Fed up with spending a good chunk of your paycheck on fancy cafe drinks? The secret to a great latte, cappuccino, macchiato, or Americano is all in the espresso that goes into it. And, luckily, it’s really easy to make your own with the multitude of cheap home espresso machines for sale. But how do you find an espresso machine that’s great as well as inexpensive? That’s where we come in. Our research team put twenty espresso machines through their paces and had plenty of heart-pounding single and double shots as a result (it’s hard work to try delicious coffee drinks, but somebody has to do it). We’ve compiled a list of the best espresso machines we found from the lot. But before skipping right to the buying guide and espresso machine reviews, check out these specs to look for when you buy yours.
Uses Coffee Grounds - Most espresso machines use ground coffee, but some are only compatible with ESE pods--hence why we show both in our spec list. If you want to grind your beans and tamp them into a shot filter yourself, you can. Using grounds doesn’t mean the machine will be difficult to use, although there is a slight learning curve and a little more cleanup.
Uses Coffee Pods - Some espresso machine brands like Nespresso have their own line of special espresso pods or ESE pods, but ESE pods, in general, are great for people who love the convenience of coffee pods but want to get fancy with fast, easy espresso. Keep an eye on this spec if you want to bring your love of Keurig cups to the world of espresso.
Includes Milk Frother - Milk frothers can foam, heat, and steam milk for cappuccinos and lattes. In our humble opinion, the best espresso machine models have a built-in milk frothing wand to streamline the process from demitasse and cafe-quality foamed espresso beverages. Even cheap espresso machine models often come with milk frothers.
Pressure - One “bar” is our atmospheric pressure, and the best espresso is created by pushing hot water through compact ground coffee at several times this pressure level. Just like diamonds, coffee needs a little bit of pressure to shine. Bar 9 is what you typically need, but some home espresso machines overcompensate to make sure that the espresso is created with a minimum of 9 bar (that’s fine, too).
Water Tank Capacity - How many shots of espresso can you make before you have to refill the water reservoir? More is generally better, although you may prefer to trade off a smaller tank capacity for a more compact espresso machine. In addition, look for water tanks that are removable, which makes the cleaning and refilling process much easier.
Dimensions - Do you want an espresso machine for the whole family or office to use, or do you want one small enough to fit on your desk? Is your kitchen counter already crowded with dishes and other appliances? Espresso machines in a range of sizes made our list to make sure there’s something perfect for everyone, so it’s a good idea to eyeball your available space and compare.
It’s finally here: our espresso machine reviews are complete, despite many caffeine jitters. We hope you’ll find the best coffee espresso machine for you somewhere among our top ten list. All products that made the cut offer excellent quality and value. Our top pick is a clear winner, but comes with the premium price to match the high-end features. If you’re trying to enjoy great coffee and save some money, try the excellent budget pick. The other products that follow also make great espresso and are easy to use and almost all of them have automatic milk frothing and steaming options, too. Enjoy your coffee drinks!