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The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great espresso machine! With one of the best budget espresso machines, not only can you customize your favorite drink as much as you want, but you’ll also save money and time by doing it yourself. I love incorporating espresso shots into my own homemade Starbucks copycat drinks, whether making a classic Pumpkin Spice Latte or a sweet Frappuccino. 

Best budget espresso machines
Credit: Williams-Sonoma / Amazon
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For this guide, I vetted the top five best budget espresso machines — all under $500 — sourcing notes from popular publications, creators, and customer reviews. From models by some of the top brands in the coffee world to my favorite Nespresso machine, I’ll talk you through what to look for in a machine and how you can pull the best shot of espresso for your at-home brew. 

Skip the coffee shop line by investing in a barista-worthy espresso machine! 

My Top Picks: 

  1. My Go-To Favorite: Nespresso Vertuo Plus – $199 at Amazon
  2. Best Espresso Machine Under $200: De’Longhi Stilosa Espresso Machine – $89.95 at Amazon
  3. Best Espresso Machine Under $300: Mr. Coffee Café Barista – $249.99 at Amazon
  4. Best Espresso Machine Under $500: Breville Bambino Plus – $499.95 at Amazon
  5. Best Espresso Machine with Grinder: Philips 1200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine – $499 at Amazon

Reviews of The Best Budget Espresso Machines

1. My Go-To Favorite: Nespresso Vertuo Plus

Best budget espresso machines: Nespresso Vertuo
Credit: Amazon

Although a single-serve coffee machine might not immediately come to mind when you’re on the hunt for the best budget espresso machine, it should. As a Nespresso owner myself, I love that we can make coffee shop-quality drinks at home. 

We’ve had our machine for three years, and I can say the convenience and versatility of Nespressos are virtually unmatched. All you have to do is fill the water tank, pop in a pod, press one button, and you’ll have hot coffee or espresso in seconds!

The Vertuo Plus can brew coffee or espresso, depending on the type of pods you have. And if you’re worried about waste, you can fill your own reusable pod or send your used pods back to Nespresso for recycling.

The Specs:

  • Materials: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 5.59 x 16.88 x 12.79 inches
  • Weight: 12.4 pounds
  • Reservoir Capacity: 40 fluid ounces
  • Milk Frother: No

The Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Can make coffee and espresso
  • Great customer service

The Cons:

  • Only uses single-serve pods
  • Placement of the tank is awkward

What Others Are Saying

The Nespresso Vertuo Plus was named best affordable espresso machine by The Strategist and Tom’s Guide, and it has a 4.6-star rating from over 1,000 reviews on Amazon

Buy the Nespresso Vertuo Plus:

2. Best Espresso Machine Under $200: De’Longhi Stilosa Espresso Machine

Best budget espresso machines: DeLonghi
Credit: Amazon

If you have a budget of $200 or even $100, the De’Longhi Stilosa won’t disappoint. For the price, this is one of the best budget espresso machines thanks to its surprisingly sophisticated look and how easy it is to use. It has a built-in steam wand and can brew two espresso shots at a time, which makes it a great option for couples or someone who likes a strong cup of coffee. 

You can also adjust the cupholder to accommodate taller mugs. The machine is relatively simple but does its job well enough to stand out. Plus, its price tag is around $100, making it the cheapest espresso machine in this guide. 

The Specs:

  • Materials: Plastic and stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 8.07 x 13.5 x 11.22 inches
  • Weight: 9.48 pounds
  • Reservoir Capacity: 40.58 fluid ounces
  • Milk Frother: Yes

The Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Built-in milk frother
  • Can brew one or two shots

The Cons:

  • Instructions are confusing
  • Noisy
  • Milk frother is just ok

What Others Are Saying

This De’Longhi Stilosa is recommended as the best value espresso machine by Forbes, U.S. News, CNN Underscored, Serious Eats, Food Network, and Food & Wine. It has a 4.4-star rating from over 8,500 reviews on Amazon

Buy the De’Longhi Stilosa Espresso Machine:

4. Best Espresso Machine Under $300: Mr. Coffee Café Barista

Best budget espresso machines: Mr. Coffee
Credit: Amazon

Coming in at under $300, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista is great for beginners who want an all-in-one machine to make espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes. This model has an automatic milk frother that does all the work for you and allows you to brew single or double shots for your drink. And the water and milk reservoirs are also removable, making refills as easy as possible.

