Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines for Your Budget
Semi-automatic espresso machines are the most popular espresso machines purchased by home users and for a good reason. Semi-automatic espresso machines successfully straddle the line between convenience and craftsmanship.
Semi-automatic espresso machines allow users a decent amount of hands-on control (grinding beans, tamping, steaming milk) while also taking care of some of the grunt work.
These machines allow you to program an optimal extraction time between 20-30 seconds (which is considered barista quality) and also come equipped with several other manual and programmable options.
And it’s not difficult to find a quality semi-automatic espresso machine in your price range. Take a look at our top 10 picks below, along with some additional options!
10. De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (Under $100)
Let me start by saying that this machine is not without its faults. BUT, at less than $100 (seriously), its many merits more than make-up for it — how’s that for alliteration?
I’d go as far as to say that this machine i.s downright adorable due to its wee size. However, the De’Longhi EC155 proves that strong things come in small packages. This cute machine can powerfully pump out creamy espresso shots, lattes and cappuccinos quickly, AND you can even make fancy-pants foam art for your guest using the steam wand.
All in all, this machine can make anyone (even ME!) feel like a barista while also providing the utmost convenience. It lasts long and is perfect for the home. And at $100 (which is unheard of in the world of semi-automatic espresso machines) it’s no wonder this cutie made our list.
• Patented Cappuccino System: Are you a fan of the froth? If so, then this machine is going to WOW you in ways you wouldn’t believe. The EC155’s rotating jet frother makes creating the richest, creamiest and fluffiest cappuccino foam easily. No longer will you have to worry about specifying to a barista how wet you need a wet cappuccino…OR…that said barista wouldn’t deliver the driest of the dry. The EC155 gives you the control while doing the dirty work.
• One- and Two-Shot Serving Options: This machine is perfect for both personal use and entertaining. Do you want one espresso shot or two? The EC155 offers one- and two-shot serving options that make it easy to pull creamy espresso shots for you and guests. And thanks to its Rapid Cappuccino System, optimal temperature is maintained so that you can brew cup after cup.
• Dual Function Filter Holder: The EC155 makes choosing between ground and pod espresso a moot point. A dual function filter holder makes espresso easy as can be
• Built-in Tamper: Tamping espresso can be harder than it appears. The built-in tamper offers a GREAT learning curve to barista rockstars in training.
• Self-Priming Preparation: Do you just absolutely LOVE the arduous process of pre-brewing espresso? Yeah…me neither. The EC115 takes all the hassle out of pre-brewing thanks to its self-priming preparation mechanism.
• Width, Depth, Height: 7 x 8.5 x 10 inches
• Weight: 16 lbs.
• Includes cup warmer
• Boiler Material: Stainless steel
• Case material: Plastic
• Removable 35 ounce water tank
• Great quality for a low, LOW price
• Easy to use
• Easily makes beautiful, cream-topped espresso shots and creamy froth for milk-based beverages.
• One year warranty and shown to last a long time
• For some users, the filter basket technology may become awry, causing the machine to become unusable without repair. You need to make sure to twist the filter basket on tightly enough.
• Cleanup can be messier than other machine post-use
9. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (Under $200)
The one-touch operation means the hassle is taken out! This machine comes equipped with a removable water reservoir, as well as programmable options that deliver single shots, double shots, and any milk you want. The Cafe Barista also has 15 bars of pressure that last for years.
One thing that I love about this machine is the removable milk reservoir. You never have to worry about wasting milk, because this easy to remove reservoir fits nicely in the refrigerator and — better yet — this machine works well with ANY milk. It perfectly froths anything from whole to almond milk thanks to its automatic milk frother.
• 15-Bar Pump Pressure: 15 bars of espresso pressure is comparable to high-end coffee shops and delivers optimal crema. Due to the pump pressure, this machine delivers robust, creamy shots of espresso that burst with flavor during each extraction.
• Automatic Milk Frother: An automatic milk frother takes all the guesswork out of creating the perfect latte or cappuccino
• Removable Water and Milk Reservoirs: This makes for easy refilling, cleanup, and storage
• Adjustable Cup Clearance: Make any size you want within reason
• Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.9 x 12.6 inches
• Weight: 10.37 lbs.
• Stainless steel
• Low price for high quality
• Easily make cafe-style cappuccinos and lattes at home.
• Easily removable water and milk reservoirs
• Temperature settings can be temperamental
• Can be clogged up with very fine grounds
8. Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Maker (Under $300)
Sometimes you feel like espresso…and sometimes you don’t. The Nespresso VertuoPlus has you covered for WHATEVER mood you’re in. This small-but-mighty machine brews quality espresso AND coffee drinks with the simple touch of a button.
The VertuoPlus is perfect for both personal use and small offices.
