You will get to know what factors contribute to making an espresso machine outstanding among the lot and what are some good espresso makers which you can buy at affordable prices. Besides, our list of espresso machines compiled below incorporates some of the most popular espresso machines from well-known manufacturers. At the end of this page, you will also find answers to certain questions which will help you in making your mind about your next espresso machine.
Many would agree that owning an espresso machine is the best thing. It covers you for a lot of things, makes things easy and your day happy. The question is, how to choose the best one? And how much to spend on an espresso machine? Are Espresso makers normally affordable or is an espresso machine a complex and expensive machine? Well, everything is covered in our guide and FAQs section. But just so you know, if you are willing to spend somewhere near $500 for an espresso machine. Then you are at the right place, we selected some of the best espresso machine under 500 dollars for you. These machines alongside being affordable, also come with a number of features and quality standards which ultimately result in a fine cup of espresso drink.
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Best Espresso Machine Buyer’s Guide
An espresso machine can be either a simple one or it could be way complex for anyone to understand in the first few uses. This tells us that in an espresso machine there are things which you need to know beforehand and make sure you have features in your espresso maker which you will be needing later on. Below, we will take you through a number of features and process qualities that will let you know if any espresso machine you choose is up to the mark or not.
Some espresso machines come with just the power and brew button, such machines do everything by themselves because they are programmed to do so. However, the thing with this type of espresso maker is that they are expensive and you can not control things like strength and volume etc. The only thing you get to change is the flavor of espresso which you can by changing the beans. On the other hand, some machines come with a ton of options and buttons which makes them customizable but difficult to use. So the crux of this whole story is that you will have to decide between a simple yet effective but expensive or a complex but cheap option.
Most of the part of maintenance is the way you can clean an espresso maker. Hereby cleaning we do not mean wiping it with a cloth from the outside, rather cleaning it from the inside too for its long life. For this sort of cleaning, you have to make sure that the water container of the machine is easily removable. Then you need to check that the inner filter and brewing unit are easily accessible for whoever you want to clean it. Also, the drip tray of your espresso maker should have enough capacity to take you through the day and should be easy to remove as well. Similarly, there are certain things related to ease of cleaning and maintenance which we have mentioned with each review mention in this article.
Espresso machines come in all sizes. You will come across both small and large espresso makers. The size of an espresso machine varies based on the features it offers, the functionality it works on, and its capacity to brew. Since we are talking about espresso machines under $500 which you would most probably be using at home or office, so these machines are usually normal size. Among these espresso makers, height is almost always the same but the width is always different. If your espresso maker comes with its own grinder, frother, and other features it will most probably have more width compared to those which come with just a bar pump and nothing else. So, the gist of all this is that make sure the machine you buy will, later on, fit the countertop in your kitchen or wherever you place it.
Good espresso machines are expensive, no doubt they are. This is usually because they come from popular brands with a long history of making great espresso, tons of features, and automatic brewing methods. So any good espresso machine with all the bells and whistles on it will cost anything in the vicinity of $1000. However, you can jump way below this price and still find good espresso makers. Since this article is specifically about espresso machines for under 500 dollars, you should know that these machines are best but there still are better options available should you decide to invest more.
Anyway, for $500 what you get is a good espresso maker. But it will either be an older model or if it is new then it will definitely lack certain features. In some cases, the espresso machine might look perfect and consist of all options, but it is a lite version of its main machine. In short, $500 will get you an amazing espresso maker but there still are a better options available.
If you are investing 500 bucks, make sure your espresso maker comes with more than one option for the type of drinks it brews. Apart from the basic espresso shot, you should be able to brew latte, cappuccino, and lungo in some cases. However, these drinks do not usually come as a one-point button option, you might need to re-program all the settings in your machine in order to achieve the drink you are looking for. Settings like brew strength, brew volume and grind size, etc help your change the type of drink you want.
