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Products Tested

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Hours of Research

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Reviews Examined

I remember the hours I spent pouring over espresso machine reviews when I was choosing my first espresso maker. It was a daunting process, which left me lost and confused.

The amount of products available is overwhelming, not to mention the high price tag most machines come with.

Below, I’ll give you my list of brands plus a comprehensive buying guide, so you’ll have all the necessary knowledge to choose the best espresso maker under $300 for your needs. 

#1 Choice

Breville ESP8XL
Café Roma

Brew Quality

4.5

Build Quality

5.0

Ease Of Use

5.0


Our Score

4.8

CHEAPEST OPTION

Nespresso Vertuo


Brew Quality

5.0

Build Quality

4.5

Ease Of Use

5.0


Our Score

4.8

Most Popular

Mr. Coffee Espresso And Cappuccino Machine

Brew Quality

4.5

Build Quality

4.0

Ease Of Use

5.0


Our Score

4.5

I’ve used and tested several espresso machines, so I wanted to create a round-up of the best espresso machines that won't cost a fortune.

Each machine has unique features and offers value for home baristas. Let’s get into it!

1. Breville ESP8XL Café Roma – My Top Pick!

Type of Machine

Semi-automatic

Dimensions

‎9.2 x 9 x 11.7 in

Boiler Type & Volume

Single boiler

Material

Stainless steel

Cup Clearance

3.5 in

Pressure

15 bars

Programmability

Shot time control

Reservoir Size

40 oz

Breville Cafe Roma is my top choice for the best espresso machine under $300 because it impresses with its user-friendliness and stainless steel build.

This best espresso machine is compatible with both ground coffee and pods, which gives you brewing flexibility.

You don’t feel like putting in the work to create a puck? Simply pop in an ESE pod and get coffee in seconds.

I liked Cafe Roma’s space-efficient design and robust stainless steel construction. The 40 oz removable water tank means you won’t have to refill too often.

The cup warmer on top is great for preheating your mugs and getting hotter espresso.

The only design flaw I found is that it only fits small cups, so you can’t place your travel mug under the spout.

I have to give special mention to the milk wand.

Not many other espresso machines in this price range come with a steam wand (such as the ROK and the Nespresso Vertuo), so I was glad Cafe Roma also included it. 

The steam wand is manual, which means you'll need to learn how to operate it to get different levels of foam for lattes and cappuccinos.

Finally, brewing espresso proved surprisingly simple to use. The removable water reservoir is easy to refill, while the coffee grounds, portafilter, and tamper combination provide excellent shots.

The 15-bar Thermoblock pump consistently produces richly flavored espresso.

I also liked the machine gives you some programmability — you can control the brewing time by stopping the extraction whenever you want.

This lets you find the best extraction time for your preferred flavor.

Who is The Breville Café Roma Most Suitable For? 

The Breville Cafe Roma is most suitable for a coffee enthusiast just stepping into the world of home espresso brewing, those on a budget, and coffee lovers looking for a compact espresso maker.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Durable stainless steel build
  • Steam wand for making milk-based drinks
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Limited cup size clearance
  • No grinder

2. Nespresso Vertuo – Best Automatic Espresso Machine

Brew Quality

5.0

Build Quality

4.5

Ease Of Use

5.0


Overall Rating

4.8

Type of Machine

Fully automatic espresso machine

Dimensions

‎11.9in x 8.3 in x 11.9 in

Boiler Type & Volume

Single boiler

Material

Plastic

Cup Clearance

4.3 in

Pressure

Uses a centrifusion system instead of pump pressure

Programmability

No

Reservoir Size

40 oz

The second-best espresso machine under $300 is Nespresso Vertuo.

The Vertuo coffee maker is a single-serve, pod-only machine, making it a vastly different options than my #1 choice.

This automatic espresso machine is user-friendly, has a sleek design, and innovative features.

If you're looking for a compact coffee maker, this Nespresso machine would be best choice, with dimensions equaling 8.3 x 11.9 x 11.9 in.

It's made of plastic but doesn't detract from its design or durability. I didn't have any issues with the build during the month I used this high-quality espresso maker. The body feels durable, and you can use the fully-automatic espresso machine for years.

The Nespresso Vertuo coffee machine uses a Centrifusion extraction system. You insert the pod into the capsule head and press the coffee button.

