Used or new espresso machine?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by goalerjones »

Pretty self explanatory title. Someone here has asked if I'd like to buy their machine which I am in the market for. However, some problems I foresee:
1) all used, non-commercial seller sales are final.
2) no warranty
3) potential problems if equipment arrives damaged
4) coming from >2k miles away (Indiana to So Cal)

The PM came from someone who's been on the site for awhile so I doubt it's a scam.

How have any of you fared when purchasing from another HB user?

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#2: Post by bluesman » replying to goalerjones »

Like most other things in life, this decision is based on the combination of your expectations, the probability of trouble, and your ability & willingness to deal with it. I and others have bought and sold on HB without a problem - the key is to do your homework on the object in question and (more importantly) on the seller. Knowledge is the key to estimating the probability of a problem.

If you're a perfectionist, you probably shouldn't buy from a slob - one person's patina is another's damage. If you're buying used because you can't afford the same item new, you need some cash reserves to deal with failures. The purchase price is not the total cost of ownership. You need to know about age, how hard it was used, its maintenance & repair needs & history, etc to estimate that probability of unexpected expense. And you need to adhere to the time-honored principle that "if it wasn't documented, it wasn't done".

And even if you buy an accurately described, beautiful, well maintained, lightly used machine from an honest seller, there's a small but real risk of failure through no fault of buyer or seller. If all this makes sense to you, you like the machine, and you can live with the deal, you're likely to be happy. If any of the above has you worried, you probably should buy new or from a dealer who offers a warranty & return privileges.

I hope that helps - good luck!! (PS: hope is a lousy business plan. If you don't know what you're doing, don't just jump in and hope for the best - the probability of disappointment is high.)


#3: Post by Headala »

What kind of water was used in the machine? Scale is the #1 killer of espresso machines IMHO.

Do you have the ability to fix the machine if it breaks? Or the ability to learn? Or the means to pay someone to fix it?


#4: Post by goalerjones »

Answers to questions (and thanks for your responses):

Desire to fix: No
Ability to fix: large learning curve but possible
Ability to pay for fix: yes
Ability to pay for new machine: yes, although I will wait for the Christmas season for possible price drops or Black Friday specials (like my wife has trained me to do)

So what I'm seeing from your information is that a new machine from a reputable seller is probably the best fit for me.

Thanks for the advice.

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#5: Post by bluesman »

goalerjones wrote:Ability to fix: large learning curve but possible
The other guiding principle (after matching expectations to the probability that they'll be met) is to be realistic about longer term goals. You seem to be OK with this, but for those who never thought about it......

Although many things can be repaired easily with simple tools, knowing which ones cannot takes a fair amount of experience. Just look at the many HB posts about novices who can't get something apart, broke it trying, and/or ended up paying more to fix their mistakes than the original repair would have cost.

If the joy of DIY appeals, it's worth the cost of tools and the effort of learning. But planning to fix it yourself if you don't have the tools and don't do any other mechanical work is usually short-sighted.

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#6: Post by drgary »

Also you can get coverage for the initial risk by how you write up the sales agreement and by paying through PayPal backed with a credit card. You can agree that you accept the machine with certain documented flaws that you list, but that the seller will cover you for repairs to items like the pump, the heating element, leaking seals, etc. for a certain period, say 30 days after you receive it. If any of these things malfunctions and the seller doesn't cover the repair you can make a claim on PayPal and/or your credit card and have recourse.

If the machine is in good shape and the discount is sufficient it can be worth buying used.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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#7: Post by Almico »

I've purchased 3 machines so far and haven't bought new yet.

My first was a La Pavoni Pro. I got lucky and it happened to be a very desirable pre-millenium copper & brass model. I got it for $225 and sold it a year later for $750. Miss it terribly.

I used the proceeds to buy a circa 2000 ECM Giotto Hx machine. No scale and barely used. Stored inside. Passed it on a year later to a friend when I got the lever bug again. The pressure stat gave out a month later, but it was a $50 fix.

Found a pristine Londinium from a forum member that was only 6 months old The new "R" model just came out and his "upgraditis"* saved me $1000 on a new one. I've been enjoying it ever since.

So yes, you can save $$$ buying used and still get a great machine. But you have to have patience, enjoy the hunt and have a little repair savvy. If you don't, buy new.

*a common feature of this hobby, making getting a decent used machine a bit easier.


#8: Post by Bremobean »

I sell new and used machines. You get what you pay for, is really true in the machine industry. If you are going for a used machine, I would suggest a manual or Semi Automatic . .the more electronics, the more cost to fix and difficulty. .
If its a warranty and good tech support your after, then you should by direct from the maker..most require their dealers to offer a service plan wit the machine..which is part of the cost..most online stores will only offer a limited rebate to cover tech cost..lastly no matter who you buy new from, you must have a tech install or warranty is will also be pretty hard pressed to find a company who offers flat out returns..oh and your used guy can insure your shipment with no problem. .hope this the way what are you thinking of getting?

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#9: Post by redbone »

Some very good advice here. I particularily like "bluesman" statement "one person's patina is another's damage". For instance I've posted pictures of machines with oem paint here that many seemed comfortable with but I wasn't and preferred to have it powder coated new.
Vet the person you are buying from. I would be more comfortable buying used simple ie. lever machines with less electronics and simple electric connections knowing that I could repair these with comfort. Buy according to your comfort of repair and maintenance if even minor or buy new since they come with a warranty. Further buy as local as possible if new.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.

LMWDP #549


#10: Post by goalerjones »

Bremobean the way what are you thinking of getting?
I'm planning on the Profitec pro 500, just waiting for Black Friday/Christmas specials.

I don't have enough cabinet space for the Londinium,

the Synchronika has a shallow drip tray and the joysticks have lots of "regrets" posted from various users,

and the Pro 700 I believe is more machine than I need (1-2 drinks with heavy milk use per day).