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11 Best Home Espresso Machine Under $500 in 2024

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This is our review of the best home espresso machines under $500 for beginners. Keep reading to learn more.

While hunting for the best beginner-friendly espresso machine, I’ve decided that affordable cost is a major factor. That way, I can perfect my craft before diving into the hobby. That revelation led me to build this guide.

I chose the Breville Bambino as the top dog. It’s priced well, considering all the quality-of-life features included. For instance, the 3-second heating and pre-infusion. I’ll cover what these are in a bit.

breville bambino

Breville Bambino: Best Overall

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 13.7 × 6.3 × 12 in (D, W, H)
  • Bars of pressure: 9-15 bars
  • Boiler type: ThermoJet
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Milk frother: yes
  • Water capacity: 47 fl oz = 47 solo shots
  • Material: Stainless steel

It won’t automate everything for you, though. I’ll cover plenty of alternatives that do so throughout this guide.

Read on to find your budget-friendly machine.

Top 11 Espresso Machines Under $500 for Home

  1. Breville Bambino: Best Overall
  2. Nespresso Vertuo: Best Capsule Machine
  3. De’Longhi Magnifica: Best Super-Automatic Machine
  4. Gaggia Classic Pro: Best Compact Machine
  5. Flair NEO: Best Manual Maker
  6. Nespresso Lattissima: Best All-In-One Maker
  7. De’Longhi Stilosa: Best Semi-Automatic Machine
  8. PHILIPS 1200: Best Fully Automatic Machine
  9. De’Longhi Dedica: Best Machine UK
  10. Capresso Ultima PRO: Best Espresso Machine, Canada
  11. Bialetti Moka Pot: Best Machine Under $400

Best Budget Espresso Machines Under $500

The following sections will cover each machine’s specs, goods and bads, then explain who the machine’s best for and why I picked it.

Before moving on, here’s a legend that may clear up any confusion:

  • Dimensions:
    • D: depth
    • W: width
    • H: height
  • PID = proportional integral derivative: monitors water temperature & makes minor adjustments to keep it to a set temperature.
  • ESE = Easy Serve Espresso: pods with pre-ground beans to make brewing drinks easier.

If you’re a beginner, you may not understand much of what I’m talking about. I can’t expand upon points too much in each mini-review. Otherwise, you’d spend hours reading. The buyer’s guide found later in this guide should clarify everything.

Let’s learn more about today’s winner.

1. Breville Bambino: Best Overall

breville bambino
Dimensions13.7 × 6.3 × 12 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure9–15 bars
Boiler TypeThermoJet
Warranty1 year
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity47 fl oz = 47 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Heats in 3 seconds
  • Removable water tank
  • Includes pre-infusion
  • Compact size


  • Included portafilter isn’t the best
  • Must buy separate grinder
  • Requires a bit of trial-and-error
  • No official ESE pod support

Breville’s Bambino doesn’t demand much kitchen space and doesn’t cost too much. Considering its price point, and Breville’s stellar reputation, this machine offers the most value with the included features. I’ll emphasize more throughout this section.

It’s a semi-automatic machine. You’ll need to manually deal with every espresso-making step except for water pressure and heating. It’s a step above manual machines.

It uses a special ThermoJet heating system to heat your machine in 3 or fewer seconds. That’s ideal for making drinks back-to-back without waiting long. Much better than single boilers and thermoblocks.

So long as you don’t mind the work required for semi-automatic machines, you get some of the best value. The pre-infusion function wets your coffee grounds, which helps with flavor extraction. And the ThermoJet heating is amazing.


It includes a removable water tank, which makes cleaning and refilling quicker. And it’s compact. However, you’ll still need a separate coffee bean grinder, which will demand more counter space. Unless you grind them at the store.

The maker doesn’t support ESE pods, which sucks. Meaning ground beans are required.

Invest in a new portafilter since the insides of the included one is made of cheap plastic. Meaning, it may break quicker than higher-quality accessories. You’ll often find excellent ones for $60.

