Best Soda Makers of 2020
Want to make your own soda at the touch of a button? You may be in the market for a soda maker. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best soda maker to concoct your favorite bubbly drink.
Make Your Own Fizzy Drinks with a Soda Maker
Who doesn't enjoy blissfully sipping away on their favorite bubbly beverage? Whether you're an insatiable soda drinker or simply love the convenience of being able to make your own at the touch of a button, a soda maker is a handy addition to any kitchen.
Given their environmentally friendly operation and cost-effective convenience, soda makers have been well-loved appliances in homes across America for decades. While they're certainly not newcomers to the market, the sheer number of new and improved models available can be overwhelming.
If you're in the market for a new soda maker but find yourself in a sea of endless options, don't despair; we're here to help. At BestReviews, we research and analyze all our featured products ourselves. We never accept free samples from manufacturers, so you can rest assured that our reviews are honest, accurate, and 100 percent unbiased.
If you're short on time and ready to shop, take a peek at our top three soda makers featured above. If you'd like to learn more about soda makers, refer to our detailed guide below. You'll find out how to choose a soda maker and which qualities make for an enhanced effervescing experience.
Why Buy a Soda Maker?
If you're a die-hard lover of soda or sparkling water, the answer to the question above is a straightforward one: You buy a soda maker to make soda, of course! However, if you're considering buying a soda maker simply because you share a house with pint-size soda guzzlers, or because you think it would be a nice addition to your existing arsenal of convenient kitchen appliances, you're probably wondering if there are any other factors that could justify the (potentially) pricey initial investment.
Here are our top reasons for owning a soda maker.
- It's fun. Experimenting with different flavors, and even making your own flavor, can be a fun and rewarding experience.
- You have complete control over your soda. You get to control exactly how much carbonation and/or flavoring goes into your beverage—provided you choose an option that allows you to do so.
- It's convenient. As long as you keep your CO2 cartridges and syrups stocked, you'll literally never run out of soda. No need for last-minute trips to the grocery store when unexpected guests arrive.
- It's eco-friendly. As most bottles only need to be replaced every couple of years (if they're plastic, that is; glass carafes can last indefinitely), using a soda maker significantly reduces the amount of recyclable waste your household produces. Many soda makers don't require electricity or batteries to run, either, making them energy-efficient to boot.
- It's cost-effective. If you and/or your family members consume a lot of soda or soda water, making your own soda can work out to be very cost-effective in the long run.
However, it's important to note that if you only drink soda occasionally, you aren't likely to benefit from any significant savings.
Types of Soda Makers
There are a few basic types of soda makers, and while they have some notable differences, they all work in more or less the same manner.
Traditional Countertop Soda Makers
As the name suggests, this soda maker is designed to be stored on a countertop. One of the biggest appeals of countertop soda makers is their size—or rather, the size of their CO2 cartridges. In most cases, countertop soda makers use sizable CO2 cartridges that are capable of carbonating roughly 60 liters of water. However, you could also buy cartridges with an even larger capacity to fizz up to 130 liters of water.
Notably, some countertop soda makers don't require CO2 cartridges. These machines use pods with premixed flavors and carbonation pellets instead.
Handheld Soda Makers
The handheld soda maker is compact and portable, making it perfect for use on the go and for people who don't have enough space for a countertop model. Handheld soda makers are easy to use too; simply clip your bottle into place, insert a disposable CO2 cartridge, wait a few seconds, and give it a shake. While they can be convenient, keep in mind that you won't be able to customize the level of carbonation. One disposable cartridge is equal to just one use, and the level of carbonation is preset.
The soda siphon is the forefather of all soda makers. While traditional soda siphons were little more than soda water dispensers designed to preserve the effervescence of the carbonated soda water they contained, modern soda siphons closely resemble handheld soda makers in that they use disposable cartridges and require a good shaking up.
How Do Soda Makers Work?
Most soda makers work by injecting carbon dioxide from a cartridge into chilled water contained in a pressure-sealed bottle. (Once you slot the bottle into the soda maker, it creates a seal.)
When it comes to operating one, most soda makers are refreshingly simple, and in just a few easy steps—voilà!—you've made your own soda.
Step 1: Fill your bottle with cold water.
Step 2: Attach the bottle to the soda maker.
Step 3: Press a button (or pull a lever) to inject carbon dioxide. Usually, this can be done repeatedly to increase carbonation, if desired.
Step 4: Add syrups or other flavorings to your soda water.
