In this article I will give you my top picks for best espresso machines under 500 based on experience, research and customer reviews.
As a former barista I have quite a lot of experience with espresso machines. I combined my experience in the field with a few weeks of research to find you the best espresso makers for the money.
Nothing makes my mornings quite like a nice cup of espresso. It actually took me a while to get my own however ( got enough of them from work I think), but when I did I could not see myself without one.
So no more procrastination, pick the machine on this list that fits you best and pull the trigger. Your mornings will thank you!
Here Is What This Article Will Cover
What should you look for in an espresso machine?
Bang for your buck
Espresso machines can be very expensive. Prices start at around 100 dollars and can go up to ridiculous levels. But more expensive does not always mean better. So pick a price point that fits you and go from there. Around 500 dollars would be my recommendation for a starter machine if you are on a budget.
If you are looking for lower price machines check out my article about Best Espresso Machines Under 200 Dollars. If you want to take it up a notch be sure to check out the Best Espresso Machines Under 1000.
Ease of use
To the untrained eye an espresso machine can look quite daunting. Even though it is a lot simpler than it first looks, I would suggest starting out with a machine that is simple to use and then work yourself up from there.
If you feel intimidated by traditional espresso making then machines that use capsules can be a great starting point.
Grinder selection over machine selection
The most important part is often forgotten when choosing your espresso making setup. The grinder. There is no simple answer here since what type of grinder you should use depends on your taste.
So do your own research into what grinder suits you, you can check online or just ask your local coffee shop what they use. When you know the burr size and shape you have the most important information.
If you are into lattes and cappuccinos you need a machine that can do the frothing. I would suggest going for espresso machines that have a built-in stem or automatic frother. In this case your best friend is a powerful boiler since that will determine how well the machine handles frothing.
Preparation time and quantity
How much coffee do you want to make? When do you need it? How often?
These are questions you should be asking yourself before making a choice. I would say that most people will be satisfied with a single boiler or at maximum a small dual boiler. ‘
This all depends on lifestyle and purpose so as long as you have that down you are good to go.
Best espresso machines under 500 dollars:
Top pick – Breville Infuser
A machine packed with high end features and great reviews wherever you look.
The Breville infuser is one of those products that truly punch above its weight class. It is not only high end features that are needed to make a machine great.
Those features all need to come together just right to create the perfect cup of espresso. Something I think Breville has done a great job at.
Unique high end features.
The breville infuser has a really great combination of features that you don’t often see at this price point.
The most important one, which gives the machine its name, is the Pre Infusion function. Simply put it runs water through the coffee grounds at low pressure first. This expands the ground coffee and gives a more consistent process.
The temperature control lets you adjust the water with precision as well as having a consistent water temperature throughout the brew.
The auto purge function helps with extraction by automatically adjusting the temperature of the water after steaming.
All these functions as well as the customizability that comes with this machine makes for a truly delicious cup of espresso.
Things like pre infusion and temperature control results in less variations between the brews. This gives you a consistently delicious cup every time.
The one downside I could find to this one is that it lacks a built in grinder. This means extra investment which can be a problem if you are strapped for cash. So all in all the best alternative on this list if you already have a grinder or if you are prepared to buy one.
Budget pick – Gevi 20 Bar Espresso Machine
This one won my Budget Pick for two reasons. The first is that it is packed with features that are great for that daily use. The second is that it is one of the most widely used machines around this price point with great reviews.
Good value for money.
The value for money is important for any household when buying appliances. You don’t want to throw away your hard earned cash on a machine that will just leave you wanting.
Fortunately the Gevi 20 bar gives you what you need and then some at a very reasonable price..
Fast heating time.
I mentioned that this machine is perfect for that daily use and this is the main reason. Thanks to the thermoblock heating system this thing gets hot fast. No more waiting 15 min for a cup of espresso when you are running late for work.
If you put the Gevi into manual mode you can actually control the amount of water and espresso that the machine will make. Perfect for those of you that want to sharpen your espresso skills and tinker a bit with your espresso to get it just right.
However there are some expected downsides with the budget pick. Some parts feel a bit cheap and there are not a tone of accessories that come with this machine.
But as an entry into espresso making the Gevi does the job and lets you learn the craft of espresso making without braking the bank
For Beginners- Breville bambino
If you have an urge to get into espresso making and you want a machine with all the features, the Breville Bambino should be your choice.
The purpose with the Bambino is clear, skimp a bit on build quality to give you all the features you want at a reasonable price.
Packed with features
Such as with the Breville infuser this machine has PID temperature control and pre infusion. The temperature control automatically adjusts the temperature of the water and the pre infusion makes for a more consistent brewing process.
Great at steaming milk
You can switch between three different milk temperatures and textures with the click of a button. And switching between steaming and brewing takes a jaw dropping 3 seconds, then just drop the wand into the milk container and let it do its job.
Priced for beginners
This isn’t really a super cheap machine but it certainly is affordable. This is perfect for beginners since the Bambino gives you all the features you need and leaves you enough cash to buy a good grinder.
As I mentioned before the quality leaves you wanting in some areas where Breville has replaced the metal with plastic. But the Bambino has a lot going for it; Features, price and size are all things that make this a great espresso maker for beginners.
