Pasta machines and makers are becoming a common appliance in kitchens these days as more and more home chefs realize that fresh pasta is possible at home. Making homemade pasta takes a little time to get the noodles just right, but everyone agrees it tastes better than store bought products. When looking to buy a pasta maker, you will need to first consider whether a manual, hand-crank machine is what you prefer or perhaps go with an automatic, electric pasta machine.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of features, ease of use, cleaning, and quality of pasta. The hand-crank pasta machines are definitely a lot cheaper and give you an authentic experience in making your own pasta at home. The Imperia and Atlas pasta makers are popular amongst amateur cooks and professional chefs. We read lots of reviews from owners of manual pasta makers that really enjoy the process of cranking out their own creations so don't think that an electric pasta machine will get you better tasting pasta.
Buying Guide - There are several mixers from KitchenAid that offer attachments for pasta making, but the reviews on those models and accessories don't match up with the stand alone pasta makers. Some machines actually kneed the pasta dough like the Delonghi PM1000 Pasta Maker, but we want to focus on the machines that actually turn out the noodles, like the pasta rollers. Most of the manual pasta machines have clamps that help you attach them countertops or tables for stability. You'll want a pasta machine that gives you various thicknesses with the roller and sets of cutting blades or cutter attachments so that you can easily make fettuccini, spaghetti, lasagne, ravioli, trenette, capellini, chitarra, agnolotti, and tortellini. Cheaper models are made with chrome plated steel while the more expensive brands offer polished stainless steel. Owners of manual pasta makers say half the fun is in cranking out the pasta and feeling the thickness of the dough by hand and learning the texture and feel. A big advantage to the electric pasta makers is that they can churn out many more noodles in a faster amount of time.
If you plan on entertaining larger groups of people and making homemade pasta, then go with the electric models for convenience and faster results. The top brands are Atlas, Imperia, KitchenAid, Villware, DeLonghi, and Marcato. Expect to spend about $50 for a hand-crank, manual pasta maker and well over $150-$200 for a quality electric pasta machine. Making pasta at home should be an enjoyable time for all involved (great for kids to watch) and it appears that either type of pasta machine should produce lasting memories and great tasting pasta. We found consumer pasta maker reviews listed on Cooking.com and Amazon.com as well as insightful comments from forum members at Toptastes.com. The discussion board on Apartmenttherapy.com had some excellent feedback on pasta makers in their kitchen section too. We have tried to provide the most popular and best performing pasta machines down below in various categories. You can browse and buy some of the top-ranked pasta makers here.
Best Pasta Machine:
The Imperia SP150 Pasta Machine ($75) gets positive reviews on almost all sites we visited with pasta makers. The Imperia SP150 pasta maker has 10 thickness settings to choose from and it considered the "original manual pasta machine". The Imperia SP150 comes with stainless steel adjustable rollers and 2 cutter attachments so you can make pastas of different widths. The pasta machine is made with heavy-duty chrome plated steel and comes with full instructions and a recipe booklet. The types of pasta you can make are fettuccine, lasagne, and tagliatelle. Although the Imperia is a basic pasta maker, owners say it's easy to use and turns out great tasting pasta. You might also want to check out the Imperia V151 Pasta Italiana which sells for less than $100. Amazon.com carries a large selection of Imperia pasta makers, ranging from $25 to $199. Also consider the Atlas Manual Pasta Machine - easy to use and clean, for less than $75. You can check out all the Imperia pasta machines online at Imperia.com.
Electric Pasta Maker:
The Heavy Duty Atlas Electric Pasta Maker ($175) is made in Italy and considered the best electric pasta maker for homemade pasta. If you want lots of fresh pasta without too much effort, then the Atlas machine will provide all you can eat at a reasonable price. A push of a switch and the pasta gets rolled and cut automatically. There is a hand crank and clamp included if you want to attach it to a table top or counter and roll out your pasta the old fashioned way. Two cutting blades come with the pasta maker and there are 6 thickness settings. The 2 cutter blades are for flat spaghetti and fettuccine. The Lello Pastamaster 3000 Pro is another well-rated electric pasta maker, which sells for around $200. It does all the kneading and mixing, just be sure to weigh your ingredients (not just measure).
High End Pasta Maker:
The Imperia 220 Electric Pasta Machine ($1000) is really a restaurant grade pasta machine, although we found some people who bought it for their homes. It offers 10 thickness settings for your pasta, a 9" roller width, and it can produce 30 lbs an hour. Home chefs say this machine is a winner with tempered steel gears for high quality durability and self-lubricating bushings. This deluxe pasta maker will serve your well and then some. We had a hard time finding pasta makers that were between $200 and $1000. Seems like that is a market that the manufacturers are missing out on because several reviews we read pointed out that they wish they could get more features that the $150 models don't have but hate spending so much on a professional maker.
Hand Crank Pasta Machine:
There are other options for the manual, or hand operated pasta makers besides the Imperia listed above. Many consumers said that the VillaWare Chrome Hand Crank Pasta Machine and the Atlas 150 ($50) were very comparable in features and ease of use. Both are roughly the same price as the Imperia 150 and depending on where you shop should be available. The Villaware pasta maker has a wooden handle and can cut strips of spaghetti at 1/16" and fettuccine at 1/4". It's both durable and efficient although owners do say the instruction manual isn't the easiest to decipher and recommend going over it a few times. As for the Atlas, the 150 model is hand operated and "effortless" says one owner. Most consumers say you should have 2 people to work the dough through the rollers - one to crank the handle and the other to keep the pasta straight. View the hand crank pasta makers here or Cooking.com.