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Rich, creamy, and quick to drink, a shot or two of espresso can be a great way to start your day. But paying coffee shop prices or buying a high-end machine might be too expensive for your budget. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to pull a great shot of espresso.
To save you time shopping and researching, we tested the best models on the market. Keep reading for our ranking of the eight best espresso machines under $200, complete with detailed reviews comparing price, durability, design, features, and warranty. With the help of our espresso machine buyer’s guide, you’ll be buying a wallet-friendly model in no time.
|Mr. Coffee Café Barista|
|DeLonghi EC702||6 Months||4.35/5|
|Nespresso Vertuo||1 Year||4.20/5|
|Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot||1 Year||4.10/5|
Our favorite espresso machine was the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. This semi-automatic model, which features an automatic milk frother, can produce espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos using its 15-bar pressure pump.
This machine is easy to use, with a simple, three-button interface and automatic and manual options. It’s one of the more expensive models we reviewed, but the package includes a portafilter, plastic tamper, and single and double shot filters.
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is on the bulky side, weighing 10.37 pounds, but boasts a generous 54-ounce water reservoir, a convenient auto-off feature, and a removable milk container. This machine has a reasonably attractive silver and black body, and though it does have less durable plastic components, Mr. Coffee offers a one-year warranty.
If you’re working with a tighter budget, the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker offers great value for money. This reasonably-priced manual model, which weighs a lightweight 6.68 pounds, is great for a hands-on brewer. Featuring 15 bars of pressure, a swivel manual milk frother, and a removable 35-ounce water tank and drip tray, the EC155 has an impressive array of features for its low price point.
One of our favorite features is the durable stainless steel boiler. The three-in-one portafilter is compatible with ESE pods or coffee grounds and can brew single or double shots. We did find that the built-in plastic tamper was somewhat difficult to use, so you may prefer to supplement it with a stronger metal one.
At this price point, the extensive use of plastic components isn’t a surprise, but it does feel less durable. Fortunately, De’Longhi offers a one-year warranty. The dial is not particularly intuitive, and the instructions are not terribly clear. If you’re willing to spend some time learning this machine, you’ll be rewarded with delicious, low-cost espresso.
The De’Longhi EC702 has an attractive stainless steel and silver plastic construction and a sturdy stainless steel boiler. The twin brew head, which is compatible with ESE pods and coffee grounds, can brew single or double shots.
The EC702 is on the heavy side, weighing 11.5 pounds, and fairly expensive. It features an easy-to-clean, dishwasher-safe removable 44-ounce water reservoir and a manual milk frother. In testing, we found that the water reservoir was somewhat difficult to remove and the built-in plastic tamper does not work perfectly. Unfortunately, this model took longer to heat up than other models we reviewed.
De’Longhi offers a one-year warranty, though repairs can be expensive and the customer service is not the most responsive.
If you’re a fan of Nespresso single-serve pods, the Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine could be your pick. This attractively streamlined model features an intuitive interface and can brew five cup sizes: 1.35 ounces, 2.7 ounces, 5 ounces, 7.7 ounces, and 14 ounces. With a removable 40-ounce water tank, an impressive 15-second heating time, and a convenient auto-off feature, this high-end 10.85-pound machine has quite a few features.
The Vertuo uses Nespresso’s patented Centrifusion technology, which spins capsules over 7,000 times a minute for better coffee extraction. The machine reads barcodes on the pods to automatically adjust its settings, so you won’t have to fiddle with settings to get a great shot of espresso. This does mean that it’s only compatible with Nespresso’s Vertuo line of coffee capsules, which can be more expensive. The package includes a welcome pack of capsules, and you can order more through Nespresso’s website.
If you’re concerned about the plastic waste from single-use pods, take a look at Nespresso’s pod recycling program. Nespresso offers a generous two-year warranty backed up by great customer service.
The attractively-priced Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System can be another good option, offering 15 bars of pressure, a dual shot brewing head, and a manual frother. It offers less value for its low price than our budget pick, but it could be a good choice if you prefer a more automatic machine.
Weighing a somewhat heavy nine pounds, this model features a decently compact silver and black body with simple brew, steam, and ready indicators. The removable 40-ounce water reservoir is reasonably-sized, and the package includes a plastic scoop and tamper.
This model does not feel particularly durable, so it’s convenient that Mr. Coffee offers a one-year warranty. In testing, we found the frothing arm difficult to use and clean, and the plastic tamper not quite strong enough to pack a portafilter well.
Fairly expensive and very heavy, the Klarstein BellaVita Coffee Machine wasn’t one of our favorites, but it does offer a range of options and a fairly attractive black body.
This bulky 12-pound machine brews with up to 20 bars of pressure and features a removable 47-ounce water reservoir and a 13-ounce milk reservoir connected to a built-in milk frother. With very little automation, you’ll have to keep an eye on this machine and end each espresso pull yourself.
Our favorite feature was the self-cleaning cycle, which makes keeping this model clean significantly easier. The included instructions are not very straightforward, and the filter, unfortunately, has less durable plastic components. Klarstein offers a generous two-year warranty, though we found reports of expensive shipping for repairs.
