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Home » Best Espresso Machine Under $500: Expert Picks for 2023

Best Espresso Machine Under $500: Expert Picks for 2023

Great espresso doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You’ve stumbled upon the right article if you want to pull delicious shots at a fair price. Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-handle espresso machine, one that does it all for you, or you can’t quite let go of the convenience of coffee pods, you’ll find something to meet your needs here.

Let’s dive into our 2023 top picks for the best espresso machine in Canada under $500.

At A Glance:

  1. TOP PICK: Breville Duo Temp Pro
  2. BUDGET PICK: Nespresso Pixie
  3. COOLEST STYLE Gaggia Carezza Deluxe

Espresso Machine Reviews: The 11 Best Espresso Machines Under $500 In 2023

Home Grounds has covered all your bases in this review of the 11 best espresso machines under $500 in 2023. We review each espresso machine in detail to ensure you make the right choice for your needs. A latte lover requires a great milk frothing system, and a small kitchen demands a compact design. Save your time and your sanity as we walk you through our hours of research.

image product details
Best Overall Best Overall Breville Duo Temp Pro Breville Duo Temp Pro
  • Semi-Automatic
  • 1.8 L Water Reservoir
  • Steam Wand
Best Manual Espresso Machine Best Manual Espresso Machine Flair Pro 2 Flair Pro 2
  • Manual
  • 70 ml Water Reservoir
  • No milk system
Coolest Style Coolest Style Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Gaggia Carezza Deluxe
  • Semi-Automatic
  • 1.4 L Water Reservoir
  • Steam Wand
Best Automatic Espresso Machine Best Automatic Espresso Machine Bambino Plus Breville Bambino Plus
  • Automatic
  • 1.9 L Water Reservoir
  • Steam Wand
Best Dual Purpose Best Dual Purpose Nespresso Vertuo Nespresso Vertuo Plus
  • Pod-Based
  • 1.2 L Water Reservoir
  • No Milk System
Budget Pick Budget Pick Nespresso Pixie Nespresso Pixie
  • Pod-Based
  • 0.7 L Water Reservoir
  • No Milk System
Best Portable Espresso Maker Best Portable Espresso Maker Wacaco Picopresso Wacaco Picopresso
  • Manual
  • 80 ml Water Reservoir
  • None
Best Compact Espresso Machine Best Compact Espresso Machine DeLongi Dedica DeLongi Dedica
  • Automatic
  • 1.1 L Water Reservoir
  • Steam Wand
Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine De'Longhi EC155 De’Longhi EC155
  • Semi-Automatic
  • 1 L Water Reservoir
  • Steam Wand
Great for Milky Drinks Great for Milky Drinks Mr. Coffee Mr. Coffee Cappuccino Machine
  • Automatic
  • 1 L
  • Auto Froth

1. Breville Duo Temp Pro – Best Overall

  • Type Of Machine: Semi-Automatic

  • Water Reservoir: 1.8 L
  • Milk System: Steam Wand
  • Dimensions: 32 x 25.7 x 33.4 cm

Our pick for the best espresso machine under $500 is the Breville Duo Temp Pro, a semi-automatic model for espresso lovers who want more involvement in the brewing process. It’s user-friendly but still allows you ultimate control in crafting the perfect shot.

You need to weigh and add ground coffee to the portafilter, level and tamp it, and slot it in the machine. Brewing is as easy as turning a knob to start and stop the shot. The automatic low-pressure pre-infusion guarantees a delicious result, even if your puck prep isn’t ideal.

The Duo Temp Pro takes its name from the auto purge function, which also justifies its price point. It purges the machine’s heat system post-steaming, taking it automatically from steaming temperature to brewing temperature. Coupled with PID temperature control for excellent temperature accuracy and precision, this machine is a winner for specialty coffee enthusiasts who take brew temperature seriously.

The same knob that starts a shot rotates the other way to turn on the steam. The steam wand is manually operated, making you the real barista. It takes a little practice to master, but the results are worth it. With a 1600 W heating element, you have plenty of power to create microfoam, just like in a cafe. You’ll be pouring beautiful latte art in no time! is worth it being just like that in a cafe.

