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Hand cranked pasta machines: Atlas vs Imperia vs VillaWare

Hi All -

When it comes to handcranked pasta machines everyone seems to recommend Atlas. But looking on Amazon I see similar Italian-made machines by Imperia and VillaWare. Are they all the same? Or should I stick with Atlas?



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  1. Ampia and Villa Ware are comprable and can take different attachments. I have an Ampia imported from Italy I go over 30 years ago as a wedding gift. I has a flat roller and 2 built in cutters, spaghetti and fettucini. Works well after all this time but it realy needs 3 hands and does not clamp to all countertops

    1 Reply
    1. re: Candy

      I meant to say Atlas and Villa Ware are comparable.

    2. I love my Atlas, but my only complaint is that the vice-grip thingie to hold it down on the counter never really works great. The lip on my counter doesn't really extend far enough and I can never seem to get the vice-grip on there sufficiently. I have other products by Villa Ware which I'm happy with. Do you know what kind of mechanism that one has to hold it down on the counter?

      1 Reply
      1. re: dukegirl

        That is why I never use mine!! In fact I was going to chime in and suggest to get one that doesn't use the vice grip. Pampered Chef (I don't sell it and have never bought anything)has a stand for its apple peeler, I'm not sure if it would work but if you know someone who is handy I am sure one could be rigged up to accomodate a pasta maker. I also saw a few PC stands on ebay.


      2. I don't have any experience with any of these brands except Imperia; I got an Imperia machine for my birthday last summer and I really like it. The one weak point I think is that clamp, which doesn't tighten up enough to suit me. I can't use it on my counter, because it has to have a pretty substantial overhang; but I use it on my prep cart, which works fine, if I can get it tight enough.

        1. I've had an Atlas for a while (10+ years) that gets steady if not frequent use and it's been satisfactory, but I've always slightly drooled over the Imperias, which seem more solidly made (as well as being quite a lot more expensive, at least when I bought mine.) Never heard of Villa Ware, so I can't comment on that one.

          I think the clamping thing is an issue with all of them, and of course, any hand-cranked machine really does need 2 sets of hands for easy use. If you have a KitchenAid mixer, consider their attachment, even though it's very expensive. It's no more expensive than the hand-crank machines plus motor, and it'll take up less (new) space. If you use it often, you will be wanting a motor, if only to free up your hands, and weigh down the machine. (Nice plus is that you don't clamp it when you use the motor attachment - the weight holds it more or less in place.)

          6 Replies
          1. re: MikeG

            I'd recommend strongly against the KitchenAid attachment. Mine cost 5x as much as a hand-cranked machine and broke after half a dozen uses. Took it apart and found that the mechanism is made of cheap plastic. Called KitchenAid to ask about replacement parts and was informed that they're not available. Fortunately my local retailer took it back, refunded my money, and returned it to the factory as defective.

            This was my second KitchenAid appliance where the unavailability of a cheap plastic part (the first was a blender clutch) rendered the whole machine useless. Love my stand mixer, but I will never, ever buy another KitchenAid appliance.

            1. re: alanbarnes

              I would have to agree. I've had two of the KitchenAid pasta cutters completely break after less than 10 uses. They are heavy and look nice, but they're poorly made and clearly aren't intended to be used very often.

              1. re: alanbarnes

                You know why? They don't make'm like they used to. Just found out my Kitchenaid stand mixer, which is under 10 years old, does not have metal gears or metal gear housing (has plastic). Kitchenaid was purchased by Whirlpool, and now everything under their umbrella is inferior. Also bought a Jenn-Air gas cooktop last year still new in the box from someone who was going to re-do their kitchen and then lost job. After 4 months, the glass on the cooktop cracked in several places (all by itself!!!). Because I didn't buy it from a retailer and don't have a receipt, there is no warranty. I will never buy anything that's part of the Whirlpool conglomerate again.

              2. re: MikeG

                I have a question for an Atlas 150 user. I just got my Atlas 150 "wellness" it is supposed to cut round spaghetti. No matter how dry the dough, it always cuts so that two strands are stuck together- I guess they don't have any US based support, so I emailed them but was just wondering if anyone else has this problem?

                1. re: 2sleepy

                  Totally agree. It works really well for rolling sheets of pasta, and the combination cutter (linguine and fettucine) that came with the machine works well.

                  The spaghetti (regular size) is challenging -- you really have to let the pasta dough hang for a while and let it get really tough. I tried the capellini cutter and returned it the next day -- too frustrating!

                  Suffice to say, I use my Atlas mainly for sheets and the square-cut pasta, since I can cut those when they are still a little soft.

                  I have a butcher block kitchen table, so clamp works just fine, but I feel your pain if you are trying to clamp to a kitchen countertop.

