There’s something elevated about having your own espresso machine at home. No matter how fancy your coffee pot, how vast your collection of French presses and pour-over accoutrement, being able to pull a perfect shot of espresso to enjoy anytime you like is a glorious luxury for the coffee enthusiast. While small appliances for the kitchen can always range in price depending upon quality and functionality, the cost of espresso machines seems to vary even more dramatically than most. We’re going to take a look at several options for at-home espresso machines, categorized based on price point. The finer details can always be assessed later, so its important to determine your budget first.
So, without further adieu, here’s our picks for the best espresso machines for home use:
Let’s start with the big boys. (It’s okay to wince!)
Decidedly not-cheap, this automatic DeLonghi machine promises to craft perfect lattes, cappuccinos, and espresso every time. Features include a built-in water filtration system (go ahead and use tap!), a time-release aroma button to slow the saturation of coffee grounds to extract more flavor, and a patented cappuccino frothing system to mix steam and milk. The DeLonghi’s compact size is designed for countertop use in the home, and the settings are user-friendly, allowing for adjustment of temperature, coffee strength, and mug size.
This customer-favorite (based on the 4.3-star Amazon rating from over 1,500 users) machine is visually reminiscent of what we’ve all seen in our favorite coffee shops. You’ve got the steam wand, the filter basket, even a bean hopper. This is a machine for someone who wants to be hands-on with their espresso pulls, and the 15-bar Italian pump and 1600W thermos coil heating system are going to provide all the power to do just that. Breville touts this machine as fitting for experienced baristas and beginners alike, with its easy-to-use functionality and slick design. I’m not going to lie, if I had the cash, I’d drop this one into my cart right now.
Pull out the credit card for this one, as this little Rancilio Silvia is based on the company’s own commercial machines. The commercial-grade group head provides unbeatable heat stability and extraction quality, and the single boiler has the largest volume capacity in its class at .3 liters. There’s also an optional pod and capsule adaptor kit available, should you decide to take a rest from tamping your own espresso grounds and steaming your own milk. This machine is considered a semi-automatic and is built for all the use you can throw at it—the iron frame and stainless steel panels make this machine as sturdy as it is sleek.
$200 – $500
Still an “investment purchase” by all accounts, this price range offers a little more flexibility…
This semi-automatic machine by Mr. Coffee offers 3-in-1 functionality, capable of delivering espresso, cappuccino, and lattes. The easy-to-use control panel takes the guesswork out of milk frothing, but you still get the satisfaction of tamping your own filter basket. The clean design looks great on countertops, and the Mr. Coffee pulls a respectable 4.1-star rating from over 2000 reviews on Amazon. Not bad for the $200 price point!
An intriguing option for someone who wants a ready-to-go-as-soon-as-I-open-the-box setup, this 7-piece set from EspressoWorks includes a bean grinder, portafilter, frothing cup, measuring spoon with tamper, and two espresso cups. This machine heats up in just 45 seconds, features a warming tray for the cups, and is made from high-quality materials and a 15-bar pump system to deliver fantastic espresso every time.
Another good-looking machine from Breville, the Duo Temp Pro offers a 15-bar Italian-made pump, a single or double-shot pull, and a do-it-yourself steam wand. This espresso machine comes with filter baskets, a stainless steel frothing cup, and a water filter with holder. It’s still a tad pricey, but a nice compromise from it’s big brother, the Barista Express, without sacrificing hands-on functionality.
For top-notch espresso without too much DIYing, consider this Gaggia Brera. This swanky machine even has programmable brewing capabilities, and you can customize the strength of your espresso or café crema. Steam fresh milk with ease with the frothing wand and go forth into your morning as the Italians do.
We won’t exactly call these “budget” models, but these espresso machines are all under a respectable $200 and are sure to add years of enjoyment to your at-home coffee routine.
The Nespresso name is a common one, thanks to the wallet-friendly price tag, variety of color and design options, and widespread availability of capsules and accessories. This simple, easy-to-use machine produces lovely espresso every time, thanks to its 19-bar high pressure pump. Chose from espresso or lungo preparation, and enjoy the truly compact size of the delightful Nespresso. I have an Inissia of my own and I use it almost daily!
This little contraption isn’t technically an espresso machine, but it wins a place on our list anyway thanks to its fantastic price and 4.3-star Amazon rating from more than 600 reviewers. This a single-serve machine, but the Ninja doesn’t use pods or capsules. Instead, you put coffee grounds in the filter basket and it brews similar to conventional drip coffee machine. The advantage here? It’s easy to customize the intensity of your coffee, similar to a Moka pot. Plus, there’s a built-in frother that even offers both hot and cold frothing capabilities for truly customized coffee beverages.
The DeLonghi name is certainly a respected one, and this little machine is a fabulous option if you want a compact espresso machine at a reasonable price that still offers the hands-on interaction of a portafilter and steam wand. It has a self-priming function for easy start-up, and the drip tray is removable for use with larger mugs. A 15-bar pressure system ensures quality espresso with every pull.
A truly budget- and small space-friendly machine, this little Bella serves up espresso in a snap. There’s just 5 bars of pressure, but for such a compact machine at such a favorable price, it’s hard to complain. There’s even a steam wand and an easy-pour glass decante with clearly marked measurements to make it simple to determine water levels. Give this one a try if you’re looking to experiment with at-home espresso making and aren’t quite ready to make the plunge on a pricer machine.
Hamilton Beach makes several small appliances for the kitchen, so it’s reasonable to assume they’d have a decent, entry-level espresso machine in their lineup. They do, and this gets the job done nicely and for a fair price. Like the more upscale machines, this one has a 15-bar pressure system, built-in steam wand, portafilter, and cup warmer. It rates at a solid 4 stars on Amazon; quality and capability making this a worthy contender.
While there are countless more espresso machines on the market at just about all imaginable price points, we hope this lineup is helpful in providing a few ideas suitable for your own budget. If you have further suggestions, we’d love to hear ’em!