Top 8 Best Espresso Machine Under $200 – You’ll Want Right Now
Coffee lovers know how that first sip in the morning can start the day off right and how an evening gathering just seems better with a hot cup of java. Perhaps you are a coffee lover yourself and have decided that now you would like to add an espresso machine to your coffee collection, but without breaking the bank. However, espresso is not quite the same as coffee, so it is important that you consider some key factors when choosing the best espresso machine. This guide will walk you through how to choose the best espresso machine under $200 to keep you on budget and spending your money wisely and give you some great options currently on the market.
How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine Under $200
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There are some important factors you should keep in mind when shopping for your new espresso machine, since not all makers are created equally. These key points will give you an idea of what you should look for or what you might wish to have as options in your espresso machine for both function and quality of your espresso output.
When considering which machine makes most sense for you, look at the milk frother with the machine. Some you will see are automatic, which means less fuss for you, whereas other machines have a milk frothing wand to do it yourself. If you prefer to customize your froth, then choosing a machine with a wand is probably a better choice for you, but if you just want to brew your espresso and run, look for an automatic frother.
How Many Shots
If you are a person who likes their espresso strong, you might want a machine that can brew double shots and not just singles. Look to see the capability of the espresso machine before you purchase. Some machines will even accommodate pods for super fast convenience.
Most decent espresso machines should have a 15-bar pump to output steam and water at a high rate. Look for a machine with this as a minimum to ensure you are getting a good, authentic espresso drink. The pressure that the pump provides, ensures your drink comes out fast and hot, which is key with any espresso type beverage.
Automatic, Semi-Automatic or Manual Style?
In the world of espresso machines, there are three main types: automatic, semi-automatic and manual. Automatic are usually a little higher on the pricing scale since they offer fast results with very little waiting time. Semi-automatic involves a little more time and set up but not as much effort as a manual press espresso machine. If you are buying a manual maker, you should have a moderate skill-level in brewing espresso since they are not for the amateur. Automatic machines will monitor the amount of water passing through the filter and regulate as needed, semi-automatic will have a button for you to switch off and manual is to be done by you. Automatic machines usually have built-in mechanisms which allow you to brew one cup after another with little wait time for heating the water first.
You may be looking for: How to choose the Best Automatic Espresso Machine?
What Type of Drinks?
The various machines on the market will offer you something different, depending what you are looking for. If you are only interested in straight espresso, you won’t necessarily need a machine that brews cappuccino too. So, before deciding on an espresso machine, you need to think if you would like to brew other beverages as well with your machine. This could be a deciding factor when you head shopping.
We all know that it is nice when you buy anything that it has features you weren’t necessarily counting on but are nice to have. Some espresso machines boast a cup warmer, to keep your beverage at optimal temperature even after brewing. Another nice add-on is a bean grinder, to ensure you are getting a perfect grind for that authentic espresso flavor. Really, anything that makes life easier is a bonus when it comes to small appliances. Have a look at the milk frothing wand and see if it swivels in and out for ease of use. This feature you will definitely find helpful.
Top Picks for Best Espresso Machine Under $200
**Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon
1. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
This stylish, sleek machine boasts multiple purposes by making espresso, cappuccino and lattes with easy to use buttons and an automatic milk frother. You won’t need a high level of espresso skill when it comes to the Mr. Coffee Café Barista, since much of the guesswork is eliminated. Both the water and milk reservoirs are easy to remove and fill up. You simply choose which beverage you wish to brew and the 15 bar pump brews up delicious flavored hot drinks. There is a “Clean” button which easily cleans the interior of the machine, making life much simpler.
2. Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso & Cappuccino Maker
The Hamilton Beach Espresso & Cappuccino Maker is easy to set up with a front loading portafilter which slides in and locks easily, so you don’t have to fuss over parts that are hard to reach or access. The 15-bar pump creates excellent pressure and steam for great tasting espresso and cappuccino. The steam wand swivels in and out for ease of access and use to both steam and froth milk for your cappuccinos and lattes. With this machine you can use either espresso grounds or espresso pods. An added feature which is handy is the cup warmer atop the machine which keeps your cups warm until the espresso is ready to brew.
3. De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
This self-priming machine eliminates the wait time involved with other machines, so you can brew your espresso, cappuccino and lattes when you want them. The convenient portafilter can accommodate both espresso ground or espresso pods. You can choose single or double shot espressos as well and brew one or two cups per brew. The swivel jet frother creates full body milk froth with excellent steam force. You will get excellent pressure and extraction since it has a 15-bar pump. When it comes time to fill with water, you just remove the reservoir and fill under the tap. This machine boasts brewing hot beverages every time since there are two thermostats built-in; so, pressure for water and steam are controlled separately.
4. DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker
This model is done in stainless steel for a contemporary look that fits in with most modern kitchen designs. It is slightly larger than the previously mentioned DeLonghi model, so it will take up more space. The self-priming feature means you won’t be standing waiting for your machine to heat up between each cup of espresso. Both espresso grounds and espresso pods can be used to brew tasty beverages using the dual filters included. The water tank will hold up to 44oz. of water and is removeable for easy filling. The stainless-steel boiler promises that your espresso will maintain excellent flavor for years to come.
