In need of a new coffee machine at the office or need one to keep you functioning in the home? Well, in essence, all espresso machines do the same thing. However, that end result can differ significantly if you don’t choose the right one.
You probably think that having the heavenly luxury of enjoying your favorite latte or cappuccino at home is going to cost you an arm and a leg. And depending on which model of espresso machine you purchase, you might be right.
However, as your espresso machine only has 2 jobs, provide you with delicious coffee and keep you alert and bright eyed, then spending anything over $500 can be a bit ridiculous.
Below are 5 of the best espresso machines that are under $500. This way you can start your day the right way, with a gorgeous steaming cup of your favorite coffee, without having to break the bank.
When you’re in need of a decent espresso machine but you don’t have a lot of counter space to offer then the Gevi Espresso Machine 15 Bar is perfect.
This compact machine is perfect to give you a gorgeous cup of coffee without hurting the purse strings too much.
This wonderful machine is simply to use, making preparing your favorite coffee even easier. However, it does not come with a grinder. Now, you can either purchase a separate grinder or purchase ground coffee to make your life even easier.
Using 2 thermostats to diligently control the temperature of your coffee, you will find it difficult to burn your coffee or your milk. With the professional frothing wand you can achieve silky, creamy milk that won’t taste awful when you drink it.
Create your favorite coffee like you would get at your preferred coffee shop, all in the comfort of your own home. Although, you might need to nip out for those delicious muffins.
Size. This espresso machine is compact enough to sit perfectly on the counter at home, even if you don’t have a lot of worktop space to spare.
Frothing Wand. Thickness of a cappuccino, silkiness of a latte can all be done with a professional frothing wand.
Thermostats. This machine uses 2 thermostats to keep a watchful eye on the temperature of your coffee to get it just right.
No Grinder. If you want to grind your coffee at home you will need to purchase the grinder separately.
Stay a little longer in bed as you no longer need to run to your favorite coffee shop for your morning coffee. The Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine is the perfect appliance for your home.
The 15 BAR pump system is the equivalent to the pressure in a truck tire. Making it outside our bounds but perfect for brewing that delicious espresso.
The one touch control panel makes your life even easier as you touch one button and the machine will get to work.
This beginner friendly machine is the perfect coffee lover’s dream. It contains a milk frother so you may construct your preferred espresso-based drink by adding milk to espresso.
You may make your favorite latte or cappuccino at home using this machine, and it will be of the highest quality. No matter the type of milk you use.
Although, you may need to make a trip to the store for ground coffee as the Mr.Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine does not have a built-in grinder. But who really wants to waste time grinding coffee in the morning?
Affordable. For under $200 you can have this espresso machine in your home, ready to make your coffee whenever you wish.
15 BAR. This high quality pump system will brew rich tasting espresso every time.
Frother. Forth cows milk, almond, or oat milk with the built-in frother.
One Touch Control. With the press of one button you can have your tasty coffee ready.
No Grinder. You will have to purchase a separate grinder or purchase ground coffee at the store.
Set Up. When setting up your espresso machine, you find the instructions difficult to follow.
With a Calphalon espresso machine, you can prepare the ideal mocha cup the right way. This machine has everything you need.The blend of coffee and chocolate can be difficult to get right, but the Calphalon Temp IQ makes it so much simpler.
Fitted with a cup warming tray, you will need to brew your coffee into a cold cup again. Simply turn the machine on, place your cup on the tray and let it warm while you set your milk and other elements before brewing.
The thermoblock heating technology and PID temperature control ensure that your coffee will be brewed perfectly every time.
Not to mention the enlarged portafilter allows your coffee to be evenly distributed while brewing meaning that you taste delicious, heavenly coffee with every cup.
While this espresso machine does not come with a built-in coffee grinder, however, the powerful stainless steel milk pitcher and tamper make up for it. It is easy to clean and provides a delicious cup of coffee quickly.
