Best Espresso Machine Under $200 - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

When you decide to take the plunge into having a homemade espresso drink instead of heading out to a coffee shop, the key to being sure that you are on the right path is getting the best espresso machine under $200.

Not everyone is ready to be a home barista, so spending a lot of money on an espresso machine is probably not the best idea. Instead, it is important to learn how to make espresso on a machine that doesn’t break the bank and allows you to refine your espresso palette and introduce yourself to the wonderful world of these drinks. Making sure that your espresso machine is reliable and will help you get better at making espresso is paramount to success when you start out.

Usually, if you love espresso you know that it’s time to invest in an espresso machine. Check out the table below for our top picks.

Why Espresso?

The simple answer – espresso is unbelievably enjoyable if you already love coffee. If you like coffee but want to kick it up a notch, the logical step is indulging in espresso.

On its own, a shot of espresso is quite the caffeinated drink. In fact, it boasts the highest concentration of caffeine. But that is not why you drink espresso – it is mostly about the taste and texture. This is why espresso is the base for more indulgent coffees such as caffe lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, café mochas, etc. Getting a great shot of espresso means that producing these types of drinks at home is easier than ever.

Because of the highly-concentrated taste, espresso is one of those things where you need to figure out for yourself what your preferences are. The right espresso machine has enough flexibility for you to refine your palette while at the same time giving you subtle guidance on how to most effectively make a good shot of espresso.

As you get more acquainted with espresso, a great idea would be to purchase porcelain espresso cups. They add to the experience of espresso and at a dinner party add to your sense of style.

#1 Mr. Coffee ECMP1000

Old friends are always the best of friends, and when we think about why, the reason for that is so very simple – old friends knew us before we ever achieved what we have now, and old friends were there during those troubling times. These old friends share our successes and celebrate our achievements. How does that relate to an espresso machine? Well, when you think of the name Mr. Coffee, you think of an old friend.

Of course, you usually don’t assign formal titles to your old friends like Mister, but as Amazon’s best-selling espresso machine you may be inclined to show a bit of respect. Why is this espresso machine doing so well? Like all things Mr. Coffee-related, it is unbelievably reliable. In fact, many people who become espresso aficionados choose this machine because the problems afflicting the more expensive machines are not present here.

Other great features of the Mr. Coffee include that it is a one button system. This means you don’t have to do all sorts of adjusting and messing around. Once you set up the machine, all you need to do is flick the switch and voila – espresso is made.

Perhaps the most underrated feature of the Mr. Coffee is that it’s easy to clean. The parts that go in the dishwasher are easy to assemble and the ones that don’t just require a damp rag. It doesn’t get easier than that! Except it does – the self-cleaning system makes it beyond easy to keep the internal parts in good working order.

The big drawback to the Mr. Coffee, however, is the reservoir plug sometimes leaks. This isn’t a big deal, because as long as your espresso machine is under warrantee, Mr. Coffee will replace it. If it is beyond warrantee, the parts are extremely affordable.

Overall, if you are looking to get started in the world of espresso, the Mr. Coffee is the best way to go.

Pros

  • Extremely reliable and lasts longer than machines twice its price
  • One touch system means all you need to do is flick a switch and you’re ready to go
  • Cleaning is unbelievably easy for accessories and the internal components

Cons

  • The reservoir plug has been known to leak, but Mr. Coffee is good about replacing it

#2 Ninja Coffee Bar Coffee Maker

Perhaps when you hear the word “ninja” you think of the ancient Japanese warriors renowned for their steal tactics and effectiveness at finishing the job. If you are a younger person, you may think of mutant turtles. However, if you are someone who fancies kitchen appliances that are as eye catching as mutant turtles and effective as the ancient Japanese warriors then you are well acquainted with Ninja and their various offerings.

The first thing you notice about the Ninja is the large water reservoir. Look, nothing is more annoying than having to constantly refill the reservoir, but Ninja makes it easy. You don’t have to do it nearly as much because of the large size. The other thing about the tank, it is really neat to look at, just like the whole appliance. Ninja clearly has the modern kitchen in mind with the espresso machine but the reservoir and other features are slight nods to the classic styles, meaning this appliance can work with any décor.

The other great feature is that you can get espresso or a regular cup of coffee. That’s right, the ninja does it all! You deserve an easy part of your day, and Ninja’s philosophy on this is reflected through the dual use of this particular machine.

Now, the Ninja is not beset with problems, but it does have problems that are worth noting. The first problem is to clean and descale the machine it takes 75 minutes. You literally need to be around this machine during this time, so bring the laptop into the kitchen to do work. The other issue is that Ninja’s customer service is not exactly the best at helping customers with problems, so if your Ninja isn’t working, good luck.

Ultimately, the Ninja is a great purchase because it can do a lot for you, so check it out, you will come away impressed.

Pros

  • Ninja has a great sense of style that works in any kitchen
  • Large water reservoir means that you don’t have to fill up this machine nearly as much as others
  • Convenience of making both espresso drinks and regular coffee drinks

Cons

  • The cleaning and descaling that you need to do takes a long time and requires your presence
  • Ninja’s customer service leaves much to be desired

#3 Excelvan CM6811

Simplicity is a virtue in an ever complicated world, however when you think of simplicity and you think of espresso, the two appear to be mutually exclusive. The reality is, however, that our world can exist with espresso that is espresso that is both wonderful and simple, and thanks to Excelvan this reality now comes to you at a very good price!

