Espresso machines are typically seen as a luxury when compared to regular coffee machines (much like the drink itself), but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
While the very advanced, high-end espresso machines are always going to cost a pretty penny, you can find some surprisingly inexpensive, but still very functional espresso machines out there.
Since these can sometimes be tricky to find, we have decided to compile a review list that looks at some of the best espresso machines that are also easy on your wallet.
In terms of both quality and price, we think that the best cheap espresso machine that you are currently going to find is the DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Machine.
Table of Contents
A Spotlight On Some of The Best Cheap Espresso Machines:
DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
To start off our look at the most affordable espresso machines, we are going to be doing a review of a brand that is basically synonymous with high-quality espresso machines, which is DeLonghi (it only makes sense that an Italian company would excel at making espresso products).
It is actually a bit surprising that this brand is even making an appearance on this list, since they tend to make very high-end products that are usually quite pricey. However, the EC155 shows that they can also make fairly inexpensive espresso machines that still display their signature commitment to quality.
This is both a surprisingly cheap and a surprisingly small espresso machine. It costs under $100, which is very impressive on its own, but it also becomes even more impressive and noteworthy when you see the high quality of this espresso machine.
It produces consistently great tasting espresso every single time you use it. Also, because it always uses 15 bars of pressure, it produces just the right strength of espresso every single time as well.
Those of you operating in smaller areas will no doubt appreciate the size of this machine, as it takes up very little space in your kitchen. A lot of espresso machines, especially the more advanced types, can really take up quite a bit of space and make a lot of noise because of it, but this really isn’t the case here. It is remarkable the quality of coffee that you will get out of this tiny espresso machine.
It is a sign of the quality of the DeLonghi EC155 that our only real criticism of this machine is an extremely minor one. As we mentioned earlier in the review, this is a very small machine comparatively.
While this is good as it means that you don’t have to give up a lot of counter space, it also means that this machine has an extremely small water reservoir that needs to be filled quite often. This is a minor annoyance, but we know that for some, this can be a bigger hassle than for others.
- Not too large.
- Very cheap for such a good espresso machine.
- From a notable coffee brand.
- Produces consistently good espresso.
- Very small capacity reservoir.
Cuisinart EM-100 Espresso Maker
On this best cheap espresso machine list, we have reviewed quite a few machines from pretty famous brands, but probably none of them quite hold a candle to Cuisinart in terms of overall name recognition.
They have made just about every type of kitchen appliance out there and you generally can’t go wrong with one of their products. With the EM-100 they have shown that they can also make good, affordable espresso machines as well as other types of kitchen appliances.
In terms of quality and performance, we don’t have really anything to complain about when it comes to this particular espresso maker.
It has the requisite 15 bars of pressure that you want to see in any home espresso machine. What’s more is the fact that it is an extremely durable machine. As you can probably see for yourself, this is a big, bulky machine. It is rare to see an affordable appliance that is also tough and able to last for a long time.
Something that we really like about this espresso maker is how large the reservoir is. While the size of the machine can cause some problems (more on that a bit later on in the review), it is nice that you don’t have to refill the machine with water very often.
That sounds like a minor thing, but it really is convenient. Adding to the overall convenience of the machine is the fact that it is extremely easy to pull apart for cleaning.
In terms of criticism, we will say that this is not the best option if you are looking for something that doesn’t take up a lot of your valuable counter space. For some reason or another, the Cuisinart EM-100 Espresso Maker does seem to take up a good deal more space than you would expect a basic espresso machine to take up.
- Very large reservoir that doesn’t need to be filled often.
- Not as difficult to clean as you would assume.
- Machine does a lot of the work for you.
- Still relatively inexpensive, despite being from such a well-known brand.
- Takes up quite a bit of counter space.
Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECM180 Espresso Machine
When it comes to brands that one should associate with inexpensive coffee products, Mr. Coffee is definitely up there. They make a pretty wide variety of coffee machines, and they all tend to be quite easy on your wallet.
They make a few different espresso machines as well, and the one that we thought best fits on this list was the Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECM180 Espresso Machine. Like all of the other entries that we have reviewed, this one is both affordable and very well-made.
Before we even get into discussing the actual quality of the machine itself, let’s instead focus on the price. You can get the Mr. Coffee for under $100. On its own, that isn’t especially noteworthy, but what does make it noteworthy is the fact that this machine offers performance that is honestly on par with that of far pricier espresso machines.
Speaking of, let’s now turn our attention to how the machine performs. As you might expect, given what we have already said, it performs very well. The machine can be relied on to produce consistently bold espresso that perks you right up in the morning. When the time comes for cappuccinos, you can make use of the surprisingly good frothier that is attached to the Mr. Coffee.
Sadly, the fact that this is such an inexpensive machine was going to manifest itself at some point, and the way that it does so is by being fairly flimsy. The actual main part of the machine is sturdy enough, but a lot of the exterior parts that are made of plastic break extremely easily.
- Comes with some accessories like cups, pourers, etc.
- Fairly powerful frothing capabilities.
- Despite being very cheap, it performs very well.
- Consistently produces strong, bold coffee.
- Certain parts of the machine seem extremely flimsy.
De’Longhi EC685M Dedica Automatic Espresso Machine
Earlier on in this review list, we reviewed an inexpensive entry from De’Longhi and we really appreciated it. Given how good they are at making espresso machines, it isn’t surprising to see that they are once again appearing on our review list.
This espresso machine from them differs quite a lot from the other option that we reviewed on our list. As you are going to see from this review, a big part of what makes this espresso machine stand out is that it is an automatic machine.
