When people look for a new espresso machine, one of the factors that are often overlooked is the portafilter size.
These come in various sizes, from 45mm to 58mm, and can have a big effect on the flavor.
If you are torn between the 57mm and 58mm sizes which can be found in a lot of espresso machines, you might be wondering – Does 1mm really make any difference?
To be honest, it doesn’t make much of a difference.
But there are some things you might want to think about more.
In this post, I’ll compare 57mm Vs 58mm Portafilters against a number of factors to help you decide which size machine to buy.
58mm Vs 57mm Portafilters
The main difference between a 58mm and 57mm portafilter is that 58mm is the industry standard and is the most popular, which means there are a ton of accessories, and finding them is easier.
Plus, if you ever wanted to upgrade the machine, you can use the same accessories on your new one because most newer models have 58m portafilters.
57mm portafilters, on the other hand, are cheaper than 58mm portafilters and lower sizes often promote less channeling.
Let’s compare these two sizes in more detail:
Accessories And Availability
As I said, the major difference between the both is their accessories and their availability.
Every size needs its own tampers, distributors, dosing cups and rings, etc. and these are not interchangeable – meaning accessories meant for a 58mm won’t fit a 57mm portafilter.
Being the industry standard, accessories for 58mm portafilters are really easy to find and are readily available almost everywhere in the world.
And there are lots of options to choose from.
57mm is not as common, even tho it’s used by brands like Breville, DeLonghi, and Rancilio Silvia. You can find accessories but it might not be available everywhere.
Plus, it’s only going to get harder to find in the future.
The portafilter size makes almost no difference in the flavor. And with a 1mm difference, nobody will notice a thing.
All that matters is flair and technique.
Just like the flavor, there is no major difference in extraction.
However, smaller portafilter sizes often reduce channeling and result in deeper coffee pucks which can increase contact time while extracting.
This can promote better extraction.
Espresso machines with 58mm portafilters are often commercial machines and they are more expensive than 57mm which is common for home machines.
For example, popular brands like Rancilio, La Marzocco, and Nuova Simonelli use 58mm for most of their commercial lineup.
On average, even 58mm accessories tend to come at a slightly higher price point too.
For example, a quality 58mm tamper may cost $10-20 more than a 57mm.
Upgrade Or Sell
It’s a lot easier to either upgrade or sell 58mm portafilter machines because it is the standard and there is a broader market for buyers.
And then there are accessories and their availability, unlike the 57mm.
Is 58mm Better Than A 57mm Portafilter?
If we consider all these factors, it’s clear that 58mm is the better choice and will always be the standard.
However, if you don’t plan on upgrading your espresso machine within a couple of years, it might be ok to buy a machine with a 57mm portafilter.
The cost you save on buying the 57mm would be enough to buy another round of accessories should you need it.