How to Choose the Right Espresso Machine or the Coffee Maker? Expert's Blog.

9+1 Best Espresso Machines For Every Need 2019 📊 Under $300

My independent advices are based on 6 years of experience in coffee machines sales. 6 comments

Hi! This is not yet another ‘top 10 anything’ website written by a freelance copywriter. This top is based on my reviews and comparative tests of espresso machines made over the past 2 years. All the machines are personally tested by me. I also disassembled most of them to investigate built-quality and durability issues.

This page covers only semi-automatic manual espresso makers for home with 15-bar pump and list price under $300. However, many machines fall into ‘under $200’ or even ‘under $100’ categories.

  1. №1. Delonghi Dedica Deluxe (EC685): a universal, but a bit pricey choice. Equally good for espressos, cappuccinos and small kitchens.

    Read my detailed review
    👆+160 comments where I answer your questions
    $265.00
    9 new from $261.99
    6 used from $169.99
    as of December 5, 2019 11:30 am

    👇
    Free shipping

    Best for gifts or for beginners, who don’t have any specific needs yet.

    Key features and pros:

    • Thermoblock as a heating element – it heats up fast and quickly switches to steam mode
    • Autodosing: just start it and you can go brush your teeth. The machine will stop automatically.
    • It has temp. adjustments and on max. settings it makes hotter espresso than competitors
    • Narrow (15 cm / 5.9 in) body with metal coating available in 4 colors: Red, Black, White and Silver

    Controversial points and cons:

    • The flip side of the narrowness: small drip tray and water tank + you need to hold the machine with 2nd hand when inserting a portafilter
    • Less crema if compared to other at-home machines (but fresh coffee will help)
    • Long cool back time after milk frothing and before making next espresso
    • Overpriced in my opinion, but you can buy older model – Dedica EC680, which is the same machine, but without hot milk function (read more)
  2. №2. Krups Calvi: a cheaper alternative to the previous model from the French company. Even smaller and faster, but…

    Read my detailed review
    👆+7 comments where I answer your questions
    $133.00
    7 new from $133.00
    2 used from $118.75
    as of December 5, 2019 5:31 pm

    👇
    Free shipping

    … it has a professional steam wand. Experienced users can make cafe quality milk foam, but beginners may not handle it at all.

    Key features and pros:

    • Thermoblock with drainage – it heats up fast, quickly switches to steam mode and back
    • Needs just a 5.9×11 in (14×28 cm) on your table
    • Quieter than its counterparts
    • Makes one of the richest crema in the class
    • Very affordable in the States

    Controversial points and cons:

    • High water consumption + small tank and drip tray = add water and empty tray on a daily basis
    • No hot water function for tea or Americano
    • No auto dosing and no temp adjustments
    • Plastic body and group head (why it is bad)
  3. I would also appreciate your starred review at the end of the article
  4. №3 for US/Canada (not available in Europe). Delonghi EC702 – An Old Premium Model with Solid Steel Body

    Read my detailed review
    👆+5 comments where I answer your questions
    $171.00
    $279.95
    12 new from $171.00
    14 used from $109.41
    as of December 5, 2019 3:25 pm

    👇
    Free shipping

    A bit outdated ‘monster’ from the ’00s, which is no worse than modern Delonghis.

    Key features and pros:

    • Classic stainless steel boiler with 180ml capacity: can make better espresso and ready for upgrades
    • Body made of really thick steel, not just a thin layer of aluminum over the plastic frame
    • Pressurized filters of ‘old’ type give better crema
    • More durable than modern Delonghi models and better built-quality overall

    Controversial points and cons:

    • The flips side of the boiler: heats up longer
    • Takes up lots of counter space (see dimensions)
    • Usability issues: limited cup height and others
    • Filters of ‘old’ type require more cleanings
    • Will be discontinued soon, I assume
  5. №3 for Europe (not available in North America). Gaggia Viva – the best espresso under £150/€200

    Read my detailed review
    👆+11 comments where I answer your questions
    as of December 5, 2019 6:20 pm

    👇

    Perfect choice if you are mainly focused on espresso shots

    Key features and pros:

    • Classic aluminium boiler with a 110 ml capacity
    • Less affected by scale
    • Saeco’s pressurized 53mm portafilters extract maximum flavor and give rich crema

    Controversial points and cons:

    • The panarello steam wand isn’t very comfortable
    • Small (110ml) boiler is only enough for 1 ideal espresso shot (30ml). Max two if well heated.
    • Even the most expensive Viva Prestige is mostly made of colored plastic, not metal
    • Usability: dim lights, power button at the back

    This model was previously known as Saeco Poemia. Gaggia Gran is also the same model, but with different controls: read here.