While this will be explained in a lot more detail when we get to our buying guide, we are going to tell you right now that finding an automatic espresso machine that is also affordable is extremely rare.
The vast majority of inexpensive options are not automatic, but either semi-automatic or manually operated espresso machines. While one can find the occasional automatic machine that is also reasonably priced, we have to emphasize that this is extremely rare. The De’Longhi EC685M just happens to be an example of such a machine.
Since this is the first (and sadly only) automatic machine that is being reviewed in this article, we want to briefly explain how they work. Automatic machines don’t require you to physically shut off the machine during the brewing process. All you have to do is press a button, and the machine will do the rest of the work.
This may sound like a minor thing, but it leads to more consistent coffee, as opposed to coffee that may be too bitter or too watery because you held a switch just a second too long or let go a second too quickly.
Like so many other of De’Longhi’s espresso machines, the EC685M Dedica Automatic Espresso Machine is not a large machine. In fact, it is extremely compact, which is sure to appeal to a lot of you out there who want something that is very small and doesn’t take up much space.
As you might imagine, the small size of this machine isn’t all that great, as it does have some flaws, but it is definitely a very good thing for those who want to save as much space as possible in their kitchen.
If we had to pick out one problem with this particular espresso machine, it would definitely have to do with the fact that this just isn’t a particularly large espresso machine.
If you scroll back up to our first review on this list, you will see that we complained that the other De’Longhi machine had an issue with reservoir capacity, and sadly, that is the case here. You will have to refill this machine quite a lot, which can be annoying.
- A very compact espresso machine.
- One of the few inexpensive automatic machines.
- Machine does basically everything.
- Produces great foam and great tasting coffee.
- Another De’Longhi machine with a small reservoir.
BELLA 13683 Personal Espresso Maker
For the final review on our best cheap espresso machine list, we are going to be taking a look at what is undoubtedly the most inexpensive espresso machine that we have reviewed, and what is possibly one of the cheapest options on the wider marketplace. The machine that we are talking about is the BELLA 13683 Personal Espresso Maker and it is by far the best option if your main goal is to get an affordable espresso machine.
Given how much we emphasized the price of this espresso maker in the introduction to this article, we should probably talk about the price itself. If you are looking to give this espresso machine a try, you can expect to spend around $50 on the product as a whole.
If you know anything about espresso machines, then you know that getting any espresso machine for that cheap is extremely good. Aside from its price, the machine performs decently enough. Given the low cost, it provides fairly consistent, good-tasting coffee.
In terms of flaws, this espresso maker has a few. It definitely isn’t perfect by any stretch. If we had to pick certain flaws to really hone in on, it would be the fact that this just isn’t a particularly durable or well-built espresso maker; you shouldn’t be buying this and expect it to last through years of use.
While this may sound like a particularly damning flaw on the surface, you do have to remember that at the end of the day, this is an extremely inexpensive espresso maker. Whenever you are paying under $50 for a kitchen appliance, you have to have a certain mindset and accept these things because it really isn’t possible to make a super high-end appliance for that cheap. What you get with the BELLA, given its price, is impressive enough.
- By far the cheapest entry on our list.
- Good balance of affordability and coffee quality.
- Very small and compact as far as espresso machines go.
- An extremely flimsy appliance.
- Probably not suited for long-term use.
Buying Guide For Cheap Espresso Machines
We mentioned a couple of times in our review list that we were going to include a buying guide to help flesh out the information that was contained in our reviews above.
Those of you who are new to espresso machines will no doubt find this part of the article to be very helpful. In this buying guide, we are going to be talking about some basic aspects of buying an espresso machine that we think all potential buyers should be aware of.
The Different Types
The first and most important thing to understand when it comes to buying espresso machines is to understand the different types that are available to you. Given that this is a list that is explicitly meant to be affordable, we are a bit limited in terms of what types of espresso machines that we can review.
This is because most automatic espresso machines tend to be way too expensive to have a spot on this list. While there are some rare exceptions, it is definitely not the norm. Likewise, super automatic espresso machines are never going to be affordable.
This leaves only semi-automatic and manual espresso machines. Both of these are very common when looking for inexpensive espresso options. Of the two, semi-automatic is the best as manual espresso makers require a surprising amount of effort and are rarely found outside of specialty coffee shops.
15 Bars of Pressure
One of the most basic aspects of buying an espresso machine is knowing the importance of pressure. One of the standard things to look for when it comes to buying any decent espresso machine is that it delivers exactly 15 bars of pressure.
This refers to the amount of pressure applied by the machine when it forces the water through the coffee grounds. The reason why you want 15 bars of pressure specifically is because this is the sweet spot that produces espresso that is strong, but not so strong that it is bitter to the taste.
A Good Frothier
At the same time, you want to remember that when buying an espresso machine, you aren’t just looking at the coffee producing parts of the machine, but the foam producing ones as well. While plain espresso has its place, we all know that everyone wants cappuccinos just as much, if not more than plain espresso.
So, being able to make reliably good, fluffy foam for your espresso is essential. Part of the reason why you generally want to avoid the super cheap espresso machines (we mean the sub $50 models) is because they don’t have good frothier attachments. A good frothier will have a lot of steam power (measured in ounces generally) and it will be easy to clean (a frothier can get jammed and lose effectiveness if not cleaned often).
If you have still have some questions about how to buy the right espresso machine that isn’t too pricey, we have included a comment section below where you can leave your questions, as well as let us know what you thought of our best cheap espresso machine article. And if your looking for any other Kitchen Essentials I recommend checking out our new Ultimate Guide.