It can be really tricky to find the best espresso machine. It can be challenging to find the right espresso machine because there are various types of them out there. So it is hard to find the one that suits you, and more importantly, the one that makes the best coffee.
By writing this guide, we have made your job a little easier. Here we will write about all the different types of machines, and at the end of the article, we will list some of the best espresso machines 2020 under $100.
Different Types of Espresso Machines
You can find three main types of machines
- Coffee Pod Machines
- Automatic or Semi-automatic Espresso Machines
- Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
Every one of these coffee machines is offering different experiences in making coffee and requires different skills for their use. Coffee Pod and Super-automatic machines are the ones that don’t require a lot of barista skills, while on the other side we have the semi-automatic one that needs you to at least know some general stuff about milk steaming techniques and espresso extraction.
Automatic or Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
When you are going for your first serious machine for espresso, then you should consider getting the automatic or semi-automatic one, that is usually what everyone else goes for. What is the difference between these two?
The Automatic one doesn’t give you the control of the pump, while the semi-automatic one does. The control over the pump is crucial it gives you the ability to switch off the water flow the machine extracts the espresso. This is useful you can have a perfect shot of espresso earlier, and you don’t want to dilute its taste by adding more water. Both of these types are hands-on, the only difference is the pump.
You can find 3 subclasses for the automatic and semi-automatic espresso machine that can make an influence on the price.
Dual Use, Single Boiler Machines:
When it comes to the cheapest options of the automatic and semi-automatic espresso machines, these are the ones you should look for. They have two or more thermostats that are inside and only one boiler. One of the thermostats controls the water used for brewing the other one controls the temperature of the water that is used for milk steaming. There is a flip you have to switch in order to change from coffee brewing to milk steaming.
Heat Exchange, Single Boiler Machines:
These types of espresso machines usually have a price above $1000. They have a large boiler that is used to heat the water to an ideal temperature for milk steaming, while the heat exchange makes sure that the machine produces the best temperature for coffee brewing. These mechanisms allow simultaneous espresso extraction and steaming.
Dual Boiler Machines:
Among these three types, this one is the most expensive one because of the two boilers. It is close to impossible to find this type under $2000, even though there are a few of them. The reason behind its cost is because it has two boilers.
This type of design allows independent heating for both the espresso extraction and steam production which offers customization and consistent results. It also gives you the possibility to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
Make a cup of coffee by pressing just one button. This type of espresso machine does all the job for you. It makes the drink, pulls the espresso, grinds the coffee and steams the milk. Your only job is to supply the cup, even though you can find one that also does this too.
The coffee this machine produces is not like the one created by the semi-automatic machine, but still, it is decent. Still, we would recommend a semi-automatic machine over this one. As we have already tested, the semi-automatic coffee machine will always make a better drink.
Even though it produces worse drinks then the semi-automatic machine, it still has its place in the world. The best place for these machines is in the office because they are prominent and are very easy to maintain. The point of this machine is to have a device that will make coffee for you without any hassle.
Coffee Pod Machines
These kinds of coffee machines have become very popular lately. This coffee machine makes coffee from capsules that contain coffee grind or pre-prepared coffee shots. These coffee capsules can be bought separately, but still, they are cheap costing around 50 cents.
This kind of coffee machine will never be as good as the manual or semi-automatic one if you compare the quality and the taste of the coffee. But its simplicity in terms of design and the fact that they are easy to use have made a revolution in the experience of domestic coffee. Because of all this, coffee pods can make coffee that has a decent taste for a very low price. Some of them are even cheaper than $100.
What Else To Look For
The quality of build
The most important thing you need to pay attention to when buying espresso machines is the materials that it is made out of. Is it out of stainless steel or plastic? Does it break easily? These are all critical stuff you need to look out for. Often, the quality of the build is related to the price of the device. If it is made out of better materials, then it will cost more. When it is made out of better materials, then it will make better coffee and last longer.
This is also an essential thing. The first thing you have to look for is that it has all the right features you need. As an example, if you want a semi-automatic machine, you are maybe looking for one that has the ability to tell you the temp of the boiler, or perhaps you want levers, switches, and nobs that are quality made. Also, you maybe want a drip tray that is big, so another thing to pay attention to. Therefore, there are many variables you have to look for when buying one for yourself.
