Buying an espresso machine can seem overwhelming, and choosing the right one can feel like a minefield. What’s the best espresso machine under $200?
So many questions need answers, but where do you start? Automatic espresso machine or manual? Ground coffee beans, pods, or Nespresso capsules? Do you need a milk frother or milk reservoir?
If you want a long answer short, the De’Longhi Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine is the best out of the five espresso machines we tested.
This espresso machine does most of the work for you with an electric pump and boiler but uses ground beans rather than pods and allows for necessary customization when it comes to the tamping and grind of the beans. It’s a great example of a durable, easy-to-clean, and quick-to-start espresso machine with a large removable water tank that’s easy to fill.
Keep reading to meet our top five picks under $200 and learn more about how to buy the best espresso machine for your lifestyle.
Top Five Best Espresso Machines Under $200
Our top five picks for espresso machines under $200.
- Dimensions: 7.25″ D x 9.6″ W x 11.9″ H
- Weight: 9.8 lbs
- 37-ounce transparent removable water tank
- Separate thermostats for tank and milk frother
- Self-priming for shorter start-up time
- Stainless steel housing
This espresso machine is our pick for the best espresso machine under $200, especially for beginners that have used an espresso machine before and are looking for a machine they can experiment on.
As soon as you take the espresso machine out of the box and plug it in, it’s ready to make a freshly brewed cup without any additional setup time. Experts and beginners will appreciate how easy it is to use and its low maintenance.
It’s quick to get to work thanks to a self-priming function that eliminates the need to run water through the boiler before you start brewing.
You can then take that extra time to heat or froth milk using the steam wand and one of the two presets (hot milk or cappuccino) or to grind and tamp the fresh ground coffee to pull a perfect shot.
Here is where an otherwise excellent espresso machine under $200 falls a bit because it comes with a plastic tamper that doesn’t pack the puck of grounds that well. Since tamping down the ground coffee evenly and tightly is vital to a great shot, you’ll probably want to replace it with a sturdier metal tamper.
What makes it the best choice for beginners that want to learn to make better espresso rather than experts is the limited amount of pressure you can exert–limited to fifteen bars–and doesn’t have an internal barometer.
Fifteen bars is plenty for most espresso machines, but more experienced baristas may feel they can’t do everything they want to if they can’t use less or more pressure. Beginners probably won’t notice a difference.
It also appeals to the dinner party host. If you like entertaining, the 37-ounce water tank is large enough for multiple espresso and coffee drinks. It’s also see-through, so you can see water levels and easily remove them to add more water.
Whether brewing espresso for a crowd or making your morning pick-me-up, the De’Longhi Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine has almost no learning curve. It allows for some customization in the grind size of the coffee grounds and offers a no-nonsense shot every time.
- Easy to clean
- Adjustable cup size with a removable drip tray
- Brews one or two shots or can use a high-quality espresso pod
- It doesn’t have an internal barometer
- Automatic milk frother creates large milk bubbles
- Plastic tamper
- Dimensions: 9″ D x 4.7″ W x 12.6″ H
- Weight: 5.3 lbs
- 0.7 L water tank
- 25-second heat-up time
- Energy-saving automatic shut off
- Single-serve pod-based
Sometimes you just want delicious espresso and don’t want to deal with grounds or tamping for each shot. That’s okay. Capsule and pod Nespresso machines still make great coffee.
The Nespresso Inissia is a capsule machine that uses pre-measured coffee capsules (either Nespresso brand or generic store brand) to deliver high-quality coffee of different flavors and origins in various flavors and intensities.
The Nespresso capsules are also recyclable, so you can feel good about using them without worrying about their environmental impact.
To use the Inissia, simply fill the water tank, insert a Nespresso capsule, and press the button corresponding to the size of coffee you want to brew. It will then subject the grounds to 19 bars of pressure for a consistently strong and smooth brew.
One button gives a single-serve lungo coffee of 5 ounces, similar to an Americano, and the other delivers a single 1.35-ounce shot. The machine will automatically stop when your drink is ready, and it’s energy efficient by design, with an automatic shut-off feature that turns off the machine after 9 minutes of inactivity.
The design of the Nespresso Inissia revolves around it being low-maintenance and easy to clean.
It has a removable water tank and drip tray, which makes it easy to clean and refill. Run the descaling program at regular intervals, which helps remove any buildup of mineral deposits, ensuring that your machine continues to make good-tasting coffee.
Overall, it’s an excellent, easy-to-use coffee machine to make delicious coffee on busy mornings. Or, it’s an entry point into the beautiful world of espresso drinks. Some people may dislike the all-plastic design, but it does the job well, especially for the price point.
- Easy to clean
- Two settings: Espresso (1.35 oz.) and Lungo (5 oz.)
