What is the best espresso machine under $300 that is tailor-made for your needs?
Suppose you are searching for a home-use, high-quality espresso machine with minimum investment. If that’s the case, we’ve got your back! With a total amount of under $300, you can already get your hands on a functional machine with fine-quality construction.
However, it requires some experience to figure out which one is the best for the value among an ocean of potential nominees. Hence, we’re making this post to recommend the ten best coffee machines under $300 and offer you a useful buying guide.
- Top 10 Best Espresso Machines Under $300
- Best Espresso Machine Under $300 Buying Guide
- In-Depth Reviews Of The Best Espresso Machine Under $300
- Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker – Best For Value
- Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Espresso Machine – Best Automatic Espresso Machine
- Breville ESP8XL Cafe Espresso Maker – Best For Versatility
- Gevi 15 Bar Espresso Machine – Best With Steam Wand
- EspressoWorks Espresso Machine – Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
- Nespresso Vertuo Espresso Machine – Best Capsule Espresso Machine
- Flair Signature Espresso Maker – Best Manual Espresso Machine
- Nespresso Citiz Coffee And Espresso Machine – Best For Limited Space
- De’Longhi EC702 Espresso Maker – Best For Heat Control System
- Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine – Best For Comfort
- Some Accessories To Purchase Separately
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Best Espresso Machines Under $300
Best Espresso Machine Under $300 Buying Guide
Before diving deeper into our in-depth reviews, let’s look at some factors to keep in mind before buying an espresso machine.
Types Of Espresso Machines
Each type of espresso machine will process the coffee differently. For that reason, the control you have over the taste and the time the device takes to brew the coffee will be variably different.
We will go over each type, provide some basic information and give you some useful tips if you’re aiming for a device in this price range.
Manual Espresso Machine
Lever machines or piston machines are the two other ways to call this type. As the name implies, a manual coffee maker involves solely human labor.
With this machine type, you will generate the grinding system by using hand pressure. You can pump the lever to a suitable bar depending on the coffee taste you want to achieve.
Besides pumping the lever to a certain bar, you can take control of every other aspect, including weighing the correct coffee amount, grinding the coffee to a certain point, packing and tamping the filter basket, etc.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
A semi-automatic requires control from both the barista and the mechanical system. The barista takes charge of the coffee bean grinding, the packing, tamping, and the duration of the brewing process.
On the other hand, the machine controls the pressure of the levers and the temperature of the water.
The support from the machine takes away many unwanted accidents happening when you manually make the coffee. For example, it can automatically adjust the basic parameters to prevent false temperature or wrong bars of pressure.
Automatic Espresso Machine
If semi-automatic espresso machines give you control over the extraction time, an automatic device will take care of this aspect for you as well. All you have to do is pick out an appropriate amount of coffee beans to grind and tamp the filter basket.
The device will automatically regulate the lever pressure, the water temperature, and the extraction time. In other words, the machine can store a large volume at a time and pick out a certain amount to brew each time.
Therefore, you don’t have to carefully weigh the correct dose for each cup and wait for the brewing process to finish before pouring the same amount in the cup for the next round.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
Super-automatic espresso machines are probably the most advanced among the six types since they are fully automatic and the easiest to use.
Every super-automatic device features a built-in grinder that can brew a large volume of coffee beans at a time with only one push of a button. It will produce the most freshly-brewed, perfectly-tamped coffee in a heartbeat without any help from the operator.
Also, there is a wide range of drinking volume, water temperature, coffee strength, milk frother feature, etc., that you can pick. Cappuccino, latte, macchiatos, or any kind of coffee that you are craving will be served in seconds.
Since this type applies the latest technologies in the manufacturing process, you have to pay a steep price to get your hands on a good-quality product. With a maximum of $300, it might be tough to find a durable, high-performing device.
Capsule Espresso Coffee Maker
Love to have a homemade espresso to sip in the morning before heading to work? This machine is the best thing you can get to make coffee with minimal hassle.
The construction of this type of machine is compact, sleek, and easy to use. After filling the reservoir with water, you drop a pre-made capsule of ground coffee into the pod, put the coffee cup right under the spout, and let the machine do the rest.
