Best Espresso Machine Under $500

Need an espresso machine that performs phenomenally and this outstanding performance also needs to come within budget?

No worries, because this is not an impossible request.

There are many options on the market nowadays. So, finding the best espresso machine under $500 is not an insurmountable task. Check out the options below.

What Are The Best Espresso Machine Under $500

Espresso Machine Buying Guide

Picking out the best espresso machine depends on many different factors. Some may be more important than others, depending on the individual. But, the areas of consideration remain the same.

They are:

  • Ease of operation
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Cost
  • Coffee preferences
  • Customer service
  • Durability

Let’s look at each one of these factors a little more in depth. These points may impact the final decision when buying an espresso machine.

Ease of Operation

How hard is the machine to operate? Are there a variety of steps to brew? Can it brew at the push of a button?

These are some things to think about.

And, they coincide with how much a person is willing to fuss with their machine.

For people who just want to touch and go, or newcomers, the easier the better.

Also, does the machine need to be easy enough for anyone to operate without training or reading the manual?

Some machines are intuitive and, come with light-up icons and indicators; others, however, need some level of experience to operate, or a thorough read through of the machine’s manual.

Ease of Maintenance

Additionally, think about maintenance commitment.

Unlike drip coffeemakers or carafes, espresso machines are delicate.

And, they require specialized maintenance. Sometimes, it’s as easy as wiping down spouts and emptying out trays.

Other machines require some disassembly on a regular basis for thorough cleaning.

Some machines have self-cleaning features that take the guesswork out of maintenance.

But, actual maintenance time will vary from machine to machine. So, check this requirement before buying it.

Cost

Next, the cost consideration may be a no-brainer, but, having a budget and sticking to it are two separate things.

So, figure out exactly how much is going into this new espresso machine before looking at the options.

Also, there are many espresso machines on the market so, there is one for every budget; therefore, don’t make the mistake that more money equals better quality.

Coffee Preferences

Additionally, coffee preferences are also important.

While all espresso machines make espressos, they don’t make all specialty drinks. So, if lattes and cappuccinos are going to be on the menu, finding features that support this will be important.

And, the coffee beans are equally important. Why?

Some types of coffee beans will clog a grinder faster than others.

For example, oily beans such as dark roasts may not be the best to put into a super-automatic espresso machine daily.

The coffee bean oils clog the integrated grinder. However, grinding separately or going with a different roast may solve that potential problem.

Also, your lattes and cappuccinos will need a milk frother.

Whether it’s attached to a machine or bought separately will be a personal choice, but, it all factors into the final decision on which is the best espresso machine.

Customer Service

Next, consider the company’s customer service.

They can make or break the espresso machine-owning experience. If something goes wrong, customer service may provide the only salvation.

When looking at potential machines, also check out what people are saying about customer service responsiveness.

The last thing anyone wants is bad service in the middle of a coffee crisis.

Durability

Lastly, think about the machine’s potential durability.

Will it last through an onslaught of impatient hands? Or, will it crumble under pressure?

Spending $500 on one machine may be daunting.

Because of that, most want as much longevity as possible from their espresso machine. Take a look at how durable the overall casing and small parts are.

Product Reviews

Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine

Thinking of investing in a Breville?

One espresso machine model to consider is the Infuser BES8420XL.

This machine delivers everything expected from this trusted brand.

PROS

  • Low-pressure infusion. This Infuser-style model uses slow, steady pressure first to expand the coffee grinds. This maximizes coffee flavor before the full pressure kicks in.
  • 15-bar Italian pump. Next, 9 bars of pressure is considered an industry standard for expresso making. However, many believe that 15 bars is the sweet spot for the perfect espresso.
  • Espresso Gauge. Wonder how much pressure the machine is running? This gauge indicates pre-infusion pressure to espresso range.
  • Programmable Buttons. Lastly, save time by programming some of your settings. Use it to preset shot volumes for 1 or two cups. Additionally, these buttons also control manual override, hot water feature, and cup pre-heating options.

CONS

  • No built-in grinder. Though inconvenient, this may be a saving grace. This way many can focus on a good grinder rather than using a potentially subpar one integrated in the machine. Also, most espresso machines under $500 don’t come with a built-in grinder anyway.
  • Steep learning curve. Additionally, newcomers beware: This is not a beginner machine. And, there is a learning curve to pulling great shots. So, some knowledge in espresso preparation would be helpful.

DeLonghi EC685W Dedica Deluxe Espresso

Another trusted brand in espresso makers, DeLonghi’s EC685W Dedica Deluxe offers another great option. Especially for those who are budget-conscious, without sacrificing essential features.