  6. №4. Delonghi ECP series – the main competitor of the previous one

    Read my detailed review
    👆+63 comments where I answer your questions
    $111.99
    3 new from $111.99
    1 used from $84.99
    as of December 5, 2019 10:50 am

    👇
    Free shipping

    Better for cappuccinos and/or in a limited budget

    Key features and pros:

    • Classic stainless steel boiler with a 180ml/6oz capacity
    • More comfortable panarello wand, longer steam
    • Can fit higher glasses and make hot milk without frothing (only top models)
    • Different colors available with a various plastic/metal ratio in the coating

    When compared to Gaggia/Saeco with all other things being equal, it brews more bitter. Can list it neither in cons nor in pros – it’s a matter of taste.

    Controversial points and cons:

    • Still, even top models are mostly plastic
    • The flips side of the boiler: heats up longer
    • Gives less crema
  7. №5. Delonghi ECO310/311 – more pretty and more metal

    Read my detailed review
    👆+81 comments where I answer your questions
    $199.00
    $199.42
    15 new from $199.00
    as of February 15, 2019 8:31 pm

    👇
    Free shipping

    All the insides are the same as in the previous model, but less weak points

    Key features and pros:

    • Classic stainless steel boiler (180ml capacity)
    • One of the best panarellos in the class
    • Metal coating and different colors
    • Better usablity
    • Ready for upgrades

    Controversial points and cons:

    • The flips side of the boiler: heats up longer
    • ECO311 uses new filters (less crema), EC310 – old ones (more cleanings)
    • More bitter taste (in case you don’t like it)

    My favorite machine in this list. Best in the ‘under 200’ budget if you are looking for both cappucinos and espressos.

Below this point, I list espresso machines that have more controversial moments than models above. They still could be a good choice, but only with certain provisos. So please read my full reviews to understand if you can deal with particular cons of these models or not.

  1. №6. Hamilton Beach 40715 – Best In Strictly Under $100 Budget

    Read my detailed review
    👆+2 comments where I answer your questions
    $54.75
    3 new from $54.75
    as of December 5, 2019 12:52 pm

    👇
    Free shipping

    A chinese-engineered machine with average quality, but low price

    Key features and pros:

    • Classic aluminum boiler with a 130ml capacity
    • Average built quality is compensated by good customer and warranty supports
    • Gives a lot of crema

    Controversial points and cons:

    • More flat, watery taste of espresso
    • The flips side of the boiler: heats up longer
    • Milk frother rather makes bubbles, not soft foam, but you can get used to it
    • Less durable construction: see examples

    As any OEM manufactured product this model has many replicas including Somela Capresso in South America or Clatronic ES3584 in Europe

  2. №7. Mr. Coffee Café Barista – Automated Milk Frother Under 200

    Read my detailed review
    👆+15 comments where I answer your questions
    $179.99
    $199.99
    10 new from $179.99
    1 used from $432.00
    as of December 5, 2019 5:05 pm

    👇
    Free shipping

    The best for those of you who can’t handle manual milk frother

    Key features and pros:

    • Thermoblock – machine heats up fast
    • Approx. 10% of people can’t froth milk with manual steam wand. This machine goes with an automatic one.
    • Average built quality is compensated by good customer and warranty supports by Mr. Coffee
    • Gives a lot of crema

    Controversial points and cons:

    • Not only made but also engineered in China
    • Not as automated as it seems (read more)
    • Automated milk jar requires regular cleanings
    • More flat, watery taste of espresso

    As any OEM manufactured product this model has many replicas including Oster Prima Latte, Breville PrimaLatte

  3. №8. Aicook B079 – Very Similar Chinese Machine By Unknown Brand

    Read my detailed review
    👆+6 comments where I answer your questions
    $230.00
    2 new from $230.00
    as of December 5, 2019 3:52 pm

    👇

    Easier to use but people complain about warranty and support.