You may want something more affordable and easier to use.

2. Nespresso Vertuo: Best Capsule Machine Under $500

Nespresso Vertuo
Dimensions8 × 12 × 12 in (D, W, H)
Warranty2 years
Milk FrotherNo
Water Capacity40 fl oz = 5 cups
MaterialPlastic & metal


  • Removable water tank
  • Makes coffee & espresso
  • Affordable pseudo super-automatic machine
  • Adapts brewing parameters to each capsule


  • Doesn’t include frother
  • Requires Vertuo capsules
  • Feels “cheap”

The Nespresso Vertuo maker works best for anyone who wants to make coffee and espresso, but only cares a little about frothing milk. Unless you want a pod maker with a milk frother, I’ll discuss one later.

What are pod makers? You plop a pod filled with grounds into the machine, select your cup size, and press start. The machine does the rest of the work. Ideal for folks in a rush, or who don’t care too much about manually brewing espresso.

One of my favorite parts about the Vertuo is that it takes 25 seconds to heat up. Perfect for those in a rush to get ready for work, yet don’t want to wait for the machine to reheat. Once the machine brews your drink, it’ll automatically shut off, which’ll save electricity.

Most super-automatic espresso makers cost over $500.

This one costs much less, making it have significant value. However, you must pay for Nespresso pods. That isn’t too much of a cost compared to buying and maintaining a coffee grinder. Then buying the beans.

If you love cappuccinos or lattes, you must buy a milk frother. And considering that this machine doesn’t include one, it’s disappointing that it’s not more compact (in size).

And the plastic and metal body around this machine feels cheap. Meaning, it may not last as long as machines made of stainless steel. You could prove me wrong by regularly cleaning and caring for the Vertuo, though.

Not the type of “super-automatic” machine you’re looking for? Check out this next one.

3. De’Longhi Magnifica: Best Super-Automatic Machine Under $500

delonghi magnifica
Dimensions11 × 15.3 × 14.4 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15 bars
Boiler TypeDual thermoblock
Warranty1 year
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity14 cups
MaterialStainless steel


  • Removable waste bin & water tank
  • Dual thermoblock boilers
  • Pre-ground bypass & whole bean bins


  • Bulky
  • Unsightly
  • Doesn’t use ceramic burrs

The Magnifica is a fantastic option for anyone who wants drinks heated quickly and wants something that’ll fully automate the espresso-making process.

Hence the term “super-automatic.” While it takes all the manual work out of espresso making, you’ll still have a chance to choose your own beans, unlike Nespresso, which has fewer options with its pods.

Single thermoblock heaters heat quicker than single boilers but aren’t ideal for entertaining guests. But the Magnifica includes a dual thermoblock heater, which will reheat in 60 seconds. Perfect for making many espresso drinks for guests without delays.

Pair that with its twin brewing head, which allows you to make 2 shots simultaneously.

Depending on where you get this machine, you may need to get it refurbished to get a good deal. But the included features for the price I’ve found make it an excellent choice for an intermediate (or beginner) home barista who doesn’t want to make their own drinks.

Usually, machines with multiple boilers cost over $700, but that isn’t the case here.

The removable waste bin and water filter make it much easier to clean your machine since you won’t need to pull it apart or dig your grounds out.

It’s not the prettiest machine, though. And due to all its features, the Magnifica will demand a lot of counter space. Not ideal for smaller kitchens.

Then it uses steel burrs. These are great because they’ll stay sharper much longer than ceramic burrs. But ceramic burrs won’t overheat. Heated burrs will remove some of the flavors from your beans, making them more bitter.

You determine whether this is a con.

Need something smaller? Don’t worry.

4. Gaggia Classic Pro: Best Compact Machine Under $500

Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine
Dimensions8 × 9.5 × 14.2 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15 bars
Boiler TypeThermoblock
Warranty1 year
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity71 fl oz = 71 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Rotating steam wand
  • Kinda compact
  • Includes 3-way solenoid valve
  • Heats up in 30 sec.


