The 8 Best Soda Makers, Tested by Allrecipes
Soda makers have come a long way since their inception, when they were largely just available for commercial use. Now, not only can you make soda at home, but you no longer have to buy a clunky, countertop appliance to get those beautiful bubbles. Soda makers come in all shapes and sizes today, including hand-held options for on-the-go fizz.
Don't have any use for a soda maker? Hear me out — investing in a soda maker can save you a lot of money in the long run. That is, if you're someone who is constantly stocking up on expensive seltzers and sparkling waters.
Plus, soda makers make an excellent addition to any home bar. Create your own fizz for all your favorite liquid concoctions. All you need is a little H2O. Soda makers work by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into water, so you can DIY your own sparkling water at home.
With more than a few models on the market, finding the right soda maker requires some research. That's why we did it for you, whittling it down to the 8 best soda makers on the market, and putting them through a series of diligent tests. Keep reading for our thoughts on these top-rated soda makers. But first, learn everything you need to know about soda makers before purchasing one.
Best Soda Makers at a Glance:
- Best Overall Soda Maker: Aarke Carbanator II
- Best Value Soda Maker: SodaStream Fizzi Classic
- Most Versatile Soda Maker: Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig: The Drinkmaker
- Best Fizz: DrinkMate instaFizz Stainless Steel Carbonation Bottle
- Best Hand-held Soda Maker: Nuvantee Soda Siphon
What to Consider When Buying a Soda Maker
Before you invest in a soda maker, ask yourself: How do you plan to use it? Most soda makers will simply carbonate water, requiring you to add any desired flavorings after. But some select models can carbonate any liquid, from iced tea to fruit juice to cocktails and more.
If your whole reason for purchasing a soda maker is so that you can turn wine into bubbly, be sure to make sure your machine is up to the task. But if you're simply looking to make carbonated water to add to other drinks or enjoy by itself, there are many basic models that are available at a much lower cost.
Countertop vs. Handheld
We all know kitchen-counter space is valuable real estate. While countertop soda makers aren't much larger than a single-serve coffee maker, they take up counter space nonetheless. If you don't have any space to spare, consider going for a handheld model.
Plus, handheld models can be taken on the go for picnics in the park or weekend getaways. We have several options to choose from in this review, from siphons to all-in-one soda-maker bottles.
Investing in a soda maker is not a one-time purchase — there's all that CO2 you have to keep repurchasing. Soda makers work by injecting CO2 into water or other liquids. This CO2 comes from replaceable tanks or cartridges that you'll need to purchase, either in a bundle with your soda maker or separately.
Some soda makers may be able to comply with a variety of different-sized CO2 tanks, while others will only work with a certain size. If you plan to make soda regularly, your best bet is going to be using a soda maker with a larger CO2 tank so you don't have to keep replacing it. But if you're purchasing a soda maker for occasional use, you can save money by purchasing small cartridges of CO2 instead of full-size tanks.
How We Tested Each Soda Maker
Rachel Johnson, our seasoned product tester, pulled together a list of the best soda makers on the market, including the classic SodaStream models, in addition to brands like Aarke, DrinkMate, and more. Rachel tested each soda maker by using it to carbonate water, before adding syrups (Strawberry Soda Syrup and Lime Honey Soda) to test how the fizz factor held up over time. As Rachel tested each model, she took careful note of each of the following factors:
- Overall Feel: Is the soda maker made to last?
- Efficiency: How quickly and easily does this machine make sparkling water?
- Customization: Can you control the level of carbonation?
- Cost: How expensive is it to keep up the CO2?
- Cleanup: Do the pieces come apart for easy cleaning? Are they dishwasher safe?
The testing is complete, and the results are in. Rachel narrowed it down to the top five soda makers out of those tested. Curious about what else we tested? You'll find Rachel's thoughts on the competition below too.
Best Soda Makers to Buy in 2020
Best Overall: Aarke Carbanator II
While it comes with a hefty price tag, this top-of-the-line soda maker from Aarke is hard to beat. Its sleek, sturdy, and minimalist design is user-friendly while still maintaining a high-quality feel. For those new to the world of soda makers, this is a great choice as it doesn't require much set up or practice. Simply screw in the CO2 tank, screw in the bottle, and pull the lever.
Rachel found this soda maker to produce tasty soda, with very little effort. The splash from this maker was minimal-to-none, and the spill tray catches whatever gets past the bottle. The bottle requires hand washing, but it's the only part of the machine that requires regular cleaning with soap.
