Oh, how I love a little cup of espresso after dinner! It’s the perfect complement to a wonderful meal.
But, espresso can be a welcome eye-opener in the morning, too. What a great way to say “hello world”!
Or, maybe you need that quick pick-me-up in the middle of your busy afternoon. Espresso is the answer.
There’s something luxurious about drinking espresso.
And, while your favorite coffeehouse probably conjures up a bad-ass brew, you’re not always ready and able to go there for your espresso fix.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have your very own espresso machine at home? Aahhh — yes.
There are some things that just add to your quality of life, and acquiring an espresso machine might be the right thing for you. But, they come at a variety of price points, and shopping for one can be confusing.
An online search reveals some home-variety espresso makers priced at $3,000 – $5,000! Yikes! Perhaps that’s a bit out of your desired price range.
Fortunately, a number of espresso machines are advertised at more moderate prices, too.
How can you tell which ones provide the best quality for your money?
You’re in luck because I’ve done some of the work for you. I’ve found that it’s possible to get an excellent espresso machine for $400 or less. In this article, I’ll present 5 of the best espresso machines available on Amazon in the under-$400 price range.
Recommended 5 Best Espresso Machines Under $400 Reviews
So, now you’ve launched a search for your very own espresso machine, and you’ve set a budget of $400.00 for this new acquisition. In these reviews, you’ll find important information to help you make an excellent choice.
Read about the characteristics, capabilities, and features of 5 different machines. Discover the pros and cons of each. And, learn the answers to questions frequently asked by other shoppers who are also looking for the perfect espresso maker.
1. KitchenAid KES0504OB Nespresso Bundle
It includes an easy-loading capsule system, a brew strength selector, a 1.3-liter removable water tank, and a milk frother.
1. Easy-to-use Capsules
Use easy-loading Nespresso pods in the capsule system. They come in 22 Grand Crus that you can get through the Nespresso Club. Have fun trying all of them.
2. Easily Adjust the Intensity of the Brew
The brew-strength selector is easy to use and allows you to always turn out a flavorful coffee that perfectly suits your taste buds.
Or, manipulate the brew-strength selector to please your family, friends, or guests. The KitchenAid Nespresso machine will produce a brew that is just right for each coffee drinker.
3. Durable Construction and Handsome Appearance
Constructed entirely of die-cast metal, the KitchenAid Nespresso is durable and features an aesthetically pleasing design.
It’s a handsome appliance that will look great on your kitchen counter or coffee bar. Choose one of five colors to complement your decor.
You can select black onyx, empire red, frosted pearl, slate, or sugar pearl. Pick the one that looks best in your kitchen.
4. Fast Heat-Up
You will never need to wait for a cup of espresso from the KitchenAid machine. It heats in under 30 seconds.
5. Adjustable Cup Shelf
This machine is constructed with a versatile cup shelf design. Conveniently, the cup shelf accepts larger or smaller espresso cups and then folds away for storage.
- Both espresso maker and milk frother heat up quickly.
- Capsules are easy and convenient to use.
- Pick from several settings for very short or taller espressos.
- All-metal construction and 19.4-pound weight provide durability.
- 13” x 8.2” x 13” dimensions save precious counter space.
- Sometimes crushes capsules, especially if you allow the expelled capsule bin to get full.
- Reservoir for spent capsules sometimes gets a bit messy.
- The machine is a bit loud.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can the KitchenAid Nespresso be hooked up directly to a water line?
Answer: No. It has a removable water tank that is filled manually.
Question: Does the KitchenAid Nespresso machine use regular Nespresso capsules?
Answer: Yes, it does. This machine used capsules from the Nespresso Original Line.
2. Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
This smart coffee maker recognizes barcodes on the Grand Cru capsules to automatically produce the perfect brew every time.
Nespresso’s Centrifusion (TM) technology ensures barista-style brewing for your enjoyment at home or in the office.
1. Perfect Brewing with Centrifusion (TM) Technology
This automatic coffee/espresso machine operates with an easy-to-use capsule system, using Nespresso Vertuo capsules.
During the quick brewing process, the capsule spins up to 7,000 rotations per minute to blend water with ground coffee in perfect proportions.
2. 5 Available Single-Serving Sizes
At the touch of a button, you can choose one of five single-serving sizes: Espresso (1.35 oz.), Double Espresso (2.7 oz.), Gran Lungo (5 oz.), Coffee (7.7 oz.) or Alto (14 oz).
The cup support adjusts to 3 different positions to accommodate various cup sizes.
3. Fast Heat-Up
There’s hardly any waiting for your coffee with the Nespresso Vertuo. The heat-up time clocks in at only 15-20 seconds. Additionally, an automatic shut-off system saves energy by turning the machine off after 9 minutes of inactivity.
4. Capsules Offer a Variety of Flavors and Intensities
Nespresso Vertuo capsules are available in a variety of intensities and flavors. Choose from among 16 freshly brewed coffees and 10 authentic espressos to suit your individual tastes.
