Want to know a secret that took me years to figure out?
You DON’T need an expensive machine to get high quality espresso.
Even in the $100 range you can find a solid machine that will make delicious espresso with a great frothy crema. But how do you separate the well-priced beginner model from the cheap rip-offs? By benefitting from my research and checking out the recommendations in this article, of course.
For $100, you are looking to get an entry level machine. It is not going to automatically grind the beans, tamp, brew, froth the milk and hand you a cappuccino in a tiny italian cup. You will have to do a little bit of the work yourself. BUT, that doesn’t mean you are doomed to get a bad machine because you have a smaller budget to work with.
My favorite in the $100 and under price range is the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR. This little guy is a beast and produces some truly delightful espresso. De’Longhi is also known for producing high-end models and is a giant in the espresso industry. The EC 155 is a quality machine that just cannot be beat for the price.
If you at all are serious about getting machine for $100 or less, THIS IS THE ONE TO BUY. It has over 5,500+ reviews on Amazon. That is CRAZY. Products are usually lucky to have 100 reviews. You know when that many users are crazy about the machine that it is amazing and something worth owning.
Honestly, you could search all day and compare endless lists of features, but at this price, the EC155 is the clear winner. We also include a couple back-up options worth a look that are similar to the deLonghi and will serve you well if this machine just isn’t speaking to you.
Weighing just 9 lbs and measuring 8” x 11” x 10”, the De’Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is a great compact espresso and cappuccino maker that will fit comfortably on your kitchen countertop, coffee bar, or breakfast nook for convenient brewing. You can use it in the comfort of your home or at the office. This is one of the top machines from any price range and makes our best espresso machine list, especially for a limited budget.
If you prefer espresso made quickly and with the utmost convenience, the De’Longhi allows you the option of brewing easy-serving espresso (ESE) pods with its patented dual-filter holder. If you prefer cappuccino, this espresso and cappuccino maker comes with an easy-to-use jet frother that swivels, enabling you to make cappuccino topped with deliciously foamy steamed milk every time.
If you loathe tongue-burningly hot coffee, this espresso and cappuccino maker allows you to brew using 2 separate thermostats, ensuring you enjoy espresso shots and cappuccinos at the temperature you’re most happy with.
The other features we really like on this machine include: self-priming operation, which makes start-up preparation easy; a durable, high-quality, stainless steel boiler with 15-bar pump pressure; a 35 oz. removable water tank with indicator light and a removable drip tray, both of which can be cleaned easily; and a bonus cup warmer, which ensures that your cup of espresso or cappuccino stays warm even if you leave it on the tray for several minutes.
Even with all of its useful features, the espresso and cappuccino maker isn’t perfect. There are a few small downsides to it, as pointed out by some especially savvy users. They complained about the grounds basket and the frothing wand. According to their experiences, a broth-like liquid is left in the grounds basket after each cup of espresso is made, producing a wetter puck; the grounds basket is just slightly too close to the tray (2 1/2 inches); and the frothing wand is a little too short, extending only 3 ¼ inches.
In my opinion, these are minor irritations from especially particular brewers, none of which really affect the quality of the espresso and the overall ease of use.
The De’Longhi, not surprisingly, received a stellar rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon, with over 4,600 reviews. This is also one of the best seller’s for semi-automatic espresso machines, making this one of the best espresso machines under 100 dollars.
This little espresso machine from Gevi isn’t the cheapest on our list, but when it comes to variety of features, it isn’t one to be overlooked.
If you’re an avid espresso drinker, you can rest assured that this semi-automatic machine comes equipped with all the essentials you should expect, even in a larger machine, including a 15 bar Italian pump. The included portafilter enables the espresso machine to use the brewing pressure generated with maximum effectiveness, resulting in proper, deliciously-brewed espresso every time.
If you are a fan of frothy lattes or even well-balanced cappuccinos prepared in the traditional style, the Gevi comes with a Pannarello steam wand, which gives you a great deal of control over how the frothed milk turns out, creating seriously delicious beverages for sipping.
Like the De’Longhi, this model comes with a warming tray that makes sure your cup stays warm, which is a nice bonus feature. I like to warm my cup a bit before I start brewing to make sure my lattes start off extra hot.
The Gevi is also a solid choice when it comes to ease of clean-up. This machine comes equipped with several features that make cleaning it quick and easy: a removable frothing tip, filter, and drip tray.
The water reservoir is also a nice size at 1.5 liters so you aren’t constantly having to refill.
This is a sweet little machine with all the essential features in a compact package that will it conveniently on any countertop. Whether you have a large kitchen or a compact space, for this budget category, the Gevi is a must-consider.
Designed to maximize space at 9 lbs and dimensions of 11.4” x 13.7” x 13”, the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker would be a welcome addition to your countertop that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional, ranked not only as top pick under $100, but as a best automatic espresso machine.