Read more: best espresso machine for beginners
The pressure that the machine’s lever produces is an influential factor affecting the coffee taste. High-quality, commercial coffee machines often use the pressure of 9 bars, which is considered an optimum level.
Most home-use, affordable coffee makers produce lower pressure, which is usually 3.5 to 4 bar. Even though the outcome might not be as perfect as what a high-end machine can achieve at this level of pressure, the espresso cups still have a decent taste.
The Steam Wand
The main purpose of a steam wand is to frother milk. If you desire to make different coffee styles besides espresso, such as lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos, a machine capable of frothing milk is essential.
You can easily find this feature on many manual and automatic machines that are under $300. On manual steam wands, your skill affects every aspect of the foam quality.
On the other hand, automatic steam wands will do the job from A to Z, giving you high-quality foam every time.
In-Depth Reviews Of The Best Espresso Machine Under $300
Let’s walk through the ten best espresso machines under 300 dollars in a more thorough way with our detailed reviews and the exclusive pros and cons.
Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker – Best For Value
When the value for the price enters the conversation, you know the coffee machine from Mr. Coffee will likely be one of the top nominees. With the feature richness and reliable quality, you can get your hand on the product at a surprisingly affordable price.
Regarding the features, the machine has an optimum pack of all the essential things. The pump system provides you with 15 bar of pressure level to pull off more coffee styles with minimal hassle.
There is also a removable milk reservoir and a steam wand system to automatically frother the milk with one push of the button. So without the hard work of evaluating the water temperature or the frothing time, you can enjoy cafe-quality foam in minutes.
The machine’s quality is worth praising, considering the low price. It has a sturdy, high-quality stainless steel construction, all covered in silver finishing paint.
However, this machine is not the best match for iced beverage lovers since it can only brew coffee with hot water.
Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Espresso Machine – Best Automatic Espresso Machine
Suppose you are a busy person who does not want to spend too much time making a cup of espresso in the morning. If so, an automatic machine like the Calphalon is the best option.
The thing that makes most people fall in love with this device in the first place is its ability to know when the brewing and foaming cycle is over and automatically shut the system down.
It takes away the burden of constantly checking the machine to see if the extraction is done. Besides that, you just need to pick the steam, water temperature, and the number of shots with the dial interface and leave the rest to the device.
What’s more, the machine features thermoblock heating technology and PID temperature control. It helps modify the temperature to the ideal point and even the heat out for the optimum extraction.
On the downside, this machine produces lots of noise when operating. At-home users should be aware of this drawback before taking the plunge.
Breville ESP8XL Cafe Espresso Maker – Best For Versatility
Suppose you love to experiment with a wider range of coffee styles besides espresso but don’t want to invest in a high-price coffee machine. Then, this all-in-one device from Breville is worth a try.
With the set of features prioritizing the diversity of the brewing styles, it is no wonder why it is the most versatile product on the list.
More specifically, it has a 15-bar thermoblock pump to give you more freedom in choosing the pressure level. For anyone who doesn’t know, thermoblock is a common feature often found in all-in-one coffee-making systems.
It can heat the water to different temperature levels in a heartbeat to brew the coffee grounds for lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos.
Besides, the machine comes with three separate filter baskets constructed of stainless steel: single shot, double shot, and ESE pod. Each one of them incorporates a dual-wall system for the perfect crema.
However, with the lack of a grinder, this product can’t brew coffee beans. Therefore, you should make sure the coffee is ground before putting it into the machine.
Gevi 15 Bar Espresso Machine – Best With Steam Wand
As you might have known, the steam wand is one of the essential accessories in any coffee machine, especially for someone craving a cup of cappuccinos or lattes with a creamy, milky top.
This machine from the brand Gevi is the closest thing to perfection if you are looking for a home-use coffee maker that can frother milk automatically.
You can rely on this buddy for creating the most creamy-looking and flavorsome milk froth. It is all thanks to the unique steam control system that the machine is built with.
The system can determine whether the water level is sufficient and the water temperature is at the correct point or not. Only when the water level and the heat are well-qualified will the steam wand start operating.
For that reason, the finishing milk foam will be silky and smooth, giving your at-home drinks a professional look.
One minor drawback of the machine that you should note is its fixed milk reservoir, making it harder to deep clean the system.