As for the price, you can find cheap ones and also expensive ones. We believe that when buying one, you should definitely go for the best quality ones because they will last longer and you won’t have to invest in them overtime for repairs. So it is better to spend a little more money when buying a brand new coffee machine.
The best thing about espresso machines is that if you buy a good one, it can’t be replaced easily. It will always make good coffee.
Now, let us get to the second part of the article where we will list you some of the top-rated espresso machines under $100.
DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
This machine has a weight of 9 pounds and the measures of 8x11x10. It is a compact machine that will perfectly fit your breakfast nook, kitchen countertop, or coffee bar. A great device that can be used in your office or your home.
Because of the fact that this device has a dual filter holder, you can brew your espresso really fast as it has the option of brewing ESE pods. If you are more of a cappuccino person than this machine can also make a great cappuccino for you because it has a jet frother that is easy to use. It enables you to make some delicious cappuccino with steamed foamy milk.
This machine can also brew at two different thermostats at the same time, which makes it possible for you to enjoy cappuccino and espresso at the perfect temperature.
Espresso machine other features
There are other features this machine offers like the self-priming option which makes the preparation easy. It is durable, made out of high-quality materials, and it has a boiler made out of stainless steel and a pump pressure of 15 bar. The water tank is removable, and it holds 35 ounces and has an indicator light. This espresso machine has a removable drip tray. Cleaning all those removable parts is easy. It has a cup warmer which can make sure that your coffee is at the right temperature.
Still, having all of these features don’t make it perfect. It has some downsides. Some more savvy customers have complained about the frothing wand and the grounds basket. According to them, after making a cup of espresso, a liquid is left in the basket which produces a wetter puck. This happens because of the fact that the basket is a little too close to the drip tray. The other thing they complained about is the fact that the frothing wand is too short.
More than 4,700 users on Amazon rate this machine, and it has an astonishing rating of 4 out of 5 stars. This espresso machine is one of the best selling semi-automatic machines out there which makes it the best budget espresso machine.
- 15 bar pump pressure
- Self-priming operation
- Boiler made out of stainless steel
- Swivel jet frother
- Easy to clean
- 35 ounces water tank(removable)
- One year warranty
- Frothing wand too short
- Grounds basket to close to the tray
Philips SAECO Poemia Espresso Machine
This isn’t one of the cheapest espresso machines on our list, but on the other hand, when it comes to the feature that it offers you mustn’t overlook it. It weighs 10 pounds and has a size of 11.7 x 10.4 x 7.9. Not only does it function wonderfully, but it is also aesthetically very pleasing which means that it can fit very well in your kitchen or office.
This Philips espresso machine is equipped with patented portafilters that are enabling the most effective usage of the brewing pressure. This results in delicious and proper brewed coffee every time. These patented portafilters come with ESE pod adapter which has a filter basket that allows you to brew coffee using prepackaged shots for an easy and quick experience.
If you like well-balanced cappuccinos or forthy lattes, this espresso machine has a Pannarello steam wand. This feature gives you more control over how you want the frothed milk to turn out, and thereby you can make amazingly delicious drinks.
This device also has a warming tray that keeps your drink warm until you drink it. This also allows you to warm up the cup before brewing, this way you can make sure that your latte is extra hot.
If you are wondering about the cleaning, it is effortless with this espresso machine. This is because it has a lot of removable parts such as the frothing nozzle, drip tray, filter, and the frothing tip.
If you are wondering about the downsides of this espresso machine, then there aren’t any. Most of the consumers find it reliable and easy to use, which is kind of a surprise.
- 15 bar pump
- Cup warmer made out of stainless steel
- 15 bar pump and pressurized filter for high-quality extraction
- Panarello steam wand
- Removable water tank and drip tray
- Easy for cleaning
- Consumers haven’t complained about anything yet
Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
This espresso and cappuccino machine weighs only 9 pounds, and it has a size of 11.4 x 13.7 x 13. It is designed to maximize its space, and it is a perfect addition to your kitchen with its excellent functionality and aesthetics. It is ranked as the best cheap espresso machine under $100.
