6 Best Breville Espresso Machines Under $1,000: An Expert GuidePublished on 10/05/2023 · 8 min readConsidering a Breville Espresso Machine? Check out these top 6 espresso machines from Breville to better understand which machine is right for you!
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Breville espresso machines are some of the best in terms of their value, especially if somebody is looking to spend under $1,000. (If you want to nerd out on why I think that’s the case, let me know). But, with that said, how do you choose which one is right for you?
Fortunately, each Breville machine under $1,000 will produce the same espresso quality. The differences between these machines primarily come down to features. So, determining the right machine for you is a matter of determining which features fit your preferences, lifestyle, and desires.
Below, I’ve broken down the top 6 Breville machines based on who they are best suited for.
- The Breville Bambino: Best for the person who wants the best espresso for as cheap as possible and who doesn’t make many milk drinks.
- The Breville Bambino Plus: Best for the person who who wants easy milk drinks but doesn’t want the attached grinder.
- The Breville Infuser: Best for the espresso enthusiast who also wants the ability to control their shot temps (but doesn’t want a built-in grinder).
- The Breville Barista Express Impress: Best for the person who wants real espresso but wants the easiest experience possible.
- The Breville Barista Express: Best for the person who wants a grinder attached for fresh ground coffee but wants to save a little money.
- The Breville Barista Pro: Best for the person who wants a grinder attached but is a barista at heart.
Now that you’ve got an idea of where we’re going, let’s figure out which Breville is right for you, and then let’s get you making great coffee at home!
The 6 Top Breville Espresso Machines
- Best for the person who wants the best espresso for as cheap as possible and who doesn’t make many milk drinks.
The thing about the whole Breville lineup from the approximate $350 Bambino to the $2,800 Breville Oracle Touch is that they will make essentially the same espresso (barring the difference in portafilter size—54mm versus 58mm—which changes for the machines that are over $1599).
The Bambino will make the same espresso as the approximate $750 Barista Express; the only real difference is that the Bambino doesn’t have a grinder, and you can’t change your shot temperatures (which you can do with the Breville Infuser and any of the Breville machines that have a built-in grinder). And it’s worth noting that the espresso is really good. (I am uncomfortable saying the same for most machines below this price point!). Thus, in terms of bang for your buck, the Bambino is the cheapest way to get you the same espresso quality as all the other machines.
One quick flag: the Bambino only comes with a pressurized basket, which will work great if you don’t want to buy a grinder but won’t work well if you want the best possible espresso. You can buy a non-pressurized basket for fairly cheap, though, from Breville!
- Best for the person who wants easy milk drinks but doesn’t want the attached grinder.
At around $500, the espresso quality will be the same as the regular Bambino. However, this machine has an automatic milk-frothing feature that allows you froth milk hands-free (and to set the warmth and frothiness you want!). While the won’t be able to produce that nice “microfoam” like you’ll get in a cafe (unless you use the manual mode!), it’s quite convenient, especially if you plan on other people using the frother (such as kids who want to make hot chocolate!).
A perk about Breville machines is they essentially have unlimited steaming power—barring you running out of water—because they use heating coils rather than boilers. This makes something like the Bambino Plus advantageous versus the Gaggia Classic Pro. For example, you can only steam milk for about one drink with the Gaggia before having to wait for more water to get up to steam temp. With the Brevilles, you can steam milk for as many drinks as you want.
- Best for the espresso enthusiast who also wants the ability to control their shot temps (but doesn’t want a built-in grinder).
This approximate $600 machine is basically the Bambino with a pressure gauge and the ability to change your shot temps. Interestingly, both machines have PID temperature controls; you can’t change your temps on the Bambino (or the Plus). However, starting with the Infuser, you can change the temp by 4⁰F increments through a sort-of-secret menu. Hold the program button down and then click the buttons to change the temp. So, if you want to experiment with many different roast profiles, this—or any machines with built-in grinders (because they have the same functionality)—is a good way to go.
- Best for the person who wants real espresso but wants the easiest experience possible.
Now we’re getting into the territory of machines that have built-in grinders. But you might wonder why I skipped over the regular Barista Express. I did so because most people looking at the machines with built-in grinders are looking for convenience, and, in 2022, Breville took the Barista Express and made it easier to use. How so?
First, they added a system that tells you whether or not you’ve put in the same amount of grounds (which keeps your “dose” the same, helping with consistency), and second, they added a built-in tamping arm so that you apply consistent pressure. All-in-all, this makes it so the only variable you’re tinkering with is the grind setting. (Also note: they give you 25 grind settings, which is more than the 16 of the original Barista Express, allowing for more precision.)
You might be wondering who this machine is not right for. Basically, it’s not right for two groups of people: 1.) people who want to spend less money and don’t mind putting in the manual work themselves, or 2.) people who anticipate wanting to upgrade the grinder.
The only real downside of this package is that the grinder isn’t the best on the market. Consider the grinder a $200 grinder. It’s a fine grinder for espresso, but lots of espresso enthusiasts will opt for grinders that are $500-$1,000 for more precision and consistency.
With all that said, I would tell you that if the convenience sounds super nice to you, don’t have too much FOMO about a better grinder. If the Impress's convenience and lack of mess sound great, go for it! For around $900, the Barista Express Impress will deliver great shots—better than superautomatic machines—and will introduce you to the world of home espresso in a super approachable way.
- Best for the person who wants a grinder attached for fresh ground coffee but wants to save a little money.
As mentioned above, this is still a great machine and about $150 cheaper. It’s just not quite as convenient as the new Impress model. But aside from the convenience, it has the same grinder (although it has fewer grind settings—16 versus 25), will produce the same quality of espresso (so long as you dial in your shots correctly), and has the same steaming capabilities. In addition, it has PID temperature controls you can change (the Bambino models do not). The Barista Express is a machine thousands have loved for years. Don’t be afraid of going with this option.
- Best for the person who wants a grinder attached but is a barista at heart.
This approximately $850 machine has the most grind settings out of any of the machines listed so far (30 versus 16 in the Barista Express), which means it’ll give you the most precision over your grind settings. If you’re a barista at heart, you know that’s important. When I say “barista at heart,” I mean someone who cares about dialing in their shots and loves latte art.
Second, it has a heating unit that’ll allow you to start steaming milk immediately after pulling a shot (which only the Baristo Pro and the Bambino Plus can do) and will allow you to continuously steam so you can make drinks for multiple people, which something traditional single boiler machines can’t do. While somebody who has been a barista is probably used to a machine where you can pull shots and steam milk simultaneously, this is a close second that is much cheaper. (Otherwise, you typically need to spend $1,500+ to get a dual boiler or heat exchanger).
Any of these Breville machines will be a great choice for you. Each machine will give you fantastic espresso, and they are jam-packed with features for the money. Choosing here is not a matter of quality; it’s simply a matter of choosing the machine that best fits your lifestyle, personality, and desires! But if you still need a hand, reach out to any of our experienced Coffee and Espresso Experts, who will guide you through picking the right machine.