The Best Cheap Espresso Machines – Buyer’s Guide

So you are looking for an espresso machine that makes great espresso but at bargain price. If you don’t need anything too fancy or you’re buying one as a gift then a cheap espresso maker could be perfect for you. With so many to choose from, it’s easy to get lost amongst all the jargon. That’s why we’ve made this list of the best cheap espresso machines and what’s best is they’re all available around $100 or less.

Our Best Cheap Espresso Machines List

Our list of cheap espresso machines are the best in this price range so you can pick any that suits you knowing that they brew a decent espresso and you could even save yourself some money.

FUN FACT: One cup of coffee contains 11% of your daily recommended dose of Riboflavin, a B vitamin which converts carbohydrates into energy (glucose), and helps the body metabolize fats and protein. (Source)
RatingProductOur RatingPrice
1De'Longhi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker Check Price
2Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso and Cappuccino Machine Check Price
3Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System, ECMP50 Check Price

If you’re happy to spend a little more on your espresso maker or require some extra features then one of these affordable espresso machines could be what you’re after and all for around $200 or less.

De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Maker with Froth Wand – The Best Overall Budget Espresso Machine

De'Longhi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

This is a great little espresso machine that is very affordable, available for around $100 or less. It’s a well made machine for the price and makes great quality espresso and produces a decent crema.

The water resevour holds a litre of water which can be removed to easily fill up. You can view how much water is in the resevour from the front of the machine at a quick glance.

The portafilter comes with a single shot and double shot basket adaptor so you can make two single espresso drinks for two people at the same time or for one person if you like a double espresso.

It has a built-in plastic tamper on the side of the machine which may or may not tamp down the coffee grounds enough for your liking. A separate tamper could be purchased if this is someting important to you. A 52mm tamper would be perfect for the portafilter.

It has a single boiler which means you can’t use the steamer at the same time as the brewing the coffee. This is typical with single boiler machines but allows for the low price point.

Everything is controlled by a simple turning of a dial and extra knob for using the milk steamer. When brewing the espresso, the machine doesn’t cut off the water automatically so you will have to turn the dial when the required amount of water has been poured.

The machine has a removable mesh tray with drip reservour to catch any drips.

Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso & Cappuccino Maker

This stylish European inpired espresso machine by Hamilton Beach makes great coffee and produces a nice quality crema. This is a very compact machine so is great for those with limited space.

It has a generous sized water reservour which is removable so filling up with water is straightforward and more cups can be made before refilling. The container is seethrough so the water level is easily visible.

It comes with an adjustable single or double shot portafiler and a hand held plastic tamper which also doubles as a coffee scoop.

The portafilter doesn’t turn into the machine like other espresso machines, instead Hamilton Beach have developed a simple two-step slide and lock system which is patent protected. This technology ensures the portfilter is locked in place with a firm seal.

The controls are simply a push button to turn on the machine and then a dial to switch on brewing or use the steamer. Lights on the front indicated when the machine is ready for use. Two cups of espresso can be made at once or one double shot if you prefer a strong coffee. This is not an automatic machine so you will need to turn the dial again once the required amount of coffee has been pured.

The steamer wand is metal with plastic end which can move around for heating and frothing milk.

There’s some space on the top of the machine that get’s warm, this is great for storing some of your cups to keep them hot.

It has a removable drip tray to catch any espresso drips.

Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System

The Automatic Dual Shot Espresso System by Mr. Coffee is another entry level espresso and cappuccino maker perfect for those searching for something cheap but that get’s the job done.

It operates using a pump delivering s 15 BAR pressure, producing a decent tasting coffee.

What to Look Out for in a Cheap Espresso Machine

When choosing a machine for your daily wake up call  there are a number of things to consider. Whether this purchase is for yourself or a gift for a caffeine obsessed loved one you’ll want to know what types of features you can expect from a budget espresso maker.

Pods vs Capsules vs Portafilter

Portafilters are mostly seen in “” and commercial espresso machines. They’re the small device in which the coffee grounds are placed into and then attached to the underside of the machine. Water then pours through the coffee at high pressure to produce the shot of espresso.

ESE Pods, AKA Easy Serving Espresso Pods are round tea bag like discs which holds the coffee grounds inside. Then the pod is placed into a portafilter adapter to essentially give the same outcome as above. The difference between using a pod instead of just a portafilter is the convenience of pods being quicker and having hardly any mess to clean up. Just chuck your pod away and you’re done.

Capsules on the other hand are slightly different to both portafilters and pods. Capsules are typically used for single-serve espresso machines which require it’s compatible capsule to brew your coffee. These simply fit into the top of your espresso machine, lock it in place and then press a button. Capsule compatible espresso machines are becoming increasingly popular as they’re easy to use and tend to be smaller than most portafilter machines.

Drink Variety or Espresso Only

What I mean by the term “drink variety” is whether or not your machine can make cappuccinos and lattes etc at the touch of a button or just shots of espresso. The former are usually semi-automatic or automatic machines with a separate milk tank that automatically pours through milk once the espresso is poured giving giving you your desire coffee of choice without any hassle.

Single serve machines, as mentioned before as well as manual machines will just make your espresso. It’s up to you what you make it into afterwards.

Jet Frothing Power

With some semi-automatic and automatic machines, comes a built-in milk jet frother to pour the perfect cappuccino and lattes every time.

Steam or Not to Steam

If you’re swaying towards a manual machine that doesn’t add or froth your milk for you then make sure you look out for machines with a built-in steam wand. Alternatively you can buy a separate milk steamer if your chosen machine doesn’t have one.

Prep Time Friendly?

Prep time is important if you’re in a rush in the morning. You want your espresso machine to heat up and pour your drink in a timely manner. I know I would!

Water Tank Size

Simply put, the bigger the water tank the more espresso you can enjoy without having to refill it.

Easy Cleaning?

Did someone say “Easy Cleaning”? Yes please. Who really wants to drink perfectly poured espresso and then spend the rest of the day cleaning the machine that made it. Make sure you factor this in if you’d prefer a machine with minimal cleaning. 

Aesthetics and Size

Does your chosen espresso machine look good? More importantly, will it fit in the space you have available. Whether you’re keeping your piece of kit in the kitchen or at the office, you’ll want something nice to look at that fits the space it’s in rather than stick out like a sore thumb.

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