We've Found The Best Espresso Machine Under 200! - Our Review
Suppose you're sick and tired of fighting the lockdown to get to your favorite coffee shop for an espresso shot. Do you give up caffeine or waste thousands of dollars on a home coffee maker to satisfy your cravings without braving the streets? The right answer is neither! I won't try to convince you a cheap coffee maker is as good as a state-of-the-art model, but there are plenty of respectable models as cheap as 200 bucks. Depending on the prices of your chosen cafe, the machine will pay for itself in under a year, and it will last way longer than that if you follow my advice.
But first, let's make sure finding the best inexpensive espresso machine is the right choice for you.
Who Needs an Espresso Machine under $200?
If you've never owned anything more complicated than a Chemex or a French press, spending over $1,000 on an espresso machine may be a shock to your system. Besides, with no clue which features actually matter to your daily coffee habits, you're likely to pick the wrong machine. And then you're out a grand and stuck with a useless machine that can't brew a cuppa the way you like it.
A cheap espresso maker is also a must-have for busy people with not a spare minute in their busy schedule. When you have no time for proper pre-infusion and extraction, nine to fifteen bars of pressure in the espresso machine will take care of supplying your brain with an instant fix of caffeine. Office workers with a long-distance commute, college and university students, nurses, and everyone else on an endless time crunch fall into this category.
Finding an affordable espresso maker is also a good idea if you already have a nice grinder capable of turning the beans into a fine powder. In this case, you don't need to go all out on a super-automatic device, and a cheap machine should keep your expenses low. Besides, inexpensive espresso machines make for great gifts to coffee lovers in your life who are spending too much money in local coffee shops.
Even if you can afford a more expensive model with better temperature control, customizable brew programs, or an automatic milk frother, you can still check out our short reviews. You might fall in love with the best home espresso machine under 200 USD and spend the hard-earned money you save on exclusive single-origin beans or a burr grinder instead.
Espresso Machines under $200 and over $500
Brand name, materials used, sensors, and electronic systems–all these make the difference between a cheap and expensive coffee machine. I could write a thesis on that, but no one would read it. So instead, I'll share two critical differences you must be aware of before you go down the rabbit hole.
The milk frother is the first differentiator. High-end machines usually come with automatic frothing that gets the microfoam right every time. All you need to do is insert the milk tank and press the button for your preferred drink. Affordable devices rely on steam wands that let you froth the milk, but they may be difficult to operate, and the results aren't as consistent or satisfying. Besides, manual frothing takes more time and creates cleaning issues cheap coffee makers fail to address.
Cleaning is the second big difference between coffee makers under $200 and over $500. Cheap devices let you "'enjoy" the daily ritual of disassembling and cleaning the machine by hand. Expensive models usually come with smart self-cleaning features that are especially useful for milk systems. You will still need to clean the water and milk tanks in a dishwasher, but the machine will take care of the rest, saving you time and trouble.
Are milk frother and self-cleaning worth the extra hundreds of dollars when it comes to the best home espresso machine? That's for you to decide!
Espresso vs Capsule Machine
Please, don't hate me for adding Nespresso machines to this shortlist. It's not my fault there are so few espresso makers under $200! I would never recommend the models that fall apart within days of purchase, so I have to be creative in my efforts.
Sure, Nespresso machines do not actually produce espresso. Instead, they brew an espresso taste-alike. It's strong and punchy but rarely as thick or syrupy as the real deal. However, I feel they deserve recognition for their effort. And if you take the time to taste-test the original and third-party pods, I'm sure you'll find a few options you'll love. Blueberry-flavored pods are my guilty pleasure.
I like Nespresso machines for how easy they are to set up and operate, and there's no extra maintenance or cleaning needed. Insert a capsule, press the button, and enjoy your cuppa in under a minute. Espresso machines under $200 are rarely as accommodating and hassle-free.
Still, Nespresso isn't your best bet if you're on a budget. The pods are seemingly cheap, but the expenses tend to snowball, especially if you let yourself enjoy more than a couple of cups per day. In the long run, buying ground beans or even investing in a grinder to deal with whole beans is cheaper and more sustainable.
I should also mention that buying beans is a greener option. After all, the Nespresso pods are recyclable, but you cannot rely on local facilities to take care of them. You'll need to ship the used pods to the company if you want your coffee to remain eco-friendly.
10 Best Budget Espresso Machine Reviews
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee And Espresso Machine Bundle With Aeroccino Milk Frother By Delonghi Review
- Five drink sizes available
- 12 complimentary pods
- Milk frother included for cappuccino and latte
- Huge removable water tank (54 oz)
- Compatible with Vertuo pods only
- Coffee is served at 175 degrees
Unlike Nespresso Original machines, the Vertuo line can handle five drink sizes, including two espresso and three coffee options. That's a definite win if you're like me and prefer large mugs to dainty espresso cups. Insert the capsule and press the button–there's no need to waste weeks learning how to operate the machine. The smart device recognizes the bar codes on Vertuo pods and automatically adjusts the brew cycle to produce the best tasting cuppa. Just remember you need Vertuo pods, not K-cups or smaller Nespresso capsules, and you're set.
