Best Espresso Machine Under 300 Bucks: Our 2023 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 quality espresso in your home, the good news is that you have some great options.
Several espresso machines are available at a (semi) reasonable price point, but we’ll stick to our picks for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks for this article’s sake.
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
The best rated espresso machines under $300:
- Delonghi Dedica EC680M Espresso Machine
- Flair Signature Espresso Maker
- Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker
- Gevi 20 Bar 2-In-1 Espresso Machine With Milk Frother
- Delonghi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso Machine
So how did we select our top choices for the best espresso machine for 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
For the purpose of this article, we focused on the best rated espresso machines under $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 is necessary for epic espresso? Anything less than 9 bars won’t produce the high-quality espresso you’re looking for.
9 bars is the best pressure for espresso, but you’ll notice that several espresso maker 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 coffee machine from brewing an espresso shot 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.
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.
We tested and reviewed machines for those built well with sturdy construction and solid parts.
While most of these coffee 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 will 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 a steam wand and temperature control but still allow you to grind and tamp the beans yourself.
And yes, you should always grind your beans yourself.
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:
- The grind size of pre-ground coffee is too large for espresso
- Pre-ground coffee becomes stale much faster
- Buying pre-ground coffee limits the 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
WHAT WE LIKE
DELONGHI DEDICA EC680M
FLAIR SIGNATURE ESPRESSO MAKER
MR. COFFEE ONE-TOUCH ESPRESSO MAKER
GEVI 20-BAR ESPRESSO MACHINE
DELONGHI ECP3420 ESPRESSO MACHINE
Best Rated Espresso Machines Under $300: Full Reviews
1. Delonghi Dedica EC680M Espresso Machine
The Delonghi EC680M is an easy pick for the best espresso machine for under 300 bucks; it’s an exceptional value and a pretty amazing little espresso maker. 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.
For good reason, Delonghi is a household name in Italy and the US. 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 on the drip tray and pull shot after shot with no waiting time.
Constructed primarily of 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 coffee machine that will meet most home brewer’s needs.
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 espresso maker 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.
If you’re looking for a latte or cappuccino maker, you won’t find that here. The Flair espresso maker is as straightforward as they come and lacks a steam wand or even hot water, for that matter.
We suggest purchasing a separate milk frother if you’d like a little steamed milk with your espresso.
The Flair is simply the best manual espresso maker around and easily the best espresso machine for under 300 bucks for a high-quality espresso shot; plus, it’s easy to clean and totally portable so that you can start brewing great espresso from anywhere.
3. Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker
In sharp contrast to the Flair espresso maker, the Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker requires basically zero effort from the brewer. This is the only fully automated, one-touch coffee maker included in our top picks for the best espresso machine for under 300 bucks.
It’s pretty rare to find a super-automatic espresso machine under $300, so this little latte, flat white, and cappuccino maker is a killer bargain.
With this Mr. Coffee espresso machine (aka cappuccino 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 steams the milk for you, creating a delicious milk froth every time.
This coffee machine is perfect for those of us who can barely open our eyes in the morning, let alone be bothered to brew great espresso. This coffee maker might not be the best option for those who prefer more control over their brewing and milk steaming, but is a winner for the rest of us.
4. Gevi 20 Bar 2-In-1 Espresso Machine With Milk Frother
The Gevi 20-Bar 2-in-1 Espresso Machine stands out among the best rated espresso machines under $300 because it is an exceptional value. This little coffee machine brews a tasty shot of espresso and looks sleek on any kitchen counter.
This coffee maker 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, a removable water tank, dual temperature control, a drip tray, and a cup warmer.
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.
5. DeLonghi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso Machine
Our final pick of the best rated espresso machines under $300 is the DeLonghi ECP3420 Bar Pump Espresso Machine, another fantastic espresso machine at a super competitive price. This machine is an exceptional value at just a few dollars more than the Gevi.
This espresso machine has an attractive design and features a steam wand for easy steamed milk, meaning you can make a flat white, latte, or cappuccino like a pro.
The ECP3420 has a drip tray that can accommodate several cup sizes and requires no waiting between each espresso drink; it also features a removable water tank and a 3-in-1 filter that can accommodate one shot, two shots, or an espresso pod.
We like this machine because it is lightweight and relatively small yet feels well-made and solid. It brews a consistent shot of good espresso each time and is incredibly easy to use.