Let’s admit it! If you’ve never looked around for an espresso machine under $500, you’ve never had your rite of passage. A $500 budget hits the sweet spot for all of us at some point in our lives. The good news is, that many reputed espresso machine manufacturers make quality devices that fall under this price point!
Popularly known as “budget-friendly” and “entry-level” machines, don’t let these labels fool you. If you look closely enough, you’ll find quality components and new features in these machines.
To make the whole process easier for you, we’ve selected 7 of the best espresso machine under $500 and a comprehensive buying guide, so that you’ll be completely equipped by the end of this article.
Our Picks For The Best Espresso Machine Under $500
Honestly, it can be a difficult task to produce in this price range. Not only that, these machines come in a lot of varieties and specialties as well. So we’ve optimized this list based on some of the key aspects. Customizability, ease of maintenance, overall aesthetics, build quality, price range, and required operational skills – from beginner to expert level. We’ve also tried to pick machines from automatic, semiautomatic, and manual types to give you a good balance.
As a result, qualified espresso machines are…
Reviews Of The Best Espresso Machines Under $500
Breville Duo Temp Pro
The Duo Temp Pro is a unique Breville release that won over entry-level consumers’ hearts. This model is similar to the Breville Infuser ($600) but costs under $500.
The Duo Temp Pro is equipped with Breville’s 4-key formula: 19–22g grind per shot, 9-bar pump pressure, 93ºC (200ºF) brew temperature, and 130ºC (266ºF) milk temperature. This 4-key formula lets a Breville machine create deliciously balanced cups of 3rd wave specialty coffee at home.
The most notable key feature of this machine is its low-pressure pre-infusion with the PID extraction method. It extracts all the flavors naturally and evenly during the extraction. Then, its 1600W Thermocoil heating and stainless steel water path ensure accurate water temperature during the brewing process.
The milk system allows manual texturing and it creates a rich velvety microfoam for your delicious cappuccino and latte cup after cup. It also performs an auto purge to maintain optimal heating for continuous extractions at the right temperature.
The Duo Temp Pro has a simple button and rotary-based front user interface with a couple of maintenance indicators. It also has an auto-shut-down function to avoid consuming unnecessary electricity.
The Duo Temp Pro has a 61 oz. water tank (with filter) at the back. This brushed stainless steel-made machine weighs almost 19 lbs. and has a dimension (WxDxH) of 12.6 x 10.1 x 13.1 inches.
- Passive cup warmer tray on top.
- Limited product warranty of one year.
- Four single and double-cup (single and dual wall) filter baskets.
- The 54mm steel portafilter comes with commercial-style spouts.
- It comes with a 16-ounce steel milk jug, an integrated tamper, and a trimming razor.
- No built-in grinder for this model.
- No Thermojet technology for 3-second heat-up time.
Gaggia Classic Pro
The Gaggia Classic Pro is an old classic that is now rejuvenated by its new owner, Philips. It’s the all-time classic, an entry-level semi-automatic espresso machine that is available now.
Gaggia stayed true to its core and provided a commercial steam wand for full control over the steaming and frothing milk. Its filter baskets produce consistent shot quality and a thick layer of crema with the pressurized basket. Furthermore, the 58mm portafilter is the same size and style as commercial machines in cafes. Note that this Gaggia model also has a chute for ESE pods.
The 3-Way Solenoid Valve, which is commonly found in commercial machines, relieves pressure from the coffee, resulting in a dry, easily discarded puck-a true classic technology found only in this machine. This renovated model has a redesigned stainless steel frame and improved pump mounts for a quieter brewing experience. The Classic Pro’s dual heating elements heat-up the boiler in 5 minutes for brewing and in 30 seconds for steaming.
The Classic Pro has that vintage control panel with 3 switches for power, brewing, and steaming. Each has its own indicator light to tell you if the machine is on, ready to steam, and ready to brew.
The Classic Pro has a dimension (WxDxH) of 8 x 9.5 x 14.2 inches and weighs only 19.21 lbs. Its sizeable water tank has a capacity of 72 oz.
- Works with ESE pods.
- Easy-to-use rocker switch controls.
- Solenoid valve ensures perfect extraction pressure.
- Commercial-grade components and full stainless steel-made housing.
- No integrated grinder.
- No temperature control.
- No PID and pre-infusion technology.
Calphalon Temp iQ
The Temp iQ brings precision heating technology to make great-tasting cups of espresso for you every time—just like its namesake. It features a Thermoblock heating system, a PID temperature control, and a 15-bar Italian pump with pre-infusion technology for maximum flavor and crema.
It comes with an impressive café-sized 58 mm portafilter that allows for even water dispersion and robust flavor. Moreover, its powerful steam wand produces creamy froth and microfoam milk for daily cappuccinos, lattes, and more.
