We are particularly fond of espresso these days. I’m no longer satisfied with the regular drip coffee, and I really hate wasting money buying espresso at the coffee shop across the street just to get my afternoon fix.
The only solution is to purchase an espresso machine for home, but there are so many on the market now, I wasn’t sure which was the best espresso machine for home use, that wouldn’t exceed my budget.
» You might be interested in our review of the Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine.
It is possible to buy really expensive espresso machines, but is it possible to find a really good espresso machine for under $200?
Below is the culmination of my research into which coffee maker to buy. I’ve considered everything from price to functionality, to size and how easy it is to use.
Don’t have the time to read all of our reviews and compare espresso machines? That’s okay – we love it when you put your trust in us! We won’t let you down.
We’ve got a quick-pick guide for you, so you can see our top espresso machine recommendations and make a purchase quickly. However, if you do have time, we have a full review of each case below.[SKIP TO REVIEWS]
Quick-Pick List – Best Espresso Machines Under $200
Why Buy an Espresso Machine?
Being able to make your own coffee at home is the biggest reason most people buy an espresso machine. There are many benefits to making your own coffee at home that go beyond the standard saving money and convenience of not having to go to the coffee shop.
Some of the biggest benefits to making your own coffee at home are:
- Ability to try different types of coffee, roasts, blends and grinds. If you go somewhere, you can bring back the coffee you loved there and make it again at home. (See where to find the best coffee beans in the world.
- Gaining more knowledge about coffee through the process of making it yourself. You can even learn how to make beautiful coffee art, if you want.
- Making your coffee exactly the way you want it. You can control every aspect of your coffee if you’re making it yourself, from temperature to milk steaming.
- Convenience of being able to drink your coffee whenever you want without going out.
- Cost savings. Buying coffee in bulk for home use is a way more economical way of enjoying coffee. For the same price as a couple of espressos at the coffee shop, you can buy a nice bag of coffee and make way more cups at home.
- Become a pro. There are so many different kinds of coffee beans (like Kona Coffee) that you might want to learn more about. Having your own espresso machine lets you experiment and become a pro when working with expensive beans.
How to Choose the Right Espresso Machine
There are so many different coffee machine makers available today. You really have your choice of cost and features. It’s good to know which features to pay attention to, though, before you go shopping, so you are sure you’re getting exactly what you want.
Here are a few of the main features to look for on a good espresso machine.
Cost can’t be the only factor you consider when purchasing an espresso machine, because you often get what you pay for in terms of quality. But still, cost will always be a major factor, and perhaps the most important to you.
Espresso machines come in all different price ranges, from basic ones for under $100 to professional ones for over $1000. In this post, we’ve only reviewed machines that are under $200, so we’re looking for the best value for the money we can find.
Are you hoping your espresso machine can grind your coffee beans for you? If so, you need to look for a machine that includes a grinder.
Some have a space to hold beans and it will grind beans by the cup upon your command. Others include a separate grinder where you’ll be able to grind your beans before adding the grounds to the machine.
If you don’t want the added hassle of grinding the beans and adding them to the machine, you should look for a more automatic process.
Size & Aesthetics
One of the biggest concerns for me is the size of the unit, because it has to fit in my already full kitchen. Espresso machines can take up a lot of space on the counter top, so you want to be sure you’ve measured and know how much space you have for it.
You’ll likely also want to consider the aesthetics of the machine. Some are very sleek and streamlined, some are bulky and even a bit ugly. If you want it to blend into your kitchen decor and not stick out like a sore thumb, you’ll want to make sure you like the looks of it.
For convenience, you will want to have a machine that can hold enough water for your needs. If you’re only going to be making a double espresso once a day, this won’t matter as much as if you will be wanting to make coffee for a crowd.
It’s also very nice to have a detachable water reservoir so you can take it to the sink to fill and empty it.
If you’re wanting to make cappuccinos with your espresso machine, you’ll want to make sure it includes a frother.
