8 Best Espresso Machines Under $150 In 2024

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It’s no secret that the quality of your espresso can make or break your morning ritual.

But, finding that perfect cup doesn’t mean you have to break the bank.

We understand the importance of a good espresso machine in crafting those creamy, dreamy shots, and we’re here to show you that you can achieve barista-level excellence without spending a fortune.

With a budget-friendly cap of $150, we’ve brewed up a list of the 8 best espresso machines that promise to enhance your coffee experience without draining your wallet.

8 Best Espresso Machines Under $150: At A Glance

  1. DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine: Best Overall
  2. Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso Machine: Runner-Up
  3. Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine: Best Value For Money
  4. De’Longhi Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine: Best for Convenience
  5. Capresso EC100 Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine: Best for Quick Heating
  6. DeLonghi EC5 Steam-Driven Espresso and Coffee Maker: Best For Simultaneous Cups
  7. Cuisinart EM-100NP1 1.66 Quart Espresso Maker: Best For Hot Water
  8. De’Longhi BAR32 Retro 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker: Best Design

Why Choose an Espresso Machine Under $150?

In the quest for the perfect home espresso, the balance between affordability and quality is a crucial consideration.

For coffee enthusiasts on a budget, the good news is that advancements in espresso technology have significantly improved the quality of machines available at lower price points.

Let’s delve into why an espresso machine under $150 might just be the sweet spot for both your wallet and your taste buds.

The Sweet Spot of Affordability and Quality

The thought of owning an espresso machine often conjures images of sleek, high-end models that come with a hefty price tag.

However, not everyone is ready or able to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars into their coffee-making setup.

This is where espresso machines under $150 come into play.

They offer a compelling blend of affordability and functionality, making them accessible to a wider audience.

Manufacturers have recognized the demand for budget-friendly options that don’t compromise on the quality of espresso produced.

As a result, even at this lower price range, you can find machines equipped with essential features like powerful pressure pumps, durable build quality, and even some of the convenience features found in more expensive models, such as milk frothers and programmable settings.

Technological Advancements at Lower Price Points

The past few years have seen remarkable advancements in espresso machine technology.

Innovations that were once exclusive to high-end models have trickled down to more affordable machines.

For instance, the introduction of 15-bar pressure pumps in budget models has been a game-changer.

This feature ensures that even less expensive machines can produce espresso shots with a rich crema and robust flavor, rivaling those from more premium models.

Moreover, the design and construction of espresso machines under $150 have also seen significant improvements.

Many now boast sleek designs and durable materials, ensuring they don’t look or feel “cheap.”

The compact size of many of these models makes them perfect for small kitchens, without sacrificing the quality of the espresso.

Additionally, the user experience has been enhanced in budget espresso machines, with intuitive controls and easy maintenance becoming standard.

This makes them not only affordable but also user-friendly, appealing to beginners and seasoned espresso drinkers alike.

1. DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine: Best Overall


The DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine is our top choice for the best espresso machine under $150, and for good reason.

This compact, beginner-friendly machine is the perfect entry point into the world of espresso for those looking to craft coffee shop-quality drinks without leaving home.

Despite its basic label, the EC155 packs a punch with its ability to achieve 15 bars of pressure, though 9 bars is the sweet spot for that perfect espresso extraction.

Its semi-automatic nature simplifies the brewing process, making it accessible even to those new to espresso making.

Equipped with a durable stainless steel boiler and two separate thermostats for espresso and milk frothing, this machine ensures your coffee is always at the perfect temperature.

The 35-ounce removable water tank adds to its convenience, allowing for easy refills and cleaning.

The Advanced Cappuccino System is a standout feature, enabling you to brew multiple espressos back-to-back without waiting for the machine to reheat.

Despite its discontinued status in 2023, the EC155 remains a popular choice due to its small footprint, affordability, and ease of use, making it an ideal starter machine for budding baristas.

However, the EC155 is not without its limitations.

Its performance can be inconsistent, particularly when extracting flavor from medium and lightly roasted beans.

The machine’s reliance on a weaker vibratory pump and a single boiler system can lead to erratic water temperature control, affecting the quality of the espresso shots.

Additionally, the manual steam wand requires practice to achieve consistent milk froth, and the use of plant-based milk may necessitate adjustments for optimal results.


