Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: July 05, 2021
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If you are a true coffee lover, then you understand just how important it is to start your day off right with a good cup of coffee. While it might seem like it is impossible to get a great espresso without spending money at your local café or paying a ton for a machine of your own, that isn’t the case anymore. That is, as long as you get the best espresso machine under $300 you can find.
As you can imagine, there are plenty of features that you need to take into consideration when you are looking for the best home espresso machine under $300. When we were putting together our listing, we first looked at the types of coffee that needed to be used with each machine, so that you can make sure that your favorite brew is compatible. Next, we looked at the capacity of each unit, since this will let you know how much coffee you can make at one time. We also checked to see if the models for our list come with a frother or not. Finally, we looked into the dimensions of each model, since this will tell you whether or not you have the counter space or cabinet space necessary to store your new machine properly.
In order to find the best espresso machines for under $300, we have spent tens of hours reading through hundreds of user reviews. This has allowed us to put together a comprehensive list and in-depth reviews of the best models on the market. We have also put together a detailed buying guide that you should check out if you aren’t quite ready to make your final purchase.
If you are in the market for the absolute best espresso machine for under $300, then this just might be the right model to fit your needs. This is a fully automatic espresso model, which is one of the biggest reasons that it is rated so highly. Even if you are an unexperienced home-based barista, this machine will allow you to make delicious cups of coffee with ease. All you have to do is, as the name suggests, push a button, and you are all set.
Not only does this machine make espresso very easy, but it will also allow you to make many other types of caffeinated beverages as well. With a simple press of a button, you can also make delicious lattes or smooth cappuccinos, though, of course, these will take a bit more time.
One of the biggest issues with espresso makers is that they cannot handle different size cups. This can be a big problem if you are trying to make anything larger than a standard espresso mug of coffee. Thankfully, this model has an adjustable cup tray that can accommodate even larger mugs for taking coffee with you when you leave your home.
Even though this espresso machine is very easy to use, it does have one drawback that you will want to keep in mind. Unlike many other models on the market, this unit does not have a warning light when the water is running low. Though this isn’t the biggest deal, you don’t want to run it too often without any water, as this can damage the pump. As long as you add new water every day, however, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Even though the previous entry is very easy to use, the fact that you have to utilize ground coffee can make it a bit less convenient. If you are in search of the best capsule espresso machine, then this option from KitchenAid is a great place to start. This company has been around for a good long while, and, as their name suggests, they are all about kitchen appliances. You can tell that this is a high-quality company and a well-made machine in part thanks to the long warranty that they offer. Not only are they confident that their machine will last, but also that it is worth covering.
This machine is extremely durable. Even if you intend to utilize it each and every day, you shouldn’t have any issues with it breaking on you. While many other models utilize cheaper plastic parts, this machine is durably made with metal throughout. This style of manufacturing helps to make this one of the most durable, and stylish, espresso machines on the market.
When brewing with this machine, you have a bit more control than with a fully automatic model. In fact, it will actually allow you to select the brew strength you need, which is quite convenient since everyone has a different preference when it comes to flavor and caffeine content.
The only thing that you will need to keep in mind with this model is that the capsule reservoir can get quite messy if you don’t clean it out after every few uses. Thankfully, this is very easy to do, so it shouldn’t be that much of a problem in the long run.
A big concern that a lot of folks have when it comes to switching from their standard drip coffee makers to an espresso machine has to do with the amount of space their new machines will take up. This is a valid concern since many espresso machines are quite large.
Luckily, however, if you are looking to save a bit of counter or cabinet space because you have a smaller kitchen, this model is on the market. This machine is extremely compact, and while it might not have quite as many bells and whistles when compared to other machines, it is still fully capable of making a great cup of espresso.
This DeLonghi espresso machine is also very energy-efficient. Since it can only be used to make one cup of espresso at a time, it doesn’t use a lot of energy to do so. Of course, this energy-efficient design does limit how quickly you can make your drink. Since you cannot both froth your milk and brew your coffee, you will need to switch between the two, which can get quite messy. That is, of course, until you have a bit more practice in using both functions.
Something else that helps to set this model apart from its competitors is the fact that it has a descaling alarm built-in. Descaling is an important step in the cleaning of an espresso maker. If it is not done, deposits from leftover beans can leach into the system, which will result in bitter, and less appetizing drinks. This alarm helps to prevent that from happening since it will remind you when you need to clean the machine.
Another big misconception that folks have when it comes to espresso machines is that they cost a ton of money. While this certainly can be the case, a good machine doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg just so that you can make high-quality espresso. Take this model, for instance. This machine is very budget-friendly, and yet can make delicious coffee.
