Being on a tight budget for an espresso machine doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with under-par options! In today’s article, we’ll review some of the excellent yet inexpensive options that are available out there, so you can pick the best espresso machine under $300 for your needs.
Not only that, but you’ll also find a brief guide that will help you pick the most suitable options for your needs. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks
Let’s start with one of the overall best bangs for the buck that you can find at that price range. Mr. Coffee isn’t only an espresso machine but it can also make other espresso and milk-based beverages, such as lattes and cappuccinos!
This machine is a semi-automatic one that will start brewing your espresso shot with a single push of a button.
In addition to the espresso machine, the package also comes with an automatic burr grinder that is capable of grinding your coffee in 18 different size settings.
The grinder also has a large hopper that can hold up to 1/2 a pound of coffee beans, which is larger than most built-in grinders in high-end products.
The machine has a moderately durable body with a huge water reservoir so you won’t have to refill it frequently.
The reservoir is also removable, which makes it easy to refill and clean. This also applies to the small milk reservoir in the front.
Another high-value aspect of the machine is that it has a built-in milk frother to create fluffy milk directly. The machine also comes with a tamper, measuring scoop, and filters for both single and double espressos! It’s our top choice for the best espresso machine under $300.
- Comes with a large automatic burr grinder
- One click operation to brew espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos
- Removable water and milk reservoirs for easy cleaning
- Available in different colors
- Makes only one cup at a time
Next up, we have the brilliant EC702 from De’Longhi, which is one of the largest coffee and espresso machine manufacturers in the world.
The main reason why we didn’t pick this one as our overall best option is that it lacks a grinder feature. However, it should be your product of choice if you already have a grinder or use pre-ground coffee.
What makes this model stand out among other options in this price level is the versatility it offers.
For starters, the machine is built to work with both ground coffee and espresso pods without needing a separately purchased adapter, and you can alternate between them using the top-right handle.
The machine has a fully stainless steel chassis, which boosts both its aesthetics and durability. It might be a bit bulky, but that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone looking for a sturdy espresso machine for their large counter.
The machine is equipped with a large 44 oz (1.3 liters) removable water reservoir as well as a powerful stainless steel boiler that is much more efficient and faster than thermoblocks.
- Compatible with both pods and ground coffee
- Features a high-speed stainless steel boiler that brews two cups at the same time
- Capable of making milk-based coffee drinks with a milk frother wand
- A bit bulky and heavy, so it’s not suitable for small counters
If you don’t like the hassle of buying all the essential parts for making espressos separately and want a complete set for a decent price, EspressoWorks has got you covered!
This 7-piece bundle set comes with an espresso machine that is powered by a 15 bar pump, which is capable of extracting a velvety smooth espresso shot.
Additionally, it comes with an electric grinder for coffee beans as well as a scoop/tamper tool that you can use to dose and tamp ground coffee in the portafilter! Moreover, it comes with a milk pitcher and 2 elegant ceramic cups to enjoy your espresso shots!
The machine also features a relatively large water tank, which has a front view to help you keep track of the water level easily. The reservoir is also removable, which makes it easy to refill and clean.
In addition to regular ground coffee, the machine is compatible with flat Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods.
We like that the machine doesn’t compromise on the extraction pressure or the heating speed, as it has a 15 bar system and heats up in 45 to 60 seconds.
The only drawback of the device is that the shots might not be extremely consistent, but that shouldn’t be a problem for a beginner who just wants a simple and convenient all in one machine.
- Comes ready with everything you’ll need to make espresso from grinding to pouring
- Compatible with ESE-type espresso capsules as well as standard coffee grounds
- Features a milk steamer to make delicious cappuccinos and milk lattes
- The espresso machine is controlled manually for making different types of espresso-based beverages
The Calphalon Temp iQ is a great option for those who are looking for a precise and consistent espresso shot.
As the name suggests, the machine features an incredible brewing system, all thanks to its PID temperature controls, 15 bar Italian pump, thermoblock heating technology that allow the water to warm up consistently and evenly during pre-infusion with coffee grounds.
The unit is made of stainless steel, which makes it incredibly sturdy and stands the test of time, even with continuous heavy use.
The machine also comes with additional accessories, such as a commercial-grade 58 mm portafilter to hold coffee grounds as well as a tamper, cleaning pin, and a stainless steel milk carafe.
The machine has a built-in 2.0 liters water reservoir, which is easily one of the largest you can find in an espresso machine. This makes it a superior option for those who don’t like the hassle of refilling.
The machine comes with a steaming wand to froth the milk for lattes and cappuccino. However, we’ve noticed that it sputters a little more than expected for such a high-quality product.
- Equipped with one of the largest water reservoirs in the industry
- Excellent heating system with heating trays to ensure an evenly brewed and extracted espresso shot
- Compact and elegant design
- The steaming wand may sputter and needs priming before use
If you prefer the convenience and simplicity of coffee pods, you should consider a pod-based machine rather than a full-on espresso machine.
The main advantage of these machines is that they’re quite more affordable than standard espresso machines, which guarantees a higher-end option on such a budget.
The Essenza Mini Espresso Machine by Breville is a fully automated machine that will brew and extract a perfectly balanced shot that is characterized by simplicity and consistency.
The pods are also easily discarded after use, so you won’t find a hard time cleaning the machine after use.
The machine is equipped with a powerful pump that extracts the coffee at 19 bars, which guarantees a flawless shot with balanced flavor and full texture every time.
Moreover, it heats up in less than 25 seconds, making it a sublime option for those with a busy morning schedule but still want to enjoy a one of a kind espresso every time.
