A good shot of espresso doesn’t have to cost a lot or be difficult to make. Espresso machines under $200 do a great job of creating a rich, creamy shot of espresso right in your own home. Many of these machines take just minutes or even seconds to create your drink of choice. This guide will walk you through choosing the best espresso machine for your home so you can make delicious tasting espresso without having to leave your kitchen.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for the best espresso machine under $200 is the DeLonghi EC702 Pump Espresso Machine. This machine combines quality espresso with a durable machine to give you lasting value. The DeLonghi has a stainless steel case and is pod-friendly so you can make espresso without having to worry about making a mess. The machine gives you constant heat for steaming and brewing because it has two thermostats.
One big plus when it comes to this espresso machine is the dual function filter holder. If you like to use pods, you can. If you change your mind and want to use ground coffee, you can easily do that as well. The dual filter allows you to switch back and forth seamlessly so you get the type of espresso you are craving.
The self-priming feature will heat your machine up in no time. No longer will you have to wait for what seems like forever to create your espresso. This machine heats up fast so that before you know it, you will have a hot cup in your hand ready to be sipped. In addition, the espresso machine offers a cup warming tray, which is a nice feature to have. Your cups will stay warm on top of the machine so once you pour your espresso into the cup, it will stay hot longer. Some machines do not offer this feature and people have noted that their espresso cools quickly. Once you have cup warmers, you will not want a machine without them.
Types of Espresso Machines
There are a few different types of espresso machines which include manual, pump/semi-automatic, and super automatic. For machines under $200, we will mostly be looking at either semi-automatic or super automatic espresso machines as the manual machines tend to be pricier, such as in the $1,000, $5,000 or more range.
The semi-automatic espresso machines use an electric pump when creating the espresso. The pump pressure should be between eight and nine to create an espresso shot. However, most machines have a 15 pump pressure to give you a little boost and extract as much flavor out of the shot as possible.
The semi-automatic machine is a combination between the manual and super automatic machines. It does require you to do a little bit of work, while still doing a lot of the work for you. It is a good combination of the two features. If you like some control over your espresso shots, this is a good option for you.
Keep in mind that with this type of machine you will need to grind your own coffee. Once you have the coffee grinds, you will need to tamp them and put them into the portafilter. The portafilter is attached to the espresso machine and you can start the brewing process. After the espresso is extracted and in your cup, turn the machine off and enjoy your drink.
Super automatic espresso machines do everything for you and all you have to do is push a button. These machines are nice if you want consistent espresso without having to do much work. Some of the super automatic espresso machines are even programmable so you can have your espresso made right when you want it and how you like it. There are options to choose from, such as strong espresso, lattes, and cappuccino, to give you more control over your brew.
Another nice feature of te super automatic espresso machines is that they work fast. Just make sure the beans are loaded and press the button and in a few seconds you will have a hot steaming cup of espresso. Some of the higher end super automatic espresso machine will steam your milk or filter the water, but these are not available on all machines. These machines will even clean themselves for you, which is a huge plus in keeping your machine working properly.
Features to Look for in an Espresso Machine
There are certain things you will want in an espresso machine and there are others that are more necessary. Knowing the difference between the two will help you keep your budget in check and find the right machine for how you are going to use it. It is important to research the different machines to get the most out of your money. The good thing is, we have done all the hard work for you.
Does it Have a Grinder?
Semi-automatic espresso machines do not come with a coffee grinder where super automatic machines do. This is an important thing to consider because if you already have a grinder, then this feature may not matter as much to you as you will be able to choose either type of machine. If you do not want to spend extra money on a grinder, then you will need to stick with super automatic espresso machines. The grind on the super automatic espresso machine can be customized, but not as much as a separate grinder, which is something else to keep in mind. Furthermore, the type of grind you put in your espresso machine can make a big difference in the quality of the espresso shot.
The Water Tank
How much water does the espresso machine hold? This is another feature to take into consideration because the more water it holds, the less you have to fill it up. In addition, some machines have tanks that are easily removable where others are filled by using a funnel. Keep in mind that the larger the water tank is, the larger the machine will be so you will want to take measurements of your counter space before buying a machine.
Some espresso machines have manual frothers where others do it automatically. If you want to experiment with frothing milk, then look for machines that have a manual frother or one that you have more control over. If you are content with the machine doing it for you, then you might always get the perfect foam. There are some machines that do not have frothing capabilities at all, so that is something to keep in mind as well. With these machines, you will not be able to make lattes or cappuccinos, just straight espresso.
