Coffee is probably the most popular drink for people in the morning, and a delicious Espresso is probably one of the most sought-after varieties. As a coffee lover, you would eventually find yourself looking at brewing our own espresso but you don't have to break the bank to do so. Below I have listed what I think are the best espresso machines under $200 on the market.
When I first got my espresso machine, I remember that I didn't have a huge budget as well. I didn't want to spend too much in case I end up not liking brewing my own coffee, but I also wanted to get a decent enough machine that would still give me the right kick to get a good start in the morning.
Personally, I think that $200 is the best price range. After all, if you are like me, you want a nice espresso shot without breaking the bank. You'll get a lot of choices with decent features without breaking the bank. The fact that it has a lot of choices has its pros and cons. With the variety, you can surely get one that suits your taste but you can also easily get lost and get confused with choosing. Also remember, that it is crucial to also pick the best coffee beans for espresso that you can.
What is espresso?
This is a common question. Let's be honest, there are many different coffee terms out there so it can be confusing. Espresso is essentially highly pressurized near boiling water shot thru finely ground coffee beans that are heavily packed. When it comes out, the coffee is in a shot, is dark brown, and thick.
Quick Tip: If you want to get tips on picking the best espresso beans, you can check out our new article on the topic.
Reviews of Best Espresso Machine Under $200
**Below, you will find more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon.
What to Look For
Knowing exactly what to look for in a great espresso machine will allow you to have the best results. It would also ensure that you are making a smart purchase. You also want to make sure that you are making truly delicious espresso, so let's get into it.
The durability of anything you purchase should be your top priority. You wouldn’t want to spend so much on something only for it to end up breaking after just a couple of uses. How durable your machine should depend on how often you would be using it.
If you foresee that you would be using it almost the whole day, then getting one which is professional-grade. However, if you’ll only be using it once a day, you can get away with buying a cheaper one.
The capabilities that you would want your machine to have depends on how much you are willing to put an effort. These capabilities include having a blade grinder or a burr grinder, a milk frother, and being able to boil hot water. Among all these, I personally think that having a machine with a grinder is most important.
This would save you from having to buy pre-ground beans which can give you coffee with inferior taste and smell. The milk frother is something that most could live without especially if you don't really like milk on your espresso, but a water boule is essential.
Aside from all these making capabilities, I also recommend that you look for a machine which is multifunctional. Wouldn't it be great to get an espresso machine and a cappuccino machine in just one purchase?
Note on grinders: Burr Grinder vs Blade Grinder
There are two different kind of grinders to choose from. You can choose from a burr grinder or a blade grinder. A burr grinder tends to be a bit more expensive but provides the best consistent grind to your coffee beans.
Types of Espresso Machines
The type of espresso machine that you'll get will depend on what you want to accomplish and how much work you're willing to put on your coffee.
Steam-driven espresso machines were the first ones that were available in the market. In fact, the first espresso machine was steam driven. This machine works by moving hot water in steam form to the coffee grinds.
I usually do not see this type of machine anymore. However, some small coffee shops still use them. Since it uses an old technique, you should expect that you would be needing a whole lot of effort and good technique to get just the right result. But since it doesn't have a ton of machinery it is very cheap.
I personally haven't used this type of machine and I also wouldn't recommend it for beginners. This is more for cafes rather than using at home.
Pump-driven espresso machines were first introduced in the market in the 60’s. This type of machine is also known as a motor-driven machine and this is the most common type of espresso machine in the market. It is also one of the easiest to use and I would highly recommend to beginners and home brewers. It uses electricity as a source of power making brewing easier and more powerful.
There are four different types of pump-driven machines, ranging from semi-automatic to super-automatic:
Semi-Automatic Pump Driven
Semi-automatic machines are perfect for those who want to be in total control over what they are drinking. As the name suggests, this machine uses machinery as well as your skill in order to get the best kind of espresso.
It may be a bit surprising to you, this type of machine is actually the most in demand. This is probably due to the fact that although it is automatic, you still have a lot of control over how strong or how mild you want your espresso to be. The only con about this machine is that it doesn’t have a grinder. This means that you would need to buy pre-ground coffee beans.
Automatic Pump Driven
Unlike the semi-automatic one, this machine is fully automatic. You would need very little effort to get your espresso. It already has programmed specifications and you would just need to choose which one you would want for the day.
When I first used an automatic espresso machine I was really amazed. I just pushed a couple of buttons, in fact, the number of cups I need can even be adjusted. It also has a built-in grinder so you don’t need to worry about anything else.
This type of machine is also known as fully automatic machines. You need even less effort with this compared to the automatic one. These are usually considered as the best option when it comes to both results and capability. However, it is also the most expensive because it has all the frills that you would want in an espresso machine.
This is the perfect choice for those who are on the go and would prefer just pressing a button and get the perfect espresso drink. This has a grinder and also includes all parts and pieces so it’s completely worry-free.
Air Pump Driven
Air pump-driven espresso machines are the new innovation introduced this year. Unlike the previous ones that highly depend on electricity, this one requires a bit of manual effort. You would need to manually compress the air into the coffee beans, forcing water to it. However, you should note that you also need to add boiling hot water to it and you would need to refill it with water if you want to have more cups.
The great thing about this is that it very portable and you can easily bring it anywhere. This makes it a great choice for those who are always in the outdoors and even great for those who go on camping trips.
Out of the five machines above, I would have to say that my favorite is the De’Longhi’s Espresso and Cappuccino. I believe that this is the best espresso machine under $200. I love how versatile it is and how slick it looks. It also has a very competitive price despite how functional it is. But, most importantly, it gives me great tasting and rich coffee any time of the day.
Choosing the right espresso machine for you greatly depends on how much work you want to put on your coffee making. Of course, you can find cheap ones in the market quite easily but you might end up finding out that you would need to put on all so much effort because it turns out to not be as automatic as you would want. Regardless of your choice here, I hope that you end up with the best espresso coffee and that you love every sip.
Note: This post has been updated with new tips and info. We do our best to keep all of our reviews up to date.