7 Best Espresso Machines Under $250 for 2022

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Today we are looking at the best espresso machines under $250 that will guarantee an excellent brewing experience without breaking the bank.

At the 250 dollar price point, you’re not getting the expensive bells and whistles of a super-automatic espresso machine, but what you do get is a solid machine that makes solid espresso.

If you’re an espresso lover and you don’t want to spend more than $250, these are the best espresso machines in the business.

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Best Espresso Machine Under $250 - reviews

1. De'Longhi Espresso Machine

The DeLonghi ECP3630 combines simple elegance and outstanding functionality so that you can make espresso comparable to what you can buy at a coffee shop in your own home.

The machine is well-made and solidly built, and, just as importantly, easy to clean. One of the best things about it is that it is relatively simple to use.

This machine costs less than 250 dollars and weighs only 9.8 pounds; therefore, you can quickly move the machine when you need to, and, since it’s relatively small in size, you can easily find a place for it in your house.

The Delonghi ECP3630 espresso machine is pump-driven that exerts a 15-bar pressure evenly to produce the perfect crema.

Furthermore, the ECP3630 can keep an optimal temperature for a long time, and this feature allows you to prepare multiple coffees without waiting for the machine to heat up. The coffee maker does this with the help of its Rapid Cappuccino System.

Why We Recommend It

ECP3630 offers an entirely customizable experience by having a separate thermostat for the water and the steam.

Having two separate thermostats for frothing your milk and brewing your coffee means you get better coffee drinks since it optimizes both the frothing and the brewing temperature.

The ECP3630 also offers self-priming technology that makes sure that the coffee maker can start working fast once turned on. 

The machine comes with a 37-ounce water tank that can be easily removed and fitted back for cleaning purposes.

The De’Longhi ECP3630 comes with a single shot basket, the double shot one, and the filter basket for ESE coffee pods. Therefore, you can make one or two cups of coffee simultaneously. 

The De’Longhi ECP3630 is one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines under $250 that can help you make espresso, cappuccino, cafe latte, macchiatos, and many other drinks of your preference.

Pros:
  • Compact & easy to use and clean
  • Removable tray to accommodate larger cups
  • Compatible with ESE coffee pods
  • Two thermostats
  • Affordable & great for beginners
Cons:
  • No grinder
  • Not programmable
  • Frothing jug not included
  • The steam wand is a bit short

2. Cuisinart Espresso Maker

The Cuisinart EM-200NP1 is a programmable 15 bar espresso machine that uses ground or capsule espresso to brew a single or double shot of espresso.

This programmable espresso machine pulls your shot at the push of a button with no manual timing required.

The EM-200 features an adjustable steam wand that allows you to turn your simple espresso to other coffee varieties, including latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and many more.

The use of 15 bar bump pressure in this coffee machine produces crema which is thicker compared to espresso which is brewed using steam pressure.

The programmable system of this machine allows you to pre-select portion size and pressure by 15 bars for maximum flavor and use of espresso capsules or ground capsules, all under your control.

It also features a removable 64-ounce water reservoir, stainless steel steam nozzle, and a portafilter holder with two locking positions. 

Why We Recommend It

The programmable controls are the USPs of this machine because they are already pre-set into the espresso maker. 

This espresso machine brews 1-2 cups using pods or ground coffee. With this espresso machine, you can choose a pre-programmed cup size at either 1.5 or 3.0 ounces.

However, in a few simple steps, you can set the ideal serving size to one ounce. The instructions include easy-to-follow steps and illustrations.

The stainless-steel construction of the machine is strong, solid, and sturdy and hence enables the espresso machine to withstand wear and tear. 

The separate steam function and stainless steel spout make it easy to prepare milk froth for cappuccino and smooth milk. 

With the help of a removable drip tray, lid, and lockable filter holder, wet residue can be easily removed after use, and cleaning is quick and easy.

The machine is safe to operate since you can instantly see whether the switch is on. It is due to the machine’s indication light. 

The machine’s intuitive controls and beautifully designed stainless steel housing with an embossed Cuisinart logo makes this one of the best espresso machines for under 250 dollars.

Pros:
  • Features a built-in milk frother
  • Sturdy stainless-steel construction
  • Programmable espresso machine
  • Durable and reliable espresso maker
  • Comes with a large 69oz. removable water reservoir
  • Can be used with ground coffee and ESE pods
Cons:
  • The machine parts heat up fast
  • Some may find the machine bulky
  • Doesn’t come with a grinder

3. Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine

If you want a dual-function coffee maker and would love to have at-home espresso and coffee without always depending on coffee shops, the Vertuo Coffee & Espresso machine is for you.

