When it comes to coffee, we all know that we can spend quite a lot each day getting our caffeine fix. Many of us choose to have professional-grade quality coffee at home without training to become a barista. Fortunately, that is possible with a great espresso machine!
Buying an espresso machine is a serious investment. Essentially, you are saving the money you usually spend at your local coffee place to make your own coffee more often using this machine. Of course, you can still indulge in barista-prepared coffee, but the main source of your coffee needs to deliver.
Espresso machines vary wildly in price; you could find yourself spending $800 or $60, but does more money mean a better machine. We think it is possible to get a good espresso machine for under $200. Here are our top 5 picks, and some things to look out for and consider.
Best Espresso Machine Under $200 Review: Top 5 Picks
The Krups machine sits in the middle of the price range of products we reviewed. It has a manual selection feature, which is great if you like to be in control of flavor consistency. The aluminum boiler has the advantage of rapid pre-heating.
The tank is easy to fill, and the resulting cup of coffee is smooth. You can choose from single or double espresso, and the machine is small enough to fit neatly onto your counter.
This machine has a large-capacity water tank of 1.5 liters. There is a steam nozzle to help you create a frothy cappuccino.
The espresso is brewed through a basket, and you can tamper the grounds to get them tightly packed, just like your barista does for the perfect cup. There is a heater to warm your cup, ready to receive your coffee.
- Good crema
- Heats up fast
- Simple process
- Easy to clean
- Need to refill grounds after two espresso shots
- Limited controls for steam
Many users were pleased with the results in their cup, enjoying the smooth taste of their hot espresso and cappuccino. They were pleased with the semi-automatic process of making coffee that didn’t overcomplicate the process.
This 3.5 bar pressure espresso machine is the most affordable of the espresso machines we reviewed. There is one control for all of the functions, including a pause function. The compact design still packs a punch and delivers creamy cups of espresso.
Rather than brew espresso straight to your cup, this machine makes up to four cups that go into the easy pour carafe. The tank isn’t removable, but you can use the carafe to pour the desired amount.
This is a small and lightweight espresso machine, that won’t take up much space and is easy to move when cleaning. It is operated by a single switch knob with four functions: off, pause, make coffee, and steam.
There is a frothing arm to create a creamy froth with milk for your cappuccinos or lattes. The 3.5 bar pressure espresso-making function pours up to 240ml of hot espresso into the carafe provided.
- Affordable price
- Full-bodied flavor
- Good froth
- Plastic appearance
- Crema not as good
A lot of users were happy with the results from such a compact and affordable machine. Some users found they needed to get used to how to make espresso to get a quality cup, but were happy once they did.
This machine from Breville is a Nespresso espresso maker that uses coffee pods rather than grounds. It is a single-serve machine with a sleek design. It heats water very quickly and automatically produces a hot cup of coffee in no time.
You can choose between two cup sizes. The one-touch system uses 19 bar pressure to produce barista-style coffee.
As this is an automatic coffee maker, you just need to enter the pod of your choice, place your cup under the nozzle and press a button to make your coffee. You can choose between espresso or a larger lungo.
There is a 0.7-liter water tank that makes up to 9 coffees. The machines have sleek, ergonomic designs and come in a range of colors to stand out or blend in with your kitchen. It has an energy-saving mode that switches the machine off after 9 minutes.
- Fast to heat and make
- Choice of cup size
- Dependent on pods
- No milk frothing option
Users found the Inissia easy to use and were happy with the quality of the espresso. They were particularly pleased that you don’t have to wait for the machine to warm up. Some users had issues with uneven amounts of espresso being dispensed.
This espresso machine also sits in the middle range of the budget limit. It is made by Delonghi, an Italian coffee expert, which is often a desirable factor for coffee machines.
This machine uses pods from the Nespresso brand. It has a sleek and compact design. It produces espresso and lungo cup sizes and has an eco-mode to save energy.
The 19-bar pressure provides quality espresso at the touch of a button. There is an energy-saving function that switches the machine off after 9 minutes. The water reaches the ideal temperature for making your espresso in 30 seconds.
It is a narrow machine, making it a space saver that doesn’t compromise on power. The clear water tank at the back of the machine is removable. It doesn’t have a frothing arm, although you can buy a model with an Aeroccino.
- Fast to make
- Good crema
- Attractive design
- Dependent on pods
- Tank needs to be refilled quickly
Users commented on the fast results and a good cup of coffee that this machine makes. Some users were happy that it saved space in the kitchen but wanted to have more space to place their cup under the dispenser.
At the other end of the spectrum from automatic espresso machines, is the manual machine from Flair. You need to have a burr grinder to use this product, and you power the machine using the lever.