Learn more in our full review of the Breville Duo Temp Pro espresso machine. The Breville Infuser Espresso Machine is an impressive pick for about $100 more if you have a slightly higher budget.

2. Flair Pro 2 – Best Manual Espresso Machine

  • Type Of Machine: Manual

  • Water Reservoir: 70 ml
  • Milk System: None
  • Dimensions: 30cm x 15cm x 25 cm

The Flair Pro 2 is a shiny, sleek, hand-driven espresso maker. The amount of pressure created using the lever design yields espresso quality comparable to a high-end automatic espresso maker at a sliver of the cost.

Once you’ve put in your freshly ground coffee and secured the filled water chamber, pull the main arm to push the water through the grounds. The 6 to 9 bars of pressure produced extracts the coffee to give you a proper shot of espresso with a great taste and a full body. The built-in pressure gauge makes it easy to perfect your technique.

Be prepared to put in some elbow grease for your espresso shots, as you’ll need some strength to pull the lever manually. The sweet reward for your troubles is a delicious shot of espresso!

If you like to brew back-to-back, this manual espresso maker will lose its appeal fast. It requires disassembly and cleaning between every shot. It’s a swift process, but it grows tiring quickly.

The Flair Espresso Maker is easily the most affordable way to produce cafe-quality at home, and its cast aluminium frame and stainless steel components should last decades. However, if you’re a fan of milk-based drinks, beware that it doesn’t include a milk system. So consider setting aside a budget for a standalone milk frother.

3. Gaggia Carezza Deluxe – Coolest Style

  • Type Of Machine: Semi-automatic

  • Water Reservoir: 1.4 L
  • Milk System: Steam wand
  • Dimensions: 21 x 30 x 28 cm

If you want something a little different than the regular espresso machine design, the retro Gaggia Carezza Deluxe will make a statement on your counter. It’s a compact machine with a small footprint and low height that should fit easily into any kitchen. 

Of course, design is one thing, but the most important thing is that it makes good coffee. Gaggia makes some of our favourite espresso machines, and while their famous Gaggia Classic Pro will break the $500 budget, all of their machines offer quality and value for money.

The low price is due to the use of plastic for the outer case. While it does make it feel a little flimsy, it’s also very lightweight, and all of the important parts are metal and designed to last.

It’s equipped with commercial-grade filter baskets that hold up to 18g of coffee, but you can also brew with ESE pods for a little extra convenience. For cappuccinos and lattes there is a panarello style steam wand, and the generous 1.4 L water tank will see you through more than a few coffees before it needs refilling.

4. Breville Bambino Plus – Best Automatic Espresso Machine

  • Type Of Machine: Automatic

  • Water Reservoir: 1.9 L
  • Milk System: Steam Wand
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 32 x 31 cm

The Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine is our pick as the best espresso machine for beginners because it’s one of the easiest espresso machines to use. We particularly love how it’s designed to grow with you as you become a more experienced home barista.

breville bambino front side

Even if you are brand-new to espresso, you can make a delicious latte with the Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine. You barely have to lift a finger except for pressing one button to get the process started. It only takes 3 seconds to heat up, thanks to the new ThermoJet heating system, and it comes with preset buttons for single and double shots. It even offers automatic milk frothing for a sweeter hands-free espresso brewing experience.

More advanced users will appreciate the ability to exercise more control. You can adjust the shot length and operate the steam wand manually. Espresso experts will also enjoy features like programmable pre-infusion time and PID temperature control.

5. Nespresso Vertuo – Best Dual Purpose

  • Type Of Machine: Pod-Based

  • Water Reservoir: 1.2 L
  • Milk System: None
  • Dimensions: 22 x 34.9 32.5 cm

Sometimes you want espresso, coffee, or both. In that case, the Nespresso Vertuo was designed with you in mind.

