Read Our Indispensable Guide to Best Coffee Machine Under 500 Dollars After 2015
Making espresso is an art form. The right amount of coffee grounds, tamping and even when you grind the beans will factor into the taste of the espresso. And if you don’t have the best Italian espresso machine, you can still have a great shot of espresso.
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine
Our favorite for 2017
Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine
A very close runner-up
De’Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
Sleek Design, provides outstanding espresso
There are espresso machines in all price ranges that truly shine, and when looking in the under $500 range, you’ll find countless options to choose from.
But don’t be fooled: every espresso machine is different. Some machines have higher quality construction, while others will be able to extract the utmost flavor to provide a strong shot of espresso.
A few things to keep in mind when trying to compare espresso machines are:
- Water Capacity: The water capacity is important if you plan on making multiple shots of espresso. This will allow you to make a shot for multiple people without needing to refill the unit every few minutes.
- Bar Pump: The higher the bar pump pressure, the more flavor will be extracted in general. A rule of thumb is to look for a model with 15 bar pump pressure.
- Frothing Wand: If you like to drink lattes or cappuccinos, a frothing wand will be able to produce the delicious froth that’s found in high-end cafes.
- Extras: Don’t underestimate the importance of all the little extras that may be included. A tamp as well as a frothing cup and measuring scoop may be offered to allow you to brew espresso without any added costs included.
Our Top Picks for Espresso Machines Under $500
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine – The Gaggia 14101 Classic is a sold mid-range unit. The 14101 can brew coffee or espresso, and the removable water reservoir holds 72-ounces of water.
Temperature stability is provided through the stainless steel housing, while a 17-1/2 bar pump offers extraction that many cafes can’t offer.
A single and double shot filter allows for shot variance, and two shots can be brewed at once – perfect for couples. Simple operation and cleaning are offered as well as a frothing wand to add a little bit of froth to your next espresso.
Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine – If you want an affordable espresso machine, look no further than the ECM160. This is a model anyone can afford. Steam is used to extract the flavor of the coffee grounds, while a frothing arm allows you to top off lattes and cappuccinos with ease.
An easy-pour glass holds up to four shots at once to allow you to make multiple shots for guests.
The drip catcher can be removed for easy cleaning, and with easy operation, anyone can use this machine. It’s the perfect, no-frills, affordable espresso maker that the entire family will enjoy.
Breville 800ESXL – The 800ESXL is a true Italian espresso maker that comes packed with a 15-bar Italian pump to extract flavor. A purge function is available that will adjust the water temperature for optimal extraction, while the triple prime pump shoots out bursts of hot water on the ground coffee to extract even more flavor.
This is mid-range model that can hold 75 ounces of water, and offers a die-cast exterior and a chrome color.
A frothing wand is included, and you can also dispense just hot water – perfect for a cup of tea. Clearance allows for 4.5” cups to be used, and there is a tamping tool, frothing pitcher and cleaning tool offered, too.
De’Longhi EC680 Dedica – The EC680 screams Italian, and if you want barista style espresso, put down your imitation espresso and stop right there. This model is a solid mid-range unit and it’s sleek design allows it to take up just six inches of space on your countertop.
Stainless steel construction adds to this espresso machine’s durability, while a barista style frother produces delicious froth for lattes and cappuccinos.
Thermo block technology quickens the heat up time to just 40 seconds and allows the machine to maintain the ideal temperature all throughout the brewing process. Dual spouts allow you to quickly dispense espresso, while the top of the machine acts as a heating rack.
Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine – Breville’s BES840XL is an espresso machine that you would expect to see at a café in the middle of Tuscany. This model uses pre-infusion technology to extract flavor gently from coffee grounds and uses a stainless steel water coil to maintain temperature.
Complete volumetric control is offered by the 15-bar Italian pump, and an auto purge feature adds to the flavor extraction.
This model offers everything from single and dual filter baskets, cleaning discs and tablets to a water filter and coffee scoop. A frothing wand is included, too. Programmable options allow you to program the machine to produce a precise shot of espresso time and time again.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Home Espresso Machine Under $500
You’ve seen all of the models offered, and since they can all produce great espresso, it may be confusing when trying to pick just one model. But there are a few considerations that everyone will want to keep in mind before making their purchase.
A few of the key points that can make your decision a little easier are:
- Price: The price of the model needs to fit in your budget. In the under five thousand dollar range, you can choose a few high-end models that are great for frequent espresso drinks, such as the BES840XL by Breville.
- Size: The size may matter, depending on your space. We’ve seen one model on our list that takes up just 6 inches of counter space. If you have a smaller kitchen or counter space is a concern, there are models small enough to fit in even the smallest loft.
- Single or Dual Spout: The spout option is a matter of convenience. A single spout is a good choice for the single espresso drinker, while a dual spout will allow you to make two quick shots of espresso for you and a friend to enjoy.
- Filtering: Just one model listed offered water filtering, but this, too, should be considered. Filtered water adds to the flavor of the espresso and is highly recommended by the world’s top baristas. If you don’t buy a model with a water filter, you’ll want to ensure that you do filter your water using a water filter prior to brewing.
And once you’ve mastered the art of making espresso, some models will even let you program the temperature and water volume to ensure consistency when making espresso.