If you’re a brewer that is exacting regarding froth and latter-making capability (this is totally my wife!), the Mr Coffee espresso and cappuccino maker comes with a built-in, powerful milk frother that allows great control over how the froth turns out.
The Mr. Coffee also comes with a thermal block heater that enables it to brew quicker than most other espresso and cappuccino machines, making your morning coffee prep quick and easy. I love this feature for espresso drinkers that need a quick, no fuss option.
You also don’t have to worry about whether cleaning the espresso and cappuccino maker is going to be a time-consuming ordeal, because it comes with a removable water tank and drip tray, both of which make maintenance of the machine a cinch.
Last but not the least, this espresso maker comes equipped with the 15-bar pressure pump that ensures it provides you with well balanced and perfectly brewed espresso.
The Mr. Coffee espresso machine received a seriously commendable rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
One of the more basic models on the list, this is a great budget option that can handle essential functions and add a little milk froth to your drinks.
It functions a little differently than some of the other models we highlight, using a built in carafe to collect the espresso during the brew cycle but it has a solid feature list. So what can you expect?
The Sowtech comes with switch-knob operation with a coffee and steam selector, a frothing wand for steaming milk for a latte or cappuccino, an easy-pour glass carafe, removable drip tray and an included portafilter. Operation is simple and this model can be used immediately by any beginner with very little learning or fuss.
This is an excellent budget model falling well below our price cap for this list.
Very similar to the Sowtech model, this is another solid basic from Yabano with the same style of operation, including the carafe catch.
It comes with a super compact design at 13.1’’ tall x 7.7” wide x 10” deep. Features include a simple switch-knob operation, the capacity to brew up to 4 cups of espresso at once, a built-instead wand for lattes and cappuccinos, and an included portafilter.
It’s easy to maintain with a removable drop tray and nozzle. Operation is really easy and straightforward so you don’t have to have any prior knowledge or skill to get started, just a love for espresso.
I’m a big fan of the futuristic styling of this little efficiency-machine. It is sleek, minimalist and effective at what it does: quickly produce a shot of espresso with no hassle and absolutely no user skill.
Like all Nespresso products, this is a pod-based brewing machine so it really is as easy as dropping in your favorite blend, pushing a button and watching the machine do the work. It is the smallest single-serving unit on the market from both Breville and Nespresso and is a great pick for an apartment or office. It has a 19 bar pressure pump, and reaches ideal extraction temperature in about 25 seconds.
The Essenza also offers two programmable cup sizes: espresso and lungo. It does not come with a frother, so it is a strictly espresso-based machine and not the right pick if you’re hoping to enjoy lattes or cappuccinos.
This model from Hamilton Beach is efficient, easy to use and of decent quality for the amateur home espresso drinker.
What we like about this machine: It comes equipped with the standard 15 bar pump and produces a decent crema, it has a removable portafilter so you can measure and tamp your own grounds, the swivel steam wand is great for making lattes and cappuccinos and it has a low temp cup warmer to prep your ups before brewing.
This machine also works with both pods and ground espresso, which is a nice feature for those looking to enjoy a little versatility.
The Bella personal machine falls toward the lower end of our list simply because the brand isn’t synonymous with fine coffee making and isn’t a great pick if you’re after durability. However, it still makes the list because it is so affordable.
In terms of features, the Bella has a permanent filter so there is no tamping or grounds measurement for the user to deal with, it does come equipped with a steam want to froth milk for quick lattes and cappuccinos.
Overall, it has the key features of some of the higher-end options but at one of the most affordable price points. This is a worthy option to consider if you’re looking for a base model to hold you over until you’re ready to upgrade.
I always like to include a non-traditional option for espresso making on my round-ups for those who like to experiment and try something a little different. The Staresso is a stand out for it’s unusual styling and operation. It sort of resembles a grenade/spaceship and is a favorite new release.
This is not an espresso machine we recommend for easy daily use. It does require some extra effort to operate, but it produces a quality cup of espresso with the intent of being used on the go.
The Staresso is manually operated and requires the user to pump by hand to extract espresso using the pop-out lever. It has a teeny tiny water tank to keep it compact and portable. The design is really meant for those espresso drinkers with a love for travel or camping.
Wading through the endless sea that is the wide variety of espresso products being sold commercially can be a pain for people who just want an affordable, but reliable espresso machine. I hope I have helped you sort through the endless options a little faster to find the best espresso maker for you.
Chatting about coffee is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better.
I am a die-hard espresso fan. I love every form of the drink from straight espresso shots to lattes and cappuccinos. I currently use a Breville BES870XL Barista, it is an awesome machine. BUT, my dream machine is definitely an Italian Quickmill Andreja. Those bad boys make badass espresso. I love answering your questions, leave a comment or question below!