Hours of Research
The average price of a cup of coffee in restaurants is $2.99. If you consider that the average American drinks 3 cups a day, a coffee lover could end up spending over $3,200 a year.
Not surprisingly, US coffee machine sales are forecast to be $3.154 million in 2021.
Espresso machines help you enjoy your favorite drinks at home and significantly reduce your coffee bill.
But even if you are willing to pay $500 for an espresso machine, this doesn't always mean you will get delicious coffee and a long service life.
For over a month, we studied customer reviews of popular models to compile our list of the best espresso machines under $500.
All of the machines listed below can prepare the perfect cup of espresso.
Calphalon Temp IQ
If you want to get the barista skills, then you should start with the less expensive models. This affordable espresso machine produces high quality espresso and milk froth.
• Has a pump with a pressure of 15 bar for the brewing of real espresso
• The ability to customize brewing parameters or use the default will suit both pros and beginners
• Convenient location and large volume of water tank
A great home espresso machine should be compact and easy to use, and make great espresso. The Mr. Coffee Café Barista meets these requirements.
• Makes cappuccinos and lattes thanks to the automatic milk frother
• Has simple settings and the ability to make a double espresso
• l5-bar pressure allows you to make great espresso
Flair Espresso Maker
Want something unusual? Try making coffee using a manual espresso machine.
• Easy to fold and carry
• Control pressure manually
The Best Espresso Machine Under 500
Therefore, it’s hard to choose only the best espresso machine under 500 from the market. Everyone has different reasons for buying espresso machine. To help make your choice easier, we have organized the best products by value for money. Here are the Urban Bean Coffee’s top 10 best espresso machines under 500 dollars in 2021:
1. Breville BES810BSSUSC Espresso Machine Under 500
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If you are a novice barista, you probably do not want to spend a lot of money, and yet you need a good espresso maker to give yourself a chance to try this drink.
The Breville Duo Temp Pro is the perfect choice for you. It costs less than $500 and is compact enough to fit easily in your kitchen.
The stainless steel thermal coil quickly heats the water to the right temperature for brewing coffee and steaming milk. You do not need to wait long for this best espresso machine under $500 to warm up.
After steaming the milk (which requires very hot water), the machine runs an automatic purge cycle, which instantly returns the machine back to the proper brewing temperature.
The Duo Temp Pro’s traditional steam wand is powerful but a bit slow. It gives good foam and is able to heat milk as hot as you want. Slowing down is not necessarily a flaw in learning new skills, as you gain more control over the final product.
A 61-ounce water tank is an unexpected bonus in this relatively compact product. The tank also includes a water filter to help the Duo Temp Pro prepare the best-tasting drink.
With such an affordable machine, there will be some trade-offs. Some people complain that this best espresso machine under $500 is a little noisy, which can be a problem if you don’t want to disturb a sleeping family member while you brew your morning espresso. Also, the passive cup warmer is made of plastic and is not very effective since it shuts off automatically only a few minutes after brewing. And some people report that it’s hard to get a good crema with this coffee maker. You may need to play around with the grind of your coffee beans to achieve good crema.
2. Nespresso Lattissima EN750MB Espresso Machine Under 500
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The Lattissima Pro was inspired by the quality of professional machines. It is insanely easy to use thanks to advanced technology and an intuitive touch screen. The design is smooth, clean, and durable with aluminum trim. Enjoy an incomparable cappuccino or latte at the touch of a button.
The intuitive digital touch screen makes it easy to program the machine and enjoy a variety of drinks. At the press of a button, you can prepare a cappuccino, latte, macchiato, espresso, lungo, and more. De’Longhi’s advanced technology will ensure optimum milk foam quality for an unparalleled taste.
The 19-bar high-pressure pump allows you to achieve a barista-style result, perfectly extracting the delicate taste and first-class aromas of each espresso capsule and creating dense crema. The quick-heating system reaches its ideal temperature in just 40 seconds.
This best espresso machine under $500 has an intuitive descaling function that alerts you to the programmed water hardness setting (5 levels in total), and the plug-in descaling tube makes the cleaning process even easier.
The power-saving feature automatically turns off the machine after 9 minutes of inactivity, but you can increase this period up to 8 hours.
Each Latissima Pro Nespresso coffee machine also includes a welcome pack with a range of top-rated Nespresso capsules with unique aromatic profiles. You can try every drink to find your favorite taste.
3. Nespresso by De’Longhi EN520SL Espresso Machine Under 500
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Thanks to Lattissima Plus milk frothing technology, Nespresso has mastered the art of combining the highest quality drinks with impeccable milk foam in a compact and innovative machine.
