We researched and tested top soda makers to find the best one for your kitchen countertop!
If you’re addicted to sparkling water as much as we are, at one point or another you probably considered purchasing a soda maker. Investing in one means you won’t have to lug home heavy cans or worry about recycling them (or empty plastic bottles) as frequently.
Soda water is a healthier alternative to pop, and will help you step away from carbonated drinks mixed with dangerous high-fructose corn syrups. Some models even allow you to carbonate fruit juice, mocktails, or alcoholic beverages. Most soda makers use a cylinder filled with gas to inject the carbon dioxide straight into your water, while others use sodium bicarbonate tablets — that way you won’t have to fuss with inserting and refilling tanks.
After researching 18 different soda makers, we settled on four models to test. We narrowed down our results by finding soda makers that are compatible with a wide number of reusable bottles, so if the included bottle gets damaged, you can easily replace it. We also compared how they carbonate your beverages, the cost and availability of CO2 refills, and if the machines are powered by a battery or outlet.
We chose not to test Cuisinart and KitchenAid’s sparkling water makers since they have recently been discontinued. We previously recommended the tankless Bonne O Home Sparkling Beverage System, but unfortunately, that model has also been discontinued. It's set to be replaced with the Spärkel, which we hope to try as soon as it is available for purchase. We didn’t test the SodaStream Jet or SodaStream Source, as both models are no longer listed on SodaStream’s website.
Once we settled on which models to test, we compared how easy they are to set up, operate, refill, and adjust fizziness levels. Then we conducted a blind taste test with the filtered sparkling water produced from each, against a poured-out can of unflavored sparkling water. We also compared fizziness levels and taste after the bottles were left in our fridge overnight.
A sparkling-water maker won’t significantly help you save money, especially if you buy your canned sparkling beverages on clearance. Business Insider found that you would have to drink 240 liters of sparkling water to break even, assuming the machine costs $130, and you’re paying $0.54 cents per liter for CO2. That’s not even including the cost of flavoring you may buy to add to your drink. Want to see for yourself? Malaika Handa, a data scientist, created a nifty calculator that'll show you when you break even.
Pricing aside, these soda makers will turn your plain old boring water into a glass of fizzy, sparkling fun.