Pasta Machine Review: Marcato Atlas 150 vs CucinaPro Imperia 150

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When your rolling pin can’t get the job done, which pasta machine should you turn to? Here is my pasta machine review of two Italian-made brands: the Marcato Atlas 150 vs the CucinaPro Imperia150.

I love the squishy elastic feel of soft dough being kneaded in my bare hands. I enjoy the back and forth motion of rolling out a malleable dough with my rolling pin. I get excited at the final act of wrapping the rolled out dough onto my rolling pin and unfurling it in cascading layers just before it’s cut into long strands of noodles.

 

But not all noodle dough is like this. Some, like ramen or udon dough, are tough to roll and takes the fun out of the noodle-making process.

Which is when you need a pasta machine to bring back the fun.

My husband bought a hand-crank pasta machine on a whim one afternoon. He and our son used it that very day to make Italian pasta but it took me weeks before I touched it myself. You see, I wanted to make all my noodles by hand.

But when our ramen dough wouldn’t budge to any amount of fist thumping or rolling pin whacking, I relented to gadget help and took out the pasta machine and it transformed our entire experience. I stopped cursing at the dough, my son and daughter became interested again in making noodles, and we all enjoyed the process so much more. Kids love playing with gadgets as much as us adults do.

Cutting ramen dough into strands
Kids Making Homemade Ramen Noodles From Scratch

Our first machine was the Marcato Atlas 150 (the 150 denotes the size of the machine in centimeters. Another popular option offered is 180mm). It is made in Italy and has served us very well so far. We use this one for most of the year in Dubai.

For our summers in the U.S., I purchased another Italian-made product, the Imperia pasta machine 150 by Cucina Pro. I was hoping that the Imperia pasta machine would be as good as the Marcato brand and the $20 price savings between the two brands made it more attractive.

How do these two Itanlian-made pasta machines compare?


Marcato Atlas 150 vs. Imperia Pasta Machine

Below is my review of these two brands: the Marcato Atlas 150 vs. the Cucina Pro Imperia 150.

NOTE: This is not a paid product review nor sponsored post. I’ve fallen in love with noodle-making and am sharing my thoughts on two Italian-made machines to help you choose the best pasta maker.

Look and Feel

At first glance, they looked nearly identical.

Both have two main parts: an adjustable 6-inch wide roller and a duo cutter that can cut dough sheets into two sizes (fettuccine and tagliolini). Both attach to a table or counter top by a metal screw-type C-clamp. And both are made of chrome-plated steel. The Marcato’s rollers and cutters are made of anodized aluminum which the company guarantees contain no heavy metals that are harmful to your health.


 

The Imperia included one extra accessory which was a metal sheet that attaches to the roller section (left side of the machine) to help guide the dough sheets into the roller (see photo below). I didn’t feel that the metal sheet was necessary and prefer to have the flattened dough sheet on the right side of the machine using the walls of the duo cutter to guide the dough sheet along.

Imperia brand pasta machine vs the Marcato brand pasta machine
Imperia pasta machine 150 by Cucina Pro – with wooden handle and extra metal sheet

Another difference between the two brands is the handle color.

The Imperia’s handle was made of a light-colored wood (see photo above) and the Marcato had a black plastic handle (see photo below).

The Marcato Atlas 150 pasta machine is perfect for making Asian noodles
Marcato pasta machine with black handle

However, note that the Crate & Barrel version of the Marcato has a different handle – it seems to be made of plastic as well but is a translucent white color.

Here is the Marcato machine that we bought from Crate & Barrel where you can see the different colored handle.

Marcato Pasta Machine from Crate and Barrel
Marcato pasta machine from Crate & Barrel with translucent white handle

Setup

Setting up the pasta machine was exactly the same for both brands.

You secure the pasta machine to your work surface by inserting the supplied C-clamp into the designated hole in the pasta machine and then tightening the screw to your table or counter top.

Setup clamp for the Imperia pasta machine
Pasta machine clamp – the right image has a felt pad placed on top of the screw

I was worried that the clamp would cause damage to my kitchen island so I inserted one of those felt floor-protector pads that are used on the bottom of chair legs.

Usage

The rollers and cutters seemed to work nearly identical. You flatten the dough by feeding it through the adjustable rollers on the left side of the machines and then cut the dough on the right side with either of the duo cutters (one cutter makes thin noodles, the other cutter makes thick noodles).

