Profitec Pro 500 PID vs ECM Mechanika V Slim HX Comparison
In the video below we'll be comparing our two most popular heat exchanger espresso machines – the Profitec Pro 500 and the ECM Mechanika V Slim. HX machines are prized for their ability to pack a punch, producing lots of power with simple parts. Bang for your buck is important, but more than ever baristas want consistency and control from their espresso machines. So let’s jump in with the video below and see how these machines stack up…
Starting with power. In a heat exchanger machine, the steam boiler’s size and the wattage of its heating are two of the most important specs. Since that’s where steam is generated and where hot water for brewing is produced you want to have plenty of power there. Luckily, both machines are well equipped, the Pro 500 with a 2L steam boiler and Mechanika with a 2.2L. Both of them are kitted with formidable 1400W heating elements. While the Mechanika may be a slightly smaller machine this extra steam capacity gives it the edge in terms of sheer power. The difference is marginal but when it comes to pumping out a line of lattes, the Mechanika will be the last machine standing. That said, if you’re not looking to serve large parties of people and only make a few drinks at a time, you’ll never hit that limit.
If that sounds like you, then it’s time to consider consistency – this comes in the form of temperature stability. Since heat exchanger machines pull cool water from the reservoir and heat it as it passes through a line contained within the steam boiler, they have a bit of a reputation for delivering brew water to the group head at inconsistent temperatures. Between improvements in engineering and new tech, that’s just not the case anymore. But these machines will still need a little help from you to pull it off. By performing a 10-second cooling flush before pulling your first shot, you’ll purge overheated water and allow that HX system to perform its job perfectly. With that out of the way, we tested the temperature stability of both of these machines by using a scace, which allows for precise measurement of brew temperature over the duration of a shot. What we found is that both machines have brew temperatures that fluctuate by no more than 1.5 degrees over the course of a 30-second extraction. This is an impressive level of consistency. While it’s not quite as precise as the half-degree variations you’d get from a dedicated brew boiler with a PID, it’s nothing to scoff at and results in consistently delicious shots.
But there’s one more thing to consider. The Pro 500 is packing a PID in the steam boiler. As outlined in our previous video, this gives you the ability to increase or decrease the temperature of the steam boiler and, by effect, the temperature of brew water. After a bit of testing, we found that we could consistently target the entire range of desired brew temperatures by doing this. While the Mechanika can deliver 203-degree water very consistently, the Pro 500 PID frees you up to use a brew temp that matches whatever roast you might be brewing. In this department, we have to give the win to the Pro 500 for enabling temperature stability across a range of brew temps.
Last, let’s look at build quality. Unfortunately, there’s not much drama here since both machines are beautifully constructed. Both are designed in Germany and produced in Italy, resulting in minimal yet eye-catching good looks and the reliability you’d expect from the country that’s been making espresso machines since they invented them. Inside and out you’ll find mostly stainless steel, accompanied by brass and durable high-quality plastics. These machines are also fairly easy to open up and work on. In the uncommon event that you might need to do so, the Pro 500 does have a slight edge thanks to its more spacious interior. While the Mechanika is a bit more compact the components you’d most likely need to access are all easy to reach. We’ll happily call this one a tie and leave you to decide which of these better matches your taste.
If you can’t tell, we love both of these machines. That’s why we carry them! Like many of the machines in our curated lineup, each has its strengths. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the Mechanika will provide you with more power than just about any other machine in our lineup. For latte lovers and entertainers that’s a hard proposition to pass up. The Profitec Pro 500, meanwhile, delivers a balance of power and consistency that was previously unheard of in heat exchanger machines. For those looking to strike a balance between control, power, and price it’s an excellent machine to consider.