You don’t need an expensive machine to get high quality espresso.
Even in the $100 range you can find a solid machine that will make delicious espresso with a great frothy crema. But how do you separate the well-priced beginner model from the cheap rip-offs? By benefitting from our research and checking out the recommendations for yourself. We have drinken a good number of espressos and greatly appreciate a machine that can replicate the brews crafted at a coffee shop. It’s not only an enjoyable experience, but it is cost effective and increases productivity. We encourage you to purchase one if you don’t currently own an espresso machine, we believe it’s an investment not a cost.
For under $100 you can obtain a great machine, but not necessarily the “best” in every possible way. It is not going to automatically grind the beans, tamp, brew, froth the milk and hand you a cappuccino in a tiny italian cup. You will have to do a little bit of the work yourself. But often that is part of the enjoyment and satisfaction.
THE FINAL SHOT: The De’Longhi 155 is the clear winner. The dual thermostats and self-priming operation set it apart from the other options in this range. This is the best pick for smaller budgets and many home baristas.
Our favorite in the $100 and under price range is the De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR. This little guy is a beast and produces some truly delightful espresso. De’Longhi is also known for producing high-end models and is a giant in the espresso industry. The EC 155 is a quality machine that just cannot be beat for the price.
If you at all are serious about getting machine for $100 or less, this is probably the machine to get. It has over 5,500+ reviews on Amazon.
Even though we believe the Delonghi EC155 is the overall best, the other espresso machines listed are essentially all great, have varying strengths, and may be more fitting for you.
1. De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Weighing just 9 lbs and measuring 8” x 11” x 10”, the De’Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is a great compact espresso and cappuccino maker that will fit comfortably on your kitchen countertop, coffee bar, or breakfast nook for convenient brewing. You can use it in the comfort of your home or at the office. This is one of the top machines from any price range and makes our best espresso machine list, especially for a limited budget.
If you prefer espresso made quickly and with the utmost convenience, the De’Longhi allows you the option of brewing easy-serving espresso (ESE) pods with its patented dual-filter holder. If you prefer cappuccino, this espresso and cappuccino maker comes with an easy-to-use jet frother that swivels, enabling you to make cappuccino topped with deliciously foamy steamed milk every time.
If you loathe tongue-burningly hot coffee, this espresso and cappuccino maker allows you to brew using 2 separate thermostats, ensuring you enjoy espresso shots and cappuccinos at the temperature you’re most happy with.
The other features we really like on this machine include: self-priming operation, which makes start-up preparation easy; a durable, high-quality, stainless steel boiler with 15-bar pump pressure; a 35 oz. removable water tank with indicator light and a removable drip tray, both of which can be cleaned easily; and a bonus cup warmer, which ensures that your cup of espresso or cappuccino stays warm even if you leave it on the tray for several minutes.
Even with all of its useful features, the espresso and cappuccino maker isn’t perfect. There are a few small downsides to it, as pointed out by some especially savvy users. They complained about the grounds basket and the frothing wand. According to their experiences, a broth-like liquid is left in the grounds basket after each cup of espresso is made, producing a wetter puck; the grounds basket is just slightly too close to the tray (2 1/2 inches); and the frothing wand is a little too short, extending only 3 ¼ inches.
In my opinion, these are minor irritations from especially particular brewers, none of which really affect the quality of the espresso and the overall ease of use.
The De’Longhi, not surprisingly, received a stellar rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon, with over 4,600 reviews. This is also one of the best seller’s for semi-automatic espresso machines, making this one of the best espresso machines under 100 dollars.
Take a Look: De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar
2. AICOOK 3.5 Bar Espresso Coffee Maker
Be your own barista in the comfort of your home with ease.
Use a medium grind of your favorite coffee beans in the AICOOK. The single-switch knob takes all of the guesswork out of operation. Brew 1-to-4 cups at a time. The included glass decanter is clearly marked to show you how much water you should use.
You can easily froth milk for cappuccinos and lattes with the built-in steam wand. It heats quickly to warm and froth the milk for your favorite coffee drinks. Just imagine serving up flavorful, coffeehouse-quality cappuccinos and lattes to your friends and family.
The permanent filter basket has a safety clip for ease of operation. The funnel device is simple to attach and to detach for cleaning. Before starting, just turn the filter handle in a counter-clockwise direction until it locks tightly into place.
Take a Look: AICOOK 3.5 Bar Espresso Coffee Maker
3. Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker
Designed to maximize space at 9 lbs and dimensions of 11.4” x 13.7” x 13”, the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker would be a welcome addition to your countertop that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional, ranked not only as top pick under $100, but as a best automatic espresso machine.
If you’re a brewer that is exacting regarding froth and latter-making capability (this is totally my wife!), the Mr Coffee espresso and cappuccino maker comes with a built-in, powerful milk frother that allows great control over how the froth turns out.
The Mr. Coffee also comes with a thermal block heater that enables it to brew quicker than most other espresso and cappuccino machines, making your morning coffee prep quick and easy. I love this feature for espresso drinkers that need a quick, no fuss option.