With a minimalist design and innovative features, Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville blends well with most (modern) kitchen arrangements and offers a whole new way of brewing, involving a laser bar-code reading system.

The machine looks modern and sleek, yet still maintains a uniqueness that fits the Nespresso brand. 

With Nespresso Vertuo, brewing is simple, convenient, and easy. The machine automatically detects the type of coffee blend and adjusts brewing accordingly. 

It extracts coffee through a patented process of centrifusion, where water and coffee are well blended together, thus yielding a strong flavor. 

However, brewing is limited to specific capsules and specific types of coffee drinks only.

Why We Recommend It

The machine comes with an Aeroccino milk frother that does a nice job of creating milk froth for lovely cappuccinos and lattes.

An in-built laser technology detects the capsule type and brews an appropriate size accordingly. 

The VertuoLine capsules can make five different coffee and espresso cup sizes: a 1.35-ounce espresso, 2.7-ounce double espresso, 5-ounce Gran Lungo, 8-ounce coffee, or 14-ounce Alto.

The Nespresso Vertuo uses barcode-scanning technology to read the rings on the capsules and adjust the water volume, temperature, flow rate, water contact time, and rotational speed. 

Each time, this creates a quality shot of espresso with a perfect crema on top, quite comparable to what a traditional espresso machine would pull.

Nespresso Vertuo has a pressure pump with a capacity of 19 bar, which helps the machine create coffee that is both rich and creamy.

It also features a removable water tank with a capacity of 40 oz. 

Nespresso VertuoLine is one of the best capsule espresso machines under 250 dollars that also demands less maintenance and has an impressive, sturdy build.

Pros:
  • Speedy drink preparation
  • High-quality coffee and espresso beverages
  • Beautiful, compact design
  • Comes with 12 coffee capsules
  • Can produce rich, delicious crema on top
  • Rapid pre-heating (just about 20 seconds)
  • Easy, one-touch operation
  • Easy to maintain
Cons:
  • Only compatible with Nespresso Vertuo capsules
  • Makes only individual cups

4. Mr. Coffee Café Barista

In one simple touch, Mr. Coffee Café Barista brews espresso and automatically froths milk for cappuccino and latte selections. 

Moreover, with this inexpensive semi-automatic espresso machine that costs less than $250, you don’t need Barista skills to create custom coffee drinks like your favorite coffeehouse.

The overall design of this coffee maker is well-thought-out because all of its parts are labeled clearly. Plus, parts are all removable, which is convenient for cleaning and refilling. 

This espresso machine comes with a frother with a clearly labeled knob that controls how much froth goes into each drink. 

An included measuring spoon doubles as a tamper, used for pressing the coffee grounds into the portafilter. 

Two filters fit into the portafilter: one for a single shot and one for a double shot. 

Why We Recommend It

With just one or two presses of a button, the machine will steam and froth your milk and then dispense espresso, all without user intervention. 

The machine dispenses the appropriate amount of milk froth based on the beverage selected. 

As for aesthetics, this machine is both sleek- and modern-looking. The machine also features removable milk and water reservoirs.

Mr. Coffee also includes two filter baskets to choose from for single and double shots.

The process of making an espresso shot or espresso drink with the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is quick and easy because it’s mostly automatic.

For espresso drinks using the “Cappuccino” or “Latte” buttons, the machine froths the milk in the reservoir and places it into the cup. Afterward, it makes a single or double shot of espresso and adds it to the cup.

The machine also features an automatic clean up function that runs for 30 seconds and will run and turn off automatically, which adds to the ease of the cleaning process.

Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Quickly makes espresso drinks
  • Semi-automatic
  • Budget-friendly
  • 6 beverage programs (2 espresso sizes / 4 milk drinks)
  • Automatic milk frother
Cons:
  • Makes inconsistent espresso
  • Poor quality tamper
  • Less control over the frothing process

5. De'Longhi Espresso Maker, EC702

The DeLonghi EC702 is a no-fuss, no-frills espresso machine for aspiring home baristas who want to get their feet wet without breaking the bank.

The machine comes with the kit to allow single and double shots. Also, you can use either loose grounds or ESE pods.

