Best Espresso Machines under $500 – Top Picks & Reviews 2019

Last Updated: by: Amanda T

an espresso-machine in actionIn the market for a new espresso machine? It’s understandable if you don’t want to spend a fortune on it. However, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if your budget for an espresso machine is in the $500 range, as this is where the quality increases sharply. While the truly inexpensive machines are often made of plastic and produce a drink that barely passes as an espresso, a budget with a little higher cap will result in a drink worthy of the name.

There are many choices out there, but we’ve done the research for you and made a list of eight of the best espresso machines under $500. Read on for our in-depth reviews and buyer’s guide that will help you find the best espresso machine for your needs.


A Mini Summary of our Favorite Picks for 2019

ModelPriceWarrantyEditor Rating
Breville BES840XL
small Breville BES840XL-A the Infuser
(Top Pick)

Check Price
1 Year4.75/5
Delonghi EC680M DEDICA
small Delonghi EC680M DEDICA
(Best Budget Buy)

Check Price
1 Year4.55/5
Breville 'Duo Temp Pro'
small BREVILLE BES810BSSUSC BES810BSS

Check Price
1 Year4.50/5
Gaggia Brera
Small Gaggia Brera

Check Price
1 Year4.40/5
Nespresso EN560B Lattissima
small Nespresso EN560B Lattissima

Check Price
1 Year4.20/5

8 Best Espresso Machines Under $500

1. Breville BES840XL Espresso Machine — Top Pick

Breville BES840XL-A the Infuser

This is the newer model of Breville that replaces the 830, and Breville made sure this time that the heating system would accurately control the water temperature. It uses a 1600-watt thermocoil heating system to ensure that your espresso comes out hot. You can make both single and double shots, and the machine has extra-tall cup clearance to brew directly into travel mugs. The removable water tank has a large capacity of 61 ounces, and there’s a dedicated hot water faucet. We especially liked the pre-infusion function, which pre-wets the grounds to enable full extraction. This machine is also equipped with power-saving modes that put it to sleep after one hour and auto shut-off after three hours. There’s an included steam milk frother capable of making creamy micro-foam.

The only problem we encountered with this model is that if parts do break, particularly after the one-year warranty is up, Breville charges a flat fee of $249 to repair the machine. This is obviously pretty pricey. However, the most common part that needs to be replaced is the steam ring, which simply wears down over time, and the cost to replace it yourself is only $2.99.

Pros
  • Pre-infusion function for even extraction
  • Removable water tank with large capacity
  • 1600-watt thermocoil heating system accurately controls water temperature
  • Makes single and double shots
  • Comes with an assortment of accessories
  • Dedicated outlet for instant hot water
  • Machine goes into a power-saving mode after one hour
  • Auto shut-off after three hours
  • Extra-tall cup clearance for brewing directly into travel mugs
  • Microfoam milk texturing
Cons
  • If the machine breaks after warranty, it’s expensive to repair

2. Delonghi DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Maker — Best Budget Buy

Delonghi EC680M DEDICA

Delonghi’s Dedica Espresso Machine is a great choice if you’re on a budget and need a machine that won’t take up a large amount of countertop space in your kitchen. It’s only six inches wide but uses 15 bars of pressure. It’s made of quality materials — stainless steel instead of plastic — and is easy to use. Despite this model’s small size, it includes a milk frother and has an adjustable drip tray to accommodate taller cups. The filter holder can hold enough grounds for one or two shots, or you can use an espresso pod.

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with the quality of this machine. It doesn’t last long before the water pump fails or begins to leak, so buying an extended warranty might be a good idea to protect your investment.

Pros
  • Stainless steel
  • Only six inches wide
  • Easy to use
  • Drip tray accommodates larger cup sizes
  • 15 bars of pump pressure
  • Manual frother
  • Three-in-one filter holder for one shot, two shots, or espresso pod
Cons
  • Leaks over time
  • Quality and longevity issues

3. Breville ‘Duo Temp Pro’ Espresso Machine

BREVILLE BES810BSSUSC BES810BSS

This is a more affordable version of our top pick, as this model of Breville espresso machine doesn’t include quite as many options. It’s made of stainless steel and uses 15 bars of pressure to create an espresso with a good amount of crema. The precise PID temperature control ensures that the water is kept hot, and this machine also has the pre-infusion feature to wet the grounds before extraction. The water tank has a fairly large capacity of 61 ounces, so you don’t have to refill it as often. It can produce a single or double shot of espresso and comes with an attached steam wand.

On the negative side, this model does not include a dedicated hot water faucet or pressure gauge. It can also be difficult to figure out how to pull the best shot of espresso for your tastes due to the variability in grind size, amount of grounds, and the inability to tell what pressure the machine is using.

