Nothing is better than the ability to make a cup of espresso at home. Not only is this convenient, but it will also save you lots of time and money since you won’t have to visit those expensive coffee shops to buy one. It’s even possible to buy a nice quality espresso machine for under $100.
As you shop for an espresso machine under $100, try to look for an espresso machine that has a standard pressure of 15 bars. This will ensure your machine will be able to brew the quality espresso you expect. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best espresso machine under $100.
Coffee Makers Being Reviewed:
- My Top Pick: Bonsenkitchen 20-Bar Espresso Machine
- Capresso Espresso and Cappuccino Machine EC50
- Espresso Machines 20 Bar Cappuccino Machine
- De’Longhi EC155
- Hamilton Beach Espresso Machine
Considerations When Choosing an Espresso Machine
What makes an Espresso Machine the Best?
To brew up a flavorful and robust cup of espresso, the best espresso machine will create the distinguishing crema layer on the top. By forcing hot water through a coffee ‘puck’, you get just the right amount of pressure and temperature to extract the perfect cup of espresso with the maximum amount of flavor.
The difficulty lies in maintaining the ideal temperature and pressure to get efficient extraction. Remember that if you have just the slightest change in the pressure or temperature, you can totally change the taste. Maintaining the temperature and pressure is also what will affect the price of an espresso machine.
Espresso Machine Types
Steam-driven – With a steam-driven espresso machine, you have pressured steam that forces water to go through coffee grounds. While they still can produce foam, they don’t have precision when it comes to temperature control. And, without enough pressure, you end up with strong coffee that isn’t exactly espresso.
Pump-driven: Using an electric pump, a pump-driven espresso machine can generate pressure without relying on steam. This offers better pressure control and makes a really good cup of espresso.
Features to Look for When Choosing an Espresso Machine
You always want to think about the mechanics of any espresso machine. Pump driven machines will typically win out over a pressure-driven one. This is due to having the best temperature and pressure control to create a really true espresso drink. In comparison, a steam-driven machine can make a really good cup of coffee.
Any coffee machine can be a pain to clean, and this includes many of the better espresso machines under $100. Having an espresso machine that is simple to take apart and comes with parts that you can either clean easily or wash in the dishwasher is always nice.
No one wants their coffee machines to break down quickly, so look for an espresso machine that has a durable and long-lasting design. The material the machine is constructed out makes a big difference. If you have the choice, go for steel since it won’t stain or corrode.
Single vs Double Shot
Every machine has the ability to produce a specific number of shots, either double or single shots. You might want to look into whether It’s important to think about how you will use the machine. If you plan to use it when guests are over, you will want to purchase a different type of machine than the one you will only use in the morning. When serving guests, you will want a double shot machine to shorten the waiting time while a single shot is perfect for morning use.
You also want to look for a machine that has the ability to froth milk. When you have a machine that includes a milk frother, it’s one less too that you have to buy, and it will always be ready for you to use. However, this is just another part of the machine that needs to be cleaned, so try and find something easy to maintain.
Nine pressure bars are usually considered the ideal amount of pressure to make the perfect cup of espresso. There are, however, others that think you need at least 15 bars. You can find good quality espresso machines with 15 bars of pressure for under $100. How much pressure you need in your machine really depends on your preferences and the flavor you are trying to create.
Semi-Automatic or Super-Automatic
Creating a single unit, the semi-automatic machine is able to combine and automate several of the brewing processes. It could have a built-in frother or coffee grinder and allows the brewing process to happen at a consistent pressure and temperature. There is a lot less work when you are using a semi-automatic espresso maker. You only have to manually froth the milk and tamp the grounds. Otherwise, once you have set the machine for your preferred time, you can easily repeat the pressure and temperature.
In comparison, an automatic espresso machine includes parts of the beverage that are loaded into the machine’s reservoirs, and you can choose your preferred drink with the push of a button. It will also take care of combining and preparing the ingredients that go into the beverage.
Of the two, remember that you can change the programming of a semi-automatic to customize your drink to your preferences. The automatic machine will only do what the set programming says to brew.