The machine reads the barcode printed on the capsule’s rim and automatically adjusts the brewing parameters (drink size, amount of water, brewing temperature, etc.).

The pod spins up to 7,000 per minute, so you have a perfect espresso shot with a rich crema.[1]

I also like that the 40 oz water tank is located to the side and is see-through, so you can easily keep track of the water level and refill as needed.

Plus, it’s large enough to make multiple servings without constant refills.

Nespresso Vertuo makes a wide range of coffee drinks, from rich espresso to larger cups.

This is a great option if you want a versatile coffee machine. However, here's the catch — it only makes basic coffee drinks.

Compared to my top choice, Breville Cafe Roma, there's no frother or steam wand, so you can't make lattes and cappuccinos.

If you can't survive without your morning lattes, you'll need to get a separate frother for steaming milk, which means more of your counter space will be taken by coffee equipment.

Who is The Nespresso Vertuo Most Suitable For? 

The Nespresso Vertuo is most suitable for coffee lovers who want to press a button and get a coffee without any work needed or for those who only drink pure coffee and don’t need to froth milk.

Pros

  • One-touch brewing operation
  • Centrifusion technology ensures consistent extraction
  • Versatile drink options, from espresso to larger cups
  • Rapid heat-up time for minimal waiting

Cons

  • No built-in milk frother
  • Ongoing cost of buying Nespresso capsules

3. Mr. Coffee Espresso And Cappuccino Machine – Top-Rated

Brew Quality

4.5

Build Quality

4.0

Ease Of Use

5.0


Overall Rating

4.5

Type of Machine

Semi-automatic

Dimensions

8.8 x 11.2 x 12.6 in

Boiler Type & Volume

Single boiler

Material

Plastic with stainless steel accents

Cup Clearance

3.3 in

Pressure

15 bars

Programmability

No

Reservoir Size

54 oz

The Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino machine offers an affordable gateway to home coffee bliss.

The milk frother sets it apart from other coffee machines, such as the Breville Cafe Roma, DeLonghi EC155, and DeLonghi Dedica.

This compact espresso machine has an automatic milk frother so that you can make lattes and cappuccinos with minimal fuss.

Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista doesn’t have a traditional steam wand but a milk reservoir.

You pour milk into the reservoir, place the milk frothing tube into it, and the machine froths your milk and even dispenses it into your cup.

This milk-frothing process is as hands-free as it gets. However, it also means you don’t have control over the milk froth, and there’s no way to create latte art.

Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista has a wide range of coffee drinks: everything from single and double shots, cappuccino, and latte in two different sizes.

The coffee machine is well-built. It has a black plastic exterior with a stainless steel front panel and drip tray. I liked that you get two drip trays, which let you fit both espresso cups and full-size ones.

This way, you don’t have to worry your delicious espresso will spill.

Overall, this is a great coffee machine that’s extremely easy to use. You’ll learn how to make coffee pucks to pull high-quality espresso shots.

However, it doesn’t come with a grinder, which means a separate investment. Also, the cleaning process requires some work, especially for the milk frother.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an automatic cleaning process, so you need to clean the Mr. Coffee machine yourself after each use, or you risk curdled milk stuck inside, which can ruin your coffee.

Finally, you need to descale every 40 to 80 brew cycles.[2]

Who is The Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker Most Suitable For? 

The Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino machine is most suitable for coffee lovers who want an affordable and user-friendly introduction to the espresso machine world. It's also an excellent choice for those who don't want to learn how to operate a steam wand.

Pros

  • Automatic milk frother
  • Brews versatile drinks
  • Compact footprint, ideal for kitchens with limited space

Cons

  • Lack of a built-in grinder is an additional expense
  • Complex milk cleaning process

4. DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar – Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

Brew Quality

4.5

Build Quality

4.0

Ease Of Use

3.5


Overall Rating

4.0

Type of Machine

Semi-automatic

Dimensions

12.2 x 19.3 x 15 in

Boiler Type & Volume

Single boiler with dual thermostats

Material

Plastic and stainless steel

Cup Clearance

2.5 in

Pressure

15 bars

Programmability

No

Reservoir Size

35 oz

Another best espresso machine under $300 is DeLonghi EC155.

It has a small footprint and a 15-bar pressure pump that pumps hot water through the coffee grounds and creates a flavorful espresso shot.

This machine comes with a 3-in-1 portafilter compatible with single and double espresso shots, and you can also use it with an ESE espresso pod.

