Soda makers, otherwise known as carbonators, may be the kitchen appliance you probably don’t realize you need. Bubbly drinks like seltzer and Prosecco are typically associated with special occasions, but the rise in popularity of flavored drinks like La Croix are making carbonated beverages more accessible, not to mention more fun.
Getting that bubbly taste at home hasn’t always been easy. While soda makers have been around for awhile, the original versions were clunky and not always reliable. Today’s carbonators are sleeker, more powerful, and more functional — perfect for your kitchen. Here’s our roundup of the best soda makers on the market, so you can stop lugging bottles of carbonated drinks from the store and start making your own custom drinks right at home.
My favorite is what I would call my Luxury Pick or my Style Pick. The Aarke Sparkling Water Maker is double the price of other options on this list, but is by far the best-looking, and most compact and is most likely to last the longest on your counter. Made entirely of stainless steel with a very pleasing push-down lever for carbonating, the Aarke is for you if you simply want to drink a lot more, stay hydrated and get your guests chatting.
The least expensive option on our list, the Fizzini is a handheld carbonator that can easily be stored in a drawer or cabinet when not in use. While the price is great, there’s a reason you’re paying very little: it lacks the power of a true soda maker and only carbonates a small amount of water. It is, however, great for quick, on-the-go carbonation and gets the job done.
A modern take on an old school design, the Innovee Soda Siphon is perfect for making cocktails at small gatherings. This one requires the water used to be ice cold in order for carbonation to happen, but its compact design makes it easy to fit in your fridge and keep chilled. The Soda Siphon also takes a bit longer to carbonate, but its small size and functionality make it totally worth it. Plus, it’s completely dishwasher-safe, a rarity for soda makers.
SodaStream is the king of carbonation, so it was impossible for us to pick just one model. The Fizzi is inexpensive and slimmer that other SodaStreams, making it ideal for small spaces. Lightweight, quick and easy to use, carbonating is controlled by a button — push three times for lighter bubbles and up to seven times for heavy carbonation.
Another SodaStream option, the Source is one of the more well-known models and packs a lot of power into a compact machine. Even though it only carbonates water, you can purchase any of SodaStream’s drink mixes, from flavor drops like mango and raspberry to zero calorie mixers in flavors like pink grapefruit and strawberry watermelon. You can even buy yourself cola mixes for a much healthier alternative to traditional soda.
The only soda maker that can carbonate liquids beyond water, the Drinkmate works because of a special cap that has two buttons that slowly release the CO2. With other soda makers, carbonating anything other than water is a safety hazard (think exploding fizzy drinks), but the slow release system of the Drinkmate remedies this problem and lets you enjoy fizzy orange juice, wine, etc. Plus, it just works really well and is totally worth the investment.
A luxury soda siphon pick, this carbonator is designed to add fizz to individual drinks like cocktails. The stainless steel mesh exterior is durable and reminiscent of old school soda siphons — if anything, it’ll look great on your bar cart. The design works well, delivering carbonated water from a spout and giving you a little extra kick to your favorite drinks.
A fun but expensive SodaStream model, the Penguin comes with two glass carafes (if you want an upgrade from the basic plastic bottles) and carbonation is done by pressing the “beak” lever. Carbonation is customized to your preference based on how long you hold the beak. While definitely on the high end, this is a great gift idea for the serious fizzy drink lover in your life.
With its classic KitchenAid design, this carbonator is basically an upscale SodaStream. It’s compatible with all SodaStream products, from CO2 canisters to flavor mixes, and comes in the kind of stylish colors we’ve come to expect from KitchenAid. With its sleek die cast metal construction and fancy CO2 gauge to measure carbonation, the Sparkling Beverage Maker is ideal for someone who wants to make an investment in a top-of-the-line kitchen product.
Why Soda Makers Are Worth the Price
- They’re better for the environment. Buying all those aluminum cans and plastic bottles creates an obvious negative impact on the environment, even if you recycle them. Using your own soda maker means using reusable containers and tap water, producing much less waste than you would otherwise.
- They’re cost-effective. If you’re the type of person who can’t go a day without LaCroix, then you’ll probably end up saving money by investing in a soda maker. According to Wirecutter, “carbonating water from a soda maker costs less per liter than buying leading seltzer brands at the store,” meaning that you’ll save more over time.
- They’ll help you stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day can feel like a chore, yet hydration is one of the key parts of good health. Having the option to carbonate your water and add flavor mixes makes staying hydrated a lot more fun and exciting, not to mention more personalized.