Best Espresso Machine Under $1000 – Top Picks and Buying Guide

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best espresso machine under 1000

Do you need an espresso machine that won’t break the bank or leave a bitter taste in your mouth? Home setups have come on a long way in recent years, and at this price point, it is no longer unreasonable to expect a decent coffee maker for your money. 

The machines we’ve featured for you below are proven market leaders that will give you coffee shop quality shots at home and make your kitchen look good doing it. Keep reading to learn more about what we think is the best espresso machine under $1000.

Our Top Picks

1. Best Overall: Rancilio Silvia

2. Best Super-Automatic: Breville Barista Touch

3. Best Budget Option: Gaggia Classic Pro

4. Best Pressurized Basket Machine: Gaggia Carezza De LUXE

5. Most Stylish: La Pavoni Europiccola

6. Best For Beginners: Breville Bambino Plus

7. Best Slightly Over Budget Upgrade: Rocket Appartamento

Our favorite option in this price bracket is the Rancilio Silvia. It has a huge following, which means there is a lot of support available online from fellow users and customer service. The machines produce great shots as they come, straight out of the box, with a little practice. 

However, if you are interested in aftermarket modifications, you can get a prosumer-level machine for a meager price.

A Closer Look at Our Favorites and Why We Love Them

These are all good machines, and they will all produce a proper shot of espresso at 9-BARs of pressure and give you a nice even extraction. Every one of these coffee machines comes with a built-in steam wand that can produce beautifully textured, velvety milk for your espresso-based drinks.

Depending on what you are looking for in a machine, some will suit you better than others. For example, if you are a fanatical home barista and want something to put you in complete control of your espresso, the Rancilio Silvia is the way to go. On the other hand, if you want truly excellent quality coffee without having to master a new trade, you will find that one of the Breville machines will best fit your kitchen.

Rancilio Silvia – Best Overall

At A Glance

Boiler Type: Single Boiler

PID Temperature Control: Possible with modification

E61 Grouphead: No

Basket Type: Non-pressurized

The Rancilio Silvia is one of the most popular entry-level espresso machines for home espresso enthusiasts — and with good reason. It has a solid stainless steel body with remarkably high build quality, produces excellent quality shots, and has been a reliable and widely-used model for a long time now. 

At this price point, the Rancilio Silvia can produce the best espresso of any coffee maker and will outperform a lot of far more expensive machines. With one fairly straightforward modification, it will outclass many prosumer models for shot quality. 

Its only real weakness in this realm is its temperature stability. You can combat this with “temperature surfing” or synchronizing your extraction with a particular boiler heating cycle point. Alternatively, you can fit your machine with a PID (proportional integral derivative) controller, which gives you control over your brew temperature. 

Other users commonly choose to alter the over-pressure valves to allow the machines to brew at lower pressures for better performance and to use dimmer switches to control the flow rate.

There is an extensive online community of Silvia owners, and you won’t struggle to find support for modding your coffee machine.

Pros

Will grow with your experience level

Can be modded

Great shots out of the box

Cons

No E61 grouphead

Single boiler


Breville Barista Touch – Best Super-Automatic

At A Glance

Boiler Type: Single Boiler

PID Temperature Control: Yes

E61 Grouphead: No

Basket Type: Non-pressurized

The Breville Barista Touch is the only super-automatic machine we have featured here. If you want a coffee machine with a built-in grinder and a good range of functions, this may be the machine for you. 

However, you may lose personal control of your experience from what you gain in automation. You will certainly get a fantastic cup of coffee out of this machine with minimum effort, and it has a built-in PID temperature control and produces perfectly good coffee.

The automatic steam wand is capable of producing excellent quality textured milk for longer drinks and eliminates the necessity to learn to do this yourself. For beginners, it can be a fairly steep learning curve. If you just want a decent cup of coffee, not a new hobby and skill, learning how may not be a worthwhile or desirable investment of your time.

The built-in grinder featured in the Breville Barista Touch is similar to the standalone Breville Smart Grinder Pro, an excellent entry-level burr grinder. With a non-integrated grinder, you may find that you would prefer to upgrade it sooner than would be practicable with this unit. But, for the money to get a total setup for home espresso is a real bargain.

The problem, however, with super-automatic espresso machines in this price range is that you run the risk of ending up with a device that is at once espresso maker and coffee grinder and doesn’t excel at either job. If you need a one-stop-shop for good, but perhaps not excellent coffee, this coffee maker is reliable, consistent, and easy to use. As a real enthusiast, though, you may find yourself frustrated in the long run.

Pros

Easy to use

Good temperature stability

Cons

Better options available in price bracket for pure shot quality


Gaggia Classic Pro – Best Budget Option

At A Glance

Boiler Type: Single Boiler

PID Temperature Control: Possible with modification

E61 Grouphead: No

Basket Type: Non-pressurized

Like the Rancilio, the Gaggia Classic is somewhat of a work-horse amongst domestic machines. With a fairly simple aesthetic, the emphasis is on build quality rather than beauty here. Again, lacking the ubiquitous E61 group-head of more expensive espresso machines, the Gaggia can struggle slightly for temperature stability without modification. 