DeLonghi EC155 has dual thermostats, one for brewing coffee and another for steaming milk.

This is an upgrade not found on most. This ensures consistent temperature and also means the great espresso machine can quickly switch from steaming to brewing.

Unlike on the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino model, where the machine froths the milk automatically, you have complete control over the EC155’s frother.

It’s a swivel jet frother, so you can place it in different positions to get the exact milk texture you want for your espresso drink.

I found the steaming wand to be very movable, and it works better for making creamy cappuccinos than thin latte microfoam.

This real espresso machine is made from a combo of stainless steel and plastic elements. It’s durable, and many users report using it for years with regular cleaning and descaling.

Finally, this is a slim machine, so the removable water tank pays the price for the compact size. It’s only 35 oz.

Still, if you mostly make espresso, this is more than enough, and you won’t have to refill too often.

Who is The DeLonghi EC155 Most Suitable For?

DeLonghi EC155 is most suitable for budget-conscious coffee lovers, especially beginners just entering the world of home espresso brewing.

Pros

  • 3-in-1 portafilter for single and double espresso, as well as ESE pods
  • Dual thermostats maintain brewing temperature.
  • Compact design saves space.

Cons

  • Limited cup clearance for taller cups
  • Plastic tamper isn’t durable
  • Limited advanced programmability for temperature and milk steaming

5. DeLonghi EC680M — Best at Home Espresso Machine for Beginners

Brew Quality

4.0

Build Quality

4.0

Ease Of Use

4.0


Overall Rating

4.0

Type of Machine

Semi-automatic

Dimensions

13 x 5.9 x 12 in

Boiler Type & Volume

Single boiler

Material

Stainless steel and plastic

Cup Clearance

4.7 in

Pressure

15 bars

Programmability

Automatic flow stop

Reservoir Size

35 oz

DeLonghi EC680, also called Dedica, has a more modern and attractive design compared to the DeLonghi EC155.

It's one of the most compact semi-automatic espresso machines. It only takes up 6 inches of your countertop.

Moreover, at 9.3 lbs, it's very light. While this is great for moving it around as needed, it means you can't detach the portafilter using one hand, or the machine can tip over.

You need to hold the EC680M with one hand and attach the portafilter with the other.

This espresso machine can pull single or double shots and is compatible with ESE pods. It has a built-in steam wand that creates a creamy, thick foam that's great for cappuccinos.

However, it doesn't have a built-in grinder, so you'll need to get it separately.

The design is stainless steel with a cup warmer on top, which makes espresso hotter for longer.

The inside of the machine includes Thermoblock heating technology, which heats the machine in 40 seconds.

This is incredibly fast, and by the time you pour the milk and attach the portafilter, it's ready to start brewing.

Another difference compared to EC155 is Dedica’s automatic flow stop feature, which means it dispenses the exact amount of coffee.

This feature is easily accessed via one of the three buttons located on top.

Who is The DeLonghi EC680M Most Suitable For?

DeLonghi EC680M is most suitable for budget-conscious coffee lovers looking for a compact espresso machine for a small household.

Pros

  • Fits smaller and taller mugs
  • Illuminated buttons on the front panel
  • Compact size

Cons

  • A bit noisy due to vibration during the brewing
  • Doesn’t come with non-pressurized filters

6. Cuisinart Espresso EM-200NP1 – Best Programmable Espresso Machine

Brew Quality

3.5

Build Quality

4.5

Ease Of Use

3.5


Overall Rating

3.8

Type of Machine

Semi-automatic

Dimensions

12.8 x 9.2 x 10.6 in

Boiler Type & Volume

Single boiler

Material

Stainless steel

Cup Clearance

4.3 in

Pressure

15 bars

Programmability

Drink volume, shot time

Reservoir Size

64 oz

Cuisinart EM 200NP1’s is another great contender for best espresso machine under 300. Its most prominent feature is the versatile steam nozzle for frothing milk.

It takes time and practice to learn how to use the frothing wand, but you’ll be able to make coffee bar quality cappuccinos and lattes.

This great machine also has an attractive design.

Made of quality materials, especially stainless steel, it feels modern and durable. It's compact and won't take up too much of your kitchen counter space.

Cuisinart gets a huge plus for the backlit control panel buttons, which not even expensive machines always have. The blue backlit buttons make the good machine look modern.

One of the biggest advantages of the Cuisinart EM 200 is its fast heat-up time.