Sturdiness

When rolling the initial thicker dough, I found that no matter how tightly I screwed down the Imperia machine to my counter top, it would still wobble on the other end and come off the table. With the Marcato, there was slightly less wobble. To counter this, I had to make sure that the dough I inserted into the widest roller setting wasn’t too thick.

Hand Crank

Both machines worked very smoothly when using the hand crank. Although we kept dropping the handle onto the floor. You have to be careful that when you let go of the crank to not also pull it out.

Additional Metal Plate

As mentioned earlier, the Imperia includes a metal sheet that attaches to the roller section to rest and guide the dough sheet as it is being passed through the rollers. While this was a nice idea, I found the design awkward with the dough going in and out of the same side. Instead, I found it more useful to rest the dough sheet on the right side of the machine (on top of the duo cutters) and feed it through that way.

The Imperia brand pasta machine
Imperia pasta machine with optional metal sheet to guide the dough sheets

Adjustable Roller & Thickness Settings

The adjustable rollers are controlled by a dial on both machines.

With the Marcato, you pull the dial out, turn to the desired thickness, and then release the dial and it locks into place. There are 10 roller settings: 0 is the widest which flattens dough to 0.6 millimeters and 9 is the narrowest at 4.8 millimeters.

Adjusting the dial on the Marcato was easy and effortless.

Marcato Atlas Wellness 150 pasta machine from Italy
Marcato’s adjustable dial

The Imperia has six thickness settings, with 6 as the widest roller setting and 1 as the smallest. To adjust the dial, you pull up on a lever, then turn the dial to the desired setting, and release the lever. This sounds simple but was not so easily accomplished.

It may have been that my machine was faulty but I had a difficult time adjusting the dial. I would pull the lever up but could not easily turn the dial. I struggled so hard that I was nearly broke down into tears of frustration. My son tried to help but no luck.

This was a complete deal breaker for us as the whole point of using a pasta machine was to facilitate our noodle making. If neither of us could turn the adjustment dial, how was this making our life easier?

The Imperia brand pasta machine
Imperia’s adjustable dial

Cleaning

The directions for both machines specified not to use any water for cleaning as the parts are made of steel and could rust. Using a dry brush or dry cloth is recommended.

I bought this soft-bristled pastry brush from OXO to brush the flour off the machine and onto the counter top. (I then use a dough scraper to scrape all the dough off the counter and into the trash. Finally, I use a damp cloth to clean any remaining flour off the work surface.)

When my dough is too soft, I will get some of it stuck in the the cutters which is annoying so I try to make sure my dough isn’t too soft. To clean the stuck pieces, I let it dry and harden overnight and then I push it out with a toothpick.

Storage

Both machines come in a compact box.

When not in use, you can remove the handle and place the machine back into the box and easily store it in your cupboard.

The Marcato Atlas 150 pasta machine is perfect for making Asian noodles

Addons/Options

There are lots of options to expand the form and function of your pasta machine.

Additional cutting sizes

The pasta machines come with two pasta/noodle sizes but you can purchase additional attachments that will cut your dough in a variety of sizes like capellini, linguini, pappardelle and more. There’s even a ravioli stuffer attachment. Each additional attachment will cost you around $30-50.

Electric Motor

Both the Imperia and Marcato offer the option of attaching an electric motor which will cost you about $80 to $100. You remove the hand crank and attach the motor.

I prefer to roll the pasta by hand as it has more allure for me and the children. And it also with the kids’ fine and gross motor skills.

Color Choices

The Imperia is only available in chrome.

The Marcato is available in chrome and 8 other colors: Black, blue, light blue, copper, gold, green, pink, and red. Would be great for color-coordinated kitchens or as a gift.

I bought the traditional chrome colored one because I could’t justify spending another $20 just for aesthetics. But now, I wish I had bought the red one that I had been eyeing for so long. I should have just consumed 5 less Starbuck’s coffee and saved up that way.

Other Accessories

Once you start getting into pasta/noodle making, you will quickly see that there are so many accessories that you could buy and in a huge range of prices.

For example, I wanted a rack to dry noodles for storage and ended up getting this economical one from NorPro but you can also splurge and get this gorgeous one from Marcato (which is available in 4 different colors).

Price

The Marcato Atlas 150 is about $69 on Amazon for the chrome color and has a 10 year warranty. If you want one of the other colored options, then the price will be slightly more expensive – about $20 more than the basic chrome model.

Imperia is about $49 on Amazon and has a one-year limited warranty.

