So you are looking for best espresso machine under 500 dollars. Luckily you are at right guide, as we have taken the pain of researching on top espresso machines and have gathered five of the best machines that deserve to be in the list.
All machines have great positive points but you cannot have all great features with in this budget. There are shortcomings associated with each machine as well. You need to first identify your style of caffeinated drinks first. Ask yourself some of the basics questions when you think of an espresso machine. If you are an espresso addict and beginner then do not worry we intend to make you an educated espresso addict.
There is a complete guide which will take little time of yours but will increase your knowledge about what makes an espresso machine great massively. We strongly recommend that you also read the buyer guide we have written. It will further help you take a more wiser decision which suits your style of espresso more.
|Gaggia Classic Espresso Maker||25 x 13 x 12 inches||20 pounds||Click Here|
|KRUPS XP1000 Steamer||12 x 9.7 x 14.1 inches||4.4 pounds||Click Here|
|BREVILLE BES840XL||10.2 x 12.5 x 13.2 inches||17 pounds||Click Here|
|KRUPS EA8250 ESPRESSERIA||11.5 x 8 x 12.5 inches||10.4 pounds||Click Here|
|Gaggia Brera Espresso Machine||10 x 15.5 x 11.5 inches||19 pounds||Click Here|
- 1 LIST OF BEST ESPRESSO MACHINE UNDER 500 DOLLARS
- 2 BUYING GUIDE FOR ESPRESSO MACHINES
- 2.1 TYPE OF MACHINES
- 2.2 DRINKS MADE FROM ESPRESSO MACHINE
- 2.3 FACTORS TO CONSIDER
- 2.4 SOME BRANDS
- 3 VERDICT
LIST OF BEST ESPRESSO MACHINE UNDER 500 DOLLARS
Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker
Gaggia classic is a nicely designed compact semi-automatic espresso machine with rugged build to impart durability to the machine. Machines dimensions are 14.2’’ x 8’’ x 9.5’’ which makes it great to fit on your counter top. Water tank has the capacity of just over 2 litres which makes it quite reasonable sized to make large number of espresso shots. Coming with commercial grade coffee tamper and a dual shot steel filter you can enjoy great espresso in morning.
The casing is made up of stainless steel, which further adds into the durability of the machine. Gaggia Classic is capable of making great quality espresso that you look for in your nearby café. Once the water in the boiler heats up, the brew icons lights up on the coffee machine. Machine produces thick crema from it Panarello wand but for micro foam you need to replace it with Rancilio Silva steam wand. The modification will not take much time and will be easier if you follow the provided guide.
This is a great semi automatic machine for someone under a budget. Do not underestimate the word classic. The design is classic but machine is equipped with up to date tech and it makes into our list of best espresso machine under 500 dollars also because of its successful track record. Gaggia has placed in 58mm filter which is found only in high end espresso machine. The pump pressure is 17.5 bar which is way above minimum recommended pressure. You will get instant access to refill the shot since it is enabled by 3-way solenoid valve that will release the pressure in an instant. Once the pressure is released from the brass group head you will get quick access to the porta filter.
Filter is coated with chrome which keeps the temperature stable for extracting great flavour from the beans. Heating of the boiler from both side through exterior elements ensure that you can use the machine even during low wattage supply. The passive cup warmer which takes up heat from the machine is capable of heating upto 5 mugs.
Among the shortcomings is a single boiler which indicates that you will not be able to steam milk and espresso at the same time. This also means that you have to do more extra steps to make the drink, costing you more time. If you are fan of baristas then the steam wand is not able to produce micro foam. Lack of micro foam means you will not be able to create art work on your latte as well. The boiler is made up of aluminium and is prone to corrosion over time.
KRUPS XP1020 Steam Espresso Machine
A machine which offers great combination of ease of use and great control. The unit measurement is 12’’ x 9.8’’ x 14.1’’. It is a size which is not very small but still comes under the manageable category. Machine is simple to operate, simply fill the tank with water that comes with machine, change the filter and machine is ready to make the espresso. Within few minutes your espresso will be ready.
