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Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under $1,000

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Last updated: December 22, 2023

Quick Answer: The best super automatic espresso machine under $1,000 is the Philips 4300 LatteGo.

$1,000 is relatively cheap for a super-automatic. It can, however, still get you a machine that:

  • Can produce a consistently good (but never mind-blowing) espresso.
  • Can either steam milk to whatever texture you want manually (using a steam wand) or steam milk to one fixed texture at the press of a button.
  • Has a button-controlled LCD screen user interface (but not a touch screen).
  • Has all the common espresso drinks on its menu.

As well as giving you my recommendations, I’ll also tell you about a bargain of a machine that’s well under $1,000 but which makes as good a tasting espresso as a super-automatic three times its price.

Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under $1,000: Top Picks

Best Overall
  • Makes a latte and a cappuccino with one button press.
  • Eight menu items.
  • Removable milk frother for easy cleaning.
Best for Lattes
  • Professional grade steam wand
  • Only super-automatic under $1,000 that can make latte art
  • One touch Americanos
Best deal for black coffee drinkers
  • Makes excellent espresso.
  • Costs significantly less than $1,000.
  • Excellent longevity considering its low price.

A Quick Note on Super Automatic Espresso Machines’ Espresso Quality

There’s no noticeable difference between these machines’ espresso quality.

There are two important things to know about super-automatic espresso machines’ coffee quality:

  • Espresso quality varies more between manufacturers than between models: For example, an entry-level Delonghi and a high-end Delonghi super automatic will make the same quality drink.
  • There’s little difference between super automatics’ espresso quality generally: All super-automatic espresso machines have their espresso quality capped by their shared inability to precisely prep your coffee puck. Optimizing other brewing variables (temperature, pressure, etc) is relatively simple, so all super automatics make the same decent-but-not-great espresso.

So I’m putting espresso quality to one side and instead evaluating these machines on their:

  • User interface and workflow
  • Milk steaming performance
  • Ease of cleaning and maintenance
  • Value for money

Anyway, on with the reviews…

Best Overall: Philips 4300 LatteGo

Best Overall
Philips 4300 LatteGo
$999.00
The Philips 4300 LatteGo is the only super-automatic espresso machine under $1,000 that has automatic milk frothing and an LCD display screen user interface.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 09:19 pm GMT
Specification Philips 4300 LatteGo
Milk system
LatteGo automatic milk frother
User interface
Button operated digital display screen
Dimensions (width x depth x height)
9.7” W x 14.6” D x 17.0” H

User Interface and Workflow

The Philips 4300 LatteGo’s ability to make a milk-based drink at the touch of a button makes it the most user-friendly super-automatic espresso machine under $1,000.

To make a drink with the Philips 4300 LatteGo, you just have to:

  • Press the button corresponding to the drink you want
  • Use the digital toggles to select your coffee’s strength size and milk amount
  • Press brew

This is true for both black coffee drinks and milk-based drinks. 

You can see someone making a cappuccino with a few button presses below (watch from 9:35 – 16:04 – it takes him seven minutes because he showcases the machine’s entire menu and customization options):

No other super automatic under $1,000 allows you to make a milk-based drink with this level of customization options this easily.

User Interface and Workflow Rating: 10/10

Milk Steaming Performance

While the Philips 4300 LatteGo’s steamed milk isn’t bad, it only offers you one milk texture.

This means that all your milk-based drinks will have the same consistency and mouth feel. 

The only difference between a latte and a cappuccino (or any other milk-based drink) will be the volume of milk used in each drink.

Milk Steaming Performance: 6/10

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

The Philips 4300 LatteGo’s automatic milk steaming system gives you one more part to clean than a machine with a steam wand. It is still easier to clean than the majority of super automatics with automatic milk frothers.

You need to clean the Philips 4300 LatteGo’s milk system after every coffee you make.

While this is more effort than purging and wiping down a steam wand, the LatteGo’s design makes it as easy to keep clean as an automatic milk frothing system can possibly be.

You can see a video of someone explaining how to clean the LatteGo milk system below (watch from 4:15 – 5:00).

This is a much simpler cleaning process than machines that have milk systems that attach externally via a tube (such as Jura and Gaggia machines).

Maintaining the Philips 4300 is easy as the machine’s screen will tell you in plain English (rather than with some random flashing symbol like with machines that have a more basic UI) when it needs to be cleaned, emptied, and descaled.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance Rating: 8/10

Value for Money

The Philips 4300 LatteGo only just squeezes in at under $1,000 but is far more feature-rich than any other machine here.

