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9 Best Espresso Machines Under $300 in 2024

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This is our review of the best espresso machines under $300 for beginners.

As someone once an espresso-making beginner, I wanted an affordable machine. Yet, it can make a decent espresso. That’s why I gathered a bunch of devices on this list.

I chose the Breville Cafe Roma as the best espresso machine in this price range because of its affordability and compact nature. Making it perfect for small kitchens, studio apartments, and tiny homes.

breville cafe roma

Breville Cafe Roma: Best Overall

  • Price: $
  • Type: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 9 × 9 × 12 in (D, W, H)
  • Bars of pressure: 15 bars
  • Boiler type: Thermoblock
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Milk frother: yes
  • Water capacity: 40 fl oz
    • Enough for: 40 solo shots

But it requires a lot of manual input. Not the best for anyone who wants to make espressos quickly. Don’t worry. I have fully-automated and capsule machine alternatives throughout this guide.

Here’s where the fun begins.

Top 9 Espresso Machines Under $300 for Home

  1. Breville Cafe Roma: Best Overall
  2. Breville Bambino: Best Performer
  3. Nespresso VertuoPlus: Budget Friendly
  4. Cuisinart Espresso EM-200NP1: Best Semi-automatic Machine
  5. Flair Signature Espresso Maker: Best Manual Machine
  6. Nespresso Lattissima One: Best Capsule Espresso Machine
  7. Mr. Coffee Barista: Best with Milk Frother
  8. De’Longhi Dedica Arte: Best For Canada
  9. Swan Retro One Touch: Best For the UK

Best Affordable Espresso Machines Under $300

I’ll cover each machine’s specs, pros and cons, who it’s best for, and why I chose each machine.

Read this before moving forward. It’ll help clear any confusion:

  • Dimensions:
    • D: depth
    • W: width
    • H: height
  • PID = proportional integral derivative: monitors water temperature & makes minor adjustments to keep it to a set temperature.
  • ESE = Easy Serve Espresso: pods with pre-ground beans to make brewing drinks easier.

There’s a lot of other information you may not understand (e.g., advantages of different boilers). I’ll talk about these under the “buyer’s guide.”

Let’s check out the winner.

1. Breville Cafe Roma: Best Overall

breville cafe roma
Dimensions9 × 9 × 12 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15
Boiler TypeThermoblock
Warranty1 years
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity40 fl oz = 40 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Compact
  • User-friendly controls
  • Compatible with ESE pods


  • Doesn’t hold large cups
  • May have a watery puck

Breville’s Cafe Roma is a perfect addition to homes with small countertops and want a machine from a company known for their long-lasting appliances.

It is a semi-automatic machine, meaning it’s a bit more difficult to use than super-automatic machines. As it only automates water pressure and temperature. But it gives you more control over your drink’s flavor.

This appliance also includes a thermoblock heater. It heats quicker than single pumps, yet is more affordable than double pumps. Great for making multiple drinks back-to-back quickly.

Most machines under $200 won’t have a stainless steel body, a material that’ll make these machines last much longer than plastic devices.

And it’s perfect for small spaces due to its compact size. Wouldn’t buying a coffee grinder require more counter/cabinet space? It supports ESE pods, which eliminates the need for a grinder.

It’s user-friendly for the most part.

The biggest complaint I could muster is that it’s not great for brewing in large cups due to a non-adjustable drip tray. And that once you finish brewing, the coffee bean residue in the portafilter (puck) will come out watery. Making it harder to dispose of.

Want a better-performing machine? Check out the next pick.

2. Breville Bambino: Best Performer

breville bambino
Dimensions13.7 × 6.3 × 12 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure9–15 bars
Boiler TypeThermoJet
Warranty1 year
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity47 fl oz = 47 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Compact
  • Easy to clean
  • Pre-infusion feature


  • No ESE pod support
  • Portafilter isn’t the best

The Breville Bambino (not Bambino Plus) is a great addition to households that want a high-quality espresso machine that doesn’t demand much kitchen space.

