Best Cheap Espresso Machines

Expert Reviews & Buying Guide

Our Recommendations

In a hurry? Here are the best products at a glance.

Breville BES870XL

Mr. Coffee ECM160

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How to Pick a Great Espresso Machine

Fed up with spending a good chunk of your paycheck on fancy cafe drinks? The secret to a great latte, cappuccino, macchiato, or Americano is all in the espresso that goes into it. And, luckily, it’s really easy to make your own with the multitude of cheap home espresso machines for sale. But how do you find an espresso machine that’s great as well as inexpensive? That’s where we come in. Our research team put twenty espresso machines through their paces and had plenty of heart-pounding single and double shots as a result (it’s hard work to try delicious coffee drinks, but somebody has to do it). We’ve compiled a list of the best espresso machines we found from the lot. But before skipping right to the buying guide and espresso machine reviews, check out these specs to look for when you buy yours.

Uses Coffee Grounds

Most espresso machines use ground coffee, but some are only compatible with ESE pods–hence why we show both in our spec list. If you want to grind your beans and tamp them into a shot filter yourself, you can. Using grounds doesn’t mean the machine will be difficult to use, although there is a slight learning curve and a little more cleanup.

Uses Coffee Pods

Some espresso machine brands like Nespresso have their own line of special espresso pods or ESE pods, but ESE pods, in general, are great for people who love the convenience of coffee pods but want to get fancy with fast, easy espresso. Keep an eye on this spec if you want to bring your love of Keurig cups to the world of espresso.

Includes Milk Frother

Milk frothers can foam, heat, and steam milk for cappuccinos and lattes. In our humble opinion, the best espresso machine models have a built-in milk frothing wand to streamline the process from demitasse and cafe-quality foamed espresso beverages. Even cheap espresso machine models often come with milk frothers.

Pressure

One “bar” is our atmospheric pressure, and the best espresso is created by pushing hot water through compact ground coffee at several times this pressure level. Just like diamonds, coffee needs a little bit of pressure to shine. Bar 9 is what you typically need, but some home espresso machines overcompensate to make sure that the espresso is created with a minimum of 9 bar (that’s fine, too).

Water Tank Capacity

How many shots of espresso can you make before you have to refill the water reservoir? More is generally better, although you may prefer to trade off a smaller tank capacity for a more compact espresso machine. In addition, look for water tanks that are removable, which makes the cleaning and refilling process much easier.

Dimensions

Do you want an espresso machine for the whole family or office to use, or do you want one small enough to fit on your desk? Is your kitchen counter already crowded with dishes and other appliances? Espresso machines in a range of sizes made our list to make sure there’s something perfect for everyone, so it’s a good idea to eyeball your available space and compare.

Top 10 Products

It’s finally here: our espresso machine reviews are complete, despite many caffeine jitters. We hope you’ll find the best coffee espresso machine for you somewhere among our top ten list. All products that made the cut offer excellent quality and value. Our top pick is a clear winner, but comes with the premium price to match the high-end features. If you’re trying to enjoy great coffee and save some money, try the excellent budget pick. The other products that follow also make great espresso and are easy to use and almost all of them have automatic milk frothing and steaming options, too. Enjoy your coffee drinks!

Breville BES870XL

The true king of espresso machines is the Breville BES870XL. This is the machine you invest in if you want the complete, authentic espresso experience for years to come. A half-pound sealed bean hopper holds your beans before a conical burr grinder grinds up the perfect amount just before brewing. This preserves all oils for an incredible flavor experience. The two-liter water tank is removable and comes with a handle, and the including cleaning kit can be concealed neatly inside the removable drip tray. The 15-bar Italian pump system prepares your espresso quickly and perfectly, and you can use the swiveling milk steamer and frother wand simultaneously with the included frothing jug. This espresso machine also lets you choose shot volumes and program different amounts, and the texture and amount of coffee beans the hopper should grind. Dual wall and single wall filters are included to suit beginning and advanced espresso enthusiasts. Overall, this is the ultimate grind-and-brew espresso machine, perfect for beginners and enthusiasts.

Mr. Coffee ECM160

The Mr. Coffee ECM160 made it to our list as the best cheap espresso machine. This steam-driven machine produces three bar of pressure and operates similarly to a moka pot. Heated water is pushed through the coffee grounds as steam. You can brew into the included glass carafe to make up to four shots from the four-cup water reservoir. Steam driven espresso machines are a good choice for cappuccinos and lattes, and the ECM160 has a stationary milk frothing arm as well. This arm is also used as a steam pressure release for the machine and can be used to steam milk. Who should buy this model? If you’re looking for an inexpensive espresso machine that still performs very well, the Mr. Coffee ECM160 is a great pick. It may not satisfy coffee fans looking for authentic pump-driven espresso, but it will satisfy your desires for delicious cappuccinos and lattes. Since it can brew up to four shots at a time, it’s easy to portion out a round of espresso for a group. All in all, this is a fantastic product.

