The best way to choose a cheap coffee machine is to check it has already been purchased and used over time by a number of people. The best cheap coffee machines will produce a cup of coffee as good as a coffee shop at a fraction of the price.
Buying a cheap coffee machine is easy but buying one that is good is a tougher ask.
There are hundreds to choose from but very few that meet the criteria of making a good cup of coffee and don’t cost very much money.
All of the coffee machines in this guide are proven winners and have already been purchased by thousands of people that have used them and vouch for them.
When it comes to budget coffee machines there are a lot of rubbish ones out there but we have weeded those ones out through hundreds of hours of research.
There are 6 types of coffee machines that make up the vast majority of all the coffee machines purchased in the UK and we will break down the most affordable ones within each category that are worth owning and can actually make a decent cup of coffee.
Different types of cheap coffee machines
When you are deciding what type of coffee machine to buy the most important thing to think about is how much you want to be involved in the preparation.
If you don’t want to get involved at all then you can go for a pod coffee machine that requires zero preparation time.
With pod machines, you don’t even see or touch the coffee before it arrives in your cup. Just pop a pod or capsule into the machine and press one button.
We will show you how you can buy the cheapest Nespresso machine that Nespresso sell and get the same quality of coffee as ones they sell for hundreds of pounds more.
Pod coffee machines may be ultra-convenient and you can pick up a decent one for well under £100 or even under £50 but you pay for the convenience in the cost of the pods.
If you decide to go for a Nespresso or Dolce Gusto coffee machine then expect to pay between 30p and 50p per coffee. That’s a lot cheaper than a coffee shop but more expensive than if you choose a different type of machine.
Bean to cup coffee machines provide the same level of convenience as a pod machine but they grind fresh coffee beans just before making the coffee for you with a one-button press.
These machines are fully automatic and can and do sell for well over £1000 for the top-end ones.
The definition of “cheap” changes depending on the type of machine you go for. You can get a good budget cafetière for a tenner but you can’t really get a good budget bean to cup machine for under £200.
If that sounds too expensive then go for a different type of machine because if you buy a bean to cup machine for less than £200 then it’s going to be low quality and it won’t deliver a quality cup of coffee.
Espresso machines are a great way to get good quality fresh coffee.
They don’t come with the full automation of a bean to cup machine but you can pick up a decent one for less than £100.
You’ll need to buy pre-ground coffee or get a cheap coffee grinder and grind the coffee beans yourself.
With these types of machines, you’ll need to spend a few minutes making your coffee but you do save on the price of the machine.
Filter coffee machines are a very cheap way to get a good cup of coffee.
Don’t be put off by the fact that you have to put a jug underneath because you can make a single mug of coffee if you want to with most of them.
Finally, the cheapest way to make a good cup of coffee is with a cafetière or stovetop espresso machine.
These coffee makers do not need to be plugged in so there are no electrical components to ramp up the price.
That covers all of the main types of coffee machine and the benefits of each one.
Below you will find the best cheap coffee machines within each category with a link through to a detailed review if you want to delve a bit deeper.
The best cheap filter coffee machines:
When a product stands the test of time then it is normally for a very good reason. In this case, the Russell Hobbs 20680 filter coffee machine has been around for over 10 years and has consistently been a best seller for over a decade.
Russell Hobbs has been around for decades and is one of the most trusted and recognised brand names in the UK for small appliances. Better known for their irons, kettles and toasters they have got it spot on with this cheap filter coffee machine.
At this price level, you can’t really expect much from a design and good looks perspective but this actually looks pretty good in a coordinating black and stainless steel look finish.
The key feature of this coffee machine is that it has “showerhead” technology which basically means that the water is sprayed evenly over the coffee to make sure the water passes through all of the coffee on its way into the jug maximising the flavour.
Its also fully programmable so you can fill it with coffee the night before and set it to deliver a hot mug or jug of coffee that is ready when you walk into the kitchen in the morning.
Great value for money.
