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You might have noticed that there is a very wide range of espresso machines with a corresponding range of prices and features. What does an espresso machine cost and how much should you spend to get what you want? Here’s what you need to know.
Domestic espresso machines prices can cost from $100 to $6000+ with an average around $1200. Espresso machine price depends on; type, features, build quality, boiler type, material/component quality and brand. Expensive machines can potentially brew better espresso but require more skills to do so.
However, there are some caveats to that little summary you should know about before buying an espresso machine. Buying the right machine is what gets you the best experience, not necessarily the most expensive.
Home Espresso Machine Prices
Here is a list of espresso machines for home use and their current prices. If you want to know what to expect for the different amount of money these machines cost, look below.
Keep in mind these are machines for domestic or maybe small office use. Commercial machines are much bigger and more complicated and need a bit more skill and knowledge to be used to their full potential.
|Breville||Dual Boiler||1500||Manual or Automatic||x|
|De'Longhi||La Specialista Maestro||1300||Manual||V|
The average price of a home espresso machine is $1207. However, the prices range from $100 to $6000. Because of that huge range, the average doesn’t say all that much. The machines that cost more than $3000 drag up the average but they are also outliers. There aren’t that many of those machines.
Most of the espresso machines for home use cost between $400 and $2000. While that’s still a wide range, that’s a lot closer than if you look at the whole list.
In the chart above you can see that most of the espresso machines cost between $400 and $2000. Outside of that price range there are a few machines but only a few.
How Much To Spend On An Espresso Machine
Below this chapter you can find a breakdown of what you can expect in different price ranges. But the question of how much you should spend is what most people are interested in so let’s dive a little deeper into this.
You have to ask yourself a few questions to figure out how much you should spend:
- What’s your budget? Obviously, don’t spend more than you can afford. Spending more might give you better espresso but a worse financial future.
- Do you need a built in grinder? To get good espresso, freshly ground coffee is best. Built in grinders add cost but not as much as buying a separate grinder.
- How much effort do you want to put in? Do you just want to have a cup of coffee or spend time crafting the best espresso?
- What do you expect from your espresso? Do you want to make coffeeshop level (or better) espresso at home or just a strong cup of coffee?
If all you care about is affordable yet decent espresso and don’t care too much about the absolute best espresso or greatest features, a machine in the $500 to $800 range can give you good results. Yes there are cheaper models but in that price range you can get a decent automatic espresso machine with built in grinder. You can get a machine from a well known brand that is capable of brewing good espresso without too much of a learning curve.
Something like a Breville Barista Express (Amazon link) fits perfectly into this category. Built in grinder, enough features to make it both easy and they have some capacity for tinkering to get better shots. It’s a very popular machine for a reason.
If you just want to put in beans and water and not do anything else except push a button, a super-automatic espresso machine. They often also make other drinks at the push of a button. In my experience, these machines make strong coffee and decent milk drinks but not the best espresso. However, if convenience is more important than outright taste, these machines are perfect. Do expect to spend a little more on these since they are quite complicated. $900 and up is what you’re looking at here. Click here to find an article with the best easy to use espresso machines.
For the best espresso you’ll have to spend $1500+ on a manual espresso machine. The sky is the limit after that. You can spend 20k+ on a handmade piece of art that happens to make espresso if you like. With these machines you also need a high quality separate grinder and a good bit of knowledge about making espresso to get the best results. Don’t expect the best shot the first time using these machines if you don’t know what you’re doing (yet).
For example, the Rocket Appartamento (Amazon link) is a beautiful machine that can brew amazing espresso.
What kind of espresso machine can you expect for your money?
What can you expect for your money in the different price ranges of espresso machines? There are some distinct features and qualities you can find in the different price ranges.
$100 – $350
$100-$350 buys you an entry level machine that will produce reasonable strong coffee but don’t expect coffee shop quality coffee. Avoid automatic machines with built-in grinder in this price range.
This is the entry-level price range of espresso machines. There aren’t too many for this kind of money. You can find a few cheap machines from unknown brands in this price range but I wouldn’t recommend them. Often those are just not capable of brewing real espresso.
