Soda makers have been around for quite a while, but mostly in the guise of soda siphons that were meant for dispensing soda water into a cocktail. Now, home soda makers are used for making sparkling water, flavored sodas, and more to cut down on packaging waste and replace store-bought products. After all, when you make your soda yourself, you know exactly what you’re consuming.
Home soda makers are also great for making original and unusual flavors using fruit juices as flavorings. Many soda... makers are designed for carbonating water and adding flavor after, but some can be used to carbonate any liquid you like, including fruit juices, cocktails, and wine.
Soda makers require small (usually 8-gram) CO2 cartridges or small cylinders (14 1/2 ounces, usually described as 60 liters) of CO2 to carbonate the liquid. While brand-name and proprietary cartridges can be expensive, there are many alternatives on the market. Bought in bulk, the 8-gram cartridges can be less than 35 cents each. There are also ways to adapt these machines to use re-fillable tanks intended for beer brewing. With that in mind, these are the best picks for most people.
01 of 07
One of the first brands to make soda makers popular, it’s no surprise that SodaStream tops our list. This model comes with a 4-ounce starter cylinder of CO2 for carbonating up to 6 liters of soda, depending on how fizzy you like your water. That starter cylinder can be replaced with a 60-liter cylinder that will make up to 60 liters of fizzy water, or it might make much less if you like your water with extra bubbles. The kit comes with a coupon for a free 60-liter cylinder as well. Because of... its popularity, these CO2 cylinders can be found at many retail locations as well as online. A 60-liter cylinder costs about $30 to purchase a full tank, and about $15 to exchange an empty tank for a full one.
You can choose one of three levels of fizziness, and the proprietary snap-lock bottle snaps in and out of the machine for secure carbonating. The bottle has a special fizz-preserving bottle cap for storing the carbonated drinks as well. A two-pack of extra one-liter bottles is will cost about $16. The company also has more than 60 flavorings available for purchase that enable you to create your own sodas by adding them to the water after it’s carbonated.
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There’s no machine needed with this soda maker, since it’s simply a special bottle that uses propriety disposable CO2 chargers to add carbonation. The kit includes a 1-liter bottle, five disposable CO2 chargers, and the carbonation device.
The proprietary CO2 chargers cost about $1 each and are slightly longer than the generic chargers that are available from a number of other sources. The other drawback with these chargers is that they are single use, so you’ll want to keep a lot of them on... hand.
Some users have found that they can insert a small shim (like a piece of cardboard or even a penny) to make the charger holder work with the generic chargers, which are much less expensive at only 35 cents each when ordered in bulk. Like the SodaStream, this works with water only.
03 of 07
Small and inexpensive, this soda maker is easy to carry to parties and picnics and is designed to create smaller bubbles that last longer. The kit includes a soda maker, a one-liter bottle, and six chargers. The quick-connect bottle attaches to the carbonating unit securely and can be used with any iSODA machine, if you decide you want to have several different machines.
This uses single-use (8-gram) CO2 cartridges that are recyclable. There are many branded and generic cartridges on the market... that can be used with this soda maker. In bulk, you can buy them for less than 35 cents each.
There’s no adjustment for the amount of fizz, but if you want a super-fizzy drink, you can immediately re-fizz the water with a second charger to add more carbonation
Extra one-liter bottles are available for $20 for two, and 1/2-liter bottles are $18 for two.
04 of 07
If you’re looking for a small, portable, inexpensive way to make carbonated water on occasion, look no further. The carbonating unit fits onto the bottle and secures with a quarter-turn. This uses proprietary 8-gram CO2 cartridges, and a starter pack of 10 cartridges is included. While this isn’t designed to accept the standard-sized CO2 cartridges (which are longer than the proprietary ones designed for this unit), some customers have worked out ways to use the standard cartridges.
This has... fizz control that adjusts with the turn of a knob and the included BPA-free bottle holds one liter.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Unlike other soda makers that should only be used to carbonate water, this soda maker can be used to carbonate any liquid. (Hello homemade sparkling wine!) The kit includes a quick-connect bottle that has lines to indicate the proper volume, and a three-ounce CO2 cylinder.
The level of carbonation is variable, depending on how long you press the buttons, and you can leave the carbonation infuser attached to the bottle to better maintain the carbonation and to add more bubbles, if desired.
This... unit can also use the 60-liter SodaStream tanks, and some users have adapted it to use paintball tanks, as well. (Although, there are concerns about whether the CO2 used in paintball tanks is food safe.) The 60-liter SodaStream tanks cost about $30 to purchase full, and it costs about $15 to exchange an empty tank for a full one.
This uses iSODA bottles. Additional one-liter bottles are available for about $20 for two, and 1/2-liter bottles are about $18 for two. Extra fizz infusers are available for about $22.
06 of 07
This handy carbonation unit has the technology of larger carbonation machines with none of the bulk. It’s small enough to tuck into a briefcase or purse or picnic basket or leave in a drawer at work. Since it doesn’t require any power, you can take it with you to parties, picnics, or even carbonate water or juice on the road.
This includes the spritzer gun and a half-liter reusable bottle. Additional bottles are available separately. It also includes two 3-ounce CO2 carbonator cylinders that... each carbonate up to 16 bottles of liquid, and more are available for purchase separately
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If you don’t have space for a countertop unit for making fizzy water at home, a soda siphon can do the job without the extra parts. This siphon is made from aluminum, so it’s lightweight. The integrated pressure regulator and the threaded lid makes it safe to use.
For flavored sodas, carbonate your water, then add flavoring – you shouldn’t carbonate anything except water in the unit. The siphon holds 1 liter and is dishwasher safe. Since it only contains water, it’s just as easy to rinse it after... use.
This requires standard 8-gram individual CO2 chargers, which are not included. It also includes an e-book with cocktail recipes.
Although the standard chargers are available in bulk quantities at affordable prices, if you make a lot of soda, it might be more affordable to use a soda maker that uses large CO2 tanks.
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