Use this espresso machine comparison chart if you have been considering dipping your toes into the wonderful world of making your own espresso at home, but don’t want to fork out your entire next month’s rent or house payment to do so.
The top-rated, yet affordable, home espresso machines in the chart below all cost less than $100, yet at the same time come in with great reviews by customers who have purchased and used them. You truly do not need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a home espresso machine!
In addition, all three of these machines, with proper use, care, and cleaning, can last for a long time.
Put a stop to your frequent trips to the local Starbucks or other coffee shop, and consider one of these machines. You won’t be sorry you did!
Or, if it is a gift for someone that you have in mind, each of these top-rated, yet still affordable, home espresso makers would be a great gift for someone special
Based on the incredibly high prices of some of today’s home espresso makers, we were doubtful that we would even be able to identify anything worth presenting to you, but decided to check it out anyway, and in our research learned that there are a few out there definitely worthy of consideration!
|So this page ended up being in existence after all!|
If you are searching for a top-rated, yet at the same time cheap home espresso machine, carefully review what is offered below, which will most likely help you in making a decision regarding what type of affordable espresso maker would best fit your needs.
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The three above espresso makers definitely have one thing in common…they ALL are available at a price of less than $100.
However, even though they have that one factor in common, as well as some others, they still each have their own individual and different set of features and qualities.
Therefore, here is a rundown of the differences between the three top home espresso makers shown above. This has been put together to further assist you in determining which would be the best choice for you and your lifestyle (or that of your gift recipient, if such is the case), as we did not feel that simply putting a photo of each espresso appliance, with a few bullet points, would be sufficient for such an important decision-making process.
Even we were very surprised that our top two choices (the Mr. Coffee BVMC#1 and the Bella 13683#2 above) presented more with the appearance of a standard coffee maker (referring to the included carafe that comes with each of these machines) than they did with the appearance of what we had thought a home espresso machine “should look like.” However, these two machines absolutely had to go at the top of our list, based just in part on the ratings provided by customers who had bought and used them.
The two top-rated machines above most definitely have an appearance of a coffee maker rather than a home espresso maker, much more so than the third (bottom) choice above. If you are searching for a home espresso machine that has more of the “appearance” of a home espresso machine, based simply on countertop aesthetics, then the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 would likely be your best choice for an affordable, yet more “espresso-maker-appearing” machine.
However, do keep in mind that espresso IS simply ground coffee beans that have had water extracted through them, and espresso definitely can be had with all three of these machines, despite the appearance of the machines themselves.
There are many customers who have used much more expensive home espresso machines who have had a chance to use one or more of the three machines offered here and have commented on how great the espresso produced by them was.
The top #1 choice (the Mr. Coffee BVMC) above automatically froths as part of the brewing process, and the froth ends up being in with the brewed espresso. An advantage to this is that there is no need to manually froth as a separate task from the brewing process. The Mr. Coffee BVMC works particularly great for making today’s popular frappuccinos (iced coffee like Starbucks sells). Simply brew up a pot, let cool and pour into cups, pop the cups into the freezer and wait an hour or two. Not only will you have fraps comparable to those made (and paid through the nose for) at Starbucks, you won’t have a watered-down version in half an hour due to melting ice.
The other two choices above actually have a frothing wand built onto the outside of these machines, requiring the user to manually froth separately, outside of the brewed espresso.
If presenting your espresso beverages decorated with latte art is important, whether it be for yourself, your family, and/or your guests, the Mr. Coffee BVMC (#1 above) likely would not be a good choice for you, as making espresso beverages with latte art requires a more powerful and hands-on frothing capability, which can be achieved only with the use of milk froth made with a frothing wand.
One other thing to note — if your choice is going to be a machine that has a frothing wand, a separate frothing pitcher will be needed. The Mr. Coffee Café Latte home espresso machine (#1 above) does not require a frothing pitcher, as it has no frothing wands. Your other two choices in the chart above will require you to have some kind of container for frothing milk.
Pump-Driven vs. Steam Driven
Pump-driven and steam-driven home espresso machines are different.