Your espresso is not what it should be if the coffee you use is freshly ground. And for this, you need to have either a built-in grinder in your espresso maker or a separate grinder for the coffee beans you use. In any way, if you do not have one of the two options mentioned above and you use pre-ground coffee which comes in packets then your espresso would not be what it is supposed to be. Now, there is a lot to talk about grinders, their type, and the size adjustment they offer which is totally different topic. Anyways, while investing $500, you should not be expecting a built-in grinder with all espresso makers of your choice. Some will have it and some not.
Not everyone likes their espresso as is. Some of us like to have a latte or cappuccino at times or maybe all the time. This is where the need for a built-in milk frother or a steam wand comes in. These features on your espresso machine worth $500 will give you the liberty to get that amazing milk foamy texture that makes you enjoy your drink and release all tension of the day or maybe start a fresh energetic day. So, built-in milk steaming wand in your espresso machine gives you the liberty of preparing multiple drinks which is good not only for you but for times when you have guests or friends over at your place.
Apart from what you read above, there are certain features that do not directly affect the quality of an espresso machine but having them will be a cherry on top. Some of these features would be the ability to be programmed, a water filter, and a cup warmer area. The programmable espresso machine will always cost more compared to one which does not come with the said feature so you should not be spending more just for it unless you really need it. However, the thing is one can not skip an espresso machine just because it is programmable and is expensive. The thing is that it might be the best one for the lot and you might be inclined to buy it despite the fact that it is programmable and you do not need the feature.
And other features like the cup warmers and water filter are things that would be nice to have but it does not actually matter. Just make sure the water you use is already filtered and the cups are kept at a normal temperature not outside the house at the entrance door.
Best Espresso Machines under $500 in 2022
1. Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima
Best editor’s choice espresso maker
Spills post Brew
Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima comes with a one-touch mechanism which means it does everything on its own. All you do is add a coffee capsule, your desired amount of milk if you opt for a milk drink, and then it does everything starting from heating up, then frothing the milk, preparing your drink, and finally kicking the used capsule into a container. Amazingly enough, the machine takes just 25 seconds to reach the temperature by which it is ready to brew espresso. Adding to its quality, even more, is the fact that it operates on 19 bar pressure which means the final espresso makes it tasty as one can get. You may not see a lot of controlling options on it which is because it handles everything itself to the best standards and which is why is ranked number one in our list of best espresso machines under 500 in 2022.
2. Breville BES840XL/A Infuser Espresso Machine
Best infuser espresso maker
Pre-infusion system, Thermo-coil allows for fast start up
Can be slow for high volume
Breville is well known for manufacturing coffee and espresso makers. In fact, some of the best models on the market are from this brand. If you already own an espresso maker and you want to upgrade to something which comes with even more features and functionalities then Breville BES840XL/A is the best option. In 500 dollars it gives you everything you will ever expect from a quality espresso maker. It comes with a brushed stainless steel body, 15 bar pressure, can be programmed, and the ability to either brew one or two cups at a time. Furthermore, its built-in steam wand and tamper are things that add more to its attraction.
3. Gaggia Brera Super Automatic
Best budget super-automatic espresso machine
Powerful pump, Pre-infusion, Built-in grinder
Water capacity, brewing and steaming not simultaneous
From the looks, it shins but seems a bit disorganized. The drip tray seems as if it is not a part of it and everything above it is pushed back. However, when using it and turning to functionalities this machine is wonderful. Not only it brews an amazing espresso but comes with its own built-in grinder which is awesome. And you can always bypass the grind and pre-ground coffee if you use those. The Panarello wand on it is not just for frothing but also dispenses hot water when required. Moreover, besides all these features, controlling the machine is pretty because of all the simple buttons and the knob which you can use for changing between brewing espresso or using the wand.
4. De’Longhi America EN750MB Lattissima Pro
Best rated Delonghi Nespresso Machine
Store used capsules, Touchscreen Panel, Auto-cleaning function
Weight, Short power cable
Nespresso machines are all about automation and the best results. The one being reviewed also comes with an amazing brewing speed, taste quality, and ease of use. De’Longhi America EN750MB uses Delonghi patented extraction system which means 19 bars of pressure with good water flow and of course a good end result in the form of taste. Unlike other machines, the controls of it lie on the top of the machine in the form of touch screen. Since the machine is not very tall so the top controls make it easy to use. And obviously being a Nespresso machine it relieves you from the handwork of grinding beans and you can directly use Nespresso capsules.
