6 Best Espresso Machines Under 1000, 500 & 200

Being a coffee enthusiast can be an expensive hobby. These days domestic espresso machines can cost as little as $100 to as much as $2000 and above. So finding the best value for your dollar is essential.

Luckily the coffee community has already searched, tested and ranked the best budget espresso machines out there. This post is a curation of most discussed and best espresso machines under $1000.

I’ve segmented the following machines into three price brackets ($200, $500, and $1000), beginning with the cheapest and working up to the threshold . Generally the more expensive machine the better performance you will receive. However there are a few cheaper options that still extract quality espresso. If you wish to learn more about the differences between espresso machine classes and boilers check out our espresso machine buying guide, if not, let’s get to it.

Best Espresso Machine Under $200

Espresso machines under $200 are basic entry-level machines. If you’re looking for a no frills coffee maker that can make decent espresso there are a few options. However, lower prices do come with compromises. Primary these cuts are shifted to the machine’s milk steaming abilities, boiler capacity and build quality.

For example, plastic is used instead of stainless steal and cheaper machines have weaker boiler pressure, which means making micro-foam and latte art is difficult. But if you’re seeking a simple morning ‘pick me up’ that makes good espresso and frothy milk, then the following have been voted as two as the best low end espresso machines. This is primarily due to their ability to accept both coffee pods and ground coffee, and their ease of use for the first time home user.

delonghiDe’Longhi 3450 Espresso Machine

  • Newest upgrade of the popular 15 pump series
  • Accepts both ground coffee and coffee pods
  • Assisted steaming wand for frothy milk
  • Upgrade of the original Delonghi 15 Bar
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Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Machine under 200Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker

  • Automated milk steaming for easy milk froth
  • One touch drink maker buttons
  • Optional manual espresso making for control
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Best Espresso Machines Under $500

Moving up from the entry level, mid market espresso machines under $500 offer features that go beyond basic espresso extraction. The main technical advantages are more reliant temperate and pressure controls, which result in a better overall coffee. But the aesthetic features also get an upgrade with better quality materials added to the mix.

Unlike cheap espresso machines, this class introduces you to ‘heat exchange’ boilers. Heat exchange boilers allow you to steam milk and extract espresso at the same time whereas budget espresso machines do not. Alternatively espresso machines in the lower mid-market have powerful single boilers, and although they cannot simultaneously steam and extract espresso, they pack a punch in the pressure department. For first time buyers with a bit more money to spend you’re probably better off buying in this price range as you’ll get a sturdier coffee companion that’s going to last longer and offer you features that’ll allow you to make better coffee. Below you’ll the best espresso machines under $500 we recommend.

gaggia classic under 500 coffee makerGaggia Classic Espresso Machine

  • Often voted as the best budget “work horse” espresso machine
  • Commercial grade 58mm portafilter
  • Single boiler with strong steam output
  • Replaceable steam wand (recommended to switch stock wand to a manual frother)
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breville barista express imageBreville Barista Express Espresso Machine

  • Inbuilt burr grinder (saves you $100-200 from not needing to buy a separate grinder)
  • Programable grinder auto-dosing and volumetric shot controls
  • Heat-Exchange boiler allows for simultaneous milk steaming and espresso extraction
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The best espresso machine in this category is the Breville Barista Express Coffee Machine. If you clicked on product link the first thing you might think to yourself is, “hey this machine is over $500!” Yes it may well be, however this machine is saving you at least $100-$200 from not needing to buy a peripheral coffee grinder due to it’s inbuilt one. This user friendly espresso machine not only saves you money but valuable kitchen space. However my favourite feature is the ‘auto-dose’ burr grinder that allows you to automatically grind the same amount of coffee for your espresso every time. And if there’s one holy term in the barista world it has to be consistency. This allows you to make exact measurements and with scientific precision, while steaming milk and extracting espresso at the same time due to its heat exchange system.

