Do you want delicious espresso made right in your home without spending a lot of money? Then a budget espresso machine is a good option for you. These machines can make great tasting espresso and you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a machine. In just a few minutes, the machine will be ready to go and you will have a hot cup of espresso in your hand. Budget espresso machines have basic features and everything you need to make your favorite coffee drink.
How do you know which one to pick? With so many espresso machines out there, it can be difficult to choose the right budget machine for you. This guide will go through the top budget espresso machines on the market so you do not have to do any research. We have narrowed down the options so you can look at the pros and cons of each type of budget espresso machine. This guide will allow you to make the most informed decision when finding the right budget espresso machine for your lifestyle.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the De’Longhi EC155 espresso machine. This is a pretty compact machine that puts out high quality espresso shots. Furthermore, it can make your favorite coffee drinks in just a couple of seconds. The machine is simple to use, so even if you have never used espresso before, you will be able to figure it out.
Even though this machine is compact, it has a lot of features that other budget espresso machines do not have. It will cost a little more than other machines on this list, but it is also a good value. The De’Longhi brand has been around since the 1940s, so you know you are getting a well-made product that will last a few years.
Different Types of Espresso Machines
Espresso machines come in a few different styles, which include super automatic, semi-automatic, and manual machines. Budget espresso machines mostly come in the semi-automatic styles. Manual espresso machines tend to be more expensive and super automatic are more mid-range with many more features than budget machines. This does not mean you cannot find manual or semi-automatic machines in this price range, but they might not be the best option for you.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are a good mix between the manual and super automatic machines. They give you some control over the shot because you extract it by pulling it yourself, but they still do all of the work when it comes to putting the appropriate amount of pressure on the grinds. If you want some control over your espresso shots and coffee drinks, then consider a semi-automatic espresso machine.
This type of machine works by using an electric pump that puts out about 15 bars of pressure when brewing a shot. The minimum to create a good espresso shot is between eight to nine bars, but most machines come with 15 bars of pressure. Keep this in mind when looking at the various machines because the more pressure the machine offers, the more flavor that will be extracted from your beans.
Semi-automatic espresso machines do not come with built-in grinders, unlike their super automatic counterparts, which means you will need to purchase a separate grinder if you do not already have one. This will add to your overall cost, so keep this in mind when figuring out your budget. When you do purchase this type of espresso machine, they normally come with their own tamper. It is personal preference if you want to use your own or purchase a new one. Keep in mind the tamper plays an important role in creating a good espresso shot as well.
Semi-automatic espresso machines work by putting the ground coffee in the portafilter, which is when you use the tamper to evenly tamp the grounds. Once they are set in there, you attach the portafilter to the espresso machine. Next, start the brewing process by pushing the appropriate button on the machine and extract the shot by using the lever when it is ready. By extracting your own shot, you can choose to have it as weak or as strong as you like.
Sometimes, all we want to do is just have a cup of espresso waiting for us when we get out of bed without having to do any work. If this sounds like you, try a super automatic espresso machine. This type of machine is great because they really do everything for you, which includes grinding the coffee beans to frothing the milk, without you having to do anything. In addition, the machines create a consistent espresso shot each time, so if you don’t have experience making espresso, this is another good reason to try the super automatic machines.
Even though the super automatic espresso machine does everything for you, you still have some control over the type of espresso shot that comes out. You can program how strong or weak you want the shot, how course or find you want your grinds, and some are programmable so they remember your choices.
Another nice feature of super automatic espresso machines is they work fast, meaning once the machine is heated up, it will only be a few seconds until the perfect shot of espresso is in your hand. Some of the more expensive machines have extra features, such as filtering you water for you or allow you plumb it in the water line so you never have to refill the tank. These extra features are not normally on budget machines, however; you will find super automatic espresso machines that clean themselves. This is a nice feature because it prolongs the life of your machine and you do not have to remember to do it yourself.
Features to Look for When Purchasing an Espresso Machine
When shopping for an espresso machine, keep in mind what features you actually need and what ones you want. Many of the machines available have more features than you will actually use. Knowing the difference between the two can help you stay within your budget and find a machine that you will actually use on a regular basis. There is no reason to buy an espresso machine that does not have all the features you need to create the type of drinks you want because you will not use it. The opposite is true as well. If the espresso machine has too many features, it may get frustrating to use, you may get overwhelmed, and eventually you may give up trying to figure it out after a short period of time. The following is a list of features to look for and think about when shopping for a budget espresso machine. While going through the list, think about what you actually need and what features you can live without.
Does it Have a Grinder?
One nice feature of super automatic espresso machines is the built-in coffee grinder. If you are the type who prefers to grind your own coffee, some have an extra spout that takes ground beans. If you already have a coffee grinder, this is something that you do not need to worry about and is something you do not have to think about when shopping for an espresso machine. This will help you narrow down your options.