Final thoughts

I would highly recommend visiting a kitchen supply store to try out both machines, if possible, especially the ease of changing knob settings. It could be that I received a fluke and not all Imperia machines are as difficult to adjust as mine.

Of the two Italian-made pasta machines, I prefer the Marcato brand. It feels like a sturdier machine, has better knob control, and a much longer warranty should anything happen to it. It’s worth spending the extra $20. Plus it comes in lots of different colors. Form and function.

The Marcato Atlas 150 pasta machine is perfect for making Asian noodles

There are times when I enjoy using a rolling pin to roll out my noodle dough (as long as it’s a soft easy dough!) but when it comes to stiff dough, I turn to my pasta machine to make easy work out of the kneading.

For inspiration on what you can make with it, click here to see some of the noodle recipes we’ve created with our Marcato pasta machine.

If you’ve imagined that making Asian noodles is too much work, definitely get a pasta machine to make your life easier and inject more fun into the experience. My kids and I love using the machine as it churns out noodles effortlessly.

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13 Comments

  1. I have the Imperia machine. I’m not a pasta expert but I enjoy mechanical equipment. On the dial of the Imperia pasta maker the lever that you were trying to pull actually needs to be pushed down. It is spring loaded underneath and will snap into the next slot as you turn the dial. It is easy…just push down on the lever to release the previous selection and go down to the next lower thickness.

  2. PUSH on that lever !, i have had an Imperia for 25 years and it’s precisely because of the know that i prefer it over the marcato, it’s super easy, push and turn, never had any trouble with it. with the marcato you have to pull on the knob itself.

    i also find the build quality better on the imperia.

  3. Hi,

    I am Bianca. from Brazil…
    I was reading your review on the machines and wondering … can find different cutting attachments to both machines. I cook pasta A LOT… I was wondering if the cutting attachments are interchangeable, I mean, if I buy a cutting attachment from Imperia, will it fit the marcato?

    Thanks
    Bi

  4. I have the Atals 150 and I love it. It’s undeservingly underused though, as I don’t always have the time for it. I only wish it was easier to buy the attachments cuz we don’t have them here in UAE (at least I haven’t seen any).

  5. Hi, thanks for reviewing these products! I have 2 questions I’m hoping you can help me with. I am wondering if there are any plastic parts on the underside of the roller bars on the Marcato Atlas? I own the Imperia model, but mine has failed due to breakage of 2 white plastic rails on the underside of the roller bars (which are “conveniently” not visible or mentioned in any of the promotional materials for that model). I’d like to replace my pasta roller, but I want to avoid plastics since they do not age well.

    2nd question – Are the cutting cartridges compatible between the two machines? They appear to slide onto the bases in a similar manner, so I’m hoping I can buy a basic model of the Atlas 150 and reuse the noodle cutting mechanism from the Imperia 150, to save a little money and not be so wasteful.

    Thanks again!

  6. Hey Sandy, I believe on the imperia you press the “lever” which is actually a button, down, then turn the wheel. you probably had such a difficult time since you were trying to go the opposite direction. At least thats how it is on my grandmother’s that was bought in the 70s, i doubt they changed the design since then, and don’t see why they would make it a lever that is lifted instead of pressed down.

    1. Hi Dan – thanks for sharing your thoughts on the wheel mechanism. The one I tested definitely was a pull-up lever. I had no problems with the majority of the settings: it was just going from level 6 (widest) to level 5 that nearly brought me to tears. At first I thought perhaps my hands were slippery because of the flour, but I did ask two other people to try to turn the knob in case it was just me but everyone had difficulty as well. Once we got past that initial setting though, the other settings (from 5 on down) were easy to adjust. I probably just got a dud as I can’t imagine a machine this popular having this as a perpetual issue.

  7. I had a Marcato Atlas and it was a big disappointment. It did not cut well at all. I tried cutting a plain sheet of paper with it and it did not cut the paper cleanly. Using it with real dough, the noodles tended to stick together and had to be separated by hand.

    I then got an Imperia — night and day difference! It cuts the dough into well-formed noodles which do not stick together, and passes the paper test which the Marcato failed. I am very pleased with the Imperia machine and get wonderful results with it.

    1. Hi Chris, Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like there are quality control issues for both brands. I had the opposite experience. Both my Marcato machines cut very well but the Imperia that I tried did not cut the noodles as well and also left black oil stains on the dough (even after running the dough through 10+ times). In the end, all that’s important is that we are left with a machine we are happy with – regardless of the brand. Which is why I think it’s so important that we are able to “test-drive” the products we buy.