“Freshly made pasta is always the best, which is why I love my Philips Pasta and Noodle Maker Plus,” says Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon. It comes with discs to make spaghetti, fettuccini, penne and lasagna, and additional pasta shapes are sold separately. We tested each pasta machine using a variety of fresh pasta recipes with varying consistencies. We tested low and high moisture egg-enriched pasta doughs, an eggless semolina pasta dough, and a thick, seeded cracker dough.

If there’s a specific type of pasta you particularly enjoy, then you should look for a machine that can easily make that type of pasta shapes. For specialty pastas like ravioli, you may need to purchase an attachment in addition to the pasta machine. Automatic pasta machines often Sanremo Super Automatic Espresso Machine have a wider range of pasta options, but the attachments available for manual machines can make them flexible as well. The Marcato Atlas is an authentic manual pasta maker that’s designed and built in Italy and comes with a pasta cutter, hand crank, and clamp for easier operation.

It even features powerful mixing and kneading action to handle making the dough for you. It also enables you to add vegetables and herbs to flavor your pasta and provides you with measuring cups for perfect ingredient ratios and shaping discs for different kinds of noodles. The best electric pasta maker models will do more of the work for you, including mixing and kneading the pasta dough. Manual machines press out the pasta for you as you turn the crank, and they should be easy to adjust for different pasta thicknesses.

The higher-priced models feature extruder attachments instead of a roller-and-cutter design, and some of them will even mix and knead the pasta dough for you! The main benefit of the automatic machines is that you have both hands freed up, so one hand can feed the dough through the roller while the other catches it as it comes out. It’s true that the most commonly found pasta makers are those that contain a horizontal dual roller for flattening the dough and a similarly shaped cutter for shaping basic noodles. Of these, you might find manually powered versions that require you to crank a handle on the side to make the rollers or blades move. Alternatively, you might encounter electric pasta makers that roll and cut automatically while you insert the dough. For some noodle shapes, however, you might prefer a pasta press, which is usually a handheld machine that involves pressing hard on a handle to push the dough through a shaped hole to get a certain kind of noodle.

With the standard roller and cutter set that comes with it, you will be making your own spaghetti, tagliolini, fettuccine and perfect flat lasagna sheets in no time. The adjustment knob makes it easy to switch the thickness of your pasta while rolling it thin – you can choose from 0.3mm 2.5mm with 8 different settings available in total. People made pasta by hand for hundreds of years before machines were invented, and all you really need is a rolling pin (or even a wine bottle!) to roll out your dough and a sharp knife to cut it. But pasta machines or attachments make the process easier and faster and give more uniform results, for pasta that cooks evenly. Pasta machines also make a wider variety of pasta shapes possible, as some are difficult, if not impossible, to make by hand.

These stainless steel machines are robust, particularly the Titania, and have a charmingly vintage look. That’s because Imperia hasn’t actually ever updated the design of the machines—you’ll find them unchanged from the way they were in the advertisements of the 1950s. Like Roddy, I own and use my Imperia the most, and find it a sturdy and reliable pasta machine that is so simple to use. When it comes to choosing a pasta machine for use at home, I feel that manual is the best option, at least to start. Meryl Feinstein, Pasta Social Club founder and resident pasta maker at Food52, agrees. “If you’re making pasta at a production level, opt for something larger and electric,” she says.

One of the primary selling factors is that Philips Compact Pasta and Noodle Maker may be used with both hands. There is no need for a hand crank because the best electric pasta maker will roll and cut for you using electricity. Choosing an automatic pasta maker machine has several advantages that a manual machine does not. You already have half of an automated pasta setup with the KitchenAid mixer—the component that creates the dough.

Personally, I like the second-to-last setting for most pasta, but you may prefer it thinner or thicker. Then, you can use the sheet as-is for a lasagna, fill it to make ravioli or agnolotti, or cut it into the desired pasta shape using the cutter attachments. Made from stainless steel, this manual machine comes with three roller and blade attachments that let you create flat sheets of pasta in nine different thicknesses, as well as fettuccine and spaghetti.

In general, extruders are a little finicky in terms of getting the pasta dough perfect so it can extrude smoothly. A pro of automatic pasta makers, however, is they do most of the work for you so all you have to do is a little extra liquid or flour, when necessary, and be present to cut the noodles as they come out. But the dishes you intend to make will dictate whether you opt for a manual or electric powered pasta maker. For example, if you’re making traditional pasta like spaghetti noodles or ravioli, a manual version with a hand-powered crank is usually the best choice.

The rollers can achieve thin angel hair dough and have eight various thickness settings. The best pasta makers will do a whole load more than just knead and cut your dough. With a manual pasta maker you’ll have to feed the machine with your dough while winding the hand crank. While electric pasta makers will do all the hard work for you at the press of a button. Any way you look at it, these devices are time savers when it comes to making homemade pasta.