The Best Home Espresso Machines Under $1000

There are a LOT of options for home espresso machines under $1000, and the best machine for YOU depends on whether you will be drinking primarily espresso or milk-based drinks. The different in are a few configurations regarding the internals of the machine (single boiler, dual boiler, thermo-block, heat exchanger) that makes certain things like steaming milk a bit more difficult than other machines.

Here’s a good summary of the designs, but I also have a quick explanation below. Unfortunately it’s a little technical but there’s some key design difference to understand between different machines.
  • Single Boiler – Uses a single hot water heater to provide hot water and/or steam for the espresso shot. The biggest issue is that you can’t steam milk and brew espresso back to back, so not as ideal for a lot of milk drinks.
  • Thermoblock – Uses a solid piece of metal with an electric heating element to heat the water on the fly. Tends to be a little weaker steaming and not as temperature stable, although I think the machine you are looking at solves a lot of these issues.
  • Heat Exchanger – Similar to a thermo block, but pumps water through a boiler to heat water on the fly, so more temperature stable and better steaming capabilities. Typically $1500+.
  • Double Boiler – Uses a separate boiler for steaming and brewing, so you can brew espresso and steam milk at the same time. Typically $1500+, with the exception of Breville Dual Boiler.
A few of my favorites in this price range include:
  • Rancilio Silvia –  It’s a great single boiler machine and is really proven and well reviewed, but not the prettiest machine in the world. Not great if you are going to be making a lot of milk drinks though.  
  • Breville Dual Boiler – A little out of the price range but it can be bought at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% coupon. It’s the only double boiler espresso machine that close to the price range, and is a really good machine. One of the few downsides is a plastic case (not metal) which has made some others question the durability.                                                                
  • Crossland CC1 – Not my favorite in the looks department, but it has great features for the price, with a single boiler and integrated thermo block for steaming.                           

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