Sometimes you feel like having a sparkling soda or sparkling water, but the cupboard is empty and you don’t have time to go to the store. Or maybe you’re bothered by the expense of commercial sodas and the environmental waste from all those cans and the energy it took to transport them. One solution to consider is a soda maker.
The average can of store-bought soda costs 40 cents, whereas the cost per glass of homemade seltzer is only around 20 cents. Plus, using a soda maker allows you to choose the flavoring you add to your drink or opt to keep it simple and clear with sparkling water. See the recommendations for some of the best soda makers to start making your refreshments more economical and satisfying.
- BEST OVERALL: Spärkel Beverage System
- BEST HANDHELD: iSi Classic MeshSodamaker
- BEST SODASTREAM: SodaStream Fizzi One Touch Sparkling Water Maker
- BEST FOR SMALL KITCHENS: DrinkMate Sparkling Water and Soda Maker
- MOST VERSATILE: Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Soda Maker
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best soda maker to purchase. There are different designs and even different methods of carbonization to contemplate. Here are some considerations to investigate when making your decision.
Handheld vs. Countertop
If you have limited counter space, the advantage of purchasing a handheld soda maker is its portability. Whenever you need the room on your counter, you can store the handheld soda maker away and then bring it out only when needed. However, if multiple people in the household drink soda at least twice a day, then a countertop style would be more efficient. Most handheld models take about 15 minutes to achieve full carbonation, whereas the countertop models usually only take about 10 seconds to create fully fizzy water or soda.
Handheld soda makers are generally designed in a classic, retro-looking style that harkens back to the days when your parents or grandparents may have had a full bar in their house. The newer countertop models are sleeker and designed more for daily usage, and they likely fit in stylistically with your other kitchen appliances.
Size and Weight
A countertop soda maker is usually a narrow, upright plastic appliance that measures about 5 to 6 inches wide, 10 to 18 inches deep, and 12 to 18 inches tall, depending on the model. Handheld models average about 4 to 5 inches in diameter for the base bottle and 12 to 14 inches high, including the nozzle head.
A handheld model will weigh less than a countertop soda maker. The handheld models average about 2½ to 3½ pounds without liquid weight. Countertop models weigh anywhere from 4 to 10 pounds without extra liquid weight.
Comparatively, the weight of a case of 12 soda cans is more than 10 pounds. Fourteen cases of soda cans—the equivalent of 60 liters of soda, the amount a single large canister of CO2 (carbon dioxide) will create in a soda maker—equals 140 pounds, including the aluminum cans. Imagine if you were to use glass bottles in a cooler full of ice and throw in a bottle opener for good measure. That’s a big weight difference.
Most countertop models of soda makers use a 60-liter CO2 canister to carbonate water. The number of carbonated drinks a single 60-liter canister will make will vary depending on the amount of carbonation you prefer. On average, however, a single 60-liter canister of CO2 will make 60 liters of sparkling beverages.
Handheld soda makers have a capacity of about 750ml to 1 liter of water, depending on the manufacturer. Any bottle bigger than this would weigh down the soda maker to the point where it would be difficult for many people to use it.
What is carbonation? It means the saturation of a liquid with CO2 gas; it’s a term used to describe the dissolution of CO2 gas in water by utilizing pressure and temperature, and it typically includes cold CO2 under high pressure. CO2 is a nontoxic, inert gas that is virtually tasteless and is readily available at an affordable cost.
The limit of CO2 that can be dissolved in water is 8 grams per liter (g/L), which is the typical size of a CO2 cartridge used in handheld seltzer bottles. Any excess CO2 will typically only remain in the water when the liquid is under pressure.
Commercial carbonated beverages are prepared by mixing chilled flavored syrups with carbonated water. Carbonation levels are about 3.5–5 g CO2 per varying liquid volume in colas and related drinks and less carbonated for fruity drinks.
The allure of countertop soda makers is the speed and ease of getting a sparkling beverage. With a new canister of CO2 attached, it generally takes only 10 seconds to carbonate a full 1-liter bottle of water. If the canister has been used a few times, the carbonation might take 10 seconds longer. If you add some flavoring or syrup to the drink, it’s a good idea to shake or swirl it around for another 10 seconds, ensuring it is adequately mixed.
A handheld model takes longer to carbonate a full bottle of water—about 15 minutes. Depending on how carbonated you like your drink, you can shake up the bottle a little after the time is up to agitate the carbonation. Although it’s significantly longer, if you factor in the time and the extra money it takes to purchase the equivalent number of cans of soda, the handheld model still makes sense.
Your initial purchase of a soda machine may or may not come with CO2 cylinders included in the box. If not, they are available at several different retail stores, supermarkets, or even hardware stores. Some companies will courier them to you with return labels for sending the empties back. Always use food-grade CO2 canisters. Some canisters are compatible with multiple soda makers’ designs; make sure you check the instructions for the canister style that works for your machine.
