When it comes to high-quality home espresso machines, there are many different options on the market at the $500 and under price point.
These machines offer some of the highest quality features in small packages that produce professional-level cups of espresso without breaking the bank.
We have put together a helpful guide for purchasing your next upscale espresso machine, and also highlighted five of the best machines available for purchase on the market today.
Choosing the best espresso machine under $500 comes down to weighing the most important features of each option for your lifestyle and needs.
Choosing the Right Espresso Machine Under $500
With a budget of up to $500, it is possible to purchase a high-quality espresso machine that is fully equipped with all the bells and whistles including multiple pouring spouts and specialized wands built for steaming milk in latte-style drinks.
Price and Budget
There are hundreds of home espresso machines that can be purchased for under $500, so it is helpful to narrow down your ideal budget to a more specific range.
The most affordable options on the market sell for as low as $50, while other $600 can be found on sale for around $500.
When shopping for a new home espresso machine, it is important to remember that the machine is not the only purchase that needs to be made, as espresso beans will also need to be procured and ground before use. This also requires the purchase of a coffee grinder, which is another added cost.
Electric coffee grinders are very popular options, as they require the least amount of effort to achieve a fine blend of espresso beans. This is especially helpful for people first thing in the morning, and electric coffee bean grinders can be purchased for $30 or less.
Many people find it helpful to do a quick search around the internet to find which espresso beans to use in their new machines, while others prefer to support their local coffee shops by purchasing beans locally.
Regardless of how espresso beans are purchased, they are another added cost when it comes to home espresso machine ownership that needs to be factored in when budgeting. Another consideration to make is that milk or non-dairy milk alternatives also need to be purchased to utilize the foaming wands in espresso machines.
These foaming wands are designed to shoot high-pressure steam into milk, almond milk, oat milk, or your favorite cream option to achieve a foamy texture that is perfect for constructing latte-style espresso drinks. This is yet another added cost that needs to be factored in when budgeting for an espresso machine.
Once all these extras and toppings (including sugar and flavors) are factored in, many people find that their budget for a new espresso machine is a bit lower compared to their original expectations, and decide to purchase a machine that is a bit more affordable.
When it comes to a budget for a new espresso machine, it is important to keep in mind that you should not simply go out and buy the most expensive machine that you can afford. While more expensive models tend to showcase more features, some people find that they only use the key features in everyday use.
Size and Weight
Home-based espresso machine appliances come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes, and choosing the best machine for your home comes down to finding a machine that fits your lifestyle, as well as physically fits well into your kitchen and home.
Singles and those who live alone often find that the most simple and compact espresso machines are the best option, as they are affordable, straightforward to operate, and generally easy to clean. They also take up little space and can easily be stored in cabinets or drawers if needed.
While the overall weight of an espresso machine is not a concern for many people, there are others who travel with their machines that prefer more lightweight models. This includes espresso machines purchased for camping in RVs or intended for use on boats and yachts.
There are also many different physical shapes that espresso machines are designed in, and the majority of them can either be categorized as “slim” or “boxy.” The slimmest of models are best for placement in tight spaces, while larger and “boxier” options often hold more water or coffee.
Features and Design
While all espresso machines are designed to heat water and pour it over ground espresso beans to achieve a proper cup of espresso, there are a number of different features that different models and machines offer to further customize your espresso experience.
The most recent innovations in home-based espresso machines involve cutting-edge technology like WiFi capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity. These high-tech machines pair with smartphone apps to check water levels, machine diagnostics and troubleshoot machine issues.
The majority of higher-end espresso machines will also feature steam wands, which are specially designed to be dipped into milk or nondairy milk alternatives to create a frothy and foamy cream base for latte-style beverages.
Some of the best machines on the market have the ability to brew traditional styles of coffee as well as espresso, which makes for an all-in-one coffee shop with one machine. These are the best option for those who live in large households with many different coffee preferences.
With so many different manufacturers bringing new home-based espresso appliances to the market every year, some customers are justifiably worried about choosing a “bad machine.” The best way to ensure the ownership of a high-quality and durable product is to stick with a well-known and reputable company.
De’Longhi is considered by many to be the industry leader when it comes to producing high-quality espresso machines for home use in the under $500 price range. They offer a wide variety of models to ensure they have options that are well-suited to all types of espresso enthusiasts.