For example, DeLonghi EC155 takes up to 15 minutes to preheat, which feels like ages when you want a quick caffeine fix.

The Cuisinart EM 200 only needs two to three minutes. It has a Thermoblock heating system, which ensures an optimal heating temperature of 195 to 205 degrees.

Overall, the machine has a user-friendly design, and you even get some programmability options. You can adjust the volume of your espresso shots, which lets you create stronger or milder drinks.

You can also manually time the extraction by starting and stopping the brewing. Overall, you can get a perfect cup that hits the sweet spot every time.

Who is The Cuisinart Espresso EM-200NP1 Most Suitable For?

Cuisinart Espresso EM-200NP1 is most suitable for coffee enthusiasts who want an espresso machine at a reasonable price point, with all the features that make good quality espresso.

Pros

  • Cup warming tray ensures espresso maintains an optimal temperature
  • Hot water dispenser for crafting teas and Americanos
  • Generous water reservoir

Cons

  • No built-in grinder
  • Complex cleanup, particularly the milk nozzle

7. EspressoWorks All-In-One - Best Machine For ESE Pods

Brew Quality

4.0

Build Quality

4.0

Ease Of Use

3.5


Overall Rating

3.8

Type of Machine

Semi-automatic

Dimensions

9 x 9.7 x 11.5 in

Boiler Type & Volume

Thermoblock

Material

Stainless steel

Cup Clearance

4 in

Pressure

19 bars

Programmability

Drink volume

Reservoir Size

42 oz

Another espresso machine that makes good espresso without a hefty price tag is the EspressoWorks 10 PC All-In-One. This good espresso machine is the best value for money.

Unlike most other espresso machines under $300, EspressoWorks provides everything you need to make espresso.

In fact, it’s the only machine on this list that comes with an electric coffee bean grinder.

It's not a built-in grinder, but it comes separate from the espresso machine. Unfortunately, the grinder doesn't have many grinding options.

However, the inclusion of the grinder means you don't need to stick to pre-ground coffee.

Instead, you can grind your own beans and always have fresh coffee. Overall, it's not the most advanced grinder, but it's excellent value considering the affordable price.

This best espresso machine under 300 dollars has all the basic features you need to make a flavorful shot of espresso.

It's also the only machine equipped with a 19-bar pressure pump (Breville, DeLonghi, and Cuisinart have 15 bars), ensuring rich crema and sufficient brewing pressure.

One of its many great features is the built-in milk frother with a dial, so you can choose between latte, cappuccino, and milk options.

Simply turn the dial to your preferred setting, and the frother will create excellent foam. Plus, the milk reservoir is detachable, and you can store leftover milk in the fridge.

Overall, this model has simple controls, durable constriction, and even some programmability.

You can choose the quantity of espresso and milk for each function and get the exact shot of espresso according to your preferences.[3]

Who is The EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker Most Suitable For? 

EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker is most suitable for coffee drinkers who want a beginner-friendly espresso model with all the necessary parts to brew espresso.

Pros

  • Comprehensive kit includes all features needed to make espresso
  • One-touch brewing makes the coffee-making process quick and hassle-free.
  • Stencil templates for latte art

Cons

  • Blade coffee grinder
  • Plastic tamper doesn’t provide sufficient tamping pressure

8. Rok – Best Manual Espresso Machine

Brew Quality

5.0

Build Quality

4.0

Ease Of Use

2.5


Overall Rating

3.8

Type of Machine

Manual espresso maker

Dimensions

14 x 14 x 14 in

Boiler Type & Volume

No

Material

Stainless steel

Cup Clearance

/

Programmability

No

Reservoir Size

No

So far, each of the machines on the list has been an automatic or a semi-automatic espresso machine. The ROK model is completely different.

This is a manual espresso maker and is completely opposite from an automatic espreso machine such as the Nespresso, where you press a button and get your coffee.

With the ROK, all the work is on you.

Here's how to use this manual machine to get your coffee fix: you preheat the water in a kettle, pour it into the brewing chamber, and attach the portafilter.

Then you pull up the two aluminum arms to pre-infuse the coffee grounds with water so the coffee blooms.

After a few seconds, you bring the arms down, which is how you extract coffee. As you can tell, all the work is on you. You rely on manual force to create brew pressure.

A manual coffee maker lets you endlessly customize your brewing experience. You control the coffee grind level, tamping pressure, water temperature, and extraction pressure.

