You don’t have to be a coffee expert to know who the real champion in the coffee world is.
I’m talking about espresso. Rich, strong, bold, fresh, smooth… There are many ways to describe it, but we would all agree on one thing: we love espressos.
And if you want to make them at home instead of wasting hundreds of dollars at coffee houses, then this review of the best espresso machines under $200 could be useful to you. Let’s dive right in!
|Best Overall –Editor’s Choice – Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker||9.5||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Pump Espresso Machine Under $200 – Nespresso Inissia by Breville||9||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Home Espresso Machine Under $200 – Klarstein Passionata Rossa||8.5||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Budget Pick – SOWTECH Espresso Machine||8||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Manual Option – Flair Espresso Maker||8||Check current price on Amazon|
Our Reviews of the Best Espresso Machines Under $ 200
Best Overall — Editor’s Choice
Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
- stainless steel and plastic construction;
- 15-bar pump pressure system;
- automatic milk frother;
- 3 coffee brewing strengths;
- 3 size adjustments for each coffee type.
The first item I want to include in my review of the best espresso machines under $200 is the one made by Mr. Coffee. The name speaks for itself: this espresso maker does know how to make good coffee. It combines versatility, simple controls, and great performance for a reasonable price.
“This is truly a hassle-free machine. Even the frother is automatic, which means you don’t have to constantly tinker with the steaming wand trying to achieve the foam you want.”
Mr. Coffee combines everything you might need for a great cup of coffee. For excellent espressos, you have 2 brewing strengths, single and double. And thanks to the 15-bar pump pressure, the coffee will be full-bodied and rich. You can also make lattes and cappuccinos thanks to the integrated milk frother. And since this is a semi-automatic machine, it’s versatile but easy to use, which is a great combination for all types of users.
Overall, it’s safe to say that this model by Mr. Coffee is a rare find. This machine is capable of many things but would not cost you a fortune.
Best Pump Espresso Machine Under $ 200
Nespresso Inissia by Breville
- 2 cup sizes available: 1.35 and 5 oz.;
- 19-bar pressure pump;
- 23-oz. water tank;
- automatic shut-off;
- heats up in 25 seconds.
One more model in my review of the best espresso machines under $200 is this capsule coffee maker by Breville. The Nespresso is famous among coffee lovers, and there’s a reason for that. This machine uses 19 bars of pressure to brew flavorful espressos with a rich tinge and crema.
“What makes the Nespresso stand out from the competitors is the coffee pods the company uses. They are aluminum and recyclable, which makes the Nespresso one of the most eco-friendly capsule machines on the market.”
With a fast heat-up time, the Nespresso brews coffee in less than 30 seconds. This machine is powerful enough to extract espressos of excellent quality and flavor. It’s also a very efficient model. Thanks to its energy-saving mode, the Nespresso turns off automatically in 9 minutes after being used.
All things considered, this is an excellent little machine that does not require you to do anything to get that delicious espresso. It shows consistently good performance, works fast, and doesn’t cost that much.
Best Home Espresso Machine Under $ 200
Klarstein Passionata Rossa
- 20-bar pressure;
- stainless steel filter basket;
- adjustable steaming wand;
- removable water tank;
- steel mesh drip tray.
Another model I couldn’t forget to mention in my review of the best espresso machines under $200 is the Klarstein. If you want your home espressos to taste the same as in your favorite coffee house, this machine can help you achieve that.
“The Klarstein uses 20 bars of pressure, which is rare for home espresso machines, especially in this price category. As a result, you get rich espressos with excellent crema and deep flavor.”
Now, there are many reasons to love this machine. The Klarstein is quite compact and does not require much counter space. At the same time, it’s powerful and brews great-tasting beverages. The steaming wand is made of stainless steel (and has a removable plastic nozzle). It is movable, so you can adjust it for more convenient steaming.
This is a good semi-automatic espresso machine that would be great for all levels of experience. The Klarstein is a great first-time investment option for beginner baristas as it doesn’t cost that much and can help you learn a lot about brewing espressos. As for more experienced users, this model allows for enough control over the brewing process, so you will definitely be able to achieve a perfect shot of espresso.
To sum up, this is a good example of what a home espresso machine should look like. The Klarstein is powerful, compact, and brews excellent coffee.