• Four Different Cup Sizes: The machine comes with a welcome pack of capsules of varying sizes so you can customize your drink. With just one touch, make a 1.35 oz. Espresso, 5 oz. Gran lungo, 8 oz. coffee, or 14 oz. alto
• Moveable Water Tank: The repositionable water tank allows you to swivel the tank to the side or behind the machine depending on your counter space
• CentrifusionTM Technology: Velvety, caramel-colored crema tops each shot of espresso and coffee thanks to the VertuoPlus Deluxe’s Centrifusion extraction technology. How is this achieved? Glad you asked! Centrifusion technology spins the Nespresso capsule up to 7,000 rotations per minute to blend ground coffee and espresso with water in a way that produces optimal results every time. WOW!
• Complimentary Welcome Kit: Try a variety of different capsules with unique aromatic profiles for FREE!
• Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.6 x 12.8 inches
• Weight: 10.1 lbs.
• Manufacturer: Breville
• Easy to use
• Delivers delicious espresso-based drinks as well as regular coffee
• The machine heats up in as little as 15-20 seconds and brews with the simple touch of a button!
• Some consumers have complained that the water tank leaks
• Will not use regular ground coffee and espresso — you will need to use pods.
7. Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker (Under $400)
This may be the perfect machine for first-time buyers and amateur baristas looking to feel like a pro from the comfort of their kitchen! This Italian espresso machine comes complete with a commercial-size portafilter and panarello steam wand so that you can make cafe quality espresso and cappuccinos.
• Magic (panarello) wand: This wand is extremely easy to use for frothy cappuccinos (my personal favorite) and also doubles as a hot water wand for teas, americanos and more.
• Easily accessible and removable 72-ounce water reservoir for easy cleaning and filling
• Stainless Steel: A sturdy stainless steel exterior reduces the risk of injury.
• Material: Stainless steel
• Dimensions: 9.5 x 8 x 14.2 inches
• Weight: 20 lbs.
• Commercial-size portafilter makes this a great machine for both the home and office
• Strong and sturdy build means a long lifespan.
• Makes deliciously frothy cappuccinos
• Frothing wand is not good for microfoam and latte art
6. Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine (Under $500)
Like a good masseuse, the Infuser ensures that you get the perfect amount of pressure. This machine is the perfect marriage of easy-to-use and barista-in-training. A variety of features ensure the temperature and extraction are leveled in a way that you get the freshest espresso shots each time.
• Low-Pressure Pre-Infusion Function: This function applies low water pressure at the start of extraction to expand the grinds easily for a taste that is fresh and robust
• Electric PID Temperature Control: This function automatically adjusts temperature for stability
• Preset one- and two-shot controls give you the option of programming your favorite drinks so that you can have a drink the way you like it with little wait time.
• Dimensions: 12.5 x 12.5 x 13.2 inches
• Weight: 17 lbs.
• Boiler Material: Stainless steel-lined aluminum
• Purge function automatically adjusts temperature for optimal extraction
• Pre-infusion function extracts the most flavor from espresso beans for a flavor explosion each time.
• Filters and cleaning tabs are not included.
• Some consumers have complained about malfunction issues.
5. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine (Under $600)
Make your house a coffee house by unlocking your inner barista! The Barista Express can make a novice feel like a professional barista thanks to a balance of hands-on opportunities and automated functions.
• The Barista Express includes a purge function, which allows for optimal espresso extraction time
• A removable water tank with handle makes cleaning and refilling a cinch.
• Stainless Steel Steam Wand: Make frothy cappuccinos, lovely lattes and easily produce latte art with a ball-mounted steam wand that gives you optimal control
• Standby Mode: This machine saves energy by automatically going into a standby mode after one hour and turns off after three hours
• Conical Grinder: An integrated grinding system speeds up grinding time and also allows you to tweak your espresso to fit your specific taste
• Dimensions: 13.2 x 12.5 x 15.8 inches
• Weight: 30.4 lbs.
• Cup Clearance: 4 inches
• An Amazing Toolkit: This machine comes equipped with a tamper, pitcher and cleaning tools
• PID Temperature Control: Temperature controls ensure consistency and quality during brewing and extraction
• Conical grinder speeds up grinding time and also can be tweaked to your preferences.
• Grinds can accumulate more rapidly in the drip tray
• Bottom and sides of the machine are plastic.
4. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine (Under $700)
In the case of Rancilio Silvia Espresso machine, you truly can judge a book by its cover. Sturdy, shiny and gorgeous on the outside, the Silvia also comes with a bevy of features that make it beautiful inside and out.
• Cup Warmer: Hot coffee = delicious; iced coffee = delicious. Room temperature coffee? …That’s a TRAVESTY. Preheating your coffee mug is important in ensuring that your beverage of choice stays warm and tasty. The Silvia’s cup warming tray allows room for six (count ‘em, six!) espresso cups.
• Pressure Release System: The pressure release system includes a three-way solenoid valve that reduces cleanup time and also increases longevity.
• Removable Water Tank: A removable 67-ounce water tank makes the filling, refilling and cleaning easy
• Updated for energy efficiency and ergonomic use
• Dimensions: 9.2 x 11.4 x 13.3 inches
• Weight: 30.8 lbs.