- Extremely convenient and easy to use
- The pods are discarded and the machine is easy to use
- Automatically prepares espresso shots in less than 25 seconds
- Doesn’t feature a milk steamer wand
If you like Breville’s quality but want to enjoy a hands-on coffee-making experience, you should definitely opt for the Cafe Roma Espresso Maker.
The machine has a classic espresso machine design with brushed stainless steel construction. It also comes with all the necessary accessories to prepare the shot, such as the stainless steel pitcher as well as the tamper, scoop, and cleaning tools.
The machine extracts the coffee at 15 bars and heats up consistently to precisely brew the coffee with every use.
The frothing wand in the machine is extremely durable and primes itself quickly and automatically, so you can enjoy the process of preparing your shot right away!
- Durable construction
- Removable water tank and drip tray
- Consistent and efficient heating
- Uses a 53 mm portafilter instead of the standard 58 mm
Lastly, if you want to save as much money as possible while enjoying a decent espresso machine, you’re going to love this option!
The machine has a 3.5 bar extraction pump, which is not as powerful as other options, so it takes about 2 minutes to brew the coffee. Still, that’s a pretty decent time if you keep the price of the machine in mind.
Not only that, but the machine also comes with a built-in milk frother to let you brew both lattes and cappuccinos, which adds to the overall value of the product!
The machine uses coarse-grind coffee only, so make sure that you don’t use fine ground because they can damage the filters.
- An extremely budget-friendly option
- Can brew up to 4 shots in one go
- Equipped with a steaming wand and comes with a milk pitcher
- Remarkably low extraction pressure
- Works only with coarse grinds
A Brief Overview of the Essential Aspects for Picking the Best Espresso Machine Under $300
With the wide array of options on the market, picking the most suitable one for you might be quite a challenge, and that’s where this section comes in handy!
Read on for a brief buying guide to help you create a checklist of the most essential features of the espresso machine you’re looking for:
There are various ways to classify espresso machines. For example, they’re categorized into semi-automatic and super-automatic machines. For such a budget, the vast majority of options you have are semi-automatic ones.
However, pod-based espresso machines that are under $300 are still fully automated and will brew your espresso shot immediately with a single click.
The choice here depends mainly on personal preference, keeping in mind that some versatile espresso machines are compatible with both ground coffee and specific types of coffee pods and capsules.
Espresso machines are either made of stainless steel or polycarbonate plastic. As a rule of thumb, stainless steel construction is almost always superior to plastic.
This is because metal is more durable, heavier, and easier to clean. However, plastic machines usually cost significantly less, so they offer more features.
Ideally, you should choose stainless steel if you’re going to use the machine consistently to last you for a long time.
At higher budgets, you can expect a digital user interface with LCD, LED, or even touch displays.
However, these are extra features that don’t have a true impact on the quality of your espresso shot as long as you’re able to control your machine properly.
Of course, fully automatic machines with a one-click button to brew perfect espressos without adjustments are the best options. However, these are quite rare even for the best espresso machine under $300.
The most essential part to make an espresso machine easy to use is that it has clear buttons that describe what they do so that you can heat the machine and extract the espresso directly.
If the machine is equipped with a built-in steamer to froth the milk and prepare cappuccinos and lattes, there should be a clear button for the steaming option as well.
Another aspect that directly correlates to the machine’s intuitiveness is the size of the machine compartments.
Whether the machine has a reservoir for water only or for milk as well, these containers should be removable.
This makes it easy for you to clean the machine anywhere without having to transfer the entire apparatus or putting the internal parts at the risk of coming in contact with water.
You should also make sure that the machine has an acceptable water tank capacity, which typically extends from 0.8 to 2.0 liters.
The larger the tank, the less frequent you’ll need to refill it, which makes the espresso machine much more convenient.
Brewing the coffee is the only indispensable quality of any espresso machine regardless of its type.
The extraction pressure and temperature affect the taste and texture of the espresso shot automatically.
Ideally, the extraction pressure is measured in bars and the machine should automate the pressure buildup in a way that helps in drawing out all the flavors equally for a balanced cup of coffee.
Even if you’ve set a relatively low budget for the espresso machine, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it lacks extra features and accessories to improve your coffee-making experience.
Among the most popular and almost essential extra features that any espresso machine needs to have is the steamer want.
This metal tube-like wand will help you steam the milk to create creamy and foamy steamed milk, which is essential for creating delicious lattes and cappuccinos.
Additionally, espresso requires you to brew the shots from extremely fine coffee grounds, which is why many mid and high-tier espresso machines come with a built-in grinder.
If you can’t find a suitable espresso machine with a built-in grinder at such a price range, the next closest thing is having an external electric grinder along with the machine to control your grind size and optimize your coffee cup. This matters especially when picking the best espresso machine under $300.
With that said, you now have a complete picture of the espresso machine market and the kinds of products you should expect with a budget of 300 bucks!
As you can see, this price range might not be the highest, but it can still offer you some solid options with a decent variety of features to suit your needs.
If you’re looking for a decent option that guarantees both the quality and texture of a barista-grade espresso, you should look no further than Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker!
What we like about this espresso machine is that it’s incredibly well built and easy to use. It’s also capable of making a variety of coffee drinks and comes with a coffee grinder and milk frother, all the while giving you an unmatched value for an excellent price!
However, if you’re looking for a machine that delivers a precise and consistent performance without breaking the bank, Sboly’s Steam Espresso Machine should be a suitable choice for you. We hope you enjoyed our guide on picking the best espresso machine under $300.
This machine does a pretty decent job at making a tasty and velvety espresso without costing you an arm and a leg!