What’s The Best Budget Espresso Machine in 2020? Our Top 8 Picks
There isn’t anything like a dark espresso shot encircled with sweet crema in the morning.
But if the cost of your coffee addiction is mounting up, don’t worry. You can make great budget-friendly coffee right at home…As long as you have the right equipment.
Below we give you the low down on the top choices for the best budget espresso machine, starting with our top pick:
alternative Wallet-Friendly Espresso Makers
The 8 Best Budget Espresso Machines
When selecting the right espresso maker on a tight budget, it’s often a good idea to have a sense of where to start.
We’ve thoroughly reviewed eight easy to use espresso machines, which you may want to consider below.
While they have some similarities such as all having a 15 bar pressure, they also all present their own unique advantages:
Mr. Coffee is ideal for those who want to make (budget-friendly) espresso and cappuccino drinks without the guesswork.
- It can make a wide range of espresso-based drink options, making it a full-on cappuccino maker.
- Easily removable water tank.
- The push-button operation takes the guesswork out of making drinks.
- Comes with a recipe book to help you get started.
- It’s easy to clean.
- Automatic milk frothing often doesn’t produce the same quality foam that steaming milk by hand does.
- Not made from stainless steel.
If you have experience or interest in making more advanced drinks with milk this espresso and cappuccino maker might be for you.
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista has a milk pitcher that automatically froths milk perfectly. There’s also an adjustable knob that lets you adjust the foam to milk ratio.
You also can select whether you want a latte or a cappuccino, and the machine will froth the milk to your liking.
Of course, espresso quality matters when making coffee. The Cafe Barista brews rich-tasting espresso, perfect for adding steamed milk to.
When you make each drink, an easy push-button control lets you choose whether you want a single or double shot.
After making each drink, you have the option to remove the milk pitcher and store any unused milk in the fridge.
The De’Longhi has enhanced temperature controls, it’s easy to clean and you can use grounds or coffee pods. While frothing requires some work with the manual wand, it pulls some excellent shots to go with it!
- Pressurized portafilter.
- The manual wand makes it easy to make high-quality foam.
- Possible to use ESE pods + grounds.
- Dual cup capacity.
- More complicated to use than many home machines.
- Lacks durability.
- The wand for milk is a little short.
This high-grade espresso maker has plenty of features that you don’t often find in at-home espresso machines, let alone budget-friendly products.
Milk is steamed with a manual wand, which allows you to create foam exactly how you wish. It also captures any overflow into its drip tray for easy disposal.
There are also two separate thermostats to control water temperature and milk temperature. This feature is perfect if you are particular about the temperature of your cup of espresso.
It also has a pressurized portafilter. Which helps maintain pressure on the coffee grounds for an extended period, resulting in a better and more balanced shot.
The filter holder has options for brewing one or two shots at a time. It also can accommodate an easy-brew espresso pod, which is a functionality that many at-home machines don’t have.
Unlike most other home espresso makers, this EC702 also maintains an optimal temperature. Letting you brew multiple cups back-to-back without having to wait for the device to warm up.
Often, any espresso machine designed for use at home will have many plastic parts. These parts are prone to breaking. However, the Breville is made of stainless steel, which both looks nice in any decor scheme and is less prone to damage.
- Stainless steel machine has a high-quality look.
- Thermal coil for consistent water temperature.
- Comes with several accessories and has a built-in cup warmer.
- Filter system delivers great crema.
- It can be challenging to assess if the water tank is empty without disassembly.
Like most higher-end machines, it has a 15-bar thermoblock pump that produces excellent espresso shots. But it also has a built-in dual-wall filter system that creates a thick crema.
The Breville also comes with more tools than most machines. You get a tamping tool, a measuring tool, a cleaning tool, and a stainless steel frothing pitcher.
While there is no precise temperature or flow control for the attached steam wand, this machine can still create quality foam and a cup of espresso to rival any of the other choices on this list.
As one of the more affordable devices on the list, this device is relatively simple to use.
- Affordable but still makes great espresso.
- Compact size is easy to fit on almost any countertop.
- The thermal block heating system warms up water very quickly
- Includes steam wand for cappuccinos and lattes.
