Espresso machines are awesome -- for gifts, for the office or for a special splurge on yourself. They make delicious, decadent coffee treats, and, let's face it: everybody loves the guy or gal handing out the espresso! But as much as we'd all love to have an endless supply of cash on hand, for most of us even a really special purchase like this has to fall into an affordable range. Here, we've outlined for you the absolute best espresso machines money can buy for under $300 so that you can get your coffee fix without killing your caffeine buzz by falling into debt.

Keurig K60/K65 Special Edition & Signature Brewers


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Arguably one of the better Keurigs on the market, this machine receives mostly solid reviews due to its many excellent flavor options when used with Keurig's single-serving "K-Cup" system. It features a 60-ounce reservoir for water and brews one 6-, 8- or 12-ounce cup. This model gets high marks compared with others of the same brand for longevity, with most users reporting impressive functionality for long periods of time, even with daily use. Unfortunately, it does share the drawback with its sister Keurigs that if it breaks, there is potentially no fix for it.

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Nespresso A+GCA1-US-RE-NE VertuoLine Coffee and Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother


This machine boasts a revolutionary approach to coffee making. When you insert one of Nespresso's special coffee capsules, the VertuoLine reads the code printed on the capsule and automatically adjusts its settings for the ideal brew for that blend. It features a built-in milk frother, is specially designed for larger serving outputs and has one-touch options for both regular coffee and espresso brewing. While reviews still lean largely toward the positive, some users report somewhat weak-tasting coffee and complain that coffee delivered is not hot enough.

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De'Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine


Incredibly, for a machine that only takes up 6 inches of counter space, the De'Longhi EC680 delivers extremely competitive espresso. Users report amazingly professional results from this little dynamo, with truly remarkable taste and function for the price. While the majority of users report that the machine delivers rich, thick creme, others disagreed -- complaining of the creme not forming well or dissipating quickly. It has been suggested that these complaints can be remedied with more careful studying of the directions and a bit more practice working with the machine.

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Nespresso D110 Citiz Limousine Black Automatic Espresso Machine


This surprisingly attractive little machine receives very positive reviews for the quality of coffee, espresso and cappuccino it brews. Wonderful flavors, nice crema delivery on the espresso setting and hot output temperature all leave customers satisfied. Some reviewers have gone so far as to say that it is far superior to Starbucks coffee and ultimately much less expensive as well. However, some users have found issues with the relatively small sizes delivered by the Nespresso Citiz, as the "large" setting only delivers 5 ounces of coffee, so it may not be the ideal machine for high-volume coffee drinkers.

Available at Amazon

Capresso 118.05 EC PRO Espresso and Cappuccino Machine


Capable of brewing up to two cups at a time, the visually appealing, stainless steel Capresso EC PRO features a 15-bar pump and high-quality articulating steam wand for truly fluffy, luxurious foam. It has garnered some impressive reviews; in fact, many users who have worked with professional-grade barista equipment report that, although the Capresso does not match a professional unit in all ways, the quality of espresso it delivers with a little work is enough to rival that delivered by the professional machines. There have been some complaints of difficulty with small leaks and other minor operating issues, but there is some evidence that these can be cleared up with careful handling and attention to the instructions.

Available at Amazon

Our Recommendation: If plenty of ready-made flavor options is most appealing to you, Keurig may be your best bet. Higher-volume coffee drinkers may be more satisfied by the Nespresso VertuoLine, while those satisfied with less coffee output may enjoy the Nespresso D110. For a compact machine, the De'Longhi EC680 fits the bill while the Capresso EC PRO may be the ideal choice for beginning to really hone your barista skills.

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**Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the promo content above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, our partners will receive an affiliate commission without any effect on the price you pay. Regardless, Our product reviews are based mostly on (1) our expertise and that of the experts with whom we consult and (2) the information provided by the manufacturers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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