• Material: Stainless steel case and brass boiler
• Brass components of the machine retain heat nicely
• Energy efficient
• Easily delivers delicious espresso and microfoam milk for lattes and cappuccinos.
• No warranty
• Lacks programming capabilities
3. Breville BES920CBXL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine (Between $1,000-$1,200)
This machine was Breville’s response to many a consumer’s complaints about previous models that warranted trips to the repairman. The BES920CBXL comes with a bevy of upgrades, including water hardness test strips and decaling alerts to help you avoid malfunctions and increase longevity.
• Easy adjustments: Easily adjust the steam boiler temperature AND shot length
• Pulse pre-infusion technology: Flavor profiles are enhanced thanks to pulsing technology that expands grinds before extraction begins
• A variety of programmable options allow you to customize your drink exactly the way you like it.
• Commercial-quality espresso and mechanisms that can easily fit in your home
• Dimensions: 16.2 x 15 x 15 inches
• Weight: 30 lbs.
• Material: Boiler is stainless steel; the case is stainless steel and plastic.
• Meets the Gold Standard for espresso machines, which includes: limiting maximum extraction pressure, low-pressure pre-infusion, consistent extraction temperature, and simultaneous extraction and frothing
• Descaling alerts and automated cleaning mechanisms increase the longevity of machine and reduce the risk of malfunctioning.
• The BES920CBXL comes with a two-year warranty — a one-year increase from the previous model.
• Some buyers have complained that the machine stopped working within a month of purchase
• Portafilter can require some muscle, so (if you lack in upper body strength as I do) you may want to spend some times getting acquainted with free weights before purchase.
2. Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso Machine (Between $1,200-$1,500)
While entering into the four-digit price point may seem like a GUT PUNCH to the frugal coffee aficionado, the Oscar II proves to be quite the bargain due to its illustrious features and quality build. This is best for those who can either light money on fire and have already enjoyed a beautiful love affair with a lower priced semi-espresso machine, and are ready to take their home espresso game to the next level.
• Brew and steam at the SAME TIME, so that you, your guests can enjoy quality espresso faster than ever before
• This machine is great for home and commercial use, thanks to the option of brewing ESE pods and Point capsules.
• Steam POWER! The Oscar II steam wand just may be the best on the market. Its analog head packs a wallop, and that wallop results in perfectly steamed milk and gorgeous froth.
• Dimensions: 21 x 16 x 20 inches
• Weight: 40 lbs.
• Material: Boiler material is copper; case material is stainless steel and plastic
• Easy to use, whether you are looking for a machine for your home or business
• Powerful steam wand offers the optimal temperature and froth for espresso beverages.
• Delivers cafe-quality drinks in limited time
• Though wonderfully strong, the steam wand can take a bit of getting used to
• Some find the red-and-gray coloring of the machine to be unsightly.
1. Breville Oracle Touch Automatic Manual Coffee Machine BES990 (Under $3,000)
Breville’s Oracle Touch can turn the most nebbish of coffee novices into FULL-BLOWN artisans of espresso. It offers the same ease of use as a one-touch super-automatic machine while still allowing for enough hands-on opportunities to make you feel crafty.
• A vibrant touch screen allows you to breeze through a variety of controls and menus, change settings and programs to customize your drink easily
• An integrated grinder ensures that you have consistent, quality grinds with a self-dosing and self-tamping mechanism.
• A truly magical steam wand allows you to create perfect milk texture and temperature. You can even add latte art like rosettes to your latte with virtually no effort!
• Dimensions: 21.3 x 17.8 x 17.5 inches
• Weight: 42 lbs.
• Cup Clearance: 4 inches
• Material: Stainless steel boiler and case
• Oracle steam wand steams and froths milk perfectly. It even has a built-in monitor to steam room temperature milk differently from refrigerated!
• Automated controls allow you to customize your specific drink, temperature and even allows you to set a specific start time so you can have delicious coffee the minute you wake up!
• PID controls and dual boiler ensure faster heat times and temperature stability
• The machine could prove too simple that truly want to straddle the line between manual control and efficiency
Under $100: Hamilton Beach Espresso Machine with Steamer
• Includes an easy to use milk frother for cappuccinos
• Simple push-button operation
• Removable reservoir for easy filling and cleaning
Under $200: Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine
• Energy-saving mode
• Water reaches ideal temperature in as little as 25 seconds.
• Folding drip tray accommodates different cup sizes.
Under $300: KitchenAid Nespresso Bundle
• Easy loading capsule system
• 1.3-liter removable water tank for easy cleaning and filling
• Includes milk frother and set of 16 Nespresso capsules
Under $500: Breville Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine
• Can extract one or two espresso shots at a time
• Steam wand makes it easy to steam and froth milk like a pro.
• 61-ounce water tank
Under $1000: Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine
• Easy to use while also giving you hands-on opportunities to make you feel like a professional barista
• Purge function allows for optimal espresso extraction time.
• Removable water tank with handle for easy filling and cleaning