  • Compact and lightweight design, ideal for small kitchens.
  • Semi-automatic operation simplifies the brewing process.
  • Compatible with ESE coffee pods for convenience.
  • An Advanced Cappuccino System allows for quick successive brewing.
  • Affordable price point, making it accessible to beginners.


  • Struggles with extracting flavor from lighter roasts.
  • The manual steam wand requires practice for consistent froth.
  • Plastic tamper included; a metal tamper is recommended for better results.

2. Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso Machine: Runner-Up


The Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso Machine offers a delightful entry into the world of home-brewed espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes, catering to both beginners and seasoned coffee enthusiasts alike.

This machine stands out for its simplicity, efficiency, and the ability to use either espresso pods or ground espresso, making it versatile for various tastes and preferences.

The heart of its brewing capability lies in the 15-bar Italian pump, which ensures optimal pressure for extracting rich, full-flavored espresso with a satisfying crema on top.

Setting up the Hamilton Beach 40792 is a breeze, thanks to its user-friendly design.

The patented Slide & Lock portafilter easily slides into place from the front of the machine and locks on the side, eliminating the hassle often associated with more complex espresso machines.

This feature, along with straightforward instructions, makes achieving cafe-quality results at home practically effortless.

Another notable feature is the swiveling steam wand, which allows for the steaming and frothing of milk to create delicious cappuccinos and lattes.

Additionally, the machine includes a cup warmer to keep your cups at the perfect temperature until it’s time to serve.

This attention to detail ensures that each cup of espresso or coffee beverage you make will be served at its best.

However, the machine does have its limitations.

The steam wand, while adequate for heating milk, falls short of producing the microfoam necessary for professional-grade latte art.

This may disappoint those looking to replicate the full coffee shop experience at home.

Furthermore, while the coffee produced is tasty, it may lack the complexity and depth that espresso aficionados seek from their shots.

Some users have also reported issues with crystallization in the portafilter, which could affect the longevity and performance of the machine.


  • Versatile, allowing for the use of both espresso pods and ground espresso.
  • 15-bar Italian pump ensures excellent extraction and crema.
  • Easy setup with the patented Slide & Lock portafilter.
  • Swiveling steam wand for steaming and frothing milk.
  • The cup warmer keeps cups ready for serving.
  • BPA-free construction for health-conscious users.


  • Steam wand may not produce high-quality microfoam.
  • The coffee flavor might lack complexity for some tastes.
  • Issues with crystallization in the portafilter could arise.

3. Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine: Best Value For Money


The Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine offers a straightforward, budget-friendly option for coffee lovers looking to enjoy lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos from the comfort of their homes.

Despite being steam-powered—a method often criticized for potentially burning coffee and not delivering the richest espresso flavor—this machine is celebrated for its great value and ease of use, particularly for those new to home espresso brewing.

With a 12oz capacity, the Capresso 303.01 can brew up to 4 cups of coffee at once, making it ideal for small gatherings or for a coffee enthusiast who enjoys multiple servings.

The machine’s simple controls and Panarello milk wand facilitate milk frothing, though with less precision than more advanced machines.

Its steam power provides robust steam for frothing milk but may lead to a burnt taste if not carefully monitored.

However, the coffee strength adjustment feature allows users to tailor their brew to personal preferences, enhancing its appeal.

Safety is a key aspect of the Capresso 303.01, featuring a boiler cap with a safety valve and a portafilter designed with a thumb guard to prevent accidents.

Its compact size and lightweight design make it a convenient addition to any kitchen, though its matte black plastic exterior may require regular dusting to maintain its appearance.

Priced under $100, this machine is an accessible entry point into the world of espresso making, though it may not satisfy those seeking a coffee shop-level espresso experience.

Cleaning is straightforward, with most parts being dishwasher safe, though hand washing is recommended to preserve their longevity.

While alternatives like the Wacaco Nanopresso and DeLonghi Stilosa may offer different benefits, such as portability or potentially superior espresso quality, the Capresso 303.01 holds its ground as a quick and efficient option for brewing multiple cups of espresso or cappuccino.


  • Affordable, offering great value for money.
  • Simple controls and easy setup, suitable for beginners.
  • Compact design saves kitchen counter space.
  • Can brew 4 cups of espresso or cappuccino quickly.
  • Adjustable coffee strength to suit personal tastes.
  • Safety features like boiler cap with safety valve and thumb guard on portafilter.
  • Easy to clean, with dishwasher-safe parts.


