10 Best Cheap Espresso Machines in 2021

Best Cheap Espresso Machine UK

Looking for the best cheap espresso machines? Well, you’ve come to the right place because we have a whole list of them. However, cheap is such a subjective term because what is cheap to you might be expensive for someone else and vice versa. There are a lot of great inexpensive espresso machines but not all of them are worthy of purchasing.

Ask yourself a simple question before getting a cheap espresso machine; are you willing to risk coffee taste or quality by going with the cheapest model. Not all the cheap espresso machines are going to make you a good cup of coffee and this is why this list exists.

I’ll be honest here, you are not going to get a cheap espresso machine for £20. And during our testing, we found out that the cheapest we could go on the price is still above £100. Of course, there are going to be sales and exceptions but generally speaking, have at least that amount in your mind when you are shopping. There are a few espresso machines that are cheaper than the £100 mark, but they are not going to make you a nice cup of coffee that is even if they arrive intact.

I totally understand why you want a cheap espresso maker though, not everyone wants to spend hundreds of pounds to get coffee. Sometimes you just need a temporary fix to your problems, like the time when you are working from home because going out is not safe. Or you just want to see what all the fuss is about and don’t want to commit to a bigger price point. After all, what’s the point of an espresso machine when you’re not even going to use it often? For these purposes, a good quality cheap espresso maker is going to be a great choice.

Personally, I’d go for a used machine, but I totally understand why it can’t be an option for you. New is new and it is usually more reliable (and comes with an active warranty). If you know what you’re looking for and you’ve zeroed down the machine, a used one can usually be found for less price. Getting a 2nd hand classic espresso machine and getting a separate grinder is what I recommend. However, there are some enticing espresso machines that don’t cost a lot available these days so if you are looking for a new one, continue reading as we’ll discuss them soon.

I have tested a wide range of espresso machines during my time writing professionally about coffee and drinking it professionally (by that I mean drinking coffee at work). I have tested machines that are worth more than some cars and machines that broke on the first usage. So I think I am in a unique position to recommend some best cheap espresso machines to you. I will not only be listing their advantages but also give you some shortcomings of the machine, so you can make a sound decision.

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Different Types of Espresso Machines

For a long while, I thought that there were 2 kinds of espresso machines, ones that are awful and cheap and the ones I cannot afford. Only a part of that statement is true, that is that there actually are 2 types of espresso machines; traditional espresso machines and bean-to-cup espresso machines. Both types of machines are capable of producing espresso, but the method is different.

Traditional espresso makers are smaller and usually less expensive than espresso machines you’d see at a café. You also need a separate coffee grinder for these and grind the coffee yourself. Then you put it in a portafilter, insert that in the group head on the espresso machine and press a button to make coffee. We do have a good list of espresso machines already on the website if you decide going with a cheap machine isn’t for you.

The main advantage of having a traditional espresso maker is potentially getting a better espresso shot. This also depends on the grinder and the coffee beans you’re using but usually, the traditional espresso machine is better at making your coffee taste flavourful and rich. Of course, you’ll have to work for it yourself manually and that is sometimes a big deal, especially if you’re like me, a person that is moderately lazy.

The bean-to-cup coffee machines are a bit more convenient. They usually come with an internal grinder and all you need to do is fill the hopper with coffee beans and the rest is taken care of by the machine. If budget is not a constraint, I suggest that you check out the best bean-to-cup coffee machines list.

The bean-to-cup coffee machines are easy to use. They take care of almost all the stuff for you and all you need to do is simply press a button and get your coffee. Sure, you need to make sure you actually have coffee beans in the hopper, water in the tank, and milk in the milk jug, but the rest is done by the bean to cup espresso machine.

Pressured Baskets and Standard Baskets

Most cheap espresso machines come with pressured baskets that apply a 15 bar pressure. The standard espresso baskets are placed in the filter holder and have small holes at the bottom so that the espresso can flow through the coffee. Many professional cafés or shops have espresso makers that use standard baskets. Standard baskets result in a more tasty and flavourful coffee. Unfortunately, with the cheap espresso machines, we will only get pressured baskets.

