ECM Mechanika V Slim vs Rocket Appartamento

ECM Mechanika V Slim vs Rocket Appartamento

In the heat exchanger espresso machine market, there is a pair of contenders we’re asked to compare more than any other: the Rocket Appartamento and the ECM Mechanika V Slim. And rightfully so! Both are compact E61 equipped espresso machines with comparable specs, and both are made by companies with plenty of credit to their name.

There’s a lot of overlap between these two machines, so we’ll be comparing them on the few things that differentiate them the most.

ECM Mechanika V Slim espresso machine steam boiler gauge and hot water knob, Clive Coffee - Lifestyle

Boilers

This is arguably the most important criteria and coincidentally the one place where these two machines differ most. The size of a heat exchanger’s boiler will determine its steam capacity and, further, impact its ability to produce brew water of consistent temperature over time.

Appartamento: 1.8 L Copper boiler

Mechanika V Slim: 2.2 L Stainless steel boiler

In terms of capacity, the Mechanika V Slim’s boiler is about 20% larger than the Appartamento’s. That’s a significant difference that provides the Mechanika with a leg up in terms of steam capacity. When you’re steaming large lattes or making lots of milk drinks in a row that will come in handy. Realistically, you’ll have to push either of these machines pretty hard to reach that wall, but if you’re buying a heat exchanger you probably hope to do just that.

Potentially more important to many of our customers is boiler material. Copper has been used in espresso machine boilers for ages, primarily thanks to its fantastic heat conductivity. In recent years, though, manufacturers have been able to achieve the same levels of efficiency with stainless steel. Its greater resistance to scale buildup makes it a must-have for many home baristas seeking a long lasting machine. Some of our customers also choose stainless steel out of concern for excessive heavy metal exposure from copper plumbing. While a properly maintained copper boiler machine won't cause any significant increase in copper intake, some are adamant stainless steel fans.

Rocket Appartamento heat exchanger espresso machine steam and hot water knobs, Clive Coffee - Lifestyle

Size

If you’re looking at these machines I’ll bet you want lots of power in a small machine, so you’re bound to be taking a close look at these measurements.

Rocket Apartamento

ECM Mechanika V Slim

Height

14.2 in (13.5 with cup rail removed)

15.5 in (13.75 in with cup rail removed)

Width

10.8 in

9.8 in

Depth

16.75 in

17.5 in


For many, the most important measurement of an espresso machine is height. If you have cabinets above your countertops they can limit your options, but luckily both of these machines are relatively short. Both can be made even shorter by removing the cup rail. The Appartamento’s plastic cup rail can simply be lifted off and the Mechanika’s rail only requires the removal of a few screws. Your greatest consideration will likely be refilling the reservoir. Both machines have their reservoirs located at the back of the machine, and they’re accessed from the top. It’s good to ensure you have room to comfortably fill the reservoir, or have a solution on hand to make it easy.

If the height of these machines doesn’t make a difference, then the width is the next place to look. The ECM Mechanika V Slim is a good inch slimmer (heh) than the Rocket Appartamento. While this is a marginal difference many of our customers enjoy narrower machines since they appear to take up less space in the kitchen, helping them feel a bit less imposing.

Included Accessories

The included kit for both machines is quite similar, but the components themselves are quite a bit different.

ECM Mechanika V Slim and Rocket Appartamento included accessories - knockout

Both include a single and double spouted portafilter as well as their associated baskets and a backflush disk.

ECM Mechanika V Slim and Rocket Appartamento included portafilter comparison - detail

When it comes to feel and build quality, we’re big fans of ECM’s portafilters. Their durable bakelite grip is the kind of plastic that you can actually enjoy touching. They also feature a chrome-plated metal handle which is counterbalanced, giving it a pleasant heft in the hand. Rocket’s included portafilters have a handle made of less dense plastic. It’s certainly durable and will survive all manner of mishaps, but doesn’t have quite the same premium feel of ECM’s offering. They do, though, include an aluminum tamper to get you started where ECM includes this temporary plastic tamper that you can expect to get with most espresso machines.

Repairability

If you’re investing in an espresso machine you want to buy something that’ll last. Both of these machines are hand built in Italy, and to high standards. Over the years, we’ve found both machines to be quite reliable. Their internal parts are of comparable quality, and should you need to buy a replacement they’ll generally be about the same price. If you plan to have our technicians (or your local shop) take care of your machine you’ll have about the same experience with both.

Many of our customers prefer to make repairs at home. In most circumstances, this is an impulse we highly encourage! Many of the most common repairs you need to make on either of these machines are easy enough to do at home with simple tools. If you hope to go this route, we recommend the ECM Mechanika V Slim. While the two machines have cases of similar volume, the ECM is worlds easier to open up and work on. All of the internal components are nicely organized and easy to manage. The Rocket, while very well built, can be a bit of work to open up due to the way that its panels are mounted and the way that its guts are organized.

ECM Mechanika V Slim and Rocket Appartamento espresso machines side by side on a wood table, Clive Coffee - Lifestyle

Conclusion

All in all, if you’re in the market for a heat exchanger espresso machine both of these machines have excellent track records and will produce plenty of steam power and consistently delicious espresso after a cooling flush. It all comes down to the details. If you’re still having trouble deciding between these two, reach out to our coffee experts for some help. We’ve all had plenty of hands-on time with both these machines. Already have a favorite? Let us know why in the comments.

1 comment

  • Which would better in a class A motor home?

    RC on

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