Excellent espresso doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re looking to pull off tasty shots on a reasonable budget, you’ve found the ideal article. You can discover something here to suit your needs, whether you’re searching for an espresso machine that is simple to use, one that does everything for you, or perhaps the ease of coffee pods just won’t leave you alone.
Here are our top selections for the best espresso machine under $500
Our evaluation of the top 9 espresso machines under 500$ for JustCoffeeZone has covered all the bases. To help you choose the best espresso maker for your requirements, we thoroughly examine each model.
A Quick Pic & Reviews
Breville Duo Temp Pro
Flair PRO 2
Gaggia Classic Pro
Mr. Coffee Coffee Cappuccino Machine
Calphalon Temp iQ
1. Breville Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine
The Breville Duo Temp Pro is the best espresso machine under $500 for espresso aficionados who like more control over the brewing process. While still giving you complete control over creating the ideal shot, it is user-friendly.
Ground coffee must be weighed, added to the portafilter, leveled, and tamped before being inserted into the appliance. To start and stop the shot, just turn a knob to start the brewing process.
Even with imperfect puck preparation, the automated low-pressure pre-infusion ensures a delightful outcome. The auto purge feature, which also explains its pricing point, gives the Duo Temp Pro its moniker.
It cleans the machine’s heating system after steaming, switching the temperature automatically from steaming to brewing.
This machine is a winner for specialty coffee lovers who take brew temperature seriously because it is combined with PID temperature control for great temperature accuracy and precision.
The same knob that initiates a shot turns in the opposite direction to activate the steam. You are the true barista because you are controlling the steam wand by hand. It takes some practice to become proficient, but the outcomes are worthwhile.
Microfoam may be produced with ease, much as at a cafe, using a 1600 W heating element. In no time at all, you’ll be creating lovely latte art! It is worthwhile being in a cafe exactly that way.
If you have a somewhat bigger budget, the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine is a great choice for only approximately $100 more.
2. Best Manual Espresso Machine-Flair Pro
The Flair Pro 2 is a hand-operated, gleaming espresso maker. The lever design’s pressure output produces espresso with a quality that’s on par with expensive automatic espresso makers for a fraction of the price.
Pull the main arm to force the water through the grounds after placing your freshly ground coffee in the chamber and locking it in the filled water container. You can get a decent shot of espresso with a wonderful taste and a full body by applying 6 to 9 bars of pressure to extract the coffee. You can easily hone your technique thanks to the built-in pressure gauge.
To pull the lever manually, you’ll need to exert some muscle power, so be prepared to work hard for your espresso shots. A wonderful espresso shot is a sweet compensation for your difficulties!
This manual espresso maker will quickly lose charm if you like to brew two cups at once. Between each shot, it needs to be disassembled and cleaned. Despite being quick, the process wears you out soon.
The Flair Espresso Maker is without a doubt the most cost-effective way to make café-quality beverages at home, and its cast aluminum frame and stainless steel components should endure for decades.
However, if you enjoy milk-based beverages, be aware that it is missing a milk system. Decide whether to set aside money for a separate milk frother.
3. Best Build Quality: Gaggia Classic Pro
A well-liked entry point for prosumer-level espresso machines is the Gaggia Classic Pro. It is inexpensive but well-made, with industrial-grade parts and a robust stainless steel body. with only three switch controls, this machine is simple to operate and relieves pressure on novice espresso makers.
You don’t even need a pricey grinder because the pressurized basket that comes with the chrome-plated brass portafilter suffices. Beginners who want to learn how to make espresso can use pre-ground coffee or even ESE pods. because it doesn’t employ a monoblock heater but rather a single boiler.
The Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine has significantly more steam power. For complete maneuverability, the commercial steam wand rotates in all directions. As you prepare milk-based beverages for your fellow espresso enthusiasts, you’ll quickly hone your latte art talents.
To match any decor, this machine is available in a variety of colors. There are cherry red, classic blue, industrial grey, polar white, or thunder black, as well as brushed stainless steel. Plan ahead because it takes up a considerable amount of counter space. However, it is quiet for your comfort.
4. Best Dual Purpose-Nespresso Vertuo
Sometimes you want coffee, espresso, or perhaps both. The Nespresso Vertuo was created with you in mind if that describes the situation.
Just 25 seconds are needed for the Nespresso Vertuo to preheat. It uses Centrifusion technology to scan the barcode of any compatible coffee pod and spin it at 7,000 rpm.
While you enjoy watching joyfully hands-free, the Nespresso Vertuo will make wonderful espresso or coffee drinks. Just insert a pod and press start, as with all Nespresso products. Cleaning up is also simple after brewing.