A further area where time would be well spent improving this espresso maker is upgrading the steam pressure. It is a little lacking and won’t give you the best microfoam straight out of the box. If you will mostly be brewing pure espressos, though, this coffee maker sits firmly at the front of the pack at this cost.

As well as the improvements that can be made to the Rancilio Silvia, all of which have aftermarket versions available to suit the Gaggia, a recommended upgrade here would also be the steam wand. In fact, you can swap the Gaggia’s steam wand straight out for a Rancilio Silvia one with fairly minimal work.

It’s another machine where you will not fail to find enthusiasts who are very keen to share their wisdom. With something like this, or indeed the Rancilio Silvia, you are very much buying into a community and a brand.

With a little bit of care spent learning how to pull a decent shot and some time spent getting used to the particulars of this machine, you can certainly expect to achieve excellent results on a Gaggia Classic — even without recourse to any of the aftermarket mods.

Pros

Can be modded

Great shots out of the box

Good community support

Cons

No E61 grouphead

Single boiler


Gaggia Carezza De LUXE – Best Pressurized Basket Machine

At A Glance

Boiler Type: Single Boiler

PID Temperature Control: No

E61 Grouphead: No

Basket Type: Pressurized

The Gaggia Carezza Deluxe is another option that could certainly be worth exploring for beginners or those with no desire to progress with manual espresso brewing as a hobby. It comes with all the reliability and brand support of a Gaggia but pressurized basket brewing rather than the standard non-pressurized baskets on the Classic.

Pressurized baskets can be useful when your grind quality is less than optimal and allow for a better quality shot with less experience. However, they will not produce quite the same results as a proper non-pressurized basket. Also, if you are keen to progress, it would be better to invest the time in learning to control your extraction variables manually.

Another offering from Gaggia, the Baby Nero shares many internal components with the Classic but comes at a slightly lower price point. While the popularity of the ubiquitous Gaggia Classic is well-deserved, it could be well worth considering this less well-known cousin.

You are likely to pick up a good example here for a fraction of the price. Due to the engineering quality, it is fairly likely that (providing it has been reasonably well looked after) a machine like this will hold its quality a lot longer than you might expect. A ten-year-old espresso maker should typically be perfectly serviceable.

Anything that is broken can usually be fixed, so a pre-owned machine would be a good option for somebody on a tighter budget or just dipping their toes into the vast waters of home espresso. In fact, you would see far better results with something like $100 worth of slightly well-worn Gaggia and a $900 grinder than you would with a near $1000 espresso machine and a cheap grinder.

The principle difference between the Gaggia Baby Nero and the Gaggia Classic is the case. The Baby Nero comes in a plastic body, which depending on personal preference, some users may find more aesthetically appealing.

Pros

Price point

Ease of use

Cons

Pressurized baskets only

Shot quality will frustrate perfectionists


La Pavoni Europiccola – Most Stylish

At A Glance

Boiler Type: Single Boiler

PID Temperature Control: No

E61 Grouphead: No

Basket Type: Non-pressurized

The Europiccola from La Pavoni is a break from the norm in this list. It is a completely manual machine, relying on a hand-operated pump to build the necessary pressure. Its iconic design has remained relatively unchanged since its birth in 1961 and it simply drips style. If classic counter-top elegance is your goal, the Europiccola is peerless.

Fully manual lever machines require the operator to physically pull a lever to force hot water through the coffee bed at pressure. This is where the expression to “pull” shots of coffee comes from, which has outlasted the manual lever machine in the mainstream. 

It also produces an excellent espresso, although the quality of the shots you can make will vary a lot more according to your technique, and it will take some time to get used to. It’s also worth mentioning that the steam wand, while perfectly workable, is probably the weakest in the group here.

If you like classic cars, pocket watches, and 60s Italian design, there is a very good chance you will love this. As much a work of art as an espresso machine, this is the only coffee machine on our list that James Bond used in ‘Live and Let Die’.

Pros

Very stylish

Classic, traditional feel

Good shot quality possible

Cons

Not very consistent

Shots will vary a lot


Breville Bambino Plus – Best For Beginners

At A Glance

Boiler Type: Single Boiler

PID Temperature Control: Yes

E61 Grouphead: No

Basket Type: Pressurized

Another option coming in well under budget, but fully deserving a mention here, is the Bambino Plus. While it might not have the best build quality among the machines selected here, the Bambino shines in its ease of use. However, you can find espresso makers that will simply give you a better shot for your money at this price point.

