If you’re anything like me, you don’t have a few thousand dollars to spend on an espresso machine, no matter how much you like lattes.
The good news is you don’t have to shell out your whole savings account on a good machine.
Here’s a guide to the best espresso machine under $500, as well as how to choose the right one!
8 Best Espresso Machines Under $500
1. Delonghi Dedica Espresso Machine (Best Espresso Machine with Simple Features)
2. IllyX7.1 iper White (Best Espresso Machine with a Modern Design)
3. Illy E.S.E.Pod Espresso Machine (Best Eco-friendly Espresso Machine)
4. Capresso Café TS Espresso Machine (Best Espresso Machine with Intuitive Touch Screen)
5. Capresso Ultima Pro (Best Entry-Level Espresso Machine with Self-tamping Portafilter)
6. Capresso EC300 Espresso Machine (Best Espresso Machine for Making Cappuccinos)
7. Illy Y3.3 Espresso & Coffee (Best Slim Espresso Machine for Tight Spaces)
8. Capresso EC100 Espresso Machine (Best Affordable Espresso Machine with Dual Filter)
Delonghi Dedica Espresso Machine
Delonghi’s Dedica espresso machine has a stylish design while still being compact enough to fit on your kitchen counter.
This espresso maker is also pretty versatile. You can use either ground coffee or a coffee pod on lazier days. Its drip tray is also fully adjustable, so you can place any cup size you desire.
In terms of functionality, the machine has a 15-bar pressure for its maximum output. It also utilizes thermo-block heating technology to keep your coffee at the right temperature range during the brew cycle.
What I don’t like about this machine is that the steam wand, although automatic, is a bit challenging. You need to wait for it to heat up, or you will end up with a stream of hot water. Plus, you must flush the residue water before using it, or it will mess up your microfoam.
- It’s compact, so it fits into smaller kitchens
- Has an automatic flow stop feature, so you get optimal extraction
- Has an adjustable drip tray, so you can accommodate different cup sizes
- Fast warm-up time, so you don’t have to wait long for your coffee
- It’s simple, so it might be too basic for professional baristas
- The steam wand is a bit challenging to use
Illy X7.1 Iper Espresso Machine
The Illy X7.1 Iper espresso machine has a futuristic design that makes it look expensive even though it really isn’t. It has a sixties-inspired exterior design made of plastic and metal.
In general, the device is pretty small. Beware, though: its top portion is a little wide. While the base might sit on your counter easily, the top part of it might not blend in so well.
This espresso maker comes with a free detachable cup warmer and coffee pods. This isn’t exactly essential, but it’s a nice perk to sweeten the deal.
One of the best features Illy X7.1 possesses is its portafilter. It helps lock the pods you use into a capsule holder. Through the portafilter, you can experience brewing coffee barista style without a mess.
Illy X7.1 also has an outstanding steam wand function with a professional design. Yes, it might look smaller than conventional steam wands, but it’s powerful.
You should know that only the standard size’s available for the machine’s espresso shot. It’s pretty limiting if you like to drink larger cups of coffee.
- Powerful steam wand, so it’s great for creating cappuccinos or lattes
- It’s small, so it can fit in tight spaces
- Has a sleek design, so it looks high-end
- Although it uses capsules, you will have a real barista experience because you place them in a portafilter
- Its top portion can be too wide, so it might be a bit awkward on your counter
- No variety in drink sizes, so you can’t make big cups of coffee
Illy E.S.E Pod Espresso Machine
Illy E.S.E Pod espresso coffee maker is all about conserving energy and sustainability. That makes it great for my eco-friendly friends.
For starters, its quick pre-warm setting gets the water for your coffee heated up and ready to brew in no time. Plus, since the water tank holds up to a liter, you can make multiple espressos without constant refills.
Now for the most exciting part: this Illy model strictly uses E.S.E pods. These are sustainable and compostable pods. And they make this machine one of the most eco-friendly espresso makers.
Just note that it only works with these pods, which can be a bit inconvenient if you like experimenting with other coffee types.
And to help this espresso maker become even more energy-saving, it has a power-saving feature. Also, it offers a 20-bar pump pressure, guaranteeing your coffee has the perfect flavor extraction. So every cup has robust and full-bodied flavors for your needed caffeine fix.
- It’s energy-saving and eco-friendly, so it’s great for environmentally-conscious individuals
- The pre-warm setting is fast and efficient, so you don’t have to wait long to make a cup of coffee
- It uses sustainable pods, so you can’t prevent waste even though they’re single-use
- Has a maximum pressure pump, so it ensures intense flavors
- No cup warmer, so your coffee can cool down fast
- Only works with Illy ESE sustainable pods, so you’re limited in the type of coffee you can brew
Capresso Cafe TS Espresso Machine
When you’re too lazy to maneuver through various buttons, a touch screen is an easy alternative. The Capresso Cafe TS gives you just that, letting you whip up great coffee without needing any barista skills.