The first thing you notice about the excelvan is its size. This is not a large machine but it is a machine that gets the job done. You can fit it anywhere in the kitchen and still have enough room to have other appliances next to it such as the food processor or the toaster oven. Regardless of where you decide to place it, it’ll fit – no small feat in today’s modern kitchens.

The one-touch system is also a boon because it makes brewing espresso even easier than you may have thought possible. This machine does a great job taking the guesswork away. Another thing it does well is the cleaning, all of the items are dishwasher safe which means that you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing everything.

There are some problems with the Excelvan though, and the first of those problems is the milk frother is not all that powerful. Instead of getting foamed milk all you get is milk with mild agita. The other problem is reliability. Many people report that this particular espresso machine dies fairly quickly out of the box.

Ultimately, the Excelvan offers a lot to the aspiring home barista, and if you are looking for a cheap way to get espresso, this is a wonderful alternative.

Pros

  • Very small machine that can fit anywhere in the kitchen
  • One touch operation means that making espresso is as easy as it gets
  • Cleaning the machine is very easy as all the important parts are dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Milk frother is not powerful, so if you are looking to get the right finish to your latte, think again
  • This machine is not as reliable as the first two previously profiled

#4 De’Longhi EC702

In our modern lifestyle convenience is one of the most critically important components to any endeavor. When it comes to espresso, this is no different, and having the ability to get a great espresso without endeavoring much in the way to extraneous effort is certainly part and parcel of this important consideration and why the De’Longhi EC702 delights espresso enthusiasts.

Though it looks to be a very serious and complex device, the De’Longhi is actually all about simplicity. In fact, it is one of the few espresso makers that offers the capability for both ground coffee beans or the highly convenient pod systems. The best part is you suffer no lack of quality from using either system. De’Longhi engineered them to work seamlessly through their unique filter. Convenient? Heck yea!

When you get to the making of the espresso, De’Longhi also takes the guesswork out of it. The device self-primes and you can enjoy their easy espresso system to make consistent pulls every time. All you have to worry about is having a cup ready for your espresso drinks. The pod system also allows you to entertain seamlessly instead of having to spend lots of time having to work the machine to please your guests.

That being said, there are some issues with the De’Longhi that need to be addressed. The biggest one is durability. The De’Longhi does not last long – and this is possibly due to it being one of the lower cost espresso makers. The bottom line is there are plenty of stories of this unit failing within 18 months of purchase. Going along with that, because this unit does so much, it has lots of extra parts, and those parts tend to fail. It is not unheard of that the coffee drip function will stop working while the espresso keeps on going. This is why this unit is not necessarily recommended for people who are more enthusiastic baristas.

At the end of the day, the De’Longhi is great if you need convenience and something that can do multiple things, but reliability is an issue with a budget espresso machine.

Pros

  • Pods or grounds does not matter, this espresso machine can do it all
  • Unlike more expensive espresso machines, this one has very simple controls allowing convenience and efficiency
  • One of the best values on the market for all aspiring baristas

Cons

  • Tries to do too much and in doing so, doesn’t get everything exactly right
  • This device seems very cheaply made and perhaps that is why many people are reporting that it is failing

#5 Bella Personal Espresso Maker

When it comes to personalization, there is a lot to love about this idea. After all, human beings love being catered to, and having our own whims be put up on a pedestal is intoxicating. It is why the rich and powerful seek to stay rich and powerful. But, we are not dealing with sociology, we are dealing with espresso, and Bella’s goal is creating that personal espresso experience that you will love.

For the most part, Bella gets a lot right with their espresso machine. The biggest thing they get right is the design. The compact design is perfect for making sure that your espresso machine fits like a glove in your kitchen. This is no small feat – in fact many espresso makers are problems because they don’t contour to your life. But, as we stated earlier, Bella is all about you.

The other great features that Bella includes are the consistency. You get a good cup of espresso with this machine time and time again. This matters because for aspiring baristas there is nothing worse than trying to hone your craft and constantly getting different results. Another feature that people love is the milk frother. This frother has good power and properly steams your milk.

There are some issues with the Bella. The biggest is reliability. This machine simply does not last when compared to other more established espresso makers, which is a shame. The other issue is for some reason the drip pan isn’t removable. So, if your espresso somehow gets outside the cup, good luck cleaning it.

Bella does a lot of things right, but unless you are in love with this espresso machine it makes sense to go with the top picks in this category.

Pros

  • Compact design is perfect for any kitchen even those of a small apartment
  • Puts out a consistent cup of espresso so that you don’t have to deal with a steep learning curve
  • Milk frother has good power so you will get a great finish on your espresso

Cons

  • This espresso machine just is not reliable
  • The drip pan is not removable, so if you spill espresso in there it is an incredible pain to clean it.

The Espresso Process

The big difference between espresso and drip coffee comes from how the water is filtered through the grounds. The most important thing is having the finest possible grind for your espresso. When this happens, you can have an easier time forcing the water through and getting the most concentrated cup of espresso.

However, there’s more to it than just forcing the water through, there needs to be the right temperature and pressure. This will lead to a fuller, more concentrated espresso along with having the right level of crema topping it.

Having the right espresso machine means you get this process consistently repeating itself and thus, getting a great cup of espresso.

Conclusion

When you decide that having a great cup of espresso is something that will appreciably improve your life, that means you should start slow. The budget prices on these machines allow you to perfect your craft without having to lose too much out of your bank account.

Jill Scott
 

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