6 Best Espresso Machines Under $500: Good and Inexpensive
When it comes to buying an espresso machine, there is a pretty significant difference between the cheap plastic entry level ones and the more authentic models.
It is true you can still pull a shot with one of those cheap models, but if you want to get some rich and flavorful coffee, 500 dollars seems to be the point where the invisible line is drawn. Hence, if you are shopping for a good coffee maker on a budget, your aim should be to find the best espresso machine under $500.
At this price range, you are justified to have high expectations of getting something well-built with quality materials, reliable, robust and is designed to extract top quality espressos.
But, you still need to choose from several models from leading brands. However, with our top 6 espresso machines under $500 reviews and buying guide below, you should have an easy time choosing.
6 Best Espresso Machines Under $500 – Reviews
1. Breville BES810BSS Barista (Quality Brews at a Great Price)
2. DeLonghi EN520SL (Best espresso Machine for the Money)
3. Breville BES840XL/A (Simply the Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker)
4. Gaggia 14101 (Top Quality Under $400 Espresso Maker with Higher Water Capacity)
5. Gaggia 59101 (Advanced Technology and a Classic Design)
6. Saeco HD8645/47 (Simple One-Touch Espresso Maker)
1. Breville BES810BSS Barista
(Quality Brews at a Great Price)
2. DeLonghi EN520SL
(Best espresso Machine for the Money)
3. Breville BES840XL/A
(Simply the Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker)
4. Gaggia 14101
(Top Quality Under $400 Espresso Maker with Higher Water Capacity)
5. Gaggia 59101
(Advanced Technology and a Classic Design)
6. Saeco HD8645/47
(Simple One-Touch Espresso Maker)
1. Breville BES810BSS – Barista-quality Brews at a Great Price
- Capacity: 61 fluid ounces
- Pressure: 15 bars
If you have always wanted to make barista-quality coffee from the comfort of your home, the Duo-Temp Pro from Breville will be a great investment. Besides helping you make great quality coffee, it is also a fairly priced appliance.
The coffee maker comes with a 61-ounce water reservoir to eliminate the need to refill after every few cups. And it uses a 15-bar Italian style pump that is designed to ensure precise and even extraction.
With this machine, you can extract one or two shots at a time, but the most impressive element about this is that you get to have manual control over the shot volume.
For a top rated espresso machine under $500, other features like auto purge which ensures optimal extraction temperature every time and convenient maintenance indicators should be much welcome.
There is also a handy steam wand that will allow you to make your favorite milk coffee beverages and a removable drip tray for easier cleaning and maintenance.
Although some users will find this machine quite loud, the sound is still tolerable and not as loud as what many other models will produce.
2. DeLonghi EN520SL – Best Espresso Machine for the Money
- Capacity: 30 fluid ounces
- Pressure: 19 bars
While the Lattissima Plus Nespresso by DeLonghi is not the cheapest espresso machine out there, for the price it is hard to get anything better, and so it is as good as it can get for the money.
Its 19-bar pressure pump has the highest pressure in our list, and it will ensure you always get excellent extraction for rich and flavorful espressos.
The machine uses a thermoblock heating system which gives it a super fast heat-up and also ensures it will maintain the optimal brewing temperature at all times for zero waiting between cups.
You can brew directly into your favorite mug or cup regardless of how tall it might be when using this machine as the sliding drip tray is adjustable to accommodate the larger mugs.
Also, there is an automatic cappuccino system to help you make some rich and long-lasting foam for those that prefer milk-based coffee. And energy efficiency is also guaranteed when using this machine as it has an adjustable auto-off timer.
The 30-ounce water reservoir is on the smaller side, but it is still big enough for small families and individual coffee lovers.
3. Breville BES840XL/A – Simply the Best Semi-automatic Espresso Maker
- Capacity: 61 fluid ounces
- Pressure: 15 bars
The Breville BES840XL/A is simply the best semi-automatic espresso machine that you can get anywhere for under $500 because it gives you enough control while still doing most of the work for you.
