Rancilio Silvia Pro X Review: Worth The Upgrade?
If you’re like me, you’re skeptical of a “new and improved” anything.
It’s not always easy to see when a product’s flaws have really been smoothed out and when a few bells and whistles have been slapped on with a bigger price tag. Luckily, when it comes to espresso makers, it’s not always a waste of time.
So when it comes to the Rancilio Silvia Pro X, does it live up to the hype?
I’ve looked deep into the new model, and it does have a lot more to offer. Let’s look at why the upgrade from this seasoned brand may just be worth the investment for your home.
Rancilio Silvia Pro X Summary
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X espresso machine is a serious upgrade on an already great model. This dual boiler prosumer machine is a solid tool for the home barista with many perks and few drawbacks.
- Dual boiler + PID
- Rapid heat time
- Powerful steam wand
- Dual boiler prosumer espresso machine
- Double PID and pre infusion feature
- Commercial quality microfoam
- Needs frequent descaling
- Water reservoir hard to refill
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X is one of the latest in a long line of coffee makers. The Silvia Pro X is Rancilio’s first espresso machine to feature a dual boiler and dual PID temperature controls.
It’s also an improvement over the Rancilio Silvia Pro with added features like soft (pre-) infusion, larger and more standard portafilter size, and brew circuit pressure gauge.
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X is a major upgrade on an already impressive line of espresso machines.
What I Like
This is a dual boiler machine, with separate PID temperature controls for each boiler. Dual boilers allow you to steam milk while you brew without affecting your shots.
That’s because the dual PID controllers stabilize the temperatures of each boiler, ensuring the steam and brew temperatures remain consistently hot enough to take care of your coffee.
The steam boiler has a 1 L capacity, which is plenty for steaming milk-based drinks, and the brew boiler holds a respectable 300 mL, which is more than enough to brew espresso.
The pressure gauge is located next to the brew boiler rather than at the pump, which makes it more accurate. You can also program both boilers for added control over brewing (the brew boiler can be set to 185-212°F, and the steam boiler to 245-275°F).
The dual boiler is the number one improvement on the original Silvia Pro, Silvia, and other Rancilio machines. As the brand’s first espresso maker with dual boilers, it’s also the first to let you steam and pull shots simultaneously.
The increased power from the separate steam and brew boiler also means more delicious espresso.
The dual boiler with dual PID controllers really cannot be oversold as an advantage over the Rancilio Silvia and Silvia Pro. The added brewing and steaming power makes all the difference in the quality of your shots.
The number of controls is also above and beyond in the Rancilio Silvia Pro X vs the Rancilio Silvia and Silvia Pro.
Although temperature PID controls are common in many a Rancilio espresso machine and although even the Rancilio Silvia and Silvia Pro have pre-infusion, not all have programmable heat and pressure for both boilers.
Extras like auto wake-up and shut-off features, changing the voltage, and emptying the boiler are also great to have.
The room for automation is incredible with the Rancilio Silvia Pro X, without sacrificing a hands-on approach. Unlike the manual Rancilio Silvia M V6, the Silvia Pro X handles nearly all of the work for you, while still giving you options.
The Silvia Pro X is not an espresso machine that makes decisions for you, yet it’s willing to do the work for you.
It’s an ideal semi-automatic machine that combines the best of the power of choice and the ability to let a high-powered machine manage the consistency of the shots for you.
And really, who hates having a machine with an auto-clean cycle?
What Could Be Better
A minor inconvenience on the Rancilio Silvia Pro X is the small drip tray. It fills up easily and you can’t see at a glance whether it’s full. You’ll have to remember to dump it regularly.
The water reservoir can also be a bit of a pain to refill since it’s located in the back. If your counter space is limited or you want to tuck the espresso machine under a cabinet, you may have to pull the espresso maker all the way out to fill it up.
Luckily, the 2 L capacity can accommodate several shots’ or a few lattes’ worth of water.
And despite the benefit of the water softener built into the reservoir, that can also involve frequent descaling. If your water is more mineral-rich and/or you fill the tank up more frequently, your espresso machine may have to rescale more often.
Other issues come down to a matter of taste. Many prefer a semi-automatic espresso machine like the Silvia Pro X, but for those who want to really take a hand in the process, the manual Silvia M V6 is best.