It’s the only super-automatic machine I’m aware of under $1,000 with an LCD screen user interface and an automatic milk frother.

If you want one-touch lattes then it’s good value for money.

Value for Money Rating: 9/10

Philips 4200 LatteGo Pros

Can make milk-based drinks at the touch of a button.

Has a very intuitive user interface.

Has a multitude of black and milk-based menu items.

Philips 4200 LatteGo Cons

Can only steam milk to one texture.

Best Overall
Philips 4300 LatteGo
$999.00
The Philips 4300 LatteGo is the only super-automatic espresso machine under $1,000 that has automatic milk frothing and an LCD display screen user interface.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 09:19 pm GMT

Best for Latte: Gaggia Magenta Plus

Best for Latte
Gaggia Magenta Plus
$608.34
The Gaggia Magenta Plus is the cheapest super-automatic espresso machine with a professional-grade steam wand.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 09:44 pm GMT
Specification Philips 4300 LatteGo
Milk system
Pin hole steam wand
User interface
Button operated digital display screen
Dimensions (width x depth x height)
9.7” W x 14.6” D x 17.0” H

User Interface and Workflow

The Gaggia Magenta Plus is super easy to make and customize drinks with, its steam wand has a bit of a learning curve to it, however.

The Gaggia Magenta Plus has a button-controlled digital display screen where you can select a coffee type and adjust your coffee’s size and strength. You can see a video of someone doing this below (watch from 9:40 – 10:27):

Its steam wand is a pain to use, mainly because it’s not on a ball joint and therefore harder to maneuver than say a steam wand on a Breville espresso machine.

It’s hard to get your wand in the right position in your milk without touching the wand itself and burning your hand (you’ll likely learn the hard way to not do this – it’s very instinctive to just grab the wand to try and get it in position).

But at least it rewards this additional effort with superb milk textures.

User Interface and Workflow Rating: 7/10

Milk Steaming Performance

The Gaggia Magenta Plus EASILY produces the best-steamed milk of all super-automatic espresso machines under $1,000.

The Gaggia Magenta Plus has a professional-grade, pinhole steam wand. 

This allows you to steam milk to whatever texture you want, be it thick froth to dollop atop a macchiato or silky microfoam to make latte art with.

The Magenta Plus can do it all – an absolute rarity among super automatics.

Milk Steaming Performance Rating: 10/10

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

The Gaggia Magenta Plus is the easiest super-automatic machine featured here to keep clean and maintained.

Pinhole steam wands are very easy to keep clean, just turn it on and it will squeeze out hot water to clean any crusty milk from its inner tubes (this is what people mean when they say “purging the steam wand”) and wipe down its outside with a damp cloth.

Much like with the Philips 4200, the Gaggia Magenta Plus will tell you on its display screen when it needs to be emptied, rinsed, and descaled. It will walk you through each process in plain English (again, like the Philips).

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance: 9/10

Value for Money

The Gaggia Magenta Plus offers decent, but not amazing, value for money.

I think if you are going to spend this much on a machine to make lattes with, you’ll get more for your money with a portafilter-driven machine.

But still, if you want a super-automatic machine for lattes then it’s in a class of its own as far as milk quality goes.

Value for Money Rating: 6/10

Gaggia Magenta Plus Pros

It steams milk to a much higher standard than any other super-automatic espresso machine.

It’s the easiest to keep clean of all machines listed here.

Gaggia Magenta Plus Cons

Its steam wand has a significant learning curve to it.

Best for Latte
Gaggia Magenta Plus
$608.34
The Gaggia Magenta Plus is the cheapest super-automatic espresso machine with a professional-grade steam wand.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 09:44 pm GMT

Best for Black Coffee Drinkers: Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300

Best for Plain Espresso Drinkers
Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
$799.95 $649.99
The Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 3300 is one of the cheapest super-automatic espresso machines that still makes a good espresso.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 03:37 am GMT
Specification Philips 4300 LatteGo
Milk system
Panarello steam wand
User interface
Dial and buttons only
Dimensions (width x depth x height)
15.3” W x 11.2” D x 14.4” H

User Interface and Workflow

The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 has a stripped-back user interface. This isn’t too much of a problem given its limited functionality, but it’s not the nicest machine to use.

