I recently read an article on CNBC where a journalist was spending as much as $2,300 a year on expensive coffee drinks. For himself! You could spend a fraction of that by making your own delicious espresso at home.

My team and I tested all the best cheap espresso machines we can find before purchasing one. Here are our top picks for impressive yet affordable espresso makers.

5 Best Budget Espresso Machines in 2020

1

Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Espresso Machine

Many users agree that the best cheap espresso and cappuccino maker is the Mr. Coffee ECMP1000, it is also our favorite among the other budget espresso machines.

Based on our test, this semi-automatic espresso maker has three things that make it stand out, starting first with its great coffee functions. This easy-to-use espresso maker has a fast heating system and ergonomic portafilter that lets you tamp coffee grounds comfortably.

Second, it can steam milk automatically and do the whole foaming or frothing job to your liking. That's what you call good value and convenience combined.

And third, the water capacity of its detachable container is quite decent for a budget espresso machine. In fact, you can use this coffee maker to brew about 14 small cappuccinos or get 7 large ones before you need to pour water again.

PROS

  • Best feature: Frothing arm for creamy cappuccinos and lattes
  • Easy to use one-touch control panel
  • Serves up to 4 espresso shots
  • Simple cleaning process

CONS

  • Might require regular cleaning to work properly
2

Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine

The next inexpensive machine on our list is the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine. It's a product of Nestlé, a trusted name in the coffee industry that will help you in making espresso at the comfort of your very own home.

The Nespresso machine comes with exclusive ESE capsules that can make great milk-based espresso flavors for the price. These Nespresso capsules are designed to provide a rich, aromatic taste with every shot of espresso. You could easily finish a cup of its quality espresso topped with sweet and creamy foam.

This automatic machine can brew coffee in just 25 seconds, which is a bit faster than the other espresso makers we've tested. Press its button, and it will take care of everything. No manual processes. The Nespresso only needs a little space, so it's also convenient to set up in the kitchen. It's simple to clean up since it has a removable drip tray.

PROS

  • Best feature: Smart energy-saving mode
  • Easy to insert and get a Nespresso capsule
  • Produces hot water in 25 seconds
  • Portable and has programmable buttons
  • Easy to clean stainless steel

CONS

  • Tied to Nespresso pod system
3

De’Longhi EC685M Espresso Machine

If you want an espresso maker with a pro-style look and a budget-friendly price, then take a look at this Italian-made entry-level espresso machine.

This compact boiler has a little footprint, though it packs a lot of power. It accepts both ground coffee and ESE pods. It also offers manual controls that you may not get from any other cheap espresso machines, as well.

If you’re also an aspiring home-barista, you’ll fall in love with this small espresso maker as it is very light in weight.

Based on our test, among the favorite highlights of the De’Longhi EC685M Espresso Machine is its hassle-free coffee brewing steps. With this portable, high-tech espresso maker, you can make a good cup in just a few minutes. The machine's 15 bar pressure pump can extract espresso with great taste.

It comes with a steam wand and a removable water reservoir near its filter holder. It has enough capacity to brew up to a decent amount of 32 single or 16 double shot brews.

However, this model doesn't have a built-in coffee grinder, so you have to prepare it yourself. The brand itself produces quality grinders, so you can opt to buy from them as well.

Another highlight is that the machine's cover can act as a good warming container for your coffee cups.

PROS

  • Best feature: patented “cappuccino system”
  • Portable size and simple to use
  • Thermoblock technology to heat your cup
  • Comes with a compartment for both ground bean and ESE capsule
  • Easy to clean stainless steel

CONS

  • Has a tendency to clog
4

De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso Machine

delonghi budget espresso maker

Next on our top picks among budget-friendly espresso makers is De'Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump. Check this out if you’re looking for a small espresso machine that makes a good frothing.

With this Italian-made machine, you can make one great espresso cup using either ground coffee or ESE pods well with ease. It even comes with a manual steam wand, a great tool that helps you produce a wide array of beverages.

Near the portafilter is a detachable water container for refilling and easy cleaning. You can use De'Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump to produce at least 35 single and 17 double shots before emptying its water tank.

However, this machine doesn't have a built-in grinder and only comes with a single boiler. So, it will take you a little longer if you want to make more than one good cup.

This coffee maker has a detachable drip container for larger cups. Though compared to other machines, this container is way harder to remove because of its design.

And since the De'Longhi EC155 15 Bar is small, one brew can't fill a whole American-sized mug.

PROS

  • Best feature: Self-priming operation
  • Semi-automatic
  • 3-In-1 filter basket
  • Comes with ESE pods and ground coffee bean compartment
  • Easy to clean stainless steel

CONS

  • Cup section is a bit short and doesn't accommodate all cups
5

Hamilton Beach 40715 Espresso Machine

Our final recommendation among the best cheap espresso machines is the Hamilton Beach 40715. Based on our research, this coffee maker has a lot of great qualities, including a large portafilter and a detachable water container. It simultaneously makes one or two shots of great espresso.

It can accommodate ESE pods and fine grind beans. A small wand is also included to froth milk, so you get to craft good cappuccinos, mochas, and lattes.

Among the budget espresso machines, this one has the right characteristics for users who like to save time in making espresso. Its most significant advantage is that its removable drip tray has enough room to craft two cups at the same time. According to many users, none of the other cheap automatic machines within the price range gives the option of creating two drinks simultaneously.

PROS

  • Easy-fill removable water reservoir and pitcher
  • Uses ESE capsules and coffee grounds
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to maintain

CONS

  • Hard-to-find replaceable parts

Buying Guide

You know now that you can actually make good espresso without having to pay a fortune. The next thing to do is to choose among the best espresso machines that aren't just good but affordable.