Another thing setting Vertuo line apart is the Centrifusion extraction that pushes water through the grounds thanks to the centrifugal force. The result is a strong, punchy espresso with a thick crema. I should also warn you that coffee is served at 175 F, not the usual 195 F, so skip this machine if you like your java piping hot.
Technically, the coffee maker and milk frother combo is a bit over $200, but the machine itself is under the limit, so I'm breaking no rules. I love the flexibility the Aeroccino frother provides for building both cold and hot microfoam. However, this extra step takes more time than most people have in the morning, especially if you consider the manual cleaning. It's definitely a worthy choice if you can't live without a daily latte and have no more than $200. Learn more about this machine in our Delonghi Nespresso Vertuo Coffee And Espresso Machine review.
Mr. Coffee Espresso And Cappuccino Maker | Café Barista
- 15 bar pressure pump
- Automatic milk frother
- One-touch espresso, cappuccino, and latte
- Removable water and milk tanks
- Inconsistent durability
- Manual cleaning required
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how much like a high-end espresso machine Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker is. There's the same 15-bar pressure pump to extract every last ounce of flavor from the grounds. There's even an automatic milk frother, making it the best cappuccino maker on the list! You don't have to deal with a steam wand and suffer through endless failed tries until you finally learn to create microfoam. Getting a cup of cappuccino or latte is as easy as pressing a single button, and at under $200, it's an unbeatable advantage.
Now for the not-so-good parts. The milk and water tanks are removable, but you can't toss them into the dishwasher for easy cleaning; you'll have to wash them manually. If that's not so bad, cleaning out the milk system is. To keep the price tag low, the brand had to forego the fancy automatic cleaning features, and leaving milk to sit within the machine will cause troubles fast. You may notice some negative reviews complaining about the machine failing in months, and those are usually caused by improper cleaning and maintenance. So if you want the machine to last, include daily washup into your routine.
Once you're ready to buy Mr. Coffee espresso machine, you have a choice of three colors (white, silver, and red). If you want the machine to look like it's made of steel, the silver body will be right up your alley. The machine comes with a minimal toolset of coffee scoop/tamper and a filter for single or double-shot espresso.
As you might've guessed, this is my top pick among espresso machines under $200, and you can learn more about it in our full Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso And Cappuccino Maker review.
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee And Espresso Machine By Breville Review
- A broad range of coffee-based beverages
- Stylish look with a blue-lit external water tank
- Pulse extraction process (PEP) for superior flavor
- Excessive price for most coffee lovers
- Stainless steel grinder instead of ceramic
Yet another Nespresso Vertuo on my list is just as easy to operate as the previous model. And the coffee you get is just as delicious thanks to the centrifugal extraction process that produces that thick layer of crema espresso lovers everywhere will adore. Besides two espresso options (single and double shot), the machine can whip up three coffee drinks (5 oz, 7.7 oz, and 14 oz). Unfortunately, you can't get a reliable Nespresso machine with a built-in milk frother for under $200, so latte and cappuccino fans will have to think of buying a standalone frother.
Like most Nespresso machines, this model by Breville heats up in 15 seconds, so your cuppa will be ready and waiting before you know it. There's also an automatic shut-off after nine minutes of idling. And the water tank is removable for easy refilling, though it holds 40 oz of water and should last you at least a few days.
If you choose this model, remember it's only compatible with Vertuo pods, not K-cups or Nespresso Original capsules. The pods you're looking for have bar codes around the rim that tell the device what temperature, pressure, and water volume to use to produce a delicious cuppa. Luckily, there's a complementary set of pods to get you started. The trouble is they run out fast, and using pods isn't as cheap as whole beans or ground coffee. Check out my full Nespresso Vertuo Coffee And Espresso Machine By Breville review for more info on this machine.
Cuisinart EM-200 Espresso Maker
- 15 bar pressure pump
- Programmable water volume
- Cup warmer on top
- Removable 69 oz water tank
- Occasional build quality issues
- Steam wand milk frother
This tiny machine is not for the faint-hearted home baristas. You'll have to tamp the grounds, pull the shots, and steam the milk manually with minimal help from the semi-automatic espresso maker. It can brew a single or double espresso shot, but you can also adjust the water volume manually if you want a stronger or larger cuppa.
The stainless steel steam wand comes with a separate set of controls and takes some getting used to, especially if you've never had to deal with one before. While the microfoam can be smooth and fluffy, some buyers complain about the plastic connector that seems to fail over time for avid cappuccino and latte drinkers.
