The Best Espresso Machine Under $500 of 2016

When you’re in love and have the means, price is no object. When the object of your affections is a cup of Joe, taking the time to research your options provides the assurance that you’re taking control of your relationship with this amazing beverage.

Today, let’s look at five top espresso machines under $500. With these machines, you can kiss the coffee shop goodbye and say good morning to a life of convenience and custom espresso.

Espresso Maker Buying Guide

Before we check out these impressive espresso makers, let’s talk coffee. You really need to know what kind of a coffee connoisseur you are before you settle on a certain espresso maker to avoid choosing a machine that isn’t well suited for you.

Espresso Makers Under 500 Buying Guide

• Manual vs. Machine-Powered Espresso

While most of the machines we’ll review below are machine powered, the last one is manually operated. While it provides a slight workout, we’re intrigued by the idea of a manually operated espresso maker.

You’ll have to decide whether you prefer the ease of a machine over the minimalistic freedom of a manually operated espresso maker. One thing’s sure: Only one of the machines below will fit in your pack as you head to camp. Spoiler: it’s not the one with the automatic frother.

• Semi-Automatic vs. Super-Automatic Espresso Makers

This distinction has more to do with personality than taste. If you’re the artiste type who likes controlling everything about your coffee – and you probably are if you’re one of those guys who has a long list for your barista each morning – then you’d be best served by a semi-automatic espresso machine.

A semi-automatic espresso maker leaves a great deal of control in the hands of the owner. You get to decide how each shot will taste by tweaking different variables like water temperature, grind size, pump pressure, and brew time.

You’ll be able to go all “scientific” and perform all sorts of experiments on your latte-loving family and friends. Once you have your technique perfected, you can practice your barista skills until you’re ready to appear on the next reality show of crema artists.

If the idea of having to think about your coffee strategy early in the morning gives you a headache, make it easy on yourself and just ignore everything but the super-automatic espresso makers. These amazing gadgets allow you to sleepwalk through your morning coffee rut and end up with a satisfactory shot of unvarying espresso every morning.

• Home vs. Commercial

If you desire to make espresso for home use, any of these machines should be satisfactory. Of course, if you envision yourself opening the next Starbucks from a corner in the office, you might want to save up and purchase a more ambitious model than any of these we’ve reviewed here.

And now, without further ado…

The Best Espresso Machines Under $500 in 2017

Name
Image
Type
Check Best Price
#1 Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso MachineBreville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso MachineSemi-Automatic
#2 DeLonghi Titanium Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System
DeLonghi Titanium Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System
Semi-Automatic
#3 Nespresso Pixie D60 Espresso MachinesNespresso Pixie D60 Espresso MachinesSemi-Automatic
#4 Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine with Brushed Stainless SteelGaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine with Brushed Stainless SteelSemi-Automatic
#5 Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino SystemMr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino SystemSemi-Automatic

#1 Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine

Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine

Type, Design & Dimensions

• 17 pounds
• 10.2 x 12.5 x 13.2 inches
• 61 fluid ounce water tank
• 1600W thermocoil heating system
• 54mm stainless steel portafilter
• Volumetric control function
• Instant hot water spigot
• Steam wand for milk frothing
• Auto purge function
• Coffee scoop
• Removable drip tray
• Espresso pressure gauge
• 15 bar Italian pump
• Single- and dual-wall filter baskets
• Quality stainless steel jug

Performance & Capacity

The Breville BES840XL slowly infuses the coffee grinds with hot water so that the grinds can expand, or “bloom.” Doing this eliminates waste by filling in gaps and irregularities before applying full pressure to the puck. It also results in a full, robust flavor.

This machine combines automation with control. Temperature settings are automatic, while volume settings are programmable.

This machine provides a cup warmer to prevent cracking due to sudden heat, and it also offers an auto-purge feature to extract water from the machine, which contributes to the machine’s lifespan as well as to an easy cleanup.

What types of coffee can I make with these machines?

Thanks to the handy hot water outlet on this machine, you can use the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine to make quite a variety of coffees and hot teas.

Energy Saving

This machine has an automatic power-off feature.

Cleaning (Easy or Hard)

Cleanup for this machine is as easy as the touch of a button. Several features contribute to this easy maintenance, including the purge feature and the removable drip catcher.

