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Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under 1000 Dollars Review 2018

Espresso machines are expensive, and because of that, models priced at the low-end of the spectrum tend to be no frills units that aren’t all that exciting. Once you start inching up toward the thousand-dollar range though, that’s when you start to see some interesting and exciting differences emerge.

Before we talk about the winner and the three runners up in detail, let’s start by presenting them in table format, to give you a top-level view of the capabilities of each of our finalists and the winner in the $1000 or less category.

Although it’s true that there are a number of models priced higher than this that can do even more, we think you’ll be pleased at what the four models presented below are capable of.

OUR PICK

Dino Image for the Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under 1000 Dollars

OVERALL BEST 

Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under 1000 Dollars

Espresso Machine Under 600 Dollars
Last update: December 9, 2018 10:36 pm
-29% DeLonghi ESAM5500B
$1,058.88 $1,499.99
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Last update: December 9, 2018 10:36 pm
-17% Jura C65
$990.40 $1,200.00
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Last update: December 9, 2018 10:36 pm
Last update: December 9, 2018 10:36 pm

Rating

Price​​​​

$$$

$$$$$

$$$$$

$$$$$

Style

STYLE

Super Automatic

Super Automatic

Semi Automatic

Super Automatic

Dimensions

17” x 9.4” x 13.8”

11.2” x 17.3” x 14.9”

11” x 16.1” x 13.6”

16.9” x 9.4” x 13.3”

Weight

24.3 pounds

25.9 pounds

22 pounds

20 pounds

Reservoir Size

RESERVOIR SIZE

57 ounces

57 ounces

64 ounces

60 ounces

Boiler

BOILER

Single aluminum boiler, lined with stainless steel and featuring Thermoblock technology

Double boiler, both are aluminum, lined with stainless steel, and feature Thermoblock technology

Single aluminum boiler, lined with stainless steel and featuring Thermoblock technology

Single aluminum boiler, lined with stainless steel and featuring Thermoblock technology

Adjustable Coffee Spigots?

ADJUSTABLE COFFEE SPIGOTS?

Yes. Max cup height is 5.5”

Yes, but the max cup height is only 4.5”

Yes, accommodates cups ranging from 2.6” to 4.4” in height

Yes, accommodates cups ranging from 2.6” to 5.5” in height

Number of Grind Settings

NUMBER OF GRIND SETTINGS

Stainless Steel conical burr grinder with 13 settings, paired with an 8.8 ounce bean hopper

Stainless Steel conical burr grinder with 7 settings, paired with an 8.8 ounce bean hopper

Stainless Steel conical burr grinder with 5 settings, paired with a 9 ounce bean hopper

Stainless Steel conical burr grinder with 13(!) settings, paired with a 5.5 ounce bean hopper

Milk Frothing Technology​​​​

MILK FROTHING TECHNOLOGY

Conventional steam wand, which doubles as a hot water dispenser.

Auto-frother with limited foam control

Auto-frother with Jura’s Fine Foam Technology

Conventional steam wand, which doubles as a hot water dispenser.

Has Cup Warming Tray?

Yes, passively heated

Yes, passively heated

Yes, passively heated

Yes, passively heated, but doesn’t get very hot. You’re better off pre-heating your cup in the microwave or with hot water, prior to brewing

Pros

Awesome functionality in an easy to use package.

Great mix of features makes it ideal for single users, power drinkers and small households

A machine designed and engineered with newbies in mind. Great for beginners and quite forgiving

Simple, straightforward design makes it functional and easy to use. TONS of grind settings!

Cons

Grinder is stainless steel. We’d prefer ceramic. Lacks advanced bells and whistles of more modern machines.

Was a cutting edge machine in its heyday, but the LCD screen is a bit dated now. Kind of a niche product, because its design makes it a bad fit for large households with multiple heavy coffee drinkers. Grinder is stainless steel.

Purists will despise it, as will anyone looking to burnish their Barista skills, mostly for the presence of the auto-frother and the limited number of grind settings

Stainless steel grinder is less than optimal, but the biggest weakness here is the tiny bean hopper. Also, the interface is cumbersome and outdated.