This espresso machine gives you full control over the foam because it has a powerful milk frother built inside of it which makes it perfect for people who are confident about the coffee they are drinking.
With this machine, you can brew coffee faster than with any other at this price. That is because it has a thermal block heater which makes it possible to brew espressos and cappuccinos quicker. This is a great feature that suits people who are always in a hurry, but they still like drinking high quality and delicious coffee.
It comes with a removable drip tray and water tank. Therefore you don’t have to worry about the cleaning is time-consuming. This feature makes maintenance a lot easier.
The best thing about this espresso machine is its ability to brew well-balanced espresso perfectly, and this is possible because it has a 15 bar pressure pump which is made out of the best materials.
As for the downsides, customers haven’t complained about anything yet, and because of that, it has a fantastic rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
- Thermal block heating system
- Dual shot brewing
- The 40-ounce water tank that is removable
- Powerful milk frother
- Drip tray that is removable
- One-touch steam controls and brew
- Made in the USA
- Cream ends up bubbly
- Fine grounds clog the portafilter
Keurig K55 Single Serve Programmable K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker
This is a fantastic coffee machine that is well designed in a classic style. The usage of this machine is straightforward. You turn the brewer on with just a push of a button, all you need is to wait a minute before it heats itself. You can follow the brewing and heating on an LCD light display. It turns blue when it is ready to brew coffee.
This machine can hold three different sizes of cups: large that hold 9.25 ounces, small which hold 5.25 ounces and medium which hold 7.25 ounces.
The machine will start brewing the coffee when you choose the setting which you want, and all you have to do is add water.
The water tank is significant, and it holds 48 ounces which means that you won’t have to refill it constantly. As for the cleaning, it is effortless due to the removable drip tray which can easily be wiped with only a damp cloth. It can also be cleaned with vinegar.
A great feature of this machine is its possibility to use K-cup pods which are easily found in stores. But we also had some success with non-K Cup pods that are similar in size.
This espresso machine is also great for making coffee with different flavors. You can almost feel no difference in the taste between two separate sessions of brewing.
The only complaint made about this espresso machine is its size. It is a little bit bulky which means that it will take more of your space in the kitchen, but still, this isn’t that big of a deal looking at all of its different features.
- Multiple cup sizes
- Removable drip tray
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- The water tank that holds 48 ounces
- There were some complaints that it is a little bit too bulky
Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker
This espresso machine is initially made in Italy; therefore you can be sure that you are getting your money worth. This device can brew 2 ounces of espresso per cup in only 5 minutes and less. The best thing is that the coffee isn’t just made fast, it is also dense and rich with flavor.
The boiler has a capacity of 25 ounces which means that you won’t have to refill it very often. It also has a safety valve which is patented. And the great thing about this is that you can remove it in order to clean the machine which is actually a little impressive.
It is made out of aluminum that is polished, and it is high in quality. The fact that it isn’t made out of stainless steel means that over more extended periods of time it will corrode.
The process of brewing is made really easy with this machine. If you are looking for a velvety texture, be sure to use cold water, not warm. When making coffee, make sure that you are putting it on a small flame, not a big one. You will only have to wait 5 minutes before the coffee is ready.
In order for the water to pass through the coffee grounds quickly, make sure that they are not too coarse. The best thing to use for brewing coffee in this maker are beans that are freshly ground.
It will take the user a little bit more time to get it right because you have to manually tamp it. The main thing you need to be careful about is for the coffee not to gush out from the top but to smoothly ooze out.
- Original product made in Italy
- Perfect for brewing velvety espresso
- Classic operation
- Boiler with 25 ounces
- Aluminum will corrode with time
- It takes time to get the hang of it
This is a fantastic coffee maker, the only thing about it is that you have to practice to get the most amazing espresso.
Also useful: Bialetti brikka 2 cup review
It can be really hard for you to find the right espresso machine because of the vast number of them. But, the main things you have to pay attention to are your desires in what kind of coffee you like to drink, the way you can handle the espresso machines and the most important thing is the quality of the materials they are made out of. We know that it can be a pain to find the best ones for the amount of money you are ready to spend. We hope that with this article we have made your search a little easier.