The Best Espresso Machine Under 300 Bucks: Our 2022 Picks

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There is almost nothing better first thing in the morning than a freshly brewed espresso. In fact, there’s really nothing better in the afternoon or evening either, for that matter.

But owning an espresso machine is a bit of a luxury, especially the high-end models. If you don’t want to take out a second mortgage to purchase an espresso machine but want to enjoy espresso in your home, the good news is that you have some great options.

There are several espresso machines available at a (semi) reasonable price point but, for the sake of this article, we’re going to stick to our picks for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks.

While some will push the upper boundary of our price limit, we have a couple of incredible espresso machines under $200 on the list as well.

Best Espresso Machine Under 300 Bucks: Our Top Picks At A Glance

Our picks for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks are:

  1. Delonghi Dedica EC680M Espresso Machine
  2. Flair Signature Espresso Maker
  3. Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker
  4. Gevi 20 Bar 2-In-1 Espresso Machine With Milk Frother
  5. Delonghi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso Machine

So how did we select our top choices for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks?

Espresso Machine Selection Criteria

There are A LOT of espresso machines on the market. Shopping for the best options for your needs and budget can get a bit confusing.

To narrow the focus, we looked at the following criteria when testing machines to find the best espresso machine under 300:

  • Price (um, duh)
  • Bars of pressure
  • Machine material
  • Ease of use

Price

For the purpose of this article, we focused on machines with a maximum price point of $300. However, several on the list are well below this mark. 

This is a solid starting point for an espresso machine for home use and will afford you enough bells and whistles to make flat whites, lattes, and cappuccinos as well.

Bars Of Pressure

So, how many bars of pressure are necessary for epic espresso? Anything less than 9 bars simply won’t produce the high-quality espresso that you’re looking for.

9 bars is the ideal pressure for espresso, but you’ll notice that several espresso machine manufacturers advertise 15 or more bars of pressure.

Is more pressure better for espresso?

In a word, no. Keep in mind that machines that advertise 15, 16, or 18 bars of pressure typically feature an internal restricting valve that prevents the machine from brewing at a level higher than 9 bars.

So, why advertise the higher pressure number? A cheap marketing ploy aimed at fooling consumers into falling for the “more is better” trap.

It’s not. 9 bars is perfect; more is not really more.

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Material

High-end and commercial espresso machines are made with stainless steel. Many espresso machines for home use, and most of our picks for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks, are made with plastic, unfortunately.

In testing and reviewing machines, we looked for those built well with sturdy construction and solid parts.

While most of these machines feature at least some plastic, all are well-made and should hold up well for the average homebrewer.

Ease of use

At this price point, you’re going to find manual and semi-automatic espresso machines. A fully automatic espresso machine for home use (one that literally takes ALL the work out of it) usually comes at a much higher price.

All of the machines on our list are relatively easy to operate. The manual espresso machine will require the most practice and the most elbow grease (literally) but is relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it.

But what is the difference between a manual and a semi-automatic espresso machine?

Manual Espresso Machine Vs. Semi-Automatic

A manual espresso machine is just what it sounds like. It leaves all of the control over pulling a perfect shot of espresso up to the brewer.

To make espresso with a manual espresso machine, you pump a lever to achieve the pressure needed to brew the espresso. If breaking a sweat first thing in the morning isn’t your idea of a good time, a semi-automatic espresso machine might be for you.

A semi-automatic espresso machine allows you to retain some control over the brewing process but takes the actual grunt work out of it. Many of these machines come with features like milk steaming and temperature control but still allow you to grind and tamp the beans yourself.

And yes, you should always grind your beans yourself.

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Pre-Ground Espresso

If you’re a person who prefers to buy pre-ground coffee instead of whole bean coffee, you should consider changing your ways.

There are many reasons to avoid pre-ground coffee but, for the purposes of brewing espresso, here are the top three:

  1. The grind size of pre-ground coffee is too large for espresso
  2. Pre-ground coffee becomes stale much faster
  3. Buying pre-ground coffee limits brewer to only 1 or 2 brewing methods

You definitely want to pick up a burr grinder (either manual or electric) if you don’t already have one. 

Buying whole bean, dark roast coffee, and grinding it yourself is a vital step toward achieving the perfect shot of espresso.