Something that helps to make this such a cost-effective espresso solution is all of the gear that comes with it. While most machines only come with the bare minimum when it comes to actually making espresso, this machine has everything you will need. This includes two cups, a frother, filter, and even a bean grinder, which is a huge plus since this machine needs ground beans. By using this grinder, you can make the freshest batch of espresso possible each and every morning.
This machine is also very easy to use, thanks in part to its very simple controls. Basically, all you have to do is select the sequence that you want to follow and then press start. From there, the machine will do all of the work for you so that you can enjoy a delicious cup of espresso to start your day.
One thing to keep in mind with this machine, however, is that you cannot brew your espresso and steam milk at the same time. While this certainly isn’t the biggest deal, it will probably mean that you won’t do both on a day that you are running late, which could affect the quality of your drink.
What makes it stand out?
Comes with grinder
Comes with two espresso cups
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Cannot brew espresso and steam milk at the same time
One of the best things about a good cup of coffee, whether it be a cappuccino, latte, or espresso, is sharing it with someone that you care about. This machine is a great option if you want to make more than one cup of espresso at a time, simply because it has more than one spout. This double spout design will give you plenty of time to make a cup for yourself and someone else, so that you can spend time having chatting over delicious drinks, rather than in the kitchen making them.
That is not to say, however, that this machine won’t take a little bit of practice to use correctly. Even though the controls for this model are pretty straightforward, it will take a bit of practice to get the right mix to make the cup of your dreams. The hardest part is figuring out exactly how much ground coffee to use. Thankfully, this machine comes with a measuring scoop, which should help to keep your measurements as precise as possible.
This machine also has a very large capacity, which helps to make it a great choice if you have a lot of company staying over at your place. It also comes fully equipped with a cup warming tray. This tray will allow you to make your own cup of espresso when you are ready for it, while also keeping your partner or guests’ cup nice and hot for when they are ready to drink it.
What are our favorite features?
Can make two cups at once
Cup warming tray
Measuring scoop included
What could be better?
Takes a lot of practice to use properly
Things to Consider
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the perfect espresso maker for your needs. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those as well if you need any further information.
Features to consider while choosing an espresso machine under $300
As you can imagine, there are several different factors that you need to take into account when you are looking for the best espresso machine under $300. In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the best maker for your home.
Automatic or semi-automatic?
The first thing that you will need to figure out is which type of espresso maker you want. You can either choose from a semi-automatic model or a fully automatic machine. Regardless of which type you select for your new espresso maker, you are guaranteed to get delicious coffee, since they operate in a very similar manner.
A semi-automatic espresso machine is a great purchase for anyone that wants to have complete control over the brewing process. With a semi-automatic espresso machine, you measure out how much water you use and how much coffee, which will give you more control over the strength of the espresso that you brew.
The main difference between making espresso and making a standard cup of coffee is all in the preparation. Basically, espresso is made by heating water up to a much higher temperature and forcing it through densely packed coffee grounds under pressure. The beans that you use don’t need to vary all that much from what you normally purchase, aside from the texture. You need to be sure that you only use beans that have been finely ground up. That way, you can pack them in more densely. You might also want to try and grind them yourself so that they stay fresher for longer.
Something else to keep in mind is the type of beans that you are using. When it comes to espresso, the most common beans used are Arabica or Robusta. Arabica is a higher-quality bean, which has more taste, but less caffeine. Robusta, alternatively, doesn’t have as strong of a taste but is much higher in caffeine content.
Finally, the last thing that you need to carefully consider when selecting your coffee for your new espresso machine is the price of the beans. Of course, the higher the content of Arabica beans, the more expensive the coffee is going to be. If you are a true coffee aficionado, then this will be well worth the price. If you are simply looking for a cheaper, but still high-quality coffee, then look for mixes that contain more Robusta beans in their formula.
Water reservoir size
After you have figured out the type of beans that you are going to be using with your new espresso machine, the next thing you will want to take into account is the size of the water reservoir. This is especially important if you are getting an automatic system, like the EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine Set, where you don’t need to add water each time you use it.
When it comes to finding the right water reservoir size, you need to think about how many cups of espresso you are going to be making each and every day. If you live alone, then you can probably get by with a much smaller reservoir, like the one on the DeLonghi EC685M. Since you won’t need to make more than one or two cups a day, you will be able to save a bit of money by getting a smaller size reservoir. Of course, if you have a family of coffee drinkers, it is probably a better idea to get a larger model, like the Capresso 118.05 EC PRO. That way, you will be able to keep up the higher demand for delicious espresso without having to refill the machine constantly.