The dial interface lets a user select between steam, hot water, and pre-programmed single and double shots easily. The correct amount of water for 1 or 2 shots is controlled by Auto-Shot Control technology.
The Temp iQ has a convenient removable 67 oz. water tank with a hinged lid for easy filling as well. It went the extra mile by adding a cup warming tray for espresso cups, just like in coffee shops. The cleaning pin is located in the storage area under its drip tray. It weighs 14.35 lbs. and has a dimension (WxDxH) of 13.9 x 11.6 x 15.3 inches.
- The cup warming tray on top.
- Cleaning pin to clear out the blockages.
- 58mm brew head for optimum extraction.
- Quick transition time from brewing and steaming.
- Quality steam wand, but it’s noisy.
- It doesn’t have an integrated grinder.
Breville Bambino Plus
Breville’s compact, café-quality microfoam, and precise automated milk temperature control semi-automatic machine. It’s the best-looking machine on our list. The Bambino Plus specializes in making 3rd wave coffee at home. Breville has applied its unique 4-key formula for professional barista quality results at home.
Breville’s 4-key formula includes 19–22g grind per shot, 9-bar pump pressure, 93ºC (200ºF) brew temperature, and 130ºC (266ºF) milk temperature.
Bambino Plus also implements low-pressure pre-infusion to draw out all the flavors evenly during the extraction. Its Dose Control Grinding function ensures a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount (19–22g) of ground coffee in its 54mm portafilter.
The presence of the ThermoJet heating system allows a quick 3-second heat-up time. So there’s no need to wait before you start brewing. Breville’s Bambino Plus also has Breville’s famous Digital Temperature Control (PID) technology. It allows the machine to conserve and maintain optimal water temperature while operational.
The automatic steam wand delivers barista-quality microfoam with adjustable milk temperature and texture options. Moreover, the Auto Purge technology automatically purges the heating system after each steaming to maintain the right temperature for the next session.
Bambino Plus has a compact dimension (WxDxH) of 7.7 x 12.5 x 12.2 inches. It weighs only 3.1 lbs. The water reservoir can hold up to 64 oz. of water.
- 2-year limited product warranty.
- Double shot and hot water options.
- Variable milk texture and temperature options.
- Stainless steel exterior and a long-lasting machine.
- No integrated grinder.
- Almost hands-free brewing experience.
Breville Café Roma
The Café Roma by Breville is the smallest semi-automatic espresso machine on this list. It has a powerful Thermoblock heating system for pulling optimal espresso shots at the right temperature. Its 15-bar Italian pump pressure gives a rich crema, a barista-style aroma, and an authentic taste in your cup. This machine works with espresso pods as well.
Its simple interface is extremely easy-to-use. Furthermore, it has a heating indicator light that glows orange when the machine is heating up. The dual-action dial starts (turn right) the extraction and enables (turn left) the steam wand.
The professional-grade adjustable steam wand has a finger loop for better control. It makes a velvety smooth, thick, and creamy milk froth for your lattes and cappuccinos. Additionally, it has a cup warmer tray for 6 espresso cups on top.
Café Roma weighs only 13 lbs. and has a dimension (WxDxH) of 8.5 x 8.7 x 11.8 inches. Its water tank has a 41 oz. capacity. Special features include a manually controlled shot volume and an adjustable water temperature function.
- Easy to use and maintain.
- Produces high-quality espresso shots.
- Incredibly affordable yet high-quality machine.
- Stainless steel-made and aesthetically suitable for any kitchen.
- Only 1-year limited product warranty.
- The machine cannot accommodate taller cups.
Undoubtedly, one of the best entry-level espresso machines. This masterpiece from Philips offers delicious coffee (2x) and espresso (2x) drinks from freshly ground beans, exactly the way you like it with a touch of a button. The adjustable 3.5–5.7-inch spout height accommodates various cup sizes as well.
It has a button-based smart user interface with a touch screen display. With this interface, you can select drink options, steam, 3 drink temperatures, cleaning, and descaling functions.
Its Aroma Extract system controls the balance between brewing temperature and aroma extraction by keeping the water between 194°F and 208°F and regulating the water flow rate.
The Philips EP1220/04 stands out from the others as an entry-level machine purely because it offers much more than a typical $500 or under espresso machine. It has its very own integrated grinder with 12 grind settings, and the hopper has a capacity of 9.7 oz. It also has a pre-ground coffee chute.
On top of that, it has a classic milk frother that produces silky smooth milk froth for your cappuccino, latte, and macchiato. With only 2 parts, it’s also easy to detach and clean in your dishwasher.
It has a sizeable 61 oz. water tank with a smart AquaClean filter. The machine’s dimensions (WxDxH) are 9.7 x 14.6 x 17 inches, and it weighs 16.5 lbs.