5. Milk Frother Included
A 40-ounce water tank is easily removable for filling with water, and the bundle includes an Aeroccino 3 milk frother for cappuccino or latte.
- Quality of the coffee/espresso is excellent.
- Fast heat-up time.
- Easy-to-use capsule system allows a choice of flavors and intensities.
- When spent, the pods dispose of themselves.
- Small footprint doesn’t take up too much countertop space.
- Coffee is just warm, not hot enough.
- When brewing, the unit is a bit noisy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can this espresso maker be set for regular coffee without the crema?
Answer: Yes. You can make straight espresso from the capsules and add frothed milk separately.
Question: Can you use any K-cup pods?
Answer: No. This machine uses only Nespresso Vertuo capsules.
3. Nespresso A+GCA1-US-CH-NE VertuoLine Coffee and Espresso Maker
Either way, you’ll love the delicious coffee that you get from the Nespresso VertuoLine coffee/espresso maker.
Add a hot or cold milk froth; the Aeroccino Plus milk frother is included.
1. Smart Technology for Perfect Brewing
This smart coffee/espresso maker uses Nespresso VertuoLine capsules and reads the bar code on each one to brew delicious coffee or espresso at the touch of a button. (Not compatible with Nespresso Original Line capsules).
2. Large or Small Capsules are Available
Capsules come in 2 sizes: Large for coffee and Small for espresso. The patented Centrifusion technology brews perfect coffee or espresso from the capsules every time.
3. Precise Brewing Control for Grand Crus
During the brewing process, Centrifusion technology ensures that extraction is precisely controlled for the specific Grand Cru that is being brewed.
4. No-mess Disposal of Spent Capsules
Used capsules are automatically ejected into a container that holds 13-20 spent capsules.
5. Compact and Lightweight
Dimensions of the Nespresso VertuoLine machine are 11.9 x 8.3 x 11.9 inches, so it won’t take up too much space in your kitchen. Weighing in at 6.46 pounds, the machine is easily movable.
- Easy to use, one-touch operating.
- Convenient capsules load and eject with no mess.
- Nespresso VertuoLine capsules offer variety in flavor and intensity.
- Add hot or cold milk froth with included milk frother.
- 15-second heating up time.
- Coffee is warm, not hot enough.
- Uses only Nespresso VertuoLine capsules.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is there any way to make the coffee hotter?
Answer: No. There is no way to change the temperature, but using a mug warmer helps.
Question: Can you use other brands of capsules in this machine?
Answer: No. It is only compatible with Nespresso VertuoLine capsules.
4. Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker
Constructed with commercial-quality components and a stainless steel housing, his appliance will look extremely classy on your kitchen counter or coffee bar.
The Turbo Frother steam wand effortlessly produces froth for lattes and cappuccinos.
1. Commercial Coffeehouse-type Construction in a Home Machine
With the Gaggia semi-automatic, you get commercial features in a home machine.
The brushed stainless steel housing and commercial, 3-way solenoid valve contribute to durability and long-lasting quality.
2. Commercial Grade Portafilter
The 58 mm portafilter is the same as those used in commercial machines. The commercial-grade, pressurized basket allows you to get a thick layer of crema on every cup like a professional barista.
3. Easy-to-use Wand for Steam and Foam
With the Pannarello Wand, you’ll be able to dispense hot water, froth, and steam like a professional.
4. Have Fun Easily Making Cappuccinos and Lattes
Without years of practice, you’ll be able to pull your own espressos and cappuccinos and have fun making lattes that taste as good as those at your favorite cafe.
5. Substantial Heft for Long-lasting Durability
With dimensions of 9.5 x 8 x 14.2 inches, the Gaggia will not take up too much space on your counter. This stainless steel appliance weighs in at a substantial 20 pounds, providing years of durable service.
- Semi-automatic machine with high quality, durable construction.
- Commercial, 3-way solenoid valve assures spent pods are dry.
- Easy-to-use Pannarello wand for lattes and cappuccinos.
- Fast heat-up and easy controls.
- 58 mm, commercial style portafilter
- At 20 pounds, the machine is not easily movable.
- The cup holder is flimsy, compared with the rest of the machine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can the Gaggia semi-automatic espresso machine be back-flushed for cleaning?
Answer: Yes. Regular, periodic back-flushing is recommended for maintenance.
Question: What size espresso cups should I use with the Gaggia machine?
Answer: 2-oz. espresso shots. Clearance from cup tray to filter basket is 2-7/8 inches.
5. DeLonghi America, Inc EC685M Dedica Deluxe espresso maker
Easily adjust the brewing and frothing processes to provide your guests with their favorite drinks, too.
You’ll be making espresso-based beverages as delicious as those created by the barista at your favorite coffeehouse.
1. Adjustable Pressure Controls
15-bar professional pressure control makes it easy for you to modify results to suit your personal taste as well as the preferences of your family and guests.