Over all control of the machines are very simple. Like other machine which have loads of buttons on the user panel, KRUPS XP1000 is quite simple. It has just three options on one knob i.e. espresso, steam and off. Having loads of options can some time leads to unwanted mistakes if you are not a seasoned user or someone who does not consult with the manual. The machine is extremely light and weighs only 4.4 lbs.
The steamer is able to produce right amount of crema that you can place upon your cappuccinos. Depending on your style of usage you can get thick or thin layer of foam. Priced very reasonable do not ask the machine to froth like a $2000 unit, the performance of XP1000 in its budget range is quite justified. Another great addition to this machine is the four cup carafe that means you can brew four cups at once without stopping to change the cup.
The user manual with diagramtic explanation will make it easier to operate the machine. The dripping tray is removeable, you can remove it to add extra space to tuck in slightly bigger size cup. If you have used espresso machines before that you must have left the machine on after using it. XP1000 has light indicator which shows if the machine is on or off.
Among the short comings is the lack of space to place the cups. However, you will not be able to place in large cups underneath as the space is limited. By steaming you can get some more space but it still is towards the lower end. The boiler cap does not fit perfectly to the top of the machine. This can be dangerous and also it can produce screeching sound like from old tea kettles. Another problem is the rigid knob, you have to use both hands to move it around. Lastly it has one of the lowest pressure which is just four bar.
Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine
Breville takes a different approach to make espresso, as mentioned in the name, this is an infusing machine. By infuser in the name, Breville focuses on taking the flavour out from the beans evenly. In comparison with other conventional machines which operate on pump pressure and blast the grounded bean with power burst to get the flavour out, Breville BES840XL uses slow method to extract the flavour out evenly to give great espresso taste.
The slow and low mounting pressure expands the grounded coffee to fill in all the cracks before employing the high pressure. Once the irregularities are filled in pressure is increased to extract the flavour from solid layer of grounded coffee. Apart from infuser, Breville gives accuracy at user disposal by programmable features to alter the volume of espresso. It is really a high tech machine which uses PID temperature control which is feedback control to periodically correct temperature errors and achieve the most stable conditions to make espresso.
The water coil are complete stainless steel with 1600 watt thermocoil heating system. As mentioned above temperature maintenance is very crucial for espresso machine and this heating system helps to maintain it. The electronic pump pressure is 15 bar which is more than the minimum requirement. You can also keep the cups warms with an integrated cup warmer.
It is made up of BPA ffree plastic. After an hour of usage the machine goes in Sleep Mode and turn off after three hours of no usage. There are light indicators guiding you when it is necessary to empty and clean the machine. The footprint is smaller and takes only 10 inches of the space. This machine is attributed to produce espresso which is 5 degrees hotter than what is produced by other machines.
Another great plus point of the machine is that it is quite quiet which is very unlike of espresso machine under the budget of $500. Water tank is reasonable with capacity to hold 61 ounce or 1.8 litre of water. Machine has an outlet for external hot water therefore, you can use it to produce more than just espresso. You can make hot chocolate, Barista, Americano or make a great latter using the frother.
Among the shortcomings is there is no in built grinder which is something included in machines under this budget range. Also the machine moves around when you remove or insert the porta filter. Shaking or vibration while operating makes it prone to falling. You need to place a hand to ensure the safety. Do not grind the coffee too much or the pump will vibrate and struggle to maintain the pressure. Lastly infusion requires more time, average time of producing a drink is higher than conventional espresso machines.
KRUPS EA8250 Espresseria
A super automatic espresso machine which weigh 10.4 pounds. It is not very large and has very low footprint size. The dimensions are 11.5’’ x 8’’ x 12.5’’ inches. Available in black color only and would look great on your kitchen counter top. Overall design is very compact and looks sleek modern.
It is one of the only few machines that come with a grinder, therefore makes into this list of best espresso machine under 500. Therefore, you are not bound to use brand specific pods or buy separate grounded beans. The grinder is at top of the machine, all space is efficiently designed. KRUPS has made a very brilliant machine which takes the headache of pre preparation out. You can place in 0.6lb of beans on top of the grinder.
