Once that alarm clock sounds off, we’re immediately reminded of the “9-5” nature of this corporate world. It’s morning and there is only like one hour till the moment will be standing at our workplace, doing our best to look presentable. Precisely then begins the process of gathering strength to face the many hardships the day will surely bring.
Though unique for each of us, this morning ritual can be the subject of change and evolution. However, one constant will confidently persist: the cup of warm coffee our half-opened eyes search for in those moments. And how we indulge ourselves in that matter hides potential tactical advantages for us, believe it or not.
For instance, we can opt to use pre-made, instant coffee that requires only boiled water before consumption. But that shortcut might rob us from at least a few potent morning delights, like the joyful sound of pure coffee beans dropping and settling at the bottom of the grinder, the efficient buzzing of the machine, the notion of the product being prepared for us, the aroma that spurs around the kitchen… and it all leads to our favorite cup being filled with freshly brewed coffee.
The usage of an espresso machine invokes a feeling of cooperation right when we are at our most vulnerable. Furthermore, it’s an act that confirms that we are good friends to ourselves, allowing us a calm but not uneventful morning. And of course: we have the freedom to fine-tune the beverage this way, simply by manipulating the machine to produce coffee that feels just right for us – like it’s been constructed for that purpose exclusively.
In this article, we’ll present 14 of the top home espresso machines available for a reasonable price. Please take a good look at each entry on this list, and pick the one that stands out in your eyes.
#1 Breville the Barista Express – Best Choice
Breville the Barista Express is perfect for anyone who likes machines with portafilters and an integrated bean hopper with a large capacity. With this machine, you’ll always enjoy your espresso because of the constant brew temperature. Furthermore, the Barista Express also has a milk frother, so you’ll be able to add milk froth into the espresso and turn it into a great milk-based drink.
The burr grinder of the Barista Express can grind the beans at the level of your preference and the ground coffee will then fall directly into the portafilter locked into the grinding cradle of the machine. There’s also a grind amount dial on the machine that lets you control how much coffee you want the grinder to grind. This machine allows you to make double and single espresso shots.
- Dose-control grinding
- Multi-level grinder
- Constant temperature of the brew water
- Milk frother
Great milk foam
Dose-control grinding lets you adjust the strength of the coffee
Nothing for this product
#2 De’Longhi ECAM22110SB – Best value
Great espresso machines come with great programmability, and the De’Longhi ECAM22110SB offers you to program the temperature of the water, the coffee strength, and the cup size. The espresso that comes from this affordable machine tastes delicious because of the 13-level grinder. The grinder lets you choose how coarse you want your coffee to be ground which influences the coffee extraction.
This espresso machine works with both coffee beans and pre-ground coffee. It also has a milk frother that is manual and that can make great foam for the many cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos you’ll want to have once you buy the ECAM22110SB. The espresso machine also has adjustable coffee spouts that can accommodate shorter and taller cups.
- Cappuccino system
- Adjustable coffee spouts
- 13-level grinder
- Works with pre-ground coffee
- Programmable temperature, coffee strength, and cup size
Great manual milk frother
Consistent brew temperature
Fantastic macchiato, latte, and cappuccino
Small water reservoir
#3 Rancilio Silvia – Premium Pick
The simple Rancilio Silvia is an espresso machine with rocker control buttons that are easy-to-use. By pressing one of the buttons, you’re telling the machine to make you an espresso or steam and froth your milk. To steam or froth the milk on the Rancilio Silvia, you’ll have to use the manual steam wand and the steam dial that are on the machine.
This espresso machine can make you single and double espresso shots, with the ground coffee being in a portafilter during the extraction process. The portafilter has an ergonomic handle and is, therefore, very easy-to-use; locking it into the commercial grade group head is also not an issue. Even though the Rancilio Silvia works with ground coffee, you can buy a pod and capsule adaptor separately and use your favorite pods and capsules on the machine.