ROK's design also deserves special mention. It resembles a little robot. It's made with cast aluminum, steel, and glass composite. Overall, it's a minimalistic masterpiece.

That being said, I'd love to see a pressure gauge included so that you can monitor the amount of generated pressure.

Also, the machine doesn’t come with a steam wand or a coffee grinder, so you’ll need to buy these separately.

Who is The ROK Espresso Machine Most Suitable For?

ROK espresso machine is most suitable for coffee drinkers who want complete control over the coffee-making process and don’t mind separately buying a coffee grinder.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Extremely portable and compact
  • Complete control over the brewing process

Cons

  • No pressure gauge
  • No milk steamer and grinder
  • High learning curve

Honorable Mention - Around $300 Mark


Another great choice in home espresso makers is the Calphalon Temp IQ. This quality brewing machine occasionally retails on Amazon below $300 but because the regualr price is higher, we did not include it on my list.


Learn More - Calphalon Temp IQ Review

On Sale Today
Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine...
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  • Dial interface for selecting steam, hot water, and...
  • 58mm café-sized porta filter holds more grounds...

What to Look For in Espresso Machines Under $300

When shopping for an espresso maker under $300, it's crucial to strike a balance between quality, performance, and features.

Here's a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision.

Get The Right Type Of Espresso Machine

There are various types of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatic, super-automatic, prosumer, and commercial, where the latter ones cost $$$.

You can choose between manual and semi-automatic espresso machines in the up-to $300 price range. If you’re new to the world of espresso, my advice is to go for a semi-automatic. 

A fully manual espresso machine, such as the ROK or the Flair Signature espresso maker, requires a lot of work and a steep learning curve.

On the other hand, semi-automatic models offer a good balance between control and convenience.

You’ll still have the hands-on approach with a semi-automatic model and be able to experiment with grind size, tamping pressure, and extraction time to get a more personalized cup of espresso.

Is It Easy To Use?

Many espresso machines under $300 are generally easy to use and intended for espresso newbies. As a beginner or someone new to espresso brewing, simplicity is key.

Look for an espresso machine with an intuitive interface, clearly labeled buttons, and easy-to-follow instructions.

If ease of use is your main priority, Nespresso Vertuo is a good choice as it has one button you press to brew coffee.

Cuisinart EM 200NP1 is another good choice, as the blue backlit buttons make it clear when the machine is ready to brew and steam.

Plus, all the buttons are clearly labeled, so there’s no room for confusion.

A machine with a clear pressure gauge can help you monitor the brewing process and achieve optimal extraction.

Additionally, consider machines that offer single-touch operation for both brewing and frothing, eliminating the need for complex maneuvering.

Easiest To Use: Nespresso Vertuo

Most Difficult To Use: ROK Manual Espresso Maker

Frothing Milk With The Cuisinart EM 200

Aim For Commercial Level Performance

Research how the machine performs, or in other words, does it create consistent shots? In the world of espresso, consistency is crucial.

Unfortunately, this is where many machines under 300 dollars fall short. They tend to lack advanced features such as the PID, which ensures consistent temperature for optimal extraction.[4]

In all honesty, you aren't likely to find many commercial features on machines under $300. For example, these machines don't have PIDs.

However, you should pay attention to factors like the quality of the tamper (avoid plastic ones), portafilter, and filter baskets, as these components significantly impact extraction.

For example, EspressoWorks 10 PC and DeLonghi EC155 come with a plastic tamper which don't do a good enough job of compressing grounds.

Other factors to consider are how long does it take to make good espresso?

The ideal extraction time is around 30 seconds for a single shot. If the model uses more or less time, it’s unlikely you’ll get a good shot.

Also, check how the milk frother performs. Look for machines with powerful steam wands that produce velvety milk froth for lattes and cappuccinos.

Great examples are the Breville Cafe Roma which has a manual frother, and Mr. Coffee Espresso And Cappuccino Machine, which has an automatic frother.

Finally, research the grinder. A few machines at this price point come with a grinder, such as the EspressoWorks 10 PC All In One, but this is usually a blade grinder versus a burr grinder with only a few settings.

It would help if you had a grinder that can create fine grounds for espresso for optimal extraction. In most cases, a grinder will be a separate purchase.

I advise choosing a burr grinder, especially if you mostly brew espresso. Burr grinders are energy-efficient and heat-resistant.