I like that this affordable device possesses the same features as top-of-the-line espresso makers. The removable water tank and drip tray accelerate maintenance, while the cup warmer lends an air of a coffee shop to your kitchen. However, negative reviews make me cautious about this Cuisinart espresso machine. To learn more about the common complaints and possible troubles, read our full review.
Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine By Delonghi
- Two drink sizes with adjustable water volume
- 19 bar pressure pump
- 25-second heat-up
- Removable drip tray for taller cups
- Smallish water tank (24 oz)
- Poor milk frother performance
The smallest of Nespresso machines on my shortlist packs quite a punch. Extracting coffee at 19 bars, it boasts a powerful heating element that's ready for brewing in 25 seconds. Your espresso (1.35 oz) or lungo (5 oz) will be ready in a blink of an eye, and all you have to do is press the right button after inserting the pod.
Unlike Vertuo models, Inissia is compatible with the Nespresso Original pods, and there are plenty of third-party brands offering an endless variety of flavors and blends. You can even try reusable capsules if you don't want to deal with mailing the used pods to Nestle. Inissia will also let you add more hot water to the cup to turn your espresso into Americano.
Latte lovers will enjoy the ease of frothing the milk in Aeroccino, even if it can be a pain to get right and clean out. A removable drip tray will let you layer foam on top of espresso or lungo without making a mess across the kitchen counter. Some buyers complain about microfoam quality, so you'll have to experiment to get it just right.
Klarstein Passionata Rossa 20 Espresso Machine
- Sturdy yet elegant German design
- Large water tank (42 oz)
- 20 bar pressure pump
- Steam wand milk frother
- Water overflow issues
This thing looks so good, I could hardly believe it's so affordable. Where most cheap coffee makers are almost 100% plastic, this German-built model relies on stainless steel and that famous German quality to deliver long-lasting and high-quality performance. And the "20" in the name actually stands for the 20 bars of pressure this beauty can generate for coffee extraction. That's a record for my shortlist!
The steam wand sure adds functionality. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be pulling shots and frothing milk left, right, and center. Just remember that milk systems are notoriously hard to clean manually, and you must be super thorough to prevent mold and other nastiness from clogging the machine and ruining your coffee.
I like the large water tank that holds 42 oz, but some combination coffee espresso machine reviews claim overflow issues. The machine may occasionally fill the drip tray with water and cause it to spill over the countertop. I haven't been able to find an explanation for this issue, so if you go with Klarstein Passionata Rossa 20, watch it like a hawk to avoid kitchen accidents. For more details on this machine, check out our full review.
Mr. Coffee Easy Espresso Maker
- 15 bar pressure pump
- No tamping necessary
- Reversible drip tray
- Removable 30 oz water tank
- Steam wand issues
- Daily manual cleaning required
The best thing about this machine is how easy it makes pulling shots. Instead of making a mess of your kitchen, use the smart auto-tamping basket that'll do the work for you. It's super easy to scoop the grounds and slide the basket in place to start the brewing cycle. You can let the process run its course or stop the extraction manually at any time.
Italian 15-bar pump guarantees strong and powerful espresso flavor, and the reversible drip tray will let you fit even a tall latte glass under the nozzle. I wish the water tank were larger and less flimsy, but that would have made the machine bulkier and more expensive.
Easy Espresso Maker is so cheap, it's hard to find any fault with it. I hate manual cleaning, and this model definitely needs it to stay operational, especially if you use the steam wand to froth the milk. I've also noticed several buyers complaining about the wand going out on them. If you're not willing to use the factory warranty to get a replacement, consider the other Mr. Coffee model from this list. And if you want to learn more about this tiny yet powerful machine, read the full Mr. Coffee Easy Espresso Maker review.
Delonghi EC702 Espresso Maker
- Single and double shot, pod-compatible
- 15 bar pressure pump
- Separate water and steam thermostats
- Water tank removal difficulties
- Manual milk frother issues
The first thing I noticed about this model is that it's about 80% stainless steel, including the boiler, so it should last much longer than mostly-plastic models on this list. I also love the versatile filter holder that works great for both single and double shot espresso along with easy-serve espresso pods for those in a hurry to enjoy a morning pick-me-up.
There's nothing to complain about when it comes to the technical side, either. EC702 relies on a high-performance 15 bar pressure pump to produce that unmistakable espresso flavor. And the two thermostats controlling water and steam temperature ensure both your coffee and milk are treated right. Although steam wand may present the same issues as other models on this list, failing in a few months of intense use with improper maintenance.
The water tank is the only thing some buyers complain about. It's hidden within the machine's body and can be difficult to get out and back in place without sloshing the water. At least, with a 44 oz capacity, you won't be refilling it all that often.
Our in-depth review of the Delonghi EC702 Espresso Maker can be found here.