This machine’s programmable touchscreen panel is simple to use. And it also features a timer that can help monitor the beans’ extraction time. That way, you get great-tasting coffee with no effort on your part!
Capresso Cafe TS espresso maker has thermo-block heating technology. This helps extract your coffee at the perfect temperature for rich and robust flavors.
The next notable feature is the double-spout espresso filter. It’s convenient, straightforward, and easy to clean. This filter can create the perfect brew while simultaneously producing two espresso shots.
This Capresso model also features a stainless steel frother, which is pretty durable. However, you should be aware that the steam wand on the device is pretty small. That can make it tough to make drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.
Plus, the machine is known to leak from the bottom. You might find yourself cleaning up the countertop pretty frequently.
- Has an intuitive touchscreen panel, so it’s easy to use
- Has a removable water tank, so it’s easy to clean
- Has a 15-bar pressure pump, so you get complete flavor extraction
- Comes with a cup warming tray, so it helps keep your coffee warm
- The steam wand is small, so it’s tough to make lattes and cappuccinos
- It can leak from the bottom, so it leaves a mess on your countertop
Capresso Ultima Pro
The Capresso Ultima Pro stands out for its self-tamping portafilter. This portafilter helps create quality espresso shots with the most intense flavors.
The only downside is that because it’s automatic, you don’t control the process. But, if you’re not bothered by the lack of control, the portafilter is a plus.
Self-tamping portafilter aside, you’ll also be amazed by this machine’s other features. Its cup warming tray helps maintain your coffee’s warm temperature for longer. And then there’s also the 15-bar pressure pump which helps extract all the right flavors.
Capresso Ultima features programmable shot sizes, giving you various brewing options. Plus, because this espresso coffee maker also has a pre-warm setting, it’s quick to prepare and heat your cup.
The water tank is also removable, making it easier to access and refill. Despite being removable, it’s a bit small. So, you’ve got to fill it up quite frequently.
On top of that, the machine is a bit tough to clean in general. That can make it a bit annoying if you use it frequently.
- Has a self-tamping portafilter, so it saves you the hassle of manual tamping
- Has programmable shot sizes, so you get more variability in brewing options
- Has a compact design, so it fits in most kitchens
- Features a cup warmer tray, so you can keep your coffee hot after brewing
- Small water reservoir, so it needs a constant refill
- Has lots of divets, so it can be messy to clean
Capresso EC300 Espresso Machine
The Capresso EC300 espresso coffee maker can brew the perfect cappuccino for you thanks to its sleek steam wand. The steam wand actually swivels, making it easier than ever for you to craft lattes.
The only downside to this is that it’s a bit chunky. As a result, it doesn’t fit into smaller pitchers very easily.
The machine is made of durable stainless steel. This makes it one of the longer-lasting devices on the market.
Capresso EC300 utilizes a thermo-block heating technology. This method allows your coffee beans to remain fresh within the proper temperature range.
You’ll also find two filters for pulling two shots simultaneously. That’s super convenient if you prefer double cappuccinos or espressos. Plus, you can also use a pre-packaged espresso pod.
The water tank is removable and can hold large amounts of water. You don’t need to constantly refill it, making it ideal for those who get through a lot of coffee.
- Large water tank, so you don’t need to constantly refill it
- Has a thermo-block heating system, so it keeps your espresso fresh
- Features a stainless steel body, so it’s durable and long-lasting
- Has a swiveling frother, so it makes exceptional cappuccinos and lattes
- The frother is chunky, so it’s not ideal for small pitchers
Illy Y3.3 Espresso and Coffee
The Illy Y3.3 Espresso and Coffee machine is a user-friendly device. It features two simple touch buttons on the front of the device. One button is for a tall cup, while the other is for a short one.
Just pick which size you want, hit the button, and watch as the machine does the rest of the work!
Another great perk is that this machine is easy to clean. There are no fancy knobs or rivets on it, so you can easily wipe it down with a sponge.
It’s overall a simple, straightforward machine that’s ideal for those just getting into coffee. If you’re a beginner, this might be for you.
In terms of downsides, there are a couple of things to be aware of. For instance, this machine’s flip-down tray can only accommodate short cups. And its drip tray isn’t removable.
You’ll also find no options for other coffee styles or frothing milk.
Moreover, you can only use Illy capsules because this espresso machine is Illy-branded. That can be a bit annoying if you have another preferred coffee brand.
