5 Best Espresso Machines Under $300 – The 2nd One Stands Out

Sometimes regular old coffee just isn’t enough. There are days when only a shot of espresso will do. Espresso machines can be expensive and a bit intimidating to figure out – until now.

I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 best espresso machines that are under $300. Not only are they easy on your wallet but they make barista-style espresso. Now whenever you need a pick me up, just head right to your kitchen.

Product Comparison

Click on the image of the machine for the review.

Breville Nespresso BNE500BKS1BUS1 thumbnail
Flair Signature Espresso Maker Thumbnail
Mr Coffee One Touch Thumbnail
BNV420IBL1BUC1 Nespresso VertuoPlus Thumbnail
KitchenAid KES0504SR Thumbnail
Nespresso Creatista Uno Flair Signature Espresso Maker Mr. Coffee One-Touch Nespresso VertuoPlus Nespresso KitchenAid
Pressure275,6 psi / 19 bar87 – 116 psi / 6 – 8 bar275,6 psi / 19 bar 275,6 psi / 19 bar 275,6 psi / 19 bar
Quick warmup/
Special features – Fully-automatic steam pipe for milk frothing
– Assisted clean and descaling system
– Fully manual
– Custom pressure gauge
– Removable milk reservoir
– Cleaning system
– Stainless Steel Drip Tray
– No setting changes needed – automatically recognizes barcode on the pod
– Volume control: 14 fl oz Alto, 8 fl oz coffe, 1.35 fl oz espresso
– Easy loading capsule system
– All-metal, die cast construction
– Included milk frother
Automatic power off/
Reservoir capacity50 oz2 oz22 oz40 oz44 oz
Type of coffee beans used Nespresso pods Your own favorite coffee beans or grounds Your own favorite coffee beans or grounds Nespresso Vertuo pods Nespresso pods
Movable drip tray

Pop out cup support /Adjustable cup tray fits tall or short mugs/Accepts larger or small espresso cups and folds for convenience
One-touch buttons– Ristretto
– Espresso
– Lungo (Manual: Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato and Flat white)

/– Espresso (single or double shot)
– Cappuccino
– Latte
– Clean cycle
Start button only as the program depends on the pod usedAdjustable knob:
– Ristretto
– Espresso
– Lungo

The Standout

Without a doubt, there is one machine that packs an espresso punch and stands above the others. The winner of this list is the Flair Signature Espresso Maker. It is at an excellent price point for the quality it serves up.

The manual press allows the user to have control over water temperature and the quality of coffee beans to make for that perfect shot of espresso. Not only that, but it’s one of the only espresso machines that has the capability of removing the brew head for cleaning. This can make a difficult task so much easier.

Its unique design makes it an eye-catcher in the kitchen. The fact that it’s also portable adds to its value.

If you’re looking for an espresso maker to deliver rich barista-like flavor, the Flair Signature Espresso Maker will have you look no further.

Product Reviews

Nespresso Creatista Uno by Breville

Nespresso Creatista Uno

The Nespresso Creatista Uno has a lot going for it. Adjustable temperature levels and the milk frothing capabilities make this a great choice for any coffee lover. It can get pricey if you love a strong cup so you’ll need to keep that in mind.

The sleek design of this espresso machine will add to any kitchen décor. It’s easy to use and would be the perfect starter for a newbie.

Pros
  • One-touch settings for coffee, espresso, and lattes
  • Excellent milk frothing
  • Automatic and adjustable steam wand with the ability to adjust the temperature
  • Descaling system that assists in cleaning
Cons
  • Only uses Nespresso pods

Flair Signature Espresso Maker

The Flair Signature Espresso Maker doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles attached to it. It’s a simple design that allows for a professional-grade shot of espresso at a great price. It’s definitely worth checking out!

This durable machine is a completely manual espresso maker. The simple design allows the user to easily hand press their own espresso shots. This straightforward process allows for a bolder flavor in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Pros
  • Unique design
  • No fancy gadgets and buttons
  • Portable
  • Removable brew head for easier cleaning
  • No pricey pods needed
  • Professional level espresso shots
Cons
  • A bit of a learning curve for beginners

Mr. Coffee One Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker

This easy to use espresso maker relies on one-touch buttons to choose between espresso, cappuccino, and lattes. The addition of an automatic milk frother makes it simple to step up your everyday beverage to barista-style quality.

This affordable option is a great start if you’re a first time user and need something simple. However, seasoned espresso users may find this machine to lack the strong, bold flavors they’re looking for.

Pros
  • Very simple to use
  • Good as a first-time espresso machine
  • Automatic milk frother can be a great addition for new users
Cons
  • No replacement parts

Breville Nespresso VertuoPlus B07Y2Q5FW2

BNV420IBL1BUC1 Nespresso VertuoPlus

This single-serve espresso machine is extremely easy to use, especially if you’re familiar with single-serve coffee makers. It also has adjustments to be used for 5 different sized mugs making it a great option for those wishing to have a bigger caffeine dose.

The VertuoPlus comes with a separate Aeroccino that can heat and froth milk making lattes and cappuccinos part of your morning routine.

While the Breville Nespresso machine is easy to use and affordable, the exclusive Nespresso Vertuo pods can be difficult to find in some stores and lack a variety of flavors.