Best Espresso Machine Under $1000

Entering into upper threshold of espresso machines under $1000 introduces us to a whole new class of espresso machines – the dual boiler class. Dual boiler espresso machines have dedicated boilers for espresso extraction and steam pressure. Lower priced espresso machines usually have one boiler with either a heat exchange system or a manual switch that requires you to change functions. The benefit of a dual boiler system is exceptional temperature and pressure control and instant steam. Although heat-exchange boilers can simultaneously brew also, they’re much slower as they’re relying on one boiler instead of two. Furthermore, with the increase of price comes better build materials and technology. Including PID temperature controls, shot clock timers, programmable volumetric buttons and preheated group heads. The Breville Dual Boiler Semi Automatic (just over the threshold but worth it) and Rancilio Silvia espresso machine take the cake in this category.

rancilio silvia best espresso machine under 1000Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

  • An espresso machine with a cult following
  • Commercial 58mm portafilter and stainless steel build
  • Long life span (users report 8-10 years!)
  • Packs a great amount of pressure to steam milk and extract espresso
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breville dual boiler coffee maker Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

  • Dual boiler espresso machine (steam milk and extract espresso at the same time with no loss of pressure)
  • PID temperature control to adjust brew temperature to your coffee blend
  • LCD with shot clock and programmable shot buttons
  • Commercial build made with the enthusiast in mind

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The Breville (above) as its name suggests is a dual boiler espresso machine, which gives it the advantage over the Rancilio in terms of temperature control and speed. However, even though the Rancilio is a single boiler system it’s ruggedness and sturdiness is one of the main reasons why it has become a cult classic in the espresso world. People have reported a long lifespan of 8-10 years for the Rancilio, whereas the Breville hasn’t existed that long. But the main difference between these two is the price. The Breville is just over on the threshold for this article, whilst the Rancilio is cheaper by several hundred dollars. Both look professional and will sit well in any kitchen. So It really comes down to your budget and what you want out of your machine. Do you want a fast dual boiler machine with techie features such as shots clocks and digital controls? Then the Breville is for you. Do you want a solid and reliable single boiler coffee companion? Then pick the Rancilio.

Conclusion

That concludes our look at the best espresso machines under 1000, 500 and 200. We’ve had a look at both cheap and high end espresso machines. However there’s one class of espresso machine we didn’t fully cover in this article, and that’s super automatic espresso machines as we wrote a whole separate guide for them. Make sure to check it out.

Also for more information regarding the different types of coffee makers, check out our guide on the best latte machine reviews. And if you wish to brush up on your barista skills have a look at our coffee basics that’ll teach you everything you need to know to be a great barista.

  • Kaela

    Interested in also knowing the pressure information of the steaming wands when considering the best machine for latte art purposes. Are all these machines capable of producing silky smooth milk when spun correctly or should I be only considering the higher models lIke the berville dual boiler.
    I use to work at a coffee shop and am missing pouring latte art more than ever.

    • In order to make good micro-foam for latte art you’re going to have to pick a ~500+ machine. That means an espresso machine with a decent heat-exchange boiler system or invest a bit more in a dual boiler. Also a proper steam want is a must. Don’t get one with a “assisted steam wand” that are found in espresso machines under 200 as you cannot create proper micro foam with it.

      My first espresso machine at home was a $500 heat exchange and many of the early videos on this site were made with it. You can make latte art with them, it just takes longer for the steam to come out as it has to “warm up.” You can definitely make latte art like the one in your photo with them.

      The advantages of a dual boiler is that you get more of a “kick” out of your steam wand due to having an independent boiler, so the milk will be more textured as more concentrated air is introduced, which helps in more complicated designs – but a great espresso shot is just as important.

  • Kaela

    Would the berville batista express wand listed in this article suffice for latte art? Its right on the 500-600 range, however, when researching reviews for that product, a lot of the customers seem to have gotten half a year of use out of the machine. There are a lot of factors that could contribute to shorter life expectancies for machines, Im just trying to get the best machine for art purposes without draining the pocket too quick.
    Thanks so much for your help!

    • The Breville can 100% make latte art. The key in picking espresso machines for latte art is (1) make sure they have an manual steam wand and (2) make sure they’re either have a heat-exchange boiler or a powerful single boiler like the Rancillo.

      In terms of life span for the Barista Express I’ve heard that as well in a few reviews but most haven’t had any problem. If the machine does fail Breville has good customer service and should fix you up. However if you’re after durability and a long life span I’ll go for the Rancilio over the Breville as people have reported them going strong for 10 years! But you’ll have to get a good burr grinder with it as well.

      P.s. sorry for the (super late) reply. This comment didn’t show up on my notifications. Let me know what espresso machine you went with in the end.

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