Looking for a vintage-inspired paddle operated machine?
The La Marzocco GS3 Mechanical Paddle and the Slayer Espresso both exemplify the classic aesthetic of a paddle espresso machine. But which one should you choose?
We wrote this guide to compare the Slayer Espresso vs La Marzocco GS3. To help you with your decision, we’ll go over:
- Similar features shared by the two machines
- Differences between them
- How to decide which one to buy
Let’s dive right in.
The bottom line is:
Those looking for a shiny espresso machine that looks all-business and can fit in between a mixture of other appliances will do well with the La Marzocco GS3 Mechanical Paddle Espresso Machine.
But if your search is for an espresso machine with a unique look and easy touchscreen controls, the Slayer Espresso will be the better choice for you.
Wood handles and cross-shaped legs give the Slayer Espresso a look entirely its own. Through paddles and a touch screen, baristas have maximum control over the brew cycle and internal temperature.
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LA MARZOCCO GS3
Like the submarine its periscope manometer is reminiscent of, the La Marzocco GS3 will give you the ability to swim through orders with a high degree of accuracy. Its PID temperature controller gives you the power to adjust temperature in jaw-dropping 0.1-degree increments.
MECHANICAL PADDLE OPERATION
Like the look of all things vintage?
Then you’ll appreciate how both the Slayer model and the GS3 are operated with paddles. These paddles are extremely reminiscent of early lever-controlled espresso machines, and afford baristas a high level of control over each shot.
On either of these machines, you’ll move a paddle from side to side to begin the flow of water once the portafilter is in place. Once you’re satisfied that brewing is complete, you’ll move the paddle back to its starting position.
Unlike automatic machines, which end the brew cycle for you, this design gives you maximum control over the development of each shot. You can pull short ristretto shots or longer shots whenever you see fit.
DUAL BOILER SYSTEMS
When you’ve got customers queueing at your counter, speed becomes the name of the game.
The capable dual boiler system used by the Slayer and GS3 is definitely up to the task. With one boiler built for steaming and the other for brewing, you’re able to fly through espresso orders by steaming and brewing at the same time.
One especially great thing about this kind of design is that it usually commands a lot of steam power. Your baristas will be able to generate that silky microfoam atop the perfect cappuccino in a blindingly short time.
PID TEMPERATURE CONTROL
If you want your espresso to keep your customers coming back, then you’ll need to have control over the internal temperature of your machine.
PID temperature controllers in the Slayer and GS3 make it effortless to alter the temperature whenever you need to. They both are amazingly precise, able to make changes to temperature in accurate 0.1-degree increments.
With this astounding amount of precision, you’ll be able to draw out the best flavors from any kind of coffee bean.
HOT WATER SPIGOTS
Chances are, you know someone who prefers tea over coffee.
Either the Slayer or the GS3 can accommodate this preference with their built-in hot water spigots. You won’t need to keep a hot water tank nearby to get water warm enough for tea – you’ll be able to get that right from your espresso machine.
This function also allows you to make the ever popular Americano, which uses brewed espresso and hot water.
No matter what you use the hot water for most, it’s always best to be able to offer your customers options.
With nothing more than a quick look, you’ll notice one of the biggest differences between these two machines: their size.
Actually, their total dimensions add up to similar figures, but where one is taller, the other may be shorter and where one is wider, the other is thinner.
The GS3 is 17.5 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 21 inches deep. On the other hand, the Slayer is 13 inches tall, 18.5 inches wide, and 23 inches deep.
This difference of a few inches when it comes to height, width, or depth may not seem like much, but can mean a lot in the right circumstances.
For example, if your countertop has low-hanging cabinets, the Slayer’s shorter height will be preferable. But if you’ve got a lot of other appliances to squeeze your espresso machine between, the GS3’s slightly narrower width could be the key.
In a commercial setting, a direct-connect (or plumbed-in) machine is almost always used.
Why? The brief answer is convenience.
In more detail, it’s because direct-connect machines refill their own water supply for you, as they’re connected to your water line. They’re also easier to install water softeners and filters in.
This reduced water tank maintenance can really save you time in the long run.
But in some situations, a pour-over machine, which needs to have its water tank refilled by hand, can be the more appealing choice. This is true in cases where businesses or users need to take their machine on the go, or when a water line isn’t readily available.