Most importantly, they create uniform grounds, which is crucial for espresso.

Check out the Baratza Encore as it is one of the best burr grinders on the market, plus it’s great for espresso newbies.

Know The Type of Boiler System

Espresso machines under $300 often feature single boilers. A single-boiler system requires you to switch between brewing and steaming, which can extend the drink preparation time.

Note: You can also get a machine with a heat exchange system that allows you to brew and steam simultaneously, reducing wait times. However, you're unlikely to find an espresso machine under $300 with this system.

The closest machine to this is the DeLonghi EC155 with dual thermostats, one for brewing coffee and another for steaming milk.

You still can't brew and steam simultaneously, but this ensures consistent temperatures for both actions.

Pulling Espresso Shot On The DeLonghi EC155

Know The Type of Group Head

The group head plays a crucial role in maintaining consistent temperature during espresso extraction.

Look for machines with a saturated group head, as it helps ensure even heat distribution and stable temperature throughout the brewing process.

Another important consideration is pressure. Aim for a machine that can deliver at least 9 bars of pressure.

This pressure level is essential for proper extraction and getting well-balanced espresso shots with the characteristic crema.

Note: Most machines have pumps that achieve 15 bars of pressure, and EspressoWorks can go up to 19. You don’t actually need this much pressure — you only need nine bars. More pressure isn’t necessarily good, as it can result in burnt espresso.

Is It Aesthetically Pleasing?

While functionality is vital, the aesthetics of the espresso machine also matter, especially if it’ll be a focal point in your kitchen.

Look for a design that aligns with your kitchen's décor and personal style. Stainless steel exteriors offer a sleek and modern look and also tend to be more durable and resistant to stains.

Also, consider the placement of the machine on your countertop, ensuring it complements the overall aesthetic of your kitchen space.

Aesthetics are a matter of preference, but my favorite is the Breville Cafe Roma. I like the all-steel construction, and it elevates my kitchen decor.

Nespresso also puts a lot of thought into their design, and their Vertuo model looks sleek and modern. I especially liked the ribbed water tank.

Finally, I can't talk about design without mentioning the ROK. It's for those of you looking for something more futuristic and sure to attract attention.

Here's my completely personal opinion!

Best Looking: Breville Cafe Roma

Worst Looking: Delonghi EC155

Look, Feel, and Size Of The Breville Cafe Roma

Make Sure It Will Fit On Your Counter

Before making a purchase, measure the available space on your countertop.

Check the dimensions of the espresso machine, taking into account the extra space needed for adding water, coffee beans, a milk frother, and a grinder if the machine doesn't come with these.

Also, remember you'll need space to perform everyday cleaning and routine maintenance. Most machines under $300 are compact, so this shouldn't be an issue. 

Still, measure your available space and check the dimensions of the model you're interested in to ensure that the machine's size and placement won't hinder your daily kitchen activities.

Best For Small Countertops: Delonghi EC680M

Check The Capacity

Check the capacity of the water reservoir and bean hopper to ensure they meet your daily espresso-making needs.

A larger water reservoir reduces the frequency of refills, while a larger bean hopper accommodates more coffee beans.

This minimizes frequent refilling and ensures a continuous supply of fresh grounds.

Cuisinart Espresso EM-200NP1 is the ideal choice if you make several brews a day, as its reservoir is the largest on the list at 64 oz.

Finally, consider the number of espresso shots the machine can produce in one session.

For example, if you have a large espresso-drinking household, choose a model with a double spout or one that can make espresso shots in quick succession so you don’t have to wait a long time for several shots.

Nespresso is ideal for this, as the only wait time between brews is the time it takes you to pop in another pod.

Largest Capacity: Cuisinart EM-200NP1

Smallest Capacity: ROK Manual Espresso Machine

Nespresso Vertuo Coffee Pod

Make Sure It Can Stand The Test Of Time

Examine the build quality and materials used in the machine's construction.

Stainless steel components, including the drip tray, tamper, and portafilter, are indicators of better durability and resistance to wear and tear.

Look for machines with sturdy knobs, switches, and buttons that are likely to withstand frequent use.

Generally, machines under $300 are made of stainless steel or plastic. Plastic can also be a good choice as long as it’s durable, can withstand heavy use, and doesn’t scratch easily.