For an espresso machine that costs less than 250 dollars, the Pannarello steam wand works reasonably well. The steam is appropriately hot, producing a decent amount of foam. So you should be able to craft specialty drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos. 

The machine has a self-priming operation, allowing the boiler to heat up and prepare for brewing on its own, so you don’t have to fuss with annoying start-up controls.

This espresso machine gives you the freedom to control things like pressure and water temperature without the stress of messing around with the machine’s basic functions. 

The De’Longhi has a patented dual-thermostat system so you can monitor and set the temperatures for the steam wand and the water tank separately.

Why We Recommend It

The machine features a  “Rapid Cappuccino System,” which allows you to brew your espresso, steam, and froth milk, and then go immediately back to brewing to prepare yet another cappuccino or other frothy beverage of choice.

It comes with a 44oz. side-accessible and removable water reservoir, and a stainless steel cup warmer, which is uncommon for espresso machines under $250

The De’Longhi EC702 is easy to keep clean, provided you don’t neglect the daily maintenance that every espresso machine requires.

The automatic priming operation also helps to keep the machine in good shape between big cleans.

Though the machine has an attractive, chrome-y finish, it is almost entirely made of plastic. However, it does include a stainless steel boiler that has a reputation for holding up quite well over time.

The portafilter is well-constructed and locks in securely. The drip tray doesn’t rattle and fits snugly into the machine’s base.

Pros:
  • Easy to use espresso machine
  • Pressurized portafilters and Pannarello steam wand require no skill to use
  • Sturdy build with some stainless steel components
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Affordable and stylish
Cons:
  • It takes time to heat up
  • No auto shut-off or turn on

6. Flair Signature Manual Espresso Maker

The Flair makes manual, lever-press espresso makers that allow you to make high-quality espresso at home. 

The Signature Manual Espresso Maker is easy to travel with, and it’s a great countertop brewer with its sleek look and small counter footprint.

Without electricity, the Flair Signature can produce enough pressure to match the best espresso machines.

It’s built based on the single lever used to force water through a compacted disk of ground coffee to make a delicious cup of espresso with thick crema on top.

After inserting the coffee grounds, you fill the water chamber with hot water and secure it above the coffee. Then you pull a lever that forces the water through the coffee grounds producing a shot of espresso.

This action creates enough pressure to properly extract the coffee and make a great tasting shot of espresso.

The portafilter is handless and bottomless. Even though it does not have a handle or bottom, it certainly doesn’t take anything away from the flavor. It requires preheating, but the bottomless feature is a nice touch, allowing you to see the extraction process. 

Why We Recommend It

The Flair has optimal performance around 6-9 bars of pressure. The quality of the espresso is just as good (full of flavor and supremely drinkable) as an electricity-driven espresso machine.

Pulling down the lever is requires a bit of arm strength. At the 5 – 6 bar, the amount of effort may not be too much. But at the 9 – 10 bar, you’ll notice it become a workout. 

Its accessories are pleasing, well-made objects in their own right – especially the pressure gauge (sold separately) with its fabulous branding and the tamper, which looks a little like a chess piece.

It’s a well-made and high-quality manual espresso maker. The cylinders, plungers, and dispersion screens are all stainless steel. 

The basket inside the standard portafilters and the entire portafilter are stainless steel as well. Many of the other components are high-quality polyacetal or polycarbonate.

Pros:
  • A simplified design makes it easy to use
  • The piston creates the perfect amount of pressure for espresso
  • Environmentally-friendly
Cons:
  • Multiple small parts that need adjusting and washing with each brew
  • There is a bit of a learning curve

7. DeLonghi EC155M Espresso Machine

The De’Longhi EC155 is perfect for the beginner espresso aficionado with limited experience, or for anyone who has limited counter space as this thing is nice and compact.

The DeLonghi EC155 is one of the best small espresso machines under 250 dollars that can whip up satisfying espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos in no time.

The DeLonghi’s build quality is nothing spectacular, but it’s also not bad at all for the price. The form factor of the machine is black hard plastic, and the parts which touch the espresso itself are stainless steel.

The DeLonghi machine can exert 15 bars of pressure, which is remarkable given the machine’s size and less than $250 price. 

Typically, this amount of power is reserved for much larger and more expensive machines like you’d find at a cafe.

The machine’s controls are easy to grasp. There are only 4 operation modes on the front dial. They are for steaming the milk, turning off the appliance, heating the water, brewing the espresso. 

