Best Espresso Machine under $500 ~ Buying Guide for 2018

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A good chunk of the global population consumes coffee every single day and it is considered to be one of the most popular beverages on the planet. With various options to choose from ranging from basic caffeinated coffee to decaf lattes, people are willing to spend a good amount of money to get their daily fix. However, over the years, many people have realized that pumping money into expensive coffee houses is not very practical and so innovative manufacturers have worked hard to produce alternatives that deliver the same quality results but don’t stress out people’s budgets as much.

With espresso growing in popularity, manufacturers are constantly under pressure to outdo each other and delivery models that do more than make basic espresso or coffee. As such, consumers are likely to have a difficult time choosing the best product for them simply because there is too much on offer. However, just because the market is flooded with multiple products does not mean that all of them are good quality. In fact, many brands are not worth your interest and only a few have proven competent enough to consistently produce quality models with each passing year. There is a lot that you need to ask yourself before you jump the gun and purchase a model you will throw away in a few weeks. Do you plan on making more than a simple cup of espresso with your machine? How much space do you have in your kitchen for your new appliance? Are comfortable with a complex machine that takes a long time to clean or is simplicity a must-have feature for you? Just how much are you willing to spend on your espresso machine? Once you know what exactly you are looking and the exact purpose your machine will serve, you can start shopping around for quality brands.

 Choose the best quality espresso machine so that you can enjoy quality, delicious drinks all year round.

Features to look for in a quality espresso machine

Despite many manufacturers promoting products that are really not worth the investment, quality espresso machines are actually not hard to come by. There are plenty of affordable brands and models that will help you become your own barista and save the tedious, expensive task of going to a coffee house or café every time you need your daily fix of espresso. Picking out a good machine is not easy but as long as the machine you are interested in has the following features, it should be worth spending your money on:

Durability

Adding an espresso machine to your home is a fairly big investment and so the product you choose needs to last longer than just a few months. The last thing you want is to set aside money every year to buy a new espresso machine. To be honest, most cheap espresso machines offer cheap quality for the cheap price. Granted, that is not to say that you should spend thousands of dollars on one single appliance but saving a few extra dollars to buy a quality, the durable machine will ensure that you have little to no regrets in the future.

Good design

While the majority of espresso lovers are not looking to buy a machine purely for aesthetic reasons, there is no denying that a stylishly designed machine is always a plus for any kitchen. In addition to this, it’s important to pay attention to the size of the machine and how much space it takes. If you don’t have a lot of room for multiple appliances to sit comfortably in your kitchen, you might want a sleek, smaller machine that won’t take up too much space.

Adequate storage for water

The average espresso machine is capable of storing enough water to make as many as 8 cups. If you are looking to make more espresso, it’s worth investing in a machine that has a built-in water tank and spout for refilling water. That way, you can ensure that you never run out of water when you are brewing espresso for a large group of people.

Versatility

Despite being named espresso machines, most models can do more than just making simple espresso. If you are a fan of drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, you might want to buy a machine that comes with a milk frother. The majority of quality machines will have a frother but you have to do your research before making assumptions. It’s quite common for cheap models to offer nothing more than espresso making capabilities.

 Cleaning efficiency

You will need to clean your machine at some point to avoid residue build-up which can contaminate your drinks. As such, it’s important to know how simple it is to dismantle and reattach the machine’s components and to know whether or not they are safe to clean in a dishwasher. If the machine seems a bit too complicated for your liking, you can always switch to a different model.

Storage efficiency

In the event that you are not a regular coffee drinker, you might want to store away your machine after using it. Big machines are difficult to carry and take up too much space. If storage is important for you and if you don’t plan on taking your machine out permanently, you definitely need a smaller, convenient model.

Guru Review Club’s Top 4: Best Espresso Machine under $500

We understand that choosing the right espresso machine can become quite stressful if you are presented with too many options. To help you out, our team of experts has scoured through tons of online shopping catalog to choose the top contenders that deserve to be called the best espresso machine under 500. Each model has been thoroughly reviewed to ensure that it lives up to high standards in terms of features and functionality.

