The 5 Best Budget Espresso Machines
Love espresso but don’t want to break the bank on a coffee maker? Try the best budget espresso machines. Below, I’ve rounded up everything from a stovetop model to pod espresso machines — to suit a range of budgets. Whether you love cappuccinos or prefer a straight espresso shot, there’s an affordable option for you.
First, you'll want to consider machine size, which encompasses both capacity and countertop footprint. If you plan on entertaining guests often or you live with other coffee drinkers, you might want to opt for an espresso machine with a larger capacity and more diverse offerings; For portability or single-serve options, an espresso machine with a smaller capacity might be best.
Choosing an espresso machine with a built-in milk frother is convenient since you can brew and froth all in one machine. But even if you choose a machine with a frothing arm built in, you might need to buy a pitcher.
Below you'll find both manual steam and automatic pod-based espresso machines. Steam machines call for ground espresso, but both its process and the freedom to choose any espresso you like offers more control over your coffee experience. Automatic pod-based machines guarantee ease in espresso brewing and no mess (since you don't need to measure out loose grounds) but you lose some of the customization. One of my picks can even make classic drip coffee in addition to espresso.
For those who need espresso to go, there's also a portable espresso maker, you'll just need to provide your own boiling water.
Take a look at the best budget espresso machines. All of them are highly rated and under $150.
1. A Stovetop Espresso Maker For Under $50
Made of polished aluminum, this stovetop espresso maker can make up to 9.2 ounces of espresso coffee in about five minutes. While this simple pick doesn't boast the bells and whistles you'll find on the other models featured in this roundup (no frothing capability, for example), Amazon customers have given it a 4.3-star rating after over 8,500 reviews anyway.
Just note: this pick takes ground espresso only, is hand wash only, but does work on most stovetops, according to Amazon reviewers, except for an induction stove since aluminum isn’t compatible with induction stoves.
What fans love: “Great espresso maker! The 6-cup size is perfect to make two strong latte's. Very good deal! There are quite a few parts to this, which is a bit annoying to clean, but it makes a great espresso so I'll learn to love the dishes…”
2. A Budget Steam Espresso Machine With A Milk Frother
This stainless steel, steam espresso machine can hold enough water for about 40 ounces of espresso at once. It comes with a handy milk-frothing arm (but you'll need to buy a pitcher separately). The indicator light makes operation super simple and the steaming nozzle makes milk frothing highly customizable. The machine can make Americanos, cappuccinos, lattes, and probably any other espresso drink you can think to whip up. Reviewers how easy it is to clean and how quickly it warms up.
What fans love: “FANTASTIC!!! Highly recommended, I am a coffee freak and this machine makes superb coffeeHigh pressure and heat makes all the difference! very Easy to use and clean, slim in size, and great price!Warms up in seconds, I have a cup full in less than a min”
3. The Best Overall Budget Pod Espresso Maker
This single-serve pod coffee and espresso maker can brew a wide range of cup sizes: single espresso (1.35 ounces), double espresso (2.7 ounces), gran lungo (5 ounces, or a large espresso with twice as much water as a traditional espresso), regular coffee (7.7 ounces), or an alto (14 ounces, so basically a tall coffee) using Nespresso's VertuoLine capsules.
This machine combines one-touch brewing with Centrifusion technology and blend-specific brewing. Centrifusion technology — developed by Nespresso — spins up to 7,000 rotations per minute as it brews ground coffee with hot water; and the blend-specific brewing feature recognizes the individual barcodes on each pod in order to adjust brewing criteria based on that information, so you don’t have to mess with brew settings. This model also has a 4.3-star rating and over 800 reviews to back it up.
What fans love: “I just love this machine. They did a great job with their new vertuo line. The coffee is always super creamy, regardless of the kind of coffee. The machine is so easy to clean, easy to be refilled, etc. It is also not that noisy, given the centrifuging technology on it. I really recommend.”
4. A Pod Espresso Machine With A Built-In Milk Frother That Also Brews Coffee
This multi-functional coffee maker pick has the capacity to make a single 2-ounce shot; but it also boasts brewing options for all types of coffee, from espresso to cappuccino to lattes. You can use a K-Cup pod, but you can also buy the reusable K-Cup and use any ground espresso or coffee if preferred. Plus, the built-in milk frother means you can easily treat yourself to a latte or cappuccino as well.
You can also make regular coffee with this machine, which can fit a 7.2-inch travel-size mug and brews four different cup sizes: 6-,8-,10-, and 12-ounce cups. The frother is dishwasher safe and this model even has a “strong brew” feature if you like your java extra intense. The 60-ounce water reservoir means you won’t have to refill the water tank too often.
What fans love: “Best coffee maker ever!!! I love the espresso option! It’s like I’m drinking Starbucks right at home!! I would recommend this product to EVERYONE! I would go door to door to sell it! That’s how in love I am with it!!”
5. The Best Budget Portable Espresso Maker
This single-serve, portable espresso maker makes up to 2.7 ounces of espresso at once and takes ground espresso, but there is an accessory that makes this device compatible with pods if you like that convenience while on the go. It weighs less than a pound and measures 2.4 by 2.8 by 6.1 inches, so it’s a cinch to pack. Simply fill the filter basket with ground coffee, add boiling water (unfortunately, this pick doesn't heat the water for you), and then manually pump out espresso in minutes. No batteries or electricity required.
What fans love: “This has made camping and travel extra luxurious. It always produces a consistent cup with a little crema. It is not 100% like having a cup of espresso from a nice coffee shop or a super automated machine, but it is pretty darn close. We also like how self contained, sturdy, and small it is making it easy to travel with.”
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