best espresso machine 2021

Last Updated: November 2021

Enjoying a delicious hot cup of espresso at home can be difficult to do unless you invest in the right espresso machine. Fortunately, there are a number of espresso machines available in every price range that is perfect for both beginning and advanced baristas alike. Here are some things you should keep in mind to ensure you choose the right one.

Table of contents

Common Features

When choosing the best espresso machine for home use, here are a few features you should consider:

Fully Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic & Super Automatic

There are three basic types of automatic espresso machine: fully automatic, semi-automatic, and super-automatic. While the three are similar, there are some basic differences between each model, and these differences will ultimately affect the way you make espresso. Here is an overview of each one:

Pump vs. Steam Machines vs. Manually Operated

Espresso machines may be either pump or steam-driven. Electric pump machines create pressure, which forces water at near-boiling temperature through the grinds and into a filter. This pressure is what is responsible for the crema, or foam that is present on the top of a cup of espresso.

Steam machines boil water, producing steam that is then forced through the coffee grounds. As a result, there is little pressure, which means there will be less crema than if a pressure-based machine were used. Stovetop models operate similar to steam machines by forcing water up a pipe and over top of coffee grounds. Both will produce espresso that tastes more like drip coffee, and the finished product will likely be very strong with a slightly burnt flavor.

Manual machines require you to apply a certain amount of force in order to move water through the grounds. This is done by depressing a lever, which acts as a pump that forces water to the filter area. Manual espresso machines do require a great deal more effort; however, they are normally inexpensive, easy to operate, and small enough to take with you anywhere. Many people prefer a manual espresso machine because they feel it provides them with greater control than a steam or pump model would allow.

Our Recommendations

Keeping the above features in mind, we have prepared a comprehensive list of the best espresso machines in a number of categories. Compare these models carefully to determine which of them might be most appropriate for you.

Best Manual Espresso Machine in 2021

Handpresso Pump Pop

The Handpresso Pump Pop is generally available for under $100, making it one of the most affordable espresso machines on the market. Although small, the Handpresso Pump Pop is nonetheless loaded with features, a few of which include:

Design9.5
Performance9
Durability8
Price8.5
Advantages
Disadvantages

You will likely find the Handpresso Pump Pop an excellent choice if you would like to make brewing espresso as simple as possible. It would also be a great investment if you are looking for an espresso machine to take with you while traveling or wish to be prepared for a power outage.

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Best Espresso Machine under $100

DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Available for between $89 and $99, the DeLonghi EC155 is the ideal entry-level espresso machine for home use. This machine features:

Design9.5
Performance9
Durability8
Price8.5
Advantages
Disadvantages

All in all, the DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Cappuccino Maker is a reliable machine that will provide you with desirable results with very few bells and whistles. It would be an excellent choice for anyone who desires simplicity, as well as those who are on a very limited budget.

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Best Espresso Machine under $300

Nespreso D1111-US-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker

The Nespresso D1111-US-BK-NE1 Citiz Espresso Maker can be purchased for between $185 and $249. It is a good choice for anyone who would like slightly better quality than what the DeLonghi EC155 offers, without investing in one of the higher-end models. Some features of the Nespresso Citiz include:

Design9.5
Performance9
Durability8
Price8.5
Advantages
Disadvantages

The Nespresso Citiz is a highly-effective espresso machine that takes a great deal of guesswork out of brewing beverages. The company is always coming up with new flavor capsules, ensuring you never get tired of drinking the same ones over and over again.

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Best Espresso Machine under $500

Breville BES840XL “The Infuser”

The $500 price range is what many espresso aficionados refer to as the “sweet spot”, as this amount of money will allow you to purchase a quality espresso maker without spending an extreme amount of cash. One that is highly recommended for under $500 is the Breville BES840XL, which features:

Design9.5
Performance9
Durability8
Price8.5
Advantages
Disadvantages

If you are looking for a high-quality machine that will provide you with a few more bells and whistles than the Nespresso Citiz, and do not mind shelling out some extra dollars, the Breville BES840XL could be for you. At this price range, you can expect a tad more convenience and slightly better durability as well.

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Best Espresso Machine under $1000

Breville BES870XL “Barista Express”

If appearance and functionality are both a primary concern, you’ll want to have a look at the Barista Express BES870XL from Breville. Normally costing around $999, you can sometimes find incredible deals that will allow you to save up to 40% off the list price, meaning this machine could cost only slightly more than the BES840XL. Some features you’ll enjoy include:

Design9.5
Performance9
Durability8
Price8.5
Advantages
Disadvantages

The Breville BES870XL is a nice choice if you are looking for a long term investment, and plan on preparing several espresso or cappuccino beverages per day. It will also serve you well if you regularly do a great deal of entertaining, although it will probably not function as desired if you plan on serving more than 50 beverages during a single gathering.

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Best Espresso Machine under $2000

Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine

The Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine can usually be found online for anywhere from $1,600 to $1,850. This top-of-the-line model has numerous features, including:

Design9.5
Performance9
Durability8
Price8.5
Advantages
Disadvantages

This machine is one you will want to consider as a major investment due to its price; however, it is one you will likely consider well worth the money you spend if everyone in your household has entirely different tastes in hot beverages.

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Of course, the models listed here are only suggestions, as there are actually numerous other choices in every category from which to choose. Your final decision should be made after carefully researching the various models and reading up-to-date consumer reviews to find out how others rate them.

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