If you are very picky about your coffee grind, then look for a good grinder. Having more options when it comes to grinding your beans is a good thing because it allows you to experiment with extracting different flavors from the beans. Yet, this will add to the overall budget, so that is something to keep in mind as well. A semi-automatic espresso machine does not come with a built-in coffee grinder, so if you do choose this type of machine, you will need a coffee grinder.
The Water Tank
The water tank will hold various volumes of water depending on the type of machine you choose. The larger the water tank is, the larger the machine will be. Furthermore, the smaller the water tank is, the more often you will have to refill it. This is something to take into consideration if you do not want to refill your espresso machine every couple days. However, if you want something that is more compact and don’t mind refilling the machine often, then a smaller water tank is a good option. Another thing to think about when it comes to the water tank is how it is filled up. Some tanks are easily removable where others need a funnel to be refiled.
Semi-automatic espresso machines normally have a frothing wand that you need to work manually to create that nice milk foam. This allows you to practice your frothing skills and experiment with milk frothing. Super automatic espresso machines normally do the frothing for you, which is nice if you have never used a frother before and do not want to learn how. The super automatic machines do not always froth milk to your liking if you are very picky, which is where a semi-automatic machine would be a better option.
Cleaning your espresso machine on a regular basis is important to keep it running properly and prolong the life of the machine. If you fail to clean the machine, or it is hard to do, the life can be cut in half and the espresso may come out tasting funny. If the machine is hard to clean, then you may not do it as often, so you want something that is easily accessible to clean on a regular basis. Remember, by cleaning your machine per manufacturer’s recommendations, you are putting time back into your investment.
If you do not want to clean the machine yourself manually, then try a super automatic espresso machine. These machines clean themselves as well as descale themselves. This makes your life much easier because you do not have to worry about taking the machine apart or making time to clean the espresso machine.
Durability and Customer Service
While budget espresso machines come at a lower price than other espresso machines, they still cost a good amount of money. Keep in mind that these are an investment and will save you money in the long run. When it comes to making an investment, you want to make sure it is protected, which is why it is important to check for a warranty. Many espresso machines come with a manufacturer’s warranty for up to a year, where some can be two years. Some machines have more general warranties, so keep these things in mind when comparing the different espresso machines.
To back up the warranty, most companies have you go through customer service. Good customer service can be extremely helpful when it comes to your warranty as well as the experience you have with your espresso machine. If you have questions while using the machine or do not know how a feature works, customer service is only a phone call, email, or chat away. If you are a first time user and use customer service frequently, this is a good feature to look for.
Advantages of a Budget Espresso Machine
Budget espresso machines allow you to create piping hot espresso right in your home for a fraction of the cost of the coffee house, which is the biggest draw to these machines. Not only will this save you money, but it will also save you time in the morning. Another advantage of having an espresso machine is trying out the different flavors of espresso and experimenting with the ones you like. Grinding beans courser or finer is one way to do this. Furthermore, you can create many types of coffee drinks if your machine has a milk frother, which is another advantage.
Budget espresso machines are entry-level machines and designed for those who have never used espresso machines before. This is a good place to start if you are just getting into the world of espresso and are thinking about upgrading your machine later. This way, you will know what features you like, do not like, and wish you had when purchasing your next machine. When it comes to choosing machines in this price range you will have a few different options, so go through our guide to find the right one for you.
Disadvantages of a Budget Espresso Machine
Budget espresso machines have a few disadvantages, just like every other type of espresso machine. These do not have high quality materials like expensive espresso machines. Sometimes this means the parts may not last as long, meaning your machine may fail after a couple of years instead of lasting ten years. This is because the thousand dollar espresso machines are made with more durable parts and are designed to last for many years. However, this does not mean your budget espresso machine will fail in a couple of years, but don’t be surprised if it does.
Espresso pods are another option when it comes to budget machines, but these do have a downfall. If you choose a machine that only accepts pods, you are committed to them until you purchase a different machine. The pods can actually become quite expensive after a while when compared to grinding your own beans. Furthermore, there is the environmental side to think about as the pods clog up the landfills. If you do not want to deal with pods, or want them once in a while, search for a machine that allows pods and ground coffee.
Why Trust Me
While creating this guide, I have done hours of research into budget espresso machines. However, I did not stop there. To fully understand budget machines, I needed to also understand the machines in all price ranges from entry-level to high end. I completed research on these machines as well to get a good overall view of the differences and features between the machines.
Along with price range difference, I also completed research on the different brand names of budget espresso machines. A good machine does not depend on its name, but some names have been around longer than others. I have learned what names have recently come onto the market and what names have been around for a while. This helps to understand the origin of the machine and what the intention was in creating it. If the manufacturer just wanting to create an espresso machine to make money, chances are they will not have as good of machine as a manufacturer that has a passion for coffee.