Breville Infuser Espresso Machine

Breville BES840XL/A the Infuser Espresso Machine

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Durable, full feature and functional, the Breville espresso machine is a good choice for espresso lovers looking for a machine that will last longer and that makes quality espresso. It is designed with a large water tank that is not only easy to remove for refilling but has a handle to help you hold the tank securely. The filter in the tank is also removable and easy to clean or replace when it is worn out. If you are fussy about the temperature of your espresso, then this machine is just for you with its 1600W heating thermocoil system that is designed to regulate the water’s temperature and keep it consistently hot enough for you to enjoy your beverages at your desired temperature each time you brew. Tamping control is secured with the portafilter that is made from stainless steel and a tamper that you can remove and clean with ease while a dry puck is installed to clear the filter basket of excess water so that you can easily throw away coffee pucks when you are done making your beverage.

Tastes differ when it comes to the strength of your espresso and with the Breville’s pressure gauge, you can keep tabs on how much pressure is being applied during the extraction of your espresso. This feature ensures that your espresso is never too bitter or too mild. In addition to this, the machine comes with a feature for controlling the volume of your espresso shots either manually or automatically by presetting the volumes. When you are certain which shot volume suites your needs, you can always program the feature so that it makes custom shots automatically each time you brew. The machine is also built with an outlet designed to dispense hot water instantly for heating up your cups before serving or for making beverages like hot chocolate or green tea. A testament of its quality, the machine is also quite versatile and comes with a steaming wand that helps with making froth for drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes. The stainless steel wand rotates 360° and can accommodate both big and small frothing cups/jugs. Once you are done, the auto purge feature on the machine will cool the temperature of the boiler so that espresso can be extracted immediately after frothing. All of these features are united in a mess-free design that is complemented by the addition of a tray which collects dry and wet spills each time you brew.  The tray has an indicator that lights up once it is full and can be removed and cleaned easily.

Features we love

  • The large water tank that you can detach for refilling.
  • The removable filter inside the water tank.
  • 1600W heating thermocoil system designed to regulate water temperature so your drinks stay hot.
  • Pressure to control the extraction pressure of your machine while it is brewing.
  • Feature to control the volume of your espresso shots.
  • Hot water dispenser for heating up cups and making instant beverages like hot chocolate.
  • Stainless steel wand for frothing milk to make drinks like cappuccino and lattes.
  • Auto purge feature which cools the temperature of the boiler so that espresso can be extracted immediately after frothing milk.
  • Removable tray to collect dry and wet drippings for mess-free


10Total Score
Summary: Breville Infuser Espresso Machine

Sturdy, durable and well featured, the Breville Espresso Machine brews quality espresso and comes with additional features to make other drinks such as hot chocolate, lattes, and cappuccinos. It is easy to clean thanks to its key components being removable and with the addition of the tray to collect drippings, you never have to worry about your machine making a mess while you’re making your drinks.

Customer Reviews
10
Versatility
10
Cleaning Efficiency
10
Features
10
PROS
  • It has a removable tray to collect drippings while you are brewing.
  • Pressure gauge which controls the pressure at which your espresso is extracted ensuring the perfect blend.
  • Has a hot water dispenser that you can use to heat up your cups before serving and to make drinks like hot chocolate.
  • Includes a stainless steel wand which froths milk for drinks like lattes thus giving the machine versatility.
  • Easy to refill and clean water tank that is removable.
CONS
  • Given the multiple features it is equipped with, it will take some time for beginners and some pros to understand how it works and to brew drinks that meet their specific demands.