  • Requires a learning curve
  • May be tricky to descale
  • No removable water tank

If you want a compact machine that’ll resist wear and tear for years to come, you’ve found the suitable machine.

However, it’s semi-automatic. That means you’ll need to manually tinker with every aspect of espresso, except for water pressure and flow.

The included thermoblock heating unit makes it heat much faster than those that include single boilers. Great for anyone wanting to brew a drink once you’re done.

The price seems reasonable considering the appearance, included features, and machine durability.

You’ll need a separate grinder, which can impact its compact(ness). Unless you use the filter baskets that support ESE pods. They’re filled with pre-ground espresso grounds and work better for tight spaces.

It’s also a bit tricky to descale and clean. As the water tank isn’t removable. Regardless, I don’t withdraw my recommendation. It’s not a deal killer.

Perhaps you’re looking for something more portable.

5. Flair NEO: Best Manual Espresso Maker Under $500

The NEO by Flair
Dimensions12.5 × 6.25 x 10.5 in (D, W, H)Carrying case: 14 × 10 × 4 in
Warranty3 years
Milk FrotherNo
Water Capacity2 fl oz = 1 solo shot
MaterialStainless steel & aluminum


  • No electricity
  • Easy to pack
  • Absolute shot control
  • Easy to clean


  • Steep learning curve
  • Requires separate milk frother
  • Can make 1 shot at a time

The Flair NEO works best for anyone who wants a portable espresso maker that doesn’t require electricity. And who doesn’t mind the learning curve required to use this machine?

Because it’s a manual machine, you must do every step of espresso-making by hand. This partially makes this machine more affordable than the others I’ve mentioned. Since it has no crazy features.

And due to a lack of machinery and its stainless steel body, it should last you over 10 years. Meaning you won’t need to replace it for a long while.

It’s a manual maker, which means it has no water boilers. You’ll need to boil and pour the water into the reservoir. You’ll need a means to boil water, a milk frother (if you like lattes), and a coffee bean grinder.

Supposedly, because of the way Flair built the portafilter, it doesn’t matter whether you have crappily-ground coffee beans. Because it’ll allegedly still deliver great-tasting espresso.

If you want to take it camping, you must buy a separate carrying case, which adds an extra $30.

Don’t get this machine if you’re making multiple drinks back-to-back and are tight on time. The maker makes 1 shot at a time, which makes it bad for time-saving.

If it’s too much work, I got something that’ll do everything for you.

6. Nespresso Lattissima: Best All-in-One Espresso Maker Under $500

nespresso lattissima touch
Dimensions6.81 × 12.59 × 10.15 in (D, W, H)
Bars of pressure19
Warranty2 years
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity30 fl oz


  • Emulates super-automatic espresso makers
  • Descale alert
  • Takes 40 seconds to heat up


  • No control with milk frother
  • Requires Vertuo Nespresso pods
  • Plastic housing feels cheap

The Lattissima works best for anyone who wants to fully automate their espresso-making and frothing without paying the price of a fully-automatic machine. And who doesn’t care too much for “traditional” espresso making versus using espresso pods.

And that’s what any Nespresso does. It uses pods (capsules) with pre-ground coffee beans in varying flavors. You can’t customize the beans you use, but you’ll have an affordable machine that automates every aspect quickly.

Because all you do is press a button, then the machine makes your drink.

The included 19-bar pump ensures your machine’s ready in 40 or fewer seconds; ideal for brewing drinks back-to-back. Something I’m sure multiple coffee drinkers in one household would appreciate.

Considering all the included features—especially the descaling notification—the Lattissima has a stellar price point. It isn’t easy to find machines in this price range that include such functions and a milk frother.

Usually, you’d need to buy a separate milk frother and spend up to $100 for Nespresso machines.

They must have cut costs, then.

Of course. When I felt this machine, I thought it was gonna crumble. Because the plastic felt so cheap and hollow. And Nespresso sells the pods at a recurring premium, which is part of how they’ve maintained market dominance [1].