Another aspect of my research included what features are necessary when using an espresso machine, which also included features that are optional. I drink coffee and espresso on a regular basis myself, so I am always searching for the next way to make a delicious cup of coffee. I put my love of coffee and knowledge into my research as well. By comparing what I know against what other people prefer, I get a well-rounded look at the various types of espresso machines. This knowledge is then put into an easy to read guide so you can find the right espresso machine for you.
How I Picked the Best
Choosing the best budget espresso machine is done by a series of elimination. I first compiled a list and compare the machines against each other. This is about ten machines to start out with. From there, I start eliminating machines by the features they offer in addition to how much they cost. I take a good look at both value and features, so you get a good combination of both. The machines that are of good value are kept on the list.
After the first cut, there are about eight machines left. The next thing I look for is dependability, ease of use, and what people experienced when using them. The latter is important because if the machine is hard to figure out or difficult to work with, then the espresso machine will be of no use to you. These machines are eliminated so you only have simple to use machines on the list.
After this cut, there are about five machines left, which make the list. They are arranged in order of importance. I look at a combination of features, price, durability, and customer reviews to get an overall view of the machine to see where it goes on the list. From there, the list forms and the guide is created.
The Best Budget Espresso Machines
The guide to the best budget espresso machine follows. Each have their own pros and cons, as well as different features you may or may not need. Think about what is important to you in a machine while going through the list so you can find the right one for you.
The De’Longhi EC155 is our top pick for the best budget espresso machine. It is a lot of features, offers durability, and is simple to use. This compact machine fits on almost every counter top and you have the option to steam milk as well. The EC155 is a semi-automatic machine so you will need to purchase a coffee grinder if you do not already have one.
The 15 bar pressure will create a nice crema on top of your espresso every time. The machine features dual thermostats for steam and water, while also having a self-priming feature. The frother is adjustable so you can work the milk the way you want to create that nice froth for cappuccino.
The De’Longhi EC155 can get a bit messy when you use it, so you will have to clean up some after making your espresso. Some people have said the filter basket becomes twisted in the filter head. This can be avoided if you do not twist the filter too tight into the machine.
Why It’s Worth It
The machine creates smooth shots with almost any grind of coffee, so you will not have to worry about perfecting your grind. The built-in tamper means you do not have to think about how to tamp your grinds as well. Furthermore, if you love having a good froth for your coffee drinks then you will love this strong frother.
Who It’s For
The De’Longhi EC155 is a good machine for those who are looking to experiment some with espresso without spending a lot of money. The machine is simple to use and allows you to expand your expresso making skills. If you do not want to experiment, the machine also makes a good cup of espresso.
What People are Saying
People who use this machine every day say they love it and have gotten over four years of use with it. They say if you are having trouble with the machine, there are a variety of YouTube videos available to help you through the learning curve. Furthermore, people have noted the machine heats up quickly. Some have commented the crema is not to their liking, but keep in mind this is not the same machine they use at the coffee shops.
The Mr. Coffee ECM160 is our second choice when it comes to the best budget espresso machines. This is even a smaller machine than the one above and weighs only six pounds, so it won’t take up too much counter space. The machine can brew up to 20 ounces at a time, which is nice for making a few cups of espresso at once.
This machine has a removable frothing aid, which is perfect for those who have never frothed before. It is simple to use and will make a nice foamy milk. The machine comes with a decanter that has a drip free pouring spout after you froth your milk. The ECM160 can make excellent lattes and cappuccinos, as well as decent espresso shots.
The Mr. Coffee ECM160 is a steam driven machine, so it does not have the bar pressure other machines have. This means you may not extract all the flavor out of the grinds that is possible. However, for a budget machine, you do get a lot for the price.
Why It’s Worth It
The espresso machine is perfect for those who are looking for a high quality budget espresso machine. It does not have a lot of bells and whistles, so it is pretty straightforward when it comes to operating the machine. It also puts out a lot of espresso at once, which is really nice for making coffee drinks and serving more than one person.
Who It’s For
If you are wanting to make lattes, cappuccinos, and a few espresso drinks thrown in there, then this is the machine for you. The Mr. Coffee ECM160 comes at a good price so it will save you a lot of money on these drinks pretty quickly. Furthermore, it is a simple to use machine that beginners will find easy to use.
What People are Saying
Our research into what people are saying about the machine found that people say it is a good value for the price. People say it makes hot espresso and coffee drinks in just a couple of minutes. Those who are baristas say they can taste a difference in the quality of espresso, but this is not the same quality machine as the coffee shop, so that is something to keep in mind.
The Hamilton Beach espresso maker is simple to use and brews up to four ounces of espresso at once, which means you can make two cups of espresso without having to wait. The removable water tank is a nice feature and it is see through so you know when it needs to be refilled. The reservoir is 40 ounces, so you won’t have to be filling it up too often.