I’m not going to say that the coffee tastes awful because it doesn’t, in fact, with how convenient these machines are, I am happy with the results I get from them. But if you want the ultimate experience, you cannot get that with cheap espresso machines. I’m not saying this to deter you to buy more expensive machines, this is just for the sake of information so that you get the best cheap espresso machine that is to your liking.

The Boiler Types

The boiler plays a big part in the price of a coffee maker and there are different types of boilers. Most of the cheap espresso machines use thermoblock boilers. They are not bound by any means they just use a block of metal that heats up the water as it passes through. They work fast and do a good job of heating up the water, so you don’t have to worry about it at all. A bit more expensive machines have single boilers and some come with dual boilers. Single boiler machines have better temperature stability. Both of them have their advantages and provide good heating for the water. I wouldn’t be worried about the thermoblock boiler because it heats the water fast and is usually reliable.

Product

Details

Swan Retro Pump Espresso Machine
Rating 9.5
Swan Retro Pump Espresso Machine
  • Wattage: 1100 Watts
  • Dimensions: 28.5 x 20 x 31.5 cm
  • Milk Frother: yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.2 Litres
Sage Duo Temp Pro Machine
Rating 9.3
Sage Duo Temp Pro Machine
  • Wattage: 1600 Watts
  • Dimensions: 33.7 x 44.6 x 39.5 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.8 Litres
Cooks Professional Retro Coffee Machine
Rating 9.5
Cooks Professional Retro Coffee Machine
  • Wattage: 1100 Watts
  • Dimensions: 20.2 x 34.5 x 30.3 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.2 Litres

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1100 Watts
  • Dimensions: 28.5 x 20 x 31.5 cm
  • Milk Frother: yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.2 Litres

The Swan Retro Pump Espresso Machine is one of the best-selling and yet cheapest espresso makers around. I’ve already tested it out for our overall best of espresso machines article, and I was really impressed by how it looked back then as well. It took our best budget now that we are actually talking about the budget espresso machines, which is taking the best spot. It is certainly one of the best-looking espresso machines around and comes with a retro design. Match that with multiple available colours, and you have a vending combination. With that many colours, you won’t be out of choice when it comes to matching your kitchen décor. It doesn’t take up a lot of space either, so it can fit into a quiet corner in your kitchen.

The Swan Retro Pump Espresso Machine is also made by a British company so if you’re looking for a locally made product, this is one of the best espresso machines around. The company has been around for quite some time and got their fame by making heating elements. I’m only telling you this because it gives you the background of what kind of company Swan is and what kind of quality you can expect from their experienced production. Even though the machine is off the budget variety, the design and materials used are very good. There are some flimsy elements on it but overall it is a sturdily made coffee maker.

I was impressed by the self-priming feature which allows the machine to produce a cup of coffee in a matter of minutes. It also comes with the industry-standard 15 bars of pressure which is common on budget espresso machines. It is a thermoblock heating system, and it can struggle a bit with temperature stability. That isn’t a big problem thanks to the included thermometer which allows you to accurately measure temperature and adjust it by pulling water through the group. Many coffee critics would argue that the crema produced by the machine is not actual Crema which is technically true but the Swan Retro Pump Espresso Machine produces some of the thickest ones I’ve seen. Whether it is original crema or not, it tastes well, and I have no qualms about it.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Comes with a built-in thermometer
  • Easy and simple to use
  • Exceptionally good steam power for the price
  • Compact

Reasons to Shun

  • Prone to overheating
  • Doesn’t come with a bean grinder

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1600 Watts
  • Dimensions: 33.7 x 44.6 x 39.5 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.8 Litres

The Sage Duo Temp Pro Machine is not a “cheap” espresso maker, not in the traditional way. However, this is one of the cheapest espresso machines when you consider the average price of a good quality machine. It is still under £400 and can be found on sale throughout the year. What I really like about the Sage Duo Temp Pro Machine is its design. The simple and straightforward design is further enhanced by the steel build. It is like the Sage Barista Express only is missing the integrated burr grinder.