The ESAM 3300 has two dials to control coffee strength and size, and a few buttons to turn the machine on and make it brew.

I don’t like how its dials are labeled with notches rather than actual numbers. 

I’ve found that setting the two dials to the position shown below yields the best results.

This is on the ESAM 4300 which has the exact same brewing system as the ESAM 3300

It took a fair bit of trial and error to get to this point, and the whole process would have been a lot quicker if the machine had given you the actual quantities of ground coffee and water that its dials represented.

The machine steams milk with a panarello steam wand. It has less of a learning curve than the Gaggia Magenta Plus, but still nowhere near the convenience of the Philips 4300 LatteGo.

User Interface and Workflow Rating: 5/10

Milk Steaming Performance

The Delonghi ESAM 3300 can steam milk to a wider variety of textures than a machine with an automatic milk frother, but it cannot make silky steamed milk like the Gaggia Magenta Plus.

The ESAM 3300 has a panarello steam wand.

This means that its wand has a plastic sleeve around it that helps pump additional air into the milk.

This allows you to texture milk without any practice, but it does prevent you from making finer bubbled foam – the type needed for latte art.

It’s still a good option if you want to make the occasional milk drink as you’re guaranteed a decent texture even if you have no milk steaming experience.

Milk Steaming Performance: 7/10

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

While the ESAM 3300 is easy enough to keep clean, its lack of a warning system makes it a hard machine to troubleshoot.

Rather than telling you what specific problems are, the ESAM 3300’s warning system consists of flashing lights labeled with symbols.

Often these lights flash in conjunction with each other to indicate certain problems, and it can all get very confusing.

The machine’s lack of troubleshooting assistance is by far its weakest point.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance Rating: 5/10

Value for Money

The Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300’s low price and high level of longevity make it excellent value for money.

The ESAM 3300 is easily the cheapest machine on this list. 

Combine this with the fact that it makes as good an espresso as any other machine here and that it’s highly regarded for its longevity, and you’ve got a bargain on your hands.

Value for Money Rating: 10/10

Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 Pros

It’s by far the cheapest machine listed here.

Offers the best price/performance ratio in terms of espresso quality.

Lots of the machine’s users online say it lasted them well in excess of five years.

Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 Cons

Its user interface is very basic.

Its warning lights can be hard to understand.

Best for Plain Espresso Drinkers
Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
$799.95 $649.99
The Delonghi Magnfica ESAM 3300 is one of the cheapest super-automatic espresso machines that still makes a good espresso.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 03:37 am GMT

For more information on this machine, please see my Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 review.

What are the Important Differences Between the Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines Under $1,000?

Here are the key things to look out for when selecting a super-automatic espresso machine.

Price

Super-automatic espresso machines can be bought for as low as $600. 

You pay a premium for the following:

  • Automated milk frothing: A super-automatic with an automatic milk system typically costs $150 – $300 more than the exact same machine with a steam wand.
  • More menu items: An expanded menu is an easy way for manufacturers to inflate a machine’s price without adding that much value. This is particularly true for machines with automatic milk systems where the difference between a cappuccino and a flat white is just in the drink’s milk volume.
  • A display screen user interface: I think a display screen UI is worth spending a little extra money on as it can make troubleshooting and maintaining your machine easier. This can extend the machine’s lifespan, saving you money in the long run.

The table below shows the following machines in order of typical price from cheapest to most expensive (please note that prices fluctuate all the time):

Typical Price Where to buy
Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
Most affordable
Gaggia Magenta Plus
Mid-price
Philips 4300 LatteGo
Most expensive

Milk Steaming System

A super-automatic espresso machine can either have an automatic milk frother, a panarello steam wand, or a pinhole steam wand

Automatic Milk Frother

Super-automatics with an automatic milk system allow you to make milk-based drinks with one button press. It’s the best option if you value convenience above all else.

While their milk texture quality is decent, you can definitely get better results with a steam wand (and a bit of practice).

The main downside with automatic milk frothers is not the lack of steamed milk quality, but instead the lack of milk texture variety that you can create.

$1,000 will only get you a machine with an automatic milk system that can steam milk to one texture. This means all your milk-based drinks will be same-y.

Still, if you want to make milk drinks and can’t be bothered with fiddling around with a steam wand, then an automatic milk frother is the way to go.

