Regardless of how tight your budget can get, there is no need to worry. You can still get a superior espresso machine that can fit into your budget without sacrificing quality.
The fact is that there will always be espresso makers that are highly priced. But this does not mean that you should be saddened and give up on finding an affordable espresso machine with killer features. Sometimes, all you need to ask yourself is whether or not you really need those fancy bells and whistles to make your cup of espresso. For instance, do you think fingerprint identification is a necessary feature for your coffee machine? Of course not, but some machines are equipped with features more high tech than that. You will actually come to realize that at a $500 price point, obtaining a machine that makes excellent espresso can be tough.
Saeco Vienna Plus
Breville Infuser is an amazing espresso machine and happens to be my favorite among the top three espresso machines under $500. This is simply due to the mere fact that it always delivers. It makes amazing espresso. The machine's combination of style and class is superb and will definitely make your friends drool when they see it on your countertop. You can display its superiority by whipping them an espresso cup that will definitely blow their minds.
If you are able to slightly stretch your budget, you may decide to go for Breville’s next step up from the Infuser the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. Although it might cost you $100 extra, it comes with additional features such as a built in grinder. This is a machine that you can proudly display on your countertop. In addition to an amazing built in grinder, the convenience of this machine is overwhelming. All you have to do is press a button and you have a perfect espresso waiting for you.
If you really want to make the ultimate espresso every day, a Breville is what you should opt for due to how it is solidly built.
Breville Infuser BES840XL
The Breville BES840Xl has quite a number of remarkable features that a serious espresso drinker will greatly appreciate.
It weighs in at 17 lbs and 10.2” x 12.5” x 13.2” inches in size. The machine will be a perfect fit for your kitchen countertop since its weight and size is not different from other espresso machines. You will actually find that it is likely to fit more comfortably than other machines.
The machine's ability to make an excellent espresso is due to its wonderful features. They include;
- A preinfusion ability which is used in applying a little water pressure at the beginning of the extraction process so as to gently expand the ground coffee beans and ensure uniform and complete extraction.
- It has a 1600 Watt thermocoil heating system that has been incorporated with a stainless steel water coil which happens to be very efficient in making sure that the water temperature is accurately controlled.
- It has an auto-purge function that plays the role of automatically adjusting the water temperature after steaming. These features enable the machine to extract the espresso when it reaches the optimum temperature.
- Has an additional feature of an Italian pump with a 15-bar pressure. The pump is very effective in flavor extraction, volumetric control and manual override.
- Also has a dry puck feature that enables the machine to dry excess water from the ground coffee beans in order to facilitate easy disposal.
-Incorporated with a pressure gauge to aid in monitoring the machine during flavor extraction. The gauge helps determine whether the espresso is being under or over extracted.
- It has a dedicated hot water outlet that enables you to still prepare and enjoy other hot beverages like tea.
- A steam wand that revolves in 360 degrees in order to accommodate different frothing jars as well as enable the machine to froth milk efficiently.
The above features are very useful, especially to individuals with extra knowledge on how to use an espresso machine. Its superior features are built to cater to espresso pros as well as espresso newbies. Therefore if you nothing about making espresso don’t worry, the machine is amazing. The Breville espresso machine has an automated system that takes care of brewing the espresso for you.
The only feature that you will miss in this machine is the built in grinder. However, the Breville Infuser BES840XL is a compilation of all the desirable features of an espresso machine.
Philips Saeco Vienna Plus Espresso Machine
On Amazon, you will find this amazing, super automatic espresso machine being sold at a price of $495.00. This is actually the most expensive brand on my list. However, the hefty price is well compensated since the machine delivers high quality services. Its performance is amazing and it actually happens to be a favorite among serious espresso fans.
It has a weight of 22 lbs and a size of 18” x 13” x 16” inches. Is relatively bigger and heavier than other common models. On the other hand, it is compact and can fit on the regular kitchen countertop without any problem; it is also very tough and durable.
This model has an appealing appearance due to its stunning exterior design. The Vienna Plus Automatic Espresso Machine has a lot to offer you as well. These unique and powerful features enable you to be in control of the consistency and the strength of your brew. They include;
- Has an optional aroma system pre-brewing cycle which is used to inject hot water into the coffee beans that have already been ground and completely extracts the flavor from every granule.
- The optiDose technology is a one of a kind feature that presents you with the option of choosing from 6 to 9 grams of ground coffee beans per cup.
- Integrated Pannarello stem wand which lets you froth milk as you please as well as make your other favorite beverage from the hot water it dispenses.
- Has a drip tray that is inclusive of a dreg drawer and a 57 oz water chamber that solves all your espresso machine cleaning problems.
- Uniquely built in adjustable, long-lasting conical burr grinder. This is an exclusive feature and the Breville does not have this capability.
- A 15 bar pressure pump that aids in the extraction of the coffee flavor from the coffee granules in the espresso machine.
- The espresso machine is quite easy to clean due to the brew group that enables tramping, brewing and dispensing in a single brewing cycle.
- Additional features include a stainless-steel boiler and a twelve-ounce coffee bean vessel.
The major drawback of this model is the noise of the grinder. You cannot deny the fact that this model has the most comprehensive features of the bunch.
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine (Brushed Stainless Steel)
This model is the cheapest model in this list. However, it has quite a number of very useful features.
It comes in at a size of 21 lbs and 25” x 13” x 12” which makes it the second largest in this list after the Philips Saeco RI9737/21 Vienna Plus Automatic Espresso Machine. It has a narrow and trendy design that makes it possible for it to fit on a normal sized countertop.
Some of its features include;
- 17-1/2-bar high power pressure pump and a 72 oz removable water tank which makes it very easy and convenient for brewing and cleaning the espresso machine respectively.
- A high voltage boiler and a three-way solenoid valve for releasing pressure from the group head as soon as the espresso pull is finished.
- Tough chrome plated marine-grade brass grouphead and portafilter to ensure the stability of temperatures generated by the brewing process.
- Hot water dispenser for making other beverages that allows you to prepare your other favorite beverage and a froth wand that is used by the espresso machine to produce delightful cream each and every time.
- Has a cup warmer that enables you to relax and leave your cup without having to worry about the cup getting cold.
- A single and a double-shot stainless-steel filter basket, 7 gram measuring scoop and a coffee tamper which makes it possible for you to brew with speed and precision.
One of the disadvantages of this machine is that it does not allow most of the hands-on customizations of your brew unlike Philips and Breville. This makes it more suitable for customers who prefer exceptionally brewed espresso via an automated process.
This model has done quite well on Amazon and has a rating of 4 stars out of 5. This suggests that there are more customers that are satisfied with it that those who are not.
When you are out purchasing an espresso machine, do not push your budget beyond your limit. You will find that some of the espresso machines with hefty price tags actually have similar features with the espresso machines provided on this list. A high price is not a guarantee of high quality. Upgrade your experience and go for an affordable espresso machine.