If you're on the hunt for the best espresso machine under $500, I've got plenty of good news. As it happens, a machine at this price point should be capable of producing outstanding and delicious espresso. What's more, you've got tons of options to choose from.
If you’re on the hunt for the best espresso machine under $500, I’ve got plenty of good news. As it happens, a machine at this price point should be capable of producing outstanding and delicious espresso. What’s more, you’ve got tons of options to choose from.
With that said, not all espresso machines costing $500 or less are worth buying. Anyway, that’s why you’re here, right? I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 espresso machines under $500, all of which will satisfy the most demanding of home baristas.
As a bonus, I’ll discuss a few things to look out for as you’re shopping. That way you’ll be able to narrow down your search and get exactly what you want. What can I say? If you’re happy, I’m happy!
Table of Contents
- Best Espresso Machines Under $500 at a Glance
- Why Buy an Espresso Machine Under $500?
- The 5 Best Espresso Machines Under $500Gaggia Classic ProBreville Duo Temp ProSolis Barista PerfettaGE Profile Semi Automatic Espresso MachineKitchenAid Semi Automatic Espresso Machine
- How to ChooseSize and DesignBuild QualityFeaturesPerformance
- Decision Time
Best Espresso Machines Under $500 at a Glance
Here’s a quick look at the budget-friendly espresso machines I’ll be reviewing today:
Why Buy an Espresso Machine Under $500?
If you’re wondering whether you can pick up a high-quality espresso machine for less than $500, the answer is a resounding yes. Seriously, some of the models on today’s list are among my all-time faves, and will appeal to both beginners and seasoned pros.
With that in mind, I guess a better question might be, why would you spend more than $500? After all, with this kind of budget, you’re able to choose from an array of mid-range machines that’ll deliver seriously high quality espresso and milk foam.
Still, don’t forget that investing in a good home espresso machine means you’re going to need a good grinder. I mean, what’s the point of spending hundreds of dollars on an espresso maker if you’re just going to use pre-ground coffee from a can?
Fortunately, there are a couple of excellent and affordable espresso grinders in my burr coffee grinder guide 2024. Check out my review of the new Fellow Opus for starters – it’s a real winner and costs less than $200.
Of course, you can always go with a machine with a built-in grinder, although those aren’t easy to find at this price point. Don’t worry though, I’ve included a pretty cool one on my list!
The 5 Best Espresso Machines Under $500
Gaggia Classic Pro
The Gaggia Classic Pro has to be one of my favorite espresso machines of all time. And I’m not alone – this iconic machine is loved by espresso aficionados, many of whom pimp the thing out with all kinds of mods.
For $433.01, the Classic Pro represents exceptional value for money. Sure, the drip tray feels a little cheap and the steam wand could be a little sturdier. However, the Gaggia Classic Pro is considered by many to be a prosumer espresso machine, thanks to commercial grade components like a 58mm portafilter and three-way solenoid valve.
With its stainless steel frame and burly metal boiler, the Classic Pro feels solid and durable. Plus, retro-style rocker switches lend the machine a timeless elegance. I happen to love the way this machine looks in my kitchen!
Most importantly, the Gaggia Classic Pro is capable of producing truly exceptional espresso, although you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of the machine to get good results.
See Also: Gaggia Classic Pro Review 2024
Breville Duo Temp Pro
I think it’s fair to assume that lots of folks looking for the best espresso machine under $500 will be beginners. Well, if that sounds like you, consider checking out the Breville Duo Temp Pro.
Costing just $499.95, the Duo Temp Pro is one of the most affordable Breville espresso machines you’ll find.
Still, that doesn’t mean the Australian manufacturer has skimped on quality with this model. Far from it actually – you’ll get everything you’d expect from Breville here, including stainless steel housing, thermoblock heating and automatic pre-infusion. Heck, there’s even an auto purge function that stabilizes temperature after you’ve steamed milk.
Oh, and Breville throws in an embarrassment of accessories with its espresso machines, so newbies will have everything they need to get started.
The Breville Duo Temp Pro is super easy to use, thanks to its straightforward user interface. And you’ll be happy to hear that I was pleasantly surprised at how well it performs. What more can I say? This thing is a winner!
See Also: Breville Duo Temp Pro Review 2024
Solis Barista Perfetta
As we already know, first impressions aren’t everything, so don’t be put off by how the Solis Barista Perfetta looks. I mean, it’d be all too easy to dismiss this espresso machine as a cheap Breville knockoff, but that would be completely misguided.
In reality, there’s a lot to love about the Solis Barista Perfetta, starting with the fact that it can make fantastic espresso. During my Barista Perfetta testing I was truly impressed by the amount of control I had over my espresso shots.
Seriously, this affordable espresso machine offers programmable volumetric control, a pre-infusion function and adjustable temperature. That’s especially impressive given the machine’s $N/A price tag.
But wait, there’s more! The Barista Perfetta comes equipped with a commercial style steam wand with plenty of oomph. In fact, I remember noting that there was more steam power here than you ordinarily find on larger machines.
To cap it all off, the Solis Barista Perfetta even has a pressure gauge mounted on the front. While that might just look like cute decoration to the uninitiated, it can actually be of real help as you’re dialing in your shots.
What more can I say? The Solis Barista Perfetta may be small, but it’s certainly mighty!
See Also: Solis Barista Perfetta Review 2024
GE Profile Semi Automatic Espresso Machine
I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many of you have at least one GE appliance in your kitchen. However, the manufacturer doesn’t exactly have a proven track record when it comes to coffee makers.