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Breville Duo-Temp Espresso Machine

Breville Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel

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Yet another quality product from Breville, the Duo Temp Espresso Machine is a must-have for people looking to unleash their inner coffee connoisseur. It is also a well-featured machine much like the Infuser Espresso Machine and is a bit easier to understand than other models. This machine owes its power to a 15 bar pump made in Italy by coffee machine experts. The pump works by exerting low amounts of pressure so that the coffee grounds can bloom before raising it slowly to extract a rich, smooth blend. This machine allows you to control the volume of your espresso shots manually and can extract a maximum of two shots in one brew.

Whether you like pre-ground or freshly ground beans of coffee, the duo temp is designed to accommodate both thanks to its filter baskets which allow for both single as well as dual cup brewing. You can fill your water in the 61oz water tank and use the steam wand to froth and steam milk for cappuccinos and lattes. The machine comes with a helpful manual for people who are not familiar with how it works as well as a container to store your milk and holder for the water filter.

Features we love

  • 15 bar pump for powerful and precise extraction of espresso to deliver smooth, rich results.
  • Manually controlled espresso shot volume.
  • Dual and single espresso extraction options.
  • Filter baskets that accommodate both pre-ground and freshly ground coffee to produce one or two cups at a time.
  • 61oz water tank complete with a holder for the filter.
  • Steam wand to froth and steam milk for cappuccino and lattes.
  • Manual to help you better understand the machine and get started.


10Total Score
Summary: Breville Duo-Temp Espresso Machine

The perfect combination of power and versatility, the Breville duo temp espresso machine is perfect for making espresso and drinks like cappuccino and lattes. It comes with a handy manual so that even those unfamiliar with how espresso machine works will be able to get a better understanding of how it works.

Customer Reviews
10
Versatility
10
Cleaning efficiency
10
Features
10
PROS
  • Versatile enough to make more than espresso thanks to its steam wand which froths milk for cappuccinos and lattes.
  • Comes with a handy manual to help users out with any challenges.
  • Can make as many as 2 cups of espresso in one brew.
  • Relatively easy to clean.
  • Has a sturdy build.
CONS
  • It doesn’t have a pressure gauge so controlling extraction pressure is difficult.


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Gaggia Classic Espresso Maker

Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker. Pannarello Wand for Latte and Cappuccino Frothing. Brews for Both Single and Double Shots.

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The Gaggia espresso maker is a good choice for people looking for something simple yet effective. It offers high-quality performance but is not difficult to understand or set up like other high-end brands. This machine was designed by experts in Italy and is simple to use for both experts and amateurs new to coffee and espresso machines. It is very powerful and relies on a 17+ bar pump which delivers quick heating intervals to guarantee fast brewing. The machine comes with a scoop for measuring your coffee as well as a filter basket for double and single shots and a coffee tamper.

You can make lattes and cappuccinos with the help of a wand which also dispenses hot water for more basic beverages like tea and hot chocolate and when you are finished, you can wipe the machine clean with a simple damp cloth. Take advantage of the dual brewing feature and make two cups of your favorite drink in one go. Other features include the easy to refill and clean water reservoir as well as a one year warranty which guarantees the quality of the product.

Features we love

  • Stylish Italian design with a sturdy and durable finish.
  • 17+ powerful pump to deliver quick heating intervals for fast brewing.
  • Additional accessories such as a scoop for measuring coffee.
  • Dual function wand which froths milk and dispenses hot water to make simple beverages like tea and hot chocolate.
  • Easy to clean frame.
  • Dual brewing feature that makes two cups in one go.
  • One year warranty.
  • Easy to refill and clean water reservoir.


9.9Total Score
Summary: Gaggia Classic Espresso Maker

An embodiment of quality Italian designing, this machine is as attractive as it is functional. It is simple to use and understand and even simpler to clean, requiring nothing more than a damp cloth to remove dirt on its surface.

Customer Reviews
9.9
Versatility
9.9
Cleaning efficiency
9.9
Features
9.9
PROS
  • It is easy to clean.
  • Perfect for beginners not familiar with espresso machines.
  • Has a powerful pump that delivers fast brewing.
  • Comes with a one year warranty that guarantees quality.
  • Has an easy to clean water reservoir.
  • Frothing wand works as a dispenser for hot water so you can make tea and hot chocolate.
CONS
  • The espresso outlet only accommodates short cups which are challenging if you like to drink a lot of espressos.