Best Budget Pick
SOWTECH Espresso Machine
- 3.5-bar pressure;
- glass carafe;
- stainless steel and plastic body;
- single-knob controls;
- manual shut-off.
If your budget is a bit too tight but you still want a good coffee maker, you may consider this top-rated espresso machine under $200. The Sowtech shows surprising performance for such an affordable price, which so many users appreciate.
“What makes this model great for home use is its simplicity. There’s only one knob that controls the whole machine. You don’t have to be a tech specialist to use this espresso maker successfully.”
Now, this isn’t a fully automatic machine. It doesn’t have a shut-off function, so you’ll have to do that manually. However, since everything is controlled with only one knob, you aren’t likely to have trouble with that. The Sowtech brews coffee fast and has a pause function, in case you want to sneak a shot of espresso in the process.
Overall, the Sowtech can pleasantly surprise you. Despite its modest price, this espresso machine shows great performance and can be a perfect option for first-time users or coffee lovers on a budget.
Best Manual Option
Flair Espresso Maker
- bar pressure: 6 to 10;
- 2-oz water capacity;
- detachable stainless steel brew head;
- aluminum base;
- padded travel case.
The next item in my review of the best espresso machines under $200 is the espresso maker by Flair. This elegant device is fully manual, which means it would be perfect for hardcore coffee lovers. It can help you master your espresso brewing skills to perfection.
“One of the best things about manual coffee makers is their portability. Well, the Flair takes it one step further and adds a convenient padded travel case. It allows users to travel with their espresso maker and enjoy their favorite beverage anytime, anywhere.”
As this is a manual model, you will need to do all the work. Keep in mind that you’ll have to boil water to the optimal temperature too. But don’t let this scare you! The result is worth it: you will get rich, smooth espressos with aromatic crema.
To tell the truth, this espresso machine can set a challenging task for you. But once you practice enough, you will enjoy incredibly delicious espressos every day.
Types of Home Espresso Machines
- Capsule. These machines are very easy to use, which is why so many coffee lovers search for the best Nespresso machines. With a capsule (or pod) coffee maker, all you have to do is insert the pod and press the button. Additionally, such models are relatively cheap, and you can find a lot of options under $200. They require no skill or experience on your part, which means you can enjoy flavorful espressos without any practice. On the downside, capsule models do not allow for much versatility. While you can test different coffee blends from various pod brands, you won’t be able to experiment with brewing temperature or extraction time, for example. And that’s something more demanding users would not appreciate.
- Manual. These coffee makers have a lever that you are supposed to press down, forcing the water to go through the grounds and extracting your espresso. Manual espresso makers don’t usually have boilers, so you’ll have to use a kettle, and this means more time to make one single espresso shot. Moreover, this type requires a lot of practice and persistence (if you are serious about your coffee). But once you get there, you will start enjoying bold, exquisite espressos, since this brewing method allows for rich crema and full-bodied coffee.
- Semi-automatic. These espresso machines are among the most popular ones due to their functionality. They offer a good balance of user customization and automation. This type is suitable for all experience levels but does require some practice if you want to brew delicious espressos. Semi-automatic machines require you to add your grounds to the portafilter and tamp them, while the machine heats water and runs it through to extract coffee. While this type can be a bit messy when brewing, the result is worth it.
- Super-automatic. These machines are responsible for all the processes, from grinding the coffee beans to extracting espressos. They offer user-friendly controls and require minimal effort on your part. You will have to deal with cleaning only, but many of them help with that too, offering a self-cleaning feature. Super-automatic espresso machines tend to be rather expensive and brew delicious beverages. On the downside, they don’t really allow for much customization outside the pre-programmed options you have. So, they may not suit serious espresso lovers who want to experiment with their beverage extraction.
“The choice of your espresso machine would also depend on how much counter space you have. Also, keep in mind that many models emit steam when brewing, so make sure you don’t place your new device under wooden cabinets.”
Understanding Your Machine: Parts and Functionality
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the coffee machine terms, especially if you are a novice user.
Don’t worry, we are going to look at the most common ones to help you understand what you are dealing with:
- Portafilter. This part of your espresso machine holds the filter basket filled with coffee grounds. Typically, a user has to lock the portafilter in place before extracting a shot of espresso. Portafilters come in various sizes, typically between 40 and 60 mm. Some of them support dual filter baskets that allow users to pull double volumes (shots) of espresso.
