La Marzocco GS/3 vs Slayer Single Group

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
stantheman

#1: Post by stantheman »

I am looking for a quality machine that will last me at least 5 years. My research has led me to two machines, the GS/3 and the Slayer single. I have thought about the Decent and I know it can pretty much do anything the GS/3 and Slayer can. However, it does not suit me.

GS/3 MP has all the needs I want. I love the different extraction methods. Regarding the Slayer, I believe it outperforms the GS/3 by a small margin but I have read a lot of issues regarding the pump. I know for the new features, Slayer has a newly added rotary pump as well as better quality materials inside the machine.

So my question is, which one do you prefer if maintenance is an issue. I do not want to have to replace the internal parts every half year/year. Note: I do not mind completing preventive maintenance.

Notes about me:
1) I am planning on purchasing the Monolith Flat Max when the preorders are available.
2) I love medium roast beans as it fits my style of milk based drinks.
3) I am heavily leaning toward the Slayer, please do try to change my mind.

PhilthyCoffee

#2: Post by PhilthyCoffee »

Don't mean to be snarky, but it sounds like you've answered all your own questions, and should just go buy a Slayer.

If X amount of people who've had (likely minimal) experience with the new Slayer updates all say they have had no issues, is that enough to tell yourself the Slayer's perceived/actual performance outweighs potential issues?

And vise versa, if the consensus leans the other way, wouldn't that be considered trying to change your mind?

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spressomon
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#3: Post by spressomon »

The gear pump issue is in the past; it was a defective component within the pump, from the mfg, that failed and Slayer took care of all of us...even mine which was out of warranty when it failed.

I went through the same decision making process almost 5-years ago...and so happy I went with Slayer. I've never owned an espresso machine as long as I have my 1G Slayer and it brings pure delight each and every morning. I expect to be experiencing and saying the same thing in another 5-years and more.

Just do it...you won't look back.
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CarefreeBuzzBuzz

#4: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

^+1

Dan is spot on. The iDrinkCoffee website lists the V4 changes.

I would encourage you to look at their social media and consider if you want to have different color X's or body panels.
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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stantheman (original poster)

#5: Post by stantheman (original poster) »

PhilthyCoffee wrote:Don't mean to be snarky, but it sounds like you've answered all your own questions, and should just go buy a Slayer.

If X amount of people who've had (likely minimal) experience with the new Slayer updates all say they have had no issues, is that enough to tell yourself the Slayer's perceived/actual performance outweighs potential issues?

And vise versa, if the consensus leans the other way, wouldn't that be considered trying to change your mind?
I did not want confirmation bias. After reading the several posts so far on this thread, I think I'm going to go with the Slayer.

PhilthyCoffee

#6: Post by PhilthyCoffee »

Understood, and congrats, good for you!

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Peppersass
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#7: Post by Peppersass »

Just a postscript, but you really can't go wrong with either machine, and either will last you a lot longer than 5 years. More like 10-15 years or longer if well maintained.

There are some differences:

1. The GS/3 MP is more flexible in that it allows you to do both flow profiling and pressure profiling -- for example, long, slow preinfusion until the basket is fully pressurized, then slowly declining pressure to keep the flow rate constant. However, both are done manually with the paddle, so you need some practice to be able to repeat shots. The Slayer is mainly a flow profiling machine, meaning long, slow preinfusion controlled by a needle valve that you set before the shot and cannot change during the shot. You can optionally switch in the needle valve after full pressure has been reached to keep the flow from increasing too fast, but you can't do an arbitrary profile. So, the Slayer has an advantage in terms of repeatability, but a disadvantage in terms of flexibility. All that said, the profiling abilities of these machines may not be of much use to you anyway, as you drink medium roasts and milk drinks. Profiling is most useful for lighter roasted beans pulled for straight shots.

2. The GS/3 can optionally be plumbed in or use a reservoir. The Slayer must be plumbed in. The reservoir may not be necessary for you, but it may increase resale value.