The Hamilton Beach machine features a steam wand and 15 bars of pressure. The amount of pressure gives you great tasting espresso and the want lets you froth milk easily. Another nice feature of this machine is you can use pods or ground coffee, so this is perfect if you want to try pods but do not want to commit to them. The machine is easy to clean as the water reservoir, frothing nozzle, brew head, and cup rest can be removed.
The downside to this machine is it takes a long time to heat up. This is because it uses a steam system. Furthermore, after you make a shot you will have a wait a few minutes for the machine to heat back up. Another downside to this machine is it has a really short cord so you won’t be moving it to far around the counter.
Why It’s Worth It
The Hamilton Beach espresso machine makes steamy hot espresso with good crema every time you use the machine. In addition, you have the option of using pods, which not all machines in this category have. Even though it takes a little while to heat up, this machine is still worth it because of the features and quality espresso it puts out.
Who It’s For
This espresso machine is perfect for those who are looking for something that is simple to use, affordable, and flexibility when making different types of coffee drinks. If you have issues, customer support is available 27/4 by phone and on Facebook.
What People are Saying
People who have used this machine say it is solid, durable, and puts out great tasting espresso. Some have noted the steamer is kind of loud, which is something to keep in mind. Furthermore, most people have said it is simple to use right out of the box.
If you want a Nespresso machine, the Nespresso Inissia espresso machine is the most affordable one out there. While it doesn’t have as many features as the other Nespreso machines, it does give you a lot for the amount of money you are paying.
The Nespresso Inissia features a 19 bar pump, which is higher than any other machine on this list. This means you will get the most amount of flavor extracted from the beans as possible. The water tank is easy to fill and the machine itself is light and compact. When you purchase the machine, it comes with 16 pods so you can try out your favor flavors first.
There are a few downsides to this type of espresso machine. First, it is a pod machine without the option of using ground coffee, so you will be committed to using pods. The Nespresso Inissia makes the drinks completely for you, which means no control over pulling a shot or frothing your own milk.
Why It’s Worth It
If you want a budget pod espresso machine, this is the perfect one for you. If you do want milk froth, you can upgrade to the system with Aeroccino 3 milk frother, but this will cost you a little extra money. The machine is compatible with some pods besides the Nespresso brand, which is a plus because you aren’t stuck to just Nespresso.
Who It’s For
The Nespresso Inissia is for those who want to drop a pod in the espresso machine, push a button, and receive a hot cup of coffee. You don’t have to worry about the grind of your espresso or tamping the grounds either. This machine is one of the simplest to use, which is why it has an appeal to a wide range of espresso drinkers.
What People are Saying
Our research indicates that those who use this machine on a regular basis love it. Many purchased it to save money from the coffee shop and they say the espresso tastes better while they still save money. Some have noted the bin under the pods fills up with water, but other people have not had problems with the machines.
The Bialetti Moka Espresso Stovetop espresso maker is a little different from the other machines on our list because it is an aluminum pot that goes on your stove. It is simple to use as all you have to do is fill the lower chamber with water and filter with ground espresso. Once you have done this, just place the pot on the stove until the water is boiling. It creates six cups at once and you can also make lattes or cappuccinos.
This is a very basic machine and uses steam to extract the flavor of espresso. It doesn’t take up much room and is portable in case you want to take it to a party or even on vacation to save money. Another nice thing is if your electrify goes out and you have a gas stove, you can still have your hot espresso.
The Bialetti Moka Stovetop espresso maker is a no frills machine, meaning it does not have any of the fancy features like the other machines. You do need to be close to it and wait until the espresso is ready, you cannot just set it and walk away. It is made of aluminum, which can be a downside as well.
Why It’s Worth It
This machine is worth it because it makes good espresso, is durable, doesn’t need electricity, and is easy to clean. Another nice thing is it is very affordable, which is a huge plus. Furthermore, it is simple to use as all you do is set it on the stove and wait for the water to boil.
Who It’s For
If the other espresso machines intimidate you but you still want a good cup of espresso, the Bialetti Moka Stovetop is a good option. It is similar to using a teapot and does not require much practice to great a good cup of espresso.
What People are Saying
People who use this machine on a regular basis say it has lasted them many years and makes them delicious espresso every day. Some have taken it on vacation with them to make sure they always have their espresso with them. People have made more than espresso shots as well, such as cappuccinos and lattes, and say they turn out great as well.
Finding a budget espresso machine doesn’t have to be difficult, which is why we created this guide. There are a variety of espresso machine types on this list so you can find one that fits your lifestyle. From semi-automatic to automatic to a pot that sits on your stove, you are sure to find the espresso machine that complements your life perfectly. Best of all, it will be affordable.