The Café Barista is the best budget espresso machine for someone who gravitates toward lattes and cappuccinos as it can do everything for you with just a push of a button. Plus it also sports an automatic milk frother!

The Specs:

  • Materials: Stainless steel and plastic
  • Dimensions: 8.86 x 11.22 x 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 5.65 pounds
  • Reservoir Capacity: 40 fluid ounces
  • Milk Frother: Yes

The Pros:

  • Automatic milk frother
  • Espresso, cappuccino, and latte options
  • Good for beginners

The Cons:

  • Milk frother is difficult to clean
  • Noisy
  • Coffee to milk ratio isn’t perfect

What Others Are Saying

The Mr. Coffee Café Barista was named best for beginners by  The Spruce Eats, and Wired calls it the best espresso machine under $200. It has a 4.4-star rating from over 13,000 reviews on Amazon.

Buy the Mr. Coffee Café Barista:

4. Best Espresso Machine Under $500: Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus
Credit: Williams-Sonoma

You might be surprised to see a Breville on this list, as the brand is known for its higher-end espresso machines totaling hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. But the Breville Bambino Plus is not only one of the brand’s most affordable models but also one of its best. 

The Bambino Plus boasts a slim, sleek stainless steel design, which is great if you’re low on counter space. It’s also very user-friendly with just five clearly labeled buttons. The Bambino Plus took a top spot on our list thanks to the Auto MilQ, an automatic milk frother that allows you to customize the temperature and texture of your milk. This feature is great for coffee drinkers who like to play around with latte art or incorporate foam into their favorite drinks, like a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

The Specs:

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 7.6 x 12.5 x 12.2 inches
  • Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Reservoir Capacity: 64 fluid ounces
  • Milk Frother: Yes 

The Pros:

  • Large water reservoir
  • Easy to use
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Automatic milk frother

The Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Doesn’t include a grinder or other accessories
  • Messy when self-cleaning the milk frother

What Others Are Saying

The Breville Bambino Plus was named the best espresso machine by Serious Eats, Food Network, The Kitchn, and Wirecutter, and the best compact espresso machine by CNN Underscored

Buy the Breville Bambino Plus:

5. Best Budget Espresso Machine with Grinder: Philips 1200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

Philips 1200
Credit: Amazon

Before buying your espresso machine, it’s important to consider what tools you might need to accompany it, like a coffee grinder. The Philips 1200 Series is one of the few espresso machines with a built-in grinder that you can get for under $500. 

The espresso machine can brew coffee or espresso, which makes it great for someone who alternates between the two, or a larger household with multiple coffee drinkers. It also offers the ability to customize your drink by strength and size. Plus, the machine conveniently has a built-in steam wand and self-cleaning option.

The Specs:

  • Materials: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 10 x 15 x 17 inches
  • Weight: 15.43 pounds
  • Reservoir Capacity: 60 fluid ounces
  • Milk Frother: Yes 

The Pros:

  • Built-in grinder
  • Self cleans
  • Touch display offers some customization

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Loud
  • Disappointing customer service

What Others Are Saying

The Philips 1200 series has a 4.1-star rating from over 1,800 reviews on Amazon.  

Buy the Philips 1200 Series:

Other Budget Espresso Machines I’ve Researched

Gaggia Classic Evo Pro

This made-in-Italy stainless steel espresso machine from Gaggia is relatively easy to use with only three buttons and a built-in commercial steam wand. Although the Classic Evo Pro offers a very similar price point to our favorite espresso machine under $500 (the Breville Bambino Plus), it also offers far less customization. The machine’s simplicity, industrial style, and finicky milk frother make it a good but not great option for your morning coffee routine. The Gaggia Classic Evo Pro is available at Amazon for $499.

KitchenAid Metal Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

With a style somewhat reminiscent of the retro Smeg Espresso Machine — but with a much smaller price tag — the KitchenAid Metal Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine is made for a design-minded coffee lover. However, when it comes to functionality, the machine falls short. It can be very loud when brewing and the steam wand is awkwardly designed, often making a mess or producing mediocre foam. The KitchenAid Metal Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine is available at Amazon for $349.99.

Bialetti Moka Express

Although not technically a machine, Bialetti’s classic Moka Express is a budget-friendly, manual alternative. It brews espresso directly on your stovetop with no extra frills. As for upkeep, the pot is not dishwasher-safe and can only be rinsed with water. Because of its obvious simplicity, the Moka Express hasn’t landed a spot on this list — but it remains a very affordable option for beginners. The Bialetti Moka Express is available at Amazon for $35.97.

Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Maker

The Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Maker is another manual option with a few more bells and whistles. It’s recommended by Forbes and Popular Mechanics, but it does have a lot of individual pieces and requires manual pumping. If you’re a frequent traveler looking to get your daily coffee fix on the road, this machine might be for you. The Wacaco Picopresso Portable Espresso Maker is available at Amazon for $129.90.

Hamilton Beach Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

You probably know Hamilton Beach for its affordable kitchenware, and this espresso machine is no exception. It can brew two cups at a time and has a built-in milk frother. The Hamilton Beach is ideal for someone on a super tight budget, but they’ll likely want to upgrade to a nicer espresso machine at some point because it won’t last forever. The Hamilton Beach Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is available at Amazon for $99.99.

Why You Can Trust Me

Credit: Eating on a Dime

I’m Carrie, the food lover behind Eating on a Dime and the Lazy Day Cooking Club. I spend my days developing new budget-friendly recipes and caring for my eight amazing kids. I’m also the author of two cookbooks! When it comes to espresso machines, I have a Nespresso that I’ve been using for three years, and espresso is frequently featured in my Starbucks copycat recipes.

To create this list of the best budget espresso machines, I began with my own experience and then researched other top brands that I’m familiar with. When making my selections, I considered ease of use and cleaning, cost, durability, performance, and whether the machine had extra features (like milk frothers, added brewing settings, and more). I also took into account reviews from users and other notable culinary professionals to determine whether the espresso machine was a good value for the price. 

What to Know About Budget Espresso Machines 

Credit: Eating on a Dime

What to Consider Before Buying an Espresso Machine

Before you take the plunge, you’ll want to consider a few different factors to find the perfect espresso machine for you.

  • Type: The most simple — and likely most affordable espresso machine — will just have one function: brewing espresso. But there are many types of machines beyond that, offering the ability to make coffee and espresso, program customized drinks, and automate everything from grinding your beans to topping your drink with foam. 
  • Size: Our counters can only hold so many kitchen appliances, so you’ll need to consider how much real estate you’re willing to give up. Going for a more compact machine might save you a little cash in the end as well.
  • Features: High-end espresso machines can come with a wide variety of built-in features, like milk frothers, grinders, and more. But if you’re sticking to a strict budget, you might have to opt for just one or two of those features.
  • Material: Most espresso machines are made of stainless steel, plastic, or a combination of the two. Not only will the material contribute to the look of the machine, but it also might affect the longevity.
Credit: Eating on a Dime

How Much Does an Espresso Machine Cost?

The affordable espresso machines in this guide range from $90 to $500, but they can easily cost thousands of dollars. The higher-end models tend to have more built-in features, can be programmed to custom settings, and take up more space on your counter. Take the Breville Oracle Touch, for instance. This top-of-the-line machine goes for $2,800, while the Breville Bambino Plus is only $500. In exchange, the Oracle Touch has a built-in grinder and a touchscreen interface that allows you to build customized drinks.

Is an Espresso Machine Worth It?

Although an espresso machine is by no means essential, it’s probably easier on your wallet than weekly or daily trips to a coffee shop. Consider how much you spend on coffee per week and then per month or year. Depending on your budget and coffee routine, you may be able to pay off your espresso machine sooner than you think, especially if you opt for one of the affordable models in this guide. 

How Do You Use an Espresso Machine?

You’ll need to start with finely ground coffee beans, whether you buy them pre-ground or grind them yourself. Then load about 6 to 8 grams of the coffee in the portafilter for a single shot and tamp it down. After that’s done, you’re ready to insert the portafilter into the machine and start brewing.

Can You Make Drip Coffee with an Espresso Machine?

Espresso machines typically exclusively make espresso and don’t double as a drip coffee maker, although some machines can do both, like the Nespresso Vertuo Plus. The difference between espresso and drip coffee has to do with the pressure applied to the grounds and not the actual beans themselves. Espresso is made using pressure (measured in bars) applied by hot water, while drip coffee involves hot water pouring over coffee grounds and letting gravity do the rest. In order to facilitate the pressurized brewing, espresso beans are more finely ground than the beans used for drip coffee. 

Some of My Favorite Espresso Recipes 

Credit: Eating on a Dime

If you’re looking to kick that daily Starbucks habit with a new espresso machine, I compiled copycat Starbucks recipes, many of which are made with espresso. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started.

Prices were accurate at the time of publication. 

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

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