- Manual steam wand
- Steam dial
- Control panel with rocker buttons
- Commercial grade group head
Portafilter with an ergonomic handle
Easy-to-use control panel
You can buy a separate pod and capsule adaptor with the machine
Nothing for this espresso machine
#4 Jura Ena Micro 1 – Best for Espresso Only
The Jura Ena Micro 1 is a great espresso machine if you are into espresso coffee drinks. This machine makes great espresso, ristreto, and coffee and the drinks are also programmable. On the Ena Micro 1, you use one button to get the coffee drink that you want. However, if you decide to program the strength or the cup size of the drink, you can do that with the help of the three buttons on the top of the machine.
This espresso machine uses a multi-level grinder to grind the coffee beans that you like, which means that you can choose the grind size of your coffee. The machine has a sleek design, is very easy-to-use, and it is very compact measuring only 9 x 12.7 x 17.5 inches.
- Coffee drinks at the touch of a button
- Multi-level grinder
- Three coffee drinks
- Three cup sizes
- Two coffee strengths
Makes only single shots
Doesn’t make milk-based drinks
#5 Jura Impressa C65 – Best Automatic Espresso Machine
If Jura is your favorite brand of coffee makers and espresso machines, the Jura Impressa C65 could be the right machine for you. The machine has a menu dial that lets you select the options from C65’s menu. This is a one-touch machine, which means that your coffee will be ready if you press one button only. The coffee spouts on the C65 are adjustable, and you can fit shorter and taller cups underneath them.
The Jura Impressa C65 uses a 15-bar pressure pump to make you great espresso by optimizing the extraction of the coffee. The machine has a milk frother which froths the milk to the point it turns into a silky foam. Therefore, you’ll have a blast with the C65 if you enjoy espresso as much as you enjoy cappuccino. Furthermore, the C65 has a hot water function which is great for making tea or hot cocoa.
- Menu dial
- Milk frother
- 15-bar pressure pump
- Hot water function
- Adjustable coffee strength
A simple machine
Great milk frother
Adjustable coffee spouts
The way the menu is might be confusing for some
Not many grind levels
#6 De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica
The De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica is here to start your morning with a really nice cappuccino, latte, flat white, or macchiato. This espresso machine has a Direct-to-Brew system and relies on a 13-level grinder to grind your favorite coffee beans. The coffee spouts on the ESAM3300 Magnifica are adjustable, and they can accommodate cups as tall as 4.25 inches.
This espresso machine can make you single and double espresso shots with the help of its easy-to-use control panel. The coffee drinks made by the ESAM3300 are programmable. That said, you customize the drinks by programming the strength of the coffee and adjusting the cup size of the drink.
- Patented Cappuccino System
- Direct-to-Brew system
- 13-level grinder
- Makes one or two espresso shots at a time
- Adjustable coffee spouts
Makes great cappuccinos
Simple to use
Programmable coffee drinks
Noisy when grinding
The milk frother froths the milk a bit slowly
#7 Gaggia Brera
The Gaggia Brera can make you a lot of coffee drinks with or without milk and it will also let you customize them. This machine uses the Panarello steam wand to froth the milk and create nice foam for your favorite milk-based drinks. Its LED display and push control buttons are, furthermore, very easy to understand, which means that it is not hard to use the Gaggia Brera.
The Gaggia Brera has a front made of stainless steel, which is great for preventing any corrosion at the places where water and coffee are likely to spill. The coffee spout on the espresso machine are height-adjustable, and you can fit any cup that is from 3.25 to 4.5 inches tall. The brew group of the Gaggia Brera is, furthermore, removable, which makes the machine easy to clean.
- Panarello steam wand
- LED display
- Push control buttons
- Height-adjustable coffee spout
- Front made of stainless steel
Programmable coffee drinks
Buttons are easy to understand
Removable brew group
Mostly made of plastic
Works kind of slow
#8 Saeco Incanto Plus Espresso Machine
The Saeco Incanto Plus espresso machine lets you make nice milk-based drinks and prepares espresso and lungo at the touch of a button. The machine uses ceramic grinders to grind the coffee beans that you put in the bean hopper. Ceramic grinders do great in preserving the aroma and flavor of the coffee because they don’t heat up much during the grinding process. Furthermore, there’s an option for pre-ground coffee if you want to have a cup of decaffeinated coffee.
