You will get to know what factors contribute to making an espresso machine outstanding among the lot and some good espresso makers that 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 specific questions that will help you make 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 usually 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 have selected the best espresso machine under 500 dollars for you. These machines, alongside being affordable, also come with several 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 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 that 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 many 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; they do everything by themselves because they are programmed to do so. However, 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, making them customizable but challenging 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. Now, cleaning does not mean wiping it with cloth from outside, but instead cleaning it from the inside 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 mentioned 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 probably be using at home or office, these machines are usually average size. Among these espresso makers, height is almost always the same, but the width is always different. Suppose your espresso maker comes with its own grinder, frother, and other features. In that case, it will probably have more width than those that 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. They come from popular brands with a long history of making great espresso, tons of features, and automatic brewing methods. A 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 the best. However, 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 probably be an older model, or if it is new, 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 a fantastic espresso maker, but better options are still 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 to achieve the drink you are looking for. Settings like brew strength, brew volume, grind size, etc., help you 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. There is a lot to talk about grinders, their type, and the size adjustment they offer, which is a 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 fantastic milk foamy texture that makes you enjoy your drink. And also 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, certain features 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 than one that does not have 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. It might be the best one for the lot, and you might be inclined to buy it although it is programmable and you do not need the feature.
And other features like the cup warmers and water filter would be nice to have, but it does not actually matter. Just make sure the water you use is filtered and the cups are kept at an average temperature, not outside the house, at the entrance door.
Best Espresso Machines under $500 in 2022
1. Calphalon BVCLECMP1
Best at all
Removeable water tank, Milk frothing
When it comes to the best espresso machine under 500, users expect some best features and ease of use. Calphalon has introduced this best espresso machine to fulfill those expectations of what you look for in a budget espresso machine. Now, let’s come to the point that a tasty and flavorful espresso cup with a beautiful layer of crema is the main reason to pick the espresso machine with extra cost. So with a 15-bar Italian pump Calphalon’s, this model delivers the right pressure to provide you with all this. More, you can operate it easily with the dial interface that provides steam, hot water, single and double shot selections. There is a PID temperature control to provide heat for brewing taste-rich espresso. In addition, its 2.0L water reservoir comes with a hinged lid so it can be easily filled. What’s more in the package, a cup warming tray for your brewed espresso cup and a steam wand to froth milk for other drinks such as cappuccino, latte, and more.
2. 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 of 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 countertop compared to other espresso makers. Still, it can brew multiple drinks, including single and double espresso, latte, or cappuccino. You might have to struggle with it later on because 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.
3. 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. Suppose you already own an espresso maker and want to upgrade to something that comes with even more features and functionalities. In that case, Breville BES840XL/A is the best option. For 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.
4. 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. Those who have used it for a coffee brewer and an espresso maker 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 simply 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.
5. Gaggia Brera Super Automatic
A 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 appears like 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 incredible. Not only it brews an amazing espresso, but it 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.
6. SOWTECH espresso machine
Cheap yet sustainable
Compact design, Easy to use
To enjoy espresso cup on travel, compact design and easy to use espresso machine is all. The reason for reviewing the SOWTECH espresso machine here is to introduce you to a perfect travel partner. With its powerful 3.5 bar pressure, it entertains your 1 to 4 cups efficiently. Creamy froth on cappuccinos and lattes has its own addition to most people, and this machine treats well with it as per its frothing option. From easy operation to accurate temperature control, it works remarkably with the best controls. In addition, if you want to start your day by drinking espresso on the go. It will be your best companion as delivering the rich espresso is just the game of seconds for it.
7. Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima
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. 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 many controlling options on it because it handles everything itself to the best standards, which is why it is ranked number one in our list of best espresso machines under 500 in 2022.
What does espresso bar pressure mean?
A bar is a unit of atmospheric air pressure that equals 14.7 pounds per square inch. This is the pressure which you feel at sea level. Now for water to push through the fine coffee grounds when making espresso. You need high pressure to ensure 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. 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 how much you are 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 all plastic and the boiler inside is made of low-quality material, it might not last even a full year. Anyways, suppose you take good care of your espresso machine. It has its own quality from the manufacturer as well. In that case, 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, it will definitely cost you a higher price. Things like accuracy, standard bar pressure, standard brew temperature, built-in grinder, and steaming wand make 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 worry about. You only need to make sure that you read the user manual in detail and with focus. Once you are done 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 an excellent way to go.