The GS3 gives you the choice of direct-connect for convenience, or pour-over for mobility whenever you need it.
Comparatively, the Slayer can only be used as a direct-connect machine.
SLAYER ESPRESSO NEEDLE VALVE
The Slayer uses a patented needle valve technology that heightens your control over the flow of water in extraction.
By narrowing the channels for water to flow through, you’re able to limit the introduction of the water to the coffee bed, increasing pressure at the right time. At the end, your customers will enjoy a sweeter and more decadent espresso as a result of this process.
LA MARZOCCO GS3 COOL TOUCH STEAM WAND
Most experienced baristas know what it’s like to get a nasty burn from accidentally touching the steam wand.
These burns can make working with espresso machines a nerve-wracking experience, not unlike walking on eggshells, as employees must carefully watch themselves around the machine. Cleaning and frothing milk become delicate operations.
This is what makes the cool touch steam wand on the GS3 so brilliant. No matter how heavily your employees use the machine, its steam wand will be safe to touch.
As an extra bonus, the steam wand prevents milk from caking onto the end because of its cooler temperature. This makes cleaning it off effortless.
SLAYER TOUCHSCREEN MENU
Touchscreens are everywhere these days, and it makes perfect sense – they’re easy to use, and they look refreshingly minimalist.
The Slayer Espresso machine takes advantage of this trend with its own glass touchscreen display. Using just a simple touch, you can make changes to the temperature, monitor the steam tank pressure, and activate the automated group cleaning system.
LA MARZOCCO GS3 PERISCOPE MANOMETER
You can get a lot of information out of just the pressure levels in your espresso machine, so it’s very beneficial for you to be able to see the where the pressure is at somehow.
The La Marzocco GS3 makes visibly monitoring the brew pressure intuitive by putting a manometer where the eye is naturally drawn – to the top of the machine. If you’ve ever seen how the periscope in a submarine goes straight up and rotates, that’s how the manometer on this machine looks.
As you move the paddle, the manometer will turn with it, so it’s always easy to see your brew pressure and make adjustments as necessary.
SLAYER ESPRESSO WOOD ACCENTS AND HANDLES
Nowadays, you’ll find most equipment uses shiny metal to make up its look.
However, metal can sometimes have a cold or impersonal appearance. Although the Slayer Espresso is largely comprised of metal, too, its handles and paddle are made of a warm-colored wood.
This wood may not make much of a difference when it comes to everyday use, but it does add a liveliness to the Slayer that can’t be found on many other espresso machines. It will undoubtedly catch the eye of any customer.
Majesty Coffee’s objective is to provide the best deals online combined with the best equipment to our customers.
Our Slayer Espresso One Group is available for $9,500.
We don't have the La Marzocco GS3 Mechanical machine in our store. However, the Rocket Appartamento is a wonderful semiautomatic alternative for an affordable price if you want a similar experience.
WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU BUY?
Both the GS3 and the Slayer will give you a paddle-operated espresso machine with ultimate control over espresso extraction.
So how do you choose which one to buy?
At this point, it’s easiest to focus on what makes them different to see how one may be more advantageous to you than the other.
You can start with their dimensions.
Will your espresso machine need to sit underneath low cabinets and cupboards? Then the shorter Slayer Espresso will be your best bet.
What if your espresso machine has to be able to squeeze between other objects and appliances? This is when the GS3 will be ideal.
Does your espresso machine need to be mobile? Consider the GS3, which can be used as a pour-over machine that can function anywhere.
It’s not impractical to factor in the look of an espresso machine, either. If that extra warmth provided by the wooden handles on the Slayer will best accentuate the look of your business, there’s no reason why its appearance shouldn’t factor into your choice.
You can also tie in your and your employees’ personal preferences. Many just like the feel of a touchscreen, and that may be reason enough for you to choose the Slayer Espresso.
If you’re interested in learning more about either one of these machines, take a look at them in the Majesty Coffee Store here:
We don't have the La Marzocco GS3 mechanical paddle machine in our store. If you've got your sights set on it, we'd strongly suggest the Rocket Appartamento as a semiautomatic alternative.
We also have a collection of other La Marzocco espresso machines you can look at for alternatives.