Handheld soda makers almost exclusively use smaller CO2 canisters, frequently called cartridges. These are almost exclusively sold in bulk.
There are even some soda machines that don’t require CO2 cylinders or cartridges at all. They use two sachets of carbonators that create CO2, which then gets infused into the water.
Our Top Picks
Taking the above criteria into consideration, several of the best soda makers available on the market were chosen and included here for you. Cheers!
Spärkel is the only sparkling beverage system currently on the market that doesn’t require a CO2 cylinder. You can carbonate fruit juices, teas, herbal teas, wine, spirits, plain water, and many more drinks. The Spärkel system is a fun and healthy way for your household to stay hydrated and drink more liquids.
Five carbonation levels allow you to choose the bubbles you want with the flavors you choose. Each purchase comes with one reusable bottle and 10 carbonators. These carbonators generate the appropriate amount of CO2 to sparkle one full bottle (750ml or 25.4 ounces). The carbonators release CO2 naturally when mixed with water. There are no syrups required for this system, and you control the ingredients you mix into your drinks. One downside is that only Spärkel Carbonators are compatible with this system, but on the upside, you never have to worry about returning empty canisters.
The iSi Classic Mesh Sodamaker is a classic and elegant throwback to a bygone era of drink mixing. The mesh-covered soda siphon is retro-style that has also been updated for today’s lifestyle. You can enjoy a handcrafted sparkling soda, sparkling juice, wine spritzer, or cocktail with elegant flair.
The Classic Mesh Sodamaker features a stainless steel mesh over a BPA-free plastic bottle. Rather than a kitchen appliance, the iSi Classic Mesh Sodamaker will look like part of your decor. The high-impact plastic head is designed with a steady-stream technology for a dripless pouring spout. Isi offers its own brand of CO2 cartridge called the iSi Soda Charger; one iSi charger is used per full bottle for carbonation. The bottle should be cleaned by hand-washing only.
With the SodaStream Fizzi One Touch’s simple design, you can indulge in fresh seltzer at the touch of a button. The sleek, slim, space-saving design fits well in either the home or the office. This particular model features a “snap-lock technology” that enables you to easily click in the BPA-free carbonating bottle for quick and straightforward carbonation. The kit includes a sparkling water maker, a 60L CO2 cylinder, and a 1L slim carbonating bottle so you can turn plain water into sparkling water in a flash.
The Fizzi One Touch is a little different than most other soda makers in that it needs electricity to be powered. This power feature may limit where you can place your appliance, but the upside is that the technology involved allows you to choose three levels of carbonation at the push of a button.
The DrinkMate quickly carbonates a variety of drinks: water, juices, coffee or iced tea, energy drinks, wine, cocktails, and even flat soda or beer. This elegantly slim appliance fits neatly into small spaces on your kitchen counter, saving room for meal preparation or other appliances. Included with the DrinkMate machine is a BPA-free 1L reusable carbonating bottle and a Fizz Infuser.
The Fizz Infuser is a unique component of the DrinkMate system. With a simple quarter turn and click, it locks tightly onto the DrinkMate bottle allowing for “slow” or “fast” pressure release options to easily prevent over-foaming. It cleans quickly by rinsing under warm water after each use.
If you want to go far beyond mere seltzer, you should seriously consider the Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig. Not only does it give you excellent sparkling water, but it also can whip up cocktails, cider, brews, and more. There are almost limitless possibilities for fresh-made, bar-quality drinks that are created on demand. Drinkworks dispenses the spirits, water, carbonation and other ingredients all at once, mixing them as they cascade into your glass. Like a standard coffee maker, each pod contains the ingredients needed for the drink, alcohol included.
For carbonated cocktails, Drinkworks carbonates each beverage to order, so mimosas, gin and tonics, and more come out bubbly and fresh. Simply press a button and enjoy. Drinkworks uses a “Quick Cool KOLD Technology” to consistently deliver a perfectly mixed cocktail at the perfect temperature.
FAQs About Soda Makers
If you still have questions regarding soda makers, we’re here to help. Here are some of the most common questions asked, and we hope the answers help you choose the best soda maker for you.
Q. What is a soda maker?
Soda machines or soda makers are home appliances designed for carbonating still water by infusing carbon dioxide from a pressurized cartridge.
Q. How does a soda maker work?
A soda maker uses disposable gas cartridges. The gas is then added to a specially designed water bottle via a pipe and valve system.
Q. Can you drink carbonated water every day?
Carbonated water provides true hydration, a much better option than drinking regular soda or diet soda, which don’t provide adequate hydration.
Q. Is carbonated water as healthy as regular water?
It is always essential to avoid dehydration. Unsweetened carbonated water in conjunction with regular water and other low-calorie beverages in moderation can keep you hydrated and healthy.
Q. What is the advantage of owning a soda maker?
A soda maker can produce up to 3,300+ ounces of carbonated water before the canister needs to be replaced, depending on the canister’s size. Compared to buying carbonated water in the store, this is a considerable savings.