As we said before, the way that espresso is made is by forcing extra hot water through densely packed coffee grounds at high pressures. This process results in richer and bolder cups of coffee. The rich and bold flavor can be altered by changing the amount of pressure that is used to force the water through the beans. The minimum amount of pressure should be 8 or 9 bars to make a standard cup of espresso.
If you are someone that likes stronger coffee, then you should get an espresso maker that has a higher pressure rating. For instance, the KitchenAid KES0504SZ can use up to 19 bars of pressure, which will result in very dense, dark, and robust cups of coffee. If you tend to aim for less robust cups, then you should look for a model that uses less pressure, like the EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine Set.
If a frother/frothing wand is included
Something else that helps to set espresso apart from a standard cup of coffee is whether or not you choose to use a frother with it. Frothed milk is something that you would expect to find in an espresso from your local coffee shop and, thankfully, can also be achieved at home as long as your new machine comes with a frother.
While there are several different methods to creating the delicious froth on the top of your espresso, the easiest method is, by far, using a frothing machine. These machines heat the milk all while mixing it very quickly. This process is so simple that anyone can do it. This is, of course, why you should look for a model like the Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker that comes with a frother. That way, you will be able to make gourmet espresso right in the comfort of your own home.
Unlike a standard drip coffee maker, espresso machines can get rather large. This larger size is mainly due to the fact that they need more room to fit the different mechanics inside them to create the necessary heat and pressure for a cup of espresso than a standard drip coffee maker. If you are someone that has a limited amount of space in your kitchen, then you might want to look for a model that takes up a bit less room.
For smaller kitchens that have a limited amount of counter or cabinet space, you should probably look for something along the lines of the DeLonghi EC685M. This model is much smaller than any other on the market, making it ideal for a smaller kitchen. Of course, if you have a large area to store your new espresso machine because you have a larger kitchen, you can pick any model on the market.
No matter the type of appliance or kitchen machine you are buying, it always pays to look for a model that comes with a good warranty. Not only does this show you that you are buying something from a quality company that stands behind their product, but it also gives you the peace of mind in knowing that you are covered if something goes wrong with the device through normal use.
Whenever you are looking at warranties, you always need to make sure that you read through the fine print as carefully as you can. Even the best companies will occasionally claim that something is covered in their warranty only to refute that in the fine print. No matter what model you get, make sure to read the warranty information as carefully as you can so that you know exactly what is, and what isn’t, covered by the warranty.
One of the most important features that you can get with a new espresso maker, especially if you are new to the brewing world, are clear and easy-to-read controls. A simple display will help you to make much better espresso right off the bat, which will make you more likely to keep using the device.
Something else that you might want to keep on the lookout for when you are buying your new machine is a descaling alarm. Like all coffee makers, espresso machines will occasionally need to be descaled, so it is very helpful to have a warning system in place so that you do it when it is necessary.
How to keep clean your espresso machine
Since you are going to be using your espresso machine often, or even every day, you will want to make sure that you understand how to clean it correctly. If you use your machine daily, then you will need to clean it at least once a month. Whenever you are ready to clean your machine, be sure to follow these steps:
Backwash your machine – To do this, you need to run the machine normally, just without placing any coffee in the filter. The hot water will go through the system, cleaning it out. You need to be sure to have a full water tank before you do this so that you can correctly descale your machine.
Brush down the basket – Remove the basket from the filter and scrub it out. This should then be rinsed out with hot water. Be sure to allow it to dry fully before you place it back into the machine.
De-grit the showerhead – Use a brush to clean the showerhead, which is the part of the machine that dispenses the coffee into your cup.
Clean the steam wand – You should always wipe the steam wand clean after every use. This will keep the milk from burning or sticking to the outside of the wand.
Capsules are much more convenient than coffee grounds since you don’t need to measure them out. Freshly ground coffee, however, has a much fresher taste than capsules, since it hasn’t been sitting for any period of time.
Even though an espresso machine has a few additional steps that it goes through to make coffee when compared to a traditional drip coffee maker, it is not particularly loud. The only thing that might be a bit too loud for you in the morning is if you also get yourself an electronic bean grinder.
If you are in the market for the best overall espresso machine for under $300, then the Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker is the model for you. It is extremely easy to use. All you need to do is set the type of drink you want, including lattes and cappuccinos, and press the start button. Even if you are new to the world of espresso, this is the maker for you.
Nowadays, convenience is a key feature to look for in an espresso maker. The KitchenAid KES0504SZ is the most convenient maker on the market, thanks to its coffee capsules, which makes it a great choice for a busy family on the go.
For anyone that has a smaller kitchen, the best espresso machine under $300 is going to be the most compact model out there. In that case, the DeLonghi EC685M is an excellent choice. Its compact and efficient design will save lots of space, but still, allow you to make a great cup of espresso.