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Pros & Cons of Buying Used/Refurbished Espresso Machines

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Buying a used or refurbished espresso machine is a fantastic option for a cheap espresso maker for beginners, experimenters, and folks on a budget. But they often have questionable reliability and shorter warranties (or lack of them). Learn whether these machines are worth getting by reading further.

I like experimenting with various espresso machines, but I’m not a millionaire. Thus, I need a more affordable way to get various espresso makers.

That led me to write this guide. To see whether they’re worth the buy.

Here’s what I’ll cover:

Now, stop dilly-dallying and jump into the article

Key Takeaways

  • Used machines are sold “as is,” while refurbished machines are repaired, tested, and repackaged, usually with a limited warranty.
  • Used machines are cost-effective, access to quality brands, environmentally friendly, suitable for beginners.
  • Used machines have potential hidden issues, lack of warranty, shorter lifespan, possibly outdated.
  • Refurbished machines are cost-effective, assured quality, access to high-quality machines, eco-friendly, potential warranty, professional servicing.
  • Refurbished machines have potentially shorter lifespan, limited selection, unknown usage history, potential cosmetic defects, possible warranty limitations, potential for hidden problems, possibly higher maintenance. 

Who Should Buy a Used or Refurbished Espresso Machine?

The following folks should consider getting used or refurbished espresso machines:

  • First-time espresso machine buyers: Affordable entry point to explore espresso brewing.
  • Budget-conscious buyers: These machines cost a lot less than new ones, making them attractive to those who want to enjoy quality espresso without breaking the bank.
  • Upgrading from a basic machine: Step up without the full cost of a high-end model.
  • Experimenters: If you’re new to the world of espresso or want to try a different brand or model before committing to a full-price purchase, used or refurbished machines are great.
  • Occasional espresso drinkers: Don’t justify the expense of a new machine.
  • Small businesses or offices: Cost-effective option for occasional espresso needs.

Newbies in espresso-making or folks on a budget should consider used and refurbished machines. Your level of technical expertise, patience, and the money you want to save will depend on whether you choose used or refurbished.

Refurbished machines require less technical expertise if you buy them from reputable vendors. Since they’ll have fewer defects. So long as you shop right. I’ll teach you how later.

Used machines require more technical know-how. Since you’ll need to inspect the device you’re buying. They may also require more repairs since you don’t know about their history. However, they’ll save you the most money.

Should businesses consider these machines?

Summary: Get a used or refurbished espresso machine if you’re a first time machine buyer if you’re new to espresso making and want to save money.

Opt for the former if you want to save more and don’t mind spending more time on repairs. The latter if you want a machine with fewer issues.

Should Businesses Use Refurbished or Used Espresso Machines?

Opt for used if your budget is tight, you have skilled techs for repairs, and you can handle potential performance hiccups. Otherwise, opt for new machines.

New machines offer top-notch performance and warranties.

All these factors ensure that your machine won’t break down while trying to serve customers.

If new machines cost too much upfront, consider renting or leasing an espresso machine. Getting a new device allows you to test specific models without a high cost. Though your machines are technically refurbished, they’re cheaper in the short term (if renting).

How about refurbished machines?

Refurbished machines often offer a better balance of affordability and reliability. The warranty and quality assurance provide peace of mind, while significant cost savings compared to new models can benefit the bottom line.

Before making a decision:

  • Assess your budget and risk tolerance.
  • Evaluate the business’s coffee volume and technical expertise.
  • Consider warranty options and potential repair costs.
  • Thoroughly inspect any used machine before purchase.
  • Research reputable refurbished machine vendors.

The choice depends on your specific needs and priorities. Weigh the pros and cons, and ensure you balance cost-effectiveness with performance and reliability for your business’s espresso needs.

Summary: Businesses shouldn’t buy used espresso machines because they could be loaded with issues.

Business owners who want to save money could benefit from a refurbished one, but will have less purchasing protection.

Pros & Cons of Buying a Refurbished Espresso Machine

1. Pros for Buying Refurbished

  • Significant savings: You can save 30–50% or even more compared to buying brand new.
  • High-end access: Afford an expensive model you wouldn’t normally splurge on.
  • Eco-friendly choice: Extends the life of the machine, reducing e-waste.
  • Quality assurance: Refurbished machines are typically inspected, repaired, and tested by professionals.
  • Warranty option: Many reputable sellers offer warranties for peace of mind.
  • Trial run for beginners: Dip your toes into espresso without a major investment.

I recommend refurbished espresso machines for those on a budget, small business owners starting out, and folks who don’t want to waste time repairing their machines.

Companies, for the most part, do a great job refurbishing machines. Thus, you’ll have less to worry about (regarding repairs). You’ll also have a warranty, though not as long as new ones. Making them a great pick for folks who want some peace of mind.