Recommended For

RECOMMENDED FOR

Hobbyist and casual users will love it for its ease of use. Purists will love it for the amount of control it allows over the finished product. This machine is great for everyone.

This machine is really optimized for single people, or people who live in small households with only one coffee drinker. Purists will probably prefer something with a proper frothing wand.

Casual users and people who are new to the world of specialty coffee drinks, although you may find yourself outgrowing it more quickly than you had hoped.

If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward machine that gives you plenty of fine-grained control, and you don’t mind the dated tech, this one is good, but its limitations mean that it’s only going to appeal to a fairly narrow segment of the market.

Do you love specialty coffee drinks? If you find yourself underwhelmed and unenthused about having just a regular “hot cup of Joe” and you’ve got upwards of a thousand bucks to spend on an espresso machine for home use that will allow you to replicate the coffee house experience, then you’re going to love the roundup review that follows.

We’ve scoured the internet looking for the best deals and most full-featured machines on our quest to find the best super automatic espresso machine under 1000 dollars, and the competition was fierce!

We narrowed our selection to the top four, then picked an overall winner, but the reality is that any of the machines on this list would be a great addition to your home, so even if you don’t agree with our top pick, the other three deserve your time and attention. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under $1000 Winner -  DeLonghi Magnifica S & XS ECAM22110SB

Delonghi basically owns this segment of the market, dominating our chart, and this is the best of their machines at this price point.

The first thing to note about this model is the fact that it comes in two variants, the “S” and the “XS,” but the only difference between the two is that the XS is slightly smaller, managing to shave two inches and change off the total height of the machine, without sacrificing anything in the way of functionality.

Sporting a 57-ounce water reservoir, the machine’s capacity is slightly less than what we’d prefer, but it doesn’t miss the mark by much (for us, the magic number we’re looking for is at least 60-ounces. At that size, the machine offers enough capacity to keep power drinkers happy, without being “too much” for casual drinkers and smaller households.

In this case, we rate it as being “close enough” and didn’t deduct much from its final score for barely missing the mark, although as ever, we view more as being better!

The integrated grinder is good, but falls short of being great. It’s stainless steel where we’d prefer to see ceramic, but it does boast an impressive 13 grind settings, which is enough to please even diehard purists who are looking for maximum flavor customization.

An image of DeLonghi ECAM22110SB, our top pick for the best super automatic espresso machine under $1000

There’s an ongoing, lively debate regarding stainless steel versus ceramic grinders, and at the end of the day it comes down to this:

In most cases, you won’t notice much of a difference, but if you’re making several back-to-back shots, then the stainless-steel burrs can heat up with repeated use, which will burn your grounds. Not only does this waste beans, but it will also burn the grounds and ruin the flavor of whatever drink you’re trying to make.

Even so, for casual users, the stainless-steel grinder won’t be an issue.

The Magnifica’s coffee spigots offer a fairly wide range of motion, being able to accommodate cups up to 5.5” in height. That’s good, but almost certainly won’t provide you with enough clearance to accommodate your favorite jumbo-sized coffee mug beneath it. Still a solid win though!

An image of DeLonghi ECAM22110SB's coffee spigots, which can accommodate cups up to 5.5" in height

Another thing to make note of where this machine is concerned is that the DeLonghi Magnifica is a single boiler machine, which essentially means that it can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, or in this case, pull shots and steam milk simultaneously.

There is some wait time as the unit shifts gears from one task to the other, but it’s measured in seconds, rather than minutes, and isn’t a deal breaker for most people.

Where milk frothing is concerned, this model goes decidedly old school, opting for a conventional steam wand, which will take a bit of practice to master but don’t let that intimidate you. Once you’ve made 4-5 milk-based drinks with it, you’ll be an Ace and can dazzle your friends with your growing Barista talents!

The controls are simple, and the unit only has a smattering of buttons on the front face, along with a control knob and a small LED screen. It’ll probably take you longer to set the machine up initially than it will be to master its basic use, which is definitely something that most new users will appreciate.

As you can see then, the Delonghi Magnifica is a serious machine, offered at a surprisingly low price. Almost all of its shortcomings can be attributed to cost-savings moves by the manufacturer, and are therefore, easy to forgive. If you’re looking for a stellar machine offered for a song, this is the one you want.