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What You Can Make With An Espresso Machine
My personal favorite coffee drink is a flat white, but there are so many different coffee drinks made with espresso.
We’ve fallen for a more of these, ever since we started traveling to coffee destinations around the world (I’m looking at you Colombia!), our coffee drinking has gone up dramatically.
You might have a particularly drink in mind that you want to make with your espresso machine, or you might not even know the full range of drinks you can make with it.
No matter your level of expertise and knowledge, everyone can learn to make a range of different espresso drinks with their machine at home. Here are a few of the most popular drinks that can be made with an espresso machine at home:
Flat whites are pure espresso (either a single double) blended with velvety milk foam. It’s similar to a cappuccino, only it is not blended with extra water or milk. Learn how to make the perfect flat white.
Another fairly pure espresso drink is a macchiato, which is just an espresso shot, with a little bit of steamed milk on top. The milk tempers the strongness of the espresso slightly.
Very popular around the world, the cappuccino is similar to a flat white, only the espresso is blended with extra milk before the milk foam is added. It is typically equally parts espresso, milk and milk foam.
A latte is similar to a cappuccino, but with more milk and only a thin layer of foam.
A mocha is essentially a cappuccino, but chocolate is added to the drink.
Best Espresso Machines Under $200
The best espresso machine for you is heavily determined by your individual needs and preferences. But here we selected 5 of the best ones.
De’Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine (EC260) ~ $100
One of the top brands in espresso machines is De’Longhi. The best thing about this $100 machine is that it is backed by a reputable company that makes great espresso machines. And at a price point that’s incredibly reasonable.
You can make lattes, cappuccinos and espressos at home with this machine as long as you take a little time to learn how to be an at home barista. It has a 15 BAR pump, a built in milk frother, and two filters, so you can make a single or double espresso.
One of the bigger complaints about this machine is that it produces a weak or watery brew, and to that I would say that becoming a better barista can solve most of your coffee problems. Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds can all lead to an inadequate coffee.
If you don’t go into this purchase expecting the best coffee maker ever, I think you’ll be very happy with this low-cost machine. It does have a slow start up time and it makes quite a bit of noise, but those are to be expected with a lower-end machine.
If you’re looking for a solid machine but don’t want to spend a lot of money for a machine with a lot of bells and whistles you don’t need, then this is a very reliable machine that makes a good espresso.
De’Longhi Bar Pump Espresso Machine (ECP3420) ~ $170
The good thing about De’Longhi is that it’s a trusted brand with solid machines, and they happen to have a machine for just about any price range. You can add a feature or two for $20-$50. We really like using the EC260, but a step up from that machine is the ECP3420.
On this model, you get a three-in-one filter holder. There’s a one espresso shot, two shot, and one for an easy-serve espresso pod. And you can make a single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte, with the built-in milk frother.
Like most espresso machines, it has 15-bar pressure, but this machine has adjustable controls so you can make modifications that will help you get a better fit for your preferences.
While the EC260 has a 33.8 fl.oz water tank, this model has a 37 fl.oz water tank that makes it easy to see the level of water so you know when to refill it.
If you want to go one step further than this machine, you’ll find the EC3630 at around $200 that has a full stainless steel housing (the EC3420 has a stainless steel and black plastic case), self priming so it takes less time to start up, and has two separate thermostats that maintain the optimal temperature so you can brew a cup instantly.
The Mr. Coffee Barista is a powerful and fast espresso maker, so you won’t waste any time making your favorite coffee. It features a one-touch espresso button to brew a single or double shot of espresso with very little work on your part.
All you have to do is select the right size filter, fill it with grounds and press the button. It uses an electric 15-bar pump with enough pressure to extract the most flavor and color from the coffee grounds.
The machine also has one-touch buttons for making cappuccinos and lattes. When using these buttons, you just need to fill and attach the milk reservoir.
The machine determines how much milk to use (based on your selection), and the remaining milk is stored in a removable reservoir so you can place it back in the refrigerator. There is also a removable water reservoir so you can easily fill it or wash it at the sink.
