Top Three Budget Espresso Machines
The Round Up
Making espresso you love at home has never been easier or more affordable with these top three picks! We rounded up our top three budget espresso machines, the DeLonghi EC155, DeLonghi Dedica and Breville Duo-Temp Pro.
When we picked our three budget machines, we were looking at the cost to features. It's no surprised that our machines featured pressurized portafilters and panarello-style steam wands since these are entry-level machines. That said, programmability and capability also helped us decide which machine made the cut! That goes for the Duo-Temp Pro too. Sure it's a little extra, but the price balanced the advanced features—we'll talk more about this machine below. Check out our top picks and let is know which one’s for you!
The DeLonghi EC155 is the smallest machine in the roundup but don't be fooled by its size. It features a one-liter water tank and a single boiler! Surprised? Sometimes great things come in small packages. This machine also has an amazing community dedicated to getting the most out of it. And it’s no wonder! This machine has a lot to offer for the price. The panarello-style steam wand is designed to froth for you, a perfect option for beginners! Not only that, but the pressurized portafilters ensure the espresso is extracted perfectly each time. This machine is designed to make delicious cappuccinos, no sweat.
That said, the EC155 has some weak spots. Since this is a single boiler, you have to temperature surf after steaming in order to brew. Don’t forget to always have a full reservoir so you don’t burn out the boiler, too. Also, some nit-picky cons are the plastic built-in tamper and clunky plastic steam tip. Overall, the EC155 is a great machine with an affordable price tag!
If getting espresso at the touch of a button sounds fantastic to you, then you need the DeLonghi Dedica! Built with two programmable espresso buttons and a pressurized portafilter, the Dedica brews espresso without any fuss. Plus, the panarello-style steam wand automatically incorporates air for you and makes fluffy foam perfect for cappuccino. Bonus: The Dedica comes with a single or double basket.
The Dedica requires more patience and maintenance. As with any machine with a shared boiler (or thermoblock), you have to steam and brew one at a time. But, if you want to lessen the wait time, we recommend using a technique called temperature surfing. Bonus: The Dedica protects the thermoblock by pausing after steaming and forces you to cool it down before brewing. This keeps your machine in tip-top shape!
Similar to other budget espresso machines, we weren’t a fan of the plastic accessories. And, while we adore the Dedica’s slim profile, it has a small drip tray to fills up quick. If you plan on temperature surfing, have a separate cup or the sink nearby to purge.
The Breville Duo-Temp Pro knocks it out of the park with advanced features! It's equipped with both non-pressurized and pressurized baskets, so home baristas can grow their skills with this machine. While this entry-level machine has a simple interface, the Duo-Temp Pro packs in pre-infusion and, our personal favorite, auto-purge. What’s auto-purge? Instead of temperature surfing, it purges hot water to cool the thermoblock to brewing temperature—saving you time!
While we adore Breville’s newest entry-level model, we miss the programmable shot times. And the Duo-Temp Pro is outfitted with a traditional steam wand, which could be a pro or con depending on your skill level. The thermoblock pressure builds slowly so baristas will either be a) happy because you get to practice your technique or b) frustrated because it requires more time and skill to froth. That said, we love what the Duo-Temp Pro has to offer home baristas!
While these machines are easy on the wallet, they certainly didn’t go easy on the features! The DeLonghi EC155 is the most affordable of our budget machines and is built with a single boiler—an amazing feature for the price! Our other DeLonghi, the Dedica, impressed us with its programmable espresso buttons. And, of course, if you want to grow with your machine, the Breville Duo-Temp Pro is equipped with the accessories to get the job done! What did you think of our top picks? Tell us your favorite machine in the comments below.