Best Espresso Knock Box In 2023: Don’t Knock It Till You Try It!

What’s harder than solving a Rubik’s cube? Trying to get used espresso pucks out of your portafilter without the right equipment! Fortunately, this is the kind of problem that the best espresso knock box will solve.

What’s harder than solving a Rubik’s cube? Trying to get used espresso pucks out of your portafilter without the right equipment! Fortunately, this is the kind of problem that the best espresso knock box will solve.

Seriously, any barista worth their salt will tell you that a knock box is an essential part of their setup. Not only will it make your life easier and less messy, it’s a simple, uncomplicated thing that won’t break the bank.

With that said, not all espresso knock boxes are created equal. In this guide I’ll give you the lowdown on a few of my favorites. I’ll also give you a few tips on what to look for in a knock box and how to take care of it. Let’s do this!

Best Espresso Knock Boxes at a Glance

I’ve got a lot to say in this guide, but if you want to skip the chit-chat, here are the best espresso knock boxes and why I like them so much!

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  • Detachable rubber bar
  • Non-slip base
  • Won’t crack or damage portafilters
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  • Space-saving design
  • Durable stainless steel construction
  • Non-slip base
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  • Cool design
  • Metal bar
  • Design helps prevent mess
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  • Extremely durable
  • Made for commercial use
  • Large capacity
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  • Polished stainless steel
  • Thick padding on crossbar
  • Non-slip base

What Is an Espresso Knock Box?

Knock, knock! Who’s there, you ask? Well, someone who’s about to explain what an espresso knock box is.

An espresso knock box, as the name suggests, is a small box that sits beside your espresso machine or coffee grinder. Most boxes have a horizontal bar that runs across the middle. Once you’ve pulled your shot, you can knock the portafilter against the bar and your used puck should fall into the box.

With a knock box, stuck pucks are a thing of the past. Banging against the bar makes those wet and hot compacted coffee grounds much easier to expel from your portafilter.

So, you can think of knock boxes as substitute trash cans, but solely for your espresso pucks. I’d save the rest of your garbage for your actual trash can.

Why Do I Need an Espresso Knock Box?

Closeup of coffee grounds overflowing from a portafilter.

Nobody wants to shell out their hard-earned cash for something they don’t need, and for good reason! While there are plenty of unnecessary espresso accessories out there, I don’t consider knock boxes to be among them.

It’s possible to substitute a coffee can or another container for a knock box in a pinch, but they’re not great long-term solutions. Not to mention, I wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to use canned coffee with their espresso machine.

Ultimately, most containers and cans aren’t as durable as knock boxes. And since they’re missing the all important middle bar, they may not work as well.

With that said, the biggest advantages of owning a knock box are convenience and cleanliness. Who wants to run back and forth to the trash can whenever they’re pulling multiple shots? Not only does it get tiring, but chances are, you’ll end up with coffee detritus all over your floor and counter. Less mess means more time to enjoy your espresso.

Plus, the best espresso knock box makes it easier to clean your portafilter between those shots. When you need to get rid of a puck, just empty it into the knock box.

What Size Espresso Knock Box Is Best?

Bigger doesn’t always equal better when it comes to knock boxes. Coffee shops and cafes may rely on larger versions, but if I had to guess, you’re probably not pulling shots all day. With a home setup, you really only need a knock box that’s large enough to hold a few pucks. That way, you’ll still get the capacity you need, but your knock box won’t hog your entire countertop. I mean, you’ve got to save some room for your espresso cups and coffee scale, right?

If you’re really short on space, I’d even recommend sticking with a mini knock box. They work just as well as the bigger ones, and you won’t have to sacrifice much of your counter real estate.

More than size, I’d consider material to be one of the most important features to consider in a box. Remember, knock boxes are meant to take a beating! You’ll need something sturdy and durable – like metal, rubber or wood. Metal tends to be the sturdiest optionof the three, but if you need something more affordable, rubber and wood won’t disappoint.

The 5 Best Espresso Knock Boxes

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are five of my favorite espresso knock boxes to take your home setup to the next level. You may not need them all, but one of the following might be the best espresso knock box for you!

HOMEE Coffee Knock Box

HOMEE Coffee Knock Box. Buy Now on Amazon

Cute and compact, you might want to consider the HOMEE Coffee Knock Box for $17.99. While I’m not usually one to brag about plastic, this knock box uses a combination of sturdy plastic and rubber that’ll get the job done.

Plus, that rubber bar won’t crack or damage your portafilter when you knock against it. That may seem obvious, but some poorly made knock boxes can also put you in the market for a new filter basket. Oh, and speaking of the bar, it’s detachable for easy cleaning.

Besides its sturdy build, I also appreciate the non-slip rubber base on this box. The last thing you need is your espresso pucks to end up all over the floor because your knock box slipped off the counter. Trust me, that’s a mess you won’t want to clean up twice!

PROS

  • Detachable rubber bar
  • Non-slip base
  • Won’t crack or damage portafilters

CONS

  • Less durable than metal knock boxes

Breville Mini Espresso Knock Box

Breville Mini Espresso Knock Box. Buy Now on Amazon

You can call it “small” or “mini,” but I’d call this Breville Mini Espresso Knock Box “fun sized!” While shelling out $19.95 may not seem like a good time, I’d consider this durable metal knock box to be worth the extra dough.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why the brand name sounds familiar, there’s a good reason for that. Breville doesn’t just make espresso accessories like knock boxes – they also make espresso machines, coffee makers and coffee grinders. There’s a chance that this knock box may not be the first Breville product to live in your kitchen.