With the Lattissima Plus, you can enjoy perfectly prepared, tasty drinks thanks to the machine’s practical design, fully automatic mode, high-tech system, and intuitive features.
Brew your favorite drinks intuitively and automatically with the click of a button. All drinks can be personalized and programmed by changing the amount of milk and foam.
A removable milk container with a manual rinsing function makes it easy to clean the machine, and the container can be easily stored in the refrigerator after use.
A 19-bar high-performance pump is the key to perfectly extracting the delicate taste and excellent flavors of each espresso capsule and creating an incomparably dense crema. The quick-heating system reaches its ideal temperature in just 40 seconds.
The energy-saving function automatically turns off the machine after 9 minutes of inactivity (this period can be increased up to 8 hours).
An intuitive descaling warning is triggered according to the programmed water hardness setting (Soft, Medium, or Hard), and the plug-in descaling tube makes the descaling process even easier.
The company creates airtight and reusable aluminum espresso capsules as the best way to maintain freshness and provide an exceptional-tasting drink.
4. Flair Espresso Machine Under 500
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An espresso is an art form. While many people do not appreciate the process of making a drink by hand, either because they don’t have time or don’t want to make an effort, experts consider the process of preparation to be an integral part of the espresso experience. And they need a special machine that will allow them to participate in the process as much as possible. The Flair Signature Espresso Maker is one such machine.
The Flair Signature Espresso Maker does not have any special functions: it cannot change the temperature of the water or the volume of a drink. And that’s a great thing, since you don’t have to figure out dozens of features.
What makes Flair’s manual espresso maker absolutely gorgeous is its copper base for filter transfer. The machine’s case comes in black or white, and the copper portafilter looks especially classy with the black finish.
The device has no electronic components, so it is absolutely safe to disassemble and clean. In fact, Flair designed the brewing head to be removable, which makes cleaning even easier. However, cleaning is not as easy as with automatic machines, as there are more things to take care of.
The undeniable advantage of the Flair Signature over automatic espresso machines is that it can be used absolutely anywhere. It doesn’t need to be plugged into a power source to work.
Flair kindly provides its Signature Espresso Maker customers with a high-quality padded carrying case that can hold the machine and all its accessories.
5. Gaggia RI9380/46 Espresso Machine Under 500
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The Gaggia Classic Pro has a 58mm portafilter that is similar in size and style to commercial coffee shop machines. The disposable basket has an 8 to 10-gram capacity and is used when you want to reduce the flow rate. On the other hand, a double-shot basket holds 16-22 grams of grounds. As a rule, this capacity is more useful and is usually found in professional coffee makers.
The Gaggia’s steam wand gives the milk a velvety texture. This is especially useful for creating latte art. Creating latte art is rather complicated, but with some practice, you can definitely create some masterpieces.
One of the best features of the Gaggia Classic Pro is its 72-ounce water tank. This allows you to store water for your future drinks. The water tank is also removable, so it’s easy to clean and refill. However, a large water tank can be a problem if you have a small kitchen, as it makes the machine quite large.
The Gaggia Classic Pro has two heating elements that speed up the brewing process. The boiler prepares to brew a cup in about 5 minutes, and the steam wand heats up in 30 seconds.
This best espresso machine under $500 is made of brushed stainless steel, which ensures the durability and strength of the product. The material also gives the product a modern and elegant look, so it will look great on your kitchen counter.
6. Breville BES840XL/A Espresso Machine Under 500
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If you are new to espresso machines, note that the Breville Infuser is a semi-automatic espresso maker. This means that you have better control over the preparation of the drink, but at the same time, the product requires some experience to master the technique.
The Breville BES840XL Infuser is made of stainless steel, offering the best appearance and durability. The machine and all its components are built well.
One of the best features of this product is its quality and professional-level performance. If you asked some experienced customers, they would talk about the smooth process of preparing a drink.
If you are considering which heating system is best, this best espresso machine under $500 is equipped with a Thermocoil heating system. Thanks to this new technology, you can better control the temperature of the water.
The machine also comes with a 15-bar pump and pre-infusion technology. While pre-infusion technology maintains the humidity of the beans and their optimal state for extraction, the pump skillfully delivers the right amount of pressure for brewing.
To use the semi-automatic Breville Infuser, you need a little experience. You should at least be familiar with the process of brewing a cup of espresso.
The Breville BES840XL controls ar easy to use. The control panel has four buttons: power, programming, one cup, and two cups. There are also “Clean Me” and “Hot Water Steam” lights, and a pressure indicator.
