Table of Contents
- 1 How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine?
- 1.1 What to Look for in an Espresso Machine?
- 1.2 1. Breville 800ESXL Commercial 15-Bar Triple-Priming Die-Cast Espresso Machine
- 1.3 2. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica – Best Value Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under 500
- 1.4 3. DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker
- 1.5 4. Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker
- 1.6 5. DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
- 2 Takeaway
How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine?
Buying an espresso machine from your home or office can be somewhat of a difficult task if you don’t know what you are looking for. The biggest thing is costs. Since you are on this site, you are looking to spend less then $500 on your new machine. Lets look at some basic math. Say you go to your local coffee shop 5 times a week;
- The average cost for a specialty drink from one of these locations is right around $3.50.
- At 5 times a week, you would be looking at 260 visits per year.
- The total cost of your espresso drink would be $910.
So if you spend $500 on a brand new espresso machine, it would pay for itself in about 7 months. Not too bad.
What to Look for in an Espresso Machine?
You can start by looking at the water capacity. Make sure that you get a machine that will handle the amount of water that you want to place in the reservoir. There is nothing worse than having to constantly re-fill the machine. It is better to go to big than too small.
Make sure you new machine is durable. Many of the espresso machines on the market today are made with stainless steel or high quality plastic.
The more you skimp on the design, the cheaper the construction and you will end up replacing the machine in a year or 2.
Don’t shy away from plastic models. They aren’t made of cheap plastic so if you are on a budget, the plastic models might be the way to go. The stainless steel models are very nice and will go with any decor. It is really up to you as to what espresso model that is right for you.
You also need to make sure the size will fit the counter top or table space that you intent to place it on. There is nothing worse then spending $500 on a espresso machine only to find out that it wont fit on your counter. That can be very frustrating so make sure you measure out the space requirements and that you check it with the specifications of the espresso machine that you intend on buying.
Make sure that the machine is easy to clean. The biggest issue with these machines is scale build up. So if you are going to spend $500 on a machine, cleaning it isn’t only recommended, but required. Most user manuals will give the recommended cleaning schedule for the machine but most will suggest a cleaning every 30 days.
If you think you are ready to buy a machine and have found the best espresso machine for under 500 bucks then you need to know where to buy it.
One thing I would suggest is to buy it online somewhere. Many retailers such as Amazon offer free shipping and there costs is much cheaper then going someplace local. Yes waiting for your machine from Amazon (or any other online retailer) can be a hassle, you will be happy you did with the cost savings that you have incurred.
In a nutshell, just do your homework prior to buying. Find websites that have actual customer reviews and read them. Make an educated decision and you will be enjoying a fresh, hot espresso in no time.
Admittedly when I first tried the Breville 800ESXL, I had to work my way around a few things. But I’m so glad I did, because this machine makes an outstanding cup of espresso.
The Breville 800E is a dream to use, once you know how to work around it
This is a machine you won’t be able to keep your hands off, especially when it’s basking in all its stainless steel glory on your kitchen counter.
Although it heats up fairly quickly, I usually pre-heat the machine and have the water run through the porta filter for a few seconds first. This allows the water temperature to heat up more, and gives much better results.
I’ve also invested in a quality grinder such as the Rancilio Rocky, which I believe makes it a lot easier. If the grind is too fine, not only do I end up without coffee, but there’s a wet mess to take care of. A good grinder ensures the right consistency and of course, great espresso.
I stumbled a bit during my first few cups using the Breville 800ESXL, but found that most of the time it wasn’t the machine’s fault. For instance, I knew that my tamping technique needed to improve, which resulted in mediocre coffee. I practiced with the included Breville scoop and voila! perfect cup every time.
I’ve always had a soft spot for beautiful crema floating on a cup of espresso. The Breville 800ESXL produces very thick and rich brown cream needed in any presentable cup of espresso.
On days when I like to spice things up with a latte, I froth whole milk in the jug. After a couple of failed attempts at frothing, I referred to the Breville website and learned its suggested method of moving the jug in a circular motion each time. This method produced perfect froth every time.