The Rancilio Silvia and Silvia M V6 are also a lot simpler than the Silvia Pro X. Even the Silvia Pro is a bit simpler, since you have fewer options to choose from when pulling shots.
So if you just want well-made espresso, don’t want to fuss with programming, and don’t care about extras like a shot timer, then the Silvia Pro X is more money than it’s worth.
Rancilio Silvia Pro X Espresso Machine Review
Rancilio Pro X Ease Of Use
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X is fairly easy to use for a highly programmable semi-automatic machine.
Once you get used to toggling on the digital display, changing the various brewing and steaming aspects is simple. The fully rotational steam wand is also easy to use.
If you’re used to espresso makers or able to follow directions well, you should be able to pick up this model pretty easily.
This semi-automatic dual boiler espresso machine is great for the home barista who’s seeking the holy grail. That is: the perfect shot, optimized from the grind size down to the second the first drips hit the shot glass.
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X offers plenty of control over the brewing process.
Major steps and controls are programmable, including the brew boiler pressure and temperature and the steam boiler pressure and temperature! Not all dual boiler espresso machines offer choice of both aspects of the brew boiler and the steam boiler.
Like other machines, some of the more common features on the Rancilio Silvia Pro X give you more room to perfect your shots.
The shot timer lets you see exactly how well your shots are pulling (e.g. too fast or slow) and keep track of how long they’re extracting. Pre-infusion primes those shots to pull better in the first place. Since the pre-infusion feature is programmable, you really get to personalize espresso to your taste.
The touchscreen digital display shows the temperature gauge, shot timer, and water levels (sufficient/empty).
You can also use the digital display to set the boiler temperatures, program auto wake and shut-off times, empty the brew boiler/steam boiler, toggle between Fahrenheit and Celsius, start the auto-clean process, and even change the voltage (110 or 230V).
The pressure gauge is visible, but only in the back.
The Espresso Deep Dive
With the PID temperature stability, pressure control, and separate steam and brew boilers, the Silvia Pro X makes great espresso.
Soft infusion, shot timing, and gauges help you really perfect your shots without a lot of hassle or labor. It’s all the benefits of an automatic and manual machine. You will have to lift a finger — but only to press a few buttons.
It’s like having a robot barista who’s really good at making high-quality espresso.
The steam wand on the Rancilio Silvia Pro X is supposed to make the same “commercial quality” microfoam as the Silvia Pro.
The steam wand is fully rotational, so it can be maneuvered like a professional steam wand. It is also fairly powerful thanks to the separate steam boiler. The steam pressure is high enough to actually produce microfoam.
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X offers good foaming abilities. It steams quickly and can handle multiple drinks back to back. But you will not be able to get latte art with the Pro X and you may struggle to get a flat white until you get used to the machine.
Foamy lattes and cappuccinos will be easy with this steam wand, though, and with time you should still be able to get smoother milk.
Steaming is easy with the Silvia Pro X. After you hit the steam button, a light will blink and turn solid when the steam wand (and steam temperature) is ready to go. The steam knob is easy to use and the multi-directional steam wand makes foaming for a cappuccino a breeze.
You can program the steam temperature and pressure to your liking, helping you maneuver the steam wand better and make the latte of your dreams.
Overall, the Silvia Pro X is a really good machine that’s worth the investment.
Like any prosumer machine, it’s pretty pricey, but the Pro X is nowhere near as expensive as some prosumers out there. And the quality of the shots and the steam wand are high.
It improves greatly over the Rancilio Silvia Pro and other Rancilio Silvia models, especially since the Rancilio Silvia Pro X is the first machine in the line to feature double boilers.
With this model, it comes down to need. If you want an incredibly high quality espresso machine at home that’s able to steam well, it’s one of the better choices out there — and it’s not even the most expensive.
But if you don’t need anything top of the line, or don’t care about controlling the heat or other aspects of your espresso, you can still get reasonably good results with the Rancilio Silvia Pro or other much cheaper models.
Inside a sleek, sturdy stainless steel interior, the internal workings of the Silvia Pro X hides are built to last.
