This Affordable De'Longhi Espresso Machine Has Saved Me Over $1,000

I used to buy $6 specialty drinks regularly but now favor at-home lattes thanks to this easy-to-use espresso machine.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

De'Longhi ECP3420 Review

Food and Wine / Bridget Degnan

As the espresso machine industry grows, De'Longhi remains a leader because it puts its users first by making models easy to operate, maintain, and integrate into daily routines. While the Italian company offers espresso machines ranging from $170 to $2,500, the quality is consistent across the board. I can attest to this as a proud owner of the De'Longhi ECP3420 that rings in under $200.

My husband and I received the espresso machine at our couple’s shower nine months ago. A year prior, we wanted to buy one ourselves, but between purchasing furniture for our new home and all of life’s other expenses, it made sense to wait and add it to our wedding registry. 

When it came time to compile our list of wants, little did we know we would choose one of the less expensive espresso machines on the market. But after comparing several models, reading countless articles, and combing through thousands of customer reviews, the De'Longhi ECP3420 won us over because of its compact size for our small kitchen, ease of use for us beginner home baristas, reliable design for our frequent coffee intake, and — as a cherry on top — its reasonable price.

De'Longhi ECP3420 Espresso Machine

De'Longhi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso Machine


Price at time of publish: $170

  • Dimensions: 7.28 x 9.45 x 12 inches
  • Wattage: 1100 watts
  • Water Tank Capacity: 37 fluid ounces 
  • Frother: Yes
  • Pressure: 15 bars
De'Longhi ECP3420 Espresso Machine

Food & Wine / Bridget Degnan

How I Used the De'Longhi ECP3420

The instant we got home and unloaded our shower gifts, our new espresso machine was out of the box and on our countertop. It came with three filter baskets, including a single shot, a double shot, one for an easy-serve espresso pod, and a tamper with a measuring spoon on the opposite end for scooping and compressing coffee grounds. We had only used an espresso machine once before (his aunt’s more expensive model), so we took our time reading the instruction manual. Luckily, the directions and the machine were much more straightforward than we expected based on our previous experience. 

To start the process, fill the removable water tank, turn the dial to “on,” and prepare your espresso shot. I enjoy the taste of coffee and prefer lattes, so I always use the double shot filter, which requires two scoops of ground espresso measured with the tamper spoon. It’s important to use slightly coarser grounds than a typical espresso grind (more on that below) and tamp lightly. By the time you’ve filled the portafilter and locked it in the group head, the water is heated, and the fun begins. Turn the dial all the way to the right (the coffee mug symbol), and let it brew for about 25 to 30 seconds, watching it go from a rich, dark brown espresso to a golden-brown crema. When 30 seconds is up, flip the dial to “off” if you just want espresso or are making an iced drink, and for a hot latte or cappuccino, move to the symbol on the far left to heat the steam wand. 

For an iced latte, I let my espresso cool down for about five minutes and fill a glass with ice (I use these ones for the aesthetics), plus one pump of sugar-free syrup. Then I pour the cooled espresso over the ice, top it with milk, and sip with a reusable straw. If I’m feeling a hot latte, which has been my mood lately, I fill this stainless steel pitcher (not included) with an inch of oat milk or whole milk — I don’t love the results I get with almond milk — while the steam wand heats up. When the “ready” indicator light turns green, I place the pitcher under the wand, move the lever on the right side of the machine to the steam symbol, and froth the milk for about 30 seconds. Turn the lever and the dial off, pour the perfectly foamed milk over the espresso shot, and enjoy. Tip: For hot lattes, remove the drip tray to fit larger mugs.

De'Longhi ECP3420 Espresso Machine

Food & Wine / Bridget Degnan

What I Love About the De'Longhi ECP3420

There’s a lot to love about this machine, including its small footprint, ease of use, built-in milk frother, affordable price, and 15 bars of pressure (the measurement of force when the water pushes through packed espresso). While most professional baristas say 9 bars of pressure is ideal for espresso machines, 15 bars is the sweet spot for home espresso machines. Anything less than 9 bars won’t produce authentic espresso, and anything above 15 isn’t necessary. 

Thanks to its compact size, we leave it permanently on our countertop without sacrificing food prep space. Plus, the stainless steel and black design looks sleek and blends well with the rest of our kitchen. The machine’s ease of use is ideal for beginners, as I made delicious drinks after my first try and continue to get consistent results time after time. Besides a couple of errors with too fine of grounds, almost every shot I’ve pulled has exceeded my expectations with full-flavor espresso and picture-perfect crema.

The most impressive result of adding this $170 espresso machine to our kitchen is that we’ve saved more than $1,000 making lattes at home instead of buying $6 drinks here and there every week. Before this machine, we used a drip coffee maker, which got the job done but wasn’t satisfying our love for lattes and other espresso drinks. The honest truth is that I prefer my own homemade lattes to drinks at coffee shops now. If you’re on the fence about investing in an espresso machine, consider this your sign.

The Caveats

After making at least one espresso drink every day for the past nine months, here’s what you can learn from my experience. Do not use too fine of grounds or over-tamp them, as the portafilter will clog and water won’t be able to go through. The machine will make a loud unsettling noise, and you’ll be left with a mess after removing the portafilter. 

To prevent this issue, grind your beans (or ask your barista to) at a level coarser than the typical espresso setting — ideally, the texture of granulated sugar. I buy mine from a local coffee shop and now know exactly what to ask for. Once you master the grind consistency and amount of tamps, you’ll pull smooth espresso shots with beautiful layers of crema every time.

De'Longhi ECP3420 Espresso Machine

Food & Wine / Bridget Degnan

How It Compares

De’Longhi ECP3420 vs EC260BK Stilosa

The De’Longhi ECP3420 and EC260BK Stilosa are two of the brand’s most popular affordable espresso machines. Both models have 15 bars of pressure, a built-in frother, and removable water tanks and drip trays, and they are compact and easy to use. As for the differences, the ECP3420 gives you more control over the brewing process, is compatible with easy-serving espresso pods, and produces better crema. Overall, there are minimal differences, but the De’Longhi ECP3420 has slightly better functionality and design features than the EC260BK Stilosa. 

De’Longhi ECP3420 vs Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

If you’ve been searching for a budget-friendly espresso machine, odds are you’ve come across the De’Longhi ECP3420 and Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine. In addition to their attractive price tags, they are great options for beginners, small kitchens, and those who want to make basic drinks — no ristrettos and latte art. Like the comparison above, both models feature 15 bars of pressure, a removable water tank, and a built-in milk frother. The biggest difference is that the Mr. Coffee espresso machine has automatic functions, with a control panel containing preset buttons for single and double-shot espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and milk frothing. If you prefer a more hands-off approach, the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino machine might be the one for you. Those who want more control when pulling espresso and frothing milk will appreciate the design of the De’Longhi ECP3420.    

Warranty Info

For one year from the date of purchase on your receipt, any defects in the material and workmanship of the De'Longhi ECP3420 is under warranty. The warranty doesn’t cover any defects or damage to the product due to repairs or alterations outside the company’s factory or authorized service centers. 

The Verdict

After nine months of daily use, I can honestly say the De’Longhi ECP3420 produces cafe-quality espresso drinks. It might not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, but it’s the best affordable, easy-to-use espresso machine you can buy. 

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles