Should You Purchase a Used Espresso Machine?

Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Barry Gray

I know an Espresso machine can be a costly item to purchase, so I understand why some people will look at perhaps purchasing a used version. But is this something you should consider doing?

You can consider purchasing a used espresso machine, but only if you know the machine is in good working order. A used machine poorly cared for may need repairs, or it simply will not work adequately. Basically, you should test a machine before you purchase.

But if you do intend to go ahead and purchase a used espresso machine, I have several tips that may make life that bit easier for you.

espresso machine

Why Should You Consider Purchasing a Used Espresso Machine?

I’ll be honest, I look at some of the Espresso machines out there on the market, and I just wish I could own them. Now, I love coffee, but I struggle with the idea of spending thousands on a real top of the range model.

That’s not to say I would never do it, but the main point I’m making is regarding the budget.

I see the main reason why any individual would consider purchasing a used Espresso machine is because of budget reasons. Honestly, that makes a lot of sense.

Yet, one thing I do know is you should never just go ahead and splash some cash on a used Espresso machine without putting some thought into it. So, these are some of the key points I feel you should focus on before you decide on any particular machine.

What is Your Budget?

When buying a brand new Espresso machine, you will have a budget in mind, and the same applies to buying a used machine. 

Honestly, even the used market will have a wide array of prices, and it’s still essential for you to know how much money you intend to spend on your machine. This will automatically narrow down your options and certainly make life easier for you.

But let me stress one point for you. A used Espresso machine can still cost you a lot of money.

However, it will clearly be cheaper than a brand-new version, so that is certainly something to keep in mind.

How Often Will You Intend to Use Your Espresso Machine?

espresso machine regular use

Another vital question to consider is how often you intend to use your machine. Is it something you will be firing up daily? Is it something you will use more sporadically?

This is something to think about, as different machines are certainly more robust than others. Are you an espresso person, or a moka person?

In addition, if you intend to use it daily, then it’s perhaps best to spend a bit more money on a machine that was originally built for heavy use. 

The Pros of Buying a Used Espresso Machine

espresso from espresso machine

While sitting sipping an Americano and thinking about this subject, I realized that buying a used Espresso machine has many tangible benefits. So, here are the key pros I came up with.

You Save Money

The first positive is clearly the ability to save money. However, I must stress you only save money when you do your research and buy a quality machine that has been well-maintained.

If you rush into making a purchase, you could end up with a dud on your hands that costs you a small fortune to repair. At that point, it no longer becomes a bargain.

Also, it’s very possible for you to get your hands on a used commercial-grade Espresso machine for the price of a brand-new home espresso machine. Just look around the market, and you may be surprised at what you can find.

You Probably Get Better Espresso

While less expensive Espresso machines can still produce decent coffee, I do tend to find the more expensive models have the ability to pull better coffee.

It tends to come down to offering better control with temperature and pressure so the maximum aroma and flavor are then extracted from the beans.

So, by buying a used Espresso machine that would typically be priced out of your budget if brand-new, you are effectively upgrading your machine. As a result, you can perhaps expect better coffee, and who wants to turn that down?

What to Consider When Purchasing a Used Espresso Machine

espresso being poured from espresso machine

Those are two very important positives, but what should you consider or look at when searching for that used Espresso machine? I’ve identified several key points that nobody should overlook.

Buy From a Reputable Site

First, only buy from a reputable site. There’s less chance of picking up a dud when you do this, and it could save you money in the long term.

I would never purchase a used Espresso machine from some random individual online. It’s too easy to be caught out and waste your money in the process. 

When you go to a reputable site, it means there’s a greater chance the machines on offer have been correctly maintained and even serviced regularly.

If that’s the case, then I feel you have nothing to worry about regarding your Espresso machine. 

But that’s not all.

I’ve come across several reputable websites that also give you at least some kind of warranty on your purchase. I love this as it does give you greater peace of mind about your purchase. 

How Old is the Machine?