The Nespresso Vertuo takes just 25 seconds to preheat. It operates with Centrifusion technology to scan any compatible coffee pod’s barcode and spin it at 7,000 rpm.

This yields the most optimally extracted espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, or coffee by infusing the ground coffee with steaming water.

The Nespresso Vertuo will produce delicious espresso or coffee drinks as you happily watch hands-free. Like all Nespresso products, you only have to put a pod in and press start. After brewing, clean-up is equally straightforward.

The Vertuo doesn’t have a built-in milk system, but it can be bundled with an Aeroccino milk frother at a discount.

6. Nespresso Pixie – Budget Pick

  • Type Of Machine: Pod-Based

  • Water Reservoir: 0.7 L
  • Milk System: None
  • Dimensions: 11.1 x 32.6 x 23.5 cm

The Nespresso Pixie will suit your needs well if you’re tight on space or budget. This affordable espresso machine hovers just around the $200 line and frequently goes on sale, making it the cheapest pick on this list.

The Pixie is short and narrow, so it slots into any sliver of space in your kitchen, dorm, or office. Don’t let its lightweight nature fool you; it is a sturdy machine with a fair amount of metal in its build.

In just 30 seconds, the Nespresso Pixie brews an espresso or lungo with the characteristic 19 bars of pressure that all Nespresso Original Line machines offer. Like the Nespresso Vertuo, it does this at the push of a button and automatically turns off afterward to save on energy.

7. Wacaco Picopresso – Best Portable Espresso Maker

  • Type Of Machine: Manual

  • Water Reservoir: 80 ml
  • Milk System: None
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 7.8 x 10.6 cm

The Wacaco Nanopresso has long been Home Grounds pick for the best espresso on the go, but the release of the Picopresso in 2021 takes portable espresso-making to a new level.

Of all Wacaco’s coffee makers, the Picopresso is the most geared towards professionals. First is the basket capacity. It holds up to 18g of ground beans, which is the amount needed for a true double shot (other portable espresso makers including the Nanopresso hold 8-16 grams). The filter basket is also non-pressurised. This makes it less forgiving to an inconsistent grind size, but it’s what you find in professional espresso machines.

The flipside of this higher-quality output is that the Picopresso does take a bit more know-how to use, and a good grinder in your arsenal. But even if you’re not a barista, with a little practice you’ll be making consistent, crema-topped shots like a pro.

8. DeLongi Dedica – Best Compact Espresso Machine

  • Type Of Machine: Automatic

  • Water Reservoir: 1.1 L
  • Milk System: Steam wand
  • Dimensions: 30.5 x 33 x 15 cm

If you were to sum up the DeLongi Dedica in one word, it would be “streamlined”. This slim espresso machine is just 15 cm wide and 30 cm tall, and could easily fit into even the smallest kitchen. The outer construction is slick stainless steel, with just three unobtrusive buttons for operation. 

Making a coffee is as simple as it looks. Once you’ve ground your beans and tamped your portafilter, it’s just a matter of choosing the single or double shot button. If you want to make your life even easier, the machine also brews with ESE pods. 

The third button on the machine switches the boiler to steam mode. Once it’s reached the desired temperature, you’ll find a dial on the side for frothing.

If your espresso doesn’t quite hit the spot, there are options to customise the settings a little. Using a combination of the buttons on the panel, you can select from one of three brewing temperatures, and change the preset volume for double and single shots.

9. De’Longhi EC155 – Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

  • Type Of Machine: Semi-Automatic

  • Water Reservoir: 1 L
  • Milk System: Steam Wand
  • Dimensions: 18.8 x 24.1 x 27.9 cm

The De’Longhi EC155 is the best semi-automatic machine for espresso lovers on a budget. You know you’re getting a quality product with the renowned reputation of De’Longhi behind it.

The EC155 is easy to use, and we often recommend it to espresso beginners. As a semi-automatic machine, it forces you to be involved in the process, but it has plenty of user-friendly features to limit human error.

