When you’re looking for a cheap espresso machine it’s tricky to tell the plastic, counter-top space wasters from the truly well-equipped and durable entry-level machines.
At what price point can you be sure you’ll end up with a decent inexpensive espresso maker?
While there are definitely options available for $20 and $50, I recommend aiming just a bit higher, hovering just under the $100 mark. You’ll be emptying a little more cash from your wallet, but you’ll get a better experience with a machine you won’t need to replace in 6 months.
The ultra cheap espresso machines (under $50) are not true espresso machines. They don’t have a porta-filter, they don’t have a steam wand. You can’t make lattes and can only make slightly stronger coffee.
If you buy one of these you will be disappointed.
To make the search a little easier, I’ve put together a list of my top three options, all under $100, which are worth your consideration.
While any of the options highlighted will serve your morning routine well, my top pick is the De’Longhi EC155. It’s compact, consistent, and darn good and what it’s designed to do. It’s also one of the most rated machines on Amazon, clocking in at above 4,500 reviews! And at four stars, this product more than holds its own.
It can be tempting to go with the cheapest option, but an espresso machine is not something that should be skimped on. Often times, users find their low budget machines just don’t have that oomph! to really get the job done, so a slightly higher budget can go a long way.
Weighing in at just 6.7 pounds, this machine makes Amazon’s best sellers list for its category. De’Longhi produces many reputable machines, even though it is an inexpensive espresso machine, the EC155 mixes a great price point with quality performance.
This machine features a swiveling steam wand for frothing milk for cappuccinos and lattes, 15 bars of pump pressure to fully extract the perfect shot from the grounds, and a 35 ounce removable water tank for easy filling and water storage. The portafilter is a patented design to accommodate baristas of all styles, whether you like to pack and tamp your own shot or would prefer to use the more convenient easy-serving espresso pods (ESE).
Many reviewers also raved about the taste, which is what we’re here for! The EC155 may be small, but it can produce a rich layer of crema that would make a professional stop and admire.
Another favorite feature of mine on this model is its self-priming operation: no more waiting in the morning for the water to get hot! That said, if you have preferences on just how hot you want your espresso, the De’Longhi is designed with two separate thermostats to adjust the temperature of the water to your preferred level.
This machine is a great value for a tiny price tag, but there are some minor drawbacks. The main critique involves the EC155’s proportions, citing the steam wand’s length to be on the small side and the distance of the portafilter and the drawer to be just a little short, which can make prep a little messy. Users also prefer a metal tamper, which doesn’t come with the machine, but I do recommend an alternate you can purchase separately if you find yourself wanting to upgrade.
Overall the De’Longhi manages to perform well over a long period of time, providing solid value for the money. Users report their machine functioning like new, with no hiccups well into a year of ownership. These machines are likely being used multiple times every day, so to have a strong longevity report is a good sign that this machine will stand the test of time.
The other really exciting feature of the De’Longhi? It has over 4,700 reviews on Amazon with a 4/5 star ranking. Accruing that many solid reviews is really hard to do and in my opinion, pretty impressive.
With nearly 1,000 reviews and four stars on Amazon, the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 is another great choice for an inexpensive espresso machine for serious coffee lovers. For its trim 1.7 pounds, this model can be purchased for just under $70. That price, combined with its high reviews, makes this machine worth the consideration.
The ECMP50 has 15 bars worth of pressure for the optimal espresso extraction, a swiveling milk frother, and a removable water tank for easy re-filling—although Mr. Coffee boasts a tank that holds 40 ounces, which means a little more espresso for a little less labor. This can come in really handy, if like me, you always forget to refill until it’s a Monday morning and you need some coffee stat.
The portafilter comes with either single or dual-shot capabilities, so you can make those double cappuccinos for especially slow mornings. Another feature I really like about this machine is its quick start up times as shown by the machine’s indicator lights. With its thermal block heating system, users report the water for the steam wand and group head are especially fast to heat.
The only really drawback to the Mr. Coffee is a slight leaking around the portafilter that some users noticed. This could be a design flaw, or a matter of too fine or too much espresso grounds being used by an inexperienced hand.
Again, it’s difficult to know if this has anything to do with the individual users’ knowledge base, but it does seem this machine can be a little finicky with the type of grind that’s used with it. I recommend experimenting with the settings and your preferred bean to make sure you find the sweet spot. This is definitely something I played with on my Breville until I got it just right.
The Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System, ECMP50 is a bit cheaper than the De’Longhi and a worthy contender for espresso lovers with smaller starting budgets.
The Bella Personal Espresso Maker is by far the simplest design of the three products. Weighing just under five pounds, the Bella is straight forward and omits some of the bells and whistles of the Mr. Coffee and De’Longhi.
The Bella is a solid machine for espresso fans who just aren’t quite ready to tackle all the variables and options of the other two espresso makers.
It is also exactly the kind of machine that may appeal to a buyer’s frugal side, costing just under $30, which is why I include it in this list. If you just aren’t comfortable buying machine above $50, this is my pick.
Unlike the previous two, the pump on the Bella only has 5 bars of pressure which isn’t going to give you quite as much oomph. This may affect the quality of the espresso pull, but if you aren’t a serious connoisseur, that might be a fair compromise and not a nuance that you will notice or be troubled by.
With the Bella Personal espresso maker, you’re getting simplicity, the basics. It’s great for a beginner who isn’t super picky about the shots they’ll pull.
If that’s not quite you and you’re looking to enhance your espresso skills, the Bella may not be the one. Keep in mind, as a lower-end model, it does have a strong set of reviews on Amazon, coming in with just about 500 at 3.5/5 stars.
Espresso makers are complicated machines that require a little investing and upkeep to maintain their value, but the long game will pay off. I hope you’ve found this article helpful in your search for an effective and inexpensive espresso machine. Happy tasting!
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!