Finding an espresso machine for under $300 can be a bit of a challenge, however we think we’ve come up with a pretty good list. But we would be remise if we didn’t point out by just going up another $50-$100 dollars you can purchase a machine that is in a whole different class.
At this price point you’ll also see that we have some brands that aren’t your traditional brands in order to stay with in the under $300 price restriction. In our testing these machines were all capable of creating a satisfactory cup of espresso.
Lets jump right into our five favorites in this price range.
Summary of Espresso Machines Under $300
Best Espresso Machine under $300: Our Top 5 Choices
1. De’Longhi EC680M Espresso, sleek and elegant design
- EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING: 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable controls...
- EASY TO CLEAN: Removable water tank and drip tray make for easy cleanup, and the parts are dishwasher safe.
- BREW LIKE A PRO: Whatever your preference – single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte – the machine brews...
- YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured...
One of the slimmer models (6 inches wide) by De’Longhi and our top choice for under $300, the Dedica produced one of the most consistent cup of espresso in our tests.
- 15 bar pressure for those keeping track that is approximately 217 PSI
- Easy to clean with Dishwasher safe components
- Manual Frother
- Three temperature settings
- No waiting between pulls
- Supports single and double shots as well as pods
Its a small thing but one of the favorite features of this model is its ability to support taller cups. On some of the other models tested in this category there were instances where the height of the espresso cup made it either un usable or had to remove the grate over the drip tray.
Another nice feature is the support of POD’s. This is a convenient way to avoid grinding and tamping if you don’t feel like cleaning up after it. This design supports both methods, its your choice.
To save energy this model has a feature where is shuts down or sleeps after 9 minutes of activity to save power. It comes back on when you set the temperature again.
2. Brim 19 Bar Espresso Machine, Fast Heating
- HOME ESPRESSO: Stable high pressure Italian pump with gauge indicator & low pressure pre-infusion for balanced...
- MICROFOAM WAND: Featuring a powerful thermal coil system and commercial style 360 degree swivel action dry steam...
- ACCESSORIES: Includes portafiller holder, 1 and/or 2 cup filters (pressurized & non-pressurized), 120z stainless...
- THE ART OF COFFEE: Grinding to perfection. Measuring with precision. Mastering the brewing process. Our engineers...
- High Pressure Italian Pump with Gauge to measure pressure
- 360 degree swivel frothing arm for ease of use
- All the basic accessories you would need:
- 1 & 2 cup filters
- 120 ounce milk frothing pitcher
- metal tamper and measuring scoop
- portafiller holder
- 10.74″ wide and 13.14″ tall
- Metal Warmer on top of machine
The Brim espresso machine uses a thermocoil component that provides quick heating and is relatively stable. If you will be making a lot of espressos all at once that also require frothing you may find that you don’t like the wait time switching between the two different temperatures.
This model comes with all the accessories you need and they don’t feel cheap like many do. If you don’t already have a milk frothing pitcher this may be the thing that puts this espresso machine on your short list.
The warmer on top of the unit is real handy in keeping your cups warm so that the temperature of your espresso doesn’t drop rapidly when you add it to your cup.
3. De’Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso Maker
- Pump driven and 15 bars
- Automatically self-primes; Water level indicator: Yes
- Use pods or ground coffee with the convenient patented filter holder. On/Off switch- Yes
- Craft cappuccinos or lattes with the patented easy to use frothier
- Pump Driven Pressure for consistent extraction
- Self Priming Water Feed
- Supports both coffee grounds and pod’s
- Patented Frothier for perfect foam
- Warmer on top of machine
- Stainless Steel Boiler
Like other Delonghi models this machine supports both coffee grounds and pods. This gives you flexibility brew with simplicity much like a K-cup or Nespresso pod, as well as the option to grind and measure your own coffee.
Using the Patented frothier ensures that your foam is silky and consistent. This technology uses a special chamber that mixes steam and milk giving you rich and luxurious foam.
The steamer and brewer are on separate thermostats so that you don’t have delays switching between the two methods.
The self primer ensures that you have water that is ready to go and now air bubbles when starting with the first espresso.
4. Cuisinart EM-200NP1 Programmable 15-Bar Espresso Maker
- Programmable espresso maker brews single or double espresso and has 15 bars of pressure.