The coffee maker uses the thermocoil which is also used on other Sage products. It is a bit different from the thermoblock we usually see on other inexpensive espresso machines. It works really well and is a great system to have in your espresso maker especially when it comes to stability and warm-up timings. The machine also comes with standard baskets as well as pressurized ones.

The automatic pre-infusion system on the Sage Duo Temp Pro Machine is done on low pressure. This enables the machine to extract all flavours evenly for a very balanced cup of coffee. It prevents channelling and also comes with a razor tool that is essential in guaranteeing the right dose goes into the baskets. There is also an automatic purge system that kicks in after steaming. It cleans the heating system so that you get the right temperature for the next espresso you make. The machine is also capable of telling you when you should clean it, this makes it easier to do overall cleaning and empty the drip tray. The machine also has a steam wand that is capable of producing some great quality microfoam in your milk. I understand that it is a bit pricey, but this is exactly why it is our premium pick, if you’re willing to spend more but don’t want to go overboard with your budget, the Sage Duo Temp Pro Machine is easily one of the best options available.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Low-pressure pre-infusion system
  • Maintenance and cleaning is easy
  • Has a small storage tray inside
  • Standard and pressurized baskets available

Reasons to Shun

  • It is a bit pricier
  • Comes with a non-standard portafilter size

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1100 Watts
  • Dimensions: 20.2 x 34.5 x 30.3 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.2 Litres

The Cooks Professional Retro Coffee Machine is similar to the Swan Retro Espresso Machine in more than one way, the most striking one is the inclusion of a thermometer. There is a slight price difference as well and the design varies, but they’re both making almost the same cup of coffee for me. So if you don’t fancy the extravagant Swan design, you can check out this machine as it has a slightly different one. Other than that there are a lot of similarities between the 2 machines and that is not a bad thing, I really loved using the Swan before and I liked using the Cooks Professional Retro Coffee Machine as well.

The machine comes with an industry-standard 15 bar pressure and is capable of producing some good quality coffee. There is also a steam wand that works perfectly fine but won’t be able to produce finer bubbles. Don’t get me wrong, the film it produces is great for cappuccinos, lattes, and even hot chocolate but when you compare it with other high-end machines it falls short. Then again, at this price point, I really don’t have a lot to complain about.

The retro design combined with the analogue thermometer makes it an eye-catching device. The user interface is easy to use and understand, there is a dial and a couple of buttons right on the front panel. The water tag on the other hand is only 1.2 L but given that the Cooks Professional Retro Coffee Machine is a compact coffee maker, I am willing to do a couple of refills now and then. Overall, this is the best cheap coffee maker thanks to its good looks and even better price.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • The retro design is pleasing to the eye
  • The water tank is transparent
  • The temperature gauge is very convenient
  • Comes with an above-average steam wand

Reasons to Shun

  • Build quality is not that strong
  • Can have temperature instability

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1050 Watts
  • Dimensions: 34.2 x 33.2 x 25.6 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.5 Liters

There are a couple of things that are great about the Homever Traditional Pump Espresso Machine and one of them is its price. It usually goes below the £100 mark and offers something other cheap espresso machines don’t; a longer steam wand. That’s right, I like this machine because it has a longer steam pipe which is surprisingly missing from a lot of espresso machines these days.

Most Pannarello wands are good sized but when you remove the sheath, the actual pipe is a bit shorter. This may not seem like a big issue but when you try to aerate a jug of milk, it can become a pain to do so. If you are not familiar with Pannarello wands, they’re basically a sheath covering a regular steel pipe with holes on the side, so the milk can be aerated automatically. They are absolutely amazing for making thick foam.