  • Milk frothing lacks precision compared to more advanced machines.
  • The exterior shows dust easily and requires regular cleaning.
  • Some users report durability issues over time.

4. De’Longhi Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine: Best for Convenience


The De’Longhi Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine is a compact, user-friendly addition to the Nespresso OriginalLine of capsule-based espresso machines.

Known for its simplicity and efficiency, the Inissia is designed for those who want to enjoy high-quality espresso at home without the complexity and maintenance of traditional espresso machines.

It’s particularly appealing for its quick heat-up time, ease of use, and the convenience of Nespresso capsules.

The Inissia operates with a powerful 19-bar pump, ensuring optimal extraction of the rich espresso flavors Nespresso capsules are known for.

Unlike the VertuoLine, which uses Centrifusion technology, the OriginalLine Inissia relies on this high-pressure pump to extract espresso, resulting in a hotter and more authentic espresso experience.

Additionally, the lack of a barcode scanning system means users can enjoy a wider range of less-expensive, third-party capsules, adding to its appeal.

This machine boasts a 24 oz water reservoir, allowing for multiple servings without the need for frequent refills, and can hold up to 10 used capsules, reducing the need for constant cleanup.

Its two programmable brew buttons make customizing shot size straightforward, catering to personal preferences for espresso or lungo brews.

However, it lacks a preset button for Americanos, a feature found in some other models like the Essenza Plus.

For milk-based beverages, while the Inissia doesn’t come with built-in milk frothing capabilities, pairing it with the Aeroccino4 milk frother (sold separately or as part of a bundle) allows for an expanded range of coffee creations.

Despite its many conveniences, the Inissia has some limitations.

It’s not equipped for brewing larger cups of coffee and lacks built-in milk accessories, which might deter those looking to make lattes or cappuccinos directly.

Additionally, its somewhat loud operation and less sturdy build could be potential drawbacks for some users.


  • Compact and lightweight, ideal for small spaces.
  • Quick heat-up time and easy to use with just two buttons.
  • Compatible with a wide range of Nespresso Original capsules.
  • Affordable, making it an accessible option for high-quality espresso at home.
  • Features a 9-minute auto-off function to save energy.
  • Allows for some customization with espresso and lungo buttons.


  • Limited to making espresso and lungo sizes; cannot brew larger cups of coffee.
  • No built-in milk frothing capabilities for direct latte or cappuccino making.
  • The machine is somewhat loud and may feel less durable.

5. Capresso EC100 Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine: Best for Quick Heating


The Capresso EC100 Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine offers a delightful blend of functionality, affordability, and style for coffee enthusiasts looking to bring the café experience into their homes.

Since its inception in the 1990s, Capresso has been synonymous with quality coffee machines and accessories, and the EC100 is no exception.

Designed with both beginners and small households in mind, this machine strikes a balance between ease of use and the ability to produce barista-style espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos.

Featuring a robust 15-bar pressure pump and a thermoblock heating system, the EC100 ensures optimal temperature and pressure for extracting rich, flavorful espresso.

Its dual frother system caters to both cappuccinos and lattes, allowing for versatility in milk texturing.

The machine also boasts a 46oz water reservoir, reducing the frequency of refills, and a warming platform to keep your espresso at the perfect temperature.

Compact in design, the EC100 measures 11.75″ tall by 8.25″ wide by 10.25″ deep, making it an ideal choice for kitchens where counter space is at a premium.

Despite its small footprint, the machine does not compromise on quality, with its mostly stainless steel exterior adding a touch of elegance to any setting.

However, it’s worth noting that the machine may not be suited for heavy use over time, as some users have reported a decrease in espresso quality.

The Capresso EC100 is praised for its quick heating system, which efficiently heats water within a minute after the initial 2-minute heat-up time.

This feature, combined with simple dial and push-button operation, makes the machine user-friendly and accessible to those new to home espresso brewing.

While the machine is capable of using both espresso grounds and pods, for the best quality espresso, freshly ground beans are recommended.


  • Affordable and offers great value for money.
  • Compact and stylish, suitable for small spaces.
  • Dual frother for versatility in milk texturing.
  • Quick heating system for efficient brewing.
  • Easy to use with simple dial and push-button operation.
  • Removable water tank for easy cleaning and refilling.
  • Compatible with both espresso grounds and pods.