    Key features and pros:

    • Thermoblock – machine heats up fast
    • Approx. 10% of people can’t froth milk with manual steam wand. This machine goes with an automatic one.
    • Usually very affordable for a one-touch cappuccino

    Controversial points and cons:

    • Not only made but also engineered in China
    • Not as automated as it seems (read more)
    • Automated milk jar requires regular cleanings
    • More flat, watery taste of espresso
    • Unknown brand with quality control issues and almost no customer support and warranty

    Good functions for its price if you are lucky not to get a defective unit

  4. №9. Delonghi EC155.M – Good, But Very Outdated Machine

    Read my detailed review
    👆+15 comments where I answer your questions
    $79.96
    15 new from $79.96
    7 used from $57.99
    as of December 5, 2019 3:10 pm

    👇
    Free shipping

    It’s hard for me to recommend it in 2019. Only if you are really short on budget and only drink espresso.

    Key features and pros:

    • Classic stainless steel boiler (180ml capacity)
    • Pressurized filters of ‘old’ type give better crema
    • Really good espresso
    • Classic design

    When compared to modern Delonghis this machine has many usability drawbacks

    Controversial points and cons:

    • Limited cup height and awful steam wand, which makes it hard to brew cappuccinos
    • Plastic body
    • The flips side of the boiler: heats up longer

    Nevertheless, EC155 and BAR32 (see here) are the cheapest truly Italian espresso makers on the market.

These were top 9 espresso machines under $300 + 1 for Europe. Questions? Ask in comments!

The portafilter photo by Marco Verch and espresso cup photo by Sharaf are used under CreativeCommons License.

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Author: Dmitriy

02/02/2019

Ask me!

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for you reviews and greetings from Chile! Why don’t you have any Breville in your list?

    Ankita

    5 Feb 19 at 11:35 pm

    Reply

    • Hi, Ankita! Wow, I’v been to Torres Del Paine several years ago, that was a great experience! Breville isn’t in the list simply because it doesn’t have any machine you can buy for three hundred. Well, there is one, indeed, that you can find on Amazon on Ebay – it’s Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma (but this model isn’t even listed on official website anymore). However, this machine have nothing to do with other Breville’s espresso makers, Cafe Roma is simply a OEM-manufactured Chinese machine with no Breville’s DNA. An among Chinese models I prefer cheaper and more reliable (mainly because of general popularity and, thus, spare parts avaiable) Hamilton Beach, Mr. Coffee or Somela (in Chile this brand is more popular as far as I remember). Nevertheless, it is much more preferable in my opionion to choose between European-engineered machines: Delonghi, Saeco, Gaggia, Philips, Krups, Ariete, Briel etc.

      Dmitriy

      6 Feb 19 at 9:18 am

      Reply

  2. Have you any information on the German Klarestein brand espresso machine model called Passionata?

    Cathy

    6 Jul 19 at 7:11 pm

    Reply

  3. Hallo Dmitriy, I’m from Germany and I have the following question:
    You said to Anika (6 Feb,2019) that “However, this machine have nothing to do with other Breville’s espresso makers” What did you mean ? Is the Breville Prima Latte II not a clone of Mr. Coffee/Oster build in China ? Or gives a another Firm called Breville ? I search for a good Expressomaschine without Milkmaker. I wont to drink espresso with a lot of crema and a long good coffee without bitter taste. I read much sides from your wonderfull website, but now I don’t know anything more – sorry – I hope you can help me by my make decision. Thanx, Your sincerely Irisiana

    Irisiana

    9 Aug 19 at 9:14 am

    Reply

    • Hi, Irisiana. You are right, Breville Primma Latte is also a Chineese clone.

      What I meant in my reply to Ankita, is that Breville (or Sage in Europe) has good machines, you can read many good reviews about it: Barista Express, Oracle, Double Boiler. They have some drawbacks, but at least they have strong points. However, all of them are above the $300 mark. So, when it comes to cheaper models of Breville – like Primma Latte and Cafe Roma – they has nothing to do with above mentioned machines, and one shouldn’t extrapolate good reviews about Breville/Sage to these models. You pay for an ordinary Chineese qiality more, just overpaying for a brand name.

      The better crema and the better espresso taste in the €200 budget is definetly Gaggia Viva. Moreover, there is no functional difference between cheapest all-black model number 886843311010 https://amzn.to/2YA0QuH and the Viva Prestige https://amzn.to/2yLT8hp Really, you won’t have better espresso for two hundred euros, despite the fact that the first one is below €100 during sales.

      Dmitriy

      9 Aug 19 at 9:53 am

      Reply

  4. Have some doubts which model to choose? Ask me!