Another thing I really like about the Homever Traditional Pump Espresso Machine is the large water tank capacity. It is not a huge improvement but at 1.5 L, is more than enough to make a couple of coffees with ease. With its 15 bar pressure pump and rapid heating of only 40 seconds, the Homever Traditional Pump Espresso Machine is a good-looking traditional style machine that will surely impress you with its performance.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Comes with double temperature control
  • Has a transparent 1.5 L water tank
  • Has a universal coffee filter
  • A long steam pipe

Reasons to Shun

  • Prone to overheating despite temperature control
  • Doesn’t come with detailed instructions

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1350 Watts
  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 33 x 30.3 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.2 Litres

De’Longhi makes some of the best coffee machines out there and the De’Longhi Dedica Traditional Espresso Machine is also one of the best cheap coffee makers. It is not going to be in any awards for being super inexpensive because it is not, but it does bring a lot to the table despite its small size. It is a famous cheap coffee maker and I think it’s that small form factor that makes it popular in the UK.

The machine also comes with 15 bars of pump pressure, and it also has pressurized baskets. Both of these are the staple of best cheap espresso machines across the board. However, what differentiates the De’Longhi Dedica Traditional Espresso Machine is its ability to be modded. You can easily make it a standard basket machine if you want to.

Another great feature of this machine is its ability to make micro-foam. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily it made micro-foam despite having a Pannarello wand. Pannarello wands are usually great for making thick old-school foam. This combined with its beautiful form factor makes it one of the best cheap coffee makers available in the market. But the only gripe with the machine is its price, it is a tad bit higher than I would’ve liked. If you can get it on sale, I highly recommend the De’Longhi Dedica Traditional Espresso Machine not because it has a well-reputed name on it, but also because it is capable of making some delicious foam.

 

Reasons to buy

  • The Pannarello wand produces micro-foam
  • Slim and stylish looking design
  • Is very easy to mod with standard parts

Reasons to Shun

  • Slightly expensive especially at full retail price
  • Removing the Pannarello is not recommended

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1140 Watts
  • Dimensions: 29.7 x 20.1 x 29 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.5 Litres

The Krups XP320840 Opio Coffee Machine is a fairly cheap espresso machine, and it has simplistic controls. The design is also muted and the machine will look right at home in any kitchen. It does come with the standard 15 bar pump pressure and has a couple of neat features. I really like the simplistic controls that are available on the machine including the large dial.

As with any cheap coffee maker, this one also struggles with temperature control. The espresso sometimes tastes really well while other times it is not as good as I’d like. At this price point, I don’t have high expectations, but I do like to have a consistent taste when it comes to my espresso. There are some manual options available to adjust the strength of the coffee and there is a coffee temper that allows you to seal the coffee before the brewing begins.

I’d recommend that you only get this if you absolutely want to have a Krups machine at your place or simply love the design language of this machine. It is a bit of hit and miss for me personally and this is probably due to the worst channelling I’ve seen on a cheap espresso machine. It’s a good machine if it works perfectly, but there is a chance it won’t.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • A sophisticated and simple design
  • The simple controls are great to use
  • Comes with a steam wand

Reasons to Shun

  • Inconsistency is its biggest problem
  • The temperature control is not stable

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1100 Watts
  • Dimensions: 28.3 x 24.2 x 30.5 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.4 Litres

The De’Longhi Scultura ECZ351BG Espresso Machine comes with a traditional look and design. If you’re a fan of the retro espresso machine design then this machine is made for you. There are 4 different colours available for you to choose from and while I wanted the bronze one we only got our hands on the silver one for review purposes. It has a glossy finish with chrome details that makes it look like a very premium device. The gunmetal colour further enhanced its looks and overall the machine has a good quality build.

As with other cheap espresso machines, the De’Longhi Scultura ECZ351BG Espresso Machine also comes with a 15 bar pump pressure. The only difference is that the machine is not that cheap, I would like it to be priced slightly lower, but there are several features that make it a good purchase. For example, the self-priming system allows the machine to get ready in a very short amount of time. It also comes with some power-saving features like the automatic off function that triggers after 20 minutes of inactivity.