3. The build quality of the machines is comparable. The GS/3 conical valve requires less frequent maintenance than previous versions of the valve, but I believe the O-rings will have to be replaced every few years. Also, the logic board of the GS/3 is in the "brain box", which is located directly under the steam boiler. Any leaks inside the machine are likely to result in water getting into the brain box and contaminating the logic board, which can be anywhere from a pain to deal with to needing to replace the expensive logic board. Leaks aren't common, especially if you inspect the inside of the machine regularly, but they can happen in any espresso machine. The Slayer control board is located in a place where water can't get to it easily in the event of a leak.

4. Having not used a Slayer, I'm not sure if the steam lever allows you to control the flow of steam. If it does, I like that a lot better than the GS/3 on/off steam lever. In fact, I replaced my GS/3 steam valve with a steam lever from Specht Design.

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MTN Gert

#8: Post by MTN Gert »

Have you looked at the Synesso Hydra? Touring their factory I was incredibly impressed with the Original machine made in the owners garage 20 years ago that I pulled shots on and the 1 group Hydra is built to the same standards as the 2/3 group machines.

As far as the GS3mp and Slayer, I have had just as many excellent espressos on both machines and both have similar levels of complexity for internal repairs. Now that slayer is owned by La Cimbali group I imagine parts and support will be just as good as LM.

In the end I went with the eagle one prima and I can't say that I have used a machine that makes better espresso than the Prima. Maybe in the future simonelli /VA will make a pressure/flow profiling version to make everyone happy. The stable brew temp of the T3 system and programmed PI is enough for me to get excellent light roast shots.

Enjoy your new toy!
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cannonfodder
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#9: Post by cannonfodder »

Both are good machines. I just got a GS3-MP a few weeks ago and love it. My previous machine was an Elektra A3 which I have been using since 2006.

The new GS3's have the Strada needle valve group which is much better than the original. The service interval is much higher on them now. They have have a memory metal vacuum breaker, no more weighted valve, the smart phone UI is slick. I can adjust the boiler temperature from the coffee shop so when I get home it is at the needed temperature for the coffee I just purchased. Same with the steam boiler, off/on programming, the no burn steam wand is nice. I still find myself occasionally flinching back when I grab the steam wand after steaming having been use to the non silicone lined wands. The steam valve is variable, ball valve so you can control the steam pressure for doing small amounts of milk.

La Marzocco has been around for a very long time so support, parts availability, longevity is not an issue. You can plumb it in and out or run it off the internal tank. I plumbed it in as my previous machine was plumbed and drained so it was just a matter of hooking it back up to the supply line and telling the programming the internal water tank is gone. It sits low to the counter, to low to drain out in my opinion but with the ample sized drip basin I have had no need to actually hook up the drain. I just take the basin off every couple days and dump it in the sink. Another plus to the double boiler verses my old HX machine. You do not go though a gallon of water doing cooling flushes before every shot. I was also surprised at the accuracy of the group top nanometer. Using my Scace II to check it, the pressure at the group was spot on to the group top gauge.

Regardless, both are very capable machines but the lower cost of the GS3-mp was a big factor for me. It also makes darn good espresso with next to no effort.
Dave Stephens

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Peppersass
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#10: Post by Peppersass »

Dave, a question and a comment:

Question: Did they change the steam valve? I never could control the steam pressure with the original GS/3 steam valve. Even if I could, I'd have had to keep steady pressure on the lever to maintain the pressure. Locking the lever opens the valve all the way.

Comment: It's true that clearance under the machine may not be sufficient for a drain line to angle down from the drain box, but my drain line did work OK with the stock legs. I think it depends on exactly where the hole in the counter is positioned. Eventually I got the Pantechnicon Designs aftermarket legs, which are considerably taller than the stock legs. Plenty of clearance to get a good angle on the drain line, it's much easier to clean under the machine, and I think the GS/3 looks much nicer with the metal legs. Also, the stock legs are basically suction cups that make it hard to slide the machine around for cleaning, service, etc. It's been a while, but I vaguely remember having issues with the screws in the legs coming loose because the suction cups didn't release when I tried to move the machine.