Are you tired of giving your hard-earned money to Starbucks? Do you break into a sweat when you check popular espresso machine brand prices? It might seem like there’s no way to avoid spending big money for a good espresso shot.
Luckily, the market is full of affordable espresso machines that pull more than decent espresso shots. My top three choices are:
The machines I’ve included on my list of top 10 Best Budget Espresso Machines are some I’ve used myself. These machines generally cost under a few hundred dollars. I also talked with my friends and family to get their recommendations and opinions, and I’ve checked other user reviews.
I’ll break down each of the top 10 choices, so you can decide on the best espresso machine for your needs and budget.
Top 10 Best Budget Espresso Machine
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1. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista highlights:
- Automatic milk frother
- 15-bars pressure pump
- Pulls single and double shots
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is my top choice because it pulls high-quality espresso shots. It has a 15-bar pressure pump, which produces plenty of crema on your espresso.
This coffee maker comes with an automatic milk frother, which is rare to see on an espresso machine at this price point. It’s easy to use — press one of the buttons on the three-button interface, and the machine will brew your coffee drink. It creates light, creamy foam, and you can choose between foam levels, which is a nice customization option.
When the espresso machine is done frothing the milk, it automatically pours it into the cup, so there’s minimum work required on your part.
Mr. Coffee can brew single or double espresso shots when you need an extra caffeine kick, which makes it one of the Best Budget Espresso machines.
The 54 oz water tank and milk reservoir are removable, so they are easy to refill and clean. Plus, you can store the milk container in the fridge when the machine is done frothing.
It comes with a portafilter, single and double shot filters, and a plastic tamper in the package. While the plastic tamper isn’t ideal, the package provides everything you need to start pulling shots at home, and it’s a good alternative until you’re ready to upgrade to more high-end accessories.
Who is it for? Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista espresso machine is for novice espresso-lovers who don’t want to be overwhelmed by a million drink options. You can choose between single or double espresso shots, latte, and cappuccino with a press of a button. It’s a good option if you want milk-based drinks but don’t want to learn how to use a steam wand.
Automatic milk frother with multiples texture levels
15-bar pressure pump
Includes portafilter, tamper, single and double filters
Adjustable cup tray can fit different mug sizes
Plastic build and accessories
2. Gevi Espresso Machine
Gevi Espresso Machine highlights:
- Italian ODM 15-bar pressure pump
- Two thermometers for temperature control
- 360 degrees rotating steam wand
Next up is the Gevi espresso machine. It’s a 15-bar high-pressure Italian ODM pump that can achieve the right amount of pressure for stable extraction and flavorful espresso. Plus, you’ll have a rich layer of crema on top.
This Gevi coffee machine stands out thanks to the active temperature control feature. The machine comes with two thermometers: one for water and another for milk temperature.
You can control temperature, which is often missing on budget espresso machines. It’s a great feature as temperature control ensures better extraction and flavor.
You can also control the foam and steam levels, which lets you make various espresso-based drinks to your preferences.
Gevi comes with a milk frothing wand, so you can make milk-based drinks like cappuccinos, latters, and even a flat white. The wand rotates at 360 degrees, so it’s easy to use. The wand also has a removable froth nozzle, so it’s easy to clean.
There’s a removable 50 oz water tank, which makes refilling easy. The tank is transparent, so you’ll always know it’s refilling time. The machine comes with a portafilter, funnel, and tamper.
I liked that the cup holder at the bottom is removable, so I could fit taller mugs. There’s also a buoy that lets you know it’s time to empty it. Finally, this espresso maker has a heating cup holder at the top. You can keep your cups warm and have a hotter espresso.
Who is it for? This Gevi coffee maker is a good option if you want precise extraction and control over your espresso. You can always monitor and set the temperature yourself and choose between foam levels. It’s also a good choice if you want to learn how to froth milk.