In general, I’d avoid the automatic espresso machines in this price range although in the upper end of this range you can find some pretty good manual machines. They might not be the best but the manual machines in this range work. Often they have pressurized filter basket which basically mean that you can more easily use pre-ground coffee and still get reasonably good espresso. They also have steam wands so you can steam milk to make drinks like cappuccino.
If you want a simple manual espresso machine to make milk drinks, this price range will work. If you want to drink your espresso straight and care about the taste, spending a little more is a good idea. However, if you’re not all that picky with your coffee and just want something that’s easy to use and makes a small cup of strong coffee, a machine around $300 will work for you.
If you want to make good espresso with a machine in this price range, take a look at lever machines. These aren’t traditional espresso machines because they don’t have a pump or any electronics. However, because they don’t have any of those parts, you can get something high quality for much less money.
Do you want to make espresso that’s more like you can find in a good coffee shop, made by a barista? You’re going to have to pay a little more.
$350 – $800
In this price range you can buy a good manual machine and a workable automatic espresso maker. The automatic espresso makers in this price range are relatively simple and included grinders are not the highest quality.
For a little more than $350, you can get good manual espresso machines. The manual machines in this range are among the most popular ones for aspiring home baristas. They are good and well-built and are capable of brewing very good espresso. These manual machines don’t have a grinder included and you’ll have to spend money on a separate one or use pre-ground espresso.
The automatic machines in this price range are of the simple sort. The ‘automatic’ for these machines means that you push a button and it pushes enough water through the coffee for a single or double espresso. You’ll still have to grind the coffee separately and fill/tamp the basket yourself just like on a manual machine.
Many of the automatic machines in this price range have a grinder included in the machine but you still have to fill your own basket. So it doesn’t fill and tamp the basket automatically like the more expensive machines. Especially on the lower end of this range, the included grinders are not the greatest which will limit the results you’re going to get. On the upper end of this range you can expect a pretty decent quality grinder to be included.
The milk frothing is another thing in this price range. On the lower end, most of the machines have a steam wand which you’ll have to learn to use to make your own milk foam just like on manual machines. On the more expensive ones the machine can do that for you and it’s all hands off. Just push the button and you get a cappuccino in your cup.
$800 – $2000
For $800 to $2000 you can buy an outstanding manual espresso machine and quite good automatic espresso makers. At the upper end of this range you can even buy some ‘super-automatic’ machines which means it makes espresso or even other drinks with the press of a single button.
In this price range you can find the best manual espresso machines. These manual machines have everything for the espresso enthusiast like double boilers, temperature control, high end components, etc. If you buy a manual espresso machine in this price range, you can expect something that’s pretty much a commercial machine but in a smaller package. These machines don’t just brew espresso at the push of a button but can actually brew many more drinks.
The automatic machines in this price range are significantly better than under $800. You get a good grinder, higher quality baskets, more consistent pressure and temperature control which results in better espresso. You also get the so called “super automatic” machines which internally fill the filter basket and empty it. So that means after you push the button, the machine grinds the beans, fills the basket, tamps the grounds and brews the espresso. After it’s done it empties the spent grounds into the refuse tray. This means a much easier user experience.
You also still have the automatic machines that have the manual basket in this price range. Those are usually aimed at the more enthusiast crowd that wants a bit more control over what’s going on in their espresso brewing but don’t want to use the fully manual ones.
For more than $2000 you can buy the best super-automatic espresso makers. You get very good quality espresso and many other drinks from a very high quality machine that’s easy to use and looks good.
High end Super-automatic espresso machines that make very good espresso and actually make many more drinks than just espresso. Everything you want is here: Good design, high quality components, great build quality, super easy to use.
You’ll get very good espresso or any other drink imaginable without having to do anything except fill the machine with beans and water and you’re good to go. In the meanwhile these things look good and even keep themselves clean.
Keep reading below to get a bit more insight in why these machines cost so much.
What do expensive espresso machines do?
Why would you pay more than $2000 for an espresso machine, you might be wondering. Can’t you get a perfectly fine one for $1500? Sure you can but why do you want a new BMW if a used Camry works perfectly fine?
