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While some espresso machines come with thousand-dollar price tags, there are many affordable alternatives, including ones with built-in milk frothers to make lattes and cappuccinos. This list covers the bargain picks that, despite their low price, can be relied upon to make delicious espresso day in and day out.
Below, we detail each item’s key features, weigh pros and cons, and even include a few outside-the-box options. We even sent a few to our experienced at-home testers to put through the paces. Espresso, and all the wonderful drinks you can make with it, is too great to miss out on, and thanks to these picks below, no one has to.
For coffee lovers on a budget, here are the best espresso machines under $100.
Best Overall: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker
Many parts are dishwasher-safe
Awkwardly-placed frother tube
What do buyers say? 81% of 3,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
After thorough home testing, this machine earned our top spot. Mr. Coffee offers a variety of espresso machines that use either steam or a pump. This model uses the 15-bar pump system, which produces better espresso, more like traditional espresso machines. Our tester was most impressed with how easy the setup is and the quick results—after turning it on it's ready to brew in just a few minutes.
For an affordable espresso machine, it comes with all the basics, and the ability to pull two shots at once is convenient. A frothing arm opens up the possibility for milk-based espresso drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos. The 40-ounce water reservoir ensures water is always available, and the drip tray catches any splashes and spills. Single and double shot portafilters are included to make either size quickly.
As for the taste, our tester deemed the quality worthy of its price tag. The results can be somewhat hit or miss due to the plastic tamper, she explained, but when she was able to tamp with more pressure, the results were much richer espresso that even had a crema on top.
Frothing/Steaming: Yes | Dimensions: 11.45 x 10.63 x 9.45 inches | Wattage: 1,250 | Voltage: 120 | Warranty: One-year limited
"For a low, low price, the Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso Maker makes decent espresso and milk foam for at-home espresso beverages, and this machine will pay for itself in no time at all." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best for Beginners: Capresso EC50 Stainless Steel Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Value for money
Great for beginners
Removable water reservoir
Several plastic parts
Mediocre steam/froth wand
The Capresso EC50 Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine strikes a balance between quality and price. It's affordable enough for beginners and consistent that even long-time espresso drinkers will enjoy the bold taste. The ability to make lattes and cappuccinos is a huge bonus, even though some customers say the frothing/steaming wand isn't the most powerful. Overall, it's hard to beat the value for money this device offers.
Another benefit is the simple front-facing dial, which makes this intuitive and an excellent option for those looking to brew espresso for the first time. The removable 42-ounce water reservoir is easy to fill before brewing and to clean afterward. Plus, a frothing sleeve is included to adjust between frothing and steaming milk; the former whips milk for cappuccinos while the latter injects milk with hot air for lattes.
Frothing/Steaming: Yes | Dimensions: 11.5 x 7.5 x 11.5 inches | Wattage: 1,350 | Voltage: 120 | Warranty: One-year limited
Best Stovetop: Bialetti Express Moka Pot
Available in multiple sizes
Easy to use
Clean after every use (hand-wash only)
Not real espresso
Bialetti is one of the founding companies of this style of coffee maker known as Moka pots, and Italians have been enjoying this coffee since the company introduced it in 1933. Technically it does not brew true espresso, as it doesn’t use as much pressure as professional espresso makers, but the coffee is rich, flavorful, and an excellent espresso substitute. The water pressure and absence of crema is the only real difference.
Bonuses include that the item is convenient, compact, easy to clean, and affordable. It's available in 1 to 18 cup sizes; the 3-cup model produces a nice equivalent to a double shot espresso for a single person. Use it on your stove (check compatibility with ceramic and induction stovetops) or take it camping and brew espresso with your propane stove.
Our tester found that "the handle often gets hot to the touch," so you may want to use a towel or oven mitt when taking it off the stove. It's also not the easiest to clean because it requires hand-washing after every use. Aside from that, however, our tester has owned the item for over two years and fully recommends it as an affordable espresso alternative.