  • Not designed for heavy use or serving large groups.
  • Limited cup height accommodation.
  • Some users report issues with the pump and filter basket.

6. DeLonghi EC5 Steam-Driven Espresso and Coffee Maker: Best For Simultaneous Cups


The DeLonghi EC5 Steam-Driven Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is a compact and user-friendly appliance designed for coffee enthusiasts looking to enjoy homemade espresso and cappuccino.

This machine, with its steam processing and safety features, offers a convenient and safe way to brew up to four cups of your favorite coffee beverages at a time.

Its swivel jet frother is specifically designed to produce the thick froth that is essential for a perfect cappuccino, enhancing the overall coffee-making experience.

Featuring an 8.5 oz. heat-resistant glass carafe, the DeLonghi EC5 ensures durability and user safety, allowing for easy monitoring of the brewing process.

The machine’s simple yet elegant design makes it a versatile addition to any kitchen, whether your decor is classic or contemporary.

With dimensions of 11″ by 11″ by 8″, it occupies minimal counter space, making it ideal for small kitchens.

The DeLonghi EC5 comes with a one-year limited warranty, providing peace of mind and assurance of quality.

However, some users have reported challenges with the frother’s performance, leading to the need for a separate frothing pitcher.

Additionally, the steaming wand may require a learning curve to manage effectively, though it reportedly becomes easier with practice.

The instructions included with the machine have also been noted as confusing by some, which could impact the initial setup and use.

Despite these issues, the DeLonghi EC5 is praised for its quick and efficient operation, allowing users to enjoy espresso and cappuccino without the wait or expense of a coffee shop visit.

Its affordability, combined with the practicality of making two servings simultaneously, makes it a worthwhile investment for coffee lovers.


  • Easy to use for making espresso and cappuccino at home.
  • Features steam processing and a safety cap for safe operation.
  • Swivel jet frother produces thick froth for cappuccinos.
  • The heat-resistant glass carafe is durable and ensures safety.
  • Compact design fits well in both classic and contemporary kitchens.
  • Affordable, offering good value for its features.
  • Capable of making two servings simultaneously.


  • Some users report the frother does not perform well, necessitating a separate purchase.
  • The steaming wand can be difficult to manage initially.
  • Instructions provided with the machine may be confusing.

7. Cuisinart EM-100NP1 1.66 Quart Espresso Maker: Best For Hot Water


The Cuisinart EM-100 is a versatile and user-friendly appliance designed for coffee enthusiasts who appreciate the convenience and quality of homemade espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, and more.

This low-end pump espresso machine is noted for its compact design, ease of use, and the ability to pull two shots simultaneously.

Its steam wand with swivel functionality and single knob control for steam adds to its appeal, although the absence of a single “Brew Espresso” button means brew time is manual rather than automatic.

With a 53 oz water reservoir, the EM-100 is well-suited for larger households or frequent use without constant refilling.

The machine’s heft suggests durability, and it includes a cup warmer capable of warming four cups at once, though its utility may be questioned by some.

The machine’s ability to brew using both ground coffee and ESE pods, coupled with a powerful 15-bar pump, ensures maximum flavor extraction, offering versatility and convenience to users.

The Cuisinart EM-100 features stainless steel construction, adding a touch of elegance to any kitchen countertop.

Its large, removable water reservoir and drip tray facilitate easy cleaning and maintenance.

The machine comes equipped with single shot, double shot, and ESE pod baskets, allowing for a variety of brewing options.

User-friendly controls, including a large function knob for brewing and steaming/hot water output and a smaller knob for selecting steam or hot water dispensation, make the operation straightforward for beginners.

Despite its many positives, some users have reported issues with the durability of the frothing wand, and the machine’s weight may make it cumbersome to move.

Additionally, it is recommended to empty the water reservoir daily to prevent hard water stains and mold.


  • Compact and easy to use, suitable for beginners.
  • Can brew with both ground coffee and ESE pods for versatility.
  • Powerful 15-bar pump for maximum flavor extraction.
  • Large 53 oz water reservoir is suitable for larger households or frequent use.
  • Includes a stainless steel steam wand and frothing pitcher for café-style drinks.
  • Removable drip tray and water reservoir for easy cleaning.
  • Features a cup warming tray to pre-heat coffee cups.