This espresso machine uses the Classic Milk Frother to make cappuccino, latte, macchiato, and other milk-based drinks. You can make all the drinks on this machine according to your preference by customizing the coffee strength. There’s also a hot water option which you can use when you feel like having tea or hot chocolate. The boiler on the Saeco Incanto Plus heats up quickly, which means that you won’t have to wait long before your drink is prepared.
- Ceramic grinders
- Classic Milk Frother
- Powder Option
- Programmable switch off time
- Espresso and lungo buttons
Boiler heats up quickly
Works with coffee beans and pre-ground coffee
Programmable coffee strength
Requires a bigger clearance so that you can open the reservoir and the bean hopper
#9 illy 60254 X1 Espresso Machine – The Beauty
The beautiful illy 60254 X1 espresso machine is made of metal and is very durable. Its small dimensions also make it very compact and suitable for even those kitchen counters that lack on space. The machine works with a portafilter and has simple control buttons, which means that it is very easy-to-use.
The illy X1 works with iperEspresso capsules, so if you want to make espresso on it, you’ll have to buy these kind of capsules. This espresso machine has a steam wand for your cappuccinos and lattes, but it can also dispense hot water for your tea and hot chocolate. Furthermore, the illy X1 lets you customize the coffee volume and it has a removable cup support tray in case you need to accommodate a larger cup underneath the portafilter.
- Works with iperEspresso capsules
- Steam wand with hot water function
- Metal body
- Has a portafilter
- Has a cup support tray that is removable
Makes milk-based and coffee based drinks
Coffee volume can be customized
Durable and compact
Doesn’t work with capsules that are not illy iperEspresso
#10 La Pavoni 8-Cup Lever-Style Espresso Maker – The ‘Man of Steel’
If you want an interesting-looking espresso maker in your home, you could take a look at the La Pavoni. This is an 8-cup lever-style espresso maker which lets you manually use the lever to customize your espresso. However, the La Pavoni doesn’t make espresso only. This espresso maker makes great milk-based coffee drinks with its traditional steam wand.
The La Pavoni can make you one or two shots of espresso, and it comes with a tamper, filter baskets, a measuring spoon, a screen, and a screen holder. It is a very durable espresso maker because it is made of steel. Furthermore, the La Pavoni is very compact and will fit almost every kitchen counter out there.
- Traditional steam wand
- Single or double espresso shots
Durable because it’s made of steel
The steam wand doesn’t swivel
No three-way solenoid valve
#11 Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
This popular product is easy to recommend since it checks all the boxes for a quality espresso machine without a hiccup. It sports a slick design, a practical layout of its buttons, and most importantly, a built-in grinder that is surprisingly easy to clean. As such, it is more than capable of making not just delicious espresso, but also sweeter frappucinos or iced drinks.
Though its size of 34-inches across may prove problematic, the sheer range of tasks it can perform will quickly justify any sacrifices we’ve made to accommodate it in the middle of the kitchen. It’s also beginner-friendly, with a pressure gauge that will timely communicate whether something is wrong to inexperienced brewers.
- Material: Steel
- Capacity: 4 pounds
- Human Interface Input: Dial
Comes with a built-in grinder
Espresso is poured with controlled water pressure, ensuring evenly distributed flavors
Allows the microfoam milk to be hand-textured (“latte art”)
The instructions manual is well written and easy to understand
Absence of a sensor regarding the amount of water left in the tank
The width of the machine is 34-inches, requiring at least that much counter space
#12 Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w/ LatteGo
Aside from (obviously) espresso, this machine specializes in producing tasty milk-based beverages as well, like Cappucino, Latte, Americano, etc. It features a neat milk foaming system, structured to eliminate prolonged travel time for the milk, thus completely circumventing any possibility for it to seat in a tube and eventually spoil. However, be warned that this machine produces a lot of sounds when working, which can easily awaken other members of your family (making them grumpy).
Another notable short back is that taller coffee mugs aren’t compatible with this machine – only smaller, wider ones fit. Many can find a problem with this trading of form for function, but that doesn’t diminish the overall quality of this series. The mere fact that it can quickly prepare such a wide range of warm, comforting beverages as if bought from some well-known brand, should not be underestimated.
