Read Our Indispensable Guide to the Best Coffee Machine under 300 Dollars After 2015
Buying an espresso maker is nothing like buying a regular coffee maker. There’s an art to espresso brewing, and you need the right machine to really get that authentic taste you’d find in Italy or France.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker with Automatic milk frother
Our favorite for 2017
Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker
A very close runner-up
Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker
Stainless-steel espresso machine with 15-bar thermoblock pump
There was a time when a good espresso machine would be a high end luxury item. While you’ll still find these machines today, there are so many more models that are in affordable price ranges – and still brew a fine shot of espresso.
We’re going to review five excellent machines that cost less than $300, but first, let’s talk about how to compare these models, so you can find the right one for your needs.
- Automatic or Manual: You won’t find many superautomatic espresso machines in this price range (although there are a few), but you’ll find manual and semi-automatic machines. Manual machines require a little more work on your part (e.g. grinding, tamping, frothing), while semi-automatic machines take care of some of these tasks for you. If you enjoy the brewing process, you may prefer a manual machine, but semi-automatic machines are typically the best option for beginners or those that don’t have experience (or interest) in brewing espresso.
- Size: Some espresso makers are big – and that’s putting it lightly. Most of the machines in the under $300 price range are reasonably sized because they don’t typically come with built-in grinders, but some still have a big footprint. If you’re short on space in the kitchen, look for a compact machine – our last two picks are great choices.
The Top Espresso Machine Reviews for 2017
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker – The Café Barista from Mr. Coffee truly is your at-home barista. With just the touch of a button, this machine will brew you a shot of espresso, a steaming hot cappuccino (foam included), or a latte.
The automatic frother on this machine is something you typically only find on high-end, expensive espresso makers – but this machine fits nicely into the low to mid-range bracket.
The removable milk and water reservoirs are easy to fill and clean, and they hold enough liquid to let you brew multiple shots before refilling.
Included with this machine is a double shot filter, a single shot filter, tamper, measuring scoop and a booklet of coffee recipes.
Mr. Coffee ECMP50 – The ECMP50 is another affordable espresso maker from Mr. Coffee, and it brews an impressive shot of espresso. This machine can brew up to two shots at a time, and uses 15-bar pump pressure for an authentic taste.
A built-in frothing arm allows you to create rich, thick foam for lattes and cappuccinos, and the one-touch brewing system makes it so easy to get your morning caffeine fix.
The thermal block heating system ensures even, quick heating, while the 40-ounce water tank lets you keep brewing shot after shot.
It’s hard to beat the price of this machine. The frother may not be automatic like the previous model, but at a budget price point, you can purchase a machine that brews one delicious shot of espresso.
Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma – The Café Roma from Breville is more of a high end choice than the price of our last pick , but it comes with a number of convenient built-in features to enhance your brewing experience.
The stainless steel housing creates a sleek, modern look, while the dual-water filter system ensures your espresso tastes as pure as possible by removing impurities from the water. A froth enhancer and cup-warming plate give you the café barista experience.
The nice thing about this machine is that it also comes with two espresso cups and saucers as well as a frothing jug. Most other espresso makers – even high-end machines – don’t come with these accessories.
If you have a larger budget and want an espresso maker that comes with everything you need to get started, the Breville Café Aroma is a smart choice.
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker – Pixie is a fitting name for this Nespresso espresso maker. Compact in size, this machine is a great option for anyone with a smaller kitchen, and it won’t cost you a small fortune to buy.
The only drawback (if you can call it that) is that this machine only uses capsules for brewing.
The thermoblock heating element ensures that this coffee maker heats up at lighting speed – 30 seconds to be exact.
The folding drip tray is a nice addition, and allows you to use cups of all sizes. The removable water tank is easy to clean and can hold up to 24 ounces of water. The machine can also hold up to 10 capsules before needing to be emptied.
If you’re looking for a quick espresso machine, the Pixie is the right choice for you. The brew is ready in just 25-30 seconds.
De’Longhi EC680 – The De’Longhi EC680 is mid to high range item. But as one of the most respected names in the coffee machine industry, it is well worth the price.
The EC680 features a sleek and compact design – it takes up just six inches of space on your countertop. Built with thermo block technology, this machine heats up to the perfect brewing temperature in just 40 seconds.
A built-in frothing system allows you to make cappuccinos and lattes right in your own kitchen.
An automatic flow stop feature prevents over-brewing, and the filters allow you to brew single shots, double shots, or even use espresso pods for convenience.
If you’re looking for a quality espresso maker from a high-end brand – and you have a larger budget – the De’Longhi EC680 is an excellent choice.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Home Espresso Machine under $300
- Bar Pump Pressure: To get that authentic espresso flavor, you need a machine with 15 bar pump pressure. Most machines will have this, but not all will. Check the product description to see how the espresso is brewed.
- Frothing System: Few machines in this price range have automatic frothing systems (our first pick does), but nearly all will at least have a built-in frothing wand. If you enjoy a good cappuccino or latte, make sure that the machine you choose has some sort of frothing system in place.
- Filters: If you prefer double shots or you want to brew multiple shots at once, make sure you choose a machine with a double filter. Most will offer both single and double filters. And while you’re at it, make sure that you check to see if the machine uses pods or capsules. While convenient, pods and capsules limit your espresso choices. If the machine you want does use this brewing method, you may be able to buy adapters that let you use your own coffee.
- Price: The final thing to consider is the price. Naturally, you want to spend under three hundred dollars, but you also want to make sure that you get the best value for your money. Rather than choosing the least expensive machine, choose the one that has all the features you want and offers the best quality.