This top quality coffee maker features a 1600W thermocoil heating system that will ensure more consistent temperatures and digital PID technology for better temperature regulation.
And with the highly-efficient pre-infusion technology, you can be sure of getting precise and even extraction cup after cup.
The machine will also offer you more control over the shot volume as it has volumetric controls to allow you to do it manually or by presetting it.
Other handy features like the maintenance indicators, auto purge function, 360-degree swiveling steam wand, removable drip tray, and auto shut-off also help to make this one of the best entry-level espresso machines out there.
Even with the relatively slower frothing process, this is still a top-notch product as the steam wand still makes milk frothing almost effortless.
4. Gaggia 14101 – Top Quality Under $400 Espresso Maker with Higher Water Capacity
- Capacity: 72 fluid ounces
- Pressure: 17-1/2 bars
With a water reservoir capacity of 72 fluid ounces, the Gaggia 14101 Classic will be perfect for making coffee for a group and also for anyone that hates having to keep refilling the water tank.
Besides the higher water capacity, this espresso machine also has a higher bar pressure of 17-1/2 bars which will help ensure excellent extraction every time.
The rugged and highly durable stainless steel housing also helps to make it one of the best espresso machines under $400 as it will ensure you get to use it for many years.
Also, this coffee maker has a 3-way solenoid valve that is typical of commercial espresso machines and it helps to relieve pressure so that you end up with a dry and easy to clean puck.
Controlling it should be an effortless task as it uses some heavy-duty rocker switches that are super easy to use.
The heat up time is still not the fastest, but it is still faster than most others in the same price range. And this espresso machine will also come with a pannarello wand for frothing, steaming and hot water dispensing and a handy cup warming tray.
The cheap plastic material of the steam wand can be a turn off for some users, but for the price, the quality is still good enough. Furthermore, it still works amazingly well, and so this should not be a deal breaker.
5. Gaggia 59101 – Advanced Technology and a Classic Design
- Capacity: 40 fluid ounces
- Pressure: 15 bars
Nothing beats the convenience of having a super automatic machine when it comes to espresso makers and the build quality, features and performances of Gaggia's Brera are enough proof.
The espresso machine comes in a classic design that will complement any kitchen décor and look amazing anywhere you place it.
However, its feature-rich construction is what makes it one of the best home espresso machines under $500 out there.
These features include the pannarello wand that will make it easy to create reach foam for your specialty beverages and also dispense hot water when you need it. Also, this espresso machine uses rapid steam technology to ensure quick heat up and robust operation.
There are also some easy-to-use push-button controls and a user-friendly LED display to make this machine easy to operate. And because it has both a hopper and bypass doser, you can use both whole beans and pre-ground coffee for brewing.
The self-rinsing feature seems to use up a lot of water and may result in more frequent drip tray emptying, but this is a highly useful feature and its benefits will outweigh the few drawbacks.
6. Saeco HD8645/47 – Simple One-touch Espresso Maker
- Capacity: 33 fluid ounces
- Pressure: 15 bars
The simple one-touch operation of this under $500 super automatic espresso machine by Saeco makes it super easy to use, and it is one of the things that many users will love most about it.
But, besides the intuitive and simple operation, this small and space-saving coffee maker also makes espressos quite fast as it has a quick heat boiler that also eliminates wait between cups.
For those that prefer cappuccinos, latte, macchiatos and other coffee beverages with milk, this is also one of the best espresso machines under $500 for you as it will come with a classic manual frother that makes it easy to make these brews.
The removable brew group and the hassle-free auto cleaning cycle will make maintenance and cleaning effortless when using this machine.
You can also customize your coffee bean grind setting when using this machine as it allows you to choose from 5 options. And with its memo function, you can adjust and customize the coffee to suit your tastes.
This espresso machine can only pull one shot at a time, but this should not be a drawback as you only need to press the button twice to get two shots in a row.
How to Buy the Best Espresso Machines Under $500
Given that coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the globe, you can always be sure that there are many models and brands to choose from regardless of the price range.
