Being a coffee enthusiast can be an expensive hobby. These days domestic espresso machines can cost as little as $100 to as much as $3,000 and above. So finding the best budget espresso machine is essential to get value for money.
Luckily the coffee community has already searched, tested and ranked the best affordable 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 most expensive.
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 in this post, if not, let’s get to it.
Best Budget 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 more 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.
The cheapest no frills espresso machine.
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Ideal for people who don't want to froth their own milk.
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Best Cheap Espresso Machine 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.
A great value for money machine, as it contains commercial equipment for a good price.
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The best low price espresso machine for the average consumer.
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The best inexpensive espresso machine in this category is the Breville Barista Express Coffee Machine. Read our full review of the Barista Express to learn more.
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. Also it is a machine that goes on sale very often, so you can pick it up for under $500.00 on black friday coffee deals or other sale events.
This user friendly espresso machine not only saves you money but valuable kitchen space. My favorite feature is the ‘auto-dose’ burr grinder that allows you to automatically grind the same amount of coffee for your espresso every time.
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 Affordable 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.
A machine with a cult following. Sturdy and produces good coffee.
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Best suited machine for the coffee geek. Dual boiler. Superior speed and control.
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The Breville Dual Boiler 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 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 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.
That concludes our look at the top 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 latte machines. 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.