Best Espresso Machines for Every Budget – The Ultimate Guide

Espresso Machine Reviews

It's easy to see why so many people love to drink espresso. The rich, satisfying taste is hard to beat, and little else compared to a well made gourmet coffee.

Investing in your own home espresso machine is a great way to save money, especially if you drink coffee very often, but the equipment can be pricey.

We made this guide to help you find the best espresso maker for whatever budget you may have.

Espresso Machine Reviews For Every Budget

Mr. Coffee ECMP50

Breville ESP8XL

Breville the Infuser

Mr Coffee ECMP50 Espresso Machine
Breville ESP8XL Espresso Machine
Breville The Infuser Espresso Machine

Heating System

Thermal Block

Thermal Block


Water Tank Capacity

40 oz.

40.6 oz.

61 oz.


Dual Wall

Dual Wall

Dual and Single Wall

Warming Tray




Milk Frothing Pitcher

Not Included



PID (Temperature Control)




Auto Purge





Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

What You'll Love

Do you want the flexibility to fine-tune your brews?

The semi automatic machine lets you showcase your expertise. You preface the extraction by either grinding the beans or measuring out pre-ground coffee.

Then you tamp the grounds, attach the portafilter, and turn on the appliance. Brew time is a speedy five minutes. After the extraction is complete, you manually froth the milk.

You control the tamping pressure, extraction length, and froth. In this way, you can customize espressos. Overall, the taste is rich and earthy, with notes of caramel, chocolate, or fruit.

What to Keep in Mind

Time is required to develop brewing and frothing skills. You're limited to brewing two shots simultaneously. There are less costly means of making espresso. Semis range in price from $100 to $1,500. Regular daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning are needed.

How Espresso Machines Work

An espresso shot is made by forcing hot water under pressure through finely-ground coffee beans.

Now, here's an explanation of the basic parts:

  • Portafilter - handled basket that holds coffee grounds
  • Tamper - flat disc used to compress coffee grounds within the filter basket
  • Group Head - receptacle for the portafilter, through which pressurized hot water flows
  • Boiler - chamber that heats water
  • Pump - device that generates the proper pressure for extraction
  • Drip Tray - grill that collects water run-off


​Semi-automatics come with either a single or double boiler. A dual boiler addresses the different temperature requirements of brewing and steaming. Heating water requires a temperature of 200°F. Milk steams at 250°F. Dual boilers maintain the two different temperatures simultaneously.

Single boilers may come with a switch for selecting temperatures. Alternatively, they can have a boiler for water temperature and a thermal block heating system for generating steam. The time delay involved in waiting to steam your milk is a mere minute.


This is the component that holds your coffee grounds. It receives the pressurized hot water propelling the flavor extraction. A portafilter consists of a filter basket and handle. The perforated basket fits inside the filter. Its holes allow water and extracted espresso to flow into your eagerly waiting cup.


The pump switch is what makes the appliance partially automatic. You control when the extraction starts and ends to craft the perfect shot. For instance, if you see a good-looking shot in the making, but it's pouring slowly, you can let the pump run longer to complete the process. With a super-automatic, shots are programmed to end at a specific time, which may be too premature for your taste.


After tamping your coffee, you place it in the portafilter. Then, attach the filter to the espresso machine, and turn it on. Now, the electric pump will draw water from the boiler, forcing it under pressure through the filter and coffee grounds. Once the espresso is extracted, you have the option of steaming milk to add more froth.

Best Espresso Machine Reviews

Select Your Budget

Leave a Comment:

Rob Philp says March 12, 2017

Nice job. Very informative

Was Rahman says May 13, 2017

Nice article, useful information about espresso machines. In the UK, Breville machines are known under a different brand name – Sage. I don’t think the ESP8XL is available in the UK, but the Infuser is – but it costs a lot more than $500 over here!!

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