To clean up, simply wipe the froth tube with a wet cloth and run it once more with a jug of water. It really doesn’t get any easier!
Remember to clean up after yourself. ALWAYS!
Several reviewers on Amazon have also commented on clogged filters, but experience with many espresso machines have taught me to clean up after EACH USE. Don’t be lazy and expect the machine to clean itself! I’ve been enjoying clog-free machines ever since this ‘revelation’.
Another thing to note is the Breville 800ESXL will not give you a dry puck after use. No big deal, I say. I give it a quick rinse and leave it to dry.
The Breville 800ESXL won’t disappoint. Just don’t be disheartened if the first few cups don’t turn out. This is a great machine built to last and will greet you very nicely every morning.
Granted, it’s not the most affordable model around, but you’ll spend a whole lot more at the store and really, it’s so rewarding when you make it yourself.
2. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica – Best Value Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under 500
If you are a cappuccino or latte lover, take it from me you will absolutely love this machine!
The DeLonghi ESAM3300 is a super automatic espresso machine, meaning you just have to add the beans and water and press some buttons, and it will grind, tamp, and brew your coffee for you.
This was what my uncle had in his home way long ago that made me fell in love with real espresso instead of just strong coffee.
Best Cappuccino Machine
Why did I say cappuccino lovers are nuts about this machine? Because the foam from the DeLonghi ESAM3300 is spectacular. With a bit of practice, this machine will give you that oh-so-lovely foam that doesn’t have a visible bubble in it.
I myself am not particular about milk-based coffee, but I must say I am very impressed with the DeLonghi ESAM3300 in this area. Definitely the best unit for it!
DeLonghi ESAM3300 is a gem for frothing milk. The steaming tip did spit water for a few seconds when you turn on the frother, but after that it steams up and you just have to place the tip into the milk to produce the best froth ever.
What You Might Not Like
I remember that the grinding was pretty loud, compared to the other machines I’ve used since, but seeing as most people use espresso machines in the mornings, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Some users have complained that the build wasn’t so durable, but there are plenty of them who claimed that their DeLonghi 3300 lasted years. That reminds me to ask my uncle whether his unit is still working well.
Using and cleaning DeLonghi ESAM3300 is a breeze, the tamping is good, and it makes good crema. What more to ask?
I think this is the best value super automatic unit around – currently it’s selling under $500 with free shipping at Amazon – because super automatics usually come with a super price tag as well. Really, if I wasn’t so pleased with my semi-automatic Rancilio, I would rush to catch the near-half-price discount.
You guys asked for the best espresso machine under $500 and we feel that we have delivered on that request in the form of the DeLonghi EC702. This machine is a very fine piece of equipment indeed and over delivers on quality even by Delongi standards.
the machine has a 15 bar pump pressure to ensure that you always get the finest tasting drink out of your ground coffee beans. The machine is ideal for sharing with space for two cups on the platform – these can even be poured simultaneously with the two spouts on the coffee dispenser.
The machine has a steam nozzle for creating froth and also comes with enough room on the top surface for heating several coffee cups at the same time.
Despite the rich feature set and superb controls on the DeLongi EC702 the machine also takes coffee pods which means you can still make that super fast cup of espresso when required.
Because of all the additional features that come with this model as well as its convenient price tag that falls just below the $200 mark we are proud to crown this model the best espresso machine under 500 available on the market today.
The Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker will allow you to recreate the experience, aromas and flavor of authentic European cafes.
Today’s consumers are expecting more and more out of their home brew espresso machines, and the Breville ESP8XL delivers. This machine is capable of producing the true, complex flavors of cafe quality coffee drinks normally made by professional baristas.
Operating this machine could not be simpler to make espresso. You just use one or two scoops of coffee if you want a single or double espresso shot, or you can use a premeasured pod filter, and then tamp the coffee. Then you just lock the filter in place on the machine and turn the espresso dial to start the brewing process.