Everything is controlled with a single dial, and the Advanced Cappuccino System allows for back-to-back brewing, saving time and hassle by maintaining the ideal temperature. The 3-in-1 filter holder is suitable for freshly ground coffee beans, pre-ground coffee, or espresso pods – depending on your skill and what you have available.

The manual steam wand is a jet-frothing wand. This design, like a pannarello wand, injects extra air along with the steam, making it easier to achieve an airy milk froth.

The cleaning process is easy with its compact build, dishwasher-safe parts, and sleek exterior.

10. Mr. Coffee Cappuccino Machine – Great for Milky Drinks

  • Type Of Machine: Automatic

  • Water Reservoir: 1 L
  • Milk System: Auto Froth
  • Dimensions: 26.9 x 33 x 36.3 cm

It may come as a surprise that a brand called “Mr. Coffee” is great for espresso. But you shouldn’t judge an espresso machine by its name any more than you should judge a book by its cover.

This automatic machine removes all of the guesswork from preparing a cappuccino, reducing it down to a simple touch of a button. The convenient control panel has buttons for a single or double shot of espresso and automatic airy milk frothing. The automatic milk frother carafe produces a velvety texture with the sweet taste of perfectly warmed milk.

The milk reservoir is removable for easier cleaning, filling, and storing leftovers for your next latte.

This machine has all the functionality of a super-automatic espresso machine, except for a built-in grinder, but at a fraction of the cost. It’s one of the most affordable one-touch models we’ve encountered.

How To Choose The Best Espresso Maker Under $500

A good espresso machine isn’t cheap, and a cheap espresso machine isn’t good. Although we listed some good espresso makers costing below $200, we can’t guarantee their quality or the quality of the espresso they make. But the best espresso machines under $500 offer a nice balance between affordability and quality. To choose the right model for you, you should consider a few factors, especially if you’re looking for an espresso machine for home use.

This buyer’s guide will look closely at choosing the right espresso maker under $500 based on your needs. And if you can stretch your budget a little further, take a look at our list of espresso machines that cost below $1000.

 Specifications best espresso machines under 500

What Type Of Machine Do You Want?

There are four main types of espresso machines: super-automatic, automatic, semi-automatic, and manual. Plus, there are pod-based systems like Nespresso machines.

Automatic, super-automatic, and semi-automatic espresso machines are all pump-driven espresso machines (1). With a semi-automatic or automatic model, you still need to be involved in the process – grinding, dosing, and tamping. This leaves some room for human error, but it also allows more control to dial in a shot perfectly. A semi-automatic differs from an automatic in that, for the former, the shot has to be both started and stopped by the barista.

The most convenience with the least involvement comes from pod-based or super-automatic espresso machines, according to coffee professional Dominic Vittitow (2).

Super-automatics eliminate the human element. Instead, the operator presses a button.

The downside of all that automation is that you have limited options for dialing in variables to optimize for different coffees.

A manual espresso maker provides the most control because it doesn’t have a pump. You control the extraction pressure, along with everything else. You need to be willing to put in some practice (and elbow grease), but without the need for an expensive pump, manual espresso machines can produce cafe-quality shots at a very low price.

Do You Need PID Temperature Control?

There are two types of temperature control common in the best espresso machines under $500: PID and pressurestat. PIDs are generally more expensive, so are they worth it?

PID stands for proportional integral derivative. It uses a feedback loop to establish a much more stable temperature than a mechanical pressure stat. This is particularly important if you’re brewing specialty coffee, when brew temperature is a key variable. PIDs also last longer than pressurestats.

Got Milk (Or A Preferred Milk System For It)?

Do you care about making lattes or cappuccinos? If you don’t want to froth milk at all, then save your money and opt for espresso machines without any kind of milk system. But if you do want milk-based coffee beverages, choose an espresso machine with either a steam wand or an auto milk frothing system.

An auto milk frother is much simpler to use, but it doesn’t usually provide you any control over the texture of your milk. A steam wand takes some skill, but it allows you to create silky microfoam for latte art as easily as airy froth for a cappuccino.