Overall, the thing we liked best about the Magnifica is that although it uses somewhat dated tech, it does so creatively, and the end result is that it doesn’t feel like an older model. Two thumbs up to Delonghi for that.

DeLonghi Perfecta ESAM5500.B

Placing second, the Delonghi Perfecta is an excellent all-around choice with a lot going for it.

The main reason that it didn’t win top honors here is that this one tends to be a fairly tightly focused machine, designed for a specific type of user: Namely, it’s ideal for single people, or smaller households where there’s just one regular coffee drinker.

That’s not to say it couldn’t work for other people, but it’s geared toward that type of user, so if that describes you, then don’t be surprised if you wind up liking this one better than our top pick.

The first thing you’ll notice about this model is that it’s mostly made of plastic.

We don’t hate plastic; it’s just that stainless steel is more durable, more rugged, and machines boasting a stainless-steel case will generally last longer. Having said that, with proper care and maintenance, there’s no reason this model can’t serve reliably in your home for years to come.

Like the Magnifica, it boasts a 57-ounce water tank and an 8.8-ounce bean hopper. Again, the tank capacity is a shade smaller than we’d prefer, but it doesn’t miss the mark by much and is well-paired with the bean hopper capacity.

An image of the DeLonghi ESAM5500.B, our second pick of the best super automatic espresso machine under $1000

One area where it loses ground against the Magnifica is the fact that the grinder only offers seven settings. More’s always better on this front, and while seven is still better than the industry average, it’s just not as good as the Magnifica in that area.

On the other hand, the Perfecta is a double boiler machine, and in this regard, handily beats its lower-priced cousin, the Magnifica. Again, the key advantage with a double boiler machine is that it allows you to make milk-based drinks more quickly since you can simultaneously pull shots and steam milk.

The thing that makes the Perfecta shine though is that while it uses somewhat dated technology like the other models on our list, it does come with a bit more programmability and it offers one-touch convenience.

An image on the cup warming tray of the DeLonghi ESAM5500.B

The model uses an auto-frother instead of a steam wand, which gives you hands-free steamed milk and foam, and even better, the milk spout can be angled right into your cup, so when you order a milk-based drink, you literally push the button, sit back and wait, while the machine does everything for you.

That’s fantastic and convenient, but of course, coffee purists will bemoan the fact that it lacks a proper steam wand.

The other drawback is that you can only save one person’s preferred drink settings, which is why we said that it’s optimized to be the coffee machine for one user. If someone else tries to save their flavor and strength preferences for a cappuccino, for example, it’ll overwrite yours.

That’s not a deal breaker for most people, but it is something to keep in mind.

The Perfecta has its weaknesses, but they’re relatively minor. For instance, the range of motion on the coffee spigots is quite limited, and it’ll only accommodate cups up to 4.5” in height. There are only two programmable buttons, one for coffee or espresso, and one for milk-based drinks.

On more expensive models, you’ll sometimes find dozens of different drink options, all of which can be customized and saved, and here, you begin to see some of the limitations of the model’s older technology.

In a perfect world, we’d love to see more of everything. A bigger water reservoir, a bigger bean hopper, more grind settings and more save slots, but taken together, all of those things would raise the price of the unit, and it’s already sitting near the top of our $1000 cap.

Bottom line:  This is a very good machine for the money, and is extremely newbie friendly. For a single user or a small household with just one coffee drinker, this may be your machine of choice.

Jura C65

The Jura C65 is the most expensive machine on our list of the best super automatic espresso machine under 1000 but is even more newbie friendly than the Perfecta. If you’re just beginning to explore the world of specialty coffee drinks and you’ve got some money to spend, this would be a great fit!

It sports a 64-ounce water reservoir, which is the highest capacity of any machine on our list, and that’s paired with a 9-ounce bean hopper with is a fairly good match.

Unfortunately, the grinder left us wanting. Not only is it stainless steel, rather than ceramic, but it only offers five grind settings, which means that you don’t have nearly as much ability to fine-tune your coffee’s flavor as you do on the other machines listed here, which may cause you to outgrow the model more quickly than you’d like.