50 oz water reservoir
Brews single and double shot espresso
Removable drip tray for fitting tall mugs
Drip tray indicates when it’s full
Heating cup tray
Funnel can fall off easily (be careful with installation)
The machine doesn’t stop pouring automatically
No automatic features
3. DeLonghi EC155
DeLonghi EC155 highlights:
- Has a narrow footprint
- Can be used with ESE pods and ground coffee
- Stainless steel boiler
DeLonghi EC155 is extremely lightweight at 6.68 pounds. It’s a compact machine with a narrow footprint (12.2 x 19.3 x 15 inches), so it’ll fit into the smallest kitchens.
However, the smaller size means there’s a smaller water reservoir as well — 35 oz. This is enough to pull plenty of espresso shots before refilling, but if you like larger drinks such as lattes, you’ll have to refill more often.
There are two thermostats, so there’s separate temperature control for steam and water. This means there’s less waiting time between steaming and brewing, and the temperature is more stable.
EC155 comes with a swivel manual milk frother, which is a little on the short side, so it’s difficult to work with large amounts of milk. Also, there’s not enough space to fit taller cups under the group head.
This machine has 15 bars of pressure, a removable drip tray, and a stainless steel boiler, which makes it very durable. It has a three-in-one portafilter compatible with both ESE pods and coffee grounds. You can pull a single or double espresso shot.
The coffee machine comes with a plastic tamper, which I found difficult to use, and quickly switched with a stronger stainless steel one, so expect that you’ll have to invest in accessories.
Who is it for? DeLonghi EC155 is an excellent choice if you’re pressed for counter space. This is also a good espresso machine for beginners. You can learn the craft and how to work a steam wand before moving to more advanced espresso machines.
Stainless steel boiler
Lightweight and compact espresso machine
Compatible with ESE pods and ground coffee
Brews single and double espresso shots
No automatic features
Small water reservoir
Plastic parts and accessories
4. DeLonghi ECP3420
DeLonghi ECP3420 highlights:
- Ready to brew in less than a minute
- 3-in-1 portafilter
- Removable drip tray for fitting larger cups
The next Best Budget Espresso Machine is the DeLonghi ECP3420. This espresso machine is made with durable ABS plastic with stainless steel accents.
Even though the material is more plastic than stainless steel, I found the machine to have a solid build. There’s also storage for extra filter baskets underneath the lid by the water tank.
However, it comes with plastic accessories, such as the tamper and portafilter. The plastic tamper was particularly problematic as I couldn’t get compressed grounds in the portafilter. This happens with a lot of machines on this list, and I quickly switched to a stainless steel one.
ECP3420 comes with a 15-bar pressure pump and a pressurized portafilter. I liked that I could adjust the pressure and change the extraction level, so I could give my espresso more or less body. The portafilter is a 3-in-1, so you can pull a single or double shot espresso and use it with ESE pods.
This is a manual espresso machine, so it won’t stop pouring on its own. You’ll have to stop the brewing process on time.
Another thing I liked about DeLonghi ECP3420 is its fast heating time — it takes less than one minute to start brewing from the start, thanks to the self-priming option.
There’s also a rapid reheating system, so you can pull several espresso shots in succession. Or, you can switch to steaming, and the machine will be ready to froth your milk in 30 seconds.
However, the steam wand often failed to froth. It can get the milk hot but can’t achieve the microfoam needed for a latte and latte art.
Who is it for? DeLonghi ECP3420 is a good choice if you’re a beginner barista on a budget. It’s also good if you have limited space or don’t have a lot of time to prepare coffee. This espresso machine brews coffee quickly, and you can pull shots one after another.
Self-priming option for a fast heating time
Fits coffee grounds and ESE pods
Plastic tamper isn’t strong enough
Weak pump system; portafilter clogs easily
Steam wand can’t achieve the high pressure needed for microfoam
5. DeLonghi Stilosa
DeLonghi Stilosa highlights:
- Machine body is an attractive matte black finish
- 2-cup holder
- 34 oz water tank
The final DeLonghi Best Budget Espresso Machine is Stilosa. Like other DeLonghi espresso machines, Stilosa also has 15 bars of pressure, so it can pull a delicious espresso shot.
The Stilosa has an excellent boiler that makes the best espresso shots of any machine on this list. It can also pull various specialty drinks because it comes equipped with a milk steamer.