There are actually some real differences between the high-end and lower-end espresso machines. Well, there are some features that make those machines very expensive:
- Many drinks: High end machines are capable of brewing many different coffee drinks with the push of a button and not only espresso. They can also brew things like latte, espresso, Americano and many less well-known drinks by pushing one button. As long as you fill the beans, water and milk, the machine can make everything easily.
- Touchscreen: Many of the high end models have a touchscreen that can be used to control the machine and pick your drink. This looks modern and sleek and of course a touchscreen is much more expensive than a simple button.
- App connectivity: Most of the high end machines, especially the ones with a touchscreen, have the option to be controlled by a phone app. That means as long as the machine is turned on you can brew any drink from anywhere. (don’t forget to put a cup in the machine)
- High quality components: Of course it’s not only comfort, the build quality of these machines is top notch with the best pumps, temperature control, pressure control, etc. This results in a longer lifespan but also better espresso and other drinks.
- Better grinder: This is covered under higher quality components but is worth pointing out separately. The grinders in high end machines are often much better than the lower end models. Good coffee grinders are surprisingly expensive and this is often a part manufacturers save money on with cheaper models. This might seem like a minor thing but the quality of the grinder has a massive impact on espresso quality. Some machines like the Jura Giga6 even has two grinders so you can use different beans for different types of beans.
- Dual boiler: The best machines have two boilers. Two boilers help for brewing more cups in quicker succession and can also be used for brewing espresso and foaming milk. The ideal water temperate for brewing espresso is different from the ideal temperature for steaming milk so having two boilers makes the final results better and faster.
- Super-automatic: This is not exclusive to the high-end models but is more common in this class. An automatic espresso machine is simply a machine that pushes the right amount of liquid through the coffee grounds at a certain temperature and pressure. They don’t necessarily do all the other things for you. Super-automatic machines really just work with the push of a button. You select the right drink and the machine grinds the coffee and brews it exactly as necessary, even adding the milk (foam).
- Design: These machines usually look great and are made from the highest quality materials. There is no expense spared on how the machine looks and feels. These machines are not out of place in places like expensive showrooms or C-suite office spaces. Places where you want your customers and/or staff to feel a little special. Or if you have a house/kitchen where simpler machines would look out of place.
- Semi-commercial: These machines are often not just used at home but also in places like offices and showrooms. They see a lot more use in those places and these machines can handle that.
Recommended Espresso Equipment
Besides an espresso machine, there are a few other tools that can make your espresso better. Here are my favorites:
- Espresso Machine: The Breville Barista Express (Amazon) is the sweet spot in price and quality for most casual home baristas. It comes with a built in grinder and most tools you need to brew espresso.
- Tamper: A nice tamper helps you tamp your grounds in the filter for the best result. Any correctly sized tamper can do the job but a nice heavy one just feels so much better in your hand than a plastic model. This Luxhaus one (Amazon) has a nice trick up it’s sleeve to make tamping very consistent.
- Beans: Good espresso starts with good beans. Using fresh beans is a big improvement over pre-ground coffee.
- Scales: Getting consistently good espresso means you have to know how much grounds is going into the machine and how much is coming out and how long this takes. A coffee scale is going to make your espresso much more consistent and also makes adjustments a lot easier. The Apexstone coffee scale (Amazon) is cheap and doesn’t look too sleek but is just as accurate as more expensive scales. The TimeMore scales (Amazon) look and feel a lot nicer but cost a bit more.
- Grinder: To make the best of your fresh beans, a good grinder is necessary. Espresso requires a good grinder to get the best results. The Baratza Sette 30 (Amazon) is a good espresso grinder that can also be used for other brewing methods and while not cheap, is good value for money. If you prefer hand grinders, the 1ZPresso JX-PRO is one of the best options (Amazon)
- Distribution tool: After grinding you can get some clumps in the coffee grounds. Those clumps should be broken up so the water can extract all the coffee grounds equally. Distribution tools are very simple things but this one (Amazon) is beautifully made and will look good in your kitchen.