Since Amazon.com is a popular place to buy and check reviews on items, and one of my favorite places to shop online, I decided to put together a sortable list of some of the best rated espresso machines I could find for under $300. Now, understand, from my research, Espresso machines under $300 are probably going to be mediocre, but if you’re like me, you may not be able to afford a high quality, $600 or more machine! But by taking a look at the reviews on the machines below, I’ve concluded that you can probably get a decent beginner machine in that price range.
The Bialetti Moka celebrates more than 80 years of classic design elegance and technological simplicity. From the early 1950s to the present day, Bialetti has manufactured over 200 million coffee makers. In particular, the Moka Express has become iconic and has allowed millions of consumers to enjoy great Italian coffee. The Moka produces a rich, authentic espresso in just minutes. The aluminum pot features Bialetti’s distinctive eight-sided shape that allows it to diffuse heat perfectly to enhance the aroma of your coffee.
Mini food processors—also called mini choppers—have bowls ranging in size from around 1½ cups to 6 cups, but the highest-rated one’s hover around 3 cups. These machines are most useful for small jobs, such as chopping up one onion, making a curry paste, preparing salad dressing, or a doing small batch of pesto. They are much smaller and lighter than a full-size food processor, so they’re easier to tuck into a cupboard and bring out when needed. Both Anderson and Gilletz keep mini processors, and Gilletz swears by her Cuisinart Mini-Prep (not to be confused with our mini processor pick, the Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus).
High-quality food processors have strong motors and heavy bases that anchor them to the counter so that they can mix sturdy yeast doughs. Low-quality machines, which also happen to be lighter, will often skid across the counter when processing dough, or the motor might even seize up.
Some processors come with a specific dough speed. I asked Norene Gilletz if investing in one of these is worth the cost. “If you’re making a lot of bread, maybe. But if you don’t have that speed, just do a little dough and pulse, and you won’t need the dough speed,” she said. Gilletz said it’s more important that the machine have a pulse speed, which gives more control than just on and off buttons. The appliances usually come with a dough blade, often made of plastic.
All of these products are great choices for people who are currently on a budget but want high quality products.