You’ll obviously save money when buying a refurbished machine over a new one. Since the machine isn’t fresh out of the box and has a shorter warranty. However, they’re a great way to start espresso-making without breaking the bank.

Or without having to repair a used machine constantly.

The other pros are self-explanatory and don’t require further emphasis. Let’s dive into the cons.

Summary: Buying refurbished will give you a higher-quality machine that will have fewer hidden issues.

2. Cons for Buying Refurbished

  • Unknown history: You might not know the reason behind its return or previous use.
  • Potential hidden issues: Some problems might not be detected during refurbishment.
  • Limited warranty: Warranties are usually shorter than for new machines.
  • Cosmetic wear: Scratches, dents, or minor imperfections are possible.
  • Availability limitations: Specific models or brands might be scarce.
  • Less flexibility: May not come with all the desired accessories or functionalities.
  • Outdated models: Older machines might lack newer features or technologies.

Though businesses have dug through the machines and repaired what they could, they don’t repair all of it. Thus, some parts of the machine (e.g., water pump), still have experienced wear and tear. They won’t have as long of a lifespan as a new machine.

Warranty periods for these machines aren’t that long, either. For instance, Seattle Coffee Gear has a 2-year warranty for a new Miele machine [1]. A refurbished device has a 6-month warranty.

Refurbished machines also aren’t often eligible for extended warranties and repair programs.

The less-extended protection contributes to the product’s lower price.

Another factor that’ll contribute to the lower price is cosmetic damage. You’ll often see websites with labels like, “this product has cosmetic damage.” Most of y’all probably won’t care about this, but it’s something to consider.

You may also have difficulty finding specific models, as the brand may not have the refurbished variation in stock. However, that’s an issue you’ll find when shopping for any machine.

Have I convinced you to buy refurbished devices? Consider these points, first.

Summary: Buying refurbished doesn’t have as much flexibility as buying new since you have less of a selection of models. Plus, you have shorter warranty periods.

3. Considerations When Buying Refurbished

  • Seller reputation: Choose a reputable retailer with a proven track record and clear return policy.
  • Inspect thoroughly: Check for visible damage, functionality, and accessories before buying.
  • Warranty coverage: Understand the duration, terms, and conditions of the warranty offered.
  • Parts availability: Ensure necessary replacement parts are readily available for the model.
  • Your comfort level: Consider your tolerance for potential issues and repair complexities.

You’ll likely buy refurbished models online. Thus, you won’t have a chance to inspect them. However, they’ll often offer “X”-day return policies. For instance, Seattle Coffee Gear offers a 30-day return policy on many of their refurbished devices [2].

And since they offer return policies, I recommend scrutinizing your devices before committing to keeping them.

The rest of the points on the above list are self-explanatory. Let’s move onto used espresso machines.

Pros & Cons of Buying a Used Espresso Machine

1. Pros of Buying Used

  • Deep discounts: Save up to 70% or even more compared to new, often surpassing refurbished deals.
  • High-end possibilities: Access top-tier brands and models even on a tight budget.
  • Unique finds: Discover vintage or rare machines with character and history.
  • DIY appeal: Fixer-uppers can enjoy the challenge of restoring and customizing.
  • Negotiation leverage: Direct interaction with sellers allows for potential bargaining.
  • Easy to upgrade: Try new machines without spending too much money.

Used machines are best for tinkerers who have the skill (or curiosity) to repair their machines. As they’ll typically have issues. Hence, why they’re much cheaper than new machines

They’re also for people who are willing to deal with a lot of trouble. For instance, if your machine breaks down, you’d be down to fix it.

Dealing with these issues reaps a massive reward. Access to high-end espresso machines (sometimes) for cheap. For instance, you COULD find a Nuova Simonelli without spending a fortune.

You could lower the price further if you’re good at bartering.

But there’s a lot to consider when buying used.

Summary: Used machines are great for saving money, folks who love repairing devices, and those who have technical knowledge of espresso makers.

2. Cons of Buying Used

  • Buyer beware: Increased risk of hidden issues, wear and tear, or past repairs.
  • No warranty: Rarely offered from private sellers, leaving repairs on your shoulders.
  • Uncertain history: Difficulty in knowing how the machine was used or maintained.
  • Parts sourcing: Finding replacement parts for older models can be challenging.
  • Time investment: Troubleshooting and repairs may require significant research and effort.
  • Unpredictable performance: May require more frequent maintenance and potential breakdowns.
  • Safety concerns: Ensure electrical safety with thorough testing and potential rewiring.
  • All sales are final: Can’t return your machine.