This is another filter coffee machine that has been around for a number of years and is still going strong. Swan, like Russell Hobbs are a really good trusted brand in the UK that are more well known for their other small kitchen appliances but this filter coffee machine is a bit of hidden gem.
It’s a bit more compact than the Russell Hobbs so if you have a smaller kitchen or a tight space you have in mind on your work surface then this is a good option to consider.
It’s perfect for 1 or 2 people as it will produce 2 large mugs of coffee or 4 small cups in just 7 minutes.
The anti-drip function is excellent at this kind of price as it allows you to remove the jug to grab your first cup mid-brew and then you can put it back and it will just carry on where it left off without any mess.
It is also fully programmable and it comes with a reusable filter so no additional costs with paper filters.
These are the best cheap pod coffee machines:
This is the cheapest coffee machine that Nespresso do but it makes the same quality of coffee as the most expensive one. It’s not something that Nespresso shout about because they would rather you spend more on a machine with more features.
You can spend hundreds of pounds on a Nespresso machine but every single one of them delivers exactly the same espresso at 15 bars of pressure. The difference between them is all of the extra features the more expensive ones come with and the design and what they look like.
The Essenza only makes black coffee (espresso) but if you like milky coffee drinks such as cappuccino or latte then the way to do it is to buy this model and then get a separate cheap milk frother to go with it. That way you pay a lot less and get the same as a much more expensive Nespresso machine.
You can programme the amount of water you want delivered into your cup so each coffee is tailor-made to your taste.
This is one of Dolce Gusto’s best selling pod machines. It’s cheap, small, super easy to use and it delivers your coffee with the press of one button.
Its very compact at just 30cm tall so if you want a coffee machine that fits into a small space then this definitely fits the bill.
There are 7 different settings to choose from that control the amount of water that is delivered through the pod and into your cup so you can control how mild or strong your coffee is.
Zero hassle and coffee delivered to you in under 60 seconds is one of the reasons this coffee machine has sold in the hundreds of thousands and enjoys very good reviews.
The best cheap pump espresso machines:
With these types of coffee machine, it’s best to steer away from the very cheapest because you tend to get poor quality and machines that are unreliable. This one is from the market leader in coffee machines – Delonghi.
You don’t sell more coffee machines than anyone else without knowing what you are doing and although this is not the cheapest pump espresso machine you can get it is still at the lower end and is very good value for money because you can pay a lot more for other machines that deliver the same result.
This is where we start to get into the realm of coffee shop quality and you’ll recognise the machine as its the same kind of machine they use in coffee shops.
You add the ground coffee into the coffee basket and water is forced through at high pressure to deliver an espresso that you can then convert into a cappuccino or latte by adding steamed milk.
Delonghi also provides a shallow basket specifically for ESE coffee pods which stands for easy serve espresso. The ground coffee is packed away in a bag so you don’t have to mess about grinding the coffee or clearing anything up afterwards. If you are pushed for time then it’s a good way to get a quick cup of decent coffee.
A good reliable coffee machine that is well priced for delivering coffee shop quality coffee.
When it comes to espresso machines most of them are a lot more expensive than this one but if you have never owned your own espresso machine before this is a good place to start before you consider investing any serious money in a coffee machine.
The main difference between this one and the more expensive models is that is manual rather than automated but that may suit a lot of people. No programming and no digital displays.
Just turn the dial to start delivering the coffee and turn it back to stop it once you have the right amount of coffee in your cup. The dial on the side activates the steam nozzle to froth up your milk for a cappuccino or latte.
You still get the espresso delivered with Delonghi’s 15 bar pump that they put in all their coffee machines and it also takes ESE coffee pods to make it super easy and quick to make a fresh cup of coffee.
A few of the best budget bean to cup coffee machines:
Because bean to cup coffee machines provide full automation there is a lot of technology within them and by their very nature cannot be classified as cheap when compared to the other types of coffee machine listed in this article.
If you are looking to spend less than £200 or even less than £50 there is plenty of choice but if that is the case then a bean to cup coffee machine is not for you.