Panarello Steam Wand

A panarello steam wand has a metal or plastic sleeve around it with a hole in it to pump extra air into your milk. It’s best if your option if you only steam milk occasionally

This additional air lowers the learning curve involved in steaming milk.

It does restrict the milk textures you can create, but not to the same extent as an automatic milk frother.

Panarellos is a good option if you’ll only steam milk occasionally. You’re going to get decent textured milk even if you haven’t had much practice steaming.

While you can remove panarello sleeves and have a bit more control over your texture, these still don’t match the control you’d get from a pinhole steam wand.

Pin Hole Steam Wand

Pinhole steam wands have no sleeve to pump in extra air. It’s the best option if you want to make the full gamut of milk-based drinks or play around with latte art.

Pinhole steam wands take more practice to master than Panarellos but reward you by allowing you to make a much wider variety of milk textures.

I’d recommend a machine with a pinhole steam wand if you’re going to make a lot of milk-based drinks and want to get as close as possible to what you’d get from a coffee shop.

The table below shows the machines featured in this article’s milk steaming systems:

Milk steaming system Where to buy
Philips 4300 LatteGo
Automatic milk frother
Gaggia Magenta Plus
Pin hole steam wand
Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
Panarello steam wand

User Interface

The best super-automatic espresso machines under $1000 have one of two user interfaces: they’re either operated by dials and buttons or have a button-operated digital display screen.

Above: Philips 4300’s digital display screen. Below: Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300’s dial-operated control panel

Dial and button-operated super automatics cost less than ones with a digital display screen. They are, however, harder to troubleshoot due to a lack of warning alerts.

A dial and button UI is adequate for adjusting brewing settings, however, if your machine runs into trouble then it does not give you enough information on how to fix it.

Hardly intuitive

Machines with a display screen generally tell you exactly what the specific problem is whenever an issue arises. 

This means you don’t have to pour through the machine’s manual (or watch a load of troubleshooting videos on YouTube) every time your machine isn’t working.

The table below shows each machine featured in this article’s user interface:

User interface Where to buy
Philips 4300 LatteGo
Digital display screen
Gaggia Magenta Plus
Digital display screen
Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
Dial and button only

Size and Water Tank Design

Make sure you have enough space to accommodate your machine. I’d also recommend going for a super-automatic machine with a front-loading water tank if you have limited space counter to cabinet clearance.

If your machine’s water tank pulls out from the top, rather than from the front, you’ll have to crane over it every time you need to refill. This can be a squeeze if you have low cabinets.

The table below shows each machine’s dimensions and whether its water tank pulls out from the front or from above.

Dimensions (width x depth x height) How does its water tank pull out Where to buy
Philips 4300 LatteGo
9.7” W x 14.6” D x 17.0” H
From the front
Gaggia Magenta Plus
8.8” W x 17.1” D x 14.0” H
From above
Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300
15.3” W x 11.2” D x 14.4” H
From the front

What are Common “Red Herrings” When Looking for a Super Automatic Espresso Machine?

Here are the features that super automatics like to sell you on that actually aren’t that important.

Number of Grinder Settings

More grind settings don’t make one machine better than another.

Since super-automatic espresso machines can’t do precise puck prepping, they can only work with a small grind-size window.

There’s no point in having dozens and dozens of grind settings on a super-automatic espresso machine – while it doesn’t make a machine worse, it’s no reason to buy one machine over another.

Pump Pressure

A machine’s pump pressure refers to its maximum pressure rather than its actual brewing pressure.

Its actual brewing pressure is controlled by a system of valves within its brewing unit. 

A super automatic with a 19-bar pump won’t necessarily make a better espresso than one with a 15-bar pump.

Number of Menu Options

Don’t overspend on menu items that you’ll never make.

Manufacturers often use additional menu items as justification for charging more for specific models.

Bear in mind that all menu items are just a certain quantity of espresso combined with a certain quantity of milk. Given that each menu item can have its espresso and milk volume adjusted, you can often recreate menu items by customizing existing options rather than paying a premium.

Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine Under $1000: Final Verdict

The best super automatic espresso machine under $1,000 is the Philips 4300 LatteGo.

Best Overall
Philips 4300 LatteGo
$999.00
The Philips 4300 LatteGo is the only super-automatic espresso machine under $1,000 that has automatic milk frothing and an LCD display screen user interface.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 09:19 pm GMT

If you want a super-automatic with a bit more functionality, please see my roundup of the best Jura espresso machines and the best super-automatic espresso machines.

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