That perfect cup of rich, dark coffee that starts our mornings can make a huge difference in how your day unfolds.
With so much on the line, doesn’t it make sense to make sure it’s one heck of a cup? Rather than waiting in line, rushed and hoping the barista gets your drink right, why not make sure it’s done right?
To help the beginner home barista, we’ve found the best home espresso machine under $200.
We’ve included brands you know with a Nespresso Pixie review and a Mr. Coffee Café Barista Premium review, and one brand you may not be as familiar with by including a review of the DeLonghi EC702 and the DeLonghi EC155.
|#1||DeLonghi EC702||Great Value||Semi-Auto||44 oz.||Boiler||Manual Frother|
|#2||Mr. Coffee||Top Seller||Semi-Auto||55 oz.||Boiler||Auto Frother|
|#3||Nespresso Pixie||Tiny & Simple to Use||Auto||24 oz.||Thermoblock||Add-on Accessory|
|#4||DeLonghi EC155||Bargain Price||Semi-Auto||35 oz.||Boiler||Manual Frother|
#1. – DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker
- The patented steaming wand makes you feel like a seasoned barista as you create the perfect creamy foam for every cup
- Users can choose between pods or ground coffee to get the taste they desire
- Users have reported that it takes about 5-6 cups before the machine is broken in and the acidic taste goes away
- The steaming wand is a little close to the body of the unit
We can’t leave out the De’Longhi EC702 review, considering it’s such an incredible machine. The EC702 is easy to use and very versatile. The top shelf of the unit acts as a cup warmer. The electric 15-bar pressure pump ensures a quality drink every time, and adjustable controls let you modify your espresso or cappuccino.
The EC702 has two separate thermostats, so water and steam pressure to be controlled separately. Its dual filter holder, one for ground coffee and the other for the Easy Serving Espresso pods allow you to customize your espresso, cappuccino or latte. The EC702 has a removable 44-ounce water tank and drip tray, so clean-up is quick and painless.
The larger water reservoir and Rapid Cappuccino System maintains optimal temperature to craft multiple cups. Weighing 13.4 pounds, this is the heaviest machine of the group.
#2. – Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker
- Its streamlined design is small enough to fit on even the most compact kitchen’s countertop
- For those that don’t want to hassle with too many different options and who want their espresso at the push of a button, operation is very simple and straightforward
- Some users have reported that the machine is a bit noisy
- The cost of using pods on a regular basis may add up and become expensive
Part of Nespresso’s OriginalLine, the Pixie is the most ergonomic and compact of its home espresso machines. Heating up in just 25 seconds, the Pixie will alert you when its water reservoir gets too low.
Eco-friendly, it shuts off after 9 minutes and is made of recycled materials. It can hold up to 10 used capsules and has a folding drip tray for a Latte Macchiato glass. Weighing in at only 6.6 lbs, the Pixie also has a 24-ounce water reservoir that can be removed for easy cleaning and is available in a wide range of colors and 2 different finishes.
Nespresso offers a variety of flavor capsules, including 25 different varieties and limited edition flavors from which to choose. Programmable buttons allow you to easily choose between an espresso and lungo.
#3. – Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System
- Clean-up is quick and easy with a removable drip catcher, water reservoir, and removable milk reservoir
- Easy operation with one-touch panel
- The temperature can be inconsistent, so drinks are not as hot as other units
- The frother creates a thin layer of tougher foam that rests on top and can be spooned off
With the sleek Café Barista, the one-touch control panel allows you to choose from single- or double-shots of espresso, cappuccino or lattes depending on where you are in your caffeine intake for the day. The 15-bar pump system makes brewing consistent as you choose between 12 and 16 ounces.
The included recipe guide shows you how to create rich, aromatic beverages like espresso martinis, caramel cappuccinos or café mochas by adding just a few more ingredients. The milk frother automatically froths your milk as your drink is being made making this one of the most all-inclusive machines of the group. It also automatically shuts off after a few minutes.
The Drip Catcher is removable, so it’s easy to clean, as is the removable water reservoir.