One more thing:

Those with smaller kitchens likely won’t fare well with this machine, as it demands a lot of space in part due to the milk frother. If you want a Nespresso that doesn’t require so much real estate, get one without a frother.

Then buy a separate frother to store whenever you want to make lattes.

Here’s a machine that’ll give you a more “traditional” espresso-making experience.

7. De’Longhi Stilosa: Best Semi-Automatic Machine Under $500

DeLonghi Stilosa Espresso Machine
Dimensions8.07 × 13.5 × 11.22 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15 bars
Boiler TypeThermoblock
Warranty1 year
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity / Enough for33.8 fl oz = 33 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel & plastic


  • Holds different cup sizes
  • OEM portafilter includes double- & single-shot baskets
  • Somewhat simple user interface


  • Not the most compact machine
  • OEM portafilter is flimsy
  • Plastic parts feel very cheap
  • You must control drink yield

De’Longhi Stilosa works best for anyone who wants a budget-friendly espresso maker that includes the bare essential features. And doesn’t mind lacking quality-of-life features.

It’s a semi-automatic machine. You’ll need to put in work to make your espresso. It’s not a machine where you’ll press a button and it makes everything for you.

Hence, partially why it comes at a lower cost. Plus, it includes plastic components, making it less durable. That’s where the OEM portafilter comes in.

Despite it supporting double- and single shots, along with ESE pods, it’s built with plastic. I recommend investing $60+ into a 55 mm metal portafilter to extend its durability.

It includes a thermoblock heater, making it heat quicker between drinks. Ideal for multiple folks who want to make drinks back-to-back without waiting for reheating.


You have control over your entire drink, including the manual milk frother. Allowing you to control your milk’s texture and flavor.

It’s not that “special” of a machine. It doesn’t include many noteworthy features.

Here’s another super-automatic machine.

8. PHILIPS 1200: Best Super Automatic Machine Under $500

philips 1200
Dimensions17 × 9.5 × 14.5 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure9 bars
Boiler TypeThermoblock
Warranty6 months
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity / Enough for60 fl oz = 60 solo shots


  • Many programmable touch display buttons
  • Uses ceramic grinders
  • Removable brew group


  • Plastic housing feels “cheap”
  • Requires buying separate water filters
  • Manual doesn’t do well with providing troubleshooting

Get the PHILIPS 1200 fully-automatic espresso machine to automate the espresso-making process without paying over $700.

A super/fully-automatic machine automatically grinds, times shots, deals with water pressure and makes programmed drinks. For instance, the 1200 model includes a button to make 1 or 2 shots of espresso by pressing a button.

No manual input on your end.

Another reason this works great includes the inclusion of the thermoblock heater. It’ll heat faster than single boilers, which is excellent for making drinks back-to-back. Or for multiple espresso drinkers in your home.

Considering it includes a built-in grinder yet doesn’t demand a lot of counter real estate, it’s rare to find such a machine in this price range. It also includes a descaling notification, letting you know when it’s time to descale your machine.

I’ll cover more on this later.

But you’ll need to buy replacement filters. And consider ceramic grinders as a double-edged sword. They don’t generate as much heat as steel burrs; they are great for retaining bean flavor. But they don’t stay sharp as long, which could affect grind consistency.

The removable brew group makes cleaning easy, but I wouldn’t rely on the manual for troubleshooting. As many found that it’s too vague.

Before moving on, how is this machine at such a low price? The cheap plastic housing. It appears that many machine companies with the word “PHIL” make cheap-feeling cases. Making it not the best for resisting wear and tear.

9. De’Longhi Dedica: Best Espresso Under £500 UK

DeLonghi Dedica Style Espesso Machine
Dimensions30 × 15 × 33 cm (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15 bars
Boiler TypeThermoblock
Warranty1 year
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity / Enough for1 l = 35 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Compact size
  • Supports taller & shorter cups
  • Simple UI


  • Steam function is finicky
  • Requires a separate grinder

The Dedica works excellent for anyone who wants a compact and affordable machine with a removable water tank for easy cleaning.

