Best Espresso Machine Under $500
Unless you’re really serious about this whole espresso thing, there’s a very good chance that you don’t want to drop thousands of dollars just for a home espresso machine. Lucky for you, it’s entirely possible to find affordable equipment which can still perform at a high level.
With such a wealth of information available out there it can often be hard to navigate and find exactly what you need. I’ve put this guide together to showcase what I think are the best home espresso machines you can find online under $500.
I’ve had a lot of friends and coworkers ask me about affordable espresso machines in the past as they found that some of my recommendations cost a little more than they would’ve liked to spend just on a coffee maker. When discussing it with them more I found that for people who aren’t absolutely fanatical about coffee and espresso, $500 or thereabouts is generally the maximum most people are willing to spend.
Of course, for some people (myself included), it wouldn’t be uncommon to spend thousands of dollars coffee makers and accessories but that is a product of being extremely passionate about this hobby. This particular guide is perfect for people who are either looking for a high quality first time espresso machine (something a little nicer than the basic entry-level machines), those who are less experienced in the art of espresso making or just anyone who’s unwilling to break the bank for the more deluxe and commercial standard equipment.
$500 is definitely more than enough to buy a very powerful and competent espresso machine, despite what some people might tell you. Higher priced models tend to include many more fancy features and functions, but at the very core of it you can find a mid-priced espresso machine which can perform all the essential functions just as good as a more expensive one.
KRUPS EA8250 Espresseria Automatic Espresso Machine
The EA8250 is a fully automatic espresso machine and is possibly the best value for money machine on this list owing to one major feature: the built-in conical burr grinder. The inclusion of the adjustable burr grinder means that you won’t need to make an additional purchase in order to start brewing fine quality espresso which is an excellent benefit to buying this machine.
It is compact, designed to fit in most spaces and is one of the more intuitive espresso machines I’ve come across. It has a simple design with a built-in LCD display and interface and can easily be mastered even by those new to the art of espresso making. Not only is it compact and user-friendly, it is also beautiful looking and feels more vibrant than some of the more industrial looking models on this list.
It uses patented thermoblock heating technology for perfectly consistent temperature regulation and has a very competent steam nozzle, one of the best at this price range. The quick brewing time of just under 2 minutes makes it convenient. Combined with the ease of use, you’ll find the EA8250 to be one of the speedier espresso machines available.
The KRUPS EA8250 is really the whole package and includes absolutely everything you need to start making great espresso at home, something which can’t be said for many of the other espresso machines under $500 when you take into the additional cost of a good burr grinder, which, whilst not essential, really does make the difference between good and great espresso.
It’s equipped with an auto-off function for energy efficiency, and couldn’t be easier when it comes to cleaning. Its auto clean and rinse cycle completes all the major tasks for you and will only require a full deep clean every 360 or so cycles. If that’s not enough, the machine will alert you to all required functions such as cleaning and replacement. It really is the easiest to use espresso machine that I’ve found under $500.
Built-in adjustable conical burr grinder
User-friendly with LCD display and intuitive interface
Fast brewing time of under 2 minutes
Auto clean and rinse cycle
Alerts for all required functions such as cleaning and replacement
Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine
The Breville BES840XL is without a doubt one of my favorite espresso machines under $500. I’ve recommended its slightly more expensive sister machine, the Breville BES870XL to people in the past and this machine is by all means an adequate substitute.
It comes equipped with several cutting edge functions which wouldn’t be out of place on an espresso machine worth a few hundred dollars more: an impressive 1600W thermocoil heating system to accurately control water temperature (keeping it at the 195-200F sweet spot) and its pre-infusion function which applies a low water pressure at the beginning of the extraction process to provide an even extraction.
In addition to the aforementioned features, it also has an auto-purge function which adjusts water temperature automatically after steaming, and this combined with the original Italian pump with 15-bar pressure makes for total volumetric control – it has options for preset, manual override and also programmable volumes.
Like the BES870XL, it comes with both the single & dual wall filter baskets as well as a removable water reservoir with a 61oz capacity and a 54mm stainless steel portafilter featuring commercial style spouts and if that’s not enough, a 54mm tamper for professional tamping control.
This is an extremely well rounded espresso machine and I consider it a steal at this relatively low price. I think you’d be extremely hard pressed to find an espresso machine that performs at this level and doesn’t breach $500. The only downside to it is the fact that it is without a built-in burr grinder which really are the most ideal grinders to use when it comes to making espresso.
If you are willing to spend around $100 more I would recommend looking into the BES870XL which I have mentioned. That espresso machine is very similar to this one although does include the Breville burr grinder as a part of the system. If you already have a good coffee grinder then this espresso machine is perfect and you will remain under $500.
Pre-infusion function for optimal extraction
1600w thermocoil heating system for accurate temperature control
Sturdy and beautiful stainless steel classic Breville design
Auto-purge function and 15-bar Italian pump
Dry puck feature removes excess water from coffee grounds and makes for cleaner disposal
Many accessories including single/dual wall filter baskets and cleaning tools
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine
This is Gaggia’s classic design espresso machine and has been a mainstay on the market for over two decades. Featuring commercial quality components such as the 3-way solenoid valve for drip free brewing and the chrome plated 58mm portafilter housed inside a very nice brushed stainless steel frame, the Gaggia 14101 really feels like it should cost a lot more than it does. Due to the commercial parts and the solid casing it does have a little “industrial” feel to it and maybe isn’t as modern looking as other espresso machines – but what it lacks in chic design it certainly makes up for in sheer reliability and performance.