7. Gaggia Brera 59101 Espresso Machine Under 500
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You only need to look at the Gaggia Brera to see that it’s hard to beat. Clean lines, stunning design, and a case made of durable stainless steel and plastic are sufficient proof that this device is of excellent quality. And it is CSA certified to ensure safe construction and operation.
In addition, stainless steel is scratch-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about the front panel looking bad even if you use it daily and aren’t the most careful with your machine.
Button programming on the Brera couldn’t be simpler with its easy-to-operate LED display. The aroma, strength, and volume of the drink are all programmable, and for a double shot, just double-click the button to prepare the drink.
Gaggia’s Rapid Steam Technology allows you to steam milk immediately after brewing each shot, and the Pannarello nozzle automatically prepares perfectly textured milk. For added convenience, a frother can be used instead of a nozzle for automatic foaming.
Gaggia’s Optidose feature lets you customize the strength of your drink by choosing between light, medium, and strong. Beverage volumes are programmed, and the Gaggia Brera 59101 remembers your preferences for future bean varieties.
Install the Mavea Intenza water filter (not included) in the Brera’s 1.2-liter tank to improve the purity of the drink and ensure the longevity of your machine. It has a four-stage filtration system that removes dirt and prevents scale formation. The use of a filter and regular maintenance facilitated by a step-by-step descaling guide and a removable brew group will extend your Brera’s life.
8. Breville BES500BSS Espresso Machine Under 500
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Have you ever looked at modern espresso machines? If you are new to the home barista world, they are pretty big. And when we say big, we mean massive.
In fact, many espresso machines under $500 are so large that they barely fit on a standard kitchen counter. Fortunately, Breville has a solution: the Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus.
One of the most interesting things about Breville products is their focus on functional design. They design all their products with so many neat twists, keeping the aesthetics clean and adding to the functionality of the device.
The Breville Bambino is no exception. In addition to its compact design, it has a beautiful matte stainless steel case. The Breville Bambino has very few buttons, emphasizing its minimalist design.
Brewing a drink with the Breville Bambino Plus is easy. To turn on the device, simply press the 1 cup, 2 cups, or steam button on the control panel. This best espresso machine under $500 will turn on in an instant.
One of Bambino’s most impressive features is its ability to heat up in 3 seconds. Most high-end espresso machines require a warm-up time of up to 30 minutes. An almost instant warm-up makes waiting for a drink in the morning a thing of the past.
The espresso maker comes with a 54mm portafilter, which is pretty heavy. Although 54mm is not a standard size, it still feels like professional equipment. A small filter basket will make one shot, and a large one will make two. And the Bambino Plus comes with a tamper that fits perfectly with the 54mm portafilter, so you don’t have to purchase a special one.
9. De’Longhi ESAM3300 Espresso Machine Under 500
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If you are looking for a super-automatic home coffee machine that basically does all the work for you, including grinding beans, then the De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica is the perfect choice for you. The machine can brew many types of drinks, including espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, and more.
The De’Longhi ESAM3300 will guide you through the brewing process from start to finish, so it’s great for beginners. It’s also a good choice for those who have only used other types of machines before.
The main features of this product include very convenient control panels, a cup warmer, and a removable drip tray for easy cleaning.
This super-automatic best espresso machine under $500 is very easy to use. Since the steam boiler is removable, there are no hard-to-reach spots, and it is much easier to clean than other espresso machines.
The De’Longhi Magnifica can use both whole beans and ground beans, but it does not have the ability to use capsules. Please note that dark, oily whole beans are not recommended for use with this product, as they may cause oil buildup on the grinder. Instead, a less-greasy medium roast is recommended. If you prefer a dark roast, then the De’Longhi ESAM3300 will not be a good choice for you.
10. Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine Under 500
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The One-Touch CoffeeHouse is one-of-a-kind. If you want to spend less than what you spend in your coffee shop, this best espresso machine under $500 should be in your kitchen.
Mr. Coffee has developed yet another home roasting machine, suitable for all coffee lovers. The machine’s 3-in-1 system will help you make cappuccinos, espressos, and lattes.
But the best part is that the process of preparing your favorite drink is not at all complicated. As the name suggests, this is a one-touch system that frees you from the complex brewing process.
Also, the machine comes with removable and easy-to-clean tanks for milk and drinks.
Its 19-bar pressure pump extracts quality aroma and caffeine from the grounds to create a lively experience for your taste buds.
Another feature of the Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse is that you can choose between a single or double shot. You just need to choose whether you want one or two shots, then select the size of your drink and let Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker create your perfect drink.