How hard or easy will it be to clean your new espresso machine? Upkeep on these machines is important as it keeps them running properly. If you fail to clean them on a regular basis, you may cut the machines lifespan in half. Yet, cleaning is not fun, so if you aren’t going to dedicate time to clean your machine then consider a super automatic espresso machine. If you don’t mind cleaning the machine on a regular basis, a semi-automatic espresso machine is a good option.
Durability and Customer Service
When you spend $200 on an espresso machine, you want it to last a while. Some of the espresso machines come with warranties. These may be manufacture warranties that last up to a year to cover any manufacturer defects. Check these out before purchasing, especially if a machine has had a few problems in the past. This doesn’t mean the espresso machine will have problems, just that it is something to keep in mind.
If you do have to use your warranty or have a question about your machine, customer service will come into play. Having good customer service can increase the quality of your machine and your experience with it. Customer service is also available to answer any questions about your machine, which can be helpful if you are a first time user and are having difficulties.
Advantages of a Machine Under $200
There are many advantages of an espresso machine under $200. First, you will not have to go to the coffee shop to get your espresso anymore. This saves you both time and money. Another advantage is you can experiment with different flavors of espresso by refining the grind of the coffee beans. Since these machines are relatively inexpensive compared to others, these are perfect entry level machines to start experimenting with. A third advantage is you can choose from semi-automatic, super automatic, or a pod espresso machine depending on your preference. There are a wide range of machines in this price range, which gives you the flexibility to find the one to suit your needs.
Disadvantages of a Machine Under $200
One disadvantage of espresso machines under $200 is they are not made with the same quality as the higher end machines. This means parts in them are more likely to break or they may not last as long as if you purchased a machine that costs $1,000. It doesn’t mean the espresso tastes subpar, just that durability may be an issue.
If you go the espresso machine pod route, then you do make a commitment to the pods. This means over time you may become sick of them and want to try something else. If you think this will happen, try an espresso machine that has the option of using coffee grinds or pods.
Why Trust Me
I have done hours of research on the different types of espresso machines in the varying price ranges. Through the research, I have compared machines against each other and learned what brand names to trust and which ones are newer on the market. Yet, I do not judge the machines just by their brand names, but it does play a role in the research.
I find the features that are necessary on espresso machines as well as features that are nice to have. By being a coffee connoisseur myself, it helps to put my knowledge to work and compare it against what other people prefer. From this, I get a well-rounded view of what most people prefer and look for in espresso machines. I think put all of this knowledge together in one comprehensive guide to help you understand espresso machines and find the one for you.
How I Chose the Best
Once I compiled all of my research together, I compared the top espresso machines against one another. Normally the list consists of about ten top espresso machines to start with. From there, I narrow it down by choosing the ones that have more features for the amount of money they cost. More features does not mean they are always better, but some features standout such as being able to use ground coffee and pods or brewing and steaming at the same time.
After this cut, there are about five espresso machines left. I cut them down while looking at dependability, ease of use, and what people experienced while using them. There is no use purchasing an espresso machine if you cannot figure out how to use it, or if others have bad experiences with it, so this plays a role in my decision as well.
The espresso machines are narrowed down to the top three by taking all the features into consideration, their price, durability, and customer reviews. Basically, I take an overall view of each one and the machines that make it to the top are the best of the best.
The Best Espresso Machines Under $200
The following is a guide to the best espresso machines under $200. There are both semi-automatic and super automatic machines on the list so you can find what type is right for your lifestyle and tastes.
The DeLonghi EC702 espresso machine is our top pick for the best espresso machine under $200. It is a semi-automatic machine that makes espresso shots, lattes, and cappuccinos. This machine is just under $200, but it has many features that make it well worth the price.
The 15 bar pump will extract the full flavor from the coffee grounds. The dual filter holder makes this machine stand out from others in its class because you can use either coffee grounds or pods. Switching from to the other is easy and mess free. The frother on this machine is off to the side so it doesn’t get in the way while you are brewing shots. Furthermore, you can brew and steam at the same time, which is a bonus when you make lots of espresso drinks right in a row.
If you are wanting tall espresso drinks, this is not the machine for you as the cup clearance is 2.75 inches. The tamper is built-in and does not properly tamp the grounds, which is essential for great tasting espresso. It is recommended you purchase your own tamper for better espresso. In addition, the baster in the filter holder does not lock in place. To hold the basket in place, you will need to turn the lever up and hold the basket there.
