Diving into home espresso machines can be a daunting task. Today’s espresso machines range from basic, inexpensive models to professional-grade options.
Like shopping for a car, just because you spend a lot on your espresso machine, doesn’t mean it’s the most reliable option.
In this article, we’ll look at the best Espresso machines under $2000 that will bring your coffee game to the next level.
- Rancilio Silvia Pro X Espresso Machine
- Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine
- De’Longhi ECAM37095TI Dinamica Plus Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
- Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
- Rocket Espresso Appartamento Nera Espresso Machine
How to Choose an Espresso Machine
Before you drop your hard-earned money on an espresso machine, you should know the features that matter most. Choosing an espresso machine is more complicated than you might assume. And, picking the wrong espresso maker can be a huge disappointment in time and investment.
When you are shopping for an espresso machine the features that are most important are:
- Type of Espresso Machine
- Design and Appearance
- Capacity and Size
- Boiler Type
- Group Head Type
- Temperature Control
- Performance and Ease of Use
- Water and Energy Efficiency
- Durability and Maintenance
Follow along with us as we give you the important details of each feature, so you know what to look for as you shop for the perfect espresso machine.
Type of Espresso Machine
There are four types of espresso machines on the market: prosumer, semi-automatic, lever, and super-automatic. The type of machine that you select will be based on your coffee-making skills and your desire to tinker with an appliance.
We’ll start with lever espresso makers. These are the most skill-necessary options. These machines are perfect for the experienced home barista. They require practice and time to learn how to perfectly “pull” a shot of espresso. And when we say, “pull” this is a literal term. You will pull the lever on the machine to deliver an espresso to your cup or carafe.
If you still want that professional, craft coffee experience, but without the work, you’ll want to consider a prosumer espresso machine. These have many of the features of a professional-grade espresso machine but in a more compact, counter-friendly size.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are similar to the prosumer grade but have more convenience features that allow you to make cafe-style espresso with less work.
Finally, if you are just starting to learn the joys of craft coffee at home or if you’re a busy person who can’t live without that shot of espresso to start your day, your pick is the super-automatic espresso maker. These machines are made for speed and convenience. They cover every step of the process from grinding your beans to extracting your coffee.
Design and Appearance
Design and appearance seem like minor considerations when shopping for an espresso machine. However, you want to purchase an espresso maker that fits well in your kitchen, and is designed for optimal performance.
When looking at design and appearance, think about your counter space, and then consider how features of the machine’s design impact operability.
Are the controls easy to use? Can I add water without pulling the machine across the counter? Does it keep my espresso hot? These are some questions you’ll want to ask when you are considering the design and appearance of your preferred espresso machine.
Capacity and Size
Size and capacity go along with design and appearance. And they are two different features. Capacity is the amount of espresso that the machine can produce at one time. If you want to make larger portions of espresso, look for a larger capacity.
Size is all about the footprint. A huge-capacity espresso maker might be ideal in your mind, but if it takes up all the counter space in your kitchen, it is probably a poor choice.
Make sure to measure your counter space carefully so you select the perfect combination of size and capacity.
When you are shopping for your espresso machine, you’ll see three different boiler types. The most common are single and double boilers. However, you may also find machines that list a heat exchanger as the boiler type.
All three work to heat water in the machine. However, each has its pros and cons. The basic differences are:
- Speed in heating water
- Operational efficiency
Single boiler machines are generally the easiest to use and the least expensive. Pressure in single boiler machines relies on the rapid heating of water to produce steam in a single chamber, vacuum-sealed tank.
The single boiler machine uses the same water tank and pressure to make both your espresso and froth your milk.
While cost-effective, single boiler machines are not the most efficient. They also require some practice to get the right timing between brewing your espresso and frothing milk.
Dual boiler machines provide separate boilers for the coffee side and the frother side. When you utilize a dual boiler machine you don’t have to worry about correctly managing the available steam pressure. For many home baristas, the dual boiler system is preferred as it is easier to use and requires less practice.
Espresso machines with heat exchangers have a completely different mode of operation. Water is heated in a single boiler arrangement to create steam pressure. The pressure then feeds water into a heat exchange tube which further heats the water for an amazingly hot espresso.
Like with the dual boiler system you can brew and froth at the same time with a heat exchange machine.
Group Head Type
Though it sounds like a very fancy and technical part of the espresso machine, the group head is actually a fairly basic part.
Don’t let the simplicity of this part fool you, the group head is very important. The group head is the part of the espresso maker that pushes water into the grounds and through the filter basket.
Most home espresso machines, even high-end options use a semi-saturated group head. These work sufficiently for home brewing. Occasionally, you will find home systems with a saturated group head, but they are a rarity.
Regardless, do your research to make sure the machine you like has a high-quality group head. This is a must for a great cup of espresso.
The best espresso machines for your home will come with PID temperature control. Digital temperature control allows you to efficiently extract your espresso. In the commercial setting, temperature control is about speed.
