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Though sharing a similar design language and name, the F18 and F18 SB espresso machines by Sanremo are two very different pieces of equipment.

From internals to the user interface, the F18 SB single-boiler espresso machines makes smart decisions to come in at just 70% of the price of the more higher-spec F18 version.

In this short article, we’ll provide a quick comparison of the two espresso machines so that you can make the decision on which model offers the best value and would be more suited to your needs and budget.

Comparing Performance

 Internally, the main points of differentiation between the F18 and F18 SB are the boiler make-up. With just a single boiler for espresso brewing and producing steam, the SB is a little slower and less powerful compared to the F18 which hosts dedicated boilers for each group head and steam wand.

With this in mind, the F18 is slightly more capable in the ways of speed, efficiency, and temperature stability. How does this affect the user experience? Well, milk steaming is a little slower with the SB due to the 20-30 degrees difference in temperature needed for espresso brewing and milk steaming. For this reason, the F18 is better suited to high order volume cafes whilst medium to low volume locations could save money by going with the single boiler machine.

Both machines, however, are perfectly capable of keeping up with the typical order volumes of most cafes, and most F18 SB users are not pushing it to the limits by any means. With the F18, you’re paying for a higher top-level of performance and consistency.


Coffee Brewing Features 

Both machines are very capable at getting the best flavour out of specialty coffee beans, with very similar coffee brewing capabilities making the F18 SB a great value espresso machine. Here’s a quick comparison of the coffee brewing specs of the two machines:

Sanremo F18Sanremo F18 SB
  • Dedicated Boilers
  • E61 style group heads
  • 0.2+/- Celsius temperature stability
  • 5-7 shot programs per group head
  • Adjustable pump pressure
  • Adjustable soft pre-infusion
  • Independent adjustable temperatures
  • Volumetric shot measurements
  • Pump power 0.15kW
  • 8.6-10lt steam boiler capacity
  • Single Boiler Configuration
  • E61 style group heads
  • Temp stability
  • 5-7 shot programs per group head
  • Adjustable pump pressure
  • Adjustable pre-infusion
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Volumetric shot measurements
  • Pump power 0.15kW
  • 12–18lt steam boiler capacity



The two machines feature very similar coffee brewing capabilities. The F18 SB is therefore an attractive option, with the price being reduced through removing some quality-of-life features from the F18 that have no effect on the quality of coffee being produced.

For a deeper dive into the coffee brewing and milk steaming features, read through our dedicated reviews of the two models:

Price Comparison

Cost is the most obvious point of differentiation between the two machines and forms a large part of the decision making process. At the time of writing, the F18 starts at a RRP of £11,200 whilst the SB model starts at £8,100. The SB scores big points here, offering similar quality performance and coffee drinks at around 70% of the price.

For an even more affordable option with similar specs and coffee quality, potential buyers may also want to take a look at the Sanremo ZOE at roughly half the price of the F18 SB. Or for a more premium Sanremo experience, look to the Café Racer.

Design and Build Quality

 The design of the F18 was based on the look of fighter jets, inspiring the control panel-like user interface and quality build materials. Design language is very similar between the two models, though you’ll find slightly more premium materials on the more expensive F18 with die-cast aluminium in places where hard plastics are used on the SB model.

That being said, both machines in general are built to last with high quality materials and weighty designs with both machines coming in at 90-103kg in weight depending on model.

Both machines come with stainless steel portafilters, baskets and shower screens that remain polished and rust-free even with heavy commercial use.

Compared to the small circle indicators on the F18 SB, the F18 comes with dedicated screens for each group head to indicate temperature and extraction time, along with a larger display showing ambient pressure, boiler pressure and temperatures in real-time.


Customisation and Options

 Both the F18 and F18 SB have a small number of colour and design customisation options available for purchase, all which affect the price and final look of your new machine.

Both models offer a standard and tall model, each with differences in height and clearance between the drip tray and portafilter spouts. Both machines also offer the choice between two or three group heads, affecting the number of coffees that can be brewed at any one time.

The two machines also have different colour options to choose from, with the SB offering black, white, brown and red, whilst the F18 offers black, white and blue options


Which is Better? Sanremo F18 vs F18 SB

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably looking for an answer as to which machine to choose. Both of these machines are capable of brewing equally delicious coffee, and the real differences lie in the user experience, performance, consistency and reliability. The F18 is clearly a ‘better’ and more capable machine, though taking your budget into account is an important factor and may sway your decision closer to the F18 SB.

If you’re looking for a new espresso machine perfectly suited to your needs, preferences and budget, we’d be happy to have a chat.

Learn more about the F18 and F18 SB from Sanremo, with Bridge Coffee Roasters


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