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Best Espresso Machine Under 300 – Top Picks and Comparison 2019

Last Update: 26th May, 2019

If you have been considering getting into the home espresso machine, but you are on a budget and don’t really want to break your bank, here are some options for the best espresso machine under 300 that not only brew espresso but also gives you the feature to froth milk.

You can drop a lot of money on a nice rocket machine and still get subpar shots if your grinder doesn't really hold up. So, we recommend looking into a grinder purchase first and then an espresso machine.

If you are one of those baristas on a tight budget looking for a home espresso machine, or you are perhaps getting yourself a coffee maker for the first time, you are at the right place.

If you're really looking into getting into espresso on a budget, I would generally recommend investing more money into a grinder than into a machine.

Because the amount of quality you get per dollar is much more evident in grinders than espresso machines. That being said, here are my top 7 picks for espresso on a budget.

Top 7 Espresso Machine Under 300

1. Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine by Breville

Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine by Breville

The Nespresso Essenza is the smallest in the single-serve brewers’ segment. Don’t let this compact size fool you though; this machine can create some exceptional coffee and espresso moments. It weighs on 5.1 lbs. And the small footprint is designed to fit into any space.

Create the perfect cup every time with the unrivaled Nespresso quality. Easy to use one-touch access that programmable for two cup sizes. It can create a barista style espresso by using the 19-bar high-pressure pump. The high-pressure extracts delicate flavors and aromas ever time and creates unctuous crema and an incomparably dense coffee.

This machine uses a fast heat-up system that can reach the ideal temperature in under 30 seconds. It has 0.6 L removable water tank capacity and comes with 16 OriginaLine Capsules as well as other complimentary welcome sets. Another cool feature of this machine is the power saving mode.

From 1100W to 1450W power required to operate this espresso machine. It has an eco-mode for low energy consumption which starts after 3 minutes and switches the machine after 9 mins of inactivity.

PROS

  • It creates the perfect espresso in less than 30 seconds.
  • Two programmable cup size (Lungo & Espresso).
  • It comes with a complimentary welcome gift.
  • Fast heat-up and a high-pressure pump.

CONS

  • It’s a pod-based coffee machine.

2. Delonghi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine

Delonghi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine

Most coffee lovers will admit to the fact that Italians make the best coffee maker on the market. And the Delonghi is a true Italian espresso brand. It’s a simple machine, not over complicated and makes some of the best shots for the money. The machine comes with only the necessary features that you need to make tasty drinks.

At first look, you’ll see how elegant this maker looks. Not only this machine looks stunning, but it can also produce high-quality espresso while taking up only a small amount space in your kitchen. The flow stop control always delivers the exact amount of espresso you desire.

Within a short forty seconds, this machine can heat up water to ideal temperature by using Thermoblock technology. If you love the barista-level foam on top of your espresso, this one comes with a frothing machine. You are not really leaving out on any important feature with this one. That’s what makes the Delonghi EC680M DEDICA so great.

The 15-bar pressure pump creates rich and delicious steamed milk forth, and automatic flow stop feature can produce single or double shot espresso. In terms of durability, the whole unit is constructed using stainless steel for lasting appeal and service life.

PROS

  • This machine can brew 1 or 2 shots authentic barista-quality beverages.
  • A manual frother that creates rich and creamy froth.
  • Adjustable bottom tray unit that can accommodate large cups.
  • Easy to use, sleek space-saving design and durable components.

CONS

  • Make sure to clean and cool down the steamer.

3. Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

What’s the best way to start the morning? With a shot of your favorite brew. With the Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB espresso machine, you’ll spend less time making coffee and more time to enjoy your drink. This machine features a one-touch control panel that can make a single or double shot of espresso.

This is a semi-automatic 3-1 espresso, latte, and cappuccino maker. Which means you can also use it to brew cappuccino or latte. If you prefer more cream, this device is armed with an automatic milk frother. Enjoying a creamy cappuccino in the morning is a breeze with this automatic cappuccino maker.

For easy cleaning and storage, this one comes with a removable milk reservoir. When you are done making hot coffee, simply remove the reservoir and store it away. The cup tray height can be adjusted to your mug size. This semi-auto espresso maker also comes with an automatic milk frother.

The water reservoir is also removable, and it can hold enough water to brew shots after shots without the need for refilling the tank. Most coffee maker gets messy after a couple of brewing, but not this one. It has a removable drip catcher that you wash after you are done making coffee.

PROS

  • One touch easy to use control panel for making your favorite beverages.
  • The 15-bar pump extracts bold, rich flavors.
  • Removable milk and water reservoir.
  • Easy to clean and fast beverage preparation time.

CONS

  • The porta-filter requires an absurd amount of strength to lock it.