#4. – De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
- The built-in manual frother makes it easy to create the thick crema that tops off your creation to perfection.
- Users can use ground coffee or pods depending on their preference
- Some espresso or cappuccino machines come with cup warmers located right on top of the unit itself. The EC155 does not have this feature.
- The device has been reported to vibrate when it’s in use.
Let’s start with the De’Longhi EC155 review. This semi-automatic espresso machine can craft the perfect single or double espresso, cappuccino, or latte. The swivel jet manual frother mixes steam and milk to craft creamy foam for cappuccinos.
This machine comes with a three-in-one filter holder for one espresso shot, two shots, and another for use with single-use pods. De’Longhi’s Rapid Cappuccino System maintains optimal temperature between cups to make sure you can brew one cup right after another.
The 35-ounce water reservoir and folding drip tray are easy to remove, refill, and re-install so clean-up and preparation are quick. At only 6.7 pounds, the EC155 is portable and its self-priming feature means you get your beverage faster.
Comparision – DeLonghi EC155 vs. EC702
Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Casing
The De’Longhi EC702 includes a sleek stainless steel case with cup warmer functionality. Not only can you store your favorite espresso cups on top of your machine but they’ll be nice and warm by the time your ready to brew each morning. In comparison, the EC155 unit is made from plastic casing, so the higher end De’Longhi EC702 has greater durability.
Display Panel – More Organized and Push Buttons vs. Dial
De’Longhi have included a three button display panel on the higher priced EC702 with LED status lights indicating when water temperature is ready to brew, and when the streamer operation is ready to make cappuccino and hot chocolates. Their budget-friendly EC155 has a plastic dial on the EC155.
- (W x D x H inches):
- EC702: Wider than its cheaper cousin by 4 inches (11.25 x 8.19 x 12.50, 11.10 pounds)
- EC155: Deeper than the EC702 (7.5 x 13.25 x 11.50, 7.15 pounds)
The EC702 is approximately 4 pounds heavier than EC155 due to the stainless steel casing. Overall this gives the machine a more robust build quality and more stability on the countertop.
EC702 is equipped with a larger water tank of 44 oz. vs. the 35 oz. in the EC155 model. The larger the tank is, the less frequently you’ll have to fill the tank. The water tank location is also moved to the right-hand side which is more readily available than the top location in the previous model.
Cappuccino System Frother
The De’Longhi designers have included an upgraded Cappuccino System Frother on the EC702 unit. Many buyers have reviewed the latest frother design favourability because of the way that it steams your milk to aerate and swirl, creating a frothy & creamy texture. Speaking of frothing, the frothing wand has been moved from the left side to right in the EC702 model.
Video guide showing the EC702 in action
The Features You Love and What You Can Expect
When you’re looking to find the best espresso maker under $200, it’s smart to be aware of what you can expect in this price range. Whether you’re a novice or looking for a second machine for the office or your vacation getaway, we’ve broken down the most common features and what to expect when you are ready to invest in a higher range machine.
The beauty of these units is that they’re all fairly compact and designed to fit on your kitchen countertop. Rather than waiting minutes for your coffee to brew, these home espresso machines are ready to dispense some seriously hot java after about 25 seconds.
Choose between automatic machines, which do it all for you, including frothing the milk and have readily preset options, or semi-automatic that still require you to put in a little effort by packing the grounds filter and engaging the pump on and off.
Although these are the top-rated espresso machines under $200, there are some features that you just won’t find. One con of most of these machines is that because they are so compact and portable, they have a tendency to vibrate loudly. A more expensive machine ($500 price bracket) will be heavier and though not as compact, will be sturdier in construction and less likely to vibrate.
Also available on the higher-end of home espresso machines are built-in, hands-free grinders, multiple filters that regulate pressure, and features that remove the excess water from the filter baskets after the coffee has been extracted.
Some units include hidden compartments for storing filters and cleaning kits. Some machines also allow you to go beyond espresso and introduce variety by allowing you to create your own latte or cappuccino drinks.
If you’re ready to re-create your café experience at home, then your next step is to find the best machine for you. Let’s take a look at four of the best home espresso machines on the market.