Pros
  • Simple to use, no confusing gadgets or buttons
  • Fits a variety of cup sizes
  • Recyclable pods
Cons
  • Pod options can be limited and pricey

Nespresso KES0504SZ By KitchenAid

KitchenAid Nespresso KES0504SZ

The KitchenAid espresso machine is built to be sturdy, just like all KitchenAid products. Its pre-programmed settings take the guesswork out of brewing a great shot.

A good pick for espresso lovers. While it can get pricey if using the pods often, it generates a high-quality espresso and has a sturdy, retro look on the countertop. This is a definite contender if you’re in the market for an espresso machine.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Sleek retro look
  • Preprogrammed setting make for straightforward use
Cons
  • Limited to Nespresso pods

Tips For Buying An Espresso Machine

Deciding to purchase your own espresso machine can be daunting. First of all, they’re usually pretty expensive. Second, some have so many gadgets you’d need to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to use it. But that’s why I’m here to help!

This section is dedicated to discussing the factors that should be considered when purchasing a new espresso machine.

1. Price – Obviously this should be one of the first things you consider when deciding to make your purchase. There are some big-name machines out there that can cost upwards a grand. That seems a little excessive if you’re just looking for a machine to help you with your morning pick me up.

Not all the machines come with frothers and need to be purchased separately. Some also need separate coffee bean grinders. There are quite a few espresso machines that use specific pods that can generate quite a bit of excess cost if you use it regularly.

It’s important to keep this in mind when deciding on the perfect espresso machine. Monthly costs for pods can add up quickly, be sure you know exactly what the machine needs before purchasing.

2. Ease of Use – Another important factor to consider is how easy is it to use the machine.

  • Do you just press a button and your drink streams out?
  • Do you need to do a manual press?
  • What about cleaning up?

These are all important questions that you need to ask yourself before making your purchase.

There are many machines on the market where the touch of a button can change your drink from espresso to cappuccino, and that might be an important factor for some consumers.

Some espresso lovers may be looking to use their favorite coffee beans instead of prepackaged pods. It’s important to do your research and be knowledgeable about what is vital to you.

3. Taste – If you’re a long time espresso drinker than a manual press will give you the strong, bold flavor you’re used to. It also allows more control over the temperature and types of coffee beans.

Novice drinkers may prefer a machine that provides programmable buttons. But buyers beware, these types of machines often don’t produce a beverage that’s strong or warm enough.

Important Questions To Consider Before Committing To An Espresso Brewer

How Many Bars Is Good For Espresso Machine?

If you can’t decide which espresso machine to buy and have seen the specs of dozens, if not hundreds, of different brewers, the standard seems to between 7 and 9 bars, with some going as high as 19 bars.

Some machines use this much pressure because it lowers warmup time but doesn’t have any effect on the taste whatsoever.

Pressure is an important factor, don’t get me wrong here, but it’s not the only one.

Just like in photography, more megapixels don’t always mean better pictures. Same here, more bars don’t mean better-tasting espresso. The saying “Bigger is better” doesn’t apply here.

How Much Is An Espresso Machine At Starbucks?

Espresso machines used by Starbucks are made by Thermoplan AG in Switzerland: The Thermoplan Mastrena. Unfortunately, they are made exclusively for them and until them having one in your home is going to be just a wet dream.

One unit costs as much as $17,625. Yikes! You can get used or refurbished ones on sites like eBay or Craigslist, but these will cost you much more than an arm and a leg.

Price so high it makes one want to stop drinking espresso altogether

Are Cheap Espresso Machines Good?

Price isn’t the only factor to consider.

You can get a brand new espresso maker for just as little as $40 and I’m not talking about a cheap Chinese knock-off that will fall apart after the first few cups.

Previously I have given an example of “Bigger isn’t always better”. The same goes for the price. While true espresso fanatics are willing to spend a grand or even more, for the majority a couple of hundred bucks are more than enough.

What Is The Difference In Espresso Machines?

Not all espresso machines are created equal.

There are many types of espresso machines:

Target customer:

  • Consumer
  • Commercial

Automation:

  • Automatic
  • Semi-automatic
  • Super-automatic
  • Manual

Drive Mechanism:

  • Piston-driven
  • Steam-driven
  • Pump-driven

Boiler:

  • Single boiler
  • Single boiler, dual use
  • Heat exchanger
  • Dual boiler

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There many more different types of espresso makers.

Other important things that differentiate one machine from another, are:

  • Materials used for assembly
  • Brand
  • Reservoir capacity
  • How many cups it can brew in 1 instance
  • Color

This question deserves a title of its own.

Summary

There’s no need to spend any more money at your corner coffee shop. There are plenty of espresso machines on the market that can brew up an excellent shot just like the pros. It’s important to do your own research and read plenty of reviews before making such a big purchase.

My research of the best espresso machines under $300 gave you some insight into what works and what doesn’t. With the machines on the market today, you don’t have to go to the coffee shop to get great espresso.

Nespresso users, how much do you spend on pods per month?

About Mario 34 Articles
I am the owner of the Kitchen Guru Ideas. I've set up this site so I can share my kitchen tips and hacks that have been passed on to me from my parents and grandparents and show you how a wonderful experience cooking is and not just a way to save money. Even in this hectic lifestyle, there is time to prepare and most important enjoy a home-cooked meal.

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