- It doesn’t have precise temperature controls.
- Only a 40oz water tank.
It’s probably not the best choice for people who are very picky about their shot quality. But, its smooth push-button operation lets you brew a cup of espresso fast.
You can choose to brew one or two shots at a time, and for making lattes or cappuccinos, the attached manual steam wand lets you create creamy steamed milk.
Unfortunately, It doesn’t have isolated thermostats or all the controls that some more expensive espresso makers have.
On the flip side, it’s reliable enough and is straightforward if you’re new to espresso makers.
Despite its affordable price, It comes equipped with a 15-bar pump for a rich, full taste. It is mirroring the standard of higher-priced devices on this list.
The thermal block heating system also brings the water in the 40-ounce reservoir up to the necessary temperature almost instantly.
This means you’ll spend less time waiting for the machine to be ready, and you can brew great-tasting budget espresso quickly.
It’s also fast and easy to clean, so you can keep your espresso drinks tasting great.
If you’re looking for an espresso maker that’s a lot like an upgraded Keurig, this unique machine is worth a look.
- One-touch operation and brewing parameter adjustments for each flavor means you get a quality cup.
- The package includes several coffee capsules and a milk frother.
- Has a sleek, modern aesthetic that most people will find appealing.
- A great choice for those who may struggle with grinding and tampering espresso.
- This machine can only be used with brand-specific coffee capsules, so your brewing options are limited.
- Some plastic components are prone to breaking.
Making the best shot you can is often challenging, especially if you are new to it. However, this Nespresso is easy to use and takes the guesswork out of making perfect lattes, cappuccinos, and more.
It is a significant departure from many coffee makers on the list given its pod system, but it’s worth discussing. Instead of using ground coffee beans to make espresso, it is used with Nespresso Vertuo capsules.
It also comes with a sampler pack of capsules, so you can sample them and discover which ones you like and want to buy more of.
The capsules are used to make different coffee drinks, but it can be hard to make steamed milk using a capsule.
That’s why the espresso machine comes with a standalone frother called the Aeroccino 3, perfect for milky brews.
Each capsule also comes imprinted with a barcode, which the device reads and uses to adjust brewing parameters systematically.
To be clear, this Nespresso isn’t a traditional espresso maker. But, it is one of the best when it comes to easy, one-touch operation and consistent quality.
This espresso machine is similar to the one mentioned above. It also is compatible with Vertuo coffee capsules, and it also comes with the Aeroccino 3 milk frother included. However, it’s a slightly more affordable model.
- Easy to use.
- Brewing adjusts automatically depending on the capsule you use.
- Included milk frother and Vertuo capsules mean that you can immediately start making drinks.
- Quick heating time means you don’t have to wait long to start brewing.
- Sleek black aesthetic make fit well in almost any kitchen.
- Because of the unusual water feed mechanism, this machine is somewhat prone to leaks.
- Replacement Vertuo capsules are expensive.
- You can’t use coffee grounds.
The main difference is the water reservoir. The water tank is an attached cylinder, while the other Nespresso has a container that’s integrated into the body of the machine itself.
Functionally speaking, they work almost identically. Both machines heat the water in 15 seconds, meaning you won’t have long to wait before drinking a great cup of coffee.
With this device, you also get a gift set of Vertuo capsules so you can try different flavors. You also get a container for used capsules so you can discreetly dispose of them.
Even though you can brew your drinks with the simple touch of a button, it can make five different cup sizes. Like other Nespresso coffee makers, this machine is able to read codes on each capsule and adjust brewing parameters.
This budget machine from Krups is a compact espresso maker and while being a smaller option it still has many of the features of larger models.
- It’s one of the most affordable espresso machines you can find.
- Simple controls make it easy to operate and an ideal starter espresso machine.
- Small, narrow machine fits easily on most countertops.
- Build quality is not as durable as higher-end machines.
- If you like your espresso shots sharp, this device might not be for you.
As one of the more affordable options on the list, it works well if you’re on a budget but still want to make the best espresso.
Like many branded machines, this one gives you some of the best and most versatile options. You can choose one-shot or two-shot operation and use the wand as a cappuccino maker.