2. Easy-to-use, Premium Adjustable Frother
Have fun making cappuccinos and lattes specifically created to please family, friends, or yourself. The premium adjustable frother allows you to precisely adjust the foam and steam levels.
3. Easily Adjust to Whatever Size Cup You Want
The DeLonghi machine features an automatic flow stop that assures just the desired amount of espresso. Adjust to make smaller or larger-sized drinks.
You can easily change the double drip tray position or remove it to fit taller cups or latte glasses.
4. Thermoblock Heating and Rapid Cappuccino Systems
Because of the Thermoblock heating system, it only takes 35 seconds for the DeLonghi to serve up your favorite beverage.
Additionally, the Rapid Cappuccino system allows you to serve several cups in a row to friends and family. No worries; the temperature will be precisely maintained.
5. Dimensions and Weight
You might be wondering about the DeLonghi deluxe espresso maker’s footprint on your countertop. The dimensions are 13 x 5.9 x 12 inches, so it won’t take up lots of space.
The 8.8-pound weight makes the machine easily movable, too.
- Advanced systems ensure quality results
- The heating system delivers fast results.
- Adjustable frother allows you to control froth and steam.
- Makes espresso-based drinks in a variety of sizes.
- Easily make several cups in a row while maintaining a precise temperature.
- Good machine for beginners, but it does take a bit of practice to develop good technique.
- Does not work well with very finely ground coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Does the machine use a boiler?
Answer: No. It uses a Thermoblock made of stainless steel-lined aluminum. Water comes in contact only with stainless steel.
Question: Can you make 2 espressos at the same time?
Answer: Yes. You can make 1 or 2.
Consider These Factors When Shopping for an Under-$400 Espresso Machine
1. Automatic or Semi-Automatic
How much control do you want to exert over the brewing and frothing processes? Do you want to develop your own barista technique at home? Or, do you want a smart machine that will do the thinking and the work for you?
2. Capsules or Ground Coffee
Do you want a machine that uses capsules (pods) or one that uses ground coffee? Capsules are easier to use and less messy than ground coffee. (None of the machines reviewed here include grinders).
Additionally, capsules come in a variety of flavors and intensities. With this variety of choices, you can customize your beverages to please yourself and your guests.
It’s easier to dispose of spent capsules that to dispose of coffee grounds.
On the other hand, you might be a coffee aficionado who prefers to roast and/or grind your own coffee. This gives you exclusive control over the precise flavor and intensity of your brewed beverages.
3. Cost and Availability of Capsules
If you choose a machine that uses capsules, you will need to consider the cost and the source of your supply. Some of the machines reviewed in this article use only capsules from a specific line, available from the manufacturer of the machine.
Typically, the capsules are available for ordering through a club plan. You might consider the capsules to be a bit pricey. Or, you might find that the excellent quality espresso made from the capsules is well worth the price.
4. Milk Frother
Consider whether the machine includes a milk frother. Does it froth both hot or cold milk? How easy is it to use the frothing feature?
5. Construction and Durability
Be aware of the materials from which various espresso machines are made. Some advertise die-cast metal, aluminum, and stainless steel construction. Others might be made with plastic parts that would not be quite so durable.
6. Water Reservoir
Consider the capacity of the water reservoir and balance it against your own needs. Will you want to brew many cups of coffee each day for yourself and several other people? Or, will your needs be less? The capacity of the water reservoir will dictate how many beverages you can dispense before needing to refill it.
7. Heat-up Time
One of the primary reasons to purchase any type of coffee or espresso maker is the lure of having good, hot coffee drinks almost instantly. Heat-up times vary, but the machines reviewed in this article all feature heat-up times of around 30 seconds or less.
8. Beverage Cup Sizes
How much variety do you need in beverage sizes? Do you want lots of available size choices to accommodate lattes, cappuccinos, and short espressos? Or, do you typically make drinks in only 1 or 2 sizes? Some machines give you more size choices than others.
9. Dimensions and Weight
You probably know where you plan to put your espresso machine, once you purchase it. How much kitchen-counter space will you devote to it? Or, perhaps you’re fortunate to have a dedicated coffee bar.
How big is it? You may want to measure the dimensions of your available space before your purchase a machine.
In addition to the dimensions, you might consider the weight of the machine. Think of your own strength in relation to lighter-weight or heavier machines.
Balance that consideration against the assumption that heavier machines made from more durable materials will probably last longer than lightweight machines that might have flimsy parts.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. At least, now you have some facts and figures to aid in your search for the best under-$400 espresso machine to meet your personal needs. As you can see, the various choices address multiple desires and preferences.
Numerous products offer amazing features that will satisfy even the most ardent espresso devotees. Surely, it is possible to acquire a good-quality espresso machine that you will love for under $400.
Happy shopping, and may you enjoy delicious espresso shots, lattes, and cappuccinos at home for many years to come!