There’s no doubt spending an extra $100 goes a long way when you’re buying an espresso machine in the entry-level range. We’ve reviewed three great espresso machines for buyers with budgets that extended to the sub-$300 price point. These machines make great coffee and include an excellent range of features compared to their competitors.
Find below our three selections for the Best Espresso Machine under $300.
|Product||Suitable for||Our Rating||Price Guide|
|De’Longhi EC680||Small, easy to use and makes great coffee||(4.8 / 5)||***|
|Nespresso Pixie||Perfect for owners who need an auto-pilot machine||(4.5 / 5)||**|
|Capresso 118.05||Great choice for advanced Coffee lovers||(4.4 / 5)||**|
1. De’Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
Best Budget Espresso Machine
An amazing small espresso machine which produces beautiful coffee
- Reaches brewing temperature in about 30 seconds.
- The machine feels very well built and well designed. In fact, it feels higher quality than many espresso makers that are much larger and more expensive.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- The steam wand produces excellent foam. (basically, all of the steam wand complaints on Amazon are from people who aren’t properly priming it per the instructions). We’ve included a YouTube video guide below.
- By no means deal-breakers, but a few suggestions for improvement by DeLonghi
- I wish there were a way to perform a manual pull without reprogramming the buttons!
- Can’t attach and remove the portafilter one-handed without causing the machine to tip/rock, due to the small case size.
- The water reservoir is very ‘tricky’ with its seating. At times the reservoir will sometimes lift just enough that the machine will stop pumping water mid-pull or mid-steam.
Some of the cool features for this espresso machine:
- Sleek Design provides outstanding espresso while only taking up 6 Inch of space
- Thermo block technology allows the machine to heat up to the ideal temperature in a quick 40 seconds
- Cappuccino Frothing system provides Barista quality foam
- Automatic Flow Stop
- Stainless Steel Construction
The new De’Longhi Dedica Espresso Maker produces the perfect espresso, latte, or cappuccino at home, all while only taking up 6 Inch of your kitchen countertop. It also features thermo block technology which allows the machine to heat up quickly and be ready within 35 seconds. It has sturdy stainless steel construction and buttons for automatic flow stop. The new Cappuccino Frother provides Barista quality foam for your favorite milk based espresso drinks.
Just make sure to clean the nozzle and push the button for steam before turning the steam knob to avoid the nozzle being clogged by milk.
Do yourself a favor and buy the generic stainless steel tamper accessory for under $15. The standard tamper included is quite short in length and makes usage difficult.
I’ve read reports from buyers that complained about a lack of crema. After using this machine myself, I can only assume that these reviewers are using old or improperly prepared beans.
2. Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker, Electric Titan
Perfect for owners who need an auto-pilot machine
- Small footprint makes this machine well suited for smaller kitchens that don’t have a lot of counter space.
- Heats up very quickly, so your coffee is ready in seconds.
- The attractive design which makes the machine a stylish addition to any kitchen counter-top.
- Produces very good coffee, with excellent crema.
- Smaller water reservoir means refills are frequently required.
- The water tank can be difficult to remove.
- Coffee spray during operation.
I quite often speak with friends who would like an espresso machine but can’t be bothered with the hassle that comes with operating a machine designed for advanced owners. Our second selection for espresso machines in the sub-$300 price point is one of the most popular Nespresso models, perfect for buyers who seek the simplicity of an automatic machine. The most complicated task with this machine is buying more coffee pods from the grocery store! Just hit a button and have your steaming hot espresso ready in under a minute.
What do you get with the Nespresso Pixie package? You get a true espresso with a lovely, brown crema on top. One of the best features is that you don’t have to spend time tamping grounds and cleaning them from your machine. The only maintenance required is occasional descaling and emptying the internal bin of used capsules.
If you’re a cappuccino lover, the Aeroccino Plus accessory pack is an optional extra, which means cappuccino and lattes are just minutes away. You can make two cup sizes with the Pixie, espresso, and lungo, which is approximate twice the volume of espresso but, of course, also weaker. Not weak, mind you, but not as strong as espresso.
Overall a very easy to use espresso machine that will last for years.
3. Capresso 118.05 EC PRO Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
The perfect choice for advanced Coffee drinkers
Designed for the true espresso aficionados the Capresso Pro is a great buy, especially now that it’s available for $300. One it’s most appealing features is the ‘bottomless’ espresso filter. Designed with connoisseurs in mind, the unique filter generates pressure according to the ground coffee bean size and the way they were tamped. The pressure can be adjusted by changing the bean’s size, how they were tamped, or even the age of the beans themselves.
Some of the cool features of the espresso machine:
- Includes two espresso filters, one for convenience, one for control
- Brews 1 or 2 espressos at a time
- Lets you brew barista style and perfect your technique
- Advanced pump boiler maintains a reservoir of hot water at the perfect
- 15 bar pump provides optimal pressure for rich crema
The EC Pro gives advanced users more control than coffeemakers they’ve used before. But if you aren’t a coffeemaker whiz, we trust you’ll love its double spout espresso filters and ‘advanced’ pump boiler. One espresso filter was designed for convenience and the other was designed for control. You may use the one you’d prefer. Its advanced pump boiler maintains a reservoir of hot water at the optimal temperature for brewing. Always having water for brewing enables it to prepare coffee faster and more consistently than most of the other commercial-grade coffee makers currently available in the market.
It’s worth highlighting that the Capresso isn’t as easy to use as a Semi Automatic Breville BES840XL. You’ll need to put a little work into each espresso rather than simply pressing a button and letting the machine run on auto pilot. If you want to make coffee easily, don’t buy this machine. It’s an entry level machine for connoisseurs who want total control over each brew.
Capresso’s build quality on the Pro is of high enough quality build, design and output to use every day. The handles are well sized and a nice heavy weight! Two filters are included, both the bottomless filter and two cups/beginner filter. It is useful to have two handles, especially because it is suggested you prime the machine each time you use it to bring it up to temperature. You can prime the machine with one handle while you load and tamp with the other handle.
- Unlike most espresso machines sold currently it comes with a good instruction booklet to help you get accustomed to all the features.
- Water tank in the back is very nicely designed, cleanable..and movable.
- Build quality is very nice, a good looking machine.
- The foaming wand makes VERY fluffy foam. Probably easier to use, and more productive, than even the pro espresso machines.
- The quality of the espresso is excellent and it rivals but does not quite live up to a pro machine. It is rich and not bitter and it is a good temperature.
- The porta filters are high quality as well – the espresso shots taste amazing.
- I like this machine, it gets four stars because of that—but I would have got 5 if the espresso were just a little thicker. I do recommend this machine–because I would not be surprised if it were the best in its price range. I like its simplicity.
- Could have been designed with sturdiness in mind. If it weighed a little more, you wouldn’t need to brace the machines while putting on the handle.
- Even when well packed, it’s tough to obtain solid crema on the espresso. Perhaps if you experiment with grind variation crema might be possible.
For the price, you really can’t find a better machine. No other machine on the market in this price point comes with a naked portafilter, stainless steel construction (instead of chrome plated brass), and an articulating steam wand. The water comes out nice and hot, and the machine heats up quickly. Not to mention, it uses a single boiler instead of a thermoblock, so you can always experiment with changing the brew temperature by flipping it onto the steam setting for a few seconds before you extract. There is not much I can say other than this machine is fantastic.
Capresso has produced a machine that makes delicious espresso and steams milk very well with a solid case construction. Isn’t this all that matters?
De’Longhi EC680 Guide