A soda maker, essentially, allows you to carbonate regular tap water and other liquids. The great thing about soda makers is that they are often easy to use and can carbonate to a certain level of fizziness.
They are best suited to people who enjoy drinks like sparkling water but are tired of buying and carrying around bottles and cans. Soda makers save you quite a bit of money over time, too, even given their initial investment.
Perhaps most importantly of all, though, is the fact that there are environmental benefits to soda makers. Since most soda makers operate with reusable plastic bottles and refillable cylinders (of carbon dioxide), you’re helping out the planet by avoiding one-time-use cans and bottles. We’d say that’s a pretty good bonus.
Read on to learn more about what to look for in soda makers; be sure to check our reviews of the top picks this year, too.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Overall: SodaStream Fizzi One Touch
- Best Budget: SodaStream Fizzi
- Most Versatile: DrinkMate Sparkling Water and Soda Maker
- Best for the Bar: iSi Stainless Steel Soda Siphon Bottle
Why we Picked It
The SodaStream Fizzi One Touch is our best overall soda maker for this year. Its ease of use is a specific highlight, allowing you to carbonate liquid with a touch of a button.
Some models of soda makers require you to push the carbonation button multiple times to get the results you want, but the Fizzi One Touch lives up to its name and only requires a single push. You can select your preferred level of fizz by choosing one of three buttons: low, medium, or high.
Almost everything about the soda maker has been well thought out. From the attractive design that is contemporary enough for modern living to the use of safe materials—it uses a BPA-free plastic bottle—this soda maker is thoughtfully designed.
It features a snap-lock bottle insertion for quick carbonation, and you can select your preferred level of fizz with that same simple touch of a button. Each cylinder carbonates up to 60 liters of water, too.
Keep in Mind
It does need to be plugged in to work, whereas some models work just from the CO2 cylinder alone.
In a Nutshell
- 60L CO2 cylinder
- Very easy to use
- BPA free materials
The Fizzi is the classic model with a critical distinction from the One Touch: it doesn’t require electricity to operate.
Why we Picked It
Our best budget choice is the SodaStream Fizzi. Essentially a less expensive version of the Fizzi One Touch, the Fizzi makes sparkling water—you guessed it—with the touch of a button.
It features a 60L CO2 cylinder and a 1-liter BPA-free reusable carbonating bottle. It’s worth pointing out that the SodaStream Fizzi is compatible with all SodaStream flavors and BPA-free carbonation bottles.
The Fizzi is the more classic model with a critical distinction from the One Touch: it doesn’t require electricity to operate. You’re also able to control the amount of fizz from strong bubbles to gentle ones, but just note that you have to hold the button down for more fizz rather than choosing an automated fizz level like the One Touch.
Like the One Touch, it’s a great looking model, with a slim design that will contemplate most places. The fact that it operates without electricity only makes it more portable too—which is especially useful for traveling.
We love that you can use the SodaStream exchange to recycle your bottles, too!
Keep in Mind
It doesn’t offer the three sparkle presets that the One Touch does.
In a Nutshell
- No electricity required
- BPA free
- 60L CO2 cylinder
Forget just water; this soda maker can carbonate cocktails, juices, wine, flat soda, and beer.
Why we Picked It
The DrinkMate is the champion of versatility. Forget just water; this soda maker can carbonate cocktails, juices, wine, flat soda, and beer. If versatility is prominent on your priorities, then rest assured, this is the best pick for the job.
The home soda maker is easy and quick to operate, and we’re pleased to say that it requires no electricity or batteries. It comes with a 10L cylinder CO2 cartridge, and even better, all brands of 60L CO2 cartridges will work with the DrinkMate.
The royal red design helps the DrinkMate to stand out, with three finishes to choose from and a small footprint that doesn’t take up all of your counter space.
In other words, it’s the soda maker for those that want to experiment; you’ll be an expert mixologist in no time at all!
A two-year limited warranty is included with the DrinkMate.
Keep in Mind
The bottle it comes with is made from plastic, not glass, so cleaning it will probably be more challenging.