It is an all in one machine that stores, grinds, brews and disposes of the coffee bean residues. KRUPS also provides the stainless steel milk frothing bottle along. Machine has auto clean rinse cycle which completes once every 360 cycles. You can use the steamer nozzles to make tea or hot chocolate drinks. It is a super automatic machine and has a very low brewing time of around 2 minutes. Like other machine KRUPS EA82 also has auto turn off timer.
The front end user panel contains most of the functions. The auto turning on and turning off function help you set up the timer. The knob right under the small screen gives the option of espresso, strong espresso and coffee. The display also tells you when to clean the machine. Apart from reminding to clean the machine it also tell if you need to replace any parts. KRUPS provides an additional tool which will help in setting up the water filter.
Among the shortcomings is the frothing bottle, which is somewhat difficult to use. It is quite rigid and is not flexible. After every 1-2 months you need to replace the water filter like other machines. Water filters costs around 20 dollars. You cannot use flavoured or pre-ground coffee beans. Another common problem which is in other machines as well is the lack of space to put in bigger mugs under the nozzle.
Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Another super automatic machine which makes into this list of best espresso machine under 500 dollars. Sleek design with a small footprint to fit into your low space kitchen top. Like the Breville system it also employs the infusion system which enables to get most aroma and taste out of the beans.
Unlike conventional espresso machines where water tank is behind, Gaggia Brera has water tank infront. This makes it easier to access and makes cleaning easier. Machine provides very low settings options as this is a super automatic machine. So most of the procedures are done automatically by the machine. However, you can control how fine you want to ground the beans. Brera also offers you the control to select how strong the flavour of your espresso should be.
Gaggia provides their Rapid Steam Technology with this machine that helps to steam the milk quickly. With a little compromise on durability you achieve a great combination of both price and taste with Brera. It is praised around by professionals espresso makers about the quality it is able to produce. If you forgot to turn off the machine it will go into standby mode to conserve power.
The Mavea filter used has 4 stages to make sure that water is clean for all kind of impurities before it is passed on to brew the espresso. Machine is 1400 watts which is quite enough to grind the beans. Like other machines under this budget of $500 it also has LED lights which informs when to clean or do maintenance. With proper use and careful maintenance you should be able to use this machine for few years before replacing parts becomes inevitable.
Among the negatives is that most of the body is plastic and requires cleaning. The frothing wand material is also brittle and it feels as if it will lose the steel coating with some use. Machine is quite heavy and weighs 18.7 lbs which is quite heavy for espresso machines. The storage tank has capacity of only 1.2 litre or almost 41 ounce which is low when compared with competing units.
BUYING GUIDE FOR ESPRESSO MACHINES
Don’t get confused anymore. We have compiled a massive list of buying guide which will help you find best espresso machine under 500 dollars. Coffee and espresso are not the same drink. There is massive difference between two drinks and you will only understand that once you are a seasoned caffeinated beverages drinker.
We have compiled list of factors that matter the most when it comes to decision on which espresso machine to move forward with. Therefore, you must go through this buying guide if you are looking to buy your first or second espresso machines. Standards and features have changed a bit over the years and it necessary that you get along instead of buying an old machine in new packaging.
TYPE OF MACHINES
Espresso machines go from do it all by yourself to getting all done by pushing just one button. They are divided on this basis and widely classifying they can be categorized in four types. Manufacturers provide all kind of features divided among these categories, it is up to your personal preference and likings. Here is brief detail of each:
As name indicates, manual machines require you to do all the major tasks by yourself. Small tasks like warming cup or warming water are still done by the machine. But major tasks which are directly related to defining the taste of the espresso are left on user hands.
All manual machines have lever in front and requires user to put in some effort more than spring piston machine. These machines are more expensive than other kinds of machine. They are meant for those who are already experts or at intermediate level aspiring to become espresso champions. Because they offer full customisation it will help you do all kinds of experimentation.
SEMI AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE
The mid point of full manual to near full automation machines. They make some of the process automated depending on the manufacturer but also provide controls on your hand that can help you customise the drink to some extent. Therefore, you have the perks of automation and control at your hands.
