Highest quality and good looks, the Reg belongs among your espresso tools
Positive Product Points
Top shelf price for this product category but with quality to match, you can't ask more of a tamper and it looks good too.
Negative Product Points
Really none I can think of. Many keep harping on the price but it is priced similarly to other fine tampers, i.e. the Ergo tamper, and should push finely ground coffee evenly just as well. The dosing lines on the Ergo tamper sound like a nice idea
The job these tampers must perform is simple: transfer pressure applied by a barista to evenly compact finely ground espresso across the entire width of the basket. That's it. Therefore most of the responsibility for the quality and consistency of the tamp falls on the operator, but this doesn't mean any suitably shaped object will do the job well.
Yes, the plastic tamper included with the Silvia and presumably other espresso machines is wholly inadequate and quite a joke at Silvia's price point and above. Maybe the manufactures feel selecting a tamper should be a 'personal' decision so why increase their product's price $40 and include a product which the owner won't like? Maybe, but at the very least the tamper they supply should fit the portafilter, in this case 58 mm.
Using the undersized plastic tamper meant multiple fine tamps to compact coffee along the edge of the basket and multiple fine tamps, especially with a convex tamper, means uneven compaction. Enter the 58 mm Reg -- one light (5 lb??) tamp followed by a light tap on the portafilter side and then the 30 lb tamp with a twist. That's it! Simple and very effective with improved shot-to-shot consistency and better quality and quantity crema.
I haven't tried the polished aluminum tampers available. So long as the tamper fits the portafilter properly I would guess 90% of the relative effectiveness would be achieved relative to the more expensive stainless steel Reg, but the heft and feel of the Reg tamper when you are performing the tamp will probably help you 'feel' the tamp better (biofeedback??) and improve consistency.
This isn't a comparative review of all tampers available, but there should be little doubt that the Reg is competing for the top spot.
Called WLL, they shipped same day, and I received tamper on the 3rd day. Happy end of story.