On the downside, the CO2 replacements are more costly than other brands, but they make up for it with their large size that will easily produce several dozen carbonated drinks before running out.
"It is at a higher price point, proving cost prohibitive for some consumers. However, this soda maker is very sleek and modern-looking and would fit very well on an upscale home bar," says Rachel.
Best Value: SodaStream Fizzi Classic
SodaStream has proven time and time again to be one of the top players in the soda maker game. To get the most bang for your buck, go with the Fizzi Classic from the popular brand.
The Fizzi Classic has a clean, sleek design, although Rachel did find the plastic material to feel a little cheap. A major perk to this model is its varying carbonation level options, so you can get just the right amount of fizz to suit your taste.
SodaStream offers CO2 refills at reduced cost, making this the best budget-friendly option. "With the brand-recognition that comes with Sodastream, this unit is the best value for the price. It's sleek in design, compatible with other bottles, and straightforward," says Rachel.
Most Versatile: Drinkworks Home Bar by Keurig: The Drinkmaker
As the name suggests, this is an entire home bar in one machine. In classic Keurig fashion, this machine makes an entire drink from just one Pod. Make carbonated water using a Pod-specific mix of chilled water and carbonation. Want to go beyond water? Keurig also offers a variety of classic and specialty cocktail offerings in Pod form.
While this machine is a great option for those looking to get more from their soda maker, it's not the most efficient for the sole purpose of carbonating water: "For the sole job of producing carbonated water, this machine may be out of price range and lack efficiency," says Rachel.
Best Fizz: DrinkMate instaFizz Stainless Steel Carbonation Bottle
Unlike other models which include both a standing appliance and a bottle, this model from DrinkMate is both the appliance and bottle in one unit.
"This bottle makes carbonated water in a flash! You simply place the CO2 canister in the bottom, slide to close the door, releasing the gas and carefully open the bottle after the CO2 is finished. The entire process takes less than a minute, no charging required," says Rachel.
On the downside, each time you use the bottle, you'll use an entire canister of CO2 to make two to three servings of sparkling water. This is going to mean refilling the CO2 regularly.
But where this bottle really shines is its strong, long-lasting fizz: "The water it produces is extremely bubbly," says Rachel. If you're looking to make high-quality sparkling water on the go, you can't go wrong with this top-rated bottle.
Buy it: $60; Amazon
Best Handheld: Nuvantee Soda Siphon
To round out the list, we have another handheld option that's great for portable use. Unlike the DrinkMate model, this soda maker uses a siphon mechanism to release the carbonated water out through the pressurized handle. The siphon prevents gas from escaping, extending the life of the CO2 cartridge.
"This carbonator is made out of stainless steel and plastic parts — making it feel rather industrial and more appropriate for a professional bar," says Rachel.
It's important to note that this siphon is not dishwasher safe, and it is suggested that you only wash it with non-abrasive cleaners.
You can get three to four full cups of water out of one 12 gram canister of CO2, although Rachel found that this caused weaker bubbles due to the CO2 being dispersed over a larger volume of water.
Buy it: $35; Amazon
Other Soda Makers We Tested:
FIZZPod Soda Maker
This model was just edged out by the competition. It has a simple design that results in refreshing sparkling water. Plus, this is one of very few models tested that can handle liquids other than water, such as alcohol, juice, and mixed syrups. However, cleanup will be necessary between those uses, and the long bottle length (that's not dishwasher safe) makes this part a little more difficult.
Buy it: $63; Amazon
SodaStream Aqua Fizz Premium
We've already established that SodaStream is a trusted name in at-home soda making, but their premium unit missed the mark for Rachel. Why? "This is virtually the exact same machine as the Fizzi, and appears to only be upcharged for purely cosmetic purposes," says Rachel.
While the stainless steel is more appealing, Rachel found this unit to be less intuitive and versatile than the classic model.
Buy it: $160; Amazon
Blue Flag Soda Plus
This budget-friendly option performed well in comparison to other single-use CO2 cartridge soda makers, but when it comes to the quality of the materials, you get what you pay for.
Rachel also ran into a bit of jam (and potential hazard) with this one during testing: "If the outer cap (which holds the CO2 cartridge) is accidentally affixed to the inner cap at an askew angle, it can become wedged and nearly impossible to unscrew or remove. This occurred during the testing process, and could not be salvaged," says Rachel.
Buy it: $26; Amazon
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