Step 5: Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your effervescing endeavors.
Soda Maker Considerations
Although plastic-bodied soda makers can offer decent durability, stainless-steel or diecast-metal housings tend to be more robust and will naturally withstand frequent handling much better. Some models incorporate a combination of plastic and steel, providing a sleek and modern look without the higher price tag often attached to all-metal or steel soda makers.
The materials your soda maker consists of will also impact cleaning. Keep in mind that plastics can stain over time.
Ease of Use
- Every day: Having to struggle to attach a bottle to your soda machine is sure to burst your bubble and will quickly put a damper on your soda-making pursuits. The neck of the bottle should attach and lock into place with minimal to zero effort.
- Down the Line: Some soda makers feature LED lights that indicate levels of carbonation, and while this may take some of the guesswork out of how much fizz you've already added, they also require batteries for the lights to work—and these batteries will need to be replaced at some point. It's worth noting that for many consumers, the hassle of having to replace the battery occasionally is a small price to pay for optimal carbonation levels.
Soda makers come in a host of shapes and sizes, and finding one to fit your needs shouldn't be too difficult. Although some soda makers take up considerable space, many are slim and compact enough to easily fit on a smaller countertop. If you're seriously pressed for space, you could consider a handheld soda maker. For optimal carbonation, however, we recommend a countertop soda maker.
Most soda makers use either disposable or refillable CO2 cartridges. However, there are a handful that use sodium bicarbonate tablets or pods with carbonator beads. For superior fizz and convenient carbonation adjustment, we recommend refillable cartridges.
How Much Do Soda Makers Cost?
With so many soda maker options out there, it's not surprising that prices vary considerably. Depending on the features, brand, and size, a soda maker could cost as little as $20 or as much as $200.
Countertop Soda Makers
- $50: These are generally bare-bones, basic models, often of dubious overall quality.
- $60 to $150: For many consumers, a "mid-range" soda maker from this price tier would do a perfectly good job. The soda makers in this price bracket tend to offer the best money-saving potential.
- $150+: Pricier soda makers generally sport unique or specialized features, but it will take longer to recover your initial expense if you opt for one of these expensive items.
Handheld Soda Makers
- $20 and Under: Handheld soda makers in this price range are okay for occasional use, but don't expect high levels of carbonation, and do expect at least a few leaks.
- $40+: In this price range, handheld soda makers generally offer surprisingly good performance, although the carbonation of countertop options is hard to beat.
When purchasing a soda maker, don't forget to factor in the cost of carbonating bottles (approximately $18 for a twin pack of reusable plastic bottles) and CO2 cartridges (around $40 per new 60-liter cartridge; following the initial purchase, these cost about $15 to exchange/refill). A soda maker with a starter kit will include most or all the components needed to get you going.
Nifty Soda Maker Tips and Tricks
When it comes to getting the most out of your soda maker, there are a few basic tips to keep in mind and a few tricks everyone should try.
- Keep it cool. Chilling your water before carbonating creates better fizz.
- Buy extra bottles and cartridges. Extra bottles are especially handy for those who drink a lot of soda or soda water daily. You don't have to be stuck with the plastic bottle provided with starter kits either; many manufacturers offer glass and stainless-steel options too. Without a CO2 cartridge, you won't be able to make soda, so keeping an extra on hand is always a good idea.
- Be gentle when pouring and mixing. You'll want to preserve as much fizz as possible when making your own soda. Heavy-handed pouring and mixing can easily break up bubbles, leading to reduced fizz.
- Experiment. Why not try making your own flavors or using less (or more) carbonation? Aside from syrups, there are a host of delicious flavorings to try. Juice concentrates and fruit pulps are delicious. Lemon juice and caster sugar mix with soda water to make a fizzy lemonade. With a little imagination, the options are limitless.
Soda Maker FAQ
Q. Can I carbonate liquids other than water in my soda maker?
A. Although there are certain soda makers that are capable of carbonating other liquids, most can only carbonate water.
Q. Can I recarbonate drinks that have gone flat?
A. Provided you haven't added any syrup or other flavoring, soda water that's gone flat can be easily refizzed.
Q. Besides syrup, what other flavors can I add to my carbonated water?
A. Fruit juices, fruit and herbal extracts, and fresh herbs like mint are just a few of the add-ins you could use to infuse your soda water with fresh flavor. The internet is an excellent source for creative soda concoctions, and the options are seemingly endless.