When choosing the heating type for your espresso machine, you have two options either thermoblock or boiler. A thermoblock can usually heat a block of aluminum that is equipped with a channel cut into it. As the water passes through this channel, heat is then transferred to the water. Not only is it energy efficient since it only heats the water need for an espresso, but a thermoblock heating system is also capable of brewing espresso quickly.
The thermoblock has the disadvantage of holding inconsistent temperatures. The actual temperature is affected by the ambient temperature.
In comparison, a boiler heating system is similar to the more traditional method of heating up a pot of water, which just happens inside the machine. One of the benefits of the boiler system is its ability to heat the right amount of water for several servings of espresso that is both consistent and the perfect temperature.
There are also disadvantages to the boiler system including wasted heated water if you don’t need to have several beverages right away. The water is kept by the machine to the preferred temperature as long as the machine is on. Another disadvantage is that, if it can steam milk also, it can’t steam milk and brew espresso simultaneously. Don’t worry though. There are some machines that come with a double boiler system that can work around this issue, so make sure you do your research to make sure that the milk is ready at the same time as the espresso.
Temperature control is also a major consideration. Depending on the type of espresso you are making, some will brew at a lower temperature than others. For example, a classic European espresso is typically served at a lower temperature than an American espresso will. It’s also important that you can change the temperature on the machine that you have to accommodate various espresso types.
Best Espresso Machines Under $100
Ensuring that your espresso stays at just the right temperature, the Capresso Espresso and Cappuccino Machine EC50 is a great choice for espresso coffee drinkers, single-serve drinkers, drip coffee drinkers, and pretty much any type of coffee drinker. Consistent and fast, this machine features a stainless steel lined 15 bar pump Thermoblock that creates a very good crema. This is an easy to clean machine that comes with a handy self-locking filter holder that makes cleanup easy.
Featuring one sieve for either single or double espresso brewing, the Capresso EC50 has a stainless-steel housing with black accents. The removable water tank is easy to fill out and has a 42-ounce capacity. You can also get the ideal froth with a high-pressure frothing design that makes the perfect froth for lattes and cappuccinos.
With its auto rinse feature, allows you to maintain the right brewing temperature without a wait time in between steaming milk and brewing espresso. A handy warming platform allows the Capresso EC50 to keep your cup at the right temperature for serving.
- It’s simple to clean and use
- This machine comes with a warming platform for your cups
- It is consistent and fast
- It’s very loud
- It’s pretty shaky as it operates
Equipped with an adjustable milk frother, the Espresso Machines 20 Bar Cappuccino Machine can make almost any espresso based drink. The removable water tank has a 1.2-liter capacity, and the frothing wand helps to create creamy lattes and cappuccinos. It also comes with a double temperature control system with a 20-bar pressure pump that helps to ensure the coffee’s flavor.
The small size of the machine is perfect for household use. This imported Italian pump-driven espresso machine is super easy to use to create a beautiful, smooth taste. The professional milk frothing wand allows you to adjust how much steam you use and can rotate 360 degrees. The precise dual temperature control system allows you to adjust the milk and water to create the perfect cup of coffee, plus with a double-volume boiler, you can produce more steam and hot water.
The Espresso Machines 20 Bar Cappuccino Machine is equipped with a clear temperature dial that allows you to visualize operations, see temperature changes, and is perfect for a beginner coffee lover. The indicator light is easy to use, and the port filter comes with a double-cup splitter and a double-layer filter that can make two cups of espresso simultaneously. It also has a separate transparent water tank, so you can easily see how much water you have left in it.
- You can make two cups at the same time
- The steam is adjustable to your preferences
- It has a nice and large capacity
- You can’t choose the cup size on the machine
- You have to use both hands when pressing the lever and to hold the other side or it will fall over
This no-leak, high-performance espresso machine has a 1.25-liter tank capacity. Ideal for home use, the Bonsenkitchen 20-Bar Espresso Machine comes with a milk frother wand and a sturdy stainless-steel body. With a stylish design, this machine is a great addition to any kitchen décor.
Offering two separate temperature control systems, the Bonsenkitchen 20-Bar Espresso Machine allows you to control the steam and water pressure separately. With the professional 20 bar Italian pump, you can prep your coffee to your preferred taste thanks to the adjustable controls. The swiveling steam wand can be controlled by the adjustable steam feature so you can heat or steam milk for lattes and cappuccinos.