You’re likely doing these sales with random people. That means your machine won’t have a warranty, and you can’t return it if there’s an issue. Thus, you have no buyer’s protection.

Then there’s whether you desire to pay to fix your machine, to fix it yourself, or the patience to deal with a machine that may have many issues. Because you won’t know how the previous owner treated the espresso maker.

There’s a potential that there are hidden issues you don’t know about. For instance, a small part inside the water pump could have a problem. Or there’s something wrong with the wiring.

I’ll discuss when you should consider used, new, or refurbished machines. For now, let’s discuss buying considerations when buying used.

Summary: Used espresso machines can come with various hidden issues due to their unknown history.

3. Considerations for Buying Used

  • Technical knowledge: Assess your ability to diagnose and fix potential problems.
  • Inspection skills: Carefully examine the machine for leaks, rust, functionality issues, etc.
  • Testing opportunities: Request a live demonstration before committing to purchase.
  • Seller research: Verify the seller’s reputation and previous feedback, if available.
  • Budget for repairs: Factor in potential repair costs to avoid sticker shock.
  • Walk-away point: Set a limit on acceptable condition and price to avoid impulse buys.

You’ll need a bit of technical knowledge regarding how espresso machines work when inspecting them. Otherwise, you won’t know how to tell whether there’s anything off with your machine. 

When shopping, check the buyer’s selling profile if possible. It’ll help you get a gauge on whether they’re trustworthy. On sites like Craigslist, you can’t do this. Meaning you’re out of luck.

Then there’s needing to be a bit assertive with the seller.

Because you’ll need to tell them that you’ll want to inspect and test the machine. And you may want to try to convince them to further lower the price. Hence, you’ll need good negotiation skills.

Once you get the machine, you’ll need money set aside for potential issues. You’ll also want to learn how to fix your machine. Because I predict that you’ll need to do it fairly soon with a used machine.

Enough with pros and cons. Let’s see whether refurbished or used devices are better.

Used vs. Refurbished vs. New Espresso Machines for Home Use

  • Used:
    • Best for:
      • Anyone new to espresso-making.
      • Folks wanting to test machines.
      • Anyone with technical knowledge of espresso machines.
      • Budget-conscious individuals.
  • Refurbished: Best for businesses on a budget or home baristas who want a machine, but don’t want to deal with repairs.
  • New: Best for businesses and home baristas with disposable income.

Used espresso machines will save you the most money but require the most patience. You’ll have to deal with independent sellers, need some technical knowledge to inspect it, and will have to repair your machine later on.

Used machines also don’t have ANY buyer protection—warranties and buyer’s protection. That’s where refurbished machines do well. However, they have shorter warranties than newer machines.

Companies reselling the refurbished machines also likely inspected it for issues and cleaned it. Reducing the chances your espresso machine will have issues.

Refurbished machines are the safest purchasing path for anyone wanting to save money. Yet, who doesn’t have the time and patience to deal with repairs.

If you’re a business, I highly recommend getting a new machine. You’ll need the longer warranties for extended protection and the reliability a new machine offers. You don’t want it breaking down while trying to serve customers.

Experienced home baristas with a disposable income should also consider new machines. Instead of focusing on technical issues, you can focus on brewing espresso.

Are you buying a used espresso machine? Here are some buying tips.

Buying Used/Refurbished Espresso Machines

The following sections will explain what to consider when shopping for a used and refurbished espresso machine.

If you’re looking for information on buying new espresso machines, we wrote a dedicated buying guide.

1. Tips for Buying Used Espresso Machines

Keep the following tips in mind when shopping for used or refurbished espresso machines:

  • Ask for a test shot: Test whether the machine works.
  • Test the steam: Ensure it’ll steam milk.
  • Check machine cleanliness: e.g., check inside a steam wand for milk.
  • Check for machine cleanliness: Bring a screwdriver and pry open lid to check for scale around tubing connection.
  • Buy from reputable sources: The more trustworthy the source, the more reliable of a machine you’ll get.
  • Ask what type of water the owner used: It’ll help you learn whether there’s water-related damage to your machine.
  • Ask if it has any electrical issues: Healing elements are costly to fix—avoid if this is the issue.
  • Ask whether it has pressure issues: Avoid buying machines without pressure gauges, because you won’t know whether the pump’s working.
  • Perform a brew pressure test: It should retain a minimum of 9 bars of pressure when using a blind filter.
  • Ask for photos:
    • Underside of group head
    • All sides of machine
    • Cup tray holder
    • Machine internals

I don’t have tips for buying refurbished machines, other than to ensure you’re buying from a reputable source. Check reviews on other websites or forums (like Reddit) to see whether the vendor is trustworthy.