4. 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker

This all-in-one semi-automatic espresso machine from EspressoWorks is perfect for home use. This maker itself comes packed all the features that you want and has an amazingly small footprint. It takes the guesswork right out and produces fine shots of espresso all within 45 seconds. That doesn’t mean that it won’t put out adequate pressure for brewing 1 or 2 shots of espresso.

It features 15-BAR Thermoblock technology for brewing single/double espresso shots and steams milk properly. The espresso maker has the best combination of all wanted features that one would want at a decent price. At this range, it’s hard to beat this product.

The transparent water tank makes it easy to see how much water is left inside the reservoir. It’s also removable and can hold 1.25L of water. That’s a pretty big tank considering a machine of a small form factor. Thanks to the 1.25L capacity, you don’t need to refill the tank every time you make double shots of espresso.

The frothing device is detachable as well as the drip tray. Keep this machine clean, and you can get a pretty good service life out of this one. You will also get a stainless-steel milk frothing cup with purchase. With so many features built-in on this, I’m sure you’ll get the most out of your buck.

PROS

  • Extract espresso, froth milk and enjoy your beverage in less than 45 seconds.
  • The transparent water reservoir, removable drip tray, and frothing device.
  • High-quality stainless-steel porta-filter that comes with a single and double shot basket.
  • It also comes with measuring spoon and tamper.

CONS

  • -You need to fill the porta-filter with ground beans.

5. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine by De'Longhi

espresso Inissia Espresso Machine

The Nespresso Inissia is a single serve Nespresso machine that could be a great addition to your at-home coffee shop. It’s sort of a budget machine that costs around 100 bucks. Let’s start at the bottom of the machine. The drip tray, it’s not adjustable, but you can fold it up in case you would ever want to use a bigger mug. If you remove the tray, there is a compartment that will catch all your spent pods.

The tray is removable and can hold up to 10 pods. I would suggest you clean the tray every time you use the machine. That way you will increase the longevity of this entry level Nespresso machine. Moving on to the brew spigot. That’s the place where your coffee is going to come out off.

Next up is the handle. It folds right up, and this is where you place your ground coffee. The buttons are fairly straightforward. On top of the machine, you will find two buttons for single and double shots of espresso. You have the water tank on the back which can hold 27 ounces of water.

The water reservoir is not too big, but big enough to hold enough water that you shouldn’t have to refill it every single time you use the machine. There is no power button; it will turn itself on as soon as you press one of those brew buttons and turns of after 9 minutes of inactivity.

PROS

  • This machine can deliver up to 19 bars of pressure.
  • The water reaches to an ideal temperature in less than 25 seconds.
  • The tank is large enough to make nine single serve cups of espresso.
  • Smart energy efficient coffee machine.

CONS

  • It’s a low-end machine so make sure to keep all the compartments clean.

6. Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo Coffee and Espresso Machine

Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo Coffee and Espresso Machine with Aeroccino by De'Longhi

This is another single serve coffee machine brought to you by DeLonghi. First things first, let’s start from the bottom. It has a pretty unique tray design. It’s a little bit different than regular Nespresso machines. This one has a single removable metal plate which can be moved up to adjust to your cup sizes. You can also remove the entire tray for cleaning purpose.

The brew spigot is just like their other Nespresso machines. What is unique about this machine is the actual brewing apparatus. It has probably the largest water tank I’ve seen on a single serve espresso machine. With 54 oz., you won’t even need to refill the tank throughout the day.

There is no power button on this one. To save energy consumption, it will automatically turn off the machine after 9 minutes of inactivity. You can also manually adjust the amount of coffee you want in your cup. It’s a pretty simple process. It’s meant to be used with Nespresso Vertuo capsules.

The capsule container can hold up to 17 used capsules. For maximum longevity of the Nespresso machine, clean the drip tray and used capsule container after every use. Last but not least, you’ll also get the Aeroccino 3 milk frother with purchase.

PROS

  • Adjustable tray design that can fit a wide variety of cup sizes.
  • Patented extraction technology that produces the perfect crema.
  • Simple one-touch control with power saver mode.
  • Small footprint that can fit on any corner of your kitchen.

CONS

  • The pods are a bit expensive.

7. Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine by De'Longhi

The Pixie Nespresso machine from De'Longhi is a very small machine. The Pixie really lives up to its name. Just look at how small it is — this something that I love about this machine. This small form factor fits in your kitchen space without taking up too much space, and it just works. Even though it is small, it does a great job of brewing some awesome espresso shots.

It has a water tank mounted on the back of it. There is no filter on this tank so you should probably use filtered water. The machine is very straightforward. On the top, you have two brew sizes. You have a single shot and a double shot. The double is a Lungo. One thing that’s very unique to a machine of this size is that it has 19 bar pump pressure.