The dual boilers are made of durable metals. The brew boiler is made of brass and the steam boiler is made of stainless steel, which retains heat well. Both brass and stainless steel will last a long time and can handle the work of brewing espresso.
Quality materials aside, the Rancilio Silvia Pro X is beautifully built for repairs. That’s a good thing, not a bad omen!
Although this well-built dual boiler espresso machine isn’t likely to break down, things happen. Sometimes your machine needs a more in-depth clean or a check-up. The Silvia Pro X is internally arranged so that key parts are easy to access just in case.
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X comes with several added features that help make up for the hefty price.
Chief among these is the variable soft infusion (pre-infusion) feature. Pre-infusion allows you to soak the grounds in the portafilter before brewing, allowing for maximum extraction when brewing espresso.
You can adjust the soft (pre-) infusion time to your liking and soak the grounds for up to 6 seconds.
Unlike many other dual boiler espresso machines, you can turn off the steam boiler on the Rancilio Silvia Pro X when you’re not using it.
Those who drink their espresso solo, solo, can save energy, save time warming up, and save their machine the natural wear and tear by sticking to the boiler they need.
The Silvia Pro X is “smart” enough to remember you’ve shut the steam boiler off, too. If you really don’t steam milk often, your steam boiler will stay off indefinitely, with no extra button pushing every time you power up the espresso machine.
The water reservoir also comes with a built-in water softener, which improves the taste of your espresso.
The Pro X also comes with a built-in shot timer, allowing you better control over your brew. This lets you see how your shots are pulling and make adjustments more easily. Let’s be honest; it’s also pretty satisfying to hit the right time day after day.
Other great features on the Silvia Pro X’s digital display are the temperature indicator and the automatic shut-off and wake-up features. Both wake-up and shut-off times are programmable.
When you’re ready to clean up, this espresso maker has a built-in process for you. The automated cleaning process is much easier than running a backflush yourself.
As another bonus, it comes with a rubber backflush disk, cleaning brush, and starter cleaning tablets. This espresso machine is truly ready to use the day it arrives.
The adjustable drip tray height (to help you fit your cup) and mug warming rack on top are also nice touches.
Accessories aren’t exactly a make-or-break when it comes to espresso makers that rival commercial espresso machines. But boy, do they make nice perks when you’re investing so much in a home espresso machine.
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X espresso machine comes with plenty of accessories that you actually need. In addition to starter cleaning materials (more exciting than it sounds!), it actually comes with a high quality tamper made with stainless steel and surprisingly pretty black wood.
Mandatory accessories like the 58 mm portafilters and the single basket and double basket filters are also well-made.
Plus, the Silvia Pro X comes with user manuals and a startup guide. You get a lot of choice with this machine, but that can also mean a steep learning curve if you’re new to espresso machines. User guides flatten that learning curve for the newbie.
And frankly, even experienced baristas benefit from guides when learning adjusting to a new espresso machine.
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X Is Not For You If…
You Don’t Want The Power
Two boilers with PID temperature controls makes for powerful, incredible brews.
But if you’re someone who wants good coffee at a good price more than great coffee at a proportionally high price, this machine may not be your best friend.
A prosumer machine is a big investment, and all the programming simply isn’t worth the money for everyone. Even if this model is cheaper than others out there.
You Want More Convenience
Look, there are plenty of goodies in the Silvia Pro X basket, but there are other prosumer espresso machines out there that offer the same, or more.
For example, take the auto wake-up function. The fact that they exist and can be programmed are fantastic. But it’s a little annoying that the wake-up time is set as a matter of hours in the future, each time.
You have to figure out the hours that will pass until you need your machine on again and you will have to set it every day.
The Silvia Pro X has plenty of room for control, but for some, manually controlling every aspect defeats the purpose of purchasing an expensive espresso machine.
If you have the budget, but not the interest, try a more fully auto espresso machine.
The Final Verdict: Rancilio Silvia Pro X
At the end of the day, the Rancilio Silvia Pro X is worth the investment.
- Dual boiler + PID
- Rapid heat time
- Powerful steam wand
It’s hard to go wrong with a dual boiler, prosumer espresso machine. And this one really delivers on the prosumer promise, improves on the Silvia Pro, and still isn’t the most expensive model out there.
You will make truly great espresso with this one, and you won’t regret it.