Is Buying An Espresso Machine Worth It? (And 3 Alternatives)

Last Updated on October 21, 2021 by John Moretti

Espresso is one of those things that people either hate or love. If you are an espresso lover, there is simply nothing else that will satisfy when in the mood for espresso. If you enjoy espresso-based coffee drinks, nothing else quite makes the cut. This leads many coffee lovers to wonder if buying an espresso machine is worth it and if there are any cheaper alternatives?

Despite the challenges, buying an espresso machine is worth it if you love espresso. If you enjoy coffee but are not too particular about it, there are cheaper alternatives such as a Moka Pot. If you are particular about espresso, nothing but a good espresso machine will work for you.

There are plenty of methods for brewing exceptional coffee at home, so is buying an espresso machine worth it? Is the cost of these machines worth paying, or are there cheaper alternatives that are just as good or better? Let’s find out!

Is Buying A Home Espresso Machine Worth It?

home espresso machine

There are different types of coffee drinkers. There are those who are not particular about coffee at all. These coffee drinkers do not mind what type of coffee they drink; they are not too concerned about taste or coffee flavor tones; they rather just want a hot cup to keep them energized and ready for what the day may bring.

There are other coffee drinkers who enjoy a good cup, they do care about the quality of their coffee, but they are happy to drink any coffee so long as it is not poor quality.

These are the typical coffee drinkers, and then there are espresso drinkers. Those coffee enthusiasts who enjoy drinking espresso, or those who are very particular about the espresso that goes into making their espresso-based coffee drinks. These coffee drinkers are a little more difficult to please than the others.

Espresso drinkers are far more particular about their coffee, and not just any type of coffee or quality of coffee will do. It is this type of coffee drinker who may find that buying an espresso drinker to be worth the expense and effort that comes along with a machine of this type.

Buying an espresso machine to use at home is quite the ordeal. There are several home-use espresso machines on the market, and choosing the right model for you is the first challenge to overcome.

espresso machine at home

Once you have selected the best model for you, there are budget and availability constraints to consider as well. These machines are expensive, and some of the best models may not be available in your country, especially if you live outside of Europe.

If you find the perfect espresso machine model, if you can afford to purchase it, and it is available where you live, then it may be worth buying it. 

However, it is important to remember that once you have purchased the machine and brought it home, the coffee drinker must then learn how to use the machine.

Espresso machines are complicated, especially those that are aimed at home baristas. Creating the perfect coffee drink or pulling the best espresso shot is not as easy as professionals make it seem.

Operating, maintaining, and cleaning an espresso machine is a challenging endeavor. Using this type of machine is far more difficult than using a manual coffee brewing method such as a French press, and it is far more complicated than using a drip coffee maker

Therefore, at the end of it all, buying an espresso machine is only worthwhile if you enjoy espresso coffee and espresso-based coffee drinks enough to undergo the challenge of owning and operating an espresso machine.

If you enjoy your coffee this much, buying an espresso machine is well worth it, and you will enjoy the coffee that you drink every day, rather than having to settle for a cup of coffee that you may not enjoy while longing for an espresso.

How Do Home Espresso Machines Compare To Commercial Machines?

commercial espresso machine

When considering whether or not buying an espresso machine is worth it, it is important to realize that the coffee that you get from your favorite coffee shop may not be replicable at home, even with an espresso machine.

Commercial and home espresso machines are not the same. Commercial machines are very high quality and are made to produce high heat and pressure that is necessary for espresso. Home machines may not be able to operate at this level, nor able to produce espresso at this level of quality.

Home espresso machines are simply not able to produce espresso on the level that commercial machines produce unless you can afford the most high-end machines available on the market.

When considering purchasing an espresso machine for use at home, remember that these small machines may not produce the quality of coffee that you are looking for. 

It may be better to lower your expectations and use an alternate brewing method and save the espresso drinking for when you can buy it from a shop that uses a high-end machine.

How Well Do Home Espresso Machines Work?

espresso machine at home 2

Home espresso machines are a good option for those who thoroughly enjoy drinking espresso and espresso-based coffee drinks, but how well do these machines actually work?

Home espresso machines work well if you take the time to learn how to use them well. A poorly operated espresso machine will not produce good espresso or make good drinks, regardless of how good the machine is. Getting the most out of any espresso machine takes time, practice, and commitment.

Good home-use espresso machines are able to produce good-quality espresso, and these machines do work well, but there is a steep learning curve required to operate these machines well.

Small, home espresso machines are very unforgiving and can be inconsistent. This means that even more care and effort must go into making every coffee, and the home barista must take real-time to learn how to use, operate, and maintain their particular espresso machine.

Apart from these aspects of owning a home espresso machine, using a machine of this type can be very fulfilling, and they do produce good coffee and work very well in good hands.

Are Home Espresso Machines Expensive?

about espresso machines for home

Home espresso machines are worthwhile for those who prefer espresso and espresso drinks over other types of coffee, but how much does it cost to buy an espresso machine?