That said, it usually goes for slightly more than $300.

And who doesn’t mind another semi-automatic machine. If you didn’t read the previous section, this machine requires manual input for most steps when making espresso.

But the machine makes your life less painless by including a ThermoJet heating system. It’ll reheat your espresso machine in 3 or fewer seconds. You won’t need to wait minutes to brew your drink.

In my experience, these machines last at least 5 years, which is why Breville has such an excellent reputation. Finding a Breville machine under $300 is challenging, making the Bambino well worth the cost.

There’s a caveat.

It doesn’t support ESE pods and requires a separate grinder. That’ll demand more counter space. You COULD buy and store a hand grinder, but they don’t produce as consistently as their electric counterparts [1].

Or you could buy pre-ground coffee. However, the grounds won’t stay fresh for long. It’s preferable that you ground coffee beans only right before you use them.

Search for a compact(ish) espresso bean grinder you could fit in a cabinet when not in use.

And due to a removable water tank, you’ll save time cleaning and refilling the reservoir. Take the tank to the sink, fill or clean it. And bam.

There’s one more cost-cutting measure Breville took with this machine. The portafilter; it’s made of cheap plastic. I recommend buying a new one for around $60. The investment will make your machine last longer.


The pre-infusion feature. Before brewing, this function will moisten your beans. Extracting more flavor from them before you brew your drink. That’ll result in getting the most taste out of your beans.

You may find yourself tired of semi-automatic machines. Here’s a change of pace.

3. Nespresso Vertuo Plus: Budget Friendly

nespresso vertuoplus
Dimensions14.1–16.7 × 5.6–9.1 × 12.8 in (D, W, H)
Warranty2 years
Milk FrotherNo
Water Capacity40 fl oz = 5 cups
MaterialPlastic & metal


  • Makes black coffee & espresso
  • Compact(ish)
  • Barcode scanning


  • Must buy a separate milk frother
  • A bit of a process to insert pods
  • Prone to mechanical failure

Nespresso’s VertuoPlus works best for anyone who wants an affordable Nespresso machine and doesn’t mind not having a milk frother. If you decide to get one later, you could find an Aeroccino.

It’s a capsule/pod coffee maker, meaning you insert a pod, the Nespresso scans the pod, then brews coffee in whatever pod style is included. For instance, the machine will brew ristretto espresso shots if you feed it a ristretto (concentrated shot) pod.

You’ll need to pay for additional Nespresso pods, but weigh those costs against buying a coffee grinder plus beans for a regular espresso machine. Then think about the time required to clean the ground espresso out of a portafilter after each use.

The Nespresso saves you a minute or 2 by cycling all the used pods into a collections bin. Compared to similar machines, this one’s a bit more painful to operate. You must press a button to open/close the lid.

Then it takes a second for the lid to rise. I prefer the manual open/close mechanisms of other Nespresso makers. Speaking of mechanisms, many claim this machine’s prone to failure. That may depend on the user.

Worst case scenario, use the warranty if the machine goes bad within a couple of years.

Do you prefer having more control over how your drink is made?

4. Cuisinart Espresso EM-200NP1: Best Semi-automatic Under $300

cuisinart espresso
Dimensions12.8 × 9.25 × 10.63 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15 bars
Boiler TypeSingle
Warranty3 years
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity64 fl oz = 64 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Removable water tank
  • Many buttons for granular control
  • Long warranty period


  • Bad instructions
  • Will continue to press water into portafilter if you forget to turn it off
  • Difficult to clean inside of milk frother

The Cuisinart Espresso EM-200NP1 works great for anyone wanting a long-lasting machine and doesn’t mind manually operating most of the espresso-making process.

Part 2 of the previous paragraph stems from this being a semi-automatic machine. It’ll only automate steam and water flow. However, you also have control over the steam with the button.

But good luck understanding everything about the machine. As the included instructions are vague. I recommend checking YouTube videos or posts from Reddit to learn more about using it.