Enlarged Portafilter. Get the best tasting coffee as the enlarged portafilter evenly distributes the ground coffee for perfect brewing.
Warming Tray. Never brew or drink out of a warm cup again with the warming tray.
Consistent. Thermoblock heating and PID temperature control technology means each espresso will be perfect every time.
Steam Pressure. The lightweight tamper can make the frothing power too strong creating less than ideal milk.
The Breville Bambino Plus brews espresso of barista excellence in a matter of seconds, focusing on Breville’s four essential formulae of “rich flavor, balanced taste, compelling body, and silky mouthfeel.”
While this is one of the more expensive espresso machines on this list, it is definitely worth the extra investment.
Once you learn the ins and outs of the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine you will be left with a succulent, rich, consistent shot of espresso.
If you find that frothing your milk is where you go wrong then the auto-froth function is sure to be your saving grace.
With 3 settings for both temperature and texture, you will receive gorgeous milk that will have even the most experienced of baristas envious.
While it doesn’t include a built-in grinder (a common theme for more affordable espresso machines), it will help you get your coffee game on point. And you might even begin to experiment with latte art.
If you’re looking for an espresso machine that works quickly to produce a rich, flavorsome shot of espresso with smooth milk, then the Breville Bambino Plus is definitely worth the cost.
Speed. Delivers a consistently tasty shot of espresso time and time again.
Auto-Froth Function. With 3 settings you can create the perfect milk in both texture and temperature.
Size. This compact espresso machine is perfect for small counter tops.
Price. More expensive than other espresso machines, however, still within $500.
Cleaning. Small compartments can be difficult to clean and coffee may get stuck in crevices.
The Gaggia Brera is a reliable machine that is made to last, making it ideal for espresso lovers who prefer their shots to be poured with just a button press.
It’s broader than it is tall, unlike many other machines on this list, so if you have extra shelf space, you can keep it in a cabinet.
This espresso machine comes with a built-in grinder that can hold up to eight ounces of coffee beans. Use multiple grind sizes and three different brew strengths to create your perfect, personalized cup of coffee.
The milk frother wand allows you to produce silky lattes and foamy cappuccinos that are hot, delicious and will make everyone jealous.
Always have a mug handy to catch drips because the machine does feature an automated rinse cycle that will run when it is turned on and once more when it is set to standby.
However, you will have to descale the espresso machine by hand but not to worry. The machine will alert you when it needs descaled so you never have to think about it until the time comes.
Built-In Grinder. Grind up to 8 ounces of coffee on 5 different grinding settings.
Automatic Rinse Cycle. The machine will automatically clean itself while it is on standby, however, keep a few mugs close by to catch any drips.
Size. Wider than it is tall, this machine fits perfectly into your cupboards for easy storage.
Manually Descaled. A routine descale will need to be done by hand on the machine.
Before you go and spend your hard earned cash on an espresso machine, there are important things to consider. While you may want to purchase the first coffee machine you see no matter the cost, you may find it beneficial to check out our buyers guide first.
It is often believed that the more expensive an espresso machine, the better it will be. This is simply not the case. Expensive does not mean better.
If you are an expert at dialing in espresso, controlling the grind then you may find it easier to achieve a delicious, rich shot of espresso out of any machine. Meaning that purchasing an expensive machine may be unnecessary.
Now, if you are not a coffee mastermind then you may require a little bit of a helping hand. This still does not mean that you need an expensive espresso machine. Many affordable espresso machines come with functions which help you get that perfect brew each time.
You may find it beneficial to purchase ground coffee rather than coffee beans. Otherwise you may have to add the extra cost of a coffee grinder to your budget.
Type Of Espresso Machine
When selecting your espresso machine, you should be aware that there are different types.