Although the Vertuo lacks an integrated milk system, it can be discounted when purchased with an Aeroccino milk frother.
5. Best Super Automatic-Gaggia Brera Under 500$
As the greatest super-automatic espresso machine, the Gaggia Brera does everything while requiring the least amount of effort. With a built-in grinder, one of the key components to a delicious espresso.
This famous Italian super-automatic machine stands out from the competition. With the help of its revolutionary Adapting System, this grinder will even recognize your whole coffee beans and adjust the grind’s fineness to suit them. Once set, it will consistently duplicate that ideal shot!
A Pinarello steam wand, which the Brera employs, siphons air into your milk through an intake hole. Beginners may easily create scrumptiously smooth foam with a rich texture thanks to this design.
The quality of your cappuccinos and lattes will increase. The steam wand functions as a tea and Americano hot water dispenser.
Since its reservoir and bins are accessible from the front, this relatively small type of super-automatic espresso maker may be tucked away. These items are dishwasher-safe for ease of cleaning.
6. Best Portable Espresso Maker-Calphalon Compact
A width of less than six inches makes the Calphalon Compact as small as they come. This model is for you if you are on a tight counter space budget but do not want to compromise on quality espresso. Its tank can contain more water than 1 L despite its size.
The Calphalon Compact is a compact appliance that includes all the functions required for a quick and satisfying espresso. Maximum flavor extraction is ensured by the low-pressure pre-infusion, the Thermoblock heater’s quick temperature rise, and the 15-bar pump’s ample pressure.
All you have to do to prepare the puck, press a button, and walk away is because it’s an automatic model. For your milk drinks, the built-in steam wand is powerful enough.
In addition, unlike other small espresso machines like the Espressione Concierge, it has a stainless steel milk pitcher of its own.
7. Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine-De’Longhi EC155
The most effective semi-automatic espresso maker for those on a tight budget is the De’Longhi EC155. With De’Longhi’s well-known reputation behind it, you can be sure that you’re getting a high-quality product.
We frequently suggest the EC155 to people new to espresso because it is simple to use. You must participate in the process because it is a semi-automatic machine, but it includes several user-friendly features that reduce human error.
The Advanced Cappuccino System allows for back-to-back brewing while maintaining the appropriate temperature, saving time and bother. Everything is controlled by a single dial. Depending on your ability and what you have available, the 3-in-1 filter holder is appropriate for freshly ground coffee beans, pre-ground coffee, or espresso pods.
A jet-frothing steam wand is used manually. Similar to a Pinarello wand, this design adds additional air to the steam, which makes it simpler to create an airy milk froth.
Due to its small size, dishwasher-safe components, and stylish design, cleaning is simple.
8. Mr. Coffee One-Touch Coffee House Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
It may come as a surprise that a brand called “Mr. Coffee” is great for espresso. But just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you also shouldn’t judge an espresso machine by its name.
By automating the process, this machine reduces making a cappuccino to a single button press and eliminates all guessing. The practical control panel offers buttons for an espresso single or double shot and for automatically foaming milk.
The carafe’s automatic milk frother creates a silky texture and sweet, properly warmed milk flavor.
With the exception of a built-in grinder, this machine performs all the functions of a super-automatic espresso maker for a fraction of the price. It’s among the most reasonably priced one-touch variants we’ve seen.
9. Great Value for Money-Calphalon Temp IQ
An excellent option for brewing espresso on a budget is the Calphalon Temp IQ. It certainly drew our attention as a cost-effective high-end semi-automatic and even received the Amazon’s Choice designation. It includes some features that are often found in more expensive designs.
One such feature is the PID temperature control. It provides significantly higher temperature accuracy and stability compared to less expensive pressure stats, which is essential for aficionados of specialty coffee.
It also comes with a stainless steel frothing pitcher and has an automatic pre-infusion feature. When compared to more expensive designs, the low price is primarily the result of a lower level of construction quality.
It has a plastic body and a straightforward dial interface as opposed to a more complex touch screen. There is no reason why it shouldn’t endure, but you will need to treat it with respect and adhere to current cleaning guidelines.
How to Pick the Best Espresso Maker for Less Than 500$
A good espresso maker costs money, and a cheap one isn’t worth buying. Despite including a few excellent espresso machines priced around $200, we cannot vouch for either their quality or the espresso they produce.
The greatest espresso machines, however, strike a good mix between price and quality. You should take a few things into account when selecting the best model for you, especially if you’re looking for an espresso machine for use at home.