It uses a thermoblock heater. Refer to the previous mini-review to learn what it is. Just know it’s better for making quicker drinks back-to-back.

The frother isn’t the best—I’ll return to this point in a second—but the stainless steel body, price point, and compact(ness) make it great for longevity and small kitchens.

De’Longhi’s Dedica doesn’t have anything special. But:

The steam often switches back to cooling after making a latte. Meaning, you must wait for it to reheat. Bad for making milk-based drinks back-to-back. And since it’s not a super-automatic machine, you must buy a separate grinder.

Which will add additional costs; unless you use ESE pods. You won’t have as many bean options, but you won’t need to worry about storing your grinder.

Or, you’re in Canada.

10. Capresso Ultima PRO: Best Espresso Under $500 Canada

capresso ultima pro
Dimensions26.67 × 31 × 35 cm (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15 bars
Boiler TypeThermoblock
Warranty1 year
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity / Enough for1 l = 34 solo shots


  • Includes cup warmer
  • Easy-to-understand buttons
  • Removable water tanks
  • Automatically tamps beans


  • Requires a learning curve
  • Plastic feels cheap

Get the Ultima PRO if you want a frugal-friendly espresso machine that includes the bare essentials but may only last for a while. I’ll explain why soon.

It’s semi-automatic. Aside from spewing water through your beans, it doesn’t automate almost every part of the espresso-making process. However, it will automatically tamper your beans, which reduces a bit of work.

And it includes a thermoblock heating system, which heats faster than machines with single boilers. But not as much so as those with double boilers.

That makes this machine acceptable for households with at least 2 espresso drinkers who need to make drinks back-to-back. With minimal downtime.

The removable water tank for easy cleaning, simple buttons, and the included cup warmer make this machine well worth its price point. As you can imagine, Capresso cut corners to make it cheap.

That’s where the plastic body complaint comes in. Plastic doesn’t withstand wear and tear, as well as stainless steel, meaning it won’t last long. However, taking care of it will extend the machine’s lifespan.

And give you time to save for something that looks and functions better.

This next option’s much lower than $500.

11. Bialetti Moka Pot (New Brikka): Best Espresso Machine Under $400

bialetti moka pot
Dimensions3.94 × 5.51 × 6.69 in (D, W, H)
Warranty2 years
Milk FrotherNo
Water Capacity / Enough for160 ml = 2 cups
MaterialAluminum & thermoplastic


  • Will last much longer than espresso machines
  • Affordable way to make espresso-style drinks
  • Lightweight & portable
  • Easy to clean


  • Not “true” espresso
  • Requires a learning curve to make consistent crema
  • Must buy separate milk frother
  • Can’t use w/ induction ovens

Bialetti’s Moka pot New Brikka works best for anyone who wants espresso-like coffee without paying too much. Or requiring too much counter space.

A Moka uses a stovetop to create pressure within the pot. From there, the water will produce steam, force water through a funnel, and create concentrated coffee. Creating an espresso-style drink.

Because of this, it doesn’t have a bunch of mechanics or features. Making it much cheaper than all other espresso machine types.

But this machine comes with downsides.

It requires a learning curve, since you’ll need to perfect your craft. And you can’t use aluminum Moka pots since they’re not magnetic. Find a Moka pot made from stainless steel, it’ll work better.

You must buy a separate milk frother if you want lattes and cappuccinos. And you’ll need a coffee grinder for your beans. But this technically shouldn’t be an issue with the counter space and money you’re saving.

Learn how to pick the best machine.

How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine Under $500

Consider these factors when shopping for an espresso machine:

ChecklistWhy it’s Important
Water PressureDetermines drink flavor.
Ease of UseWon’t require a steep learning curve.
Time to HeatDetermines time required to make the next drink.
DesignIt should fit into your kitchen—design- and size-wise.
PriceShould fit within your budget.
Brewing CapabilitiesWhat it can brew.
Additional FeaturesTakes less time to brew & provides better-tasting drinks.