If you want to make a different type of coffee, you can make your espresso and froth the milk with the adjustable control knob, and then blend them together to your liking.
It comes with a recipe book containing any coffee recipes you can make with the machine.
Pros: Removable milk and water reservoirs, include a frother, good pressure.
Cons: No coffee grinder included.
Gevi Espresso Machine ~ $175
There are a lot of things to like about this Gevi espresso machine. It has a 20 bar pump to produce a fully extracted and rich espresso much faster than other machines with a 15-bar pump. It takes less than 25 seconds to be ready to brew.
For the money, this machine delivers a lot. It has a larger water tank than most budget espresso machines – at 1.2 liters (40.5 fl.oz), compared to around 30-35 on other machines. It has a double temperature control system so the water and milk can be heated to ideal temperatures.
It also runs on 1350 watts, compared to the more expensive De’Longhi listed above which is 1100 watts or the more expensive Mr. Coffee which is 1040 watts.
I also like the LED screen on this machine, which isn’t the norm on lower-end espresso machines.
Similar to other machines, it has a portafilter so you can use Nespresso capsules or ground coffee. I think this makes it quite versatile, as some people find pods more convenient and that allows you to skip the learning process of grinding and tamping your own grounds.
As with the De’Longhi brand, Gevi actually has a large line of espresso machines that can fit every budget. This will allow you to pick the features you want and are willing to pay extra for.
Pros: Great value for money, removable reservoir, easy to use.
As far as design goes, this espresso machine is probably one of the best looking. It’s fully stainless steel and has a sleek, streamlined body. It uses a 15 bar thermoblock pump to produce a rich espresso. It has a frothing wand, with a froth enhancer, and comes with a stainless steel frothing pitcher to make your foam in.
The machine also has a warming plate to keep your milk warm. You can use any coffee grounds you like in the filter. You just fill the filter with the right amount of coffee, attach it to the machine and slide it to the right to lock it into place.
It comes with a removable 5 cup water reservoir. There is also a removable drip tray for easy cleaning. Other accessories include a tamping tool, measuring spoon, and cleaning tool.
Pros: Makes a good cup of espresso. Can use any coffee grounds.
Cons: No coffee grinder included, no extra sizes or double espresso options.
If you’re wanting to stick with coffee pods rather than use your own beans, this Nespresso machine offers a lot of flexibility to make the type of coffee you want.
With this machine, you can brew three different cup sizes, 14oz. Alto, 8oz regular coffee and 1.35 oz Espresso via two different capsule sizes: large capsule for Alto and Coffee, and a smaller one for Espresso.
All you really have to do with this machine is refill the water, add the capsule you want, select the size you want, and hit the button. It does the rest for you. It even captures and holds up to 17 used capsules.
It has a removable water tank so you can easily refill and clean it. The machine we’ve linked to here includes the Aeroccino 3 milk frother. It makes a smooth, finely textured hot or cold fresh milk froth for your coffee, without noise or vibration.
It also heats milk for a latte, mocha or cappuccino.
Pros: One-touch system, very consistent results, no need for a grinder. Cons: Not as economical or eco-friendly because of pods.
More Expensive Espresso Machine Options
If you’ve already tried one or more of these machines and you’re looking to up your coffee game, or you want to have a more professional set up at home, there are quite a few more options.
Unfortunately, these machines can be very expensive. Here are a few of the options that exceed $200. You will certainly find that these higher-end models have more features and more consistency.
As with all coffee lovers, you want to have an espresso machine at home so you can make coffee just the way you want it at any time of the day. These top espresso machines under $200 will definitely fulfill that goal.
Whether you want to use your own grounds and experiment with different coffees, or you want to make it as easy as possible with pods, you can find a machine in this list that will meet your expectations.
If you’ve already bought one, tell us about your favorite espresso machine.
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Laura is the founder and editor of the travel blogs Savored Sips and Savored Journeys. She is dedicated to sharing the best information about drinks found around the world.