By far the smallest espresso maker we reviewed, the STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine is highly travel-friendly, weighing under a pound and operating without electricity. This low-cost model features an attractive, geometric plastic exterior, sold in black or white, and a durable stainless steel pump and coffee chamber.
The STARESSO promises up to 20 bars of pressure and is surprisingly easy to press by hand. You’ll only be able to make one shot at a time, though, as it can only hold 2.7 ounces of water and half an ounce of coffee grounds at a time. This model is compatible with coffee grounds and Nespresso pods, though you’ll have to manually puncture them.
The STARESSO is easy to use and comes apart to facilitate cleaning. It’s not the most durable, though, so it may work better for occasional use while camping or traveling, rather than daily home use. STARESSO does offer a lengthy two-year warranty.
Our least favorite option, the ROK EspressoGC, is lightweight and hand-operated, but doesn’t offer many features and is surprisingly expensive. It has an interesting mechanical design and includes a measuring cup and a single-spout portafilter with a detachable plastic attachment for brewing a double shot.
This hand-operated model is very literally best if you’re a hands-on brewer. It does take some mobility and effort to operate. Weighing only three-and-a-half pounds, the EspressoGC has non-slip rubber on the bottom for easier operation.
Unfortunately, the boiler reservoir is made of less-durable and potentially toxic plastic. The pump offers between eight and 10 bars of pressure, which may not be enough for a great shot of espresso. Rok offers a very generous 10-year warranty for metal components, though you may have to pay for shipping.
Now that you’ve taken a look at our favorite espresso machines under $200, you’re ready to get shopping. But how do you decide which features you should be looking for? Read on for our quick guide to the important features of an espresso maker.
Espresso makers typically take up a fair amount of space on your kitchen counter. Since it will be pretty visible, you may want to consider what kind of appliance will look best in your kitchen. Do you like the shine of metal models, or do you prefer a low-key black profile? Do you care if your model is largely made of plastic, or would you prefer stainless steel?
Are you an experienced espresso maker? If you’ve worked as a barista or owned espresso makers for years, you may be interested in a manual model, which will allow you hands-on control over every step of your brewing process.
If you don’t know quite as much about espresso or don’t want to put in the time to learn a new machine, you may prefer a semi-automatic model. These machines will do some of the work for you. In the under-$200 price range, you won’t find quite as many automatic features, like built-in grinders and self-tamping.
Espresso machines notoriously require constant, extensive cleaning to operate well. If you’re willing to incorporate that cleaning into your daily routine, ease of cleaning features may not matter to you. If you have less time and patience for cleaning your machine, you may be interested in features like self-rinsing.
Espresso machine prices can vary widely. Even in the under-$200 category, there’s a range, so you may want to consider how much you’re willing to spend. Are you willing to spend more to get all the features you’d like, or are you willing to sacrifice features for a lower price?
While traditional espresso machines are large and typically stay on a counter, you can also purchase lightweight, portable versions. Do you want an espresso maker that you can take camping or use in the office? You may want to keep an eye out for small, hand-operated models. If you mostly pull espresso shots at home and have space on your counter, you may prefer a larger, sturdier model.
How many shots of espresso do you brew every day? If you brew quite a few, you may want an espresso machine with a large water reservoir, so you won’t have to refill it constantly. You may also prefer a twin-brew head, which will allow you to brew into multiple cups at the same time. If you just brew a shot or two at a time, you may want a more compact, streamlined machine.
To pull a shot of espresso, you push pressurized hot water through finely-ground, tightly-packed coffee beans. But how pressurized does the water need to be? The industry-standard pressure is nine bars, which means nine times the atmospheric pressure at sea level. Many brewers believe that a pressure of 15 to 17 bars produces better espresso. You may want to consider what level of pressure you’d like for your home brewer.
Espresso machines require very finely ground dark roast coffee beans. For the freshest flavor, you’ll want to buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing, as coffee beans begin to lose flavor 15 minutes after grinding. If you’re grinding beans at home, you’ll want to take care to grind them finely enough and pack them tightly into your portafilter.
If you hate dealing with coffee grounds, you may want to look for a machine that is compatible with single-serve pods, like Nespresso capsules. These are likely to be more expensive, but you won’t have to worry about grinding beans or correctly tamping them into a portafilter.
The third option is Easy Serving Espresso, or ESE, pods. Invented by Italian coffee company Illy, these soft, eco-friendly pods work with specifically-designed espresso filters and take the guesswork out of your espresso preparation.
Espresso machines can be complicated, with many moving parts, so your warranty may come into play. All of the machines we reviewed have at least a one-year warranty, though they may go all the way up to 10 years. Keep in mind that even if your machine is covered by a warranty, the manufacturer may still charge you for shipping or repairs. You may want to read the warranty information carefully before purchasing a machine, and register your machine with the company when you receive it.
Our top pick is Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker, which has lots of useful features, a simple interface, and convenient automatic options. If you’re working with a smaller budget, you may want to try the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker, a lightweight, low-priced manual brewer offering great value.
With so many expensive espresso makers on the market, you may have a hard time finding a high-quality machine for less money. We hope our list of the eight best espresso machines under $200, with comprehensive reviews of each model, helps you find a great option quickly and easily. Your next great shot of espresso isn’t so far away after all!
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