- Complimentary set of Nespresso pods with purchase
- Loud brewing
- Expensive brewing pods
- Small machine
- Dimensions: 6″ D x 12″ W x 10″ H
- Weight: 5.0 lbs
- Removable 60 ml water tank
- Comes with custom-fitted travel case
- Quick to heat up and prime
- Made without plastic
The Flair Classic Espresso Maker is a manual espresso maker that allows you to make espresso shots with the same precision and control as a professional barista. It is made of high-quality stainless steel and aluminum with no plastic, giving it a sleek, minimalist, durable design. It will look great in any kitchen.
Being a manual espresso maker, the Flair Espresso Maker requires you to use your strength to create the pressure needed to produce espresso.
Fill the portafilter with ground coffee, tamp it down, and then add hot water to the tank. As it doesn’t have an electric pump, you use the lever to manually press down on the water chamber, which creates the pressure needed to extract the espresso shot.
One of the most significant benefits of using a manual home espresso machine is that it gives you complete control over the entire process. You can adjust the grind size of the coffee grounds, the tamping pressure, and even the water temperature to create the perfect espresso shot for your taste preferences.
Additionally, because it is a manual espresso maker, it doesn’t require any electricity or complicated machinery, making it the best machine for camping trips or other outdoor adventures.
If the Flair is your first manual espresso maker, don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts don’t turn out perfectly. With some practice, you’ll be making professional espresso shots in no time.
This espresso machine is a great option for anyone who wants to make barista-quality, delicious espresso shots at home. You have complete control over every element, from coffee beans to pressure. It is easy to use with only a slight learning curve, delivered in high-quality aluminum that will last for years.
- Easy to clean
- Removable water tank
- Works without electricity
- No presets
- It doesn’t include a burr coffee grinder
- Makes one shot at a time
- Dimensions: 9.84″ D x 10.63″ W x 12.4″ H
- Weight: 9.8 lbs
- 34 fl. oz water tank
- Compact design
- 15 bar pump
- Includes portafilter and two additional filters
The De’Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine, Latte & Cappuccino Maker is an espresso machine that’s perfect for coffee lovers who want to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee in the comfort of their own home without compromising taste or making a big mess.
One of the key features of the Stilosa is its manual milk frother.
This frother is easy to use and adjustable, powerful enough to create a creamy, textured foam full of microbubbles every time. With a bit of practice, you can make cafe-style espresso drinks with one or two shots of espresso, including lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites.
Another great feature of this coffee machine is its compact size. It will fit any countertop and is perfect for small kitchens or apartments. Despite its small size, the De’Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine packs plenty of features, making it a great coffee maker that makes delicious espresso.
This is a good espresso machine that is also very easy to use. It has a simple control panel that allows you to adjust the temperature and strength of your coffee. The machine also has a removable water tank and drip tray, making it easy to clean and maintain.
In terms of performance, the De’Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine is top-notch. The pump produces 15 bars of pressure and a stainless steel boiler that heats up quickly and maintains a consistent temperature for an extended period.
Overall, the De’Longhi Stilosa is an excellent espresso machine under $200. Its compact size, easy-to-use features, and powerful performance make it a great investment for any coffee lover.
- Stainless steel long-lasting boiler
- Removable drip tray
- Milk reservoir
- The water tank isn’t removable
- No automatic shut off
- The machine can leak if water is left in it
- Dimensions: 8.07″ D x 13.5″ W x 11.22″ H
- Weight: 5.47 lbs
- Extra large portafilter for single and double shots
- Removable 40-ounce measured water tank
This Mr. Coffee is a reliable, budget-friendly espresso machine. It’s a decent espresso machine that’s easy to use and clean and produces delicious, reliable espresso drinks with your own espresso beans, thanks to a 15-bar pump system.
It features a powerful detachable automatic milk frother that creates a rich and creamy foam with plenty of texture for lattes and cappuccinos, but it’s still easy to clean and store.
In fact, one of the best things about this machine is that for an inexpensive machine, it does have a one-touch control panel that allows you to choose between espresso, cappuccino, and latte. It also allows you to adjust the strength of your coffee. The machine also has a removable water reservoir, which makes it easy to fill and clean.
The plastic design is compact and lightweight with stainless steel accents, making it easy to store and move around.
The Mr. Coffee is a great coffee maker if you’re on a budget and looking for an entry-level machine that doesn’t use pods or capsules but will require you to tamp your ground coffee.
- Easy to clean with a removable steam wand cover
- Lightweight and compact
- Lowest price point
- It only produces one type of espresso, and it’s not customizable
- Takes time to heat up
- Doesn’t come with a tamper, and the spoon provided is too small
Guide to Buying The Best Espresso Machine
With so many espresso machines on the market, knowing which one to choose for a shot of espresso or to brew milk-based drinks can be challenging.
What Type Of Espresso Machine?