Most Durable: Breville Cafe Roma

Least Durable: Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista

Don’t Forget About Cleaning & Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for prolonging the life of your espresso machine and maintaining optimal coffee quality.

Check if the machine has removable and dishwasher-safe components, such as the drip tray and portafilter.

Look for devices with self-cleaning options, such as automatic backflushing and automatic milk wand cleaning, which simplifies the cleaning process.

Barista HQ Pro Tip:

Research the availability of replacement parts, such as gaskets and screens, as they may need to be replaced over time to ensure consistent performance.

Finally, think about descaling. I always prefer a machine with a descaling alert.

It may seem like a small thing, but it really comes in handy not having to count the brew cycles or coffee cups you made.

Easiest To Clean: Nespresso Vertuo

Hardest To Clean: Delonghi EC155

Cleaning The Cuisinart EM 200

How Much Does It Cost To Run?

Consider the ongoing operating costs of the espresso machine.

Look for energy-efficient models with adjustable settings that allow you to customize the amount of water and energy used per shot.

Some machines offer energy-saving modes that reduce power consumption during standby periods.

Also, be mindful of water consumption, especially if you're in an area with water scarcity or high utility costs.

Minimizing energy and water usage contributes to both environmental sustainability and cost savings over the machine's lifetime.

How Long Is The Warranty?

A longer warranty period reflects the manufacturer's confidence in the machine's quality and durability.

Read the warranty terms and conditions carefully to understand what is covered and for how long. A warranty of at least one year is recommended for budget-friendly espresso machines. 

However, some manufacturers offer warranties of 10 to 15 years, which shows they have great confidence in the longevity of their espresso machines.

DeLonghi has one of the shortest warranties, with only one to two years. On the other hand, ROK has one of the longest warranties in the espresso machine world, which is 10 years long.

It can even be extended to 15 if you register your machine on their website.

Longest Warranty: ROK Espresso Machine

Shortest Warranty: Delonghi EC680M

Note: Some manufacturers may offer extended warranties or additional coverage options for an extra fee. Registering your machine with the manufacturer upon purchase can also help ensure that you receive timely support and assistance in case of any issues.
Pulling Espresso Shot On The ROK Espresso Machine

FAQs

How long does a cheap espresso machine last?

A cheap espresso machine can last between two to five years with proper care. Its lifespan varies based on build quality, usage frequency, and maintenance. Regular cleaning, descaling, and routine maintenance can extend the machine's longevity.

What is the main difference between a $300 and $500 espresso machine?

The main difference between a $300 and $500 espresso machine is usually build quality, features, and performance. A $500 espresso machine may offer more advanced features, such as a higher-quality boiler system, better temperature stability, and improved pressure regulation.

What is the main difference between a $300 and $3000 espresso machine?

The main difference between a $300 and $3000 espresso machine is often related to advanced features, performance, and craftsmanship. A $3000 machine is likely to have commercial-grade components, superior temperature control, and a higher level of consistency in espresso extraction.

Is it cheaper to make your own espresso?

Yes, it's cheaper to make your own espresso compared to drinking coffee and espresso from coffee shops, especially in the long run.

Which One Should You Buy?

My choice for a perfect machine that makes great espresso under $300 is the Breville Cafe Roma. Breville is a household name in the world of espresso, and Cafe Roma reflects this.

The machine includes filter baskets for both ground coffee and pods and a built-in wand, so all the basics are covered.

On the other hand, if you love having control over every step of espresso brewing, choose a manual machine like the ROK espresso maker.

Yes, it takes more work, but it also means you can tailor the brewing process so the espresso suits your preferences perfectly.

Our #1 Espresso Machine Below $300

References: 

1. https://www.nespresso.com/de/en/nespresso-vertuo-kapselmaschinen-technologie
2. https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/C1PWZZl8RgS.pdf
3. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0293/4380/9620/files/AEW3000-EspressoWorks-19Bar-SS-Espresso-Cappuccino-Machine.pdf?v=1599806875
4. https://www.omega.com/en-us/resources/pid-controllers

Kayla Stavridis

Head of Marketing

Kayla Stavridis
Kayla Stavridis is a coffee enthusiast and Head of Marketing for Barista HQ. She blends her professional insights and experience with a deep passion for all things coffee. Kayla offers a unique, hands-on perspective on coffee culture and trends. You can find her sipping a cold brew with just a touch of milk on the beach in the afternoon and a Corona with lime in the evening.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Cold Brew

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