It comes with two metal filters, one to handle single shots and another for creating double shot coffees.

Why We Recommend It

Designed to be a convenient, no-fuss espresso and cappuccino machine, the De’Longhi EC155 is a perfect point-and-shoot model for newcomers to the extraction game.

The machine is compatible with E.S.E. coffee pods and regular ground coffee, so you can choose the coffee type that best suits your convenience. 

The EC155 features a self-priming system that creates a smooth start-up without needing to prime manually, making the process automatic, convenient, and hands-off.

It comes with a built-in swivel jet frother. The frother is connected to the cappuccino maker next to the portafilter and designed with a natural angle for milk steaming and frothing.

The machine can pull two shots simultaneously, and its 35-ounce water tank is more than sufficient to pour quite a few 1-2-ounce espresso shots.

The DeLonghi EC155 is also very easy to clean; the drip tray and water reservoir pop out without any trouble.

Pros:
  • 15 bars of pressure
  • Uses pods or grounds
  • Swivel jet frother
  • Automatic and convenient
  • Solid basic functionality
Cons:
  • Instructions are complicated and unclear
  • Tamper is not very useful
  • 15 minutes heat-up time

Best Espresso Machines Under $250: Buyer’s Guide

Quite frankly, when it comes to espresso machines under $250, you buy an entry-level machine that’s most likely semi-automatic.

When you are starting at this tier, you are essentially at the beginning stages of espresso makers.

But how do you decide which features you should be looking for? Read on for our quick guide to the important features of an espresso maker that costs less than $250.

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

If you’re not a fan of manual espresso makers, then for a price point of under $250, you’ll mostly get semi-automatic espresso machines.

These machines offer the right mix of hands-on feeling and convenience. Sure, you still need to grind, dose, tamp and steam, but you’ll be able to crank out a couple of lattes in a matter of minutes as long as the machine has had sufficient time to warm up (in these small machines, it usually never takes more than 5-10 minutes).

Capsule Espresso Machines

If you want espresso with minimal hassle, capsule espresso machines genuinely deliver.

With a real espresso machine, some work is involved, and cleaning and maintenance are essential. A capsule machine lets you press a button to brew a delicious cup of instant espresso.

Moreover, you’ll find many capsule espresso machines that cost less than 250 dollars.

These machines are super easy, don’t need a grinder, and stay fresh for a long time due to being portion packed.

Ease of Use

Are you an experienced espresso maker? If you’ve owned espresso makers for years, you may be interested in a manual model, which will allow you hands-on control over every step of your brewing process.

If you don’t know quite as much about espresso or don’t want to put in the time to learn a new machine, you may prefer a semi-automatic model. 

Ease of Cleaning

This is a quality of life category that many of us will prioritize, especially those who are extremely busy. Cleaning your machine with a simple wash and a push of a button is a significant advantage and can make your life easier.

Aesthetics of the machine

Espresso makers typically take up a fair amount of space on your kitchen counter. Since it will be pretty visible, you may want to consider what kind of appliance will look best in your kitchen.

Size

The size of the machine is significant since having something too big on a small counter will feel like a waste of space or a lack of it. You must choose well when it comes to the machine’s footprint and what you want to do with it.

Durability

A critical aspect, usually steel, will last longer than plastic, and we need to be aware of this. You want your machine to last as long as possible, but the material used for the external build is not the only factor. 

Frothing Capability

If you simply want espresso, then don’t bother with frothing, but if you also want that milky drink to be available for you, then this is important. 

From a frothing or steaming wand to an automatic frother or the Aeroccino from Nespresso, take this point seriously if you like your espresso-based milk beverages, like cappuccinos & lattes. 

Capacity

The size of the water reservoir can vary. If you entertain a lot and don’t want to refill it constantly, you’ll need a big one. Some machines also require more downtime between drinks and can’t make them in rapid succession. 

Conclusion

Whatever your tastes, the best espresso machine under $250 for you is bound to be on this list. Whether you choose a machine that allows you to take a hands-on role in the process or a machine that maximizes the ease of procuring your espresso-based drink, you’ll definitely be glad you incorporated the refined flavors of espresso into your routine.

Written by:
Shiv Kumar
Shiv Kumar

Shiv has been a coffee fanatic since caffeine became a necessity in college, and since then, his enthusiasm has only grown. He specializes in espresso machines and single-serve coffee makers.

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