You’re on the hunt for the best espresso machine you can buy, but you’re not in the mood to spend $2,000. Don’t worry, you’re not alone…but if you have ever tasted a finely tuned brew from a Breville BES980XL or the more affordable but still pricey 870XL, you know what it is like to experience the ‘Rolls Royce’ of espressos. Similar to the De’Longhi America EN750MB Nespresso machine, these models can run consumers over $500 to create their morning pick me ups. But what about us folks who are looking for a solid, delicious espresso that is just as appetizing to our wallets as it is to our mouths? Affordability does not necessarily mean a large drop off in performance when looking at machines $200 and under.
When comparing 7 different units side by side, ultimately the battle of the best espresso machine came down to the Lello 1375 Ariete Cafe Prestige and the Espressione-DeLonghi of Italy 1324. The Lello is durable, reliable and ready to brew one after another for your sharp palate. That said, the Espressione-DeLonghi 1324 slightly edges the Lello because of its versatile espresso system capable of using both grounds and pods. In short, both will serve you well, but only the Espressione sets itself apart in delivering unmistakably perfect frothy mixtures.
If price is your biggest hang up on getting an espresso maker, then the De’Longhi EC155 may be the right fit for you. On the lower end of pricing in comparison to its competitors, it offers a simple and easy design while maintaining quality both inside and out for an admirable overall score. With its swivel jet frother, it effortlessly prepares fully rich drinks similar to Keurig coffee makers at this level of design.
William Buckley, a reviewer from Amazon, states, “I’ve used this twice a day for 3 months. It’s still working like a charm.”
“I must say that this machine is probably the best coffee maker I have ever purchased. My coffee intake is huge (equivalent to approximately 6 espresso shots daily) so this machine made my coffee expense lower.” – Jose, Amazon Reviewer
This reviewer, like others who have purchased the Nespresso Inissia, touched on perhaps its biggest selling point, which is that it can be bought at a reasonable price (around $100) and save you money in the long run. While drinking an espresso may seem like instant gratification at the time, padding your wallet for the future can be just as rewarding. The Nespresso Inissia also boasts a 25 second pre-heat time and a 19 Bar high pressure pump.
Mr. Coffee is a recognizable brand name, but is that enough to merit buying it? Reviewers have noted the ease of its straightforward control panel, and the fact that it is not too flashy of a system may be comforting for those looking for the standard espresso experience. The Mr. Coffee ECMP1000, like most of its competitors in this field, has a removable drip catcher and water reservoir, but with a retail tag of around $150, most people are buying the brand more than the machine itself. If you are not a fan of the bells and whistles of more expensive models and desire something that is a little easier to use than a lot of other espresso machines, the ECMP1000 will be right up your alley.
Amazon reviewer Elizabeth echoes this sentiment by saying, “Great espresso machine! Not too big and easy to use.”
If you are looking for a rapid-fire type device, capable of delivering cup after cup, take a look at the Lello 1375 Ariete. Up to 9 cups can be warmed for use in the cup warming area. The stainless steel look matches its efficiency and the 1 year limited warranty backs up its promises of quality. Perhaps most impressive about the Lello 1375 is how durable it is for its convenient size. This model will not take up your entire counter top but will maintain the exquisite tastes and smells you enjoy from your morning espressos.
Zoo_luvr_4_life on Amazon speaks to its longevity: “6 years later and this bad boy is still going strong-ish. This has been with me through 7 homes..” Wow. Best espresso machine indeed.
The Nespresso Pixie starts to explore the more luxurious side of coffee drinking. If your personality embraces things like LED indicators and auto power-off features mixed with a sleek exterior, the Pixie will happily join your appliances family. The Nespresso Pixie looks like a sort of futuristic lunchbox, but don’t let that sway your opinion negatively. A fast pre-heat time of under 30 seconds, simple ejection and insertion of capsules as well as a programmable volume quantity ensures that the Pixie packs a mean punch of positive performance.
Tony Ukena, an Amazon buyer (see his review in the photo below), raves: “I’m a coffee fanatic and this is coffee heaven.” In fact, 3 out of 4 of the 500+ reviews on this Nespresso machine gave a 5 star rating which is quite a feat.
The Espressione-DeLonghi is one of the best espresso machines at a doable price because of its ability to be a dual threat in working successfully with serving pods and ground coffee. It offers overheat protection to make sure your frothing and brewing is done to perfection and its 15 bar thermoblock maintains safe heating. The beautiful construction and three filters that hold different forms of coffee exemplify its versatility to suit every coffee drinker easily. This isn’t the lowest-priced unit in this list at about $199, but compared to expensive makers like the aforementioned Breville BES980XL Oracle, its quality is surprisingly comparable to the higher priced models.
Amazon reviewer Julius Garai: “Not everyone likes coffee the same way. This espresso machine lets you make espresso to your taste.”
If the price of this machine is beyond your budget, DeLonghi offers a similar version of the same machine for about $50 less (as of this writing), the Espressione-DeLonghi of Italy Thermoblock Espresso Machine.
The most affordable in this list of designs, the Hamilton Beach 40792 will probably not be the best espresso machine on the planet but, as with many of Hamilton Beach’s products, some rave about their purchases while others cry with regret. This isn’t meant to be a condemnation of this particular espresso machine, but its dorm room looking exterior and lack of abilities to fine tune a taste might be significant drawbacks to some. The Hamilton 40792 offers what most of the other espresso makers in this list do: 2 step set-up, cleanable structure, and swiveling steam wand. However what holds the Hamilton back is its generic taste and feel.
Amazon reviewer Anthony Forney agrees, stating, “the biggest letdown was the frother. I tried my different techniques, and could never get a good, even foam.” Still, if you’ve had good luck with Hamilton Beach in the past and want to save some money on your espresso adventure, this one might be worth a “shot.”
There you have it! 7 of the best espresso machines you’ll find at a price you can afford. Happy brewing.