The Best Espresso Machine Under 300

PICK

MODEL

WHAT WE LIKE

BUY IT

The Best Espresso Machine Under 300 Bucks: Our 2022 Picks

DELONGHI DEDICA EC680M

  • Small, Sleek Design

  • Easy To Use

  • Stainless Steel Construction

The Best Espresso Machine Under 300 Bucks: Our 2022 Picks

FLAIR SIGNATURE ESPRESSO MAKER

  • Custom Pressure Gauge

  • Easy To Clean

  • Convenient & Portable 

The Best Espresso Machine Under 300 Bucks: Our 2022 Picks

MR. COFFEE ONE-TOUCH ESPRESSO MAKER

  • One-button operation

  • Thermocouple heating system

  • Automatic Milk Frother

The Best Espresso Machine Under 300 Bucks: Our 2022 Picks

GEVI 20-BAR ESPRESSO MACHINE

  • Dual Temperature Control

  • Thermoblock Heating System

  • Stable Steam Control Frother

The Best Espresso Machine Under 300 Bucks: Our 2022 Picks

DELONGHI ECP3420 ESPRESSO MACHINE

  • Multiple Cup Sizes

  • 3-in-1 Filter

  • Removable Water Tank

Best Espresso Machine Under 300: Full Reviews

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1. Delonghi Dedica EC680M Espresso Machine

The Delonghi EC680M is an easy pick for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks; it’s an exceptional value and a pretty amazing little espresso machine. Not only is it sleek and compact and looks great on your kitchen counter, but it also produces a pretty decent espresso with reasonably minimal effort.

Delonghi is a household name both in Italy and the US for good reason. They have developed a reputation for making affordable yet high-quality espresso machines. Dedica is no exception.

This semi-automatic espresso machine has the smallest footprint on the market (just 6 inches wide) yet offers several additional features like 15 (aka 9) bars of pressure, automatic flow stop, and milk frother. 

With a thermoblock heating element, this espresso machine heats up to the ideal brewing temperature in just 40 seconds. It can accommodate several cup sizes and can pull shot after shot with no waiting time in between.

Constructed of primarily stainless steel, this slim machine is sturdy and well-built. It is easy to use and allows you complete control over your brewing process without requiring much effort. An outstanding value and a versatile machine that will meet most home brewer’s needs.

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2. Flair Signature Espresso Maker

The Flair Signature Espresso Maker is a completely manual machine that puts you in total control of pulling your perfect shot of espresso.

You are doing all the work of an electric machine with this guy, using your arm to pump the lever and create the pressure needed to pull the shot. Up for a morning workout, anyone?

The Flair is made with high-quality materials (cast aluminum and stainless steel) and comes with a 5-year warranty, so you can rest easy that it will last. It comes equipped with a pressure gauge and a stainless steel tamper.

The Flair is simply the best manual espresso machine around and easily the best espresso machine under 300 bucks for a high-quality espresso shot; plus it’s easy to clean and totally portable, so you can pull the perfect shot from anywhere. 

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3. Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker

In sharp contrast to the Flair, the Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker requires basically zero effort from the brewer. This is the only automated, one-touch machine included in our top picks for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks.

With this espresso machine, you can make one or two shots of delicious espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes with the touch of a button. The built-in milk frother does the work of steaming the milk for you, creating a deliciously creamy foam every time.

This machine is perfect for those of us who can barely open our eyes in the morning, let alone be bothered to brew a perfect espresso. This machine might not be the best option for those who prefer more control over their brewing and milk steaming.

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4. Gevi 20 Bar 2-In-1 Espresso Machine With Milk Frother

The Gevi 20-Bar 2-in-1 Espresso Machine is a standout in our picks for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks because it is an exceptional value. This little machine brews a tasty shot of espresso and looks sleek on any kitchen counter.

This machine heats up fast with a thermoblock heating system and brews your espresso in just 25-45 seconds total. It has a built-in milk frother, plus a removable water tank, dual temperature control, and a cup warmer up top.

This is one of the only machines at this price point that works well, looks great, and feels sturdy. It’s the perfect choice for those on a budget who want a solid little machine with great features.

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5. DeLonghi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso Machine

The DeLonghi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso Machine is another fantastic espresso machine at a super competitive price. At just a few dollars more than the Gevi, this machine is an exceptional value.

This espresso machine has an attractive design and features a milk frother for easy steaming, meaning you can make a flat white, latte, or cappuccino with ease.

The ECP3420 can accommodate several cup sizes, requires no waiting in between drinks, has a removable water tank, and a 3-in-1 filter that can accommodate one shot, two shots, or espresso pods.

We like this machine because it is lightweight and relatively small yet feels well-made and solid. It brews a consistent shot of espresso each time and is incredibly easy to use.