You don’t necessarily have to dive deep into your pockets to get hold of an espresso machine. There are fairly decent options available at under the $100 mark. That said, I would not recommend picking up a random machine that fits the budget. A lot goes into making a good espresso. While there are machines that can achieve a good shot, getting the best espresso machine under 100 does take a wee bit of research.
Best Cheap Espresso Machine — Choosing The Right One
What Makes A Good Espresso?
Why is it so difficult to get an espresso machine at the right cost? Espresso machines aren’t cheap. A good espresso needs at least 9 bars of pressure, and cheap machines simply cannot handle those requirements.
Truth be told, doing things right for making an espresso will be more expensive than $100. Thankfully, we live in exciting times, and you can get hold of a decent espresso by paying for a cheaper machine. It’s decent espresso, and it will go along with your budget just fine, even if it isn’t as exotic as espresso from a Breville espresso machine.
Hey, What About A Budget Grinder?
The best way to make a great coffee has always been to use fresh ground coffee beans. But of course, it cannot fit the small budget we have. It is entirely possible to buy a cheap grinder, but it won’t make a decent espresso.
You see, espresso requires finely ground coffee, and cheap grinders simply cannot match that. My suggestion would be to buy pre-ground coffee fit for espresso use. There are also options like generic espresso coffee pods you could consider. While namebrand pods can rack up a bill, the generic espresso pods are usually cheap and can work with most machines.
Picking The Best Affordable Espresso Machine
Getting a cheap espresso machine may not be easy, but there is something you can go by – the track record. The best affordable home espresso machine isn’t one that simply promises you the greatest espresso, and then fails to deliver or goes kaput in days. Your preferred espresso maker must have a proven track record of quality.
Thankfully, the modern age and technology make things easier for shoppers. Buying an espresso machine on a budget in 2021 can get you a good machine with quality and decent espresso, at the very least.
Top 7 Best Espresso Machines Under $100
STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine – Manual Espresso with Rich & Thick Crema, Mini Coffee Maker Using Ground Coffee & Nespresso Pods, Handy Espresso Maker for Travel Camping Office Home Use
Hamilton Beach Espresso Machine, Latte and Cappuccino Maker with Milk Frother, 15 Bar Italian Pump, Single Cup, Black & Stainless (40792)
1. De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
De’Longhi has a proven track record in making affordable espresso machines. Getting decent espresso on a tight budget becomes achievable with this machine. It probably helps that De’Longhi has a long relationship with espresso machines and has been making high-end premium machines for a while.
The EC155 promises 15 Bar of pump pressure, which should be sufficient for making great espresso. The machine has a bit of trouble holding that pressure, but overall it does just fine. It plays well with various brands of coffee and pods, so that should make your budgeting easier.
De’Longhi EC155 is relatively quick to heat, and your espresso should be ready within a few minutes. Plus it makes a valiant effort to keep water warmed up so you don’t have to wait much while trying to draw successive shots. There are two separate thermostats to control water and steam temperature, giving you greater flexibility while working with the frother. It is evident that De’Longhi EC155 packs in a fair amount of features for a budget espresso maker.
|Versatile pump pressure can make a good espresso||The machine risks developing leaks and backflushing|
|Convenient and space-saving design||The espresso temperature is sometimes mild, especially with multiple cups|
|Excellent value for money|
2. Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System (ECMP50)
Mr. Coffee has some of the most impressive answers on affordable drip coffee makers as well as espresso machines. The feature rich affordable machines excite some interest, and to the credit of Mr. Coffee, often manage to meet expectations. As an example, the Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso Machine has nearly 1500 reviews on Amazon, and more than 50% of those are five stars. Those are impressive numbers!
Much like the De’Longhi we just saw, this Mr. Coffee also promises to brew your espresso at a pressure of 15 Bars. It works with 1250 Watts of power and its dual-shot “barista speed” brewing allows you to get a few quick shots of espresso for family and friends. It will prepare your espresso in a few minutes, so there are no exhausting wait times. An indicator light will inform you as soon as your espresso is good to go.
Mr. Coffee ECMP50 espresso maker is also relatively easier to clean and maintain. The machine includes a manual steam frother so you can try your hand at other coffee recipes as well. As I said, feature rich, affordable, and perhaps quick enough to give prosumer espresso machines a run for their money.
|Promises 15 bar of pump pressure which is great for brewing espresso||No auto turn off or pause, so keep an eye on your cup as it fills|
|Feature rich machine with several options||Frothing wand seems inconveniently placed and can feel too small|
|Easy to maintain and clean|
3. STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine
It would be unfair to talk about affordable espresso makers, and not talk about manual espresso machines. The STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine claims to present 20 bars of pressure and works with ground coffee, pods, and capsules. To top it all, it claims to require less effort and force for the extraction of coffee.
Portability, small size, and affordability are the big attractions here. The downside, obviously is that all the work has to be done manually. You can also froth milk with this machine, a small but important feature that sets the Staresso apart from other manual espresso makers.
Its manufacturers also go on to claim that this machine can make cold brew coffee in a matter of minutes rather than the usual hours long steeping that is required. Personally, I’d take that claim with a bucket of salt and attribute it to overly ambitious marketing.