The three different types of espresso machines are differentiated by how much work the machines do for you. There are semi-automatic, automatic, and manual machines, and each coffee maker is a better fit for different skill levels.
This is the most popular type of espresso machine for beginner espresso lovers.
Examples of semi-automatic espresso makers are:
- De’Longhi Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
- De’Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine, Latte & Cappuccino Maker
- Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Semi-automatic espresso machines are consistent, easy to use, and affordable. They’re usually a mid-range price point but allow for creativity regarding the grounds’ size and tamping. While it doesn’t allow for complete control of all the variables, it gives a good starting point for learning how to pull a shot of espresso.
With a semi-automatic espresso machine, you will have control over how you grind and tamp the beans, lock the portafilter, choose how many shots you want, and press the brew button.
An electric pump will take care of the water portion of pulling the shot and produce barista-quality espresso.
- Allows for some customization
- Mid-price point
- Consistent results
- Doesn’t allow for customization of pressure, water, or time
- Requires some espresso knowledge
- May be too much of a financial commitment for a new coffee-drinker
Automatic espresso makers, like the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine by De’Longhi, are usually the most complete espresso machines. They cover everything for you, including grinding and tamping the beans.
Unlike a semi-automatic machine, the whole brewing process is done by pressing a button to select the number and strength of the shot. An electric pump uses a preset to set the amount of water pushed through the filter and coffee beans to give a stronger or weaker shot.
Despite the lack of ability to be customized, they are a great budget option for people who just want espresso without any fuss. It usually only takes the push of a button or two to get your coffee.
Single-serve machines such as the Nespresso machine that use coffee pods or capsules, sometimes called super-automatic espresso machines, since they do everything for the user, including pre-measured and pre-ground ground coffee.
- Lowest price point
- No knowledge is necessary
- Very consistent results
- No customization available
- May be less durable
- Pod machines may limit the coffee that can be used and can be expensive
This type of espresso machine, like the Flair Classic Espresso Maker, leaves every part of the brewing process up to the user and provides a customizable espresso-making experience.
It’s best suited to experienced users, but an espresso aficionado who is learning to make great espresso and doesn’t mind trial and error may want to start from the ground up.
Its name comes from the fact that it has a manual pump that moves hot water from the boiler into the filter when you apply pressure to a lever. In addition to the pump, all other operations are also manual. Some manual espresso machines don’t even require electricity to work if they don’t have a boiler.
One benefit to this type of espresso machine is that you can tailor the brewing to the beans you are brewing. You can change every factor, including the water pressure, the time the water sits in the grounds, grind size, and even how densely packed the grounds are in the portafilter.
Every cup will be slightly different than the one before.
The other benefit of the manual machine is its portability. Many manual machines don’t use electricity because it only requires human intervention, making them a great addition when camping or in environments with limited electrical outlets like dorms and offices.
- Tailor every brewing factor
- Doesn’t use electricity
- Best for experienced coffee lovers
- Every cup is slightly different
- Requires strength to create pressure
What To Look For in an Espresso Machine
Here are some key factors to consider when selecting an espresso machine, whether it’s your first or your tenth.
Ease of Use
The first thing to consider when selecting an espresso machine is its ease of use. If the machine isn’t easy to use, you’re unlikely to use it every day.
You want a machine that works with your level of expertise, is easy to operate, and doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge to get a great shot of espresso. If you’ve never used an espresso machine before, look for a machine with a simple one-touch control panel.
Automatic espresso machines often have pre-programmed settings for different types of coffee, like a larger espresso with more water, saving you time and effort.
Ease of Cleaning
Another important factor to consider is how difficult cleaning is. A clean machine will help ensure a great espresso shot and increase the machine’s longevity.
Espresso machines shouldn’t be complicated to clean. Look for a machine that is easy to disassemble and clean.
Some espresso makers have removable parts that can be washed in the dishwasher, saving you time and effort. You may also want to look for a machine with a self-cleaning function.
If you’re a fan of cappuccinos, lattes, and flat whites, you’ll want to look for a machine with a built-in automatic milk frother and heater. Look for a machine with adjustable frothing settings to customize the froth level to your liking.
Finally, consider how often you’ll have to replenish the water tank. Not every water tank is made equal.
Manual machines often have tiny water tanks, making them more portable. However, if you plan to make multiple cups of coffee at once or use the machine for entertaining, you’ll want a machine with a larger water tank.
Some machines even have a dual boiler system, which allows you to brew and steam milk simultaneously.
There are many important factors to consider when selecting the best espresso machine under $200, such as ease of use, how easy it is to clean, and how much experience is necessary to make a great espresso shot.
Have a look at our favorite, the De’Longhi Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, which is easy to use, clean, and doesn’t require a lot of experience to deliver delicious espresso every time. It’ll make your coffee-drinking experience even more enjoyable.
Check out our blog if you need help picking beans for your espresso machine.