PROS

  • 15-bar. The 15-bar pressure ensures great tasting espresso with every pull. Adjustable controls and Automatic Flow Stop feature also help make sure each espresso is to taste.
  • Adjustable frother. Additionally, the attached frother allows for adjustments. Customize drinks by adjusting the levels of steam flow and foam creation.
  • Thermoblock heating system. Lastly, eliminate waiting in between brews. This system allows for brewing one after another. So, there is no waiting around for the machine to be ready.

CONS

  • Downtime between pulling and frothing. One downside is waiting for the machine to be ready to pull after frothing. The switch could be more seamless.

Breville Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine

Another great Breville to consider is the Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine. This is a mid-price range machine, and, it has all the features to meet basic espresso-making needs.

PROS

  • 15-bar pressure. While 9-bar is the coffee industry standard, 15-bar is quickly becoming the new norm. The high pressure allows for maximum flavor extraction with every pull.
  • One or two shots at a time. Next, there is no need to wait. Extract one or two shots at a time. Or, you can control the volume of the espresso shot manually.
  • Steam wand. Need to make cappuccinos and lattes? No need for a separate milk accessory. This machine comes with a steam wand attachment.
  • Single or dual wall filters. And, the Duo Temp Pro gives the option to use a single or double wall filter. For users with more experience in pulling shots, the single wall is a great option for control. However, newcomers may want to try out the dual wall that requires less technical knowledge.
  • Razor dose trimming tool. Additionally, this Breville includes a Razor trimming tool. The trimming tool is not a necessity for pulling shots; however, home baristas who need precision will like this additional perk.

CONS

  • No built-in grinder. There is no built-in grinder for this machine. This may be good news for some people because they can use a grinder they already own. However, for people looking for an all-in-one option, this requires a separate purchase.
  • Unwieldy water tank. Some users noticed the water tank is hard to remove. Furthermore, the tank itself is a shaded color. It could make it a little difficult to tell the water level. Especially if the machine’s back is against the wall.

Gaggia R18525/01 Carezza De Luxe Espresso Machine

Looking for a premium machine without breaking the bank? Gaggia may have an option for you. The R18525/01 Carezza De Luxe semi-automatic espresso machine has no-fuss features for beginners

PROS

  • Double wall design. The double wall design delivers high pressure to maximize flavor from pre-ground coffee. This is especially good for users newly entering the barista world. It can also handle ESE pods, too.
  • Pannarello wand. Also, a Pannarello steam wand comes with the machine. A great feature for anyone interested in making cappuccinos and lattes at home.
  • Front-loading water tank. Finally, the water tank loads in the front. This is also convenient, so users don’t have to fuss or move the machine to refill the water tank. Additionally, it is compatible with the Mavea Inteza water filtration system.

CONS

  • Instructions. Some users noted the instructions may be difficult to follow. They are not overly complicated. But, the way it is written is unclear. However, watching online instructional videos can easily remedy any confusion.
  • Lightweight.  This is not a big deal. However, the machined may move and rattle around the counter a little.

Saeco X-Small Vapore Automatic Espresso Machine

Saeco is another popular brand name in espresso machines. The X-Small Vapore super automatic espresso machine practically runs itself. It is packed with plenty of hands-off features.

PROS

  • Built-in ceramic grinder. First, there is no need to use a separate grinder. This Saeco model grinds coffee beans, too. And, the ceramic blades do not overheat. Also, the grinder has 5 settings for more control over the grind size. Enjoy different types of roasts with the right grind.
  • Removable brewing group. The maintenance is simpler with a removable brewing group. Rinsing out this important part can lead to more consistent taste in pulled shots. In addition, it also automatically flushes coffee circuit when turning on and off.
  • One-touch interface. Next, the X-Small also has intuitive controls. A one touch interface allows users to make drinks at the push of a button. This model also allows for programmable drink preferences.

CONS

  • Expensive. Unfortunately, this unit is pricey for a small compact unit. But, it has many automatic features. So, it’s a compromise between convenience and price.
  • Too small for multiple drink output. Also, this is a great machine for light home use. However, heavy drinkers or offices may want to look elsewhere. It can handle frequent drinks, but the compact size will lend to constant refills for the water and bean hopper.

Breville 800ESXL Espresso Machine

This is another Breville model, but it is a powerhouse. The 800ESXL offers many barista-friendly features. But, it’s semi-automatic so it is also easier to use.