EspressoWorks Espresso Machine – Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
The criteria for a high-quality semi-automatic espresso machine all boils down to its feature richness and its user-friendliness. It is because the nature of this machine type is a good balance between the two.
This product from EspressoWorks checks every box of a reliable semi-automatic coffee maker. Therefore, it is no wonder that our list has a proud place for this coffee machine type.
Searching through hundreds of semi-automatic coffee makers, we have hardly seen any products with such a comprehensive list of essential features.
This buddy has all those common features that most devices have. Some of them are a steam wand, a tamper, a 15-bar pump, and a thermoblock heating system. Besides that, it also comes with a powerful plug-in coffee bean grinder of 120V.
The grinder will turn the coffee beans into fine grounds, making the brewing process more efficient and ensuring the tastiest coffee extraction.
On the negative side, with a large footprint, this machine will take quite a lot of space on your kitchen counter. Therefore, it might not be the best option for a limited space.
Nespresso Vertuo Espresso Machine – Best Capsule Espresso Machine
Making a cup of espresso at home is demanding enough, but doing it while you are in a rush takes the difficulty to the next level. This is when this automatic capsule from Delonghi offers a helping hand.
The Vertuo machine adopts the latest extraction technology called Centrifusion.
More specifically, all you need to do is insert a coffee capsule into the pod, push the start button, close the lever, and you’re ready to go. The espresso will come out with the barista-grade taste and a nice crema in seconds.
Apart from espresso, there are pre-set functions to make alto and regular coffee. You can also choose the size of your single-serve espresso or alto cup on the dial interface.
This machine provides you with the 1.35oz espresso, a 2.7oz double espresso, a 5oz gran lungo, a 7.7oz coffee, and lastly, the 14oz alto. If you love iced beverages, you can pour ice over the drink to make it taste fresher.
The only thing to complain about this product is its steep price. Compared to the average price for capsule machines, this product might be on the expensive side.
Flair Signature Espresso Maker – Best Manual Espresso Machine
This espresso maker from Flair probably has such a unique look compared to the rest on the list. It is because it is the only human-powered coffee machine that appeared in the rank.
The product is hands down, the ideal companion for any patient traditionalist. You can enjoy making a cup of handcrafted espresso from scratch with no mechanical support.
Since manually brewing the coffee ground is not plain sailing, the product has an optimum set of features to support the barista. There is a custom pressure gauge to measure the fluid intensity, giving instant visual feedback to fix things up if needed.
What’s more, it features a target espresso range to guide you if you get confused when pulling the shots.
However, since you have to do all the steps manually, the time it takes to finish each shot might depend largely on your experiences. If you are a newbie, this Flair coffee maker might not be for you.
Nespresso Citiz Coffee And Espresso Machine – Best For Limited Space
This Citiz one is the second capsule espresso machine from the brand Nespresso that we review on the list.
Even though the feature pack is not as versatile as the Vertuo, the machine prides itself on an elegant, compact, and minimal look that has won many people’s hearts.
With a 5.1 x 10.9 x 14.6 inches dimension, this coffee maker is a solid choice if you have a small kitchen space. Despite the decent dimension, the innovative and user-friendly design helped the unit win the Red Dot Design Award.
Speaking of functionality, instead of using a fully automatic system like the Vertuo, it features a powerful 19-bar thermoblock pump.
The wide range of pressure options and the potent heat-up system helps to heat the water in a flash and brew the capsule to the most aromatic extraction.
On the downside, considering the size, the machine makes a relatively loud noise during operation.
De’Longhi EC702 Espresso Maker – Best For Heat Control System
With a sleek, modern design and a fine-quality construction of stainless steel, this manual espresso machine is one of the top choices for experienced baristas.
One of its most outstanding features is the double thermostat system. Knowing that manually brewing espresso is a daunting task, the brand equipped the machine with a separate heat measurement for both the water and the steam.
As a result, you can control the situation better and make necessary modifications in terms of the water and steam temperature when there is something wrong in the process.
Additionally, the machine features a system called The Rapid Cappuccino.
This system can maintain the temperature inside the brewer’s head to instantly work on the next cup of coffee. You won’t have to wait until the water reaches a perfect temperature again to brew the next shot.
