These are two of the most popular entry level espresso machines, that out of the box can produce a tasty espresso. The popularity of these machines often means that they come down in price, which makes them an attractive option for coffee lovers on a budget or those looking to get into the hobby.
The materials are fairly similar, you will find stainless steel bodies on the top and sides of both machines with the difference being in the bases, where the Dedica has a plastic base, which is a fairly inconsequential difference.
The portafilters are again pretty similar in construction with an aluminium case with a plastic inside, the difference being in the construction quality of the Sage Bambino portafilter which has an extra 100 grams of weight to it giving it that more sturdy and premium feel. The size of the portafilters are slightly different too, with the Bambino advertised as a 54mm portafilter and the Dedica at 51mm.
All in all, the materials are similar for both machines, and when you upgrade to a brass bottomless portafilter in your hunt for the best espresso, the only differences between them are negated entirely.
The De'Longhi Dedica only comes with pressurised baskets, whereas the Sage Bambino has both pressurised baskets and non pressurised baskets.
Tank you very much
Another similarity between the two is that they both have volumetric dosing, allowing for measures for single cup, two cups and continuous. In terms of how much water they hold in their tank, the De'Longhi Dedica has a 1 litre tank, and the Sage Bambino has a 0.75 litre tank (with the Plus having a 900ml tank).
The Sage is able to tell you when the water is running low, whereas you have to keep track of the Dedica which will be annoying if you run out of water mid shot.
Steaming the milk and the steam wand
Here is where the differences start to become more apparent, the Dedica has a steam wand and a lever controller on the side which allows for feathering and slight adjustment of the pressure coming through the steam wand, similar to what you’d get on a much more expensive machine, whereas the Bambino has a button which doesn’t allow any tweaking on the fly.
Also if you choose the Bambino Plus it has an extra feature of an automatic milk frothing at three different levels, which is determined by placing a frothing jug on the little dimple on the base. Handy if you are just starting your espresso journey, but a totally redundant feature if you like to manually steam your milk.
The wand itself on the Bambino is of the highest quality, it has 4 steam holes in the bottom and even auto purges once the milk has been steamed. Whereas the Dedica has a panarello, which can be removed and customised to provide a better steaming experience.
Three Way Solenoid in the Bambino is a Key Difference
The Sage Bambino comes with a three-way solenoid which helps make sure that no more water runs through the group head when you take out the portafilter, releases the pressure and creates a much more precise shot. It will suck the excess water out of the portafilter and expel it into the drip tray.
Now here is where the differences really start to show, a three way solenoid will ease the process of making concurrent shots as it releases the pressure in the portafilter. No messy removal of the portafilter.
The Dedica doesn’t have one of these and the portafilter will continue to drip after the shot has finished and will slowly drop the pressure inside the portafilter, if you try to remove it straight away it will spurt everywhere. Which isn’t a nice experience.
Both of these machines are similar in stature, with the depth and height being mostly the same, which will fit any time of home barista setup. With the Dedica just having the thinner form factor by around 46mm.
Bambino 19.5 x 32 x 31 cm
Dedica 14.9 x 33 x 30.3 cm
De'Longhi Dedica Vs Sage Bambino Price
These machines are both great entry level machines, they both can produce a great tasting espresso, if with a little bit of customisation, so it may surprise you to know there is a price difference of up to £200! The prices on Amazon fluctuate dramatically, but the Sage is the more expensive machine by some margin.
The De'Longhi Dedica is a great entry level single-serve espresso machine that offers a range of user-friendly features, it’s just customisable enough for you to get the most out of it, with enough quality to make sure it has a reasonable sell on value when you look to upgrade. Small customisations such as a bottomless portafilter and an IMS basket will do wonders (as long as you have a decent grinder) and will produce a consistently great espresso.
The Sage Bambino on the other hand is undoubtedly the more advanced machine and comes out of the box with the bits you might want to upgrade on the De'Longhi, such as a non-pressurised basket and an already effective steam wand. But these would cost in the region of £30 so doesn’t bring the total up to the cost of the Bambino.
The three way solenoid is the only extra feature, which if you will always make multiple drinks, may be worth paying extra for.
Both are quality entry level machines, but are exactly that, entry level, and you may end up looking to upgrade at some point, so if you want something that is a bit better for you money, the De'Longhi Dedica is the one for you.