Stilosa design deserves a special mention — it’s a matte black finish with a plastic and stainless steel combo, which will fit into any kitchen decor.
This espresso machine can also pull single or double shots, and you can use it with pods when you want a quick brew.
The espresso machine comes with a manual steam wand. The wand takes some time to loosen up, so the range of motion isn’t the best in the beginning. Also, it tends to blow out cool or lukewarm air and can’t make the tight microfoam needed for lattes.
However, it’s easy to clean. You can take off the metal steam wand cover and wipe down the rubber part that’s inside.
A lot of users complain of a strong plastic smell that lasts for days, which makes sense as the machine is about 90% made of soft plastic and rubber on the inside. However, the boiler is stainless steel, so it’ll last for many years.
Stilosa comes with a 2-cup holder, so you can use various cup sizes. There’s also a wide drip tray that catches any spills. The removable water tank is 34 oz, and there’s a water indicator, so you don’t have to check the water level constantly.
Who is it for? DeLonghi Stilosa is a good option if you want an espresso machine that’ll look attractive in your kitchen. It’s one of the most affordable options on this list. You can make milk-based drinks and fit various cup sizes.
2-cup holder fits various cup sizes
Water indicator tells water levels at all times
Hot water for tea and hot chocolate
Compatible with ESE pods
Steam wand doesn’t have enough pressure to produce quality steam
Pressure can’t always achieve 15 bars which can result in weak espresso
No water filter
6. Nespresso Vertuo by Breville
Nespresso Vertuo highlights:
- Fully automatic pod coffee machine
- Reads the barcode on the pod and automatically brews coffee
- 15 seconds heating time
A Nespresso machine is different from an espresso maker. However, it’s a good budget-friendly way to get a similar result.
Nespresso Vertuo lets you brew an espresso shot with a press of a button. There’s no need to measure, grind, tamp, and lock in the portafilter because this coffee machine uses pods. Simply put in the coffee pod, press the button, and wait for the machine to make your coffee.
Nespresso makes two kinds of coffee machines (and capsules) — OriginalLine and Vertuo. This is a Vertuo machine, which means you can only use Vertuo pods. Each pod comes with a barcode, which the machine automatically reads when you press the brew button, so there’s minimal input required from you.
Vertuo has Nespresso’s Centrifusion technology, which spins the capsule at least 7,000 times a minute to achieve optimum extraction.
We’re fans of Nespresso Vertuo at Craft Coffee Spot, as the technology brews richer espresso with better pod flavors.
However, you’ll have to invest in pods, but it’s cheaper than Starbucks. Vertuo can brew four different cup sizes: espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, and coffee. You can also pour drinks over ice and make iced coffee or latte.
This coffee machine comes with a 40 oz removable water tank. There’s an adjustable drip tray, so you can fit different mug sizes. Finally, it has a fast heat-up time of only 15 seconds, which is great when you’re in a hurry or if many people use this espresso maker in a work environment.
The machine automatically ejects capsules when done brewing, and it can hold up to 17 capsules, so you won’t have to empty it out frequently.
Who is it for? If your primary concern is convenience, this is the espresso machine for you. Considering this is a pod system, the espresso quality is good. The machine is extremely easy to use, especially if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to go through the process of pulling your own espresso.
Brews 4 different drinks
Automatic shut off after 9 minutes of inactivity
Every Nespresso machine comes with 12 free capsules
Easy to use
Only compatible with Vertuo pods; somewhat expensive
Drinks not warm enough for some users
7. Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio 2
Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio 2 highlights:
- Automatic pod machine
- Only compatible with Dolce Gusto pods
- 21 oz water reservoir
Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio 2 is another Nespresso single-cup pod machine. This machine doesn’t use Vertuo pods as the previous coffee machine, but Dolce Gusto pods. The pods are fine coffee grounds hermetically sealed to maintain the aroma and flavor of your coffee drinks.
No humidity or oxygen can get in. The machine applies 15 bars of pressure to the pods when in use. This results in high-level extraction and good flavor.
You can choose between 15 different flavors of capsules, including espresso, Americano, cappuccino, latte, and more.