- Has a one-touch operation, so it’s simple and easy to use
- Straightforward features, so it’s ideal for beginners
- Has a smooth surface, so it’s easy to clean
- Works with both tall and short cups, so it’s good no matter what size coffee you like drinking
- No milk frother, so you can’t make lattes or cappuccinos
- No options to brew other coffee styles, so it’s only ideal for espresso purists
Capresso EC100 Espresso Machine
Capresso EC100 has a dual frother that can whip up the perfect steamed milk for your latte and cappuccino.
The machine’s frothing sleeve also helps swirl enough hot steam and air into your chosen milk. Therefore, you can guarantee a foamy and rich milk layer on top of your cappuccino.
With the thermo-block heating system, Capresso EC100 extracts maximum flavors for your coffee drink. Its 15-bar pressure pump will also help release and extract the beans’ intensity. You can expect to taste the strongest flavors and aromas.
The removable water tank can hold up to 46 ounces, which is pretty large. There’s also a removable drip tray that allows easier cleaning.
Capresso EC100 comes with a stainless steel warming tray to keep your coffee hot and fresh. Its indicator lights will help determine whether the machine is turned on or off.
What I don’t like about this machine is that the brewing is a bit inconsistent, so you won’t get a quality espresso drink every time.
- Has a dual frother, so it’s great for making lattes and cappuccinos
- The water tank is removable, so it’s easy to refill
- Has an auto shut-off feature every two hours, so it saves power
- Comes with thermo-block heating technology, so it keeps your coffee at the right temperature
- The frothing wand is a bit short, so you’ll have to hold your cup under the spout to steam milk
- Inconsistent brewing cycles, so you don’t get very even-flavored espresso
Best Espresso Machines Under $500: The Buying Guide
Now that you know a couple of espresso machines under $500, it’s time to figure out how to pick the right one.
There are a few things to keep in mind when doing so.
Let’s take a look to help you pick the right device for your needs!
The Type of Machine That Fits Your Preferences
There are three main types of espresso machines: Manual, semi-automatic, and super-automatic. Knowing which to get will depend on your skills, experience, and other preferences.
These three types mainly differ in the control you have when making coffee. Manual espresso machines require you to exert pressure to pull a shot. You are also responsible for coffee bean grinding and tamping.
But if you’re a coffee professional who loves to take control, manual espresso machines are for you.
Unlike manual, semi-automatic machines require less work from you. They would have a boiler, a portafilter, and a switch for espresso extraction.
What you should do are measure and grind the coffee beans. You’ll also be the one to transfer them into the filter basket and tamp the coffee ground.
Plus, if there’s a milk frother, you control the steaming and frothing to achieve your desired texture.
Super-automatic machines are most hassle-free if you prioritize convenience. They’ll do everything for you with a simple press.
A super automatic espresso machine will grind and tamp the beans for you. And if it comes with a milk frother, it can automatically steam and froth too!
Generally, you can get a manual and semi automatic machine for under $500. Once you’re in the super automatic range, you’ll have trouble finding anything so affordable.
The Number of Features for The Desired Performance
Features dictate how outstanding an espresso machine is. And when you get one with several advanced innovations, it might be your perfect option.
Some of the essential features to help create a convenient coffee-making experience are the following:
- Grind settings
- Water temperature adjustments
- Milk froth levels
- Setting the timer
- Pre-warm setting
- Automatic shut-down feature
- Programmable shot sizes
Yes, these features can make an espresso machine more expensive. But most brands also release budgeted models, which offer these advantages.
The Ideal Milk Frother For A Creamy Texture
A milk frother is also required if you prefer lattes or cappuccinos over standard espresso drinks.
And if you’re one of them, you need an espresso machine with a built-in milk frother. The frother should be durable enough to handle pressurized milk.
Most espresso machines under $500 have either an automatic or manual milk frothing system. Better choosing depends on whether you want complete control or convenience.
You must also consider the milk frother’s strength and capacity. Cappuccinos and lattes always taste the best when the frothed milk is creamy and rich.
The Optimal Durability
And finally, what’s an affordable espresso machine with all the right features if it isn’t durable enough?
Remember that a machine’s durability helps dictate its longevity. You would want to get one that’s heavy-duty enough to last long and withstand certain conditions.
Now, what affects an espresso machine’s durability? For one, consider the external housing or material. If you get an espresso machine with stainless steel, expect it to last long. The stainless steel material protects the device’s internal parts from impact.
So there you have it—the Delonghi Dedica Espresso Machine is the best espresso machine under $500 for those on a budget.
It has a simple and intuitive design that makes it easy to use. Plus, you’ll enjoy its pre-warm setting lets you prepare and heat the beans in just 40 seconds.
But, if you decide not to choose that machine, just make sure you know what you’re looking for. Keep an eye out for the right milk frother, durability, and how automatic the machine is.
With that in mind, you’re ready to whip up a great espresso!
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