The 15-bar pump extracts the most flavor possible from ground coffee, and the manual steam wand lets you custom froth milk to combine with espresso.
Yes, the Flair isn’t a typical espresso maker and it runs at a much lower (6) PSI. While most espresso machines are automated, the flair is a sleek and beautiful manual press.
- It’s an ideal choice if you don’t mind doing some work for your espresso.
- It has a uniquely beautiful aesthetic.
- Highly portable.
- Makes an excellent gift for a coffee aficionado.
- It can be time-consuming to use.
- It does not come with anything to froth milk
- You’ll need to heat water externally to use it.
Creating great espresso shots with just elbow grease. You simply add ground espresso and hot water before pressing down.
The Flair espresso maker comes with a high-quality pressure gauge that indicates the target pressure range.
This helps you create espresso shots with a rich crema. You also get a tamper tool to help you apply the right amount of pressure when adding the ground coffee to the press.
When it comes to cleaning, this espresso machine is straightforward to deal with as it can be taken apart to be washed.
It also comes with a padded carry case, and it creates an artistic statement wherever you take it.
The Final Verdict
In our search for the best budget espresso maker, our top choice is the Mr. Coffee Barista.
In this price range, it delivers a great espresso shot while doubling up as a latte and cappuccino maker.
Still, we like all the devices we’ve talked about here. While machines at a tight budget may not have many of the features and functions of high-end devices, they still let you craft quality espressos.
Regardless of which machine you choose, remember no one pulls barista-style shots overnight. But, practice makes perfect!
What Should You Look For When Shopping For A Budget Espresso Machine?
You may or may not already have an idea of what the ideal espresso maker for you looks like.
Before you make a decision, it may help you to ask yourself the following questions:
How Much Do I Know About Espresso Makers?
When reviewing espresso machines, you’ll see a few different types of equipment. They range from a non-electric press to a fully automatic espresso and cappuccino maker.
Budget is often a factor in choosing the type of machine you need. Your level of familiarity with espresso makers and your willingness to learn are essential factors as well.
If you have any barista experience, you likely won’t have any trouble using a machine for coffee featuring this list that has a manual wand for steam.
Although, if you have the skills needed to steam milk (or if you’re willing to practice and learn), you can learn to create the perfect milk to foam ratio.
If you aren’t confident with this, you might prefer a machine with an automatic milk frother.
Want to make your espresso-making experience as easy as possible? You might consider devices that are compatible with capsules or espresso pods.
With these devices, all you need to do is load a pod, press a button, and let the machine do the rest. But, capsule-based devices limit the type of coffee you can brew.
Do I also need to steam milk?
Some at-home coffee makers include some way to steam milk.
This could involve a manually-operated wand or an automatic frother instead. Other options, like hand-operated, lever-style espresso makers, do not include a milk-steaming option.
Prefer drinking lattes, cappuccinos, and other beverages made with milk?
You’ll likely want either a machine with a steam wand or a stand-alone frother, such as the Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma. These sorts of extras can help a budget espresso machine double up as a cappuccino maker.
However, if you want to focus on crafting the best shots and a full barista experience, you don’t need all the bells and whistles. Instead, you might prefer a hand-operated espresso machine (semi-automatic) such as our top pick.
How Particular Am I About My Espresso?
Some people prefer a straightforward espresso maker, which can quickly pull shots.
Others would rather be able to dial in the right parameters to craft the perfect cup and add forthy milk bubbles.
Neither choice is necessarily better than the other. But, considering how particular you are when it comes to espresso will help you choose the right espresso machine.
Some higher-end espresso and cappuccino makers let you control both the temperature of the water used and the temperature of the steamed milk. Generally, espresso makers with precise controls like this are more expensive, but you can still find them in some cheap espresso machines.
Make sure you decide first if you want some advanced control or if you’re happy for the machine to go to work with a single click.
If you’re adamant that your cup of espresso must have a rich, balanced crema, machines with an additional filter might be a good choice.
Ahmed Mir is the founder of Sip Coffee House. If he isn’t working, you can probably find him experimenting with different brewing methods, hanging out outdoors, or traveling.