This was FC's reply to Chrisgane:
Not wishing to upset at all, but in my honest opinion "continuous steam" capability (as in thermoblock machines) is highly over rated and unnecessary. You only need as much steam as is necessary to properly froth 1 to a maximum of 4 cups worth of milk, which in the correct sized cups (with espresso "less is more" remember) is only as much milk as can be frothed properly in a 600ml jug. This is because these type of dometic machines themselves have only limited coffee making capacity, so there is no need to produce steam ad infinitum.
Having got that off my chest, I recommend you go for a boiler (rather than thermoblock) domestic or some other upmarket type of machine. My feeling is that most people want to step up rather than sideways, when they upgrade.
A good boiler machine can be had for around $550.00, and a good matching grinder for $265.00, and from there the sky is the limit depending on your individual interest in espresso. Or, the World Standard in domestic machines can be had for an RRP of $749.00. These types of machines make excellent espresso, dependant on the capability of the operator.
The diff between these types of machine over other cheaper electrical appliance brand name machines with aluminium thermoblocks is that these will last tens of years, giving excellent service, and be repairable all the time at any domestic esp machine repairer. All metal bodies, simple engineering, inert materials (brass boilers), little to go wrong etc.
Should you wish me to be more specific with models I dont mind if you contact me offlist, check the two little icons under my name at the top LHS of this post.