With that said, I was pretty impressed by the GE Profile Semi Automatic Espresso Machine during my review, and I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out. Anyway, if you’re looking for the best espresso machine under $500 with a built-in grinder, your options are fairly limited.
As it happens, the GE Profile Semi Automatic will set you back $323.39, which is a steal considering what you’ll get. To whet your appetite, I’m talking about thermoblock heating, PID temperature control and a commercial-grade 58mm portafilter.
That’s not all, though – this awesome espresso machine has a gorgeous touchscreen display and even an app! I’d say that’s almost unheard of at this price point.
Ultimately, the GE Profile Semi Automatic is a real bargain, even if its grinder adjustment settings are quite limited. Who knows, maybe this manufacturer is going to dominate the espresso machine scene!
See Also: GE Profile Semi Automatic Review 2024
KitchenAid Semi Automatic Espresso Machine
While blenders and stand mixers might be the first things that spring to mind when you think of KitchenAid, the manufacturer has made a lot of noise in the coffee world lately.
During my review, I seem to remember making a joke about how the KitchenAid KES6503 Espresso Machine looks like the manufacturer morphed one of its mixers into an espresso machine. I’m still proud of that one. Anyway, it’s true, right?
Looks aside, the KitchenAid has everything you’d expect from an espresso machine costing $229.99. Actually, this thing goes above and beyond with its 58mm portafilter and ball joint-mounted commercial steam wand. Not only that, KitchenAid includes a stainless steel espresso tamper, which is far from a given. Seriously, I’ve spent a lot more on a machine only to find a flimsy plastic tamper in the box.
Thanks to its thermocoil heater and dual temperature control, pulling espresso shots and steaming milk with this machine is a breeze. There’ll be almost no waiting time in between, and you won’t have to temperature surf at all.
As I mentioned in my review, I was a little skeptical of this espresso maker at first. However, I’m now more than confident in recommending it to beginners and experienced baristas alike.
See Also: KitchenAid Espresso Machine Review 2024
How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine Under $500
Now that we’ve established what kind of espresso machines you can expect to find for under $500 you should have a clearer idea of what’ll work for you. Still, before jumping off the deep end it’s good to take a breath and think about what you want.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what to consider as you’re searching for the best espresso machine under $500.
Size and Design
Don’t judge a book by its cover; beauty is only skin deep … you’ve heard it all before. Still, as you’re searching for the best espresso machine under $500, you’ll definitely be thinking about how it’s going to look in your kitchen.
Fortunately, all the machines on my list are real lookers, each with its own aesthetic. So, if you want something boxy and iconic, the Gaggia Classic Pro will fit the bill, whereas the Breville Duo Temp Pro will bring the industrial-vintage vibes.
Of course, you’ll also want something that’ll actually fit into your kitchen, so make sure you take accurate measurements before committing. And don’t forget that you’ll often need to access the water tank or add coffee beans to the hopper (if there’s a grinder), so take those overhead cabinets into account as you’re measuring!
You don’t need me to tell you that there’s too much plastic used in just about everything these days. However, a coffee machine costing around $500 should have plenty of solid stainless steel in its construction.
While you won’t be able to escape plastic altogether, look for a machine that uses the durable variety that won’t scratch easily.
As for internal components like the boiler and pump, you’ll want to make sure those are made of metal rather than plastic. Oh, and pay special attention to the portafilter; all the best espresso machines have weighty portafilters with sturdy handles that’ll stand the test of time.
For the most part, the more you pay, the more features you can expect from an espresso maker. With that said, there’s no point spending extra on a machine if you’re paying for features you won’t use.
Still, it is nice to have features like automatic pre-infusion, programmable volumetric control and a dedicated hot water dispenser.
If milk-based drinks are your thing, look for an espresso machine with a commercial-style steam wand. That way, you’ll have plenty of steam power for making your daily cappuccino or espresso macchiato.
While I’m on the subject, a single boiler machine like the Gaggia Classic Pro can get a little finicky when you’re trying to switch between espresso and milk steaming. In fact, you’ll need to learn how to temperature surf in order to get the best results.
If that seems like too much information, you might be better off with a machine with thermoblock heating and digital PID control.
As I just mentioned, a single boiler machine involves a steeper learning curve, especially if it doesn’t have a PID controller installed. However, I’d say you can expect better performance overall from a traditional single boiler machine.
Sure, a thermoblock heats quickly and efficiently, but a big metal boiler will last a lot longer and provide more professional results.
As for PID controllers, these are sensors that monitor and stabilize water temperature. Believe me when I tell you that a machine with a PID installed will be a lot easier to use and you’ll likely get much more consistent espresso shots.
If you’ve read my guide to the best espresso machine under $200 and decided to pony up a little more cash, you’ll agree that the $500 price point looks a whole lot better!
I mean, a bargain basement espresso maker is better than nothing. However, if you can squeeze a little more out of your bank account, you can get hold of a seriously awesome machine.
Whether you want a challenging espresso machine with professional credentials or a fancy model with programmable settings, spending $500 or less can make your dreams come true.
Just promise me you’ll get hold of a decent grinder, too. And buy quality coffee beans from an independent roaster. Trust me, your espresso shots will be a million times better with freshly ground coffee beans!
What’s the best espresso machine under $500 in your opinion? Is there a machine missing from my list? The comments section is all yours!