                  1. re: MikeB3542

                    Thanks, at least I know it's not me, and it's not broken lol. The front cutter (fettucine I guess) is terrific and I have made lasagna without the attachment just by rolling it out, then cutting it by hand- that works too, too bad about the spaghetti - I tried again today and I let the dough dry until it was like a piece of leather and the thing still cut with every 2 strands stuck together. They do have US support (sort of) the # is 1-718-386-0896. They told me a few thing to try and said if it didn't work to send it back to them and they would look at it, I'm not sure if I will send it back or just give up on the idea of making spaghetti

              3. Atlas is also known as Marcato & someone at my local kitchenware wholesaler just told me that they are rumoured to be shutting down their plant in Italy and that the accessories won't be available for long.

                Fine Cooking did a recent review and said the Atlas/Marcato was their fave although all 3 were basically equivalent. I actaully have the Imperia and like it. I got it as a gift, but if I were buying one, I'd get the Kitchen Aid attachment as described in many posts.

                1. My Imperia works easily and perfectly. The only drawback, as mentioned above, is the clamp, but I wonder if the others are any better at all.

                  1. VillaWare is an importer, not a maker. I think they handle both Imperia and Atlas machines. They do sell them under their own name, though. I agree that these two are basically interchangeable, although they don't share accessories. There really ought to be a law about that. I love my Imperia, and whichever you pick, I'd recommend ebay for a good deal. You can probably find either for under $20, which is about a third of what they'll retail for.

                    I would NOT recommend the KitchenAid attachments. I adore my KitchenAid mixer, and wouldn't want to live without it. But the pasta accessories are hugely expensive (around $100), and don't give you a whole lot of variety. Most importantly, while the actual rollers are metal, the portion of the linkage responsible for transferring power from the mixer to the rollers is plastic. If this breaks, the unit is worthless. I find the Imperia's clamp adequate as long as I keep my doughs soft enough. It's not designed very well for tightening, though.

                    Hint: if you don't have enough overhang on your counters, try taking out a drawer temporarily.

                    1. It sounds like the clamp is an issue with all of them. My vice broke on my Atlas and, after trying to fix it, it's marginal.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chowser

                        I used a large "C" clamp from my husband's workshop and never looked back. Machine is very steady now.

                        1. re: Sherri

                          I think I'm going to visit the hardware store and see if I can find something similar. Thanks!

                      2. Whatever brand of manual past machine you buy, most use the same method to mount attachments on the main body of the machine - specialized cutters, ravioli makers, etc.. The connection is made by a set of interlocking flanges - two on the main body of the machine, and two on the attachment. Many are interchangeable from brand to brand, but you need to notice one thing. On some brands, the flanges on the main machine face out toward the edges, and the ones on the attachments face in toward the center of the machine. On other brands, it's reversed - the machine flanges face in, and the attachment flanges face out.

                        In other words, once you've decided on a machine, if you go shopping for attachments, you may not need to buy the same brand, but you *must* know whether your machine is an "innie" mount or an "outie" mount, and look carefully at the attachment before you buy, to make sure that it has the right mounting flanges for your machine.

                        And yes, the clamp on every brand I've ever seen (whether Innie or Outie) is less than ideal. Assume that it's going to break or not hold effectively, and figure on the C clamp as an eventual follow-on purchase.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Warthog

                          Okay, so I also want to buy one of these, and I'm reading in Lynee Rossetto Kasper's, The Splendid Table (cookbook) ((I love her)), that some pasta machine's thinnest settings are still too thick. Atlas, she says, is one of those. She likes Altea and Imperia. Any thoughts about this? I'm torn. Most people seem to like Atlas, and this is the one that they sell at the nearby restaurant supply and nearby Sur La Table. Help?

                          1. re: ronla

                            I'm certainly no authority and have never even used an Imperia, but for me pesonally the need for a setting thinner than the Atlas's would be an exception - I've never found myself feeling the lack of a thinner setting and don't always use even that for things like fettucine, ravioli and lasagna. (I do rarely make folded shapes and never make stuff like capellini, though.)

                            For starters, you could scan Kasper's pasta recipes to see how often she actually calls for that setting, even by her own terms, you might not feel a strong urge to splurge on the more expensive machine. That being said, though, I'm not at all sure "most people like" the Atlas in the sense of specifically preferring it's performance over the other machines', rather than being "satisfied" with it either for the price, or just lack of familiarity with an alternative. I like really well made tools myself, but personally couldn't justify the expense in this case.

                        2. Atlas or Imperia are equally good. Have a table in my basement where we permanently leave that baby clamped. We had to put a thin pce of wood on the underside of the table to stabilize it (needs traction).

                          1. The trick is to find someplace to secure the machine. On Alton Brown's pasta episode he used an ironing boad and bolted the machine to the board to hold it steady. I use a coffee table that I have the can be raised to table height, cause my counters and dining table just don't work. I do have a card table that I think might work as well.

                            1. I've used the Imperia and it was great. It has a button that adjusts the pasta's thickness, 6-1. Very easy. Sturdy. All you need.
                              I took a Jamie Oliver "filled pasta" course at one of his Recipease shops. This is the pasta maker they use and recommend. Fantastic.

                              1. Does anyone know if the Roma Pasta attachments would fit an Atlas pasta machine? They look identical, do not know dimensions, etc.