- Material: Plastic
- Capacity: 3.8 Pounds
- Human Interface Input: Buttons
Capable of producing five types of beverages
Adjustable milk length
Large waste container capacity of up to 12 servings
Loud when working
The milk container is not securely positioned
Incompatible with taller mugs
#13 Jura A1 Super Automatic Coffee Machine
Size isn’t everything, as evident by how much punch this cute machine packs. On a single button press, it can quickly prepare three different beverages – coffee, espresso, and ristretto. Also, it has a somewhat unique feature of having an adjustable spout, so we’ll be able to fill cups of all shapes and sizes with delicious liquids.
Its compact design comes with a caveat, namely in the relative small-scale water reservoir and bean hopper, compared to other espresso machines. Aside from that, worthy of note is that the lid of the bean hopper requires careful handling, as it is positioned near the edge and can break very easily.
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Capacity: 2.3 Pounds
- Human Interface Input: Buttons
Able to produce three different types of coffee
Quick brewing process
Easy to clean
The bean hopper lid is loosely set and prone to breaking, which renders the machine unusable till repaired
On factory setting, the produced coffee doesn’t have a strong taste
#14 De’Longhi ECAM35020B Dinamica Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine
This fancy-looking machine excels in efficiency – it’s affordable and operates swiftly, becoming ready-to-use after a very short heat-up period (less than 40 seconds). The adjustable frothier allows for easy manual adjustments, customizing the steam and foam levels. By utilizing this, we can intuitively learn how to alter the richness or the creaminess of each new coffee cup we’re preparing. And after all that, it’s quite simple to clean this machine, which is always appreciated.
On the flip side, this apparatus performs unexpectedly slow if a simple cup of brewed coffee is all we are looking for. Also, the display screen does a so-so job when it comes to selecting more advanced functions. This issue is even further amplified by the poorly worded manual that comes in the box, which, bafflingly enough, it’s completely devoid of illustrations.
All in all, the De’Longhi Dinamica is a decent machine that unfortunately, will require some getting used to.
- Material: Plastic
- Capacity: 10.56 Ounces
- Human Interface Input: Touchscreen
The design is pretty and stylish
Equipped with a burr-grinder
Very fast warm-up time
Capable of producing hot water as well
Easy to clean
The instructions manual is hard to understand
On factory setting produces overly strong coffee
It uses a lot of water
Takes a long time to brew coffee
1. Is a coffee maker and an espresso machine the same?
No, they are not the same. There is a big difference between them when it comes to how they brew the coffee. In a coffee maker, the coffee beans are grinded more coarsely and the water that brews them doesn’t press on the coffee like the water that makes the espresso in espresso machines. Therefore, a coffee maker makes you coffee, a drink with more water and less coffee, and an espresso machine makes you espresso, which is thicker and richer than coffee because it has more coffee and less water in it.
2. How often should I descale an espresso machine?
That would depend on whether the water in the water tank of the espresso machine is filtered or not. If you’re using a filter for your machine, you’ll probably need to descale it once a year. However, if your espresso machine doesn’t have a water filter, you’ll need to descale it more frequently, like every month or two. Nevertheless, you should check the manual that comes with the espresso machine that you’ve bought to see what its manufacturers recommend.
3. Can I use all kinds of beans on a home espresso machine?
The short answer is “yes” but be warned that results may vary. There’s a reason why beans are categorized in different levels of quality, and more often than not, using the right kind of beans (i.e. espresso beans when making espresso), will make you feel grateful for purchasing the machine in the first place.
4. Should there be any water accumulation in the trey between two cycles of cleaning?
Water spillage is a common occurrence when operating coffee machines, so it is something to keep an eye on during every use. The instructions manual is (usually) a good place to learn exactly how much water should pump out before coffee, or if the spillage is an indication that some part needs replacing.
5. What drinks can it make other than espresso?
Though similar, different types of coffee don’t have too much in common in terms of their respective preparation processes. That’s why not every machine can produce frappucino or cappuccino. Check the list of available coffee types to understand which ones your machine can make.