This buyer’s guide will discuss how to select the ideal $500 or less espresso maker based on your requirements. And if you have a little extra money to spend, check out our selection of espresso machines under $1000.
Which Kind Of Machine Would You Like?
Espresso machines can be divided into four categories: super-automatic, automatic, semi-automatic, and manual. There are also pod-based systems like Nespresso coffee makers.
Pump-driven espresso machines include automatic, super-automatic, and semi-automatic models. Even with a semi-automatic or automatic type, you must still participate in the grinding, dosing, and tamping steps.
This gives more control to dial in a shot precisely, but it also leaves some possibility for human error. A semi-automatic varies from an automatic in that the barista must start and stop the shot manually with the former.
According to coffee expert Dominic Vittitow, super-automatic or pod-based espresso machines offer the most convenience with the least effort.
The drawback of all that automation is that there aren’t many dial-in options for variables to optimize for various coffees.
The most control is offered with a manual espresso machine because it lacks a pump. Along with everything else, the extraction pressure is under your control.
Manual espresso machines may make shots that are on par with cafe quality for a very low cost, but you must be willing to put in some practice (and hard work).
Do you require PID temperature control?
PID and pressures are the two forms of temperature control that are frequently seen in the best espresso machines under $500. Are PIDs worth it given that they are typically more expensive?
A proportional integral derivative is referred to as PID. Compared to a mechanical pressure stat, it establishes a significantly more stable temperature through a feedback loop.
This is crucial if you’re brewing specialty coffee because the brew temperature is a crucial factor. Additionally, PIDs outlive pressure stats.
Do You Have Milk (Or Your Favorite Milk System)?
Do you enjoy preparing cappuccinos or lattes? Save your money and choose espresso machines without any sort of milk system if you don’t want to froth milk at all.
However, if you really prefer coffee drinks that contain milk, get an espresso machine that has a steam wand or an automatic milk frothing system. Although an automatic milk frother is significantly easier to use, you typically have no control over the texture of your milk with one.
While using a steam wand requires some finesse, you can easily produce velvety microfoam for latte art and airy froth for a cappuccino. Follow this professional advice and make sure your pitcher contains the appropriate volume of milk before using a steam wand.
Pour enough milk into the pitcher to just cover the base of the spout.
How Much Space Do You Have At The Counter?
Before making a purchase, it is always best to measure the available space and then compare it to an espresso machine’s measurements.
Your normal cooking needs shouldn’t be hampered by the presence of your espresso machine if you wish to have it on display. Make sure it will fit in your cupboards if you want to be able to store it.
How Much Reservoir Volume Do You Need?
Your espresso machine’s overall footprint will grow if the water reservoir is bigger. However, this is a reasonable trade-off if you prepare a lot of espresso for yourself or your loved ones.
If your espresso maker has a bigger water reservoir so you don’t have to continuously refill it, it will be less of a nuisance.
The Breville Duo Temp Pro is JustCoffeeZone‘s top selection for the best espresso machine under $500. One of the top semi-automatic espresso machines available in 2023 is this one. It is robustly constructed, strong, accurate, simple to maintain, and provides continuous espresso brewing.
Are Cheap Espresso Machines Capable of Producing Quality Espresso?
Yes, even a cheap espresso maker can produce quality espresso. Just some patience and practice will do. Importantly, you also require a good coffee grinder.
Having the ideal fine grind is one of the main determinants of a successful espresso shot. For a reliable grind and even extraction, we advise using a burr grinder.
What does espresso’s pre-infusion mean?
Pre-infusion in espresso refers to evenly wetting the espresso puck for around 10 seconds at a low pressure of 1 to 2 bars before gradually increasing the extraction pressure. This ensures a richer espresso yield and more equal extraction.
Pre-infusion is more accurate for experienced users when you brew bottomless and precisely regulate it based on the filter basket flow.
What does the monoblock heating in the espresso maker do?
In an espresso machine, the monoblock heating warms the brewing water as it travels from the water tank to the brewing group. It functions by pumping water through a coil of pipe, which heats the water as it moves through.
It reduces lime build-up and heats it more quickly than a conventional boiler system. However, it is less stable and has lower steam pressure. You can utilize the monoblock heating element separately or in conjunction with a conventional boiler system.
What kind of espresso maker does Starbucks use?
The Mastrena High Yield espresso machine is used by Starbucks. In contrast to other machines, it was made to order with premium Swiss components by a Swiss company called Thermoplan AG. This machine can only be used in Starbucks locations.
With a built-in grinder and a unique programmable menu to optimize brew temperature, speed, and convenience of creating premium espresso shots, it is one of the best fully automatic espresso machines.