Gaggia and Gevi are also well-established companies in the home espresso machine production space, and each of them has a good reputation for making machines of solid quality. Breville is a value-minded producer that makes simple machines intended for occasional use.
Ease of Use and Cleaning
While the majority of people tend to focus on the “bells and whistles” and different features of a new espresso machine, there are others who take a much more practical approach when it comes to choosing a new machine.
Espresso machines are considered “high use” items, as many people use them at least once per day, every single morning. While interesting and high-tech additions may be great for certain uses, these added features can complicate the espresso-making process each morning.
Those who take a more practical approach to shop for a new espresso machine realize that simplicity is key, especially first thing in the morning before a cup of coffee. While more basic machines usually offer limited features, they can be extremely straightforward to operate.
Simple machines are also generally easier to clean, as there are fewer “moving parts” and fewer areas of the machine that need to be maintained and cleaned occasionally. These are the most straightforward options to clean out and “reset” after use each morning.
Top 5 Espresso Machines Under $500
With so many different home-based espresso machines on the market today, some people quickly become overwhelmed when shopping for one of their own.
We have selected five of the best espresso machines under $500 on the market and highlighted their most important features to simplify the shopping process.
1. De’Longhi All-in-One Combination Coffee Maker & Espresso Machine
- Ability to brew quality espresso as well as a traditional pot of coffee
- Full-service espresso machine capable of making many different drinks
- 15 bar pressure pump allows for high-quality beverages
- High-quality metallic steam wand for frothing milk
- High end led display and many different settings
- Quality 10-cup glass carafe included for traditionally brewed coffee
- One of the larger options on the market that takes up significant space
- Does not fit well with the aesthetic of some kitchens and homes
- Some people report that the espresso function drips a bit after use
2. De’Longhi EC9155MB La Specialista Arte Espresso Machine
- Included a high-end built-in burred grinder that automatically grinds beans on demand
- Includes three different water temperature settings for more flexibility
- Considered by many to be the best espresso machine for under $500
- Comes will all the needed tools and accessories for making professional-level espresso
- Built-in grinder has eight different settings to achieve the desired coarseness
- Comes equipped with one of the best steam wands on the market under $500
- Does not have the ability to brew traditional coffee
- Bright and shiny design with a prominent dial does not fit with all aesthetics
- No self-rinsing or automatic milk systems like with premium models
3. Gaggia RI 9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
- One of the sleekest options on the market with a boxy and simple design
- Simple switch levers are both durable and visually appealing
- One of the most simple and durable machines on the market
- Reported by many coffee enthusiasts to produce professional-level espresso
- Able to pour two cups at once by using the dual spout
- Can use traditionally ground espresso or pre-ground pods
- Boxy and simple design does not appeal to all people
- Fairly heavy machine at just under 19 pounds unfilled
- One of the pricier options on the market considering the limited features
4. Gevi 20 Bar Compact Professional Espresso Coffee Machine
- A reliable and straightforward machine that is moderately priced
- Features a built-in pressure gauge for proper operation
- 20 bar high-pressure pump is one of the stronger options on the market
- Simple operation with only four buttons on the top of the machine
- One of the more affordable options considering the high-quality pressure pump
- Simple straight steam wand is easy to use and clean
- Fairly entry-level model that does not include high-end features
- The shiny and metallic aesthetic does not appeal to all people
- Takes longer to heat up compared to some other models
5. Breville Bambino Espresso Machine
- Sleek design featuring full coverage stainless steel
- Specialized handles and wand holders minimize the chance of burns
- One of the lightest and most compact high-quality espresso machines on the market
- Considered by many to be one of the best simple value-based options
- Features automatic milk foam texturing for easy operation
- One of the quickest heating models on the market at around three seconds
- 9 bar extraction pressure is lower compared to other pumps on the market
- While Breville is a trusted brand, it is not considered to be of top-tier quality
- The bright and shiny metallic look does not fit with some modern kitchen aesthetics
While there are many high-quality options on the market today when it comes to home espresso makers under $500, the De’Longhi All-in-One Combination Coffee Maker & Espresso Machine is the best option for the widest variety of people.
It has the capability to brew professional quality espresso along with traditionally brewed coffee and is one of the most versatile espresso machines on the market for this reason.
Throw in the fact that it uses a high-quality steam wand and comes from one of the most trusted brands in the industry, and you have a sure-fire winner in the espresso machine department.