Fortunately, it’ll last a long time, though. Due to it being made of stainless steel, it’s more resistant to wear and tear. And it has a much more extended warranty than most espresso manufacturers offer (1 year).

It’s hard to clean the milk frother due to its size, but easy to clean the water tank. Since it’s removable. You win some; you lose some.

Ensure you power off the machine when not in use. Many have complained that the machine will pulse water through the portafilter, and has resulted in flooding their countertops. You probably don’t want boiling water flooding your kitchen.

Ensure you turn it off when not in use.

Otherwise, the machine doesn’t offer much else that’s special. If you want more control over espresso-making, consider the next option.

5. Flair Signature Espresso Maker: Best Manual Under $300

Flair Signature Espresso Maker
Dimensions12.5″L × 9 × 3.25 in (D, W, H)
Lever Pressure6–9 bars
Warranty5 years
Milk FrotherNo
Water Capacity2 fl oz = 1 solo shot
MaterialStainless steel


  • Lasts over 5 years
  • Easy to clean & maintain
  • Portable


  • Requires separate coffee grinder & milk frother/steamer
  • Makes 1 shot at a time
  • Takes time to adjust to device

The Flair Signature is an excellent espresso maker for anyone with patience and the desire to have absolute control over their espresso shots.

So long as you don’t mind making one shot at a time. Because the reservoir accommodates a single solo shot. Making it not ideal for folks who love making multiple shots.

Back to the device type.

It’s a manual espresso maker. Meaning, there’s no automation. Great for tailoring drinks to your preferences. Bad for entertaining multiple guests.

Many say the Flair is ugly; I disagree. I think it has a unique style. Whether that impacts this machine’s value depends on your preferences. The long lifespan does make this machine worth the money.

The less you replace your device, the less money spent.

It lasts so long due to the lack of electrical components and water reservoir. The latter matters because your device doesn’t risk accumulating minerals, which could reduce its lifespan. And this requires less maintenance time.

If you’re new to manual machines, you’ll need patience to use this. Many complain about having watery shots, but you can overcome this with practice.

Here’s a machine that’ll do all the work for you.

6. Nespresso Lattissima One: Best Capsule Machine Under $300

 Nespresso Lattissima One
Dimensions6.81 × 12.59 × 10.15 in (D, W, H)
Bars of pressure19
Warranty2 years
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity30 fl oz


  • Includes a milk frother
  • Takes 18 seconds to heat
  • Descaling notification


  • Casing feels cheap
  • Not much control over milk frother
  • Frother isn’t of the highest quality

The Nespresso Lattissima One serves as a perfect addition to households who want a Nespresso machine that includes a milk frother. An addition that’s essential for folks wanting to brew lattes or macchiatos.

I’ll return to this point in a second.

A capsule machine produces espresso or hot coffee by punching holes through capsules/pods and pulsing water through the capsule. If you get espresso capsules, the machine will spray crema-rich espresso into your cup.

The Lattissima One heats the quickest of all its counterparts and includes a descaling notification. Both features would usually bring espresso machines over the $400 mark. Making this machine worth its value.

Descaling is when you clean mineral buildup from your machine. It’s critical maintenance that you must perform at least every few months. And this machine tells you when it’s time. The quick heat uptime works best for anyone wanting to make drinks back-to-back or quickly.

However, if you genuinely care about milk-based drinks like lattes, you may not like the included milk frother. You can’t control its texture much, and many have complained about it not working.

In that case, you’ll want to consider a cheaper Nespresso machine and a separate milk frother. Many of these espresso makers sit under the $200 range. Going refurbished will save you more.

It uses 19 bars of water to extract your pods’ flavors. However, pressure this high may result in a bitter-tasting coffee. In my experience with 19-bar Nespresso makers, that wasn’t the case.

And like most other Nespresso makers, this one has a cheap-feeling plastic casing. But it isn’t subjectively ugly.

You may want a super-automatic espresso maker, instead.

