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The Best Manual Pasta Machines

What separates a great pasta machine from one that’s just good?


Last Updated Mar. 24, 2022. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 18: Italian Seafood Suppers

Update, March 2022

We still think the Marcato Atlas 150 Wellness Pasta Machine is the best manual pasta machine for most people. But if you’re willing to spend more, we also like its big sibling, the Marcato Atlas 180 Pasta Roller. It’s nearly identical to our favorite, and it can handle more dough at a time and roll out bigger sheets that are great for lasagna. 

See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

You can roll fresh pasta with a rolling pin and cut it into noodles with a knife, but pasta machines make the process faster and easier and the results more uniform. Although electric models are becoming more common, hand-cranked pasta machines are still the most prevalent and affordable options on the market.

To use one, you anchor the base to a table or counter and then turn a crank to rotate two rollers, feeding the dough through them in order to flatten it. A knob on the side of the machine allows you to adjust the distance between the rollers and thus the thickness of your pasta sheet: You start with the widest (thickest) setting and progressively reduce the distance between the rollers until the dough reaches your desired thinness. Once the sheet of pasta is as thin as you want it to be, you can use it to make ravioli or other stuffed pasta; alternatively, you can cut it into either fettuccine or narrow, angel hair–like strands with the noodle-cutting attachment that comes standard with each of the machines.

While you can buy manual pasta machines in different sizes, those built to accommodate pasta sheets that are 150 millimeters (about 6 inches) across are the most common. So we bought several models, using them to make fresh pasta sheets and then the cutting sheets into fettuccine and angel hair. We also ran pasta dough through all the settings on each model, measuring how thick the resulting sheets were at each stage.

All of the machines were simple to set up, and none of them budged after being clamped to the counter. Better still, they all produced great pasta. But small design differences made some easier to use than others. One machine required us to use both hands to turn the knob that adjusted the thickness of the pasta dough, a maneuver that slowed down the rolling-out process a bit. Another had a knob that didn’t quite align with the markings used to denote the thickness settings, making it hard to tell which setting was being used. We preferred models with knobs that could be turned with just one hand and that clearly indicated the thickness setting.

Some of the noodle-cutting attachments were also a bit problematic. Two had dull or misaligned blades that perforated the pasta sheets but didn’t always cut through them, requiring us to pull the noodles apart by hand afterward. A minor inconvenience but one we’d rather avoid.

Finally, we preferred models that could roll the dough out to a large range of possible thicknesses. The number of settings itself wasn’t critical, although some test cooks appreciated models that provided more options. It was more important that the models have rollers that could be adju...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.

Miye Bromberg

Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.