- Filter basket. A filter basket holds coffee grounds inside the portafilter. Many models come with different filter basket sizes, so you can experiment with your espresso shots and their strength.
- Heating system. You will come across two types: single- and dual-boiler machines. Single-boiler models are more widespread. Dual-boiler models typically come with a steaming wand, so there are separate heaters for pulling espressos and steaming the milk.
- Drip tray. This is where you rest your cup while extracting a shot of espresso. Most machines have removable drip trays, which makes maintenance quite easy. This also allows you to fit taller cups under the portafilter when needed.
- Water reservoir. The bigger it is, the more espressos you can make without refilling and reheating. This means a smaller reservoir would make you spend more time brewing (since you will have to wait for the water to heat up every time you refill the tank). The reservoirs of more advanced models may have a water-softener component or a filter to prevent limescale (2).
- Grinder. Though this component is optional, many coffee makers come with a built-in grinder. Getting an espresso machine with a grinder could benefit you in many ways. Firstly, espresso made with freshly ground beans always tastes much better than when using pre-ground coffee. Moreover, an integrated grinder is more convenient to use. Most of them allow for coarseness adjustments, so you will be able to test various grind configurations to brew an ideal cup of coffee.
Factors to Consider
Shopping for a suitable espresso machine under $200 may seem like a daunting task when you don’t know what you’re looking for.
And while the Internet is filled with helpful information on the topic, no one can tell you what you need exactly.
You have to decide for yourself based on your personal preferences and habits.
However, there are some important factors you shouldn’t omit when shopping:
- Durability. An espresso machine is an investment, and you would want to enjoy using it for a long time. Typically, cheaper models have plastic parts combined with stainless steel ones. If you want a high-grade coffee maker, you may have to go a bit over your budget and consider quality espresso machines under $500. Whatever the case is, just make sure that the plastic parts in your desired model do not come in direct contact with the brewed coffee. Keep in mind that some of the best Italian espresso machines often use commercial-grade parts and components, which makes them very reliable in use.
- Size. While espresso machines come in all shapes and sizes, you need to check how much counter space you have. Moreover, if you (and your family) drink a lot of coffee daily, you may want to invest in a bigger machine with a larger water reservoir, e.g. somewhere between 48 and 60 oz.
- Maintenance. Let’s not forget that coffee oils and water minerals can build up inside of your machine, so you will need to clean it regularly and thoroughly. If this seems too finicky to you, you can consider models with self-cleaning and descaling functions.
- Your coffee drinking habits. Do you drink coffee multiple times a day? Then a model with a larger water tank would be suitable. Do you like espressos only? In this case, a rather basic machine would suffice. However, if you love lattes and cappuccinos, you should consider quality latte machines that come with a steaming wand for the milk.
- Customization and controls. Based on your experience, you may require more or less freedom when brewing coffee. Typically, you can find the most customizable models among the best espresso machines under $ 1,000. Cheaper options can also be programmable, but the number of functions would probably be limited to brew strength controls and coffee volume adjustments. Temperature controls are also common, but the temperature range is usually quite limited (to prevent users from under- or over-extracting their espressos).
“A grinder is another investment you need to consider, especially if you want rich and fresh espressos. Generally, conical burr grinders are considered to be the optimal choice, as they give you the freedom to adjust the coarseness.”
ConclusionNo matter what your coffee preferences are, there’s always a suitable device for you. You just need to pick. When it comes to espresso machines, if I had to recommend one, that would certainly be the Espresso and Cappuccino Maker by Mr. Coffee. This little guy hides a lot of potential behind its steel panels. It can extract excellent espressos and even gives the users a chance to experiment with milk beverages. It’s easy to control and shows consistent performance, which means delicious beverages for you every single day. Have you picked your personal favorite? Which one managed to catch your eye? Share your thoughts in the comments!
- Max Haydon (2018, December 10). Understanding The Different Types of Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/12/understanding-the-different-types-of-espresso-machine/
- Yasmin Zinni (2017, September 26). The Parts of an Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://itstillworks.com/13657047/the-parts-of-an-espresso-machine
My name is Yurii Brown. I am a passionate coffee geek and, concurrently, a certified coffee specialist.
I’ve been learning about coffee for a long time, testing various devices and practicing in home coffee brewing. I like to share my experience and insights with fellow coffee lovers so that my readers could enjoy the real taste of quality-brewed beverages.