Beyond the brand, there are plenty of other reasons I’m a fan of this mini espresso knock box. The rubber bar in the center of the box can take a beating, but so can the rest of this stainless steel knock box.

While a miniature knock box might mean dumping your pucks more often, there is a distinct advantage too.Put simply, it won’t take up as much space on your counter. If you’re someone who’s short on space, I’d name this the best espresso knock box for small kitchens.

However, if you’d rather sacrifice space for something you won’t have to clean or empty as often, this might not be the pick for you.

Related: Best Breville Espresso Machine 2023

PROS

  • Saves a lot of space
  • Made of durable stainless steel
  • Non-slip base

CONS

  • Limited capacity
  • Rather unstable

CAFEMASY Espresso Knock Box

CAFEMASY Espresso Knock Box. Buy Now on Amazon

Who says a knock box can’t be stylish and functional? Probably people who haven’t gotten a chance to check out the CAFEMASY Espresso Knock Box. The geometric design of this knock box looks almost artistic, but fortunately, it’s a lot cheaper at $20.99 than a real art piece.

The look of this box isn’t just for show either. The bayonet deep bay design – try saying that three times fast – helps you avoid some of the mess. Despite looking like it’s all rubber, that bar is actually durable metal with a rubber coating. You don’t need to worry about your knock box, well, knocking around when you use it.

Once again, this is another miniature espresso knock box. You may need to empty it more frequently, but it’ll fit under or beside your machine very nicely indeed.

PROS

  • Cool design
  • Metal bar
  • Design helps prevent mess

CONS

  • Limited capacity
  • Not as durable

Rattleware Espresso Knock Box

Rattleware Espresso Knock Box. Buy Now on Amazon

If you’re just looking for a no frills, classic knock box, I don’t think you can do better than the Rattleware Espresso Knock Box for $26.93.

I’d consider this to be the best heavy duty knock box. If you’re pulling shots throughout the day, a miniature or plastic knock box isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need something built for heavier use – like this solid metal box with a welded bar. It’s made for commercial use, so it’s only going to elevate your home setup.

My only complaint about this knock box is that its welded bar probably won’t do you a lot of favors during cleanup time. There’s a chance that wet and hot pucks may stick to the bar, so you may need to spend a few extra seconds rinsing it off.

Still, a little extra mess is worth the years of use you’ll get from this durable and rugged espresso knock box. It might not win any awards for looks, but its functionality makes up for that.

PROS

  • Extremely durable
  • Made for commercial use
  • Larger capacity

CONS

  • Takes longer to clean

DeLonghi Espresso Knock Box

DeLonghi Espresso Knock Box. Buy Now on Amazon

This DeLonghi Espresso Knock Box is another option that may ring a few bells in your brain. Much like Breville, DeLonghi has a reputation of hitting it out of the ballpark with espresso machines. I expect this knock box to be just as much of a home run, especially with a price tag of $42.87.

There are a couple of good features on this knock box that have earned it a spot in this list. For example, that non-slip base is going to do wonders for the stability of this box. If you ask me, there’s no point in owning a knock box if the mess is just going to end up all over the floor.

You’re also getting the best of both worlds with a polished stainless steel body and plastic handles on the side. The thick padding on the bar accomplishes two things. For starters, you can knock the portafilter to your heart’s content without worrying about damaging it. In the morning, the only thing you should be cracking is eggs in the pan – not your portafilter.

Not to mention, this knock box is also dishwasher safe. While hand washing never hurts, you can always stick the box in your dishwasher for a quick rinse.

Related: Best DeLonghi Espresso Machine 2023

PROS

  • Polished stainless steel construction
  • Thick padding on the crossbar
  • Non-slip base

CONS

  • Opening is rather narrow

How Do You Clean an Espresso Knock Box?

The DeLonghi espresso knock box full of grounds.

While your knock box may alternate as a waste bin, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean it. Much like a drip coffee maker, knock boxes require regular care. Neglecting your knock box is only a recipe for disaster. More specifically, it’s a recipe for mold. Suffice to say, a knock box needs proper care, but it’s not as time-consuming as it may seem.

Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to clean your knock box whenever you empty the pucks. Some people let their knock boxes completely fill up before they empty them, but make sure you’re not leaving your pucks long enough to develop mold. If you’re waiting more than one or two days to empty the box, you might discover some fuzzy green growth when you return. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience here.

When you clean the knock box, I always recommend hand washing. Not all knock boxes are dishwasher safe, but even if they are, nothing is more thorough than your own two hands.

A clean cloth and a mild cleaner should get the job done. You’ll want to rinse out the inside of your box as well as wipe off the bar. Loose coffee grounds can stick to both areas like glue.

Really, there are only two rules to keeping your knock box sanitary: don’t wait more than two days to empty it, and make sure you don’t throw other garbage into the knock box. It may function like a trash can, but it isn’t one. 

Which Espresso Knock Box Will You Choose?

Before anyone tells you that you don’t need a knock box, let me just remind you of all the reasons you should buy one. They’re convenient, make cleanup easier and they won’t damage your portafilter.

The more espresso you drink at home, the more I’d recommend investing in the right gear. Specifically, I’d check out the options I’ve listed above when you’re searching for the best espresso knock box. From durable metal to cool designs, there’s at least one box that’ll fit perfectly in your kitchen.

Think you’ve found the best espresso knock box for you? If you’ve got tips for maximizing the use of your knock box, let me know below! 

Espresso Knock Box FAQ

Stainless steel works well for the best espresso knock box. 

An espresso knock box will be more convenient and help prevent messes while you pull shots. 

Old coffee cans may not work as well as regular knock boxes nor will they last as long. 

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