In the home, application temperature control is about flavor and repeatability. When your espresso machine hits the same temperature every time, you’re more likely to enjoy the same quality espresso in every cup.
Performance and Ease of Use
We’ve talked a lot about parts and temperature and pressure, and these are important. But if the machine you select is overly difficult to use, or doesn’t perform as advertised, you’re probably not going to be making many shots of espresso.
It seems very simplistic to state, but pick a machine that you feel comfortable using. If you don’t want to think extra hard about pressure and timing for your morning java, skip the lever machine and go for the tried and true super-automatic.
Also, just because it looks cool, if it doesn’t have great reviews or a good warranty, find another option. Performance is important. Other users will give you clues about the reliability and quality of the machine you select.
Water and Energy Efficiency
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an appliance these days that isn’t energy efficient. Espresso machines can, however, be very water wasteful.
Carefully consider the purge and cleaning cycles for the machine you are selecting. Some use a ton of water and don’t perform any better during the purge and cleaning cycle.
If you’re concerned about how you use water in your home this is an important feature to consider.
Durability and Maintenance
You are considering a higher-end espresso machine for a reason. But not all products are alike, especially when it comes to maintenance and longevity.
You should be able to perform the most basic maintenance activities on your espresso machine. You also shouldn’t have to worry about your machine breaking constantly.
However, if your new espresso machine does have issues, make sure that it has a good warranty or that there is a local place to take your machine for more advanced repairs.
Before you buy, check the warranty and the availability of local or regional repair options.
Like all of our favorite appliances and kitchenware, cleaning is important for your espresso machine. When you invest in a new espresso machine, you will want to learn the proper steps for cleaning. This includes daily cleaning steps and periodic cleaning processes.
You should expect to spend some time weekly cleaning your espresso machine. But the tasks shouldn’t be difficult. We think that the best espresso makers on the market are the ones that are easy to clean and maintain.
If it takes a rocket scientist to clean your espresso machine, you should probably consider a different product.
The 5 Best Espresso Machines Under $2000
1. Rancilio Silvia Pro X Espresso Machine
- PID Accuracy: Digital temperature management offers higher accuracy, to-the-degree temperature control, and quicker recovery when brewing or steaming.
- Pre-Infusion: Programmable infusion and dwell time makes shots easier to pull and more repeatable.
- Shot Timer: Set and save your ideal shot time for consistent espresso.
- Prosumer Components: The Silvia's survivor status is built on a steel case, solid brass boiler, and portafilter and group designs from Rancilio's commercial line that all offer excellent service life.
- Backflushable: An integrated 3-way solenoid valve makes the Silvia group easy to clean, and helps to relieve back-pressure from the portafilter for cleaner coffee pucks.
For just under $2000 the Rancilio Silvia Pro X espresso machine is all the things we love in a great home appliance. It’s easy to use, reliable, makes a great shot of espresso, and looks great on your kitchen counter.
This espresso maker is a beautiful stainless steel espresso machine. The dual boiler system is easily operated with push-button operation and PID temperature control.
The dual boiler allows for brewing and frothing at the same time. One of our favorite control features of this espresso machine is the pre-infusion feature. Increase the flavor of your espresso by gently soaking the grounds before extraction.
The Silvia Pro X has great upgraded features including full stainless-steel construction, a more advanced filter basket, and a steam wand with four holes instead of one. Other convenience features of the Silvia Pro X include an automatic shut-off feature, a digital temperature display, and an automatic shot timer.
- Dual boil system
- Fast heating
- Automatic drain and purge feature
- Digital, PID temperature control for easy heat management.
- The auto-start function has to be programmed daily.
- The steam wand gets very hot. You’ll have to be careful to not burn yourself.
- The drip tray doesn’t come out as easily as expected.
2. Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine
If you are looking for a super-automatic espresso machine that does it all, then you will love this option. The Breville Barista Touch espresso machine is one of our favorite super-automatic machines on the market.
Breville has designed this machine for the coffee lover that wants a great cup of coffee made simple.
The Breville Barista Touch does it all. It grinds your beans perfectly, brews a delicious espresso, and froths milk all at the touch of a button. This machine is a 3-step wonder. All you need to do is tell it what coffee you want, and it grinds, brews and froths, with minimal work from you.
If you want to create a “special” coffee, tell the Breville what you like, name it, and every morning all you have to do is pick your coffee from the easy-to-use display and go.
Besides being super easy to use, the Breville Barista Touch is quick to heat up, easy to clean, and looks great on your counter. It is a bit larger than some other espresso machines, but you don’t need to have a separate coffee grinder with this option
- Tons of options at a great price
- The touchscreen is easy to use
- Relatively compact design
- Fast heating and PID temperature control
- Built-in grinder
- Surprisingly, this machine doesn’t have an auto-tamp feature
- The technical support wasn’t great
- The frother self-cleaning function isn’t great
3. De’Longhi ECAM37095TI Dinamica Plus Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
- 3.5” TFT full-touch, colorful display provides intuitive and simple experience of one-touch specialty recipes
- De’Longhi Coffee Link App lets you create and save up to 3 personalized espresso recipes in your profile, so every cup of coffee is always customized to your unique taste
- 16 one-touch or customized coffee drinks: latte, espresso, cappuccino, flat white, iced coffee, regular coffee and more.