FULLY AUTOMATED MACHINES
From automating the amount of water that goes in the drink to having electrical pump to extra great flavour from pods. Manufacturers take the control out of your hands but they provide tons of features that you can employ to get drink ready in matter of minutes. Such machines although are easier to use but they are more prone to malfunctioning because of electronic boards involved.
SUPER AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
It is a complete automated machine. It goes a step ahead from fully automated and take further control out from you. Also it will only take some push of buttons and you can have the espresso ready. This is an ideal machine for those who are not concerned with experimentation and like espresso shots ready quickly. If you are an office goer then this is ideal machine to buy rather fully automated machine. It will save you loads of time but again the expense is customisation which is for someone who is in super love with perfect espresso.
DRINKS MADE FROM ESPRESSO MACHINE
A good espresso machine should have in built features to help in making great drinks. You will be surprised, better the machine more better will be the taste of the espresso. The drinks you enjoy at your local café actually are not that much complicated. With little practice you will be making the same quality at your home.
The only expense you will have is the pods or coffee grounds. If you buy the pods in bulk then you can save further from cost per drink. Here are some of the drinks that can be made from espresso machine. Before you proceed reading do note that this list is basic you can experiment and make new drinks by adding nuts, caramel, cinnamon, honey, mint, cream etc to achieve make variety of drinks. Here are some of the drinks:
Much stronger than black coffee. Someone who develops taste for espresso shots will be of habit to get energized every morning. It is strong drink and can charge up in very low time.
You can lower the flavour of the shot by adding some milk on top of it. Create foam on top and you a much more lighter yet strong shot.
The most wanted drink and most loved one. Not too strong and not too light. If made with proper balance than it is perfect. The difference from Macchiato is that it contains little more milk. You can enter some sugar in the drink to make it sweeter.
Adding more milk to cappuccino will make it even more lighter. Foam in latte is lower than it is in macchiato.
Add chocolate and some milk onto your espresso shot drink. You will enjoy sweet strong drink. For chocolate lovers this is a great delight.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
After knowing the types of espresso machines and what kind of drinks you can make for them. It is time to measure the machine on different factors. Factors which influence how you use the machine and how much maintenance these factors demand. Lets check the list of some of the important factors.
While it may look straight forward but it is not. Some machines are easier to clean while others are not. Some require to be cleaned right after you are done using them or residue would get stuck in parts where it would be very difficult to clean the machine later on.
So if you have shortlisted two machines then you should check which is more easier to wash. Because washing a machine is necessary and the one taking lower time and is easier to wash is definitely a big thumps up.
How easy is the user interface? You need to check how much time it takes to remove the tank to clean it or simply refilling it. How easy is to use the steam want? The filters, how you have to set them up. There are plenty of things that contribute over all with your experience with the machine. All machines are not the same level when it comes to user experience. So after shortlisting some machines look how different factors contributes to its ease of use.
The price tag when it comes to espresso machine does not always make great sense. Some machine have no features at all but they make great espresso and hence are priced high. Yes am talking about manual espresso machines. Some offer features but you will hardly use those features and the machine is priced high. You want to stay away from such machines. Some have low price and at same time offering reasonable amount of features. Such machines are not durable. You need to look for sweet spot a machine which is durable, has reasonable features and also a just price.
Obviously if you bought an espresso machine, you want to try different kinds of drinks. If you bought a manual machine then you will not get the perks of pressing a button and have macchiato. You would have to prepare that up all by yourself.
However, in automatic machines you can get different kind of drinks by just pressing the button. This helps if you are short of time but can spend time to make latte. Check how many beverages option is your espresso machine providing you.
Machines work by manipulating heat. Therefore, your best espresso machine under 500 dollars should be able to withstand high temperature. The internal of the machine should be corrosion free. Moreover, if your machine constantly produces espresso with metallic taste then stop using it. As the water or milk is coming in contact with metallic parts, corroding the upper layer and absorbing the metal. It is dangerous and can cause serious health problems.
Espresso machines come in all kind of sizes. Bigger the footprint more space it will occupy and more changes you have to make in your kitchen counters if the space there is premium. Lesser the size of footprint, it will occupy lesser space. As machine operates it makes noise and vibrates. If the base is not stable the machine can move around.