Rok Manual Espresso Maker
- Simple and durable design
- No-fuss brewing
- No power needed
- Looks and feels super cool
- Espresso only
- Lots of manual handling
Rok makes pulling an espresso shot look cooler than ever thanks to its sturdy mechanical design. You don't even need a power outlet, just tamp the grounds, add hot water, and press the levers down. The clever mechanism will generate the pressure necessary to push water through the beans and produce the unmistakable espresso texture and flavor with a nice cream to boot.
As the machine has minimum parts and is mostly metal, it should serve you far longer than any other model on this shortlist. However, simplicity comes with a price. The only thing you can get is an espresso, so if you want a cappuccino or latte, you'll have to buy and operate a milk frother. Besides, measuring the grounds, scooping, and tamping take the time you might not have in the morning.
I think Rok would be a great addition to your electric espresso maker to impress your guests or experiment with new single-origin beans or blends. Using this device can turn into a meditative ceremony better suited to lazy Saturday mornings than your morning rush to get out the door.
If you want an in-depth look at this model, read our full Rok Manual Espresso Maker review.
Delonghi BAR 32 Retro Espresso Machine
- Twin brewing cycle
- 15-bar pressure pump
- Loose grounds and pod filter holder
- Manual milk frother
- Flimsy water tank
If you like what you see in Delonghi EC702 but want it even cheaper, BAR32 is in your sweet spot. It boasts the same great features at half the price. The stainless steel boiler and two thermostats for water and steam ensure the machine's longevity and the high quality of the brew. Besides, the 15-bar pump is industry-standard and capable of extracting the most intense flavors from the beans. And when you're in a hurry, you can skip scooping and tamping and use an ESE pod instead to speed up the brewing.
The BAR 32 milk frother isn't any better than that of EC702, so it’s nothing to write home about. It works well with some practice, but daily cleaning may turn you off cappuccinos and lattes real fast.
You must realize cost savings had to come with a price, and that's the materials used. Where EC702 is mostly metal, this small espresso machine is full-on plastic, and the water tank is so flimsy, it should be handled with care. At least, the warranty is two years long, so you can contact Delonghi for a replacement.
Check out our full Delonghi BAR 32 Retro Espresso Machine review for more info on this machine.
What Is the Best Espresso Machine Under $200?
There could have been way more options on this list, like an Aicok espresso machine or a Keurig machine, but I feel these ten models offer the most bang for the buck. All things considered, Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is the best affordable espresso machine. It's fully automated, so any newbie home barista can enjoy delicious espresso, cappuccino, and latte from the get-go. Even if you have to clean it out manually, the daily maintenance rituals are well worth the mouth-watering drinks you can whip up whenever you're in the mood for a caffeine boost. At under $200, you won't find a more versatile and intuitive espresso maker.
What Should You Expect from an Espresso Machine under $200?I'll tell you what you shouldn't expect, and that's a craft or artisanal espresso or latte art. It will likely be nice and strong, but not as complex as a cuppa you get at a coffee shop. But as you grow more familiar with the best cheap espresso machine, experiment with beans, and play around with different settings, you'll develop a personal style and pull a shot that hits your every button.
Are Cheap Espresso Makers Best for Home Use?You got it in one. For under $200, you get a workhorse that'll supply your household with caffeine, but it can't handle much more than that. It's not the best idea for an office full of coffee addicts, and it's definitely not the right choice for a business environment. Commercial-grade models were invented for a reason, and they are worth every penny when it comes to high traffic areas and enormous capacity.
What’s the Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Espresso Machines?It's not just about the name or brand. High-end models usually come with additional features, durable materials, and complex electronics. All these drive up the price and create more possibilities for you to enjoy your home coffee experience. But it's unlikely you'll be able to tell an espresso shot brewed by the most expensive coffee machine from the one extracted by the cheapest. As long as you use the same beans, water volume, temperature, and pressure, the taste will be very similar.
Is Buying an Espresso Maker Worth It?Let's say you buy one espresso a day at your local coffee shop, and you only do so on weekdays. That's around $1,000 you spend on coffee ($4 per cup, 260 days per year). That's a very conservative estimate, and you know it. So even if your cheap espresso maker falls apart in a year, you can save up to $800. That's a LOT of quality coffee you can buy. I say buying a home espresso machine is definitely worth it!
What Should You Look for in an Espresso Machine?Espresso isn't actually a drink, but a brewing method, so you'll only get a proper cuppa if the machine can achieve a certain combination of temperature (194 F) and pressure (9 to 15 bars). That's the least you should expect from a home coffee maker. Getting single and double shots is a nice touch. A steam wand or milk frother is a great addition if you love an occasional cappuccino or latte. Finally, milk and water tank capacity numbers will tell you how often you'll need to do more than press the power and brew buttons.