One the cycle begins the temperature will automatically be maintained at the ideal temperature of 204 degrees due to the built in complex Thermoblock system employed by the machine.
If you prefer a latte or cappuccino, you’ll need to add steamed milk at the end of the process – easy enough with the Breville ESP8XL. You can simply turn the dial to activate the steamer and the Thermoblock system will automatically increase the temperature to 250 degrees, perfect for steaming and frothing rich and creamy milk.
The Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma features a silver stainless steel countertop design that may be a little bulkier than other models but it will still fit easily on your counter in tight spaces. The water tank is larger than most other consumer espresso machines, so it’s perfect for when you are entertaining guests and want to serve up a few cups of espresso or cappuccino.
The Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker comes equipped with the following features:
- removable 1.3 quart water tank
- external water window so you can see when the water level is getting low
- stainless steel commercial housing to prevent rust buildup
- bonus frothing jug and stainless steel espresso cup set
- drip catcher surface – easy to clean with little mess
- includes warming plate to keep cups of coffee from cooling quickly
- easy dial control for espresso or steam
- ideal pressure and temperature control for perfect crema
- dual wall filters for extra flavor and texture extraction
The Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker has been heavily reviewed on Amazon with almost 200 reviews – the majority of them positive.
People loved the quality of espresso that this machine produces – as good as a machine that cost thousands in one case. Most people, after some minor temperature adjustments and getting used to the settings of the machine and timing the heating cycles, marvel at the consistency of this machine and its ability to churn out quality espresso cup after cup. The beautiful rich caramel-colored crema was another plus a lot of people enjoyed when making their own espresso – “the best crema this side of Italy” one reviewer noted.
A couple people experienced minor problems with filters getting clogged in the machine, but this was able to be resolved by prying off the spring of the filter holder. Another thing that was noted is that the steamer can be a little slow, taking up to one minute to disperse the froth.
A great thing about this device is you can use your own coffee grinds and are not reliant on one particular brand of coffee. The Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker makes high quality espresso based drinks for only half the price of other supposedly high quality espresso machines and would be the perfect addition to the kitchen of any espresso connessoir.
Prepare espressos in just a few minutes with the simple push of a button on the DeLonghi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker.
The Delonghi EC155 espresso maker is quite a durable machine. It comes complete with a high-quality boiler made from stainless steel and 15 bar maximum pump pressure.
Made in Italy by De’Longhi, this coffee maker comes in a gorgeous black finish with silver accents. The silver accents on this machine contrast against the black and make it stand out and will look great in your kitchen. It is also small enough to be put on a shelf in the kitchen.
With a height of just over 11 inches, a length of 9 ½ inches and a depth of 7 ½ inches, you won’t have to worry about it taking up too much of your kitchen space. It has a steam wand and a removable water tank, It comes with a one year warranty, so if anything goes wrong with it for the first twelve months, you are able to get it sorted out and fixed straight away.
Of course, you will see best results from the Delonghi EC155 Espresso Maker if you take good care of it by cleaning it every month. Like any appliance, it will always work best if you look after it properly. This is a reliable machine that is reported to work just as well after a year as it did the first day it arrived.
You can expect a perfect cup of coffee every single time. The swivel jet frother will prepare amazing lattes and cappuccinos for you and your friends. This coffee maker is tailor made for those on a tight budget.
Purchasing the right espresso machine requires a lot of careful consideration and evaluation. Basic factors such as your preference for a semi-automatic or fully automatic espresso machine is just the start of many features you will have to consider!
In order to the find the best espresso machine that suits your needs, you must comprise a list of requirements that you would want this machine to have. After all, this is a life-long commitment and this espresso machine will be greeting you every single morning!
With 25 years of experience in the coffee industry, we have narrowed down a select few models from hundreds of espresso machine brands that exist worldwide.
There are many different varying opinions regarding what is the best espresso machine out in the market today but our opinions are backed up with certifications and years of technical experience with repairing and maintaining these espresso machines.