You also don’t have to worry about whether cleaning the espresso and cappuccino maker is going to be a time-consuming ordeal, because it comes with a removable water tank and drip tray, both of which make maintenance of the machine a cinch.
Last but not the least, this espresso maker comes equipped with the 15-bar pressure pump that ensures it provides you with well balanced and perfectly brewed espresso.
The Mr. Coffee espresso machine received a seriously commendable rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Take a Look: Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker
4. De’Longhi EC220CD 15-Bar Pump Driven Espresso Maker
Anytime you see a De’Longhi product, especially in a budget category, you should take notice. De’Longhi makes some of the very highest quality machines available and their lower cost options are always the most feature-rich and durable with solid construction.
While the EC220CD didn’t snag the top spot in this category, it is still a solid pick if you’re trying to keep to the $100 and under range. So what can you expect from this little guy? It comes with the standard 15 bar pressure pump, a swivel jet frother for making lattes and cappuccinos, a generously sized 35-ounce water tank, and a built-in tamper.
This is a solid pick if you’re looking for a reliable machine that can make espresso at home, without a lot of calibration or a steep learning curve.
Take a Look: De’Longhi EC220CD 15-Bar
5. Mueller Espresso Machine for Nespresso Compatible Capsule
The Mueller is a great lower-cost option on our list and boasts some nice features for the price point. We also love that it’s Austrian designed and offers some nice aesthetics in addition to solid performance.
The most notable feature about the Mueller is that it is pod-based and you can enjoy all your favorite Original Line Nespresso capsules with it. It also has a 20bar Italian pump, a 25 second preheat, super easy one-touch operation with options for both short and long espresso and a 27-ounce water tank.
The main disappointment with the Mueller is that it doesn’t offer a steam wand for making lattes and cappuccinos so it is best suited to an espresso purist. We also recommend ordering the detached Nespresso frother if you love this machine but absolutely have to have a milk option.
Take a Look: Mueller Espresso Machine for Nespresso
6. Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine by Breville
I’m a big fan of the futuristic styling of this little efficiency-machine. It is sleek, minimalist and effective at what it does: quickly produce a shot of espresso with no hassle and absolutely no user skill.
Like all Nespresso products, this is a pod-based brewing machine so it really is as easy as dropping in your favorite blend, pushing a button and watching the machine do the work. It is the smallest single-serving unit on the market from both Breville and Nespresso and is a great pick for an apartment or office. It has a 19 bar pressure pump, and reaches ideal extraction temperature in about 25 seconds.
The Essenza also offers two programmable cup sizes: espresso and lungo. It does not come with a frother, so it is a strictly espresso-based machine and not the right pick if you’re hoping to enjoy lattes or cappuccinos.
Take a Look: Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine
7. Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso Maker
This model from Hamilton Beach is efficient, easy to use and of decent quality for the amateur home espresso drinker.
What we like about this machine: It comes equipped with the standard 15 bar pump and produces a decent crema, it has a removable portafilter so you can measure and tamp your own grounds, the swivel steam wand is great for making lattes and cappuccinos and it has a low temp cup warmer to prep your ups before brewing.
This machine also works with both pods and ground espresso, which is a nice feature for those looking to enjoy a little versatility.
Take a Look: Hamilton Beach 40792 Espresso Maker
8. AICOOK Espresso Machine with One Touch Digital Screen
The Aicook is a smart pick for the casual coffee lover who wants to enjoy the option of espresso at home, but isn’t especially concerned about a barista-level experience. This machine is best selected for the layman, not necessarily the connoisseur.
The Aicook offers just 3.5 bars of pressure, a huge difference from some of the other options on the list and therefore needs a more medium size coffee grind. It does include a steam want and offers a compact, slim profile that is great for small spaces. Most of the parts are plastic so you do sacrifice on construction quality for the lower price tag.
9. Bella (13683) Personal Espresso Maker
The Bella personal machine falls toward the lower end of our list simply because the brand isn’t synonymous with fine coffee making and isn’t a great pick if you’re after durability. However, it still makes the list because it is so affordable.
In terms of features, the Bella has a permanent filter so there is no tamping or grounds measurement for the user to deal with, it does come equipped with a steam want to froth milk for quick lattes and cappuccinos.
Overall, it has the key features of some of the higher-end options but at one of the most affordable price points. This is a worthy option to consider if you’re looking for a base model to hold you over until you’re ready to upgrade.
Take a Look: BELLA (13683) Personal Espresso Maker
10. STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Plus
I always like to include a non-traditional option for espresso making on my round-ups for those who like to experiment and try something a little different. The Staresso is a stand out for it’s unusual styling and operation. It sort of resembles a grenade/spaceship and is a favorite new release.
This is not an espresso machine we recommend for easy daily use. It does require some extra effort to operate, but it produces a quality cup of espresso with the intent of being used on the go.
The Staresso is manually operated and requires the user to pump by hand to extract espresso using the pop-out lever. It has a teeny tiny water tank to keep it compact and portable. The design is really meant for those espresso drinkers with a love for travel or camping.
Take a Look: STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Plus