7. Mr. Coffee Barista: Best for Automatic Milk Frothing

Mr. Coffee Barista
Dimensions8.8 × 11.2 × 12.6 in (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15
Boiler TypeSingle
Warranty1 year
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity54 oz = 54 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel & plastic


  • Uses an automatic milk frother
  • Affordable
  • Milk container is easy to clean


  • Milk frother is loud
  • Unsightly
  • May have inconsistent coffee taste

Mr. Coffee Barista is a great espresso machine for anyone who doesn’t want to bother with manually frothing milk.

But it’s not great for those who want complete automation. As it’s a semi-automatic machine, which only automates water temperature adjustments and pressure. But it’s excellent for preserving control over your drink’s taste.

And it’s not the best for making drinks quickly. Since it uses a single boiler, you can’t brew coffee and steam milk simultaneously.

But it’s worth the money if you want lattes, cappuccinos, and lattes, but don’t want to bother with frothing milk. Though, you’ll sacrifice tailoring the milk froth’s texture to your liking.

You’ll also save time with maintenance, since the machine automatically cleans the milk frother for you. A task that’s usually a pain and could take at least 10 minutes. If you’re finicky about cleanliness like me.

And the milk container is large enough to make it easy to clean. You likely don’t want a bunch of old milk aging in your machine. The machine’s already not the best looking. Seeing chunks of aged milk stuck inside the clear reservoir doesn’t look good.

I wouldn’t use this thing to froth milk in the early (or late) hours, though. It’s loud and will likely wake someone.

We’re done here.

8. De’Longhi Dedica Arte: Best Espresso Machine Under $300 in Canada

delonghi dedica arte pump ec885m
Dimensions14.9 × 33 × 30 cm (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15 bars
Boiler TypeSingle
Warranty2 years
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity1 l = 35 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Slim; ideal for small kitchens
  • Supports ESE pods
  • Works for tall & short cups


  • May overheat
  • Unsightly
  • Requires separate grinder

The De’Longhi Dedica Arte is a fantastic choice for anyone living in a small apartment looking for an affordable(ish) machine. And since it’s De’Longhi, they usually have great international warranties.

This one also goes for slightly more than $300.

It’s a semi-automatic machine that uses a single boiler. The first part of the previous sentence means you retain almost total control over the espresso-making process. Allowing you to tailor shots to your preference.

The second part means it’ll take minutes for your machine to heat up. Not great for making multiple drinks quickly.


Despite its unattractive appearance and requiring a separate grinder, it’s an ideal investment for those living in tight spaces. Buy ESE pods, and you won’t need a grinder, which would demand more counter/storage space.

It also has an adjustable base; making it support taller and shorter cups.

But many have complained about it overheating. With the regular Dedica Arte, some folks used the cup warmer to make a panini. I’d use this “function” as a heater on a cold day.

Let’s discuss another machine that’s great for folks outside the States.

9. Swan Retro One Touch: Best Machine Under £300 in the UK

swan retro one touch
Dimensions35.4 × 32.5 × 28.8 cm (D, W, H)
Bars of Pressure15 bars
Boiler TypeSingle
Warranty2 years
Milk FrotherYes
Water Capacity 1.7 l = 60 solo shots


  • Affordable
  • Fits a retro kitchen theme
  • Compact


  • Plastic body feels cheap
  • Milk frother isn’t the greatest

The Swan Retro Pump works best for anyone who wants a compact and affordable espresso machine to match a studio or kitchen’s retro theme. It’s also great for UK users since it supports UK plug outlets.

It’s a semi-automatic machine, meaning you manually do almost all the espresso making. And it uses a single boiler, meaning it’s not ideal for making drinks quickly. Because it will take minutes for the water heater to warm.

And I’d be careful with the machine’s case, because it’s made of plastic. Though, it looks like a stainless steel toy. And since it looks like a toy, the milk frother doesn’t produce the highest-quality froth.

You’re paying this little, you shouldn’t expect a lot.