- 2-year service warranty.
- 12 servings of used coffee puck container.
- It has an integrated grinder with 12 settings.
- Removable brew group and guided descaling.
- Double shot and adjustable coffee length options.
- No double milk cup function.
Manual Espresso Machine
DeLonghi Dedica Pump Espresso
The Dedica is one of the most coveted entry-level manual espresso machines by DeLonghi. A sleek and ultra-compact machine crafted with skill and passion. This 15-bar pump espresso machine offers a traditional espresso and cappuccino experience with its slim 6-inch design.
Its patented manual cappuccino system makes the richest, thickest, and longest-lasting milk foam for lattes and cappuccinos. You can customize and control coffee flow through its unique flow stop feature. Moreover, with its 3-in-1 filter holder, you can choose between single, double, or pod shots for your beverage.
The Dedica features an easy-to-use control panel with illuminated buttons and Thermoblock technology, for the ideal brewing temperature. This heating system also gives this small machine an impressive 45 seconds of quick heat-up time! The rapid cappuccino system also ensures an optimal temperature for making consecutive shots of espresso.
The machine has a removable 39 oz. water tank (with a super convenient water level indicator) and a removable drip tray. Dedica’s sleek space-saving design has a dimension (WxDxH) of 13 x 5.9 x 12 inches, which fits beautifully on most kitchen countertops without taking up too much space. It weighs only 9.3 lbs. and has an adjustable cup height of 4.7 inches.
- Adjustable functions.
- Can work with ESE pods.
- Barista-style espresso at home.
- It’s compact, fits anywhere, and is easy to move around.
- Flimsy tamper and small water tank capacity.
Things You Should Look For In A $500 Espresso Machine
To save you from getting overwhelmed, we’ve drilled down some key features that you can find in the best espresso machine under 500$.
- Extraction Quality: One of the most important features that manufacturers have worked to achieve astonishing levels of progress in obtaining optimal flavor and body from espresso shots. The best espresso machines will include digital temperature control (PID) and pre-infusion technology. Such technologies help achieve richer, more even, and more reliable extractions, shot after shot.
- Steam Wand: A reliable steam wand is the key to cappuccinos, lattes, cortados, and macchiatos. Thus, the frothing capability of an espresso machine is crucial. A quality steam wand means quality barista-grade microfoam at home. If you care about milky coffee drinks, pick one that comes with a good steam wand.
- Design And Build Quality: An espresso machine is a long-term investment. So you should select one that’ll fit in your kitchen the best and for years to come. A well-constructed machine will also save you from a lot of unnecessary repair costs.
- Dimensions: Your choice of machine can drastically change depending on your kitchen space. So make sure that your new machine will fit on the kitchen counter. This is why we’ve included the dimensions of each machine in the aforementioned list.
- Usability And Functionality: Pushing a few buttons or manually pulling the lever are entirely different user experiences. If you’re a veteran, manual pump machines will be ideal for you. Otherwise, automatics are perfectly suited for your daily coffee experience.
- Warranty And Customer Service: When it comes to espresso machines, great products and poor customer service never work. Espresso machines are long-lasting devices and need repairs after a few years. The best machines come with an ideal warranty and customer service.
- Water Tank: For optimal proficiency, try to buy a machine that carries at least 33.8 oz. (1 liter) of water. Even if you’re a lone drinker, this capacity will help you make multiple cups of coffee at any time.
- Maintenance: The best-quality machines are made to be easy-to-clean and maintain. Additionally, they also guarantee years of daily usage. So, check user reviews before making your purchase.
Which Brands Make The Best Espresso Machines?
Breville, DeLonghi, Gaggia, Philips, and Jura are the best brands for espresso machines.
Is A 15 Or 20-Bar Espresso Machine Better?
15-bar machines allow users to hit 7–11 bars of pressure, which is ideal for professional barista-quality espresso. 20-bar machines, on the other hand, offer 9–11 bars, which is ideal for industrial-grade espresso makers.
Is De’Longhi A Good Brand For Espresso Machines?
Yes, it is. Not only that, De’Longhi is one of the pioneers of the espresso machine industry.
Is Getting An Espresso Machine Worth It?
If you’re a daily consumer of coffee and espresso, then it absolutely is! Moreover, it’ll offer a better cost-per-cup value to you per year.
Our best espresso machine under 500 dollars list includes machines that’ll give you a good balance between looks, advanced features, quality extraction, and milk frothing capabilities. These are certified coffee game favorites without breaking the bank. For those who prefer a more challenging experience, don’t be afraid to go for an older model, as long as it offers durability.
The lack of automatic machines in this guide is mostly due to the price range they fall into – way over $500. Hence, you’ll find more semi-automatics in this list. Moreover, the best quality products are semi-automatics in this price range. And manual machines are rare as well as pricey.