5. Nespresso EN550B Lattissima
Best nespresso machine with pre-programmed drinks
value for a milk and pod machine, One-touch drinks
Restricted to compatible pods
Our next best espresso machine under 500 is a Nespresso as well. The thing with Nespresso machines is that they make things super easy. This Nespresso Lattissima lets you choose from a wide range of pre-programmed drinks which include espresso, lungo, latte, cappuccino, ristretto, or simple hot milk. The foam texture it gives to the milk inside the frother is second to none and thanks to its auto-shutoff mode which helps you save energy. The espresso machine is compact in nature and therefore can be placed anywhere easily. Finally, similar to some other Nespresso machines its control buttons lie on top of it in contrast to conventional design where the controls lie at the front.
6. Delonghi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar
Top rated compact espresso machine
Small size, Can use grounds or pods, Heats up fast
No built-in grinder, No tamper included
By its looks, Delonghi EC680M DEDICA seems to be more a classic espresso machine from the old days but it isn’t. Its efficiency surprises you when you use it. The machine takes relevantly less space on your counter-top compared to other espresso makers but is capable of brewing multiple drinks including single and double espresso, latte or cappuccino. One thing you might have to struggle with later on is that each time you will need to add coffee grounds into the filter manually since there is no built-in grinder. And obviously, convenience is further amplified when you want to use a taller mug because you can easily adjust or remove the bottom drip tray on it.
7. De’Longhi BCO430BM
Best all in one espresso machine
2 in 1, Built-in Frother
Inconsistent at times, No Grinder
De’Longhi BCO430BM is an all-in-one combination espresso machine and coffee maker at the same time. For those who have used for both a coffee brewer and an espresso maker, they can simply go for this one. This saves you from dedicating extra space to both machines separately and also helps you reduce the buying cost. For below $300 you get hold of a brewer using which you can make espresso, latte, cappuccino, or simple up to 10 cups of black coffee in a single go. As usual, the perk of buying a Delonghi is that you get its patented system with 15 bars of pressure which makes sure a smooth a nice espresso shot.
What does espresso bar pressure mean?
A bar is a unit of atmospheric air pressure which equals 14.7 pounds per square inch. This is the pressure which you feel at sea level. Now in order for water to push through the fine coffee grounds when making espresso, you need high pressure to make sure all the flavor, essence, and oils actually come through and give you a nice espresso shot. This is why 9 bars is set to be the standard for espresso brewers and in some cases, you will even see espresso machines with 15 bars or even higher pressure.
How long should an espresso machine last?
Well, the lifetime of your espresso maker totally depends on how it is constructed and the fact that how much are you putting into it. Any espresso maker with a stainless-steel body and similar components should last for quite some time. On the other hand, if you go for something which is all plastic and the boiler inside is made of low-quality material then it might not last even a full year. Anyways, if you take good care of your espresso machine and it has its own quality from the manufacturer as well, data says such machines will do anywhere from 8 to 10 years.
Why are espresso machines expensive?
They are not always expensive, but yes the good ones always are. You can always get a budget-friendly espresso maker which will not cost you a big amount at all and will still be able to brew good espresso shots for you. However, when you aim for the best and want all the bells and whistles with it then it definitely will cost you a higher price. Things like accuracy, standard bar pressure, standard brew temperature, built-in grinder, and steaming wand are what makes the price higher.
As a first-time buyer, what exactly do I need to know?
Owning an espresso maker is a big deal, it makes your life easy. If you are buying or have bought one for the first time, there is nothing to be afraid of or worry about. You only need to make sure that you read the user manual in detail and with focus. Once you are done with reading the manual, you can simply switch in ON and start using your espresso maker. Just so you know, occasionally cleaning your espresso maker from the inside and throwing out the used coffee ground as soon as possible is a good way to go.