However, how do you narrow down the choices among the best espresso machines? How can you pick a great unit that has better value?

If this looks like a lot to take in, let us help you with that.

My team and I tested and compared more than 30 of the best espresso machines available⁠—all for the sake of putting this guide together to help you find a suitable piece. We’ll go over the many important product qualities to consider.

Uses Coffee Beans or Ese Pods

ground coffee bean and pod for a better espresso

In the world of espresso machines, you're going to find different types of coffee makers:

  • espresso machines that work with grounds
  • espresso makers that use easy serving espresso (ESE) coffee pods

This one may not seem like a big deal at first, but in the long run, it's going to make a huge difference while you work on great espresso.

If you like the idea of manually preparing great coffee, you can purchase a coffee grinder. Yes, it doesn't need to be expensive. And, if you also like assembling your own espresso powder and tamping the espresso shot filter yourself, then look for the best espresso machines with manual control. The espresso tamping process is not hard, though it requires a bit of manual preparation and a lot of clean up. [1]

However, if you're looking for something more user-friendly and compact, the best model for you might be the variety that uses ESE capsules. These are pods that have pre-measured coffee capsules that you pop into a holder.

In this model, no preparation is involved. Cleanup is like almost zero. But you might wonder - is there a great machine that allows you to use both powder and pod?

While the design of most cheap espresso machines allows only either of the two, there are a few ones out there that can handle both. Three out of five of the cheap espresso machines we tested offer you this convenience.

Budget Espresso Machine That Includes a Milk Frother

cup of coffee

You can't make a quality hot cappuccino, latte, or Americano without adding milk since these are milk-based drinks, to begin with. So, an expresso machine should have a durable, automatic milk frother.

However, not all automatic espresso machines have this design. A lot of people buy milk frother separately. So, you may want to make sure first if you need a built-in milk frother before you buy a coffee machine.

The froth heats up, steams, then foams milk so you can produce more than one espresso shot. A milk frother usually comes with the following:

  • a frothing wand, which you operate by hand and gives you total control over the steaming process
  • a built-in water tank, which works automatically to froth the milk for you [2]

When comparing cheap espresso machine taste tests, you'll want to keep those options well in mind.

Espresso Machine Bar Pressure

one powerful pressurized gauge

Unlike almost loose grind beans that you use in a coffee pot, a decent espresso is a finely packed powder. This compactness prevents hot water from going to flow well through it to make espresso. Water has to be forced through it using pressure.

In barista talk, "9 bars" of pressure is the minimum spec to create a perfect cup of espresso. Any lower and the espresso will be weak.

Any higher would mean more crema. So it's best to pick just the right specification. All of the budget-friendly espresso machines in this list have at least 15 bars of pressure that can be used for a great and solid espresso shot.

Water Capacity & Removable Tank

water

Having to refill the water reservoir after every brew can get annoying, really fast. If you want to avoid this, you need to know how much hot water can fit in the reservoir.

More water is better since it allows the machine to generate added pressure. A detachable water tank makes refilling and cleaning a breeze, too. You may also want to consider the water temperature control of the machine when you purchase.

All of our top picks of budget espresso machines have a generous amount of water capacity that can be used, so you can make a great cup one after the other.

Dimensions

length

I once bought an expensive espresso machine that wouldn't fit on my kitchen counter, so I had to return it.

It wasn't the manufacturer's fault; it was mine. When I renovated my kitchen, I accidentally hung the wall cabinets an inch too low over the counters. The machine was also too tall to slide back into the little corner.

Don't make the same mistake. We recommend you measure the size of the area you want to place your new espresso maker.

Also, make sure to measure the spot where you want to place the espresso machine (width and height). Then, compare it to the dimensions of the espresso and cappuccino maker you like.

FAQs

How much does an espresso machine usually cost?

Most espresso machines cost around $150 to $500. The price depends on the key features, such as the frothing capacity and water reservoir size. There are also budget espresso machines that cost just a little over $100, but still pulls a quality shot of espresso.

If I use inexpensive espresso machines, will my coffee taste as good?

Yes. Based on our taste test, you can make a good cup of espresso with a budget-friendly espresso machine if you look for one with a good bar pressure. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's low quality.

Is a budget-friendly espresso machine hard to clean?

Despite its complex appearance, most users claim that espresso machines are easy to clean. To avoid coffee and milk buildup over time, just do a quick water backflush after each use.

So, What's the Best Cheap Espresso Machine?

Based on our taste tests and customer reviews, we find Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso ECMP1000 as the top pick among the best cheap espresso machines. It's one of the first automatic drip coffee makers designed for people who want to enjoy a morning cup of real espresso.

It has a frothing arm to help you make creamy lattes and steamed milk frothing at any time. This affordable espresso & cappuccino maker has a budget-friendly price tag and lets you have a good drink by using its convenient control panel.

Just pick an espresso shot filter, select your coffee grind, fill the milk reservoir, and kick off your day with a delicious caffeine fix.

Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Espresso Machine

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Best feature: Frothing arm for creamy cappuccinos and lattes
  • Easy to use one-touch control panel
  • Serves up to 4 espresso shots
  • Simple cleaning process
Avatar for Joe Castro

Joe Castro

Joe Castro is the Director of Trusty Joe. Under the guidance of his father, a general contractor, Joe has been involved with a lot of handyman projects from a very young age. He combined this love for building with another passion of his, creative writing. Trusty Joe allows him to merge these two interests and offer the best of both worlds.