Warranty

The Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine comes with a limited one-year warranty. If this product has a defect in product material or workmanship within the Warranty period, Breville will arrange to replace it with a comparable or identical model free of charge.

What do Purchased Customers Love and not Love about It? (Pros & Cons)

Pros Cons
1. People like the customizable nature of this machine. It’s easy to become an amateur barista after a few tries using the portafilter and tamper.
2. The hot water outlet makes this machine quite versatile.
3. Easy cleanup at the push of a button.
4. Doesn’t require you to purchase expensive pods.
1. Machine can lose pressure if you don’t descale it regularly or purge it of excess water.
2. Tamping the puck can make a mess.
3. Frothing can be tricky to master.

Buy Breville BES840XL the Infuser at Amazon Now!


#2 DeLonghi Titanium Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System

DeLonghi Titanium Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System

Type, Design & Dimensions

• 8.8 pounds
• 10 x 12.5 x 6.8 inches
• Patented single touch hot milk system
• Illuminated control panel buttons
• Patented coffee capsule system
• Energy saving with auto-off timer
• Sliding drip tray accommodates latte cups

Performance & Capacity

With its handy One Touch Automatic Cappuccino System, the De’Longhi EN520 Lattissma Plus creates instant lattes, espressos, and hot milk, and it requires very little of you. Its self-cleaning feature means that not only can you enjoy your espresso without the headache, but you don’t even have to stress over cleanup. Along with the automation of this machine comes customization. You can program your favorite settings to deliver your favorite shot of espresso instantly every time.

What types of coffee can I make with these machines?

With a little creativity, you can use this amazing machine for not only amazing espressos and cappuccinos, but also for cocoa, hot tea, and coffee by using the dedicated hot water spout.

Energy Saving

This machine has an energy-saving feature with an auto-off timer.

Cleaning (Easy or Hard)

Cleanup with the DeLonghi system couldn’t be easier. The self-cleaning features makes this machine a dream for the hurried coffee drinker.

Warranty

No warranty information was available about the DeLonghi Titanium Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System.

What do Purchased Customers Love and not Love about It? (Pros & Cons)

Pros Cons
1. Espresso is instant and consistent.
2. Fits neatly under cabinets, which matters in a small kitchen.
3. Easy to clean.
1. Drinks are small.
2. Milk isn’t hot.
3. Pods can be expensive.

Buy DeLonghi Titanium Lattissima Plus at Amazon Now!


#3 Nespresso Pixie D60 Espresso Machines, Brick Red

Nespresso Pixie D60 Espresso Machines, Brick Red

Type, Design & Dimensions

• 8.6 pounds
• 12.8 x 4.3 x 9.2 inches
• Auto power-off after 9 minutes
• Holds 10 capsules
• Backlight indicators
• Removeable 24-ounce water tank
• Automatic volume control
• 19 bar high pressure pump

Performance & Capacity

Simple to use and easy to love, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine delivers consistent results with a minimum of hassle. While other machines allow you a greater measure of control over the final product, along with that control, the other machines also bring the potential for failed brews. The Nespresso takes failure out of the equation by offering convenient capsules rather than portafilters and tampers. This machine is perfect for both the espresso newbie as well as the espresso lover who doesn’t want too much thinking required before throwing back that first espresso in the morning.

What types of coffee can I make with these machines?

While “officially,” this machine should only make espressos using capsules, whether traditional espressos, lungos, or Americanos, what’s actually the case is that these machines will make whatever hot drink you need as long as you add a bit of ingenuity. As long as you know how to steep tea or coffee in a cup of hot water for five minutes, you should be able to use this machine to make a wide variety of hot beverages.

Energy Saving

The Nespresso Pixie comes with power-off feature to save energy.

Cleaning (Easy or Hard)

This machine requires daily rinsing as well as a thorough descaling a couple times a year to maintain pressure.

Warranty

This product comes with a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

What do Purchased Customers Love and not Love about It? (Pros & Cons)

Pros Cons
1. Compact yet powerful.
2. Delicious Nespresso pod espresso.
3. Lots of nice crema on top!
1. Pods are expensive.
2. Machine is noisy.
3. Each pod doesn’t make a lot of espresso.

Buy Nespresso Pixie D60 at Amazon Now!