Another thing to consider is the age of the machine. Clearly, you want to get one that is not that old, and for a good reason.

The older the machine, the more likely it’s in a poor state of disrepair or requires more maintenance. Ultimately, it can cost you more money in the long term.

But that’s not the only reason why you should not buy an Espresso machine that’s too old. With older machines, it can be tougher to get your hands on replacement parts, and that’s a massive problem.

How Often Are You Prepared to Carry Out Maintenance?

Regularly maintaining your Espresso machine is important, and it will increase the lifespan of your machine, allowing it to continue to churn out fantastic Espresso. 

Remember, a machine that has been cleaned regularly will last longer.

It’s fair to say that more complex machines, including those of commercial grade, will tend to require more regular maintenance. Also how often you use your Espresso machine will play a role.

But again, that’s why I stress the need to purchase from a reputable website. At least you know there’s a better chance the machine has been maintained throughout its life, which is then easier on your pocket.

How Expensive Are Replacement Parts?

I would always spend even a short period of time looking at the brand of the machine and determining how expensive the replacement parts would be. I would do this in advance to prevent any nasty surprises.

This is an area where the price difference can vary a considerable amount. So, I would take this into consideration when thinking about the brand of machine.

Does it Come with a Manual?

Another thing I would check is if the machine comes with a manual? If not, is it possible for you to download one online?

This is way more important than you think. It allows you to troubleshoot any issues while also knowing how to get the most out of your machine.

If there’s no manual, and no option of getting one, then I would generally skip past that machine. It’s just not worth the hassle and stress.

Does Everything Work?

I know this comes across as common sense, but I’m amazed at how many people do not carry out basic checks when buying a used Espresso machine.

Do not simply go by how good it looks. The machine may look cool, but you need to know everything is in working order before handing over any cash.

So, what does that mean?

It means checking every dial on the machine works. It involves knowing the machine fires up and pulls Espresso without struggling.

You must know every button, pressure gauge, and everything else on the machine is doing what it’s supposed to do. The only way to do this is to give it a go.

Does the Steam Wand Work?

As I spent time looking into the different issues people have when it comes to buying a used Espresso machine, one thing I came across regularly was a problem with the steam wand.

I’m not sure why people would overlook the steam wand. It’s such an integral part of the Espresso machine, but it’s something that seems to happen.

The most significant problem area is with the group head. You need to check nothing is clogged up, or it will clearly be unable to function correctly.

Is There Any Rust?

Finally, I would run over the machine and see if there was any sign of rust. You do not want even a speck of rust to be on there, as that’s a problem all on its own.

Rust indicates the machine has not been correctly cared for, as it should never get into that sort of position. If there is rust, then avoid buying it as it’s not worth the money, as it may signify other issues lurking below the surface.

My Recap on Buying a Used Espresso Machine

I’m certainly a fan of the concept of buying a used Espresso machine. Still, I accept I’ve covered a number of key points over the last few minutes. So, here’s my recap of the key points you need to remember.

  • It’s perfectly OK to purchase a used Espresso machine
  • Only buy from a reputable source
  • Check over the machine thoroughly before buying
  • Look for any signs of rust
  • Try to determine if the machine has been serviced regularly
  • Be aware of the cost of replacement parts
  • Know your budget to eliminate possibilities
  • Are you prepared to carry out regular maintenance?
  • Has it been regularly maintained?
  • Do you get a manual, or can you get one online?
  • Are all the gauges, dials, and buttons working?

Buying a used Espresso machine can still prove costly, but it can also save you a lot of money at the same time. It’s something I would be happy to recommend you do if you are in the market for an Espresso machine.

My Conclusion

I don’t see any problem with purchasing a used Espresso machine but do take time to make your decision regarding the machine. It’s too easy to pick up one that needs repairs or has been poorly maintained, and nobody wants to own that machine.

But if you do your research, you can easily find a used Espresso machine that will pull a good Espresso without too many problems. Really, you could easily find a machine that will last for years and give you many enjoyable coffee experiences.