Steam-driven home espresso makers perform the brewing process by heating the water that has been poured into the machine to the point where it boils and produces steam. The steam is then drawn to and goes through the coffee grounds, moistening the coffee grounds to the point of saturation and then extracting the coffee flavor into espresso cups.
Pump-driven, on the other hand, utilizes a part inside the machine (a pump) that forces heated water through the coffee grounds, and then extracting the flavor into espresso cups. Many people prefer a pump-driven machine to a steam-driven one, as pumps usually provide much more extraction “power” than their steam-driven counterparts.
The Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1 Café Latte (#1 above) is neither a steam-driven nor a pump-driven machine. It instead works like your standard drip coffee maker does, by basically dripping water into the grounds and extracting flavor into the waiting carafe below, in which the milk you have added to the carafe has been frothed prior to the espresso being added. Do keep in mind, however, that just because this machine is not steam-driven or pump-driven, it still does, in fact, make espresso beverages, despite this “drip” feature.
The #2 choice above, the Bella Espresso Maker, is a steam-driven machine and includes a steam-pressurized safety cap that holds in the steam during the brewing process, as well as allows the user to release the steam pressure when the brewing is complete.
The #3 choice in the chart above, the Mr. Coffee ECMP50, is a pump-driven machine that offers a powerful pump action of 15 bars of pressure. A 15-bar pump is the standard in the industry of home espresso machines, and even most of the more expensive espresso makers have a 15-bar pump. There are a few that have 19 bars of pump pressure, namely the Nespresso line. However, the great majority of home espresso makers are primarily machines that have a 15-bar pump pressure.
Beverages that can be made
The Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1 (#1 above) makes lattes, frappuccinos, and an awesomely frothed hot cocoa. This machine does not give you the ability to make beverages with latte art, as the frothing takes place inside the same container as the coffee is brewed.
The other two machines (#2 and #3 above) allow you to brew up any of the same beverages you can purchase at your local Starbucks or other coffee stand, due to each of these machines having a separate frothing wand built onto the outside of the machine. Both of these machines more closely resemble the type of machine you would see your local professional barista using.
The Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1 (#1 above) usually takes about 3 to 4 minutes from start to finish, although another factor with this machine is the amount of espresso you are brewing. If you are brewing an entire pot, it likely will take longer than if you are brewing up a smaller amount.
The Bella 13683 (#2 above) comes in with different reports from customers who have purchased this one. It does appear to take somewhat longer than the others. One customer reported a total start-to-finish time of about 4 minutes. Another customer reported it took the Bella they owned approximately 10-12 minutes. Two customers reported that they actually ended up purchasing a separate frothing device, which reduced total brewing time to about half that amount of time.
The Mr. Coffee ECMP-50 (#3 above) takes approximately a minute to make the actual espresso. If you are also including milk steaming in your beverage, it takes about five minutes for the milk to steam to a hot temperature.
Ease of use
All three of these machines are easy to use once you have learned how to use them.
The simplest to use: The Mr. Coffee (#1 above) is by far the easiest to use, as it doesn’t require the user to froth milk separately or tamp (compress) grounds. This machine works very similar to the drip coffee makers that most of us have used at some point in our lives, and would be a great starter espresso machine for someone who has never before dabbled in the world of making espresso.
For the other two machines, somewhat more (although not a ton of) knowledge/training is required: The Bella 13683 and the Mr. Coffee ECMP-50 both more closely work like a standard home espresso machine does, and will require the user to either have, or acquire, the knowledge of how to tamp grounds into a filter to the appropriate compactness, as well as the ability to froth milk in a separate container. Both of these skills do take some practice, although both can be learned by pretty much anyone.
The #1 rated machine above, the Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1, comes with a carafe that is not dishwasher-safe or immersible into water, due to a heating element located in the base of the carafe that cannot be submerged. Therefore, you will need to wash this out by hand, taking care not to submerge the carafe in water. As with any appliance you are running water through, the interior of the Mr. Coffee Café Latte (#1) needs a good descaling (cleaning off water mineral build-up) now and then. This can be easily done by cycling a mixture of water and vinegar through the machine every few months.