  • Manual brew time control may be inconvenient for some users.
  • Frothing wand durability has been questioned by some users.
  • Daily emptying of the water reservoir is recommended to prevent staining and mold.

8. De’Longhi BAR32 Retro 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker: Best Design


The De’Longhi BAR32 Retro stands out in the market for its affordability, functionality, and charming retro design.

Initially overshadowed by its sibling, the De’Longhi EC155, due to price considerations, the BAR32 has since become a favored option as its price dropped to under $100.

This pump-driven machine is celebrated for its ability to produce rich-tasting espresso with a desirable crema top, a feature that steam-driven machines often struggle to achieve.

One of the key advantages of the BAR32 is its effective steam wand, which allows for the creation of lattes and cappuccinos with ease.

However, users might find the wand’s placement a bit low, necessitating the machine to be positioned at the counter’s edge for more convenient access.

It’s also recommended to remove the plastic attachment on the steam wand to enhance its longevity and performance.

To ensure the BAR32 continues to operate efficiently, regular maintenance is crucial.

This includes using pure water and conducting frequent cleanings.

Additionally, the machine requires a warm-up period before use, which is a common characteristic among espresso machines but may be a minor inconvenience for some users.

The compact size of the BAR32 means that only shot glasses or small cups can be used for espressos, which might limit options for serving sizes.

Despite its compactness, the machine’s portafilter and filter basket design have been noted as a drawback.

The larger filter basket is too small for a strong, flavorful double shot, necessitating a very fine grind and multiple single shots to achieve a satisfactory cappuccino.

This process can be more cumbersome than some users might prefer.

Furthermore, the portafilter requires careful handling to ensure proper alignment and avoid issues with water flow.


  • Affordable price point, making it an accessible pump-driven espresso machine.
  • Capable of producing strong, crema-topped espresso.
  • Effective steam wand for making lattes and cappuccinos.
  • Compact design suitable for small kitchen spaces.
  • The charming retro aesthetic that adds character to kitchen decor.


  • Steam wand placement may be inconvenient for some users.
  • Limited to using shot glasses or small cups due to its size.
  • Challenges in achieving a strong, flavorful double shot due to the small filter basket.
  • Care is needed when attaching the portafilter to avoid misalignment.

Key Features to Look for in Espresso Machines Under $150

When shopping for an espresso machine with a budget of under $150, it’s essential to know which features can make or break your coffee experience.

While affordability is a key factor, several other aspects determine the quality of espresso you can expect from your machine.

Let’s explore the critical features to consider when selecting the perfect budget-friendly espresso machine for your needs.

Pressure Capabilities

One of the most crucial factors in brewing a rich and flavorful espresso is the pressure applied during extraction.

Look for machines that offer a pressure pump of at least 15 bars.

This level of pressure is ideal for extracting all the oils and flavors from the coffee grounds, ensuring a robust and crema-rich shot of espresso.

While higher-end machines may boast even greater pressure capabilities, a 15-bar pump in a budget machine is a sign of quality and efficiency.

Durability and Build Quality

Even at a lower price point, you shouldn’t have to compromise on the durability and build quality of your espresso machine.

Seek out models constructed with sturdy materials that feel solid and reliable.

Stainless steel components, in particular, are desirable for their longevity and resistance to wear and tear.

A well-built machine not only lasts longer but also maintains consistent performance over time, providing more value for your investment.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

For many coffee lovers, the appeal of home espresso machines lies in their convenience.

Look for models that are straightforward to operate, with intuitive controls and clear instructions.

Machines that feature removable parts, such as water tanks and drip trays, make cleaning and maintenance much simpler.

Regular cleaning is essential for keeping your machine in top condition and ensuring the quality of your espresso remains high.

Pod Compatibility vs. Ground Coffee

Your preference for using coffee pods or ground coffee will significantly influence your choice of espresso machine.

Some budget-friendly models are compatible with ESE (Easy Serve Espresso) pods, offering convenience and quick cleanup.

However, if you prefer the freshness and customization options of ground coffee, ensure the machine includes a quality portafilter and allows for manual tamping.

Deciding between pod compatibility and ground coffee use is a matter of personal preference and lifestyle considerations.

Water Tank Capacity

The size of the machine’s water tank determines how many espresso shots you can pull before needing a refill.

For those who entertain guests or drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the day, a larger water tank (at least 30 ounces) is a practical feature.

It reduces the frequency of refills and ensures you can brew several servings of espresso or cappuccinos in one go.

