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Best Overall: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso Maker at Amazon
"Uses the 15-bar pump system, which produces a better espresso more like traditional espresso machines."
Best Value: SOWTECH Espresso and Cappuccino Maker at Amazon
"Compact, affordable, and a great way to experiment with espresso."
Best Frother: Hamilton Beach 40715 Espresso Maker at Williams-Sonoma
"The milk frother has a long reach, giving you a great froth. It's also easy to clean with a cup of soapy water."
Best Portable: Wacaco Nanopresso at Amazon
"A fascinating little machine that allows you to make espresso anywhere you go."
Best Personal: Bella Pro Series Espresso Machine at Best Buy
"For the price, the espresso from this machine is surprisingly impressive. It has the flavor and crema of other espresso machines under $100."
Best Stovetop: Bialetti Moka Express at Amazon
"Use it on your stove or take it camping and brew espresso with your propane stove."
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.
We detail each item’s key features, weigh pros and cons, and even include a few outside-the-box options. 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 Maker
Many parts are dishwasher-safe
Awkwardly-placed frother tube
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 a better espresso, more like traditional espresso machines.
For an affordable espresso machine, it includes all the basics and the ability to pull two shots at once is convenient. It is very similar in almost every feature to the De'Longhi with the exception of the pump.
- 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 so you can make either size quickly.
Best Value: SOWTECH Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
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 8-ounce glass 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.
- Can brew one to four espresso shots (up to 8 ounces total).
- While not the strongest milk frother you can find, it can whip up lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based coffee drinks.
- The drip catcher can be removed for easy cleaning. However, it is not recommended to put pieces in the dishwasher.
Best Frother: Hamilton Beach 40715 Espresso Maker
Compatible with E.S.E. pods
Plastic smell for first few uses
Prone to leaking
Also with a 15-bar pump system, you'll find this Hamilton Beach machine to be comparable with the Mr. Coffee model. It is well made and easy to use.
Two brewing heads do make this machine an interesting find because you can make two cups of espresso at the same time. Make sure your espresso cups are small enough, though, because it is a tight fit.
- The option to use espresso pods, as well as ground coffee beans, is convenient, particularly if you don't want to fuss with a coffee grinder.
- The milk frother has a long reach, giving you a great froth. It's also easy to clean with a cup of soapy water.
- Also with a 40-ounce reservoir, you can add water without turning off the machine. There's no need to wait for it to warm up again (though you should give it a minute anyway).
Best Portable: Wacaco Nanopresso
Messy and lots of cleanup
Significant effort for single espresso shot
The Wacaco Nanopresso is a fascinating little machine 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.
- 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.
"This little espresso maker is perfect for campers and frequent travelers, but for the best results you will need access to hot water." — Derek Rose, Coffee and Tea Expert for The Spruce Eats
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 is a good value for the casual espresso drinker.
For the price, the espresso from this machine is surprisingly impressive. It has the flavor and crema of other espresso machines under $100.
- A very simple machine that still requires a bit of a 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 carafe is included, so you don't have to worry about finding demitasse cups to fit under the portafilter.
- The built-in milk frother lets you enjoy lattes and cappuccinos as well.
Best Stovetop: Bialetti Moka Express
Available in multiple sizes
Easy to use
Great budget option
Clean after every use (hand-wash only)
Not real espresso
These are also known as moka pots. Bialetti is one of the founding companies of this style and Italians have been enjoying this coffee since the company introduced it in 1933.
Technically not espresso, the coffee that comes out of a moka pot is rich, flavorful, and showcases a great coffee bean. The water pressure and absence of crema is the only real difference.
- Moka pots are extremely convenient, compact, easy to clean, and affordable.
- Available in 1-12 cup sizes. The three cup 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.
"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, Coffee and Tea Expert for The Spruce Eats
While prices vary on the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso Maker, it's one of the best espresso makers you can find around the $100 mark. It allows users to pull two shots of espresso at once, and a built-in milk frother can whip up lattes and cappuccinos. The SOWTECH Espresso Maker is a cheaper alternative, better suited for personal use and saving counter space.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was edited by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of 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 and the Bodum Brazil French Press.
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.
Frothing Capability: 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 at the ready.
Bars of Pressure: Most experts agree that nine bars of pressure are ideal for making the perfect cup of espresso, but you can find machines that boast higher pressures. The amount of pressure is really a matter of taste, so there’s really no wrong answer, as long as you’re happy with the flavor of the resulting espresso.