- Brew 1 or 2 cups of coffee using either ground espresso or pods; You can select a pre-programmed cup size set at...
- Stainless steel steam nozzle for cappuccino and latte and separate steam button function for easy use. BPA Free
- Portafilter holder with locking mechanism that makes it easy to dispose of wet grounds after use.
- Espresso cup warmer plate
- 15 bar pump for proper extraction
- Supports both coffee grounds and pod’s
- Programming button to set number ounces needed
- Includes tamper, milk frothier pitcher, pins
- Steaming wand for creating froth
Just like Delonghi, the Cuisinart supports both coffee grounds and pods. As stated before this is a great feature that gives you the flexibility to go with the method that you prefer on any given day.
The warming plat is a nice size and supports 4 espresso glasses. This is great for keeping the espresso a the right serving temperature.
The EM-200NP1 comes with all the accessories needed to create a great cup of espresso, it even comes with pins that are helpful in clearing out the holes in the filters.
Allows for brewing 1 cup, 2 cups, continuous stream, and programmed quantities.
5. SEVEN & ME Espresso Machine with Milk Frothier
- Quick & Easy Homebrew. The small single-serve espresso machine will brew coffee and froth milk simultaneously with...
- Make Your Own Specialty Coffee. Press the button for 1 second until you hear a beep to activate the coffee machine,...
- Compact & Space-saving Design. The SEVEN&ME moka pot and milk frother has won IFA, IDEA, Red Dot and GOOD DESIGN...
- Coffee & Beyond: Discover the world of coffee and beyond with the SEVEN&ME espresso maker. Try out various...
- Compact Coffee/Espresso station
- Simultaneously froths and brews
- 5 preset push button drinks
- Continuous high pressure design for even extraction
- Uses Moka pot for brewing
The 5 preset drinks include Latte, Macchiato, Espresso, Cappucino and Milk Froth.
As water heats it produces steam that forces liquid up through the coffee granules for an intense coffee.
The frothier can also be used to make drinks like hot chocolate and Matcha.
Milk settings are marked inside the frothier pitcher so you can ensure that you have the right amount for the drink you are making.
Things to consider with Inexpensive Espresso Machines
Given that you are looking for an espresso machine under $300 the first thing to consider is that every component won’t be top of the line. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make a great cup of espresso. The 3 key components for a good cup of espresso are: Grind, Pressure and Temperature.
How much pressure can your Espresso machine consistently produce?
At the very minimum you need a machine that can consistently produce 9 bars of pressure. Usually we look for 15 bars or more.
How consistent is the temperature of the boiler?
Temperature is a key component to extracting the coffee flavor. Ideally you want the temperature to be between 90-96 degrees Fahrenheit. As you move closer to 96 degrees you will get a higher extraction and conversely lower extraction as you approach 90. You will want to experiment to find your perfect temperature. Just remember anything below that range will create sour flavor and anything thing above that temperature will create a bitter flavor.
The more consistent your espresso machine is at maintaining the correct temperature the better consistency you will have between pulls.
How can you improve the consistency of the water temperature?
The best way to improve consistency is to purchase a machine with a PID or Proportional-Integral Derivative controller. These devices smooth out the highs and lows of warming the water by lowering the power provided to the element as the target temperature is approched. These can be purchased as an aftermarket device to add to your machine if it doesn’t already have a PID, but know that installing it yourself will likely void your espresso machines warranty.
What Are the Advantages of a Cheaper Espresso Machine?
Well, besides the obvious of saving money there are a couple of reasons to go with a less expensive model. First of all the less expensive models are more manual and allow you to experiment with out breaking the bank.
Another good reason is if you wanted to practice installing a PID you aren’t risking voiding a warranty on a more expensive model.
And our last good reason for going with an inexpensive model is if your unsure about how much you would use it, get the cheap one try it out see if it is something you would use on a regular basis before going all in on an expensive model.
How To Find the Best One?
Do your research, look at features that are important to you. For example if you only drink americano’s maybe having the dairy container available isn’t so important.
For others having the the beans ground automatically is worth not having to grind and weigh and tamp. So much so they would pay extra for it.
The key is to determine what is important to you.
As for how to obtain your new espresso machine you could go to a store an check them out, but there is plenty of research online now and you can have the espresso machine delivered right to your door step. This makes getting an espresso machine as easy as it has ever been.