But if you want a coffee shop experience without the hassle of dealing with the coffee and you are prepared to spend a few hundred pounds then this Delonghi bean to cup coffee machine is worth considering.
Its been around for a number of years and it’s now a lot cheaper than it was when it first came out but it still produces a really good quality of coffee.
You can adjust the volume of water delivered into your cup and the strength of the coffee by just turning a dial and then it will give you the same thing time after time.
Just press one button and the coffee beans will be ground and an espresso delivered into your cup in under 60 seconds. The steam wand on the side heats up your milk if you prefer a cappuccino or latte.
This is an excellent entry-level bean to cup machine that has received rave reviews over a number of years.
This machine has some good default features that deliver coffee to suit most peoples taste so you don’t have to adjust the settings if multiple people in your home like to take their coffee in a different way.
You get 4 default options that deliver a single espresso, double espresso, Americano and a long black coffee option as well for a milder longer Americano.
There is a dial in the middle to adjust the amount of coffee that gets used according to whether you like a strong or mild coffee or something in between.
The steam wand will heat your milk in seconds enabling you to personalise any drink to exactly what you would order in a coffee shop.
The best cheap cafetières are:
This is not the cheapest cafetiere you can buy but its the best value for money at an incredibly low price for what you get.
Its personal preference as to whether you like glass or stainless steel for your cafetiere and they both have pros and cons.
A stainless steel cafetiere isn’t see-through and so it makes it harder to judge the amount of coffee you are making but it won’t break if you drop it on the floor or it slips out of your hands into the sink.
This one is glass and is made of the same toughened glass (Borosilicate) that the more premium brands use but it doesn’t come with the same high price that they do. It won’t protect it if you drop it on the floor but it will be more resilient when it comes to small knocks.
It has a good mesh filtration ensuring none of the ground coffee ends up in your cup and is an altogether great value for money cafetiere
If stainless steel is more to your taste then this one will not disappoint. It’s beautifully designed and has the look and feel of cafetieres that are two or three times the price.
It doesn’t just look good, it keeps your coffee hotter for longer than glass cafetieres and longer than standard stainless steel because it is double-walled for longer heat retention.
You get two spare mesh filters as well so you know that this is going to last you for a good number of years before it has to be replaced
This isn’t a cafetiere but we couldn’t leave out one of the all-time classics from this list. It’s been around for decades and has sold over 200 million units.
Millions of people can’t be wrong with his super easy to use cheap non-electric stovetop espresso maker.
Simply add water to the base, then coffee goes into a basket that sits on top of the water. When you put it on the heat the water gets forced up through the water and into the reservoir on top and is ready to drink.
If you want espresso but you don’t want to buy a machine that you have to plug in then this is a great place to start.
Tips for choosing a cheap coffee machine
Each type of machine listed above produces a different flavour depending on how the coffee is extracted.
Espresso and bean to cup coffee machines will produce a stronger, more intense coffee similar to what you can expect in a coffee shop and are perfect for creating cappuccinos, flat white and lattes.
Filter coffee machines will produce a smoother black or white plain coffee.
Cafetières are best when brewed with more coarsely ground coffee and there is plenty of flexibility to add as much or as little coffee as you want for a milder or stronger coffee.
pod coffee machines have a large choice of different capsules and force the water through the pod at high pressure to try and replicate some of the coffee shop favourites in the same way as espresso or bean to cup coffee machines.
Functionality and specification
Think about how much flexibility you want to alter the default way that your coffee machine delivers the coffee.
Do you just want to press one button and get your coffee without any hassle?
Or perhaps you want to programme it so that it comes on in the morning and makes a coffee that is ready to drink when you walk into the kitchen?
Or maybe you want to change the amount of coffee the machine uses and also alter the amount of water that gets pushed through the coffee and into your cup?
All of these things and more are possible. As a general rule the more functions you add, the more expensive the machine becomes.
A lot of the functions that come with some machines will never get used so if you are specifically looking for a cheap coffee machine then you can still get a quality machine but it won’t have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive ones.