In a Nutshell
- Fizz Infuser technology
- Two-year warranty
- Can carbonate almost anything
Well suited to bars that need a quick way of carbonating their beverages.
Why we Picked It
Our top pick for the bar is the iSi stainless steel soda siphon bottle. It uses iSi CO2 chargers that allow you to carbonate tap or bottled water.
You aren’t restricted to just water, though; you can also carbonate fruit juices, pure water, and wine as well. In fact, it would be well suited to bars that need a quick way of carbonating their beverages.
The handle of the iSi has been designed to be ergonomic and features a non-slip silicone grip.
We like the safety features that come with the iSi, too, including a measuring tube to prevent overfilling and even a pressure control valve.
The design is simple, unique, and available in black, silver, or aluminum. Of course, the size makes it perfectly portable for whatever the occasion!
It comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
Keep in Mind
The iSi uses CO2 chargers, which can be more expensive and harder to find than cylinders.
In a Nutshell
- 1-quart capacity
- Portable and durable
- 2-year warranty
How We Chose the Best Soda Makers
When we were deciding on our top picks of the best soda makers this year, we looked at five key areas to help make our decisions.
Perfection is just a concept, but we do like to see soda makers that provide everything they can, perform how they should, and offer an overall enjoyable customer experience.
From the ease of use to the CO2 cylinder exchange, here’s everything we look for in the best soda makers available today:
Ease of Use
A soda maker should be simple to operate. Notably, we look for a comfortable experience that is free from unnecessary hassle. The best soda makers are straightforward to use and can perform their operation with a simple press of a button. We also look for soda makers that are highly compatible and are consumer-friendly. Soda makers with poor designs and lacking on crucial features will not make the top of our list.
We look for soda makers that can customize the level of carbonation. From a light fizz to something stronger, the machine should ideally be able to produce both. We also tend to look for CO2 cylinders rather than tablets or pods because they are easier to use overall, and they create a better end product. Bicarbonate tablets don’t tend to make the best fizzy water. CO2 cylinders are also are less wasteful, and this is something we like to see in all products.
CO2 Cylinder Exchange
A decisive problem with soda machines is the need to consistently replace and exchange the CO2 cylinders when they run out of gas. To help alleviate this, we look for soda makers that are compatible with the most available refills, which tend to be SodaStream cylinders. Retailers such as Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and grocery stores will be able to provide refills, making the whole process much more manageable. We also prefer brands that reuse or recycle their cylinders.
Soda makers tend to start at $50 and go up to around $150, although there are some pricier models than this. We don’t necessarily look for the most luxurious models; we look for those that provide excellent value for money for consumers, are simple and easy to use, and don’t cause inconvenience. That said, the quality does tend to rise with the cost of the soda maker. More features open up to the user, and the designs are generally better—but not in all cases.
Customers reviews tell us directly what real people are thinking about their soda makers, so they’re an essential part of our overall decision. We look at a range of customer reviews and form our opinions based on recurring trends. Specifically, factors like: have customers mentioned a comfortable design that’s easy to use? What was the level of service they received? Are there features that benefit the consumer? A soda maker with consistently poor reviews, feedback, and a lack of excellent customer service provided by the brand will not feature in our top picks.
What is a Soda Maker?
A soda maker is a machine that can carbonate (add fizziness) to regular tap water and other liquids. It works by adding carbon dioxide (CO2) from a pressurized cylinder to the liquid. Most soda makers allow you to create something especially catered to your tastes, which is why they’re an excellent investment.
For example, when buying sparkling water as opposed to using a soda maker, there are a few points to contemplate. First is price. Most agree that using a soda maker to make carbonated water is cheaper when compared to the cost of buying it at a store. Specifically, you’ll save money with the ordinary SodaStream CO2 canisters because they’re less expensive than buying cans of carbonated soda.
In terms of convenience, it’s hard to fault soda makers either. As long as they perform as expected, you’ve basically got access to carbonated water whenever you like. That’s in contrast to going down to the store and making a purposeful journey when you could do it in the comfort of your home.