Nespresso Inissia

The Nespresso Inissia is a capsule espresso machine that takes coffee pods rather than grounds. It is fast and compact, with a removable water tank and foldable drip tray. Adjust the cup size however you please and let the pressure pump do its work. Nineteen bar of pressure is nothing to sneeze at and is far above the nine bar minimum. If you want on of the smallest espresso machine around, the Nespresso Inissia is ideal for a crowded office desk, small kitchen, or dorm room. The three-cup tank will make plenty of shots before running out. The only downside is the lack of a milk frother, although you can purchase battery-powered or manual frothers for an authentic cappuccino or latte feel. If you don’t want to use coffee pods, you can buy compatible refillable pods to use with your own grounds. However, the Nespresso coffee capsules are recyclable, and the Inissia comes with 16 capsules to get you started.

De’Longhi EC155

De’Longhi is one of the well-known espresso machine brands, and the De’Longhi EC155 does not disappoint. Thanks to its dual function filter holder, you can use coffee grounds or special ESE coffee pods, making it a great choice for people who like the convenience of using pods and the ritual of filling the espresso basket yourself. Besides 15 bar pressure and a roomy water tank, it also has a cup warmer and a swiveling milk frother and steamer wand. The drip tray and water tank are removable, making the machine easy to clean between uses. The main downside of the EC155 is its low profile. Even when the drip tray is removed, you still only have about four inches of clearance. This espresso machine is sized for demitasse, AKA small cups, so if you haven’t bought any yet, you’ll want to invest in some before trying to use the EC155. Other than that, it’s a great product.

Mr. Coffee ECMP1000

A slightly larger cousin to our budget pick, the Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 has an almost seven-cup removable water tank and 15 bar of pressure to ensure optimal espresso production. It has an automatic milk frother, and steamer with a reservoir included for heating and frothing the milk in its own container while your coffee brews into your mug. The cup tray is adjustable and removable, able to fit coffee mugs and demitasse. The machine comes with filters for both single and double shots. What we liked about the ECMP1000 is that it was easy to program and to use while still having options. It has a knob for controlling how much froth is produced for making cappuccinos or lattes, and selections to produce single or double shots of espresso. It’s foolproof while still offering variety.

Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker

The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker can be used to brew two separate beverages at a time with its two spouts, from either espresso pods or coffee grounds. You can make either single or double shots into each mug. The removable water tank can hold up to five cups. Because of this espresso maker’s pump system, you can open the reservoir to add water even during the brewing process, something not possible with steam espresso makers. The milk frother can steam and heat the milk after brewing for making cappuccino or latte drinks. The drip tray is also removable on this machine, so you have room for taller mugs. The controls are easy to use, and we always like options–including being able to use convenient ESE pods as well as grounds. The manufacturer recommends using extra-fine grounds for the best espresso.

De’Longhi ECP3420

Another multi-functional espresso machine, the De’Longhi ECP3420 can use espresso pods or coffee grounds to make espresso. Like the Hamilton Beach espresso maker, you can make two separate cups at a time or keep it all to yourself. Make a single shot, double shot, or just use a pod. The tray is sized for demitasse, but it is partially removable to fit standard mug sizes. The swiveling milk frother and steamer create a rich lather if you’re not the Americano type. This is one of the espresso machines that lets you pull your own shots. You can choose how long you let the espresso drip for to make your espresso stronger or weaker depending on your taste. You can feel like a real barista and get that authentic espresso experience for a low price.

BELLA Espresso Maker

The BELLA Personal Espresso Maker allows you to make up to four servings of espresso at a time, poured into the included glass carafe. Simply adjust a couple of knobs and steam pressure will take care of the rest. The lower steam-driven 5 bar is similar to our budget pick, but the BELLA has a milk frothing and steaming wand as well. The carafe has measuring lines to make filling the reservoir with the right amount of water a breeze. You can also switch it out with a demitasse or regular coffee mug. Just remove the drip tray and go. The stationary steam wand has a removable plastic cover to keep the important parts that spray steam and create froth from being covered with dried milk. The BELLA Personal Espresso Maker works quickly and would make a good portable or travel espresso maker for coffee lovers on the go.

Delonghi EC680M DEDICA

The stainless steel Delonghi EC680M DEDICA offers more manual control than some espresso makers and is ready to brew in just 40 seconds. The stationary wand attachment can froth and steam milk, as well as produce hot milk for tea or Americano. Your average coffee mug will fit on the drip tray, and you can make single or double shots with the push of a button. The top of the machine doubles as a cup warmer, great for pre-heating your containers before filling them with espresso. This Delonghi espresso machine also automatically enters standby mode if you forget to turn it off to help save power, which we appreciated. It is relatively compact but well-built. You can program temperature, how much to pour, and even to adjust to the hardness of your water. These technological advances help it stand out from the rest.

Hamilton Beach 40792

The Hamilton Beach 40792 is compatible with both ground coffee and ESE pods and comes with a swiveling milk frother and steam wand for fancier drinks. Both the five-cup water tank and drip tray are removable, and the Slide and Lock filter system means the filter locks into place when positioned correctly. There is enough clearance under the machine to use regular coffee mugs. It’s also fast and relatively quiet as it works, and you can choose the amount dispensed with your pull. Small but powerful, the Hamilton Beach 40792 is easy to operate and uses an authentic Italian pump to create 15 bar for extraction. It is on the higher end of cheap but offers a ton of features, making it one of the best inexpensive espresso machine models you can get.

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