-quality Allen head screws that go into permanently mounted metal nuts. Remove the four screws on the top to get the top off and the screws along the bottom to remove the outer case.
On the Bianca, we counted 17 average-quality Phillips head screws to remove the case; that’s 11 on top and 6 on the bottom. It’s also worth noting that many of the screws go directly into plastic. Over time that plastic can potentially strip out. Having screws go directly into plastic is conducive to a type of construction typically used to save costs in assembly line production and not what you see in machines assembled by craftsmen that are meant to run and be serviced for decades.
When you take the Bianca out of the box, you’ll probably notice a wavy distortion of reflections in the machine’s front panel. This is especially noticeable when compared to the near perfect mirror-like finish of the Pro 700.
This difference is due to how the exterior panels of the machines are made and the thickness or gauge of the metal used in construction. We measured the thickness of the metal used in the body panels of both machines and found the Pro 700 to have a thickness of roughly 1 millimeter compared to about .7 millimeters for the Bianca. The added thickness of the panels give the Pro 700 a more rigid feel and look.
In addition, the Pro 700’s side panels are three dimensional and seamless. One look at it and you’ll see that its seams are welded and finished to perfection. This is the kind of quality work you’ll also find in other machines from Profitec, and ECM as well.
Compare that to the Bianca’s body panels, which are two dimensional, simple machine formed pieces with folded edges that are pretty sharp in some places. The Pro 700, on the other hand, is void of exposed sharp edges on its body panels.
One of the marquee features of both machines is the incorporation of flow control. That being said, the two machines do differ in certain ways when using flow control.
The big difference is the range of flow rates. The Pro 700 offers the full range of flow rates, so from no flow out to nearly 30 grams per second of potential flow, the full range is always available.
Things are a little different on the Bianca, which is limited to about 220 degrees of adjustment if you set the machine up to produce no flow with the control to the left. When you go all the way to the right, you’ll max out at about 8 grams per second, a rate similar to that of a vibration pump machine.
If you want the 11 grams per second typical of a rotary pump machine, you’ll need to re-adjust the handle and do some calibration testing. However, setting it to that rate will increase the minimum flow rate, and result in you no longer having low flow or no flow when the control is pushed to the left. Depending on the types of profiles you are using, the limited range may or may not be a problem.
Beyond that, the resolution of flow rates is about double on the Pro 700. It’s a 360 degree turn to go from no flow to 8 grams per second. On the Bianca, it’s about 270 degrees to cover the same range, meaning it's about half as precise as the Pro 700 when making flow rate changes.
Arguably the most important part of any machine is what’s on the inside! Both the Pro 700 and Bianca use stainless steel boilers, and include tubes that route internal water sources to the outside of the machines.
All in all, the Pro 700 has a cleaner internal design, as well as a significant edge in the layout of electrical components. They are well-shielded on top and on the side of the machine. The Bianca also has shielding over the top, but it's not nearly as substantial. The Bianca also offers no shielding on the sides.
Also worth noting is that the relays which feed power to the boilers are more substantial in the Pro 700 than those found in the Bianca.
When it comes to the water reservoir, the Bianca uses a somewhat unique setup. A carrier for the reservoir hangs off the machine and can be moved to hang off the back or either side of the machine. The machine can also be plumbed, meaning you can take the reservoir off entirely. This results in a smaller overall footprint.
However, this setup comes with a limitation. Switching between water sources is something of a hassle, as the Bianca uses the same connection under the machine for the plumb line or reservoir. This means that to switch you’ve got to get under the machine, disconnect a line, and connect the other. If using the reservoir, there’s also a separate cable which connects the reservoir to the machine for water level sensing. This wrapped tube carries water from the reservoir to the machine. One thing we noticed is the sharp-edged metal hole that routes the tube. There’s some potential the sharp edges could damage the tube down the road.
For the Pro 700, the reservoir is housed within the machine and you can switch between the plumbed-in line or reservoir operation in seconds. All it takes is turning a valve and setting the switch behind the drip tray to turn on and off water level sensing of the reservoir.
We at Whole Latte Love are very picky about the products we carry. After a thorough evaluation, we feel the Pro 700 is the clear winner. It’s difficult to justify the Bianca over the Pro 700, especially with the two machines sharing a similar price point in the U.S.
We do understand, however, that if you're purchasing from Europe, the Bianca is at a lower price point. Especially when taking into account the price difference found in European markets, we’d like to hammer home that the Bianca is a sturdy and well-respected machine in its own regard.