The other two machines (#2 and 3) will require the same periodic descaling process (removal of build-up of water minerals inside the machine). In addition, both of these machines have frothing wands that are inserted into milk to froth the milk. Milk, as most of us know, does tend to get coated onto things that it has come into contact with (such as drinking glasses) very quickly. It is very important to wash the frothing wand of any espresso machine immediately after each use. A lot of the milk that gets inside the frothing wand can be easily removed by simply shooting a few shots of steam through the wand, which will go a long way towards keeping the frothing wand from becoming clogged, which is what can happen if one does not clean the frothing wand after each use. You could compare this concept to the concept of soaking a glass that has had milk in it to the end result you get with a glass that is not soaked after the milk has been emptied out of it.
Weight and size
The Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1 Café Latte (#1 above) is in the mid-range of these three machines regarding weight, and weighs 7 pounds.
The Bella (#2) is the lightest, weighing in at a mere 4 pounds.
The Mr. Coffee ECMP-50 is the heaviest of the three but still pretty lightweight when compared to a lot of the espresso machines out there, weighing in at 9 pounds.
The Mr. Coffee Café Latte (#1) measures 11.9 x 6.9 x 13.8 inches, and the Bella (#2) is the most compact of the three machines, measuring 9.4 x 8.9 x 11.2 inches. Both of these machines are truly very compact and don’t take up much room on a countertop.
The Mr. Coffee ECMP-50 (#3) is basically a couple of inches larger in all dimensions, although still smaller than a lot of espresso machines. This one measures 11.4 x 13.7 x 13 inches.
Our Research to develop this best espresso machine under $100 comparison chart…
Extensive research was conducted to arrive at the conclusion of whether there actually even existed a home espresso machine in existence that could be purchased at such a low cost of less than $100. As you are probably aware of by now, there are so many available nowadays that will easily run you several-hundred, on up to several-thousand, dollars, that we had our doubts.
These top three rated home espresso machines presented with the standards needed to be included in the above table ONLY by meeting a set of predetermined criteria.
After the requirements were determined, research was then conducted to determine which espresso makers in the under-$100 category fit into all these requirements. All inexpensive home espresso makers in the above chart had to meet the following standards:
- Cost of less than $100, making the purchase easily affordable whether for oneself or for a gift for someone else.
- Large percentage of 5-star customer reviews, with an average overall customer rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars or better.
- Does not require use of pods, or at least provides a choice for the owner to use ground coffee, which is much more readily available (and less costly) than E.S.E. pods.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Availability for purchase online – based on people’s busy lives nowadays, all machines chosen had to be available for purchase online.
- Good customer reports of great end result of the espresso flavor brewed.
- The necessity of having frothing capability due to the popularity of espresso beverages that require frothed milk, such as cappuccinos, frappuccinos, and other such beverages.
- Ease of use, to enable even a completely inexperienced barista “wannabe” to produce high-quality beverages, either from the get-go out of the box or with just a very small amount of practice.
Each of these three home espresso machines are the very most top-rated home espresso makers you can find in today’s marketplace, and all are available at an incredibly low price of less than $100.
Each of them would make a great beginner espresso machine, either for yourself or to present as a gift to that hard-to-buy-gifts-for person in your life who at the same time loves espresso and finds they are making entirely way too many treks to the local Starbucks, not to mention all of the money they are spending.
These home espresso makers all present themselves with very good customer ratings among many customers who have purchased and used them. The high ratings these machines have received include very important factors such as the end result (the brewed espresso) that these machines provide and ease of use.
All three machines reviewed here do not require the use of capsules/pods, and instead use pre-ground coffee, providing a myriad of flavor and roast choices for the customer who uses one of these machines. Many people who have used home espresso machines that require pods/capsules have reported that they would have preferred to have not purchased a machine that requires capsules/pods, due to feeling “locked in” to having to buy them for the entire life of the machine, as well as some customers reporting a plastic-like taste they felt they were getting with the capsules/pods.
All in all, any of the above machines would be a great buy, particularly when you have done your research and seen the extremely high cost of many of the home espresso makers in today’s marketplace!