The 5 Best Espresso Machines Under $300
There's no better way to kick off your day than with a rich, creamy latte or a double shot of espresso. That's why having an espresso machine in your house is so great — it saves you money in the long-run while adding convenience to your morning routine. Some of the higher-end options can cost upwards of $3,000, but I've done some research and made a list of the five best espresso machines under $300, so you can get a high quality pick at a reasonable price.
Below, my selections are listed by price, from the higher-end choices with all of the bells and whistle to the more basic, budget-minded picks. The higher-end selections all feature a bar pressure of 15 or higher. (This unit measures the pressure pushing the hot water through the grinds, extracting flavor as it goes). They also all have a top-of-the-line technology called Thermoblock, which evenly distributes heat, as well as high-quality milk frothers. Additionally, the water tanks are bigger, so you don't have to refill them as often.
The mid-range options on my list have similar features but with different heating systems and smaller water reservoirs. Some of them also lack the milk frothing wand. Meanwhile, the most budget-friendly option is very small — only big enough to make espresso for one person — and its bar pressure is quite low (at just 3.5). However, it only costs $60 and is backed by thousands of fans on Amazon, so it's great choice for folks who are watching their wallets.
With these factors in mind, take look at the best espresso machines under $300 below.
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1. A Sophisticated Espresso Maker With All The Bells And Whistles
What's great about it: With a 15-bar Italian pump and a high-tech heating system, this smooth and powerful Calphalon espresso maker delivers superb quality for a machine that costs under $300. It's made with top-grade Thermoblock heating and PID temperature control, which work together to ensure the heat is evenly delivered. On top of that, it has a special pre-infusion function that allows the grinds to bloom first, extracting maximum flavor.
The 58-millimeter porta-filter is larger than average, which allows you to evenly wet the grounds to extract even more flavor for a rich, bold espresso blend. And even better, it has a steam wand and stainless steel cup that you can use to make froth for lattes or other creamy drinks.
One reviewer wrote: "I am blown away by the cafe like quality latte's this machine can produce all on it's own. The pressure it can generate is perfect for a medium ground or powder ground coffee. The crema it produces is abundant and out of this world [...] I love it. I use it every day, multiple times a day. I just can't get enough of it."
2. Another High-Quality Pick That Costs A Little Less
What's great about it: This high-quality espresso machine boasts many of the same features as the first pick for about $80 less. It has the same 15-bar pump, Thermoblock heating technology, and PID temperature control. It also has a steam wand and stainless steel cup for frothing milk. A key difference is that the water reservoir is smaller, so you can't make as much coffee at once. On the plus side, the reservoir is transparent. Some people like this feature because it allows you to easily check the water level, while others don't like the aesthetic — this part is a matter of personal preference. As a bonus, this one comes with two porcelain coffee cups and a bean grinder.
One reviewer wrote: "Love, love, love!! This is a very easy to use machine and it [doesn't] take up a lot of counter space. We love lattes and use this every day. We are saving a ton of money making our own each morning instead of buying them on the way to work. Really nice machine and very happy we bought it.
3. A Great Mid-Range Option With All The Essentials
What's great about it: Similarly to the first two selections, this mid-range espresso maker features a 15-bar pump and easy-to-use milk frothing wand (although it doesn't come with a steaming cup). The water reservoir is transparent so you can easily monitor the water level, and the machine has a cup warming plate on top, too. Reviewers noted that it's super quiet, easy to operate, and simple to clean. It's smaller than the first two picks and not quite as fancy overall. Still, at this price point, it's a fantastic option.
One reviewer wrote: "This is the best espresso machine for the money [...] This machine is simple, pretty (love the red color) and makes a great espresso with no fuss. It worked great right out of the box. I would highly recommend this machine to anyone wanting a good espresso without paying an arm and a leg for the machine!"
4. A Pod Espresso Maker That's Quick And Easy To Use
What's great about it: With 1,600-plus reviews on Amazon, this popular capsule-style espresso machine is an incredible option for its simplicity. All you have to do to make a cup of coffee is pop an espresso pod into the top, press a button, and place your cup underneath. It brews rich, high-quality espresso in a variety of flavors directly into your mug almost immediately. The coffee machine showcases a 19-bar pump and an automatic shutoff function. Plus, you can set it to five different size options, making it highly versatile. The only drawback is that doesn't have a milk frothing wand. (Capsule-style coffee pods are often fully automatic).
One reviewer wrote: "If you've never had coffee from a Nespresso Vertuo machine, you owe it to yourself to try it out. It is a whole level beyond Keurig-type brewing [...] The result is fantastic-- a rich coffee with an amazing crema that is the equal or better to any you've ever tasted."
5. A Popular Budget Option That Gets The Job Done
What's great about it: The two biggest distinctions between this budget espresso machine and the others on the list are its size and bar pressure. This machine is much smaller overall, with a .25-quart water tank intended for just one person. Plus, it only features 3.5 bars of pressure (which is a fairly notable drawback considering that the others range from 15 to 19 bars). That said, it has thousands of perfect reviews, with fans who love that it's compact, easy to use, and makes great coffee for the price. On top of all that, it has a steam wand for frothing milk. If you live alone and are on a budget (or have limited counter space), it's a great option.
One reviewer wrote: "Obsessed with this espresso maker! [...] It is small and takes up very little space. My old one was very bulky. Its also super simple to operate. The milk frother option is so nice to have. I also love that you can make up to 4 shots of espresso at once. I'm extremely happy with this purchase!"