My favorite feature of this espresso machine is that it can make both hot and cold coffee, which is rare for coffee or espresso machines (except for the Dinamica, which is a far higher price). It also brews coffee quickly.
It has a 21 oz water reservoir, which is on the small side. Expect that you’ll have to refill it often, especially if you like larger coffee drinks.
Dolce Gusto Genio 2 doesn’t read the pod barcode automatically as Vertuo does, but it’s still easy to use. Slide in the pod, use the toggle stick to choose the drink size, place the toggle on a hot or cold setting, and press the brew button.
The capsule displays bars that you should match on the machine LED display. Overall, this espresso machine requires slightly more work than a Nespresso Vertuo, but it takes less than a minute. Plus, the machine will automatically stop pouring, so you can press the brew button and walk away.
Who is it for? Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio 2 is another good machine if convenience is your primary concern. This is a good option if you like different espressos and coffee options, as it can brew intense, medium roast, and full-bodied dark roast espresso, as well as cappuccinos and lattes.
Brews hot and cold drinks
Stops brewing on its own
Automatic shut off after 5 minutes
Over 15 compatible pods
Comes with a used capsule bin
Small water reservoir
Can only be used with Dolce Gusto compatible pods
No ground coffee option
8. Capresso Ultima Pro
Capresso Ultima Pro highlights:
- Automatic tamping
- Thermoblock heating system
- Single and double cup programmable buttons
Capresso Ultima Pro deserves a spot on the list of the Best Budget Espresso machines because it has a lot of features that you typically only see on high-end espresso machines. I did some digging and found Capresso’s parent company is Jura, who’s known for expensive state-of-the-art espresso machines.
We reviewed and like Jura machines, and I’m glad they bestowed their technology to more affordable models.
The self-tamping portafilter is a feature that makes the Ultima Pro stand out from others. The brew head above the portafilter is shaped like a parabolic disc, and it tamps the ground coffee when you lock in the portafilter. This means you don’t need to buy a separate tamper and removes the tedious art of tamping.
Capresso Ultima Pro espresso maker has a 15 bar pressure pump that’s the standard in espresso machines. The heating system is stainless steel lined Thermoblock. This espresso machine heats up in under ten seconds for both steaming and pulling shots. This means you won’t have to wait long between the two actions.
Capresso Ultima Pro has a preset shot volume, so you don’t have to hover and make sure to turn it off. You can override this by pressing a button to stop the pump early and re-program the shot volume too. It’s a pretty impressive functionality for a budget espresso machine.
One part I found somewhat lacking is the steam wand. It can’t generate vortex because of the way the milk is expelled. I mostly got big bubbles instead of fine foam. Also, there’s no option to purge the steam wand, which makes the cleaning easier.
Who is it for? This machine is a good option if you want high-end features on an affordable budget. If you don’t mind wiping it down after each use, and you’re fine with automatic tamping, you’ll love Capresso Ultima Pro.
Automatic tamping makes espresso easy and consistent
Single and double shot options
Fast heating time
Warming cup tray
There can be leaks around the portafilter, due to automatic tamping
Fingerprints show easily
No removable drip tray
9. Hamilton Beach
Hamilton Beach highlights:
- Slide-in portafilter
- Swivel wand
- Cup warmer
Like the other options on the list of Best Budget Espresso Machines, Hamilton Beach also comes with a 15-bar pressure pump, so it can pull good espresso shots, and milk-based drinks thanks to the steam wand.
It’s easy to use and maintain as it comes with a removable drip tray and a see-through water tank. There’s also a swivel wand and a small cup warmer. Essentially, there’s everything you need to get the job done.
This espresso maker can pull one or two shots, and you can brew various cup sizes. You can use ground coffee or ESE pods. All shots I pulled had a good body and a thick crema.
One feature that makes Hamilton Beach stand out is the slide-in portafilter. People with arthritis in their hands will especially like this feature.
There’s no need to manhandle the portafilter and twist it into place to lock in the brew head, as is the case with many other espresso machines. You slide in the portafilter in Hamilton Beach, and you’re done.