Compact machines may have smaller tanks, which is a trade-off for saving counter space.

How to Get the Best Espresso from Your Machine

Owning an espresso machine is just the beginning of your journey to achieving that perfect cup of espresso at home.

To truly unlock the potential of your machine and enjoy café-quality espresso, there are several key practices to follow.

From grinding beans to tamping and regular maintenance, let’s dive into how you can get the best espresso from your machine, ensuring every cup is as delightful as the one from your favorite coffee shop.

The Art of Grinding Beans

The grind of your coffee beans plays a pivotal role in the quality of your espresso.

For the best results, use a burr grinder to achieve a fine, consistent grind.

Burr grinders offer superior precision compared to blade grinders, ensuring your coffee grounds are uniform in size, which is crucial for even extraction.

Aim for a grind size that resembles table salt in texture.

Remember, freshly ground beans are key to capturing the full flavor profile of your coffee, so grind your beans just before brewing whenever possible.

Mastering the Tamp

Tamping is the act of compacting your coffee grounds into the portafilter, and it requires a bit of technique to get right.

The goal is to create an even, level surface that allows water to pass through the coffee at a consistent rate.

Start by filling your portafilter with freshly ground coffee, then use a tamper to press down firmly and evenly.

Apply about 30 pounds of pressure—enough to compact the grounds but not so much that you restrict the water flow.

An uneven tamp can lead to channeling, where water finds the path of least resistance, resulting in an under-extracted shot.

Regular Machine Maintenance

Keeping your espresso machine clean and well-maintained is essential for both the longevity of the machine and the quality of your espresso.

Follow these maintenance tips to keep your machine in top condition:

  • Daily Cleaning: After each use, clean any coffee residue from the portafilter and group head. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the machine’s exterior and the steam wand. For machines with a removable drip tray, empty and rinse it daily.
  • Descaling: Over time, mineral deposits from water can build up in your machine, affecting its performance and the taste of your espresso. Descaling involves running a special solution through your machine to remove these deposits. The frequency of descaling depends on the hardness of your water and how often you use your machine, but aiming for every 2-3 months is a good rule of thumb.
  • Water Quality: Use filtered or bottled water in your espresso machine to reduce mineral buildup and ensure your espresso tastes its best. Hard water can lead to faster scaling, while soft water can produce a flat-tasting espresso.
  • Steam Wand Care: After frothing milk, always purge the steam wand to remove any milk residue inside. Soak the tip of the wand in a cup of warm water if needed to loosen any stubborn milk particles.

Accessories to Enhance Your Espresso Experience

While a good espresso machine is the cornerstone of a great home coffee setup, the right accessories can significantly enhance your espresso experience.

From achieving the perfect grind to serving your espresso in style, let’s explore some essential accessories that will elevate your coffee game to new heights.


As mentioned earlier, a high-quality grinder is arguably as important as the espresso machine itself.

The grind size and consistency are critical factors in extracting the full flavor from your coffee beans.

For espresso, a burr grinder is highly recommended over a blade grinder, as it provides a consistent, fine grind necessary for a rich and balanced shot.

Look for a grinder with adjustable settings, allowing you to fine-tune the grind size to match your espresso machine’s requirements and your taste preferences.

Investing in a good grinder is investing in the foundation of your espresso’s flavor.


The tamp directly affects the extraction process, making a well-designed tamper an indispensable tool for any espresso enthusiast.

A quality tamper should fit snugly in your portafilter, allowing for even and consistent pressure across the coffee puck.

Opt for a tamper made from stainless steel or another heavy material, as the weight aids in applying the necessary pressure without excessive force.

Some tampers come with a flat base, while others have a slight convex shape; the choice between them is largely personal preference, but both aim to ensure an even extraction.

Frothing Pitchers

For lovers of lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based espresso drinks, a frothing pitcher is essential.

The best frothing pitchers are made from stainless steel, which conducts heat efficiently, allowing you to gauge the milk’s temperature as it heats.

The shape of the pitcher also matters; a pitcher with a narrower bottom and a wider top promotes effective milk swirling and frothing.

Look for a pitcher with a spout designed for pouring latte art if you’re interested in adding a creative touch to your beverages.

Espresso Cups

The right espresso cup does more than just hold your coffee; it can enhance the overall drinking experience.