5. Cuisinart EM-100 1.66 Quart Stainless Steel Espresso Maker
If you are looking for an all stainless-steel design, this espresso fits the bill. It’s sturdy construction and versatility to use both espresso grounds or pods makes this an attractive option. The 15-bar pump works well to give great pressure and the steaming wand is great to get that frothy milk you desire. Included with this machine is a cup warming plate to keep your cups warm while waiting and brewing. To fill this machine, you simply remove the large 53oz. water reservoir and fill under the faucet. The controls are very simplified, using a large dial to select your intended use.
6. Delonghi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
The narrow, sleek design of this machine is very attractive for anyone who has little counter space to spare in their kitchen. It fits well into most contemporary kitchen décor with its stainless-steel exterior and almost old-world charm. You can brew one or two shots or even espresso pods and the flow stop technology ensures you get consistent flavor regardless of your choice. If you want to use a taller cup, you can simply slide off the drip tray for more clearance. There are easy to use buttons for operation making this great for even the amateur espresso machine.
7. Espressione-Ariete Café Minuetto Professional Thermoblock Espresso Machine, Silver
This machine belongs to the DeLonghi group of companies and offers a professional looking stainless steel design. It is a larger machine with Thermablock technology and offering 1000 watts of power. You can brew one or two cups of espresso at the same time and choose from espresso grounds or espresso pods. The self-priming 15 bar pump means less waiting between cups for you and that you are getting a barista style espresso or cappuccino each time. It is easy to fill, just remove the 1 litre reservoir and fill under the faucet and you will know when to fill since there is a visible water indicator.
8. Capresso 116.04 Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine EC100, Black and Stainless
With a dual black and stainless-steel design, this machine will fit in with most kitchen décor and styles. It comes with a 46oz. removable water reservoir for easy filling and even cleaning. You can use espresso grounds and espresso pods, whichever you choose. The steaming/frothing wand has different positions depending upon which type of beverage you are making, giving you a customized drink. There is little to no waiting between cups, and the machine holds it’s heat well. The body of this machine is strong and sturdy, making it easy to lock the filter into place without worry of tipping the machine over.
How to Use an Espresso Machine at Home?
Even if you are new to the world of brewing espresso, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. You can brew a hot cup of delicious espresso easily and quickly. It is good to keep in mind that every machine has different features or operation controls, dials and buttons. It is always a good idea to read the user manual of your own machine first, however, these are the basic steps involved in brewing your own at-home espresso.
- First power on your machine so that the water can reach optimal temperature and ensure there is enough water in the reservoir
- Decide if you are using grounds or pods. If using grounds, follow the next two steps but if you are using a pod, skip ahead to step 5.
- Scoop espresso grounds into the filter, using the appropriate amount for one or two shots depending on your preference
- Using the tamping tool often included with your espresso machine (if none included, you will need to purchase one separately) to tamp down the grounds firmly inside the filter.
- Insert the filter into position and lock into place
- Select the brewing button which matches your desired outcome (single or double)
- Once finished you should have a cup of espresso with a perfect crema on top to enjoy
- If you desire to have froth on top of your drink, use the milk frothing pitcher included with your machine and insert the steam wand into your milk pitcher.
- Select the steam option control and begin to make steamy frothy milk for atop your beverage.
- Pour on top and enjoy!
Cleaning and Caring for Your Espresso Machine
Many complaints about home brewing espresso machines stem from clogged systems or wands, water scales or overheating. Most of the time, these issues are caused by improper care and cleaning of the machine. It is important to maintain your machine to enjoy fresh tasting espresso for time to come.
After each use it is important to clean the steam wand and head well to avoid any milk clogging the way and creating a blockage for your next beverage. Along with that, the water reservoir may become scaly at the seal and where suction occurs. You should descale your machine once every couple of weeks, or more often if you use your machine multiple times a day.
Most machines have removable drip trays for ease of cleaning right in the sink. If your machine has plastic parts, it is ideal to wash by hand instead of the dishwasher just to avoid any potential overheating and mis-shaping the parts. After washing, thoroughly rinse and dry to avoid tainting the flavor of your next cup of espresso.
After each use, empty and clean the filter so that mold doesn’t begin to grow, and espresso grounds don’t clog little nooks and crannies of your machine.
A little maintenance and care will go a long way in prolonging the life of any espresso machine, not matter the cost.
Read more: Top 8 Best Nespresso Machine Today’s Market Has to Offer
You don’t have to be a professional barista to enjoy a good quality cup of espresso, cappuccino or latte at home. Choosing the right machine for your needs might seem overwhelming, especially if you are new to the world of espresso making. This guide gave you helpful tips in finding the right machine and some amazing options on the market right now. Hopefully you have found this information useful and informative. Please leave us a comment or question, we always enjoy your feedback and thoughts.