All of that is without mentioning the environmental impact of buying disposable plastic bottles. It can take up to 1000 years for a plastic bottle to decompose. Plastic bottles never fully break down either, so they will technically be a part of our environment forever. Soda makers are indeed more environmentally friendly with their refillable canisters and reusable bottles, and even more so when you consider you remove the need to drive to a store to buy sparkling water.
In other words, if you like sparkling water, want to help the planet, and would like to save some money while doing so, then a great soda maker is the way forward. The trick is making sure you buy a machine that works well and is easy to use for everyone in your house.
What to Consider When Choosing a Soda Maker
You might be eager to start carbonating your drinks, but there are many things to consider before jumping right in with your purchase of a soda maker. From the customization the soda maker provides (the amount of carbonation) to the availability of the cylinders, there’s a lot to think about.
Our top picks should serve as an excellent starting point, as we’ve reviewed some of the best soda makers out there today.
To make it all a bit clearer, we’ve discussed everything you need to consider below:
Clearly, different shoppers have different preferences. What might be great for one person will be the wrong purchase for someone else. The method involved during the process of using a soda maker will be a deciding factor in a purchase.
Most soda makers now use a cylinder to inject CO2, which most agree is an efficient method and likely the best. Tablets (or pods) are another method and are filled with carbonator beads. The problem is that you can’t adjust the level of carbonation.
The brand you purchase affects the nature of the refill system too. For example, SodaStream and Cuisinart soda makers have proprietary cartridges, but they tend to cost more than other makers, as we will discuss further below.
There’s also a notable distinction between soda siphons and soda makers. A soda siphon needs chargers that can be expensive and sometimes difficult to find. A soda maker should have a carbonator with CO2 already. You need to think carefully about which is right for you.
SodaStream, arguably being the brand to beat, has highly available cylinders that are easy to find. You will be able to find them in most stores and major retailers, making the entire process easier. Some brands of soda makers are compatible with these cylinders, but some aren’t—so it’s worth checking to see which cartridges a soda maker is compatible with before purchasing the appliance. Generally, though, SodaStream makers do remove a lot of the difficulty in finding the appropriate cylinder.
The amount of customization or the level of carbonation is an important point to consider for some shoppers. Soda water makers that allow you to choose and adjust the level of carbonation offer a better deal overall. People have different preferences, so while some may like a strong beverage, others will want a light fizz. Soda makers that give you the choice of carbonation ensure a broad range of shoppers can be as happy as possible.
We’ve mentioned sparkling water throughout this guide, but it’s definitely worth pointing out that soda makers can be used with beverages other than just water. In fact, top soda makers can make a sparkling martini, fizzy sangria, or just some bubbly lemonade. Not all soda makers offer this, so if it’s a significant purchasing point, you need to think carefully about which soda maker to buy. The DrinkMate on our top picks, for instance, would be a great choice here because it excels in versatility.
How to Care for Your Soda Maker
Soda makers, on the whole, are durable appliances. Let’s be honest, though, anything you buy can break down after use, so it’s still essential that you know how to maintain them properly.
When cleaning your soda maker, you should remove the CO2 canister and wipe the machine with a wet cloth. Be sure that the water you use to clean with is moderate and that you’re not too forceful during washing.
Your method for cleaning the bottles is dependent on the type of bottle your soda maker uses. Some models use glass carafes, while others are made from plastic. The glass variety is far easier to clean, and shouldn’t require a great deal of thought. If the bottles are plastic, however, they can be tricky to clean.
Plastic bottles typically aren’t dishwasher friendly, and they can be hard to clean, too. To do so, fill the plastic bottle around halfway with water and then simply tip it out. Do this multiple times to ensure a more thorough clean. After that, try filling the bottle around three quarters with water, close it up, and then shake it with some gusto. Empty the bottle again, and be sure to rinse it out once more. Finally, wash the bottle cap with boiling water.
If you’ve used the bottle for a long time, you’ll need to use some dish soap as well during the cleaning process.
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