With Grinder – Gaggia Brera
Gaggia makes some beautiful Italian machines and the Brera certainly carries on that tradition. The Brera is kind of mid range for Gaggia but it certainly holds its own on a lot of fronts.
So even though it made it on this list thanks to its built-in grinder, the Brera could be on this list for a lot of reasons that I’ll go through below.
Design and ease of use
Typical of Italian machines, this one is beautifully designed. It has a washed stainless steel front and clean controls. Beyond that it is easy to use, with just a few buttons you can make a custom espresso drink of your choice.
Great steam wand for the size
When I say that you can make any espresso drink that obviously includes all the ones with milk as well. That is achieved through the Panarello steam wand that sits neatly on the front of the machine.
A grinder that actually gets the job done
Some built in grinders at this price point tend to leave a bunch of us wanting. That is not the case with the Brera.
Not only does the burr grinder have 5 settings for you it also has a bypass doser if you have some pre ground beans lying around.
Add to this the almost 9 oz hopper and an adaptive system that customizes the grind to your liking and you got yourself a pretty awesome grinder in the Brera.
The Gaggia Brera is a great machine that offers a nice balance between quality and price. Add to this the ease of use and built in grinder we have ourselves a great espresso machine for beginners and intermediates.
Best small – De’Longhi Dedica
The De’Longhi Dedica is a popular choice for coffee enthusiasts looking to brew high-quality espresso shots at home. With its compact design, user-friendly interface, and impressive brewing capabilities, the Dedica is a top contender in the world of small home espresso machines.
Let’s take a closer look at the key features of the Dedica. What are some of its key features? What are the drawbacks? And why should you consider buying one.
Bang for your buck
By relying on more plastic when building this machine DeLonghi has reduced the price of the Dedica without damaging the brew. So even though this machine is among the cheaper ones on this list it didn’t get there by sacrificing the taste.
Makes a good espresso
Obviously the Dedica will not perform as well as the most expensive machine on this list when it comes to taste. But more often than not you will be disappointed by the espresso from small, budget machines. Luckily the Dedica still makes a good cup which I have to salute them for.
The DeLonghi Dedica will give you all you need from an espresso machine, including looking good, while taking up virtually no space. Perfect for your kitchen counter or home office.
Overall the Dedica is a great little espresso maker. However the low price naturally means that it does have some flaws. The milking is decent but wont give you the micro foam you expect from high end machines and the drip tray is somewhat small.
And as expected for the size… No grinder
But given the price this is to be expected so I would still say that DeLonghi did a great job when designing this one!
For Commercial Use – Gaggia Classic Pro
- Small footprint
- Makes good espresso
- Bang for your buck
- Doesnt steam milk as well as competitors
- No grinder
If you’re an espresso enthusiast, you’ve likely heard of the Gaggia Classic Pro. This machine has been a favorite among baristas and homebrewers for over 30 years, and for good reason.
With its sleek design, user-friendly features, and ability to repeatedly produce a high-quality espresso shot, the Gaggia Classic Pro is a standout in the world of espresso machines. I
So let’s take a closer look at the key features of the Gaggia Classic Pro and why it should be at the top of your list if you’re looking to invest in a simple and high-quality espresso machine for your shop.
With 30 years on its back this machine stands out as a top performer when it comes to quality and consistency. Instead of putting their energy on gimmicky screens and buttons Gaggia has gone for the no-nonsense approach. This leaves you with a machine that will last you for a long time.
Great basic features
At first the Gaggia might feel a bit stiff without any room for customisation. But that is the point. This machine is packed with all the necessary features a barista needs and nothing more.
These features are a commercial sized portafilter, a 17,5 bar boiler and 72 oz water reservoir. On top of this it has a solenoid valve which is great for quickly switching between shots.
Professional style steam wand
The steam wand in this thing doesn’t disappoint either, it is powerful enough to create any espresso drink you or your customers might want.
The only real issue with the Gaggia Classic Pro is that it is set up for pre ground coffee and does not have PID temp control. This means that if you want to grind your own beans and want an easier temp control some customization is needed.
What is the best Breville espresso machine under 500?
The Breville Infuser is my Top Pick for Espresso makers under 500 dollars. A machine packed with high end features and great reviews wherever you look.
What is the best espresso machine brand?
Breville, Gaggia, DeLonghi and Nespresso are some of the most famous ones. But there are dozens more to keep an eye on depending on what you are looking for in an espresso machine.
How much should you pay for a good espresso machine?
400 and above is a good price point for home use. However you can get a machine that definitely does the job for way less. Check out this article or the “under 200” article to find out which one fits you.
Are more expensive espresso machines better?
Yes, in the long run I would recommend a higher end machine. They are gonna be more expensive but you have to look at it as an investment.
Which is better, Delonghi or Breville?
Breville is preferred by people who enjoy more manual controls but Delonghi has a few great machines as well.
Best automatic espresso machine?
The Jura E8 is considered by many to be the best Super-Automatic espresso machine. But there are a lot of good choices for a lot less as well.
Can you use store bought ground coffee in an espresso machine?
Yes, provided you have the right grind you can definitely use store bought pre ground coffee in an espresso machine.
How many bars is the best espresso machine?
7-11 bars is generally considered to be the standard pressure.
What is a manual frother?
It is basically a container where you put the milk and then a hand pump that you use to froth the milk. In contrast to a battery powered one which does it for you.