- Built-in conical burr grinder with 13 settings for always freshly ground coffee, for any beans of your choice.
- The intelligent Smart-One-Touch feature recognizes your preferences and is programmed to list your most frequently selected drinks as first on the display.
De’Longhi is a favorite brand for coffee enthusiasts. It is a reliable and high-quality brand with an affordable price tag. The Dinamica Plus Fully Automatic espresso machine is what super-automatic should look like.
Enjoy your favorite coffee house beverages including espresso, lattes, flat whites, and more. The Dinamica Plus has a touch screen that clearly shows you the coffee you’re brewing and gets you started with just one touch. The fully integrated burr grinder gives you freshly ground beans for every cup. The grinder has 13 settings for the perfect grind every time.
If you have a house full of coffee lovers, the De’Longhi Dinamica has the ability to store 3 custom profiles with coffee recipes for everyone in your house. The color touch screen is easy to use and offers you 16 coffee house favorites with minimal effort. Use the Coffee Link app for even more coffee customizations.
This espresso machine is made for comfort and ease. The milk carafe is ergonomically designed and can be stored in the refrigerator so your milk stays fresh, without waste. The De’Longhi is simple to clean, with most parts easily removable and dishwasher safe.
- The one-touch system is simple to use.
- We love the LatteCrema system for simple milk frothing
- The smaller size is great for small kitchens
- Easy to clean and maintain
- This is a lot of plastic in a high-end appliance
- Grinder tends to be a bit touchy
4. Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
This is a great espresso maker for a house full of coffee lovers, or even your office. The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is like having a barista at home.
This great espresso machine is easy to use and features a full-color display screen. The Gaggia Cadorna comes with 14 pre-programmed beverage options that range from tasty cortados to flat whites and hot cocoa.
Like many of the other options on this list, this espresso maker has the option to save favorite combinations for quick and easy daily enjoyment.
One of our favorite features of this espresso machine is the integrated milk carafe and frothing system. Fill the carafe with your favorite milk and the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige does the rest of the work. This frothing system is one of the better on the market thanks to the automatic cleaning system that purges any remaining milk from the steamer.
This keeps your espresso machine clean and sanitary. The built-in ceramic burr grinders work well and allow you to grind the perfect consistency for light to robust coffee flavors.
- 14 preset beverage options.
- Super easy to use
- Easy to clean with dishwasher-safe attachments
- Great value
- For the price, it’s disappointing that this machine is not stainless steel.
- For such a quality product the one-year warranty is a bummer
- There’s no a manual steam function
5. Rocket Espresso Appartamento Nera Espresso Machine
- Black Powder Coat - The Nera's case is finished in resilient black powder coat.
- Heat Exchanger - The 1.8-liter HX boiler allows for simultaneous brewing and steaming.
- E61 Group - Boiler-heated and backflushable, E61 groups offer reliable operation and more consistent brew temperature.
- Compact Case - The Appartamento's compact 10"x17" footprint makes it one of the smallest prosumer machines on the market.
- Manual Control - Brew and steam controls are all analog for hands-on brewing.
As the name suggests, the Rocket Appartamento is a super compact manual espresso machine that will wow the coffee connoisseur.
The Appartamento Nera is a fully hands-on, lever-style espresso machine. The 1.8 L copper boiler with heat exchanger and vibration pump provides plenty of heat control, power, and convenience.
The Rocket Appartamento is one of the more stylish espresso machines on the market. It is made for small spaces but still provides enough capacity in the boiler for multiple shots of espresso plus steamed milk. This espresso machine is fully manual, so you will need to spend time learning how to perfectly pull your favorite espresso drinks.
One of the highlights of the Rocket Appartamento is the vibration pump. Many similar-style espresso makers are quite loud during brewing due to the vibration pump. The Appartamento Nera is surprisingly quiet during brewing.
Besides being quiet and highly functional, the stainless steel and powder-coated steel body and sturdy knobs make this espresso machine an attractive addition to your kitchen counter.
- 8L copper boiler that actually holds 2L of water
- 5L water reservoir
- Attractive styling
- Great beginner manual espresso machine
- Does not have a digital temperature control
- Manual operation only. No automatic functions
If you are in the market for a new espresso machine and don’t want to spend a ton of money, you’ve got tons of options.
In our book, the best espresso machine for under $2000 is the Rancilio Silvia Pro X espresso machine. This great espresso machine is the perfect combination of manual and automatic functions. It has PID temperature control, a dual boiler for simultaneous brewing and frothing, and easy-to-operate brewing controls.
When we consider all of the ideal features of a great espresso machine, the Rancilio Silvia Pro X hits the mark and is our choice for the best espresso machines under $2000.
Looking for something more affordable? Make sure to check out our list of best espresso machines for under $200.