Who is it for? Hamilton Beach is a good espresso maker if you struggle or just don’t want to deal with locking in the portafilter. This compact machine is a good size if you’re short on space and don’t mind the plastic build.
Swivel milk frother
Removable black plastic piece on the steam wand helps froth better
A lot of plastic parts
Oxidizing filter holder
Spits water outside of the cup
10. Chefman 6-in-1
Chefman 6-in-1 highlights:
- Stainless steel finish
- Automatic milk frothing
- Self-cleaning option
Chefman 6-in-1 may be the last on the Best Budget Espresso Machines list, but it’s certainly not the least. This espresso maker can brew single or double shots, cappuccinos, and lattes.
The feature that sets this espresso machine apart is the built-in milk frothing mechanism. Simply pour milk into the milk reservoir, and place the silver froth dispensing tube over the cup. Then hit the single or double shot button.
The espresso machine is extremely easy to clean, as this espresso maker has an internal cleaning function. Press the clean button on the control panel when you’re done brewing, and the machine will clean itself.
You should still clean the detachable parts, such as the water tank and the drip tray, but they are dishwasher safe, which makes the use even easier. The stainless-steel finish doesn’t leave fingerprints, and it’s easy to wipe down with a cloth.
The control panel has eight buttons. They make use easy and give the espresso maker a sleek look. However, I didn’t like the placement of the buttons and how sensitive they were.
I often bumped one of them accidentally, which meant I had to shut off the machine quickly before the coffee, water, or steam started shooting out everywhere. This wasn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but it required careful machine handling.
Who is it for? Chefman 6-in-1 is a great espresso machine if you don’t want to froth the milk separately or figure out how much milk to add for a cappuccino versus a latte. The machine does it for you. It has buttons that are easy to use and brew single or double serve. Finally, it’s extremely easy to clean, thanks to the self-cleaning option.
Dishwasher safe removable parts
Easy to use interface
Automatic milk frothing
60.8 oz water tank
Doesn’t have a consistent pour
No espresso pods, only ground coffee
Too sensitive buttons
Should You Buy a Budget Espresso Machine
Ultimately, it’s up to you if you should buy a Budget Espresso Machine. We tend to think of budget machines as “starter” machines. You’ll either get intrigued and spend more, or decide this isn’t for you.
If you really want to start drinking quality espresso, my advice is to spend a little more on one of the higher-priced machines.
You can get better components on a more expensive machine, like a PID controller, that will make espresso MUCH better. However, if you’re set on a budget machine, here’s what to consider before deciding.
Ability to Generate at Least Nine Bars of Pressure
The machine has to push pressurized hot water through fine, tightly packed coffee grounds to get a flavorful espresso shot with crema on top. The industry standard for getting the best shot is 9 bars, but many espresso makers have a pump that reaches 15 bars of pressure.
9 to 15 bars is the range you should go for optimum extraction. If the machine can’t achieve 9 bars of pressure, you’ll end up with a weak, under-extracted shot, and if it goes over 15 bars, you’ll have a bitter, over-extracted shot.
Most of these machines can generate the needed pressure, but consistency will lack. Budget espresso machines will struggle if you want to pull a larger shot (say over 40ml). Look for an option that has a thermoblock heating system or a boiler with larger capacity.
Build quality will determine how long your espresso and cappuccino machine will last. Steel usually lasts longer than plastic.
Build quality doesn’t refer only to the exterior but the interior as well. If many reviews report the machine leaks (most common), clogs, or even explodes over time, it’s better to stay clear of it.
The milk frother is another important consideration if you like milk-based drinks. You can choose between a manual steam wand or an automatic frother.
Generally, automatic frothers can’t create the microfoam needed for lattes, but they are good at making thick foam for cappuccinos, which means less work for you.
Manual wands are usually better at creating different foam levels, but look for one that can generate high-pressure needed for latte art. Overall, consider how much control you want over the frothing process.
Best Budget Espresso Machine: Final Thoughts
All the machines on this list are good choices to get started making espresso at home. However, if you want a consistently good espresso flavor, you should consider investing more.