Don’t just skim the table above.

Check out all the sections below. They’ll dive deeper into each of the criteria and explain what beginners and those searching for machines under $500 should search for.

If you want a more detailed buying guide, read this article.

Let’s go.

1. Water Pressure

  • <7 bars: under-extracted; super sour
  • 7–9 bars: Mild flavor & a bit sour
  • 9 bars: sweet spot; balanced flavor & excellent starting point [2]
  • 15 bars: stronger-tasting drink, but not too bitter
  • >15 bars: over-extracted drink; excessively bitter

Unless you like very bitter or sour drinks, aim for 9 to 15 bars of pressure. All machines under $500 will go up to 15. Some may go up to 20, which is great for bitter coffee lovers.

2. Time to Heat

  • Temperature control: Keeps machine at set temperature.
  • Boiler type: The time it takes to heat your machine.
  • Time to heat frother: Time before you can froth milk.

So long as you get machines over $200–$300, you’ll enter the territory of devices with Proportional Integral Derivative (PID). It’s a feature that keeps your machine at a consistent temperature. Perfect for making drinks back-to-back.

Or for homes with multiple espresso drinkers. If more than one person in your home drinks lattes or cappuccinos, you’ll want a steam wand that maintains temperatures. Though, these are uncommon.

When considering the time before your next drink, boilers also matter.

Here are your options:

  • Double boilers (best): Uses separate boilers for simultaneous brewing & steaming.
  • Thermoblock (runner-up): Heats on demand & fast warm-up time.
  • Single boiler (worst): Lower cost, but takes much longer to heat.

No machines under $500 will include double boilers. They’ll all contain thermoblock and single boilers. The former heats water on-demand. A realistic and affordable option for homes with multiple espresso lovers.

The latter costs the least, but takes the longest to heat. Best for lone wolves.

3. Design

  • Size: If your machine can fit on counters & carts.
  • Aesthetics: Whether the maker fits your kitchen’s style.
  • Materials: Effects how your machine looks & how long it lasts.
  • Water reservoir size: Number of cups your machine can brew before refilling.

You’ll find some good-looking machines in this price range. Though many don’t offer various color options, you’ll have more options to find one that matches your kitchen’s style. Ensure it’ll fit on your countertop, though.

Then consider the size of a separate coffee grinder. As most super-automatic machines (with built-in grinders) are above $500.

Semi-automatic, manual, and automatic machines offer more flexibility, though. They don’t have as many features, which may allow you to store it when not in use.

Speaking of size, machines with larger water reservoirs will take up more space, but require fewer refills. You must weigh the pros and cons before considering this factor.

4. Ease of Use

Make cleaning easier by keeping an eye out for these features:

  • Easy-to-understand buttons: Less of a learning curve.
  • Touchscreen interface: More customization & less manual work.
  • Removable components: Easier to clean; no need to dig into the machine.
  • Descaling notification: Machine shows when it requires descaling.
  • Automatic descaling: Descales for you.

You likely won’t find machines with touchscreen interfaces for under $500. Since they’ll most likely be on super-automatic devices. But you’ll want to find machines that are easy to learn by looking at them, or referencing in a manual.

Machine cleaning; a new chore this hobby will add to your life.

Get a machine with removable components to make it take less time in your day. Doing so will save time refilling water reservoirs and cleaning parts. Makers over $300 may include descaling notifications.

It’s essential to descale your machine every 1–6 months to prevent mineral build-up, which could clog your machine [3]. A notification to let you know when it’s time lessens your burden. If you find a machine that’ll descale for you, that’s even better.

Though, it’s a luxury feature that’ll likely cost over $500.

Learn whether you should get a coffee maker with a built-in grinder.

Coffee Machine with Grinder vs. Separate Grinder

1. Built-in Grinder

Espresso machines with built-in grinders combine grinding and brewing functions in one unit. Ideal for those seeking convenience and a compact footprint.

Here’s why:


  • Matched performance: Integrated grinders are designed to work with the machine.
  • Less mess: Contains coffee grounds within the unit, reducing cleanup.


