It’s been quite a journey sifting through the various kinds of espresso machines, but we’re finally at the higher end of models. While we’ve got a few other big names for a different list, this is the point where enthusiasm for espresso gets serious. Typically, models at this price are often used by professionals, whether it’s on the job or not. That’s not to say the everyday Joe couldn’t use a pricey machine, it’s simply that they probably wouldn’t spend so much for one. Today, we’ll see what’s the best espresso machine under $500.
As far as the following choices go, we considered functionality over fashion as the priority. If you’re about to drop down a few hundred bucks for something, it better do what it’s supposed to do. So, style isn’t the major concern, and you’ll definitely find the picked models will perform as they should.
Table : Espresso Machines Under $500
- table coming soon
Not seeing what you’re looking for? Why don’t you take a look at our lists of Espresso Machines Below $300 or Below $1000? Take your time to read all lists, there are many interesting information in each of them.
3. Gaggia 14101 Classic
Despite the name, this machine won’t produce a brew that will make you gag. With the bad joke out of the way, our next pick is the Gaggia Espresso machine, a bit higher on the price tier but no slouch to performance. Like the Breville, this is a large machine that can hold plenty of water and produce espresso, cappuccino, or whatever your preference in a quick amount of time. The stainless brushed steel construction means it’s a solid make and you won’t be missing any flavor with its 15 bar pressure system.
The difference between previous listings, though, is the Gaggia is a lot more hands on than most might prefer. This isn’t to suggest any lacking performance or problems when crafting your perfect cup of espresso, but this machine puts a lot of responsibility on the user. As such, its design might have had baristas or other trained espresso makers in mind.
It absolutely performs as it should, being a bulk-power machine. Your tasty espresso is brewed in about 20 odd seconds and with roughly 2 liters of water storage, you’re making multiple cups of this a day. LED light indicators tell you when things are ready, but as some point out, timing for a better brew comes down to practice. In other words, ready might not actually be “ready.”
As for espresso produced, users have a few options. For instance, two cups can be made at the same time (dual or single shots for your caffeine needs). A frothing wand also comes standard for your milk, and should you need it, a hot water dispenser for quick boils.
At the end of the day, the Gaggia gives you a gaggle of adjustable options to suit your needs. From coffee to espresso, it has you covered. It just might be a matter of fully understanding how to fully utilize those mentioned options.
2. Breville 800ESXL
Breville is sort of like the safe new city you arrive at to have all your wide-eyed, youth driven adventures. There’s lots to experience and a lot to do. You might have gone to a fancier city, but this is a good start.
Bad metaphors aside, it’s a similar case with Breville. At a price point of about $340, depending on where you shop from, Breville’s 800ESXL is an introduction to the high tiers but not quite half a thousand dollars. And, much like you’d expect at this price point, top-notch features are standard. Such examples are the 15 bar pressure system to get you the most flavor from your espresso, a thermo-block heater for quick prep times, with an inclusive tamper, filter, and cleaning tool.
The 800ESXL is big too. We assume that’s where the XL part comes into play. Not only is there enough space to fit an industry sized mountain-man’s cup of espresso where the spout is, it holds up to 2 liters of water. Along with its stainless steel design, it’s likely because you’d find it at roadside coffee shops versus your standard enthusiast’s home.
Don’t let that deter you from checking it out, however. Some other great features come along to get you a richer tasting espresso like it’s triple pump integration. Using steam here, it keeps the grind moist for better taste, while also having the option to pour espresso or froth milk.
If there were downsides, there aren’t many, but should be taken into account. Many users stress reading the instructions carefully to get the best performance, and you might want to have your own grinder as well. Additionally, unplugging it is the only way to truly power the machine off, as it doesn’t really have a standby mode. When you consider everything, many people will say this is the best espresso machine under $500.
Still, the price is good for a solid machine, and there’s nothing wrong with having some understanding of how your machine operates. Use it like a professional would and you’ll get delicious results.
1. KRUPS Espresseria Fully Automatic
Krups comes in first on our list of top espresso machines under $500 with a little surprise: it’s not a giant. Well, relatively speaking, KRUPS’ Espresseria is more compact and ergonomic than previous choices. A great boon for enthusiasts, no doubt, though with a near $500 price tag it will truly test your investment for good brew.
Excellent tasting espresso isn’t so far off with this model either. Many of our choices have been reliant not only with the machine, but grind as well. As with most cases, this requires a grinder which can set you back a hefty amount of cash depending on what you get. Not so with this KRUPS model, however, which comes with its own steel blade grinder you can see in action. Adjustable settings let you get an idea of your grind, and you can see the quantity remaining when in use.
Another nice automatic feature is its hydraulic tamping, often a big part of the espresso quality. You’re free to do the process yourself, of course, but it’s nice when a high end machine does it for you. Additionally, while you’re free to enjoy hot espresso straight from the drip, a steam nozzle assures cappuccino lovers aren’t left out either.
All this is handled at a touch of a few buttons, LED indicators, and adjustment of dials. The kind of espresso you want will depend on preferences, but you’re guaranteed one good espresso (or double shot, if desired). To top off this great machine with its own metaphorical crema, it’s an imported French made product (fancy!) with a 2-year service warranty. All parts are easy to clean, assuring there’s no messy build ups and the KRUGER turns itself off automatically.
Small downsides include water filters that need to be exchanged every few months and plastic parts where metal should be (like the nozzle), but overall you’re paying for an all-in-one powerhouse that creates some delicious caffeine-loaded espresso.
It’s a bold world for espresso lovers out there, as our choices transcend the practical into either industry standard or pure love for good brew. As we slowly march away from our choices here, up ahead we see the best-of-the-best on the horizon, machines which pose both daunting price tags but immeasurable performance. If you’ve found satisfaction with our choices here, there’s no need to move on, you’ve got what you needed. For our next list will consist of only the best in their price tier, where only the boldest barista dwells, only the purest enthusiast will walk.