Our Top Picks
Best Overall: DeLonghi Espresso and Cappuccino Maker at Amazon
"An absolute bargain, this simple espresso machine will appeal to all those casual baristas who only need to make the occasional espresso."
Best Value: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso Machine at Amazon
"Uses the 15-bar pump system, which produces a better espresso more like traditional espresso machines."
Best Frother: Hamilton Beach 40715 Espresso Maker at Walmart
"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 Personal: Bella Personal Espresso Machine at Amazon
"For the price, the espresso from this machine is surprisingly impressive. It has the flavor and crema of other espresso machines under $100."
Best Portable: Wacaco Minipresso GR at Amazon
"A fascinating little machine that allows you to make espresso anywhere you go."
Best Stovetop: Bialetti Moka Express at Amazon
"Use it on your stove or take it camping and brew espresso with your propane stove."
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Best Overall: De'Longhi EC155 15-Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
De'Longhi is a trusted company in the coffee world and they do make some nice home espresso machines. An absolute bargain, this simple espresso machine will appeal to all those casual baristas who only need to make the occasional espresso.
- The machine is steam powered and produces a decent crema for an automatic espresso machine.
- The attached milk frothing wand is convenient for latte and cappuccino lovers.
- It has a built-in plastic tamper, but it cannot produce the force needed for a good espresso. It's best (with all of these machines) to purchase a separate tamper.
02 of 06
Best Value: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso Machine
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.
03 of 06
Best Frother: Hamilton Beach 40715 Espresso Maker
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).
04 of 06
Best Personal: Bella Personal Espresso Machine
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.
Continue to 5 of 6 below.
- 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.
05 of 06
Best Portable: Wacaco Minipresso GR
The Wacaco Minipresso GR 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 8 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.
- Wacaco makes another Minipresso that is compatible with Nespresso capsules, as well as a Nanopresso, which is slightly smaller and slightly more expensive.
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Best Stovetop: Bialetti Moka Express
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.
What to Look for in an 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 is 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 if you like the rest of the features of the machine. But having a milk frother 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.