Pros
  • Stainless steel
  • 15 bars of pump pressure
  • 61-ounce water tank
  • Single or double shot
  • Steam wand for steaming and frothing milk
  • Precise PID temperature control
  • Pre-infusion function for even extraction
Cons
  • No dedicated hot water faucet
  • No pressure gauge
  • Can be difficult to use

4. Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso-Machine

Gaggia Brera

If you’re looking for a fully automatic espresso machine, this is a great choice. The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic grinds whole beans with its ceramic burr grinder, so all you need to do is add the coffee beans and water. It also accepts ground coffee, so you can bypass the hopper. The brewing is fully programmable and allows you to choose two sizes. You can adjust the height for larger cups. Pre-infusion gives the coffee a chance to bloom, which allows for a sweeter shot of espresso. This model includes a frothing wand that doubles as a hot water dispenser, and it has steam on demand. We also appreciate that both the water reservoir and dreg box pull out from the front of the unit for easy access.

We did encounter a few problems with this machine, however. First, it’s high maintenance. It needs to be descaled often, and you’ll find yourself refilling the water tank every day. It can also leak out on the countertop, which can be frustrating to clean up. Also, it only has one boiler, so you can’t steam milk and pull a shot of espresso at the same time.

Pros
  • Brew with either beans or pre-ground coffee
  • Programmable brewing
  • Pre-infusion
  • Both water reservoir and dreg box pull out from the front of machine
  • Steam on demand
  • Frothing wand doubles as hot water dispenser
  • Adjustable cup sizes
Cons
  • Leaks
  • One boiler
  • Water tank needs to be refilled often
  • High maintenance

5. Nespresso Lattissima Touch Espresso Maker – For Nespresso Fans

Nespresso EN560B Lattissima

If you love Nespresso and lattes, this is the machine for you. It not only has a built-in milk frother but a milk carafe as well, so you can make latte after latte with the push of a button. It can make six different espresso drinks, including macchiatos and cappuccinos. This model uses 19 bars of pressure and is ready in less than 40 seconds. It has a sliding drip tray to accommodate different cup sizes, which is a much-needed feature when you’re making lattes. It also has a descaling alert and cleanup is fairly easy.

However, this machine only uses Nespresso pods, which can be restrictive for coffee types and brands. The pods are also pretty expensive, so that’s an ongoing cost to be aware of. You also can’t adjust any of the settings for brewing like you can with a semi-automatic espresso machine. If you’re not a fan of milk and espresso, then you might want to look at other options that don’t include a dedicated milk carafe, as it’s just a waste of your money.

Pros
  • Six one-touch drink options
  • Sliding drip tray for different cup or glass sizes
  • Removable milk carafe
  • Descaling-needed alert
  • 19-bar pressure pump
  • Ready to pull a shot in less than 40 seconds
Cons
  • Uses only Nespresso pods
  • Cannot adjust settings for brewing
  • Nespresso pods are pricey
  • Not the best option for those who don’t like lattes

6. KitchenAid & Nespresso Espresso-Maker Bundle

KitchenAid KES0504OB

If you’re not into making lattes or cappuccinos with your Nespresso, then this is the better choice for you. It comes with a milk frother, but it doesn’t have a dedicated milk carafe like the Nespresso Lattissima. It’s available in a variety of colors to match any kitchen theme and has a small footprint, so it doesn’t take up much room on your countertop. There are six pre-programmed settings for brew strength and an adjustable cup shelf to accommodate different sizes.

There are a few downsides to this machine. Although KitchenAid is a fantastic brand, it doesn’t seem to make espresso as well as Nespresso does. The water reservoir is also difficult to remove and clean. Lastly, this machine only uses Nespresso pods, which can be pricey.

Pros
  • Available in different colors
  • Easy loading capsules
  • Included milk frother
  • Brew strength selector
  • Adjustable cup shelf
Cons
  • Doesn’t make espresso as well as machines made by Nespresso
  • Water reservoir difficult to remove
  • Uses Nespresso pods only
  • Nespresso pods can be pricey

7. Saeco HD8645/47 Vapore Automatic Espresso Machine

Saeco HD8645-47 Vapore

This is another fully automatic espresso machine option that has an adjustable grinder with five settings. For easy cleaning, the brewer part of the machine is fully removable. It also includes a milk frother.

Unfortunately, this machine is made up of mostly plastic, so the quality is questionable. It’s also excessively sensitive and high maintenance. Many times, it senses that the water tank is empty when it’s not, or it senses no beans in the hopper when it’s actually full. Lastly, the drip tray tends to leak.