Home espresso machines can cost less than $100, or upwards of $7500. The price range varies wildly, but there is a home espresso machine that will suit most budgets. Unfortunately, the price of the machine often dictates the quality of the machine.

With that being said, you do not have too many several thousand dollars for a good home espresso machine. A good price range to look at is about $500 – $800 for a very decent machine that will produce a good espresso every time.

If you have the budget for it, the more you spend, the better machine you will get, but at the same time, it is not necessary to spend more than $1000 on a good machine.

Are Home Espresso Machines Difficult To Use?

espresso at home

Home espresso machines are more unforgiving than commercial models, and they are far more difficult to use than other brewing methods, but are they really that much of a challenge to use every day?

Espresso machines are more difficult than other methods, but not so difficult that they cannot be used every day. The truth is, it is not too much of a challenge to use an espresso machine every day if having this type of coffee is worth it to you and if you enjoy this type of coffee making.

For the real coffee enthusiast, there is nothing better than a good espresso or espresso-based drink. Therefore, it is worth the effort of operating an espresso machine for a cup of coffee.

However, these machines are significantly more difficult to use than any other brewing method. Manual brewing methods such as pour-over, French press, and even other machines such as drip coffee makers are significantly easier to use, but the coffee that they produce is not comparable to espresso.

Using an espresso machine can be difficult at times, but the effort is worth the reward of enjoying a beautiful espresso and espresso-based drinks every day.

3 Cheaper Alternatives To An Espresso Machine

Using an espresso machine is not as easy as other methods, and buying one of these machines for home use can be very costly. This leads many coffee lovers to wonder if there are any worthwhile espresso machine alternatives that are more affordable?

There are several cheaper alternatives to an espresso machine that produce excellent coffee in their own way. There are even alternatives that produce espresso, albeit not true espresso, but espresso nonetheless. One does not have to spend hundreds of dollars on an espresso machine for a good cup of coffee.

Let’s take a look at the best espresso machine alternatives on the market today that produce excellent coffee without the high price tag of an espresso machine.



The AeroPress is a go-to for many coffee lovers. This brewing device is simple to use and very effective at pulling strong shots of coffee, even if it cannot produce espresso.

This brewing device can be thought of as a pressurized coffee plunger. It uses hot water and pressure within the brewing chamber to extract the coffee and produce an excellent shot that is enjoyed as is or used to craft excellent coffee drinks such as Cappuccinos or Lattés.

The AeroPress costs less than $35, which makes this device far more affordable than an espresso machine.

This brewing device can be used at home, but it is so portable that you can take it with you wherever you may want to brew a good cup of coffee. The AeroPress is ideal for camping trips or even for taking along to a friend’s house who does not appreciate coffee the way you do.

The AeroPress is the best cheap alternative to an espresso machine on the market.

Moka Pot

moka pot

The Moka Pot is another great alternative to a home espresso machine. These brewing devices are activated by heat from a regular stove, either gas or electric, and they come in various sizes.

The Moka Pot produces excellent, strong coffee that is a good alternative to espresso and can be used to prepare almost any type of espresso-based coffee drink.

Depending on its size, the Moka Pot can brew coffee for a single cup or for multiple drinks at once. These devices are easy to use and simple to learn, making them much easier to operate than an espresso machine.

High-quality Moka Pots only cost between $30 and $50, which is affordable for anyone. 

There is some technique involved in using a Moka Pot to produce good coffee, but with some time, practice, and effort, anyone can produce good coffee from this brewing device.

Portable Manual Espresso Devices

portable espresso makers

A favorite alternative to espresso machines for many coffee lovers is the portable, manual espresso device. There are many varieties of these espresso devices on the market, but they are all quite similar.

The premise behind these brewing devices is that they are able to pull strong shots of espresso without requiring a high-pressure, electric espresso machine.

These devices are often supplied with pressure by a person applying physical force to the device or by simple means such as air pressure.

This type of espresso maker is far less expensive than a conventional home espresso machine, they often do not require electricity, and they still produce excellent espresso shots.

The only downside is that these devices often only brew one shot at a time, and using them can be time-consuming. 

Apart from that, a manual espresso maker is a very good alternative to an espresso machine for the discerning espresso drinker.


There is not much in the world of coffee that can compete with espresso. The unfortunate dilemma of those who crave this type of coffee is that it is difficult to prepare.

True espresso requires high pressure to be made properly, and without the correct method of preparation, the coffee is simply not as good.

This means that for those who love their espresso and espresso-based coffee drinks, it is well worth the cost, time, and effort to buy and own an espresso machine.

For those who require something a little less expensive, there are several brewing device options available that will produce excellent coffee that is similar to espresso, as strong as espresso, and can be used to create espresso-based drinks without any problems.

If espresso is important to you, it is well worth it to buy an espresso machine that is within your budget. If you simply enjoy good coffee but are not too concerned about how it is prepared, one of the alternative options listed here may be a better fit for you.