The De’Longhi Scultura ECZ351BG Espresso Machine can be used with ground coffee as well as ESE coffee pods. There is also a manual steam wand that you can use to froth milk. The machine can handle making single or double espresso as well as a host of other coffee-based drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, long coffees, espresso macchiato among others. Overall I am very satisfied with the build quality and the quality of the coffee the De’Longhi Scultura ECZ351BG Espresso Machine produces. 

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Made with good quality materials
  • Comes in a big and transparent water tank
  • Works with ground coffee and pods

Reasons to Shun

  • Has trouble maintaining temperature
  • Cleaning the milk sprout can be a hassle

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1470 Watts
  • Dimensions: 35 x 20 x 30 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.25 Liters

The Klarstine Passionata Espresso Machine comes with a unique design and produces some good quality espresso without costing a ton. There are 2 models of the machine, one with 15 bars of pump pressure and there is one with 20 bars. The 20 bar version costs just a bit more and was not available at the time when we ordered the machine. So we got the cheaper 15 bar version for the cheap espresso machines for the UK list. Despite being an inexpensive espresso maker, the machine is made with stainless steel.

The Klarstine Passionata Espresso Machine comes with 1470 Watts of power and 15 bar of pressure. It also has a steam nozzle for frothing milk and making hot drinks without much hassle. The machine is small and comes with a cup tray as well as a water tank. You can use ground coffee with the machine as well as espresso pods. The device came with a European Union to the United Kingdom converter plug, so you don’t have to worry about it fitting your sockets.

Overall, the Klarstine Passionata Espresso Machine has a good quality build and makes good quality coffee. The user interface could use some improvements, but it works well enough for the machine. The price is reasonable, the coffee is good, and it works with already ground coffee as well as espresso pods. The milk frothing could be improved though I didn’t like the foam it produced.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • A unique looking steel build
  • Can work with ground coffee or espresso pods
  • The water tank is transparent

Reasons to Shun

  • Steam wand a bit short
  • User interface is lacking

Key Features

  • Wattage: 1100 Watts
  • Dimensions: 24 x 18.5 x 30.5 cm
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Water Tank: 1.1 Litres

If you are in the market for a good quality espresso machine that doesn’t break the bank, the De’Longhi ECP31.21 Espresso Machine is one of the best options available. Usually, the company is famous for making great quality espresso machines, but they also have a relatively higher price tag. The De’Longhi ECP31.21 Espresso Machine however is a bit different. It is a bit more manual than I am used to seeing in the price bracket, but it is also cheaper and provides a good value for your hard-earned money.

The De’Longhi ECP31.21 Espresso Machine comes with a 15 bar pump which is more than enough for the machine to extract good flavours out of the coffee. You will have to stop the water from flowing manually as it is not automatic. This is the only downside of the espresso machine because you have to keep an eye on it while making a cup of coffee. Not a big deal for me because I’m always hovering above the machine, but could be a dealbreaker for you.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Compact and well-built machine
  • Comes with a good quality steam wand
  • Has a good user interface
  • Available at a good price

Reasons to Shun

  • It is not as automatic as I’d like
  • Water tank is too small

Key Features

  • Wattage:1550 watts
  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Water Tank: 1.3L

At this point, you might be wondering if this article is sponsored by De’Longhi, after all this is the 4th device listed. In all honesty, I would be a bit suspicious as well because how is one company getting featured on the best cheap espresso machines a lot? Well, the answer is quite simple, the company makes some good espresso makers at an affordable price. And I wish we were sponsored by a big brand like De’Longhi (we would have to disclose that though, we are honest coffee drinkers here).

The De’Longhi Bar32 Retro Espresso Maker is a delightfully designed espresso maker that has some great features up its sleeves. It comes with a good quality removable tank, as well as a milk frother, and is programmable.

 

Reasons to Buy

  • Sleek looking retro design
  • Good value for the price
  • Makes a good cup of espresso

Reasons to Shun

  • It is a bit noisy

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