  • Limited upgrade options: If a component becomes outdated, the machine may need replacement.
  • Potential for inconsistency: May not offer the same precision as standalone models.

Most machines under $500 won’t include a grinder, but it’s worth thinking of if you find one.

Here’s why you should consider a separate grinder.

2. Separate Grinder

Separate grinders for espresso provide dedicated grinding functionality. Typically used by those seeking precision and versatility.

Learn why they’re good and bad:


  • Precise grinding: Offers better grind consistency & control.
  • Versatility: Can adjust to various brewing methods (e.g., pour-over).


  • Space requirements: Requires additional countertop space for both appliances.
  • More cleanup: Separate grinders may create more mess & require additional cleaning.

Enough talking about grinding beans. Let’s talk money.

5. Budget

  • Warranty: They often indicate how long the machines will last.
  • Opt for better materials: Better materials usually result in longer-lasting machines.

If $500 is your budget for getting into espresso making, you’ll need to evaluate how deep you want to dive into this hobby. You’ll need a way to grind your beans. A decent electric burr grinder for espresso beans will cost $120–$300.

Don’t want a grinder? Opt for a Nespresso or ESE pods. If your super- or hypermarkets have complimentary coffee grinders, use that. Though, you likely won’t get consistent espresso grinds.

Many manufacturers cut costs with portafilters and fill them with cheap plastic, which could result in an attachment that’ll break quickly. I recommend buying a new portafilter (at least $100).

Then, if your milk frother sucks, you’ll need to spend an extra $100–$200.

My heart hurts just from writing all these prices. I couldn’t imagine how you feel.

This category’s machines should last longer than a year—the typical warranty length. To make them last longer, opt for stainless steel to resist wear and tear. And ensure to clean your machine frequently.

6. Brewing Capabilities

  • Shot preparation methods: Lungo, doppio, solo shots, & ristretto.
  • Included milk frother: Needed for adding oxygen to milk to make drinks like lattes.

All machines under $500 will include milk frothers (excluding Nespresso). That doesn’t mean they’re good, though. Many frothers will produce runny milk foam, which will negatively impact your drink’s taste.

Meaning, you may need to buy a separate milk frother. If you’re a latte addict.

With or without a milk frother, here are many of the drinks espresso makers can make:

AmericanoCortadoLong macchiato
Black EyeGuillermoRápido y Sucio
CappuccinoGalãoCafé Crema
Dripped EyeIrish CoffeeFreddo Cappuccino
Flat WhiteCafé MediciAffogato al Caffe
LatteCafé BreveMocha
Lazy EyeVienna CoffeeCubano
Manilo Long BlackMacchiatoZorro
Red EyeEspresso RomanoMarocchino
List of espresso drinks espresso machines can make.

I didn’t include doppio, lungo, and ristretto. They’re all different methods of preparing espresso shots. Some machines will have pre-programmed features to automatically do this. But they cost more.

Most of the time, you’ll need to deal with timing to achieve these shots.

7. Quality-of-life Features

Let’s compare a bunch of comfort features:

FeatureDescriptionBest For
Pre-InfusionGently wets coffee grounds before extraction to ensure even flavor release.Coffee connoisseurs seeking optimal taste.
Cup WarmersHeats cups to maintain espresso temperature, enhancing flavor and aroma.Those who want to maintain an ideal serving temperature.
Programmable SettingsAllows users to customize settings like temperature, volume, and strength.Those who want personalized espresso.
Automatic TampingApplies consistent pressure to compact coffee grounds for even extraction.Users who prefer convenience.
PID Temperature ControllerPrecisely maintains water temperature for consistent brewing results [4].Users seeking temperature consistency.

You’ll find many machines under $500 that include PID, pre-infusion, and cup warmers. For programmable settings and auto tampering, you’ll likely surpass this threshold.

All these features mean nothing if you don’t know what type of machine you’re buying.