Because of all the technical terms involved and a myriad of features to watch out for, trying to compare espresso machines in the under $500 price range can be a little bewildering.
However, you do not need to complicate things as you should still be okay if you keep the few points below in mind when shopping.
Under $500 is a wide price range, and so before you go out to buy an espresso machine, you still need to decide how much money you are willing to spend.
Are you looking for a feature-rich super automatic espresso machine or a more affordable and basic semi-automatic model?
The amount of money you are willing to spend determines the kind of espresso machine you will get. And it should be obvious that a $400 machine will have more features and will often be better built and with more long-lasting materials than most $200 ones.
Once you come up with a budget that suits you, the second important decision that you will need to make is the type to buy. And here you will often need to choose between manual, semi-automatic and super-automatic machines.
Manual espresso machines are for home and professional baristas that want to have more control over the brewing process as they will require some muscle power to pull a shot.
These machines are known to produce some of the richest and finest espressos, but there is a learning curve in using them, and you can easily mess up things if you do not know what you are doing.
Manual espresso machines also come in a sleek and attention-grabbing design, but the espresso making process is slower and they can be pricier.
With the semi-automatic espresso machines, you get to retain some level of control over the brewing process, but they do not require elbow grease to pull a shot and are relatively faster than manual ones.
The semi-automatic espresso machines will feature a portafilter, boiler and a user-operated extraction switch. Although just about everything is automated, the user still retains control over things like the extraction time.
If you want the best entry level espresso machine that does everything for you, the super automatic models are your best bet.
These machines will do everything at the press of a button, and they are very useful when you just want a quick cup of espresso in the morning.
Although it is possible to find one for under $500, these are often the priciest types of espresso machines.
3. Grinder Types
The grinder type that the espresso machine uses determines how consistent the coffee grounds will be and also the level of noise when grinding
There are two basic grinder types to choose from which are burr and blade grinders. Burr grinders are by far the best as they produce even particle sizes to ensure maximum flavor extraction and are also relatively quieter than the blade types.
Blade grinders can produce inconsistent grounds and are often quite noisy but they are the cheapest options, and so they can still work for anyone shopping on a super tight budget.
4. Grinder Settings
Because you will probably not want to make a typical espresso shot every time, your machine should offer different grinder settings to allow you to make grounds for different types of coffee.
On its most basic form, a grinder should have at least three settings which are fine, medium and coarse, but the best models will have several options for the three main grinds.
At this price range, a machine with 5 to 10 grind settings should be good enough.
5. Water Heater
An espresso machine will typically use either a boiler system or thermoblock to heat the water needed to pull a shot and for steaming milk.
Boiler systems are often a preserve of expensive espresso machines which will have either single or double boilers, but you will still find many under $500 espresso makers with a boiler system.
However, most under $500 will use thermoblock which is not as consistent as a boiler system and will also not allow for simultaneous steaming and brewing. But, something with PID controller can work as efficiently as a boiler system or even better.
6. PID Controller
You need to have the water at an optimal temperature of between 195 and 205 °F to ensure excellent extraction for the best espresso flavor. And this is where the PID controller comes in.
An espresso machine with the PID controller will ensure that the thermoblock water heater maintains the optimal brewing temperature.
And so with the PID controller, you will get more consistent extraction and there will also not be any wait time between cups.
7. Ease of Use
An easy to use espresso machine makes coffee making a faster and hassle-free activity and will ensure you do not have to waste a lot of time trying to get your daily fix.
Ease of use will be determined by the type of the machine, ease of setting it up and also the controls and display.
Super automatic espresso machines are the easiest to use while the manual models are the hardest to use, and they will take some time to master.
Your choice of espresso machine will always depend on your preferences and situation. But, your budget is also vital as you cannot buy what you cannot afford.
To make sure that you strike a perfect balance between functionality and cost, buying the best espresso machine under $500 will be a wise idea.
Finding the perfect model should also be easy as you only need to watch out for things like the grinder type and settings, water heater and the ease of use.
Also, our detailed espresso machines under $500 reviews will save you a lot of time by giving you some top quality recommendations.