Is it worth the money? Kind of. It’s an espresso machine. And it looks interesting.

Otherwise, there’s not much else to cover in these reviews. Read further to learn whether you’re buying the right machine.

How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine Under $300

Keep your eyes on these features when shopping for espresso machines under $300:

ChecklistWhy it’s Important
Water PressureCan determine flavor.
Ease of UseEasier & quicker to use.
Time to HeatHow many drinks you can make back-to-back.
DesignWhether it can fit in tight spaces.
PriceDoes it fit your budget?
Brewing CapabilitiesDrinks you can make.
Additional FeaturesMake drinks taste better or faster.

The following sections will provide more details on the above points. Read them and develop a criterion based on your preferences.

As you improve your espresso-making skills, your preferences will change. Since you’ll learn what you like and how to tailor drinks to your needs. Refer to this list when it’s time for an upgrade.

To learn more, read our espresso buying guide article.

Here’s the most important factor.

1. Water Pressure

  • <7 bars: under-extracted; super sour
  • 7–9 bars: Mild flavor & a bit sour
  • 9 bars: sweet spot; balanced flavor & excellent starting point
  • 15 bars: stronger-tasting drink, but not too bitter
  • >15 bars: over-extracted drink; excessively bitter

9 bars (units of pressure) is the ideal number to use when brewing shots [2]. You’ll have a balanced flavor that’s not too bitter or sour. All machines under $300 will have this amount of pressure.

Most machines will also go up to 15 bars—sometimes 20. Ideal for brewing more bitter drinks (my preference). If your machine doesn’t include a pressure gauge, consider buying a separate one starting at $30.

Many machines in this range will include pressure gauges. These help you understand the amount of pressure going through your drink. A good tool to help you determine your preference when brewing recurring drinks.

2. Time to Heat

  • Temperature control: Maintains set temperatures.
  • Boiler type: Affects how long it’ll take to boil water & heat milk steamers.
  • Time to heat frother: The time before you can froth or steam milk.

Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) is a feature to keep an eye out for when shopping for machines in the $300 range. It ensures your machine stays at a consistent temperature, which reduces downtime between drinks.

You’ll mostly find these in machines from brands like Breville and maybe Gaggia, though.

Then you’ll need to consider the machine’s boiler type. It determines the time necessary before you’ll need to make your next drink.

Here are your options:

  • Double boilers (best): Heats the quickest; costs the most.
  • Thermoblock (runner-up): Fast warm time; doesn’t cost too much.
  • Single boiler (worst): Costs the least; takes the longest to heat.

I’ve never seen an espresso maker under $300 with a double boiler. Leaving you with thermoblock or single boilers. Opt for the former to prevent yourself from having to wait over 5 minutes for your machine to warm up.

3. Design

  • Size: Where will it fit?
  • Aesthetics: It SHOULD match your kitchen’s theme.
  • Materials: Determines how much wear-and-tear it can withstand.
  • Water reservoir size: Indicates time required to refill your reservoir.

No matter the price range, you’ll find espresso machines that’ll fit in small kitchens or on coffee carts. And for the most part, you’ll choose between plastic and stainless steel.

You’ll likely find a plastic machine when buying a fully-automatic or capsule machine (cough Nespresso). Most other options in the $300 range should have stainless steel bodies, which makes them last longer.

Since it’ll take more effort to break your machine.

Whether a machine fits your kitchen’s theme depends. You may not care about this point. The same goes for reservoir size. The larger the reservoir, the more drinks you’ll make without refilling.

4. Ease of Use

Make cleaning easier by keeping an eye out for these features:

  • Easy-to-understand buttons: Don’t guess what you’re making.
  • Touchscreen interface: Easy-to-read programmed buttons.
  • Removable components: Makes it easier to clean your machine’s parts.
  • Descaling notification: Tells you when to descale.
  • Automatic descaling: Descales the machine for you.

Most machines under $300 will include removable components like a water tank or drip tray. And easily understandable buttons. That makes refilling the tank easier. And cleaning both components take less time.