Super easy to clean, the Bonsenkitchen has a removable drip tray that allows larger cups to easily fit under the trip. Offering a perfectly balanced taste, the temperature control technology is able to regulate the water precisely allows for perfectly balanced coffee extraction giving you consistency and control.
Preventing aluminum oxidation to make the water healthier, the Thermoblock System uses an aluminum alloy that includes a stainless-steel heating channel. This is an easy to clean cappuccino machine that allows you to remove the filter, high-pressure funnel, water tank, and collecting tray to clean them separately. You can make as many as 10 cups of espresso. The Bonsenkitchen is ideal for apartments, offices, and homes saving you energy and time with fast and consistent cappuccinos.
- It has two separate control systems
- This is an easy to clean machine
- It stops aluminum oxidation making your drink healthier
- It’s pretty noisy
- The instructions aren’t very clear
Create a delicious-tasting espresso with the De’Longhi EC155. With the two separate thermostats, you can either make multiple things at once.
Featuring a simple to use swivel jet frother, the De’Longhi EC155 makes a perfect drink with every use. Equipped with a high-quality and durable stainless-steel boiler, this machine will last you for years. It also includes a removable drip tray and water tank for easy cleanup.
The authentic Italian espresso will create creamy and rich froth for a perfect drink every time. The filter holder has a dual function design that makes creating different espresso drinks quickly. And, the self-priming operation eliminates difficult start-up preparation allowing you to get your coffee faster with less of a wait for both the element and the boiler to reach the right temperature.
The drip tray and water tank are both removable. Making this espresso machine really easy to take apart and clean. The parts are dishwasher safe as well which is really nice to have. This 15-Bar Coffee Machine is a professional quality machine with controls you can adjust to customize your coffee to your own personal taste.
With an advanced and innovative design, this machine stays at an optimal temperature so you can easily brew up cup after cup instantly. The De’Longhi EC155 has a sleek and modern space-saving design that comes with a narrow footprint on your countertops. Heavenly
- It comes with two portafilter basket sizes
- This machine has a built-in cup warmer
- It has a great built-in frother
- There’s a lot of vibration when it’s operating
- The space where you the coffee cup is placed is too short
The Hamilton Beach Espresso Machine uses an Italian pump to extract your espresso right in your own home. The machine can produce café quality results with a simple push of a button. The water reservoir is pretty easy to fill on this machine as well.
Equipped with a no-fuss milk frother, it makes it easy to adjust the steam to make some hot and thick scoopable froth. Easily clean the water reservoir, filter holder, cup rest, brew head, frothing nozzle, and drip tray with soapy, warm water.
One of it’s best qualities in my opinion, is that it makes pretty good espresso for the price of this machine. You will have to play around with your grind size to get that perfect shot of espresso though.
The steamer is a pretty big problem on this machine. It’s quite hard to fit a larger cup underneath the steam wand. It also takes a while to get to the correct temperature for steaming. If you mainly need this appliance for making espresso, then this is a pretty good option for an espresso machine.
- You can adjust the steam on the milk frother to your preferences
- Most of the parts on the machine are easy to clean
- Makes pretty good tasting espresso
- It can start to leak water quickly
- The steamer needs to be used multiple times
The winner of the best espresso machine under 100 is the Bonsenkitchen 20-Bar Espresso Machine. This is a high-performance machine that will not leak and has a 1.25-liter tank capacity that can make delicious macchiato, latte, cappuccino, and espresso. Ideal for home use, it also comes with a foaming milk frother wand and a sturdy stainless-steel body. It has a stylish design that is a great addition for any kitchen décor.
You also get two separate temperature control systems so you can control the steam and water pressure separately. With the professional 20 bar Italian pump, you can prep your coffee to your preferred taste thanks to the adjustable controls. It’s also super easy to clean and is capable of preventing aluminum oxidation making your drink healthier.
Allowing you to make as many as 10 cups of espresso, the Bonsenkitchen is ideal for apartments, offices, and homes saving you energy and time with fast and consistent espresso drinks. The definite winner of the best espresso machine under 100 is the Bonsenkitchen 20-Bar Espresso Machine hands down.