It is a beautifully designed machine, that will appeal to those that want an espresso machine with no plugs and no electronics. For handcrafted espresso that takes some time, the Flair delivers a strong and smooth cup.
The design is made to make an espresso that is as good as it can get, and the sleek shaping is pleasing to look at. You enter 60ml water into the cylinder, and it holds 13 t0 18 grams of coffee grounds. The result is a 40ml shot with good crema.
It comes with a detachable brewing head, to make cleaning simple and fast. The machine breaks down into three separate components
- Very good crema
- Process involved to make coffee
- Need to get the temperature of the water right
Many of the users of this product are coffee lovers and found this to be the ideal tool to produce an extraordinarily good cup of espresso. They noted that, as this is a manual machine with a lever, you do need to exert a bit of effort, but they were impressed with the quality of the materials.
What To Expect in an Espresso Machine under $200: Buying Guide
When picking an espresso machine under $200, there is still plenty to contemplate and a lot of products to choose from. As well as getting different results, you can also choose very different production processes. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Type of Drink
When choosing your machine, it is useful to have in mind the kind of drinks you would like to make. If you drink only espressos or an espresso with a dash of milk, then a straightforward espresso machine will work for you.
If you are replacing your favorite coffee shop drink, such as a latte or a cappuccino, then you can choose a machine with a milk frother and steamer. Even if that is something you might want on occasion, it could be worth choosing one of the machines with this function, rather than do without it.
Automatic or Manual
You might want a fast cup and not think any more about the process, or you might still want it quick but want to be involved in the making of your coffee. There are options at each end of the spectrum. One-touch coffee machines will deliver one result fast without you doing anything other than adding the coffee and water.
There are also semi-automatic machines that involve tamped grounds and controls that you can adjust to deliver results. Or you can opt for a fully manual process, where the grind of the beans, the press, and the water temperature are all down to you, allowing you to perfect your cup of espresso. Your requirements will dictate which option suits you best.
Selecting an espresso machine can mean tying yourself to a certain type of coffee. If you buy a pod-based machine, it is worth doing some research about the cost of the pods how easily available they are, if they come in varieties, and whether they are recyclable.
Another choice is to use coffee grounds. You can check out the price points and varieties for the different blends available. This will be messier than pods but isn’t necessarily trickier to work with.
For manual espresso makers, you might find that you need a burr grinder to work with fresh beans to get them to the right consistency. In this case, you might want to do some research into grinders and coffee beans.
FAQs about Espresso Machines
1. What Is the Difference Between Coffee and Espresso?
Espresso is made by forcing hot water or steam through finely-ground coffee beans. It is the pressure that gives espresso its intense flavor that takes on more of the natural bean taste. Whereas coffee is brewed with ground coffee beans, but the hot water runs through the grounds.
2. Should I Tamp Coffee Grounds?
If your machine uses grounds, you will most likely need to pack them into the holder. Semi-automatic machines can be quite sensitive to how tightly-packed the grounds are, whereas manual machines will produce different results. Experiment with your tamper to see what gets the best results.
3. What is the Cream in a Coffee?
The cream is the creamy and fluffy light brown layer that sits on the top of your darker black coffee. It is a result of the pressure used to brew the espresso and is a sign of a good cup.
4. How Do I Clean My Machine?
Always check your manufacturer’s guide for cleaning instructions. Most coffee machine parts are not dishwasher friendly, so only put them in if the manual clearly states that they can be placed in the dishwasher. A damp cloth is a useful tool for day to day cleaning, although you may need to descale once in a while.
We hope you found our picks of the best espresso machine under $200 helpful. For coffee lovers who want to be involved in the process, the Flair machine is a great option and sits in the middle of the price range of the products we reviewed. However, if you want quality coffee fast, and without getting too involved, we found the Krups machine came out on top in terms of reliability, quality, and ease of use.
- HANDCRAFT SHOTS OF ESPRESSO - With the Flair Espresso Maker, you have a complete manual espresso machine that can produce professional quality shots of espresso from your home, or wherever you are. Add 60ml of boiled water and a dose of up to 18 grams to yield a 40 ml shot with beautiful crema. A burr grinder is essential for use with this product.
- FULLY MANUAL & COMPLETELY BEAUTIFUL - The Flair is a 100% human-powered, manual espresso press. There are no plugs or electronics, meaning the Flair, which was designed from the ground up, will look beautiful in any coffee station or kitchen.
- EASY TO CLEAN - The Flair Espresso Maker is the only manual espresso maker with a completely detachable brewing head. This patented design allows for users to completely remove the brewing head, separate the parts, and rinse under cool water.
Last update on 2019-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Also if you have a higher budget, then also check out our top picks for under $500.