Coffee machine portafilters. What are the types and which one to choose?

Will this portafilter fit my coffee machine? Are espresso portafilters universal or not? Let's find out.

A lever for the coffee maker, but not for every

Every new lever espresso machine comes with a portafilter in the box. Usually, you'll find two in the basic package. A single-portafilter that has a spout for one espresso and then also a double-portafilter for making two cups of espresso at the same time. Sometimes even a naked lever or naked portafilter.

When you want to replace the basic portafilter with a new one (through wear and tear, damage, wanting to have two double-portafilters, and other reasons), you'll find thatthere's no such thing as a lever. 58mm portafilters are the most common . These are also the most commonly used on professional coffee machines. However, there are coffee machines with 54 mm, 57 mm, 53 mm or 51 mm and other portafilter sizes

Portafilter and lever coffee machine compatibility

Whether or not a portafilter will fit your coffee machine is determined not only by its diameter, but also bythe thread of the coffee machine head. Or rather, the flat protrusions at the top edge of the portafilter's perimeter. Usually there are two, sometimes three. Apart from the number, their location, shape and width are important so that the portafilter fits well when inserted into the coffee machine.

The design and positioning of these grips on the portafilter is individual and varies according to the manufacturer. For most brands it is 90/180 degrees, meaning that thehandles on the lever are positioned at 90 and 180 degrees in correspondence with the handle of the portafilter. You can see this with brands like Rancilio. For example, Nuova Simonelli or Victoria Arduino uses a 45/135 degree orientation of the handles.

Which portafilter fits your lever espresso machine?

Despite the differences in portafilter designs and constructions from one espresso machine manufacturer to another, some portafilters can be used across brands. Foradvice on where which portafilter will fit , see the portafilter compatibility chart here below.

Portafilter compatibility table for different types of coffee machines. Source.

More tips on how to have the right type of lever for your coffee maker

  • Review the instruction manual for your lever coffee maker

Check your coffee maker's user manual or the manufacturer's website before making any decisions. You'll probably find information there about the recommended portafilter size as well as compatible baskets.

  • Measure the size of your portafilter

If you don't have an instruction manual or prefer to trust your own measurements, use a measuring tape to determine the correct portafilter diameter. But remember, even a small difference in diameter can cause inaccuracies in espresso brewing.

What about espresso baskets, are those universal?

You want the short answer? No, they're not universal. It's similar to portafilters. When choosing, you're looking for the correct diameter - if you know the diameter of the portafilter, you know the size of the basket. The numbering of the cups in the lever of the coffee maker is also given as the diameter in mm. Again, you will most often see 58 mm.

Be sure to consider thedepth or volume of the cup based on your coffee preferences and the capabilities of the coffee maker. Stainless steel baskets are generally the most durable and easy to clean. Experiment with different hole patterns to find the one that best suits your coffee maker and type of coffee roasted. However, among the best on the market are the IMS and VST precision baskets.


I hope I've made things a little clearer again for you in the range of portafilters for lever coffee machines. If you would like advice for your particular coffee machine problem, let us know. And if it's time to replace or add a new portafilter to your coffee machine, now you know how to choose one.

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