#4 Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine with Brushed Stainless Steel

Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine with Brushed Stainless Steel

Type, Design & Dimensions

• 20 pounds
• 14.25 x 8 x 9.5 inches
• 72-ounce water reservoir that is easy to remove for cleaning
• Stainless steel housing
• Brass portafilters allow temperature suitability and stability
• 15.5 bar pump
• High-voltage boiler
• Handy, multi-purpose hot water dispenser
• Single-shot or double-shot capacity filter baskets
• Measuring scoop for convenient preparation
• Stainless steel tamper
• Frothing wand for luxurious lattes and cappuccinos

Performance & Capacity

Intuitive controls, a commercial-grade portafilter, and specialized baskets for both baristas and beginners all make the Gaggia Classic a true classic. The Pannarello steam wand creates coffeehouse-quality foam for those gorgeous lattes everybody attempts. The rugged, heavy duty materials means that this is one machine that should last for the long haul. The classic design will earn this machine a honored spot on your countertop, transforming your kitchen into a posh coffee gathering place.

What types of coffee can I make with these machines?

This machine is designed to make perfect espressos, which includes lattes and cappuccinos. It will not make iced coffee, and while it could be used to make coffee, the flavor wouldn’t be optimal.

Energy Saving

This machine isn’t designed with specialty energy-saving features.

Cleaning (Easy or Hard)

As with most portafilter-style espresso machines, the Gaggia Classic requires more clean up than the pod varieties. Still, cleanup is relatively simple.

Warranty

The Gaggia Espresso Machine comes with a warranty including one-year parts and labor covered through Gaggia USA. All warranty repairs and replacement parts require a shipping and handling fee. The warranty does not extend to accessory parts or normal-wear pieces like portafilter handles, baskets, pannarello wands, and gaskets.

What do Purchased Customers Love and not Love about It? (Pros & Cons)

Pros Cons
1. Well-built to last decades.
2. Works flawlessly.
3. Well-designed portafilter is easy to use and to clean.
1. Requires trial and error to master.
2. Water tank can be difficult to remove.
3. Plastic frother requires careful cleaning to keep working properly.

Buy Gaggia 14101 Classic at Amazon Now!


#5 Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System, Silver

Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista is one of the best Espresso Machine under $200.

Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System, Silver

Type, Design & Dimensions

• 9 pounds
• 12 x 14 x 12.2 inches
• Single- or double-shot capability
• 15 bar pump pressure
• Integrated milk container
• Manual espresso and milk froth modes
• 55-ounce capacity removable water reservoir
• Removable drip tray for handy cleaning
• Recipe book with 10 delicious recipes included

Performance & Capacity

The simple one-touch control panel means that you can enjoy customized espresso at the touch of a button without careful navigation complicated dials and knobs. It also automatically froths milk for your lattes and cappuccinos. Enjoy any of the 20 recipes included with the machine.

What types of coffee can I make with these machines?

While it’s not designed for regular coffee, this machine can make coffee. It doesn’t make iced coffee, but it’s excellent at lattes and cappuccinos.

Energy Saving

This machine does have an automatic-off feature.

Cleaning (Easy or Hard)

Cleanup is easy with this machine, although clearing the grinds after tamping will be necessary.

Warranty

The Mr. Coffee Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System comes with a one year limited warranty. For one year from the date of purchase, this product should be free from defects in material or workmanship, or the product will be repaired or replaced if any component is found to be defective. You can expect a replacement of a new product or of a remanufactured model as the company deems appropriate. If the original product is no longer available, the replacement will be of equal or greater value.

What do Purchased Customers Love and not Love about It? (Pros & Cons)

Pros Cons
1. Simple to use.
2. Easy for beginners to use while introducing barista skills like frothing.
3. Customer service is helpful.
1. Not very durable.
2. Requires careful descaling to retain pressurization.
3. Components aren’t commercial grade; can break.

Buy Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista at Amazon Now!


The Best of the Best Espresso Machines Under $500 in 2017

The Best Of The Best

For the best espresso machine under $500, we believe the best of the best is the Gaggia Classic. This commercial-grade machine should last for years, and the quality is consistent. It’s also easy enough for beginners to master while still satisfying the pros.

Buy Gaggia 14101 Classic at Amazon Now!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here