The unit is heavy duty which makes it perfect if you’re making espresso at home very frequently. It has a 17½-bar pump with a high-voltage boiler and a very high quality Pannarello steaming wand which creates wonderful rich foam for those who enjoy something a little frothier such as a cappuccino. Another great thing about the Gaggia Classic is that it is capable of brewing 2 shots simultaneously.
The Classic does a great job of keeping water temperature at a consistent 190-200F temperature, perfect for espresso making. You will find you have complete control over the brewing process – the 14101 comes with both single and double shot stainless steel filter basket, a tamper and a 7 gram measuring scoop. It does take a little trial and error, and the Gaggia Classic maybe isn’t as user-friendly as some of its competitors, but after some experimentation with different grind settings and tamping pressures you will find that this machine makes a superb shot of espresso.
Additional features include coffee pod functionality and a hot water dispenser for if you want to brew tea or even make morning oatmeal. The removable 72oz water tank is trouble free and as a bonus is one of the easier cleaned home espresso machines, requiring relatively little maintenance.
Commercial grade 3-way solenoid valve and 58mm portafilter
High power 17½-bar pump with high-voltage boiler
Heavy duty classic and proven reliable Gaggia design
Compatible with ground coffee, coffee pods and dispenses hot water
Huge 72oz water reservoir
Breville 800ESXL 15-Bar Triple-Priming Espresso Machine
Another Breville espresso machine, the 800ESXL isn’t too dissimilar from the previously mentioned BES840XL. A couple of the fancier features on the latter machine are missing, but at the benefit of a more affordable price. This model is for people who still want a powerful and high performance espresso machine but are a little more price conscious.
This Breville model is a semi-automatic espreso machine and has a 15-bar Italian pump with thermoblock heating system and an auto-purge function, one of its key features being the triple priming function. This means that the pump releases 3 bursts of hot water to dampen your coffee grinds and results in a rich and full extraction.
The 800ESXL really does provide a full home barista experience, with the ability not only to brew espressos and specialty coffees like lattes/cappuccinos but also a fine hot water dispenser for those who prefer an Americano, tea or hot chocolate. It also includes a filter for use with coffee pods.
It provides total control over the extraction time and can generally make between 2-5 cups per brew. Like most Breville machines it comes with a myriad of accessories including a steel frothing jug, Breville cleaning tools for convenience and a stainless steel frothing jug.
Overall, the 800ESXL is a perfectly adequate home espresso machine and whilst it may not be quite as garish and luxurious as some of its sister coffee makers, in terms of functionality it really doesn’t stray far from the mark. At around $300-350 it’s well under the $500 budget and leaves you with some left over cash to perhaps invest in a good burr grinder which I would always recommend using to make quality espresso.
15-bar Italian pump with triple primer and auto-purge function
75oz removable front-fill water tank
Cup warming function
Beautiful and durable stainless steel housing
Great value for money
Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
The Brera from Gaggia is a super automatic espresso machine, meaning that this machine can automate the entire process of espresso making at the touch of a button. All you have to do is insert your cup and the Brera will take care of the rest.
It comes in either silver or black, and is somewhat more compact than your average espresso machine. It does have a plastic housing featuring metal panels, which means it isn’t the most robust machine out there, but don’t allow this to fool you on the functionality. The Gaggia Brera is a perfectly competent and powerful espresso maker which can compete with much more expensive super automatic machines.
The four stage water filtration system guarantees the removal of all impurities from the water prior to brewing and results in a smooth and clean espresso every time. If you’re somebody who really likes to get the most out of their coffee beans, the Gaggia Brera features an incredibly impressive pre-infusion system. This system ensures maximum extraction of all the key flavors and aromas from the coffee, meaning you’ll use less and unlock the full potential of the bean every time.
One of my favorite things about this espresso machine is how efficient it is in every way. It is very energy efficient, with its standby mode automatically activating after an hour of idleness. The unique automatic care indicator will detect any faults in the machine, and notifies the user with a blinking light whenever any part of the system needs attention.
Automates every part of the espresso brewing process
Programmed to alert the user when care is required
Four stage water filtration system for a clean and healthy brew
Compact and designed to fit in most spaces
So which espresso machine under $500 is right for you? If you are an absolute beginner I really don’t think I could recommend any other than the KRUPS EA8250. This machine literally includes everything you need to start making your own espresso at home without having to worry about an extra burr grinder purchase. The EA8250 also automates the espresso process for you and there are no espresso machines I’ve ever used which are simpler to use than this.
If you already own a good grinder, or are a little more well-versed in the art of espresso, I think my favorite would have to be the Breville BES840XL. At the sub $500 price, this machine outperforms the rest of the machines on this list. The lack of a built-in burr grinder is the only reason I would advise you to stay away if you are really strict about the $500 budget. If you’re a little more flexible, I suggest either looking into buying an affordable grinder such as the Capresso 560.01 Infinity Burr Grinder, or you could also choose to splash out a little extra and purchase the Breville BES870XL which does everything the BES840XL does, only with the benefit of a built-in grinder.