Be it as it may, the machine’s steam wand might be relatively short compared to other devices, limiting the amount of frothed milk to some extent.
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine – Best For Comfort
It might come as no surprise to you that this is the third product in the Nespresso series that we have included on the list. Their products offer the customers the best performance while having such an affordable price of under $300.
Apart from ensuring the machine’s functionality is at the optimum condition, the Pixie makes an effort to stand out from the rest with its focus on the users’ comfort.
When constructing the Pixie, the brand pays attention to small details that hardly any other manufacturers notice. For instance, a system of red backlights will light up when the water tank needs refilling.
Besides that, the drip tray is foldable to leave more space for a large single-serve size. Thus, you won’t have to do two brewing shots if you want a bigger cup of coffee, saving you plenty of time and effort.
Additionally, there is a built-in empty receptacle that can store up to 14 capsules when they are ejected from the pod. So, instead of taking out the used capsules after every use, you can clean the receptacle once it is full.
However, some customers have complained about the water leaking when they open the brewer’s head after the brewing cycle.
Some Accessories To Purchase Separately
Some brands don’t include any accessories, especially at the price range of under $300. However, you can benefit a lot from a full gear setup because it can relieve lots of burden on your shoulder as an at-home barista.
For that reason, you should be aware of some accessories that you should purchase separately to upgrade your coffee-making skills. Here are some of the essential add-ups that we highly recommend you try out.
Apart from capsule coffee machines, which can only brew pre-ground coffee, grinders are a dispensable add-up in any other type of coffee machine. It is an essential item if you want to evenly grind the coffee beans before the brewing process.
A typical order of an espresso machine barely includes any kind of grinders at all. If it does, the grinder’s quality is always questionable. Therefore, investing in a reliable grinder is the best thing that you can do.
Tampers act as a membrane filter to compact the coffee ground and better the extraction. Even though most models include a tamper, its quality is not worth sacrificing the taste of your coffee for.
Most of them have non-durable plastic material and are susceptible to damage. For that reason, purchasing a steel tamper is a good investment to make.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many unanswered questions related to this topic that confuse customers. In this part, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions to give you a better idea about this subject. So let’s get right into this!
Is It Hard To Learn How To Use Espresso Machines?
There is always a compromise between the feature richness and the ease of use. Some people die for a device that can perform different things, and they are willing to spend more time learning how to use it.
On the other hand, some people aim for simplicity and choose the easier one to handle. You can find your sweet spot between these two extremes and choose the most compatible device for your own needs.
How Long Can An Espresso Machine Last?
The lifespan of a coffee machine depends on many factors, such as the overall quality, the frequency of use, the damage, and the maintenance it gets. On average, a fine-quality espresso machine will last between 5 and 15 years.
Apart from opting for a well-constructed one, it is advisable to do regular maintenance and handle the device with extra care to extend the lifespan of a product.
How Often Should I Clean My Espresso Machine?
We highly recommend cleaning your machine after every use. When the brew makes it to your cup, the brew basket, the lid is already filled with coffee grounds.
If you don’t remove the grounds right away, they will stick there and negatively affect the brewing performance next time.
Also, you should do deep cleaning every three months to remove the mineral deposits and help the machine system run efficiently.
How Should I Maintain My Espresso Machine?
You should take care of the espresso machine every day to ensure it is operating at its best. Some daily habits that you should have to maintain your device are:
- Clean up the steam wand, the grinder, brew basket right after use
- Wipe the draining hose to prevent coffee ground buildup in the machine
- Change the portafilter basket once every two months to prevent leakage
- Suck all the water out of the steam tanks every six months to prevent calcification
Our review of the best espresso machine under 300 dollars has eventually come to an end. We sincerely hope our article has been a useful source for reference when you are searching for your best espresso machine.
Since each product has unique features to offer, it is important to consider all the things you ask for in the machine before making the decision.
Suppose you are inexperienced in this field, and this post makes your head spin. In that case, we highly recommend you check out the Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Espresso Machine, EspressoWorks Espresso Machine, and Flair Signature Espresso Maker.
With a pack of vital features and top-notch quality, they are the best representation for each machine type. You might want to do further research into these products to figure out which one fits you the most with the help of our buying guide.