6 Types of Espresso Machines Compared

Compare all the types of espresso machines to find your dream appliance:

Machine TypeWhat it AutomatesBest for
Super-automaticEverythingAutomated traditional espresso
Semi-automaticPressure & water flowGraduating from manual machines
AutomaticGrinding, tamping, & brewingBalancing cost & automation
ManualNothingLearning the basics
CapsuleEverythingConvenience, cost, & speed
Different types of espresso machines compared.

The following sections will cover the advantages of each machine, average prices, who it’s best for, and other relevant information.

1. Super-automatic / Fully-automatic Machines

  • Average price: $800–$5,000 (varies by model).
  • Automation: Grinding, brewing, water flow, & pressure.
  • Advantages: Top-notch convenience, consistency, & variety.

These machines automate all the espresso-making processes and work best for those with loads of money who want to automate espresso-making. Why not just get a Nespresso at that point?

You may not like the way Nespressos taste. Plus, fully-automatic machines allow you to choose what beans you use. Allowing for more flexibility with flavors.

This next machine won’t cost as much.

2. Semi-automatic Machines

  • Average price: $200–$2,000 (varies by model).
  • Automation: Pressure & water flow.
  • Advantages: Control, consistency, & user-friendliness.

Semi-automatic machines automate water flow and pressure, yet give you control over everything else. They’re great for those who want control over most of the process but desire some automation.

Onto the last automatic machine type.

3. Automatic Machines

  • Average price: $300–$3,000 (varies by model).
  • Automation: Pressure, water flow, & shot timing.
  • Advantages: Consistency, time-saving, & ease of use.

Don’t want to deal with shot timing? You’ll want an automatic machine. They cost more than semi-automatic and manuals. But less than super-automatics.

These machines will provide the most affordable traditional espresso-making experience.

4. Manual Machines

  • Average price: $100–$800 (varies by machine).
  • Automation: Nothing; do everything by hand.
  • Advantages: Mastery, customization, & mechanical simplicity.

Manual machines are ideal for beginners who want to grasp the essentials of espresso-making before graduating to automated machines. Then you will better understand your preferences.

Looking for something that’s more “hands-off?

5. Capsule Machines

  • Average price: $100–$700 (varies by machine).
  • Automation: Brewing & water flow.
  • Advantages: Simplicity, consistency, & minimal mess.

If you only want the taste of espresso, don’t care about customization, and want to use the least space possible, buy these. The Nespresso pods cost a lot, but you won’t need to buy a separate grinder (and maintain it).

These don’t include milk frothers, though. If you’re a fan of milk-based drinks, you must buy a separate one—usually up to $200.

Here’s an even cheaper option.

6. Stovetop Makers

  • Average price: $10–$50 (varies by maker).
  • Automation: Nothing; do everything by hand.
  • Advantages: Portable, brews coffee & espresso-style drinks, & affordable.

These create pressure in their tiny pots to create concentrated espresso-like beverages. Excellent for camping due to its size. Great for a highly caffeinated drink to its strength. And excellent for your bank account since you won’t blow much money.

That’s all, folks.


Here are frequently asked questions that focus on shopping for machines under $500.

How Much Should You Pay for a Good Espresso Machine?

For a good espresso machine, expect to pay between $300 and $800. This price range typically offers a balance of quality, features, and durability.

How Do I Know Which Espresso Machine Is Best?

To determine the best espresso machine for your needs, consider factors like budget, features, ease of use, and customer reviews, and compare options within your criteria.

Our Verdict

I had difficulty choosing among these candidates:

The Breville Bambino won my heart because it’s from a highly reputable brand, doesn’t cost a fortune, and includes all critical and comfort features that’ll result in great-tasting and consistent espresso.

If it’s not the best choice, consider one of the other recommendations.

breville bambino

Breville Bambino: Best Overall

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 13.7 × 6.3 × 12 in (D, W, H)
  • Bars of pressure: 9-15 bars
  • Boiler type: ThermoJet
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Milk frother: yes
  • Water capacity: 47 fl oz = 47 solo shots
  • Material: Stainless steel
Photo of author


Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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