This machine meets and exceeds the amount of pressure that it is supposed to have to do a proper shot of espresso. It’s definitely not underdone and despite of its size, it can really kick out a great shot of coffee. The bottom tray is foldable. Attached to the tray, it has the receptacle which is going to catch your used pods.

The Nespresso capsules are proprietary, and you can only get them from Nespresso. There are 16 different types of pods all of which vary in the strength and the taste of the espresso. The system heats up to ideal temperature in just 25 seconds and turns of after 9 minutes.

PROS

  • It takes up literally no room on your countertop yet performs just as good.
  • The 19 bar is actually well above the required pressure for an espresso maker.
  • Efficient and energy saving espresso machine.
  • Built-in LED indicator that lights up when the water tank is low.

CONS

  • It can only be used with pods from Nespresso.

How To Pick An Espresso On A Budget

How To Pick An Espresso On A Budget?

What’s the best way to jump-start the morning? Well, most of us would agree on a perfect shot of espresso. However, not everyone has the luxury to make a cup of hot coffee in the morning.

Most of us often end up making a bland cup with our old coffee maker. It’s not possible to go to the coffee shop every day, but you can have the same luxury at home without breaking your bank.

Ironically, manual coffee makers cost more than semi-automatic ones. It’s because only a handful of Italian brands make them. But, did you know that you can have almost the same brew, same taste without the need to spend more than 300 bucks?

That might sound like a lot of money, but if you are regular coffeeholic, any of the machines listed here will end up saving a fortune over going out for a daily espresso.

This guide here will show you exactly how. Before you go pressing the buy button, spend a few minutes and read this whole buying guide section. At the end of this article, I can guarantee you will know exactly which espresso maker you want to have at your home.

Semi-Automatic vs. Super-Automatic Machines

Should you go with a semi-automatic or a super automatic machine? This is a common choice that most beginners have to face at some point. It’s not uncommon for a first-time buyer to spend more than 500 dollars on a home espresso machine. But we have a tight budget on our hands.

Semi-automatics are the traditional type of espresso machine. You grind your coffee fresh. So, in addition to the coffee machine, you would want that grinder as well. After grinding, you load that coffee into an espresso machine to extract espresso. When done, you remove the filter and knock out the leftover coffee.

Super automatic, on the other hand, has built-in grinders. Simply push a button, and the machine grinds whole beans. After that, it delivers finished espresso to your cup. In place of a porta-filter, the super auto uses an internal brewing machine which automates the brewing process for you.

When brewing is complete, the leftover coffee is dropped to another compartment within the machine. With a super-auto, the machine is the barista, and with a semi-auto, you are the barista.

Both of the machines use an auto-frothing steam wand for creating froth milk. On most semi-autos changing and brewing is mostly involved.

After steaming on a semi-automatic coffee machine, the boiler needs to be cooled down manually. If you forget to do it, heating elements can be damaged. On super automatics, the cooldown process happens automatically.

Brewing Process

The major difference in the machine types is in the brewing process. We all know that the best espresso is made on high-end semi-automatic machines. But, it’s a different story on low-cost entry-level semi-autos. Most all of them uses a pressurized filter basket.

Pressure for brewing is resolved of one tiny hole in the basket. In fact, when using the pressurized basket, tamping the coffee and pressing it on the porta-filter is not required. The basket is there to create the pressure needed for brewing and not the coffee.

On the super automatics, this whole process is done by the machine, and instead of one hole, it has multiple holes.

So, the reality is espresso brewing on a super auto more closely resembles the process of high-end semi-automatics than does brewing through the pressurized filter basket of a low-end semi-automatic.

Do You Need A Grinder?

The best way to make espresso is to grind whole beans of coffee. If you don’t want to spend on a grinder, you can go without it and use pre-grounded coffee. It’s a less expensive option to start out with those. Just don’t expect the same shot quality you would have if using fresh coffee.

Espresso Quality

As for the quality of your espresso, a lot depends on the coffee you use. If going without a grinder and using pre-grounded coffee pods with a semi-auto, the super auto is a clean winner.

Quality is closer when using freshly ground coffee on both, but again some users say that those pressurized baskets tend to produce shots that finish on the bitter side.

Frothing Performance

Frothing Performance is similar to both type of machines and slightly more involved on a semi-auto. Keep in mind that all the types and features I’m talking about are only related to entry-level espresso machines.

Final Thoughts

Now it comes down to your personal preference. All seven of the semi-automatic espresso brewers are great options if you want to get the most out of your buck. The main difference here would be the component that each of the machines uses.

If you are on a budget but looking for consistent convenience, it’s hard to do better than a lower cost super automatic. On the other hand, the entry-level semi-auto will give you more of a barista type experience.

There you go, that’s all I can say for the best espresso machine under 300 bucks. There is a wide variety of espresso maker to choose from, take your time and if you have any questions regarding espresso machines, feel free to leave a comment.

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