Frothing/Steaming: No | Dimensions: 7.5 x 9 x 4 inches (3-cup model) | Wattage: N/A | Voltage: N/A | Warranty: Two years
"I wouldn't count on a Moka pot to be the primary home coffee maker for an entire family, but they're great for personal use and, with a separate milk frother, they can make lattes and cappuccinos." — Derek Rose, Product Tester
Best Personal: Bella Pro Series Espresso Machine
Stylish overhead cup tray
Non-removable water reservoir
Cheaper feel to it
Extremely small and considerably inexpensive, this little machine from Bella is a nice place to start with espresso at home. It's a good value for the casual espresso drinker, complete with the flavor and crema of other espresso machines under $100.
The Pro Series is a simple machine, but it may require a slight learning curve to pull a nice shot of espresso. The 5-bar pump system is not as powerful as other espresso machines, but it will do the job. A small glass carafe is included, so you don't have to worry about finding demitasse cups to fit under the portafilter. On top of that, the built-in milk frother lets you enjoy lattes and cappuccinos.
Frothing/Steaming: Yes | Dimensions: 6.6 x 10 x 11.3 inches | Wattage: 750 | Voltage: 120 | Warranty: Two years
Best Portable: Wacaco Nanopresso
Messy and lots of cleanup
Significant effort for single espresso shot
The Wacaco Nanopresso is a fascinating little device that allows you to make espresso anywhere you go. A reliable travel mug or Thermos will come in handy, especially for those outdoor adventures like camping and hiking, though the cap can also be used as a cup. Simply scoop ground coffee beans into the filter basket, add hot water, and extract fresh espresso by pumping the piston.
The item has 18 bars of pressure and produces just over 2 ounces of espresso. Customers say the results are surprisingly delicious and that the espresso is even topped with a nice crema. After testing the item firsthand, our reviewer gave it mostly positive reviews. The main drawback, he noted, is that the flavor can be inconsistent depending on what grind size you use. The brand recommends a fine grind, but too fine a grind, and the piston becomes hard to press.
Keep in mind that the Nanopresso uses ground coffee to make espresso, but the item can also be purchased with a Nespresso capsule adapter for those who prefer using coffee pods.
Frothing/Steaming: No | Dimensions: 6.14 x 2.8 x 2.44 inches | Wattage: N/A | Voltage: N/A | Warranty: One-year limited
"This little espresso maker is ideal for campers and frequent travelers, but for the best results you will need access to hot water." — Derek Rose, Product Tester
Best Design: De'Longhi Stilosa Espresso Machine
Simple, intuitive design
Heats up quickly
Value for money
Some plastic parts
Frother pitcher not always included with purchase
"Stilosa" is Italian for "stylish," and that designation certainly applies to the De'longhi Stilosa, especially if you appreciate simplicity. The display features a lone dial that turns right to brew espresso and left to steam milk—straightforward and great for beginners. The machine itself is slim at just eight inches wide, which adds to the minimalist design and helps save counterspace. There's also a removable 33.8-ounce water tank for added convenience.
Although many of the parts are plastic—a natural consequence of the item's budget price—the Stilosa stands up well to wear and tear and should last for a long time, making it worth the cost. It heats quickly too, so users can sip tasty espresso in just a couple minutes.
Frothing/Steaming: Yes | Dimensions: 8.07 x 13.5 x 11.22 inches | Wattage: 1,100 | Voltage: 120 | Warranty: One year
Best Value: Sowtech Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Easy to use
Mixed reviews on coffee strength
No automatic shutoff
The Sowtech espresso maker is compact, affordable, and comes with handy coffee tools to get you started, like a portafilter, coffee scoop, and a carafe. It's easy to use, especially for a manual machine, making it a great way to experiment with espresso for the coffee drinker tired of nothing but drip day in and day out.
A single knob on the side of the machine makes it easy to alternate between brewing espresso and steaming milk, as well as turning it on and off. While it doesn't have the strongest milk frother you can find, it can whip up lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based coffee drinks. The drip catcher can also be removed for easy cleaning; however, it is not recommended to put pieces in the dishwasher.