However, most machines in this price range won’t have descaling notifications, automatic cleaning, and touchscreen UI. Those usually appear in the $400 plus range. However, one Nespresso on this list had a descaling notification.

What is descaling?

It’s when you clean a buildup of minerals in your espresso machine. You must do this every couple months to prevent minerals from affecting your coffee’s taste and damaging your machine.

Notifications and automatic descaling make this maintenance less painful.

5. Coffee Machine with Grinder vs. Separate Grinder

Almost all machines under $300 won’t include a built-in coffee grinder. If it does, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of getting one.

1. Built-in Grinder

Mostly super-automatic espresso machines include a grinder. While these machines demand more counter space, the inclusion of a grinder could save a bit of space.

That’s for you to decide:


  • Tailored to your machine: Designed to grind beans for your espresso machine.


  • May not offer consistent grinds: This can negatively impact your drink’s taste.
  • Conflict when issue arises with machine or grinder: Must buy a new machine if the grinder or espresso maker goes bad.

Included grinders often offer more convenience, but could take up more space. This will depend on your machine.

2. Separate Grinder

Buying a separate coffee grinder is ideal for a beginner since they give you more flexibility with bean grinds. For instance, you could also grind beans for cold brew or drip coffee.

Maybe these points will speak to you differently:



  • Increased space requirement: Not ideal for small kitchens.
  • Requires additional steps: Must transfer grounds to espresso maker.

Most machines under $300 won’t include built-in grinders. If you don’t want a grinder at all, find a machine that supports ESE pods or Nespresso capsules.

6. Budget

  • Warranty: Usually indicates a machine’s lifespan.
  • Opt for better materials: Better materials will lead to your machine lasting longer.

Most machines in the $300 range will include a 1-year warranty. Breville and Nespresso offer 2 years. Resulting in longer-lasting machines that don’t need frequent replacements. The less you replace your machines, the more money saved.

Almost all machines on this list will require buying a separate coffee maker. If not that, ESE pods or Nespresso capsules. Opting for a manual espresso maker and some Nespresso machines will demand buying a milk frother.

Unless you don’t want lattes and cappuccinos.

7. Brewing Capabilities

  • Shot preparation methods: Ristretto, lungo, doppio, & solo shots.
  • Included milk frother: Required for making milk-based drinks like lattes.

All machines under $300 will include milk frothers. Most of them will have buttons that allow you to choose between solo shots and doppio (double shots). You’ll still need to manually time ristretto and lungo shots.

Unless you go with Nespressos. They have ristretto and lungo capsules.

In case you’re new to searching for espresso machines, here are all the drinks these makers will create:

AmericanoCortadoLong macchiato
Black EyeGuillermoRápido y Sucio
CappuccinoGalãoCafé Crema
Dripped EyeIrish CoffeeFreddo Cappuccino
Flat WhiteCafé MediciAffogato al Caffe
LatteCafé BreveMocha
Lazy EyeVienna CoffeeCubano
Manilo Long BlackMacchiatoZorro
Red EyeEspresso RomanoMarocchino
List of espresso drinks espresso machines can make.

No machines in this price range will have programmed features to automatically brew these drinks.

8. Quality-of-life Features

Many machines in the $300 range will include features like:

FeatureDescriptionBest For
Pre-InfusionWets coffee grounds to ensure even extraction.Optimal taste.
Cup WarmersHeats cups to maintain drink flavor & scent.Ideal serving temperature.
Programmable SettingsCustomize settings like temp. & strength.Personalized espresso.
PID Temperature ControllerMaintains water temp.Temperature consistency.

These features will make your machines cost more. But consider the time savings and flavor enhancements each offers. Then determine whether they’re worth the added cost.