Espresso cups, traditionally made from thick ceramic or porcelain, retain heat well, keeping your espresso warm.

The shape of the cup, particularly one with a rounded bottom, can also influence the espresso’s crema, enriching its texture and flavor.

For those who appreciate aesthetics, espresso cups come in various designs and colors, allowing you to personalize your coffee ritual further.

The Verdict: Best Espresso Machine Under $150

After careful consideration and comparison of features, performance, and user feedback, we’ve chosen the DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine as the best espresso machine under $150.

Its standout qualities include a powerful 15-bar pressure pump for rich and flavorful espresso, versatility in using both ground coffee and ESE pods, and an affordable price point that doesn’t compromise on quality or functionality.

The inclusion of a durable stainless steel boiler and the ability to produce creamy froth for cappuccinos and lattes further solidify its position as the top choice for coffee enthusiasts seeking great value.

The Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso Machine earns its place as the runner-up with its impressive features like the 15-bar Italian pump, easy setup, and the capability to brew using both espresso pods or ground coffee.

Its swiveling steam wand and cup-warming feature add convenience and enhance the coffee-making experience.


Is DeLonghi or Breville better?

Choosing between DeLonghi and Breville often comes down to personal preference, as both brands offer high-quality espresso machines with unique features.

DeLonghi machines are known for their Italian design, ease of use, and affordability, making them a great choice for beginners and those on a budget.

Breville, on the other hand, tends to offer more advanced features, customizable settings, and a slightly higher price point, appealing to coffee enthusiasts looking to experiment with their brews.

Ultimately, the best brand for you depends on your specific needs, budget, and the features you value most in an espresso machine.

Can a cheap espresso machine make good coffee?

Yes, a cheap espresso machine can indeed make good coffee.

Advances in technology and competitive pricing have made it possible for lower-priced models to offer features once reserved for higher-end machines, such as adequate pressure for extraction and options for steam frothing.

While these machines may lack some of the customization and longevity of more expensive models, they can still produce a satisfying espresso shot and are a great entry point for those new to home espresso brewing.

How much should you pay for an espresso machine?

The amount you should pay for an espresso machine depends on your coffee preferences, the features you desire, and how frequently you plan to use it.

For casual users or beginners, machines under $150 can provide a satisfactory experience.

Those looking for more customization and higher quality may consider mid-range options between $200 and $500.

Serious enthusiasts and connoisseurs might look at high-end machines starting from $500 and up, offering superior build quality, precision, and longevity.

Is it worth getting an espresso machine?

For coffee lovers who appreciate the taste of freshly brewed espresso, investing in an espresso machine can be worth it.

Not only does it allow you to enjoy barista-quality coffee at home, but it can also save you money in the long run by reducing frequent visits to coffee shops.

Additionally, having an espresso machine offers the convenience and pleasure of experimenting with different coffee recipes and brewing techniques.

What are the 2 main machines used when making espresso coffee?

The two main types of machines used for making espresso are manual (lever) espresso machines and automatic espresso machines.

Manual machines require the user to physically pull a lever to generate the pressure needed for extraction, offering a hands-on, traditional brewing experience.

Automatic machines, which include semi-automatic, fully automatic, and super-automatic variants, use electric pumps to automate the pressure application, making the process easier and more consistent.

Is Nespresso actually espresso?

Yes, Nespresso machines brew coffee that is very similar to traditional espresso.

They use a high-pressure extraction process to produce coffee with a rich flavor and a creamy layer of crema on top, akin to what you would expect from a conventional espresso machine.

However, purists might note differences in taste and texture due to the use of pre-packaged capsules and variations in brewing technology.

What’s the difference between a coffee machine and an espresso machine?

The main difference between a coffee machine and an espresso machine lies in their brewing methods and the type of coffee they produce.

Coffee machines, including drip coffee makers and French presses, typically brew coffee by allowing hot water to pass through ground coffee, resulting in a lighter, more voluminous cup.

Espresso machines, on the other hand, use high pressure to force hot water through finely ground coffee, producing a concentrated, rich shot of coffee with a distinctive crema.

How long do espresso machines last?

The lifespan of an espresso machine varies based on its build quality, maintenance, and frequency of use.

Generally, a well-maintained machine from a reputable brand can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.

Regular cleaning, descaling, and proper use can significantly extend the life of your machine, ensuring you enjoy high-quality espresso for years to come.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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