What to Look for In an Espresso Machine Under 500
Type of machine
Manual — A manual machine can be recognized by the horizontal position of its lever. When the lever is raised, pre-heated water is poured into the cooking chamber, where it interacts with the ground beans. The barista can control the duration of the pre-wetting process, flow rate, and pressure by pressing the lever.
A manual coffee maker is used to make real espresso and espresso-based drinks. Before you decide on a manual espresso machine, be aware: working with one requires certain skills and experience.
After all, you are in charge of absolutely all processes: the choice of grind, the portion size, the pressure, the temperature, and the time of spillage.
Semi-Automatic — Semi-automatic espresso machines independently create the right water pressure. Further preparation of the drink is completely controlled by you, the operator.
The most common commercial models of espresso machines belong to this category, as they combine affordability and speed, and also leave ample opportunity to control the taste of the finished drink.
Super-Automatic — Super-automatic espresso machines carry out the entire preparation process, from grinding beans or dispensing already ground beans to pouring the drink into cups.
Super-automatic espresso machines are widely used both in everyday life and in catering establishments where the drink needs to be prepared in large quantities or there are no specially trained personnel.
Industrial super-automatic espresso machines cost much more than conventional ones and not all restauranteurs can afford to install such equipment.
Foaming milk with espresso machines is very easy.
Most espresso machines under 500 have a steam pipe that hangs to the side. This attached arm simply lets steam in the milk, gently heating it under pressure. At the same time, it adds air to the milk, which causes it to foam.
The purpose of the tamper is simple: to press down on grounds in the portafilter so now air is left.
When your espresso maker feeds hot water into a portafilter with improperly tamped grounds, you have a problem (and a less tasty drink). Proper tamping will increase your chances of achieving the perfect drink.
Many of the products on our list include the ability to use cups of different sizes, which is important if you like cappuccinos or lattes, as you will need a bigger cup to hold the milk foam.
Replaceable water filter
Water filters are used to soften and purify water in almost all espresso machines. Despite the different filter sizes created by each manufacturer, the internal structure and operating instructions are similar.
For all espresso machines, the filter is installed in the water compartment and is easily screwed into a place specified by the manufacturer. Make sure to attach the filter tightly so no water leaks into the rest of the espresso machine.
Built-in coffee grinder
The type of coffee grinder used by the espresso machine determines how even the grind will be and how much noise there will be during grinding.
There are two main types of grinders to choose from: burr and blade. Burr machines are the best because they produce an even grind to ensure maximum aroma extraction, and are also relatively quieter than blades.
Blade grinders can create inconsistent grinds and are often quite noisy, but they are the cheapest options and therefore they can work for anyone on a budget.
What do you need besides a good espresso machine?
Many people ask, “Why not just use regular beans?”
There are several reasons why most cafes use a special coffee blend for espreso. Much can be said about the subject, but here are the main reasons:
Tradition: espresso has always been roasted darker than other types of coffee. People expect a certain taste that cannot be achieved with ordinary beans.
Better with milk: if you want to use espresso in milk-based drinks like lattes or cappuccinos, you will need a rather dark roast to cut through the milk.
It’s cheaper: while single-origin coffee is becoming increasingly popular when it comes to filters or the French press, blends are still popular due to their lower cost.
When choosing a good coffee grinder, you need to consider three features.
1. The rotation speed should be about 500 rpm. Otherwise, the beans will grind badly.
2. The shape of the container into which ground beans are poured. A cone-shaped container will allow everything to be ground. A cylindrical container will leave bean particles along the rim.
3. Size. It makes no sense to choose a coffee grinder with a large bean tank. Even well-packaged beans lose their aroma in three to four weeks, and in an unpressurized grinder container, this process will accelerate.
Bean grinding technique
For a quality drink prepared in an espresso machine, an average grind is necessary so that the portafilter holes don’t become clogged. In addition, the grind should be as uniform as possible. If the grind isn’t uniform, it won’t tamp well, and the drink will be poorly brewed. You should grind your beans for 10-13 seconds.
What types of espresso machines are available for under $500?
In this price category, there are all types of espresso machines: Semi-automatic, Automatic, Super-Automatic, and Manual espresso machines.
Is an espresso machine under $500 suitable for a coffee shop?
It is unlikely that such espresso machines are suitable for a normal coffee shop, but for a small cafe, they are definitely suitable.
What can you expect from an espresso machine under $500?
Espresso machines in this price range can produce good espresso, and some models even make classic espresso. Almost all models have a milk frother, and some models even have a built-in grinder.