If the seller doesn’t send you pictures of the machine’s internals, don’t buy from them. Because they’re likely hiding a potential issue.

And if the buyer is cool enough to send you internal photos, look for salmon pink tints on the brass parts. That shows you whether the owner tried to hide corrosion from leaks. Also search for burn/scorch marks on the electronics.

And check for buildup of limescale. It’ll look like cauliflower.

Let’s move onto refurbished machines.

Summary: Get as many details of the used espresso machine you’re considering buying. And ask for pictures of every centimeter of the device.

2. Refurbished Espresso Machine Buying Guide

Consider these factors when shopping for a refurbished espresso machine.

1. Who did the Repairs

Ensure a trained technician performed the repairs on the refurbished espresso machine you’re considering. Some sites may list who did the repairs on their product pages. Otherwise, you may need to contact their customer service to inquire.

You’ll also want to ensure certified service centers use programmers to update the software and chips inside the espresso machines. As many modern devices include such components.

2. Warranty

Ensure the machine has a warranty period. Though shorter than new machines, reputable vendors should still include protection for buyers.

Many refurbished espresso machines from trustworthy sellers should also have a return policy. Look for that on the machine’s product page. If it’s not there, check the website’s return policy page.

3. Like New vs. Open Box

Here are the key differences:

FeatureLike NewOpen Box
ConditionVirtually indistinguishable from newCan vary from pristine to showing signs of wear and tear
Cosmetic blemishesMinimal to noneMay have some scratches or marks
FunctionalityShould work perfectlyMay have functional issues
Parts and accessoriesAll present and in perfect conditionMay be missing some parts
WarrantyOften similar to new machinesCan vary, check seller’s policy

“Like New” refers to when someone opened the box, plugged in the machine, and used it. These machines are the most reliable, but will cost the most. “Open Box” is practically the same, however, these machines MAY have some small issues.

In most cases, both of these words have the same meaning. Use the table above as a way to practice caution and not as gospel.

4. Parts Used

Ensure that you buy from a vendor who’s a Certified Center or Factory Authorized. Such labels mean that the original manufacturer trained the technicians to refurbish these devices. It also means that your machine will have original parts that the manufacturer supplies.

5. How Machines are Inspected

Check how the websites inspect their machines. For instance, Whole Latte Love specifies their inspection process [3].

Ensure the company uses certified technicians that’ll scrutinize the machine for large scratches, broken components, or dents. And see what kind of checklist they use when inspecting the machine.

You’ll want to know where to buy these devices.

Shopping for Used/Refurbished Espresso Machines

I’ll explain businesses to consider when shopping for a used or refurbished espresso machine. There’s nothing else to explain here.

Let’s go.

1. Where to Buy Used Espresso Machines

Here are a bunch of places to find used espresso machines:

CraigslistEbayGoodwill and ShopGoodwill (their site)CoffeeGeek (buy/sell/trade forum) (classifieds)UsedCoffeeGear.comCoffee Depot USAFacebook Marketplace
Offer Up (USA)Gumtree (UK and Australia)Kijiji (Canada)Restaurant supply stores

I can’t speak for how trustworthy sellers on these platforms are. That’ll vary by individual. However, this list should help you get started on your search for a used machine.

If you find these sites untrustworthy, consider buying refurbished.

2. Where to Buy Refurbished Espresso Machines

Check out these places to get refurbished espresso makers:

Seattle Coffee GearWhole Latte LoveAmazon
1st in Coffeeespresso-experts.comCoffee Machine Depot, USA
Pro Coffee GearFlair Espresso (manual machines) 

I’m sure there are a million sites that sell refurbished machines. But these are the most trustworthy ones I feel comfortable sharing.

Many users on sites like Amazon don’t reflect the website’s overall policy on refurbished machines. Each store will have their own ways of refurbishing and testing machines. Ensure you check them out by using our buyer’s guide before purchasing.

That’s all. Thanks for reading.

FAQs for Used & Refurbished Espresso Machines

Keep reading to find more information on used and refurbished espresso makers.

What is a Used Espresso Machine?

Used espresso machines are espresso makers previously owned by individual sellers. These aren’t typically repaired, cleaned, or tested. Thus, it may have questionable reliability.

What is a Refurbished Espresso Machine?

A refurbished espresso machine is a previously used one that’s been cleaned, repaired, and tested by professionals. Think of it as a second chance for a quality machine at a significantly lower price.


Buying a used espresso machine is a fantastic way for budget-conscious or beginners to save money on espresso makers. Though, it requires technical knowledge to avoid getting scammed. Refurbished machines combat this by companies fixing up machines and selling them for cheaper.

If you have disposable income and want the most reliable machine possible, get a new one. We offer a lot of new machines here.

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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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