Frothing/Steaming: Yes | Dimensions: 7.17 x 12.9 x 13 Inches | Wattage: 800 | Voltage: 120 | Warranty: One-year limited
What to Look for in a Budget Espresso Machine
Single or Double Shot
Each machine will produce a certain number of shots—usually a single or double—and may have a cup capacity. Consider how you will use the machine; if it's mainly for your morning ritual and you seldom serve it to guests, a single-shot machine might be exactly what you need. If you regularly host parties where espresso is served, a double-shot machine will shorten the time you spend making espresso, and it will look impressive on your counter.
A machine that can also froth milk widens the range of coffee drinks you can produce, but it’s also one more thing you need to clean and maintain. Since there are separate appliances that can be used to froth milk, the lack of a frothing option shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, especially if you like the rest of the features on the machine. But having a milk frother as part of the machine means that you don’t have to buy an additional tool, and it is always ready.
Ease of Use
Some espresso machines are simple to use, while others include many different settings to help you fine-tune your brew. Whether you like experimenting with different features or you’re happy adding coffee and letting the machine do the work, there’s an option for you—just think about what you prefer.
Ease of Cleaning
No matter how good a machine is, eventually you're going to have to clean it. Many espresso machines come with detachable, machine-washable parts for easy cleaning. Others may only have removable water tanks that require little more than warm water and some soap. Pay close attention to the instructions that come with your espresso machine; many will outline a cleaning processes to flush out the tubes and spouts. Some machines may require more complicated care than others, so if you're not willing to put in extra work, make sure you read up on the cleaning instructions before you purchase.
Why is my espresso weak?
Coffee lovers are all too familiar with the letdown that comes from weak and watery espresso. Many factors can lead to a disappointing shot, but the good news is that the main issue is usually easy to identify. The easiest place to start is to check the roast date of your coffee beans; if it’s been several weeks since they were roasted, the beans have likely lost their flavor. A second common issue is simply not using enough coffee grounds when brewing. The recommended amount is roughly 15 grams of coffee for a double espresso shot. Also, make sure that the coffee beans you use are finely ground and firmly tamped into the portafilter. Grounds that are loose or too coarse will result in thin espresso. One last cause may be that the water in your espresso machine is not getting hot enough. Coffee beans are best extracted with water between 195 and 205 degrees. If none of these solutions solve the problem, the machine may have a more serious internal issue.
What coffee beans do you use for an espresso machine?
The truth is that you can use any coffee beans to brew espresso. There is no inherent difference between coffee beans and espresso beans. So, why are some beans even called espresso beans or labeled “espresso-style?” The answer is that roasters and experts know what characteristics make coffee beans most suitable for espresso, or drip coffee, or cold brew, and so on. For example, espresso tastes best when brewed with dark-roast beans with a shiny, oily surface. Another detail to keep in mind, especially for those who buy pre-ground coffee, is that the beans need to be finely ground to produce bold espresso with a thick body and crema.
What are bars of pressure?
This phrase pops up all over the place when searching for espresso machines. Some brands say its product has 15 bars of pressure, others say 20 bars, and so on. What does this all mean? Well, to start, a bar is a unit of pressure. The more bars an espresso maker has, the more pressurized the water that passes through the coffee grounds. But this doesn’t mean an espresso maker with more bars is better. In fact, anything higher than 15 bars is superfluous. The reasoning may sound a little tricky, but we’ll break it down. Almost a century ago, coffee experts found that espresso tastes best when brewed with 9 bars of pressure at the group head. To produce 9 bars of pressure, an espresso machine actually needs to have a 15-bar pump. This is why 15-bar espresso machines are the industry standard. If you see a machine advertised as 19 or 20 bars, it still only uses 9 bars of pressure at the group head, exactly the same as a 15-bar machine.
What is a portafilter?
A portafilter, also referred to as a “group handle,” is the handheld basket that attaches to an espresso machine’s group head in order to brew. Most coffee lovers will recognize them as a common tool baristas use when making espresso in cafés. Portafilters are made from plastic or stainless steel—the latter being superior. They can also be pressurized, which is ideal for beginners, or non-pressurized, which allows for more hands-on control when brewing. The purchase of an espresso maker generally includes a portafilter, but customers can always upgrade by buying a separate portafilter.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches various coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He typically uses non-electric coffee makers at home, alternating between the Bialetti Moka Express, which appears on this list, and the Bodum Brazil French Press.