Espresso Maker Types Compared

Let’s compare all the different types of espresso machines:

Machine TypeWhat it AutomatesBest for
Super-automaticEverythingAutomated traditional espresso
Semi-automaticPressure & water flowGraduating from manual machines
AutomaticGrinding, tamping, & brewingBalancing cost & automation
ManualNothingLearning the basics
CapsuleEverythingConvenience, cost, & speed
Different types of espresso machines compared.

I’ll cover what each machine is, its price point, and who they’re good for.

1. Fully-automatic Machines

  • Average price: $800–$5,000 (varies by model).
  • Automation: Grinding, brewing, water flow, & pressure.
  • Advantages: Top-notch convenience, consistency, & variety.

Fully- (or super-) automatic machines do all the work for you. Whether it’s grinding, tamping, brewing, or water pressure. However, you’ll likely never find these in the $300 range.

Even the Philips one I mentioned goes above this price point. Thus, there’s no need to keep talking about it.

2. Semi-automatic Makers

  • Average price: $200–$2,000 (varies by model).
  • Automation: Pressure & water flow.
  • Advantages: Control, consistency, & user-friendliness.

Semi-automatic machines maintain most control over making your drink, except for automating water flow and pressure. It’s great for beginners and experts.

Most machines you’ll see under $300 are semi-automatic machines. The same goes for espresso machines in general.

3. Automatic Makers

  • Average price: $300–$3,000 (varies by model).
  • Automation: Pressure, water flow, & shot timing.
  • Advantages: Consistency, time-saving, & ease of use.

As mentioned, these machines automate shot times, water flow, and pressure. Yet, they’ll rise above the $300 threshold.

Let’s move on.

4. Manual Makers

  • Average price: $100–$800 (varies by machine).
  • Automation: Nothing; do everything by hand.
  • Advantages: Mastery, customization, & mechanical simplicity.

Manual machines usually don’t require electricity and give you absolute control over your drink. Making it ideal for beginners learning the craft. Or for experts who want control over every step in making drinks.

You’ll find plenty of high-quality manual machines under $300 (e.g., Flair Signature). And these types of machines will last the longest due to lack of electrical components. Making them technically the best investment.

5. Capsule Makers

  • Average price: $100–$700 (varies by machine).
  • Automation: Brewing & water flow.
  • Advantages: Simplicity, consistency, & minimal mess.

Grab a pod/capsule, stuff it in the capsule machine, and press a button. From there, it’ll spit espresso or coffee drinks into a cup. It’s the best machine for folks who want to automate espresso making and are short on time.

You also don’t need to spend a fortune on a super-automatic machine. Instead of buying coffee beans and a grinder, you’ll pay a recurring premium on capsules (e.g., Nespresso pods).

6. Stovetop Makers

  • Average price: $10–$50 (varies by maker).
  • Automation: Nothing; do everything by hand.
  • Advantages: Portable, brews coffee & espresso-style drinks, & affordable.

Stovetop coffee makers like the Moka pot pulls heat from stovetops and pressurizes coffee grounds and water within its structure. From there, it produces a concentrated espresso-like drink.

It’s great for producing an espresso-like drink while saving money. And it gives you an affordable means to have a different type of coffee drink. If you’re looking for something under $300, you’re not in the right post if you want a Moka pot.

Our Verdict

The top 3 best are as follows:

  1. Breville Cafe Roma: Heats quick, yet compact.
  2. Breville Bambino: Has pre-infusion, is compact, & from a highly-regarded brand.
  3. Nespresso VertuoPlus: Affordable, yet high(ish)-quality Nespresso machine.

The Breville Cafe Roma is the best machine under $300 due to its durability and high-quality features. And the support for ESE pods make it suitable for folks who don’t want to buy a separate coffee grind

Want even more affordable machines? Check out our recommendations under $100.

breville cafe roma

Breville Cafe Roma: Best Overall

  • Price: $
  • Type: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 9 × 9 × 12 in (D, W, H)
  • Bars of pressure: 15 bars
  • Boiler type: Thermoblock
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Milk frother: yes
  • Water capacity: 40 fl oz
    • Enough for: 40 solo shots
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Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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