Features like the pressurized basket (which may be frustrating to more advanced users) and the automatic milk steaming option make this coffee maker ideal for the beginner. With very little knowledge, you will find that you will be getting pretty good results with the Bambino Plus in no time.

However, if you have ambitions to advance your espresso knowledge and are looking for a coffee machine that can grow with you as your practice evolves, you will be disappointed. You would be better advised to pick up something with more scope for enhancement. 

Pros

Ease of use

Good entry-level machine

Cons

Won’t really go beyond basic beginner needs


Rocket Appartamento – Best Slightly Over Budget Upgrade

At A Glance

Boiler Type: Heat Exchanger Boiler

PID Temperature Control: No

E61 Grouphead: Yes

Basket Type: Non-pressurized

If you were prepared to stretch the top end of the budget by a little without entering the next price bracket, the Appartamento from Rocket would significantly improve over most of the machines listed here for not too much extra financial input. 

Its main selling point against something like a Rancilio Silvia is that it features an E61 grouphead. This is a classic design featured in many top-end commercial coffee machines. The main advantage is temperature stability. 

The E61 design pulls the water back and forth from the boiler to the grouphead using a thermosiphon, which keeps the solid 9lb brass grouphead at a stable brewing temperature. Another advantage of this design is that it benefits from passive preinfusion. The constant circulation of water at lower pressure prewets grounds and prevents channeling. 

This unit also features a heat exchanger boiler. This boiler style allows for simultaneous shots and steam and can help stabilize brew temperatures.

Pros

Very good quality home espresso machine

Stylish design

Cons

High cost


Buying Guide

With quite a lot of variance in espresso machine designs, even at an entry-level, choosing your best espresso machine can be a little bewildering. Hopefully, this guide will leave you better equipped to find your dream machine with a bit of clarification.

Types of Machines

Espresso machines come in all shapes and sizes, with a vast range of features and design choices. Broadly, they are commonly grouped by boiler type and intended end user. They run from entry-level domestic machines to prosumer machines, up to commercial ones at the top end. Inside of $1000 you are likely to be looking at the first of those categories.

That being said, with modifications taken into consideration, you could arguably be pushing machines up into prosumer territory in terms of the range of features.

With regard to boiler type, machines generally come with single boilers, with one boiler to heat both brew water and steam; dual boilers, equipped with separate boilers for steam and brewing; and heat exchangers that provide a lot of the benefits of a dual boiler by using copper pipework to transfer heat to different areas of the machine as required.

Again, under the $1000 price point, you will unlikely find anything other than a single boiler machine.

Size

While most domestic espresso makers are designed to have a fairly small footprint, in situations where space is tight it is worth considering the dimensions carefully. You should also think about the height, including the cups you are likely to want to keep on top of the cup warmer, as this is a rather redundant feature if your machine barely fits under your wall cabinets.

Equally, in espresso machines that don’t include an integrated grinder, it is worth bearing in mind that you will probably want to house an extra-large piece of equipment on your worktop. A noteworthy get-around here would be to use a good quality manual burr grinder like an 1Zpresso JX–PRO, which is capable of espresso grinding with a bit of work.

Cost

Even within the entry-level price bracket, there is a great deal of variance in price. If you are prepared to make do with a pressurized basket, you can have drinkable espresso less than a quarter of the top end of the given price bracket here. On the other hand, by stretching it slightly, you can have a fairly high-end coffee maker.

We would suggest that, for those on a tight budget that want to embark on home espresso brewing as a hobby, a Gaggia Classic is the most sensible starting point. 

Cleaning

Maintenance and cleaning of your new espresso machine are vital if you want to keep brewing decent shots in the long term. With anything featured on our list, except for the Europiccola, you will need to learn to backflush and clean the internal components properly. 

Some more automated machines like the Breville Touch make this process a little easier for you, so if that is a deal-breaker for you, this could be worth considering.

The Bottom Line

With a little bit of knowledge and some careful thought, you should definitely be able to get a perfectly good machine for $1000. Depending on your choice and requirements, it may be the last machine you ever buy. If you plan on upgrading in the future, it’s worth noting that the Rancilio, Gaggia, and La Pavoni machines hold their value very well. 

One thing to bear in mind with all of the coffee machines in this price bracket is that they are single-boiler models. This means that they are limited to just one boiler providing brewing water and steam, and you won’t be able to steam milk at the same time as pulling a good shot.

If you’re looking for the best beans to brew in your new espresso machine, check out our article dedicated to exactly that.

Finding the right espresso machine for you can be a big decision. Hopefully, this has helped you work out what’s best for your money, and you’re a lot clearer on the minefield of the best espresso machine under $1000. For us, though, the clear winner is the Rancilio Silvia.

Related Post: Best Coffee Maker Under $100

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Aidan is a former barista and coffee industry professional, turned writer and passionate home brewer. He never travels anywhere without his emergency coffee kit (hand grinder, scales, and v60).

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