Why It’s Worth It
For under $200, you get an espresso machine that can brew and steam at the same time. There are not many in this price range that can do that. Furthermore, the dual filter holder is a nice option to have if you want to switch back and forth between coffee grounds and pods. The stainless steel casing will look good on your counter while keeping this machine in good working condition for a long while.
Who It’s For
The DeLonghi EC702 espresso machine is perfect for those who want to experiment with their espresso making skills but are just starting out. This is a high quality machine for the price, so you can decide later if you want to upgrade to a different semi-automatic once you get the hang of making espresso. In addition, if you have experience making espresso this is a great machine because it will give you rich espresso without breaking the bank.
What People Think
Our research into what people are saying found that people like the machine and say it makes great tasting espresso. One concern they had was the design of the frothing wand. People said it does not heat up like it is supposed to, so the milk has to be preheated in the microwave or on the stove. Most people said it lasted them anywhere from a year to three years, which is a good amount of time if you figure out the cost per cup.
The Cuisinart EM-100 espresso machine has a 15 bar pump and a water tank that hold 53 ounces of water. It has a steam wand so you can steam milk for lattes or create foam for cappuccinos. If you decide you want something different than a coffee drink, the machine will give you hot water for hot chocolate or tea.
The Cuisinart EM-100 allows you to brew a single shot, double shot, or use pods to make the perfect type of espresso. The frothing wand is a little longer than wands on other machines, which makes it easier to steam larger pitchers. The warming tray on top of the machine is nice to keep your espresso the right temperature once it is pulled from the machine.
While the Cuisinart EM-100 espresso machine has a lot of nice features, the machine does come with some negative aspects. The water reservoir tends to leak after a few months because of an issue with the seal. To combat this, fill the reservoir without detaching the machine. This espresso machine does not have an adjustable thermostat, which is a downfall for some. It still makes hot espresso but some prefer to have control over the temperature.
Why It’s Worth It
This espresso machine is worth it because it creates a good foam and a nice shot of espresso, which you really can’t beat for the price of $200. The Cuisinart EM-100 is durable and well made for an entry level machine.
Who It’s For
The Cuisinart EM-100 can be used both by beginners and experienced baristas. For those just starting out, it may take some practice to get the right grind when making espresso from coffee grounds. If you use the pods, you will not have to worry about this.
What People Think
While researching into what people are saying, we found that people like this machine because it is easy to use and a good deal for the amount of money. They say you do have to follow the instructions on the manual when it comes to caring and cleaning the machine to make it last for a long time. People did note that the machine does leak water from time to time, but otherwise there were very little complaints about using the espresso machine.
If you are looking for a compact, quiet, super automatic pod espresso machine, the Nespresso Pixie Titanium is the perfect option for you. It uses Nespresso capsules so you don’t have the messy coffee grounds to deal with. In just 30 seconds, you will be drinking a hot cup of espresso with a creamy milk froth on the top.
When making an espresso shot, you can choose from three different sizes. These include one, two, or three ounces of espresso. The Nespresso Pixie Titanium may be small and compact, but it packs a 19 bar pressure pump, more pressure than any other espresso machine on our list. The thermoblock technology will ensure you get the right temperature with each espresso shot every time you use the machine.
If you want to froth milk, you will have to purchase an Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother. Depending on where you purchase the machine, this may come as a bundle. Nespresso has 30 different blends of espresso to choose from, however you can’t experiment with your own blends because it does not accept ground coffee. In addition, this espresso machine only makes one cup at a time.
Why It’s Worth It
The Nespresso Pixie Titanium is simple to use and there are no coffee grounds to worry about. With just the touch of a button, you will have delicious tasting espresso right in your home. The espresso machine is convenient and perfect for those busy mornings.
Who It’s For
If you want something that is simple to use, where all you have to do is put in a pod and press a button then the Nespresso Pixie Titanium is the right machine for you. It really does not get easier than this. In just 30 seconds you will have a hot, steaming cup of espresso ready to go.
What People Think
Our research into what people are saying about this machine showed that they love it. People say it is simple to use and they get consistent espresso every time they use the machine. They really like how there is no mess and can make cappuccinos and lattes as well as espressos. Some people have said the milk frother does not heat up the milk enough or get it to the correct temperature. This can affect the froth, unless you warm the milk up beforehand. Overall, people were very happy with the machine and were glad they purchased it.
A good espresso machine under $200 can be found, just follow our guide to help you choose the right one. There is semi-automatic, super automatic, and pod machines on the list so you are sure to find something to suit your style and taste. Think about what features are important to you when it comes to making espresso and how many cups you will make in a row as this will play a large role in your decision.