The Important Features of Home Espresso Machines
Like any other kitchen accessory, home espresso machines also require care and attention to remain in tip-top shape. Though built to be used repeatedly every single day – and even if many of them feature self-cleaning programs – don’t hesitate to devote at least 1-2 hours per week in the name of maintenance for your new purchase. In short, if considering buying one, be prepared to change your habits in that aspect also.
On a similar note, keep in mind that products such as these machines almost always require additional purchases of accessories, filters, frothier, and many other changeable parts. Not to mention that not all machines have built-in grinders, in which case, one must be separately bought. And of course, training yourself to utilize the different functions every day on a whim, will certainly take some time. Luckily, the apparatus usually comes with comprehensive, illustrated user manuals.
However, the fundamental question remains: are such expenses worthy for your household? Well, it depends on your preferences. Avid coffee consumers will no doubt find much value in a home espresso machine – the difference between “3-in1—to-go” coffee and freshly prepared espresso is night and day. The brewing of the beans can be a relevant part of a soothing morning routine, contributing to the “start the day on the right foot” mantra.
For those who don’t have a habit of drinking coffee often (or at all), purchasing an affordable home machine can serve as an incentive just to see what all that fuss is about. Finally, it can always be used only to prepare warm beverages for guests, welcoming them into your home and making them feel comfortable.
Things to Consider When Buying an Espresso Machine
The beverages the espresso machine makes – Depending on what kind of coffee drinks you prefer, you should pick an espresso machine that can make those drinks. If you like milk-based drinks, you should go for an espresso machine that has a milk frother. On the other hand, if you prefer drinking espresso and ristreto, you should search the market for an espresso machine that makes these kind of drinks only.
Features of the machine – There are espresso machines that have great features such as programmability of the drinks, milk frothers, hot water function, bean hoppers and grinders, and more. You should always be looking for a machine that has the features that you think could serve you. However, you should also be looking for a machine that can offer you customization of your drinks.
Is it easy to use it – Your espresso machine should be easy-to-use or otherwise you’ll have a hard time every time you’ll try to make espresso on it. With a machine that is hard to use, you’ll end up preparing your coffee drink very slowly and you’ll lose time. Now, you’ll have to put in some effort into learning how to operate your machine. However, this effort shouldn’t make you never use the espresso machine again.
The durability of the machine – Before you buy an espresso machine, you should ask yourself how durable it is. Usually, machines that are made of metal and stainless steel are much more resistant to damage and corrosion than machines made of plastic. Therefore, look for a machine that is made of metal or that at least has very little plastic in its construction.
How much the machine costs – How much money you’ll have to spend for buying the espresso machine also matters. Of course, this will depend on how much money you actually can afford spending. However, if you can find the features and the quality of features that you’re looking for in a machine that’s not very expensive, you will probably have no reason to buy some other machine with the same features and quality of features that costs a fortune.
The size of the machine – It’s always great to have an espresso machine that is compact and that can fit in different spots in your house. Of course, which dimensions your machine should have will have to do with how much space you have on your kitchen counter or anywhere else you want to place it. Also, mind how much clearance you’ll need for your machine because there are parts on it that will have to sometimes be removed.
How many coffee drinkers will make coffee on the machine – If you live in a household that has a lot of coffee drinkers, you’ll probably need to get a machine with a larger water reservoir and—if the machine has a bean hopper— a bean hopper with a greater capacity. On the other hand, smaller machines are great for you if you live in a smaller family or are buying it for yourself only. The same things apply for the espresso machine you’re buying for your workplace.
The process of brewing your coffee is a small victory that nevertheless encourages you to face the day with good posture. It’s an endeavor existing alongside the morning coziness, uplifting your spirits as you partake in the slow consumption of your favorite mixture.
Home espresso machines play the role of “hosts” to such rituals, providing daily benefits for the price of a single purchase. Of course, they do require additional attention and a few other lighter purchases, but ultimately, you won’t do wrong by equipping your kitchen with one. Especially since all the espresso machines that we mentioned in our list of best espresso machines under $1000 are great.
However, our top pick is Breville the Barista Express espresso machine. This machine has many interesting features, is very durable, and brings a good bang for the buck. However, the other nine machines are also great, and if you prefer any of them more than the Barista Express, you should consider buying the machine that you like.