Manual/Lever Espresso Machines. This is the original espresso machine and they require a good bit of strength to pull the handle to produce a shot. They require a more advanced knowledge and skill to get the hang of. But they produce a smooth shot of espresso.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines. Rather than pulling a manual lever to pull your espresso shot, this machine will use an electric pump to produce pressure and push water through your coffee. It still requires the ability to weigh and grind the coffee yourself, but there is so much less effort than a manual espresso machine. They are extremely popular and come with a much lower price tag than a manual machine.
Fully Automatic Espresso Machines. These machines involve even less knowledge. Simply press a button and your coffee will brew, however. you won’t have nearly as much control over your coffee. The price of a Fully Automatic machine depends on the features it comes with.
Pod Espresso Machines. This is probably one of the most common espresso machines you will see within offices and home kitchens. They are generally fully automatic, working with a pod or capsule which is placed into the machine. They involve minimal clean up but they can be rather expensive to run with the pods being rather expensive themselves.
There are three different heating systems that are typically used by espresso machines.
The main difference between single and dual boiler boiler systems is the inconvenience of needing to wait before pulling shots or steaming milk, as well as cost.
One boiler is used in heat exchange systems, and it is kept at a steaming temperature. When compared, dual boiler systems are less expensive but more expensive than single boilers.
Thermoblock systems use a heating element to “flash heat” water, which reduces the amount of time needed to heat up the water and eliminates the need for additional shots of milk froth.
However, they may be unstable in terms of extraction temperature, which results in sporadic, inconsistent espresso shots.
Yes, even your own skill level of brewing coffee should be considered when purchasing an espresso machine.
If you are a current or ex-barista who knows the ins and outs of weighing coffee grinds, frothing milk to perfection and pouring that perfect latte then you may want to consider purchasing a semi- automatic machine. Or even a manual espresso machine.
These machines require more knowledge and skill on how to pull the perfect shot but they will take longer to complete.
On the other hand, if you have little to know experience in brewing coffee then you may have a rather intense learning curve ahead of you.
Many who are not skilled in the art of brewing coffee often opt for a fully automatic espresso machine or a pod espresso machine. Taking all of the guesswork out of pouring a steaming hot cup of espresso.
If you want to gain more experience in brewing the perfect shot of coffee and frothing milk to a thick, creamy consistency for a cappuccino then you can purchase a semi-automatic. However, you will experience quite a few less than perfect cups of coffee before you perfect the art.
Ease Of Cleaning
Your least favorite aspect of owning an espresso machine will probably be cleaning. We considered both short-term and long-term cleaning needs when calculating the cleaning easiness score.
Daily necessities include chores like cleaning steam wands and clearing drip trays. Descaling, which involves draining away mineral accumulation, is one of the long-term cleanings.
Descaling shouldn’t influence your choice as much as everyday cleaning because it’s only necessary every few months depending on usage and water hardness.
Generally, machines which use pods or capsules will be the easiest to clean. A separate milk frother considerably increases clean-up. If you frequently use milk, a super-automatic machine with an integrated automatic milk frother will make cleanup much simpler.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have answered some of the most common questions regarding espresso machines under $500.
How Do I Know If My Espresso Machine Is Good Quality?
You need the machine to be capable of reaching temperatures between 194 and 201 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, if you choose an automatic machine, it’s crucial to choose one with a premium grinder, such as a flat or conical burr with a medium rotation speed.
What Does 15 BAR Mean For My Espresso?
The espresso machine’s pump can only exert a maximum pressure of 15 bars while brewing. Even though that is the maximum pressure, espresso shouldn’t be extracted at that pressure. About 8 or 9 bars are the recommended extraction pressures.
So, as you can see, purchasing a machine which will provide you with a delicious, steaming hot cup of joe in the morning does not need to cost you your life’s savings.
Take a look at our top 5 picks for the best espresso machines under $500. Whether you are an expert at brewing coffee or want something simple to wake you up in the morning, there is a machine for you.
Be sure to check out our simple buyers guide to ensure you are selecting the best espresso machine for you and your needs.