It’s also a single boiler system, so you will have some wait time to contend with when making a milk-based drink, but again, this is usually not a deal breaker.

Another thing to note where the boiler is concerned is that you’ve only got two temperature settings to work with (normal and high) so if “high” still isn’t hot enough for you, then you’ll definitely want to make regular use of the cup warming tray to eke out a few more degrees of temperature in your drinks (especially those milk-based drinks).

An image of Jura C65, one of the best super automatic espresso machines under $1000

Where milk frothing is concerned, this model uses an auto-frother and comes with Jura’s patented “Fine Foam” technology. While purists won’t like it much, it’s quick, easy, and convenient, and it really does produce pretty decent milk foam.

The final thing to note about this model is that it’s got the worst range of motion for its coffee spouts of any unit on our list of the best fully automatic espresso machine under 1000 dollars, and can only accommodate coffee cups up to 4.4” in height. That’s a minor feature, but it does mean there’s no chance in Hades of getting your favorite supersized coffee mug under the spouts!

All in all, though, this is a great machine, even given its limitations and shortcomings, and is probably the ideal machine for newbies and power drinkers who are looking for convenience.

DeLonghi ECAM 23210SB

An image of DeLonghi ECAM 23210SB, one of the best super automatic espresso machines under $1000

While it’s true that this model’s limitations keep it from true greatness, it has a lot going for it, and for the right user, it would be a superb choice.

Who is that “right user,” exactly?

That’s an interesting question, and more difficult to answer than first meets the eye.

On the one hand, this machine does offer several things that make it attractive to newbies: It’s got a simple (if dated) interface and a straightforward design which makes it fairly easy to operate. It’s also got a fairly small footprint, which means that even people with smaller kitchens and limited countertop space will be able to find a permanent home for it.

On the other hand though, it has some features that are better suited to coffee purists, such as the impressive thirteen grind settings and the conventional steam wand.

In the final analysis then, we’d have to say that this machine is ideal for newbies who already know they have an interest in taking a more active role in crafting their drinks. Someone who prefers customization options over convenience, and who isn’t afraid of dated tech.

That obviously doesn’t describe a broad swath of the market, so many people will find this model wanting for various reasons, and this is reflected in the unit’s somewhat lower score.

For the right user though, none of the machine’s limitations and shortcomings will really matter.

In our complete review, we gave it a provisional recommendation because it does speak to a fairly specific kind of user, but if, after reviewing its features and reading our full review on it, it speaks to you, then our honest opinion is that it’ll serve you better than any other machine on this list.

Consider it to be like “Chow Chow” dog breed. They’re not for everyone. They tend to be one-owner dogs and form an amazingly strong bond with one person. This machine is a lot like that, save for the fact that it won’t drool on you or play fetch. A great choice, but not for everyone.

Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under 1000 Dollars Review Conclusion

That concludes our quest to find the best super automatic espresso machine under 1000 dollars. We stand by our pick of the Delonghi Magnifica as the overall winner, and honestly believe it to be one of the best values on the market today, but we also realize that everyone’s tastes and preferences are different.

Here then, are some reasons why your top pick might differ from ours:

  • coffee
    The Perfecta is newbie friendly but focused on delivering a world-class coffee shop experience to a single user, or a small household where there’s one primary coffee drinker
  • coffee
    The C65 is the most newbie friendly machine of the lot, but also the most expensive. Sporting the largest water tank, it would be a great choice for a power drinker who doesn’t care too much about flavor fine tuning or taking an active hand in crafting the drinks being made.
  • coffee
    The Delonghi ECAM 23210SB isn’t for everyone, but it’s got a great feature set for newbies who already know they’re coffee purists at heart and want a machine that they won’t outgrow anytime soon. It’s a bit of a finicky beast, and definitely not for everyone, but represents coffee Nirvana for the right user.

Having read to the end, the next question is the most important one of all. Which machine is right for you?

Best Online Offers for the Super Automatic Espresso Machine

Last update: December 9, 2018 10:36 pm

Last update: December 7, 2018 5:09 am

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