Anyways, as far as the classic espresso is concerned, the Staresso does a decent job. It is fairly easy to manage and clean. And while manual machines must take up effort, we can at least commend the Staresso Portable Espresso Maker Machine in making the manual part more convenient.
|Generates 15-20 bar pressure, which is excellent for extracting espresso||All extraction must be done manually and can require a fair bit of effort|
|Portable and easy to set up||Water must be heated elsewhere, which increases risk of suboptimal brewing temperature|
|Easy to maintain and clean|
4. Capresso 304.01 Steam Pro 4-Cup Espresso & Cappuccino Machine
Capresso 304.01 is a machine that turns heads where pricing is concerned. Granted, we’re talking about affordable espresso machines, but this one is significantly cheaper than the competition. It packs in a fair amount of features that make it all the more enticing.
The larger difference between Capresso and other machines is that it does not utilize a pump-system to heat water and prepare steam. Instead, it relies on a single boiler, with water and steam playing their individual roles in preparing your espresso. There isn’t that much of a difference in the systems employed at this price point, so you can pick this machine without reservations in quality. Although, you won’t be able to brew as many espressos back-to-back as a pump-system machine.
This is a 4-cup espresso machine, although you practically place the Capresso 304.01 at more of a 2-3 cup machine. Capresso includes a frothing attachment for making other beverages. It is fairly convenient to clean and maintain.
|Offers good quality and can be used for making regular coffee as well as espresso||Pressure generated may not reach the 9 bars recommended for espresso|
|Well priced machine offers great value for money||Water temperature during brewing can get much higher than optimal, leading to a burnt taste|
|Easy to clean|
5. Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso Maker
Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso Maker just manages to fit into our desired budget. While the suggested price is higher, retailers often sell this machine in the sub-100 price range. It has its fair share of features and is seemingly as impressive as the Mr. Coffee we saw above. There are some differences between both machines, but not radical changes.
Anyways, the Hamilton Beach 40792 promises 20 bars of pressure to extract an amazing espresso. Thankfully, it manages to do a decent job in that department. You won’t be flooring anyone with the espresso, but it will be good enough for the value it offers.
It will start pouring your espresso within a minute, if not seconds, so there are no ridiculous wait times. You will need to be vigilant with the pouring shot. The machine does not have an auto shut-off, so manual intervention is necessary as soon as your espresso shot is ready. It is easy to set up, clean, and maintain. The included frother is convenient to use, and functions acceptably well.
|Manages a decent pressure to brew good espresso||No auto shut off when pouring, so manual intervention is necessary|
|Great value for money||The steam wand/frother is fairly limited in application|
|Easy to set up, maintain, and clean|
6. Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine by De’Longhi
The Nespresso series has a fairly impressive track record with espresso machines. They are usually expensive, but the De’Longhi variant is more affordable and suitable for an under-$100 budget. Nespresso Essenza is a single-serve machine and utilizes coffee sent through the Nespresso original capsule.
You can expect the Nespresso Essenza by De’Longhi to stick close to the promised 19 bars of pressure. If taste is your primary concern, this Nespresso is the best bet on this list. It is also the best-looking. However, with budget concerns looming, you should also consider all the money you will end up spending on Nespresso capsules. Those aren’t exactly cheap, especially for those on a tight budget. Nespresso Essenza has a suggested price of over $100, but it is often available for lower prices during sales.
Essenza is quick to serve your espresso. You will see the drink available within 30 seconds of pressing the button. It offers a fixed shot volume, and will not allow you to go beyond the set limits. You can, however, choose from two cup sizes – conventional espresso at 1.35oz. and Lungo at 5 oz.
|Best extraction with pressure staying well above recommended values of 9 bar||Nespresso machines usually only accept Nespresso capsules, which can pile up costs in the long term|
|Super quick – your espresso will start pouring in under 30 seconds||No frother/wand so options can be limited as compared to other machines on this list|
|Nespresso capsules offer a fair bit of flavor options|
7. Mueller Espresso Machine
Mueller Espresso Machine can be unflatteringly described as the poor man’s Nespresso. Unflattering as it may be, that isn’t much of a criticism; it is more of a description. Mueller Espresso Machine follows the path of the Nespresso machines, but is priced lower and is willing to work with pods/capsules from other manufacturers.
It promises 20 bars of pressure. While it can go slightly lower, it manages to stay above recommended levels for espresso extraction. The result — espresso that tastes amazing! Mueller Espresso Machine is a single serve machine and will start pouring your espresso within 25 seconds of the button being pressed. It is easy to maintain and clean, and while designed to be used with Nespresso Capsules, it is not as fervently against generic brands as Nespresso tends to be.
|Excellent extraction and taste with pressure staying above recommended levels||You can expect this machine to be annoyingly loud, thanks to the compressor|
|Super fast — your espresso will start pouring in 25 seconds||Capsule based system can be expensive in the long run|
|Compatible with Nespresso capsules and some generic capsules as well|
Final Words On Your Best Espresso Machine Under $100
Affordable pricing is important. Getting your hands on the best cheap espresso machine can take a bit of work, but some research should guide you in the right direction. It is worth noting that an espresso hobby does not come cheap. Competing with store-bought espresso will need you to shell a lot more bucks. However, if a decent espresso is all you desire, you can find excellent options even with a small budget.