PROS

  • 15-bar triple prime pump. One of the most important variables for espresso is pressure. This Breville model delivers 15 bars of it. And, this high pressure helps extract better flavor with each pull. In addition, the triple prime pump discharges hot water in 3 quick bursts. This pre-moistens the coffee grounds, and the result is more flavor.
  • Thermoblock heating system. Furthermore, the Thermoblock heating system helps reduce the time needed for heating up water. It can heat the right amount of water as required, instead of heating the entire tank.
  • Large front-access water tank. Additionally, the water tank is relatively large at 2.2 liters. And, along with this large capacity tank, this machine also has front access for easier refills. It makes replenishing easier, with little fuss.
  • Milk frother and pitcher. Lastly, milk-drink enthusiasts can make cappuccinos and lattes to their heart’s content. The 800ESXL has an integrated swivel steam frother. And, it also comes with a stainless steel frothing pitcher, too.

CONS

  • Not programmable. Users need to manually set up the machine with every single cup.

Breville RM-BES810BSS espresso Maker

Fans of Breville products may want to check out this espresso machine option, especially coffee lovers who are on a strict budget. The RM-BES810BSS is a low-cost espresso machine solution that has all the basics for espressos at home.

PROS

  • Inexpensive. First, this machine is relatively inexpensive. So, for anyone who needs to stay on a strict budget this may be the perfect option. However, it does not have programmable options that are popular on other models.
  • Gradual pressure increase. Next, the pump starts at a low pressure to wet and expand the coffee grinds. Then, it gradually increases in pressure to ensure a great tasting pull.
  • 15-bar Italian pump. Lastly, this model has a 15-bar pump that is more than enough to ensure enough pressure for espresso extraction.

CONS

  • No grinder. It’s a small detail, but no integrated grinder is a little inconvenient. This is not bad for anyone who has a favorite coffee grinder that they prefer to use. However, beginners may need to invest additional money to buy a decent grinder.

KitchenAid KES0503OB Nespresso

For those who are looking for a hybrid espresso machine that takes capsules, KitchenAid has the solution. The KES0503OB combines the convenience of pod drinking with robust espresso drinks. And, this model is available in 6 attractive colors.

PROS

  • Easy capsule system. Capsule coffee devotees will love the ease and convenience of this system. Don’t know how to tamp and pull? Simply pop a capsule into the machine and bypass those complicated steps.
  • 6-level brew strength. Also, a convenient knob allows users to choose the strength of their coffee. There are 6 different pre-programmed levels to choose from. And, the knob is intuitive.
  • Fast startup. Don’t like waiting around the machine? This model heats up in 30 seconds or less. It’s enough time to grab a coffee capsule and prep the coffee cup.
  • Durable. Lastly, this machine is eye-catching. And, it looks like it will last a while. The construction is a sturdy all-metal die cast that can match any kitchen color scheme.

CONS

  • Does not include milk frother. Unfortunately, cappuccino and latte lovers will have to invest in their own frothers. 
  • No indicator when used-capsule receptacle is full. This could be an inconvenience as may cause jamming in the capsule area. The only way to avoid jamming is to be very aware of how many used capsules are in the machine.

Lavazza Blue Lb 910

Want another capsule espresso machine option? Lavazza delivers a great budget option. The Blue Lb 910 model provides all the features needed for great coffee.

PROS

  • Exclusively for capsules. Fans of Lavazza Blue capsules will love this machine. It’s the only type of capsule the Blue LB 910 takes. So, Lavazza lovers don’t have to give up their favorite coffee.
  • Programmable features. Next, this machine features some automatic features such as buttons for water dispensation volume. Also, it has an energy saving mode to conserve power.
  • Compact. Lastly, this machine is relatively compact. It only weighs 5 pounds. And, its dimensions take up minimal counter space at 14.17 x 5.11 x 9.25 inches.

CONS

  • No milk frother. This is a basic capsule espresso machine. So, latte and cappuccino drinkers will have to look elsewhere or provide their own milk frother. 
  • Capsules only available in bulk size. Another downside is many retailers only sell Lavazza capsules in boxes of 100 pieces. This is not necessarily a deal breaker. However, anyone who has limited storage space will have to consider where to store extra capsules.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of espresso machines on the market. In this review we focused on a price range under $500 and picking the best espresso machine in this price range depends on many different factors. 

Our best pick in this list is the Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine.

The Infuser by Breville is a premium semi-automatic espresso machine. It has everything needed to make great espresso drinks straight out of the box. And, it allows for more control of individual elements when pulling shots.

Volumetric controls, pressure gauge, and pre-infusion help regulate espresso pulls and shot consistency. It may stretch the limits of a $500 budget, but the quality of the machine makes the expense worth it.

However, for a compact and slightly less pricey alternative, take a look at the DeLonghi EC685W Dedica Deluxe. This option is beginner friendly with an Automatic Flow Stop to eliminate the guesswork. In addition, removable pieces are dishwasher-safe for easy maintenance.

Finally, the choice of an espresso machine is a personal choice and everyone’s priorities will be different.