Espresso machines are not great when it comes to noise. But noise level varies from machine to machine. You can compare the noise of two machine when you are stuck with taking any decision. If you are an espresso addict and you want to make it in the office and the machine is noisy then you will be giving tough time to your colleagues.
Like size espresso machines can vary a lot when it comes to weight. Some with wider footprint will have lower weight while some narrower ones will have big weight to support the base. It is matter of personal preference of what you can handle.
Some machines have their own coffee grinder where you can get freshly ground beans. Espresso always taste better if the beans were done fresh. While some machines do not have grinder integrated with them. You would have to buy separate grinders. In addition, some machines are compatible with coffee pods from specific brands only. Such machines can be problem because you will not be able to try different brands offering different tastes. So if you have decided to choose from two non grinder machines then it is a great idea to compare which is compatible with more coffee pods.
Filter in water tanks is responsible to take the calcium and other heavier elements out from your water. It will make your water healthier and also make great espresso. Light water espresso always tastes better than heavier water. Apart from that, filters are must because heavier metal can slowly damage the machine and you would have to get it repaired.
While it is not considered a big factor but actually it is significant. The dripping tray should be removeable and removing it should provide more space to tuck in a mug of bigger mug.
Machine come with and without milk frother. Those coming with frother vary in time taken to operate. It is another significant point that can alter your decision. For lattes, cappuccinos, macchiato etc you will need crema and everybody loves thick quality foam.
Most espresso machines comes with cup warmers. It is located at top of machine. Problem is most of the time is it useless because it takes quite some time to warm up two small shot mugs. You will be better off using your oven rather than using the cup warmer. But here is the catch some machines have better cup warmer. You can compare this factor if you do not use microwave.
Some automatic machines provide the ability to program their buttons. This can be helpful feature if you want to set up some customised setting to prepare beverage that suits your style. It can be tricky but you can get help from user manuals.
Some brands produce high quality espresso machines but their customer service is poor. While other have mediocre machines but are willing to help you out in any way. Look for a brand that is reliable and has great track record. Most of the brands have established authority and history with espresso machines. Choosing one of them would be a good idea.
Since we discussed brand authority it would be a good idea to introduce you to some of the good brands. Specially if you are new then this list will help you remember what are the good brands.
A brand with established authority and track record. Nespresso has been producing one of the best espresso machines that you can rely on.
Another great brand and has been doing great with all kinds of kitchen equipment. But when it comes to specialization with espresso machine then Breville is not a recommended brand.
A great brand attributed with producing high end machines. Under the budget of $500 you will find many KRUPS machines. It is a reliable brand and worth investing in.
Like Nespresso, De’Longhi is also another titan of nespresso machines. They are producing one of the finest machines and enjoy great brand authority.
They offer broad variety of espresso machines and enjoy the reputation of lasting for more than a decade. A brand perception envied by others. Durability wise Gaggia espresso machines are great.
As the name indicates they have focused on this niche of coffee beans beverages. Its another well reputed brand that you can rely on.
A great brand for espresso but do note that they are confined to use coffee pods from specific brands.
Another well known espresso machine brand. They offer machines from under $100 to over $1000 dollars. It is a good brand manufacturing espresso machines.
Saeco also enjoys great brand reputation. But when it comes to lower end models Nespresso and De’Longhi are on a clear lead.
A great brand to start off with. Offer wide variety of features in their machines. It would be a smart idea to go through product feedback history before buying a waring unit.
If you got the chance of reading the whole article then you must have identified your style of drinking espresso by now. So if you are looking for straight quick espresso then go for super automatic machine like Breville or Gaggia.
But if you want some control in your hand and still want to have quick drinks ready then you can buy semi-automatic machine like Gaggia Classic. Look for something that will fit your kitchen top easier and is easy to use with less complains.
If you still do not understand the important factors that determine the quality of an espresso machine then we recommend that you should read our buying guide again. By reading the guide more than once you will have the picture clear in your mind if it was blurrier. So don’t waste your money at local café anymore invest in a espresso machine, invite your friends and enjoy a delicious caffeinated party.