Make sure when using a steam wand to heed this expert advice and have the right amount of milk in your pitcher.

If it’s too empty, you won’t be able to submerge your steam wand tip into the milk for good aeration. If it’s too full, the milk will overflow when you’re steaming.

Use enough milk to fill the pitcher up to just under the spout’s base (3).

How Much Counter Space Do You Have?

It’s always best to measure how much space you have and then compare it with the dimensions of an espresso machine before you buy. If you plan to keep your espresso machine out on display, its presence shouldn’t be a hindrance for your daily kitchen needs. If you want to be able to tuck it away, make sure it’ll fit within your cupboards.

What Reservoir Capacity Do You Need?

A larger water reservoir will increase the overall footprint of your espresso machine. But if you make a lot of espresso for yourself or your loved ones, this is a worthwhile trade-off. It’ll be less of a hassle if your espresso machine has a larger water reservoir, so you don’t have to keep refilling it.

The Verdict

The Home Grounds pick for the best espresso machine under $500 is the Breville Duo Temp Pro. This is one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines on the market in 2023. It is sturdily built, powerful, precise, easy to maintain, and offers uninterrupted espresso brewing.

Breville Duo Temp Pro


Yes, you can make good espresso with a cheap espresso machine. You just need practice and patience. Crucially, you also need a quality coffee grinder. One of the biggest determining factors of a good espresso shot is having just the right fine grind. We suggest a burr grinder for a consistent grind and even extraction (4).

Pre-infusion in espresso means evenly wetting the espresso puck at a low pressure of 1 to 2 bars for about 10 seconds before gradually building up to the extraction pressure. This helps ensure a more even extraction and a richer espresso yield. For advanced users, pre-infusion is more precise when you brew bottomless and carefully control it based on the filter basket flow (5).

Thermoblock heating in an espresso machine heats the brewing water on its way from the water tank to the brewing group. It works by pumping water through a coiled pipe construction, which heats it as it flows. It heats it quicker than a traditional boiler system and minimizes lime build-up. However, it has lower steam pressure and poorer stability. A thermoblock heating element may be used on its own or with a traditional boiler system (6).

Starbucks uses the Mastrena High Yield espresso machine. Unlike other machines, it was custom-built with high-quality Swiss pieces by a Swiss Company known as the Thermoplan AG (7). This machine is exclusively for use in Starbucks stores. It is one of the best fully automatic espresso machines with a built-in grinder and a special programmable menu to optimize the speed, brew temperature, and ease of crafting high-quality espresso shots. 

  1. Haydon, M. (2018, December 10). Understanding Different Types of Espresso Machine. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/12/understanding-the-different-types-of-espresso-machine/
  2. Vittitow, D. (2021, June 24). How are super-automatic espresso machines evolving? Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/06/how-are-super-automatic-espresso-machines-evolving/
  3. Koh, S. (2017, October 23). Choosing The Best Milk Jug for Steaming & Latte Art. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/10/how-to-choose-the-best-milk-jug-for-steaming-latte-art/
  4. Lam, B. (2020, May 15). Making Espresso at Home Is Kind of a Nightmare—But If You Insist, Here’s How to Do It Well. Retrieved January 21, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/making-espresso-at-home/
  5. Flair Espresso. (2016). Advanced Brewing Techniques for Your Flair Espresso Maker. Retrieved January 21, 2023, from https://flairespresso.com/learn/espresso-guide/advanced-brewing/
  6. Giesen Coffee Roasters. (n.d.). Thermoblock. Retrieved January 21, 2023, from https://www.giesen.com/knowledge-base/thermoblock/
  7. Thermoplan. (2023). About Us. Retrieved January 21, 2023, from https://www.thermoplan.ch/en/thermoplan
Dasha Toptygina
I am a writer who delves into all manner of things related to coffee, cats, and characters. I started drinking coffee daily in university and now my entire work, life, and personality all revolve around procuring the perfect brew. I start every morning with yoga, French Press coffee, and some special creative time devoted to working on a magical cat café story... but, more on that later.

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