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7 Pc Espresso Maker

7 Pc All-In-One Espresso & Cappuccino Maker Machine Barista Bundle Set w/Built-In Steam Wand (Inc: Coffee Bean Grinder, Portafilter, Frothing Cup, Spoon w/Tamper & 2 Cups), Stainless Steel

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The final pick on our list, this machine is yet another quality espresso maker that you should consider trying out. It takes fast brewing to a new level with its 45-second startup which is powered by Thermoblock heating which guarantees quick production of steam and precise control of temperature. It is built with a 15 bar system which makes rich crema and includes a steel cup for frothing milk to make cappuccinos and lattes.

The water tank is made using transparent material that allows you to keep an eye on the levels of water when you are making your drink and can be removed with ease for cleaning and refilling. Removal is made much easier thanks to a handle. Overall, cleaning the machine is quite simple and most of its parts are detachable and can be cleaned using water or damp cloths. It also has a tray to collect drippings and is equipped to make double and single shot espresso. For energy-conscious consumers, the machine also comes with an automatic feature that switches the machine off if it isn’t used for 25 minutes.

Features we love

  • Thermoblock heating which powers 45-second startup for fast brewing.
  • 15 bar system to make rich crema.
  • Frothing cup for making lattes and cappuccinos.
  • Transparent water tank with a handle for easy removal so you can clean it and refill water.
  • Detachable components that are easy to clean.
  • Tray to collect dripping for clean brewing.
  • An automatic feature that switches the machine off if it’s not used for 25 minutes.


10Total Score
Summary: 7 Pc Espresso Maker

Simple yet powerful, this machine is equipped to make both single as well as double shot espresso. It is very simple to clean and produces rich crema so you can enjoy quality cappuccinos and lattes in addition to your espresso.

Customer Reviews
9.8
Versatility
10
Cleaning efficiency
10
Features
10
PROS
  • It is versatile and can make cappuccino and lattes in addition to espresso.
  • Can make more than one cup of espresso in one go.
  • It is easy to clean.
  • Has a transparent water reservoir that allows you to keep tabs on the water levels.
  • It switches off by itself after 25 minutes of no use.
CONS
  • The cups it makes are quite small.
  • Overall the design is not very appealing and looks a bit cheap.


Conclusion

Whether you are an avid espresso fan or you enjoy lattes and other coffee-based drinks, we are certain that the above machines are each worth trying out. While each one is a top contender for best espresso machine under 500, we understand that not all of them will appeal to you but we can guarantee that at least one model should be enough to satisfy your requirements.

10 Total Score
Editor’s Choice

Sturdy, durable and well featured, the Breville Espresso Machine brews quality espresso and comes with additional features to make other drinks such as hot chocolate, lattes, and cappuccinos. It is easy to clean thanks to its key components being removable and with the addition of the tray to collect drippings, you never have to worry about your machine making a mess while you’re making your drinks.

Versatility
10
Cleaning Efficiency
10
Features
10
PROS
  • It has a removable tray to collect drippings while you are brewing.;
  • Pressure gauge which controls the pressure at which your espresso is extracted ensuring the perfect blend.;
  • Has a hot water dispenser that you can use to heat up your cups before serving and to make drinks like hot chocolate.;
  • Includes a stainless steel wand which froths milk for drinks like lattes thus giving the machine versatility.;
  • Easy to refill and clean water tank that is removable.
CONS
  • Given the multiple features it is equipped with, it will take some time for beginners and some pros to understand how it works and to brew drinks that meet their specific demands.
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Paul Davis

Paul Davis is the resident expert on Home & Tools for the Guru Review Club. Paul has over 15 years experience working for major retailers including The Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Paul has a passion for great products and always looking for the next best gadget for your home.

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