Pros
  • Five-setting adjustable grinder
  • One-click removable brewer
  • Includes a milk frother
Cons
  • All plastic
  • Poor quality
  • High maintenance
  • Overly sensitive
  • Drip tray leaks

8. EspressoWorks All-In-One Cappuccino & Espresso-Machine

EspressoWorks 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine

EspressoWorks offers another budget buy option with a machine that comes with numerous accessories and a built-in milk frother. It’s ready to use in only 45 seconds and has a 15-bar pressure pump. The water tank is removable and allows you to easily see how much water is left.

Unfortunately, this machine has quite a few problems. One is that the espresso it produces just isn’t that high quality. The unit itself also leaks and seems to push the water through the coffee grounds too fast. Because there are so many adjustable settings, it can be difficult to figure out how to make the best cup for you. The grinder, although nice to have, clogs easily. The overall durability of this machine is questionable, as it seems to have longevity issues.

Pros
  • Ready to use in 45 seconds
  • Easy-view removable water tank
  • 15-bar pressure pump
Cons
  • Watery, weak espresso
  • Questionable quality
  • Leaks
  • Difficult to use
  • Grinder clogs easily
  • Questionable durability

Buyer’s Guide

When you’re shopping for the best espresso machine, regardless of budget, there are a few important things to consider. We’ve included a list in our buying guide below:

Bars of Pressure

To be considered an espresso, the water must be pushed through the coffee grounds at least at nine bars of pressure. The higher the pressure, the faster you can pull a shot. Many of the machines on this list offer 15 bars of pressure, so espresso can be made very quickly and with a thick crema.

Materials Used

Because of the pressure requirements of espresso, you want a machine made of quality parts. Ideally, that means it will be made of stainless steel. Or if it has plastic components, it will be the superficial parts, like the outside of the machine or the water tank. Important components like the pressure pump and the heating coil should be made of metal.

Powerful Heating Features

Espresso should be hot. You want a machine that can heat water fast and keep it hot as it is pushed at high pressure through your tamped-down coffee grounds. Make sure the heating elements are of high-quality materials and won’t easily break down over time.

Semi-automatic vs Automatic

If you like to have control over the way your machine pulls a shot of espresso, then you should choose a semi-automatic machine. This way, you can control the amount of grounds, tamp them yourself, and possibly even adjust the brew strength, depending on the machine.

If you’d rather add the coffee and water — or even whole coffee beans into a hopper to grind — and have the machine do the rest, then an automatic machine is your best option.

Espresso Four

Adjustable Cup Sizes

Many of the machines on our list include the ability to accommodate different cup sizes, which is important if you like cappuccinos or lattes — you’ll need a bigger cup for the milk. However, if you prefer a single or double shot of espresso without milk, then this feature might not matter as much to you.

Built-In Milk Frother

Most espresso machines have a built-in milk frother to turn the espresso into a creamy cappuccino or latte. If you prefer your coffee drinks to have milk, then this is an important feature to have.

Size of Machine

If you’re short on countertop space in your kitchen, then the size of the machine is critical. Many of the models on our list are slimmer, but the negative of that is the water tank usually being smaller. Even if you have plenty of space in your kitchen, you may not want a unit that takes up a great deal of room. Be sure to check out the specifications of each machine to ensure that it fits on your countertops.

Extra features

Many of the machines on our list include extra features like a dedicated hot water faucet, multiple accessories, or a pre-infusion function to allow the coffee to bloom. If you’re on the higher end of the under-$500 budget, then you may prefer a model that can do it all.

Ease of Cleaning

This may be a machine that you use daily, so it’s best if it’s easy to clean. Features like front-loading water tanks or removable parts that come into contact with the coffee grounds make cleaning easier.

Ease of Use

Some machines can be complicated to use, especially if you’re unfamiliar with tamping the grounds in a portafilter. Other machines offer a fully automatic experience, where all you have to do is push a button. It just depends on your comfort level and willingness to learn.

Conclusion

Our top pick for the best espresso machine under $500 is the Breville BES840XL/A the Infuser Espresso Machine because it has so many great features. One of the best is the pre-infusion function, which makes sure the grounds are given the chance to bloom before you pull a shot. It’s powerful enough to keep the water hot and has plenty of pressure for a superior cup of espresso. We also appreciate the smaller features, like the dedicated hot water faucet, included accessories, and built-in milk frother.

The Delonghi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine is our best budget buy because of its small footprint and powerful 15 bars of pressure. Though small, it comes with a milk frother and an adjustable drip tray for different cup sizes. It also allows for using coffee grounds or espresso pods.

We hope that our reviews of the best espresso machines under $500 and buying guide has allowed you to narrow down your list of options. Most importantly, we hope it has helped you find the best espresso machine for your needs.


Featured image credit: Rita E on Pixabay.