If you’re going to Starbucks every day for your latte, you could save a lot of money in the long term by just getting an affordable machine for home use. However, how much do they cost?
Are cheap espresso machines even worth it?
Cheap espresso machines can be worth giving a chance if you carefully select the right one. Some cheap machines get all the basics right to make a decent shot of espresso at a low cost right in your own kitchen.
The machines used in coffee shops cost tens of thousands in dollars because they need to work every day to make a lot of coffee. These machines are made of the most durable materials to last as long as possible. They brew coffee at optimal temperatures for just the right amount of time. A good quality machine also soaks all the coffee grounds equally to give the best flavor possible.
There are some pricey espresso machines for home use that can produce high-quality espresso. There are options that are very strong and long-lasting, and while these are cheaper than coffee-shop machines, they still cost many thousands of dollars.
So which espresso machines do a good job at home without costing a fortune? In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what lower-range espresso machines have to offer for home use.
Warning: Never add hot water to an espresso machine. This can cause serious issues inside the unit. Always use water that’s room/tap temperature.
De’Longhi Espresso and Cappuccino
This is a decent espresso machine that will get the job done at a very low price.
One of the key features is that you can use pods or ground coffee in this machine. So you can use a pod if you want a specific flavor, or in the mornings if you’re running late, a pod can be a little quicker.
But for times when you want to enjoy the taste you get from freshly ground coffee beans, you can do that as well.
Two thermostats help to brew the coffee at the ideal temperatures. The boiler is stainless steel for a long-lasting design.
This machine makes a decent espresso. Not quite the quality you’ll get at a reputable coffee shop, but it does the job you expect at such a low price.
- Brews coffee well at the right temperature.
- Very easy to operate.
- It doesn’t take much counter space and it looks very good.
- Easy to clean.
- Consistent brewing results.
- Makes a good espresso at its price range.
- It’s a noisy machine.
- Doesn’t last long. 1 to 2 years maximum.
- High return rate. Many defective units.
Breville 1 Vertuo
Breville is known for its reliable coffee and espresso machines. This one uses capsules, which makes operating the machine quick and easy.
It heats the water up for 15 to 20 seconds before saturating the grounds, this helps to extract all the flavor from the beans. Some cheap machines pour cold water over the grounds for a while before the water heats properly, leading to weak espresso.
The design allows you to fit different cup sizes underneath the spout, from espressos to 14 oz coffees.
Vertuo espresso makers use a patented technology that spins the capsule up to 7000 rpm, which produces the perfect crema to complement your espresso.
This is the most expensive espresso maker on the ‘cheap’ list at just under $200. It’s well worth it if you can stretch the budget to this point, as it’s far better than the cheaper machines on the list.
There’s also a welcome set with 12 Nespresso capsules.
- Wonderful espresso every time.
- Quick pre-heating in under 20 seconds.
- Very easy to use, one-touch operation.
- Long-lasting components.
- Can produce a rich crema on top.
- Takes up little space.
- You can’t use your own ground beans for a fresher taste.
- Coffee capsules are more expensive than coffee beans.
- Only accepts Nespresso Vertuo capsules.
EQK Espresso Maker
This is another machine that we can suggest if your budget is low, but your coffee standards are high. It does a good job of brewing the grounds at the right temperature with NTC control.
You can set the machine to make one or two cups at the same time. Use the adjustable steam wand to make a creamy froth from milk.
It has a detachable water tray for easy filling at your tap.
This machine produces rich flavored coffee at a fair price.
Caution: Clean off the steam injector each time after you take off the coffee holder otherwise you’ll get coffee grounds built up in the gasket.
- A 20 bar pressure pump to extract the flavor of the coffee on a higher level.
- A high-quality steam nozzle and hose for the smoothest and thickest froths.
- Excellent temperature control.
- You can warm up two cups of coffee on the top of the machine.
- The price is low for an espresso machine.
- Easy to clean.
- Many units are faulty and need to be exchanged.
- Made from weak materials.
Sowtech Espresso Machine
This is one of the cheapest espresso machines you’ll find. But how does it perform? Unfortunately, not that great. Anyone who knows how their espresso should taste is going to find the results displeasing.
If you follow all the instructions carefully, you can make an espresso that some people may be content with.
As with all coffee machines, don’t add hot water into the machine, just use normal tap water. Some customers have reported exploding machines, and we think that this could have been the cause.
The water doesn’t flow through the coffee ground properly and creates a flow channel which leads to horrible tasting coffee.
Overall, we don’t recommend this machine as it doesn’t deliver full, rich-tasting espressos.
- One of the cheapest espresso machines you’ll find.
- Compact design to take up less space.
- Very easy to operate.
- Accurate temperature control.
- The steam wand does a good job at frothing milk.
- It can be a bit slow.
- Espresso comes out a bit weak.
Nespresso Essenza Mini
This is a machine that uses capsules for convenience and consistency. It’s another machine that actually qualifies as a cheap espresso machine that’s worth it.
This machine produces great-tasting espressos and only the more experienced espresso fans might not be convinced. For the majority, including us, this machine makes rich and flavorful coffee with many flavor variants to choose from.
It’s minimal on-counter space, which is a big bonus in small kitchens.
We like this espresso machine, it’s easy to operate, especially while waking up in the morning. It puts out very consistent results because of the capsule system.
- Consistently produces great-tasting coffee.
- Extremely small on the countertop.
- Easy one-touch operation.
- Includes welcome capsule kit.
- Super quick heating.
- It’s not built to last many years.
- Small water holding capacity.
Lavazza Espresso Machine
Here’s another good espresso machine that uses capsules like the Nespresso above. The company is over 125 years old and based in Italy.
The machine uses a high-pressure system for maximum flavor extraction and has long or short brew settings as well.
Being a single-serve machine, it can’t get any easier, just load your capsule in, place the cup on the drip tray and press a button.
We love these types of espresso machines for their consistency and convenience at a low price.
- Easy to use.
- Transparent water tank for easy viewing.
- There’s a capsule draw for up to 5 capsules.
- Not as good as coffee shop espressos, and the machine won’t last much more than a couple of years in most cases.
- Espresso is weak for some.
- You should clean the machine after every use or it will clog.
Gevi Espresso Machine
With a metal finish, this well-priced espresso machine is easy to clean and stain-resistant too. But more importantly, it makes a good cup of espresso. It uses 15 bars of pressure to extract the full flavor of the coffee grounds.
You can froth up some milk with the built-in frothing wand. The water tank holds almost a gallon of water, so you don’t have to refill as often.
There’s a temperature dial for you to keep track of brewing temperatures to get the best possible espresso.
Although we approve of this machine, we recommend rather going for the De’Longhi at around the same price.
- It’s an affordable option that gets the job done adequately.
- You can set the steam wand to certain strengths and rotate it 360 degrees.
- You can keep a close eye on temperatures with the help of the analog temp gauge on top.
- It’s very easy to operate.
- Brew two espressos at the same time.
- The water reservoir is 1.5 liters, and it’s removable.
- You need to clean the seal ring as per the instructions every time you make a cup of coffee.
- The build is weak, and the components usually fail within a year.
To get anywhere near the standards of a reputable coffee shop espresso, you’re going to need to pay at least $500 to $1000 for a good espresso machine. Having said that, the De’Longhi, Jassy, and Nespresso Essenza are all decent machines at their price point.
Any one of these three recommendations could be a good